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Old 09-17-2003, 08:22 PM   #1
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
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Eek! live blades

~~Anyone out there train with 'live' blades, on any weapon? Tanto to naginata...

~~Paula~~
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Old 09-17-2003, 11:31 PM   #2
Chris Li
 
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Re: live blades

Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
~~Anyone out there train with 'live' blades, on any weapon? Tanto to naginata...
Sure. Not much these days, but a dojo I trained at for three years trained regularly with live swords - mostly iai and tameshigiri.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-18-2003, 01:58 AM   #3
drDalek
 
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We had a tanto class once where I got to attack our instructor with a balisong and an automatic stilletto style knife.

What a lot of people dont realise is that training with real weapons does not equal realistic training.

If I attacked in the way I would have to save my / take his life, both of us would probably have had to go for stitches and blood transfusions.

The way I attacked in class, with clear intent, clear commitment and clear follow-through resulted in both of us staying safe and uncut.

With a live blade you dont need a fraction of the commitment and force you need to injure someone empty-handed. Except for illustrating this to me in the practice, the value of training with live blades (over training/wooden knives) when neither party handles the blade in a realistic natural manner and neither party gets hurt is debatable.

I would say that I find training with fake blades to be more valuable, you dont need to inhibit the way you handle the blade and you can jam it into your partner with impunity if they dont manage to disarm you first. Sure you dont have the stress and fear-factor but thats where a good imagination and a realistic outlook on what you are attempting to accomplish comes in.
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Old 09-18-2003, 03:19 AM   #4
sanosuke
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sometimes we train using 'live' blades, that is, real steel blades with blunt edge. But although it's blunt, and we know it, the feeling is different compared to when we trained using tanto. The first time I trained against steel blades i did the technique rather sloppy, i ask my teacher because i usually don't have any problem when trained against tanto. That time my sensei said that perhaps i underestimate the tanto, feeling that the tanto wouldn't hurt me i can move easily, but when my partner hold a steel blade that might hurt me i was scared, doubted and thus move lousily.

here i also like to put a reminder o ourselves that we should treat any attack seriously, even if it is just a shomen uchi we should treat it like the cut is a sword cut, bottle, steel bar or else. This way we can do the techniquecorrectly and also built humility because we respect the attack.
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:54 PM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Used to train with live/sharp blades in FMA.

When we did a photo shoot for a Black Belt Magazine article on Aikido against the five angels of a knife attack, my Sensei (Dang Thong Phong) choose to did it all with one of the live/sharp blades I brought along just for demonstration. Level of respect went up another notch. Article has not been scheduled for publication yet.

As a rules, IMHO, its not wise to train with sharp pointed things.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:36 AM   #6
jxa127
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All,

Did any of you see the movie, The Shadow, with Alec Baldwin? There's a "live blade" in it.

I've trained mostly with wodden tanto (which are still dangerous, by the way), and once with a real knife with a dull blade. I've never trained with a live blade, but I'd be worried about cutting up our mat (as well as one another).

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:08 AM   #7
MaylandL
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The dojo I train at trains with live (eg sharp) blades every now and then. There is certainly an impact on the mindset when sharp blades are used.

IMHO, the use of live blades needs to be carefully considered, from a safety and legal liability perspective. It also depends on what you would want to achieve from the use of a live blade.

From a self defence perspective, there are many commentators (Marc Mac Young et al) who note the dangers with people with knives and the effectveness of dojo martial arts. I certainly agree with the comments of Mr Van Dyk when training with a live blade.

In addition, the use of weapons in aikido, certainly in my training, is as tool for teaching body movements, positioning and distance and not about self defence per se. From this perspective, live blades are definitely not necessary.

From a self defence perspective, I think that it is a very ill advised decision to use your bare hands to take a knife from someone who is looking to fillet you from neck to crotch.

If there is anyone who beleives that are are real benefits to training with live blades, I would be most interested in hearing them.

Happy training all

Mayland
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:37 PM   #8
aikidoc
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I have a problem with the live blade issue. If someone slips or the knife falls out and someone falls on it serious injury could occur. Since training is skill building you can make the rubber or wooden tanto attack more aggressive. A real attach with a live blade and the defender has a momentary brain freeze and someone could be badly injured or killed.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:44 PM   #9
DaveO
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Hi, Mayland!

Good points; in answer to your last question:
Quote:
If there is anyone who beleives that are are real benefits to training with live blades, I would be most interested in hearing them.
I'd answer with your opening point:
Quote:
There is certainly an impact on the mindset when sharp blades are used.


