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Old 02-15-2001, 06:40 AM   #1
Matt Banks
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Hello everyone. I just wrote a very long introduction, for this thread, discussing pros and cons of the subject I will explain in a minute. But suddenly we had a power cut and it was lost in cyber space. I cant be bothered to write it all out again, so heres the backbone of my question.

In the style I practice, for your shodan grading along with the grading syllabus, other jiuwaza, one must perform a live tanto jiuwaza.And for one's 3rd dan grading you do as of 2nd dan plus a jiuwaza but with a live katana (not full sharpness). This topic has been raised before, and weve heard already who does and does not agree with it. And ive already explained why I think its a good thing.
I just want to know if there is the same in any other style out there, or dojo etc etc. Ive already heard the views people have expressed, about safety etc etc. This is not what I want to go into, I just would like to know do you know of any other dojo;s out there that do this for the norm. Certainly I have seen many dojo' s in england and japan that do the same as we do. n.b. the last time I posted a thread like this one guy started making a joke post saying how for shodan they do 20 man tanto attacks for the norm, and nothing was gained.

sorry for making so many demands, I wish to gain info from this thread and not get in a ''abuse match''.




Matt Banks


''Zanshin be aware hold fast your centre''
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Old 02-15-2001, 08:11 AM   #2
lt-rentaroo
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Matt,

In my dojo, we do something similar. When testing for 1st kyu, the student is required to demonstrate at least three different defenses against a tanto attack (Shomenuchi, Yokomenuchi, and Munetsuki attacks -three different techniques against each attack). Often, a static attack such as a grab while holding the tanto to the nage's back or side is also required. The test is usually performed using a wooden tanto, but occasionally a real blade will be used, at least one with a sharp point.
When testing for Shodan, the student is required to demonstrate three different defenses against each type of attack (Shomenuchi, Yokomenuchi, and Munetsuki) with a bokken (Bokken Dori). I've never seen a Shodan test where an actual katana was used. I can see the benefit though. It would certainly make the nage more aware of the weapons blade edge. Too often I've seen nage who forget that the bokken should be treated as an actual katana and that it does have an edge (although not a sharp one). Hope I've helped you out.

LOUIS A. SHARPE, JR.
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Old 02-15-2001, 08:40 AM   #3
cbrf4zr2
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Matt,

In my opinion, I think it's what each person feels comfortable with. During our last testing session, persons testing for 1st Kyu had tantodori. In our dojo we use wooden weapons and, at least on this test, one of the people testing had a yoko strike slip through their block, and got a really big and nasty hematoma on their noggen, when the blade smacked into their forehead. I don't like to think what a live blade may have done. Maybe a live blade would have made them more aware and precise with their technique, and it wouldn't have happened? Or, would it have happened anyway, and they would have had a serious head wound? One can only speculate. Like I said this was for a Kyu, not a Dan ranking. I haven't seen a Shodan test in my style yet, as I'm still fairly new. For me personally, if and when I get to Shodan testing, I will probably request live blade if we don't already have that requirement. Then again I'm a glutton for punishment, and if I'm going to fail, I want to fail in a spectacular way.

************************
...then again, that's just me.
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Old 02-15-2001, 10:14 AM   #4
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
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My old teacher is French. (He left Ireland again..) He went to France last year to grade for nidan. He was telling us a story about grading with live tanto for dan grades(FFAB, I think), because just before his turn some guy did a bad block against a yokomen and got stabbed in the forehead. The story was sonically illustrated by the loud rapping of knuckles off a wooden bench.

A person grading at this level shouldn't be phased by a live blade, but obviously there can be trouble if they are. However, incidents like the one above are going to be rare because you're probably not going to be allowed grade (or at least do so with a live blade) if you're going to freeze up, and whoever trains you is going to have a fair idea of whether you're capable.

Live katana brings up a whole other world..... There's a much bigger difference between one of these and a bokken, you'd have to be training regularly with one... (OK, I held a katana once and I didn't swing it, and I'm only 4th kyu anyhow...)
andrew
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Old 02-15-2001, 10:16 AM   #5
andrew
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Thumbs down

I gather the accident victim in the above anecdote was quite ok, btw. He was able to watch the rest with a bandage on....
andrew
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Old 02-16-2001, 02:51 AM   #6
Simone
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Hi Matt!

In the style I train, we have tanto waza for shodan grading the first time and we use a live blade. As far as I know, there have been no accidents. But with the wooden tanto, I have witnessed twice people getting cut on the forehead. Both had no severe wounds but scratches. I think with a live blade you are more aware of the danger, especially in a testing situation. Last december I got the chance to view a sandan grading and there you have to do bokken techniques. We don't have a katana.

Hope that's what you are looking for.

