This fall (October 31 and November 1), we will be having our third annual Aiki Buddies Gathering here at Mokuren Dojo. We are likely to have aikidoka from all over the southwest US come practice with us and the theme this year will be the role of the knife in aikido. We will be working on the knife part of the system, including basic knife evasions, the knife sections of sankata and rokukata, and knife randori, and I will be showing how the knife components of the system are a vital piece of the un-armed self-defense picture.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a handful of quotes from Lawrence Kane's excellent book, Surviving Armed Assaults, that I recently reviewed. While I am not really using this book as a text for the Aiki Buddies Gathering, some of these ideas underlie what we will be working on and y'all can get a head start by giving some thought to Kane's ideas...
When dealing with weapons, awareness is the best defense followed immediately by avoidance and strategic withdrawal. (p. xix)
No matter what martial style you practice, controlling an opponent's arms (or elbows) and disrupting his or her balance is a sound strategy... (p. xxiv)
Armed assaults with edged weapons are becoming increasingly common since they are much easier to obtain and conceal than handguns, and are carried by far more people. Their relatively low-cost, silent application, and comparative ease of disposal are definite bonuses for the criminally minded (p4).
Self-protection in general, both forceful and non-forceful, reduced the risk of property loss and injury, compared to non-resistance. A variety of mostly forceful tactics, including resistance with a gun, appeared to have the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury ... Combined with the fact that injuries following resistance are almost always relatively minor, victim resistance appears to be generally a wise course of action (p7).
Because you simply cannot tell by appearance alone whether or not that gentle-looking man or woman walking down the street next to you is a harmless accountant, a violent rapist, or even a mass murderer, you must always be on your guard (p9) ...
...in self defense...The closest thing to an absolute...is that it is critical to maintain sufficient distance between yourself and a potential assailant to give yourself time to react (p43).
...who attacks you will consider himself bigger, tougher, meaner, and more experienced than you are. Either that or he will employ a weapon to win, likely from an ambush (p56)...
That's only a handful of quotes that I marked in my copy of the book - only a taste of what the book is about. I highly recommend the book as an interesting, educational read if you want to think that your martial art has something to do with armed violence.