IMO that shift in mindset is extremely valuable; a reinforcement that that weight in uke's hand represents a real threat.

Not for self-defence though; you're right there. So far; all the knife defences I've seen are one step from useless. Don't get me wrong, the techniques work, if the attacker gives you time to prepare, and if he uses the knife in a manner you've specifically trained against, and if he has no knife training or practice himself, and if you can overcome the instinctive horror a blade in the hands of an attacker gives you.

You'll note there are an awful lot of if's in there. Let's be blunt: someone using a knife for attack isn't thinking about fighting; he's thinking about killing. He'll be coming with full-force; adrenaline pumping so hard his muscular strength and reactions will be at maximum; he's likely to feel no pain. And he's not going to be using fancy, preset techniques; he's most liable to be coming in from the blindside in a rush - you're not even going to see the knife until it's residing in your kidney.

To be blunt; I see very little real defensive value in aikido knife-defence techniques.

But all that said; there's more to the techniques than defensive value, isn't there? They teach movement, control, discipline, among a great many other benefits.

Tanto techniques do help aikido in general; providing a separate element which nage must deal with. For this reason, a live blade can be an interesting addition for more senior members - lift a live blade against a yudansha and watch his smooth, polished technique break down in uncertainty in a real hurry.

As an aside; we've only used live blades in our dojo a couple of times - once when I used one as a demonstration of the risks of the tanto-dori techniques; and once when I gave one of our 3rd kyus an iaido sword for doing 'bokken kata 1' - he was a bit lax using bokken; waving it around for fun like the stick it is; so I gave him the sword to reinforce the fact it's a real, dangerous weapon. He sharpened up instantly - no pun intended. Hasn't waved it around like a baseball bat since.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:50 PM   #10
ChristianBoddum
 
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Where's a jo when you need one ?
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:15 AM   #11
MaylandL
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Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
... If someone slips or the knife falls out and someone falls on it serious injury could occur. ... A real attach with a live blade and the defender has a momentary brain freeze and someone could be badly injured or killed.

...
These are very real risks in the dojo when live blades are used. With the current situation with public liability insurance and the need to maintain a duty of care, the use of live blades is something for very careful consideration.

Mayland
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:34 AM   #12
MaylandL
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Quote:
Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
...

IMO that shift in mindset is extremely valuable; a reinforcement that that weight in uke's hand represents a real threat.

Not for self-defence though; you're right there. So far; all the knife defences I've seen are one step from useless. Don't get me wrong, the techniques work, if the attacker gives you time to prepare, and if he uses the knife in a manner you've specifically trained against, and if he has no knife training or practice himself, and if you can overcome the instinctive horror a blade in the hands of an attacker gives you.

You'll note there are an awful lot of if's in there. Let's be blunt: someone using a knife for attack isn't thinking about fighting; he's thinking about killing. ... he's most liable to be coming in from the blindside in a rush - you're not even going to see the knife until it's residing in your kidney.

To be blunt; I see very little real defensive value in aikido knife-defence techniques.

But all that said; there's more to the techniques than defensive value, isn't there? They teach movement, control, discipline, among a great many other benefits.

Tanto techniques do help aikido in general; providing a separate element which nage must deal with. For this reason, a live blade can be an interesting addition for more senior members - lift a live blade against a yudansha and watch his smooth, polished technique break down in uncertainty in a real hurry.

....
Hello Dave, how's training coming along

Thank you for your comments. You do make an interesting observation in that when a live blade is in your hand, both tori and uke treat the situation and the tanto with a great deal more respect.

As for the effectiveness of aikido in a knife attack situation, I would hazard a guess that it would not be that different for any other martial art in terms of unarmed techniques against a someone wielding a knife.

I was very impressed with the Mr Michael Hackett's very pragmatic and informative post on "knife defenses" thread in this forum. He makes some very pointed (no pun intended) observations which certainly reinforce my understanding of the dynamics of a knife attack.

About 6 months ago, I had the pleasure (yes it was fun and informative) of attending a knife defense seminar form someone with the credentails to undertake such a seminar. He noted that if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a knife attack, expect to get cut and to bleed. It becomes what is known as a frenzied attack and he showed that its very possible for about 30 stabs and slashes to occur in a space of less than 15 seconds.

The reason you don't see the knife before you're cut is that the knife is a short range weapon (less than half an arms length) and at that range it's difficult to get a complete view of what is going on, made even more difficult with the massive kick your body gets in adrenalin.

The points that you make certainly are in accordance with my research on the net.

However, given all that I am still unconvinced that there is any net value i training with live blades when the risk of injury and litigation is considered.

Happy training all

Mayland
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:34 AM   #13
samurai_kenshin
 
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Re: live blades

i don't have much of a problem with live blades unless my uke is a real beginner
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:50 AM   #14
Taliesin
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Re: live blades

In the style of Aikido I practice, Live Tanto Jiyu Wasa is a mandatory part of your Shodan (and Above grading). For 1st kyu it is a wooden Tanto Jiyu wasa.

With regard to the points made above. The first one I would say, is that when your Uke is coming at you with a REAL knife, it makes a huge difference to your attitude and drastically reduces the number of techniques you are prepared to do.

As far as practical application is concerned. I do believe there is a practical benefit to having to maintain your focus with a live blade. It is also useful for dealing with committed, but unskilled attacks.

I do not, however, believe it is necessarily hugely effective against a skilled knife practitioner, as with those individuals you are unlikely ever to see the knife.

I am therefore in the camp that there are real practical benefits for training with a live blade (which I hate), albeit benefits are limited.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:14 AM   #15
Erik
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Re: live blades

Note that I'm not talking about iaido or similar practices but live blades in the context of aikido techniques. And, I recognize that I probably seem preachy here.

Many years ago, one of my instructors got it into their head that a live blade would be good training. To keep the story short, the knife wound up in my shoulder. How it happened was stupid, careless, and not directly related to a technique. It happened because sharp objects cut if you aren't 110% careful which none of you are although many of you think you are. The stupidest, but in a way satisfying, part of it is that the instructor brought the knife out again, only this time the instructor got cut.

Another teacher of mine took a bayonet in the mouth teaching bayonet / knife fighting in the military. The guy attacked off the line because he was scared to hurt my teacher. My teacher lost his teeth several years later. The grunt, well, he lost the use of his arm from the knife that was stuck in it.

I've heard at least one Tomiki person say that if you aren't getting cut with a blade then your attacker isn't trying. I would agree with this as I've been wacked many times with a bokken or tanto (controlled and uncontrolled) and I've seen plenty of "skilled" people get wacked under controlled circumstances. I once saw a nidan test, (ok, nidans are nothing special but...) where the guy took a hit across the forehead with a tanto from a yokomen strike. It was a technique / attack combination that he'd probably done thousands of times. Yet, had the strike slipped in 1" lower it could have nailed him in the eye.

I've also done the "bleed on the mat from a tanto strike to the head" bit as well. Mine was from, of all things, a shomen strike.

I recognize the concept that a live blade adds a certain pucker factor to the training. I recognize that it does have some small value in it's way. But, overall, given the price paid for even minor errors it's a damn stupid thing to do.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:35 AM   #16
thomas_dixon
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Re: live blades

We use aluminum trainers, and use live blades when cutting. (FMA btw)
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:29 PM   #17
Mark Freeman
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Smile Re: live blades

In our Federation we first come across a live tanto as part of the sandan grading. I had only used wooden weapons up until that point. It was stressed to me as I trained with those wooden weapons, that they are at all times to be treated and handled as if they were live. So after about 5/6 years of wooden tanto, when facing the live version in the test, I can honestly say it did not move my mind. And I really enjoyed the experience.

I look forward to the live sword a few years on in my practice. I am of the opinion that live blades should be reserved for very high level training as sharp weapons have a nasty habit of fulfilling their function, blood can be spilled even in skilled hands.

I'm not sure that aikido knife defenses can be written off as of no real use in a 'real' situation. As the conflict is between humans and the knife an extension of 1 or more of them. I fully understand that at close range if someone intends you harm with a sharp object, there's a good chance that you could get caught out, and contact will be made. But there may be infinite possibilities in the run up to that point. This surely is where Aikido has the advantage, mental state, position, the intent to not stop the attack but to allow or even encourage it to happen then to lead it to resolution? Maybe someone with 'some' effective weapons training ( in any art ) is faced with a 'real' threat from a knife wielding attacker, and maybe that person, engages in the fight and maybe they disarm the attacker, and maybe they come off badly. Maybe the person with a lot of effective weapons training takes note of the threat, and then deals with the person who ultimately is the real problem. I've seen someone talk their way out of a tight spot that involved weapons and they had no weapons training. So is a bit of knowledge a bad thing?

I think that wooden weapons used properly are completely adequate for most training, but there's definitely a place for live blades, as they certainly focus the mind ( especially when the sunlight enters the dojo window and glints on the polished steel edge ).

Just my two cents worth,
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