Simone
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Old 02-19-2001, 11:17 PM   #7
Chuck Clark
 
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If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 02-20-2001, 07:13 AM   #8
Brian H
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
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The US Navy just proved a point

You can dive down deep and mash a button and your nifty sub will leap up to the surface in a dramatic manner. Its good training for emergencies, it provides "focus". Unless a Japanese fishing boat full of students is wandering by. Why not take a dull metal or wooden tanto and coat the edge will a thick paint. Allow to dry until it is still tacky and will transfer, but will not drip onto the mat. This way your gi will pay a price for your lack of focus and the attacker will be more confident about pressing the attack than they would be with an edged weapon.
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Old 02-20-2001, 01:18 PM   #9
Aiki1
 
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife.

Yup. We just had this discussion on the Aikido mailing list. Anyone with experience with a knife of any depth knows this. When I hear things like - live-blade jiyu waza - I cringe. If anyone thinks they could survive this in real life, they're wrong, except on a fluke. It gives a completely false sense of one's supposed abilities.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 02-20-2001, 04:28 PM   #10
chrisinbrasil
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Cool Old saying...

The old saying is...

"In a knife fight, the winner only gets cut."

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
Hito no tachiba wo kanga eru.
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Old 02-20-2001, 07:20 PM   #11
Erik
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I couldn't agree more with the last few posts.

Makes me wonder about the 78 respondents, so far, in this week's poll.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:30 AM   #12
glennage
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Re: Live tanto in grading

in my style we have live tanto jiyu waza for shodan gradings and i believe the live katana aswell at some later stage, possibly sandan. i am just starting to come across the live tanto for my 1st kyu grading where we have to do a simple go waza from shomen tsuki. i totally agree with the last few posts and i'm under no illusion that i will be able to conquer a knife wielding maniac on the street, let alone an experienced kife fighter. however i do feel it makes you concentrate more and your technique can only benefit from it.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:54 AM   #13
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Live tanto in grading

We use a live blade for tantodori in our yudansha exams.

I would add that for us it is not that we're trying to recreate a realistice knife attack environment, as has been said before it wouldn't work very well and people would get cut if the attacker was coming in with any knowledge of how to use a knife.

For us it's more like the difference you get in iaido when you start using a shinken. It shifts your focus.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:11 AM   #14
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife.
Reality FTW.

Yes, absolutely. Instead of using a live blade, why not just have uke attack as though it were really a sharp knife? Rather than using half-hearted sweeping motions and telegraphed thrusts.

I've often heard the story of someone going up for tantodori on a black belt test...and then seeing uke come out with a live (or at least dull metal) blade. You know what might be an even better surprise?

Uke walks up with a wooden tanto. They face each other and bow. They take up their stances. Uke moves forward -- and starts stabbing and slashing in an actual effort to strike nage.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:08 AM   #15
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife.
From someone that has been practicing for a very long time (54 years) and has several scars from sharp instruments in real combative situations on my hands (along with a couple of other places) and have cut other folks... I will reaffirm:

"If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife."

If you ain't getting cut (symbolically) with your training tool a significant number of times during each training period you are not doing it properly. If it is kata geiko and you know which attack, etc. is coming, it is, of course, easier to succeed against realistic skillful attacks, but if you're doing free form tanto (or for god's sake... a katana or any sharp implement of similar length) randori or jiyu kumite and you're not getting cut a lot... you are deluding yourself to put it mildly.

I'll add... if you're not always looking for training partners that put you at risk and are really trying to cause you problems that you need to learn to solve within appropriate levels of force and speed for the abilities of the trainees then you're wasting your time.

Rant mode off.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:02 PM   #16
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Red face Re: Live tanto in grading

I took my very first exam yesterday. At one point, we were required to execute a desarming technique against a shomen uchi, and we were allowed to choose to be attacked either with a katana or a bokken. The only three of us (me included) who chose the bokken failed this part of the test. I suppose that it means that we lacked self confidence to beggin with. Those who chose the katana all said that they trusted the blade to be a strong motivation not to mess up. And it worked.
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:14 PM   #17
Tim Griffiths
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Re: Live tanto in grading

In several dojo in the UK we used live tanto's for dan grades, generally a set of 5 stylised attacks. The purpose, as I understand it, was as an exercise in calmness and control - not a demonstration of skilled technique per se.
After that, we'd swap the real knives for wooden tanto for tanto randori, where the technical skill would come more into play.

Interestingly, when I moved to Israel where the aikido is generally more rough and ready, people were horrified by the idea of using live blades (although unstandable, once you see the damage people managed to inflict on each other with wooden weapons).

As for 'reality' against knives - I recently started some Kali. Of course, it has its own 'unreality', but as trying standard aikido knife techniques against people who train constantly just to cut you - no way.

Tim

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:21 PM   #18
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Alright so long as its kata only!! and each have practised repeatedly until no mistakes are made..... then full speed.... can look very spectacular!!

