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End the collusion by adding a knife

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Today I wