Class this past Saturday had us exploring the use of the knife as a training tool in taijutsu, how do we use such a training tool in our movement and does it really change anything?
The challenge with using training tools is that it is easy to have an illusion of how one thinks they should be used- in this case a knife. When you pick it up, you start using it like a knife in your movement.
But how is a knife used?
Can you even be sure you are using it correctly?
And if you are using it correctly as a knife, if compared with a training partner that knows how a knife is used in the martial arts they will be aware of what you are trying to do.
Our taijutsu philosophy is perhaps a bit different when it comes to these training tools- in this case one does not use a knife, but rather uses a knife powered by taijutsu.
As an example for us, and as a way to catch the feeling, we explored all of our class movements on Saturday with a knife in hand, or ready to deploy. Using the unique properties of it, combined with the movement of our taijutsu.
We started off with the kihon happo and san shin no kata movements, only using training tool.
How did it change distance and timing?
How did it change the movement and perception of our training partners as they interacted with the blade?
How can we keep the tool hidden during the entire movement. If one has such a training tool, why would they ever show it or allow it to be seen?
Ukemi was next- forward, side, and back rolls. Start a roll and have the knife tossed at you. Sometimes you grab it, other times avoid it. Have the knife tossed on the ground and grab it as you roll and take ukemi. Avoid grabbing the knife blade, as it is taken, get it into a ready position or hidden position as you are rolling, coming up in correct kamae and ready to go.
Tehodoki and taihodoki up next. Using the tool for leverage against the joints and weak points on the body. Using it to create unfamiliar movements that your training partner can't see, so it messes with the ability for them to take ukemi. From there exploring kata from the jin ryaku no maki section of training.
Aspects of keeping the training tool hidden.
In our kenjutsu (Japanese sword) training there is a posture called seigan no kamae. In this posture you hold the sword so the tip of the blade faces your training partner. When done correctly in this way, the length of the sword is concealed since they are looking down the blade. Knowing the length of the sword and its relationship to where you are is key.
Take this concept over to smaller hand held training tools like the knife- there are ways of holding it out in the view that conceal the length of the blade or where it is. From a self defense perspective, understanding how this works and how people can do this, is KEY.