Doing free randori........ well you would have to be stark raving bonkers!!
Tony
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:58 PM   #19
SeiserL
 
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
If you're doing tanto dori with a live blade and no one gets cut...it just means that either the person with the tanto isn't really trying to cut or they aren't knowledgeable with a knife.
Osu,
Gotta ditto this.
Even in FMA, we didn't do that much work with a live blade for grading.

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 04-16-2007, 07:00 PM   #20
SeiserL
 
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
Anyone with experience with a knife of any depth knows this. When I hear things like - live-blade jiyu waza - I cringe. If anyone thinks they could survive this in real life, they're wrong, except on a fluke. It gives a completely false sense of one's supposed abilities.
Osu,
Long time no see. I still think about training with. It was great.
Total agreement here too.
I don't cringe though ... I totally walk the other way.
Cross train in FMA and you knoew what we mean.

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 04-16-2007, 08:08 PM   #21
crbateman
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Re: Live tanto in grading

IMHO, live blade exercise is just nuts. Only two kinds of people do this: those that have been cut, and those who are going to be cut. There is no upside to this. Enough adrenaline should be available without resorting to an additional element of risk. Not only this, but you'll have a hard enough time controlling yourself to the degree necessary for this type of activity. What about the person holding the knife? How much can you control him? Really want your life depending on him? Don't become a statistic...
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:02 PM   #22
Keith Larman
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Re: Live tanto in grading

I've seen it done. My only observation is that each time I've seen it done the attacks were worse than if they were using a wooden or rubber tanto. The attack slows, the attack is totally telegraphed, and the end result is even less realistic waza. So any perceived "benefit" of using a real blade is more than offset by the fact that the practice is basically worthless. The *intent* of the attacker is what matters. And without strong, committed intent it just doesn't matter if the knife is real or fake. I'd rather have an intense, totally committed "that's gonna leave a mark" attack with a wooden or rubber blade any day.

If you want to get the level up, do the markers and t-shirt thing. But using a real blade will only give you one of two results. One is that your attacker won't give it everything they have so the practice teaches you *less* than just training with a rubber blade. Or they attack you for real and eventually someone ends up lacerated.

Whenever I see it I just think of people getting false confidence in their abilities. And Darwin Award candidates. All apologies to those who do it, but I must say I think it is really a dumb thing to do.

And just dropping a blade can cause a serious injury. I know guys in my craft who've dropped tanto on their feet and had the blade pierce through the shoe, through their foot, and into the floor. I work with live blades day-in and day-out and I get bothered by seeing people handling bokken improperly. If you want to see me go ballistic, start fiddling around with a live blade.

State of mind is what matters. You are training so your body learns how to move when it is for real. Train and train some more. Have them speed up with the wooden or rubber knife and mix up the attacks. That should get your adrenalin going more than enough.

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Old 04-16-2007, 10:17 PM   #23
JAMJTX
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Re: Live tanto in grading

I took my Shito Ryu Shodan test doing some technique against a live blade - for the first time. We had done a lot of knife work over the years, but never a live blade until my test. I really think that if I had the same initial reaction in the street, I very likely would have been stabbed or cut very badly. As uke took the knife from Sensei and started heading towards me my heart began to pound as I relaized it was a real knife. I had some time to gain some composure by the time he got back to the floor and we were given some instructions. But I hate to think what would have happened if there was not so much time given before any attacks.

Plus, it was only Ippon Kumite, one attack, one defense. So it was not a continuous attack. There's a big difference,

I place a lot of emphasis on the use of live blades to try and get over some of the initimidation factor. But with the nature of Aikido and ukemi, I am always concrned that someone (probably me) is going to fall on the knife.

Students have to become accustomed to working with the blades. I just don't think I'm going to use them in any freestyle or continuous attacks.

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:37 AM   #24
Marc Kupper
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Re: Live tanto in grading

Quote:
Matthew Banks wrote: View Post
In the style I practice, for your shodan grading along with the grading syllabus, other jiuwaza, one must perform a live tanto jiuwaza.And for one's 3rd dan grading you do as of 2nd dan plus a jiuwaza but with a live katana (not full sharpness).
We practice and test with wood tanto and discuss that you pretty much will be getting cut if it were a live blade. The goal is to make sure those cuts are in usually places that are not debilitating such as on the outside of the forearms. I've only practice once with a live blade and didn't like it as the attacks are extra careful. We recently got some rubber practice knives but I have not practiced with them yet. There's also marker pen practice which is a fun way to get the intensity up without worry about accidental slashes/wounds from a live blade.

As for live katana - we'll do partnership kata with them but not jiuwaza.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:13 AM   #25
xuzen
 
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Re: Live tanto in grading

REALISTIC LIVE BLADE (TM) testing maketh lifespan of Tori very short... Uke will run out of training partner very quickly.

Having say that, I am curious, how does the Kenjutsu students of old train in the old days before shinai and the armour was invented? Serious question.

Boon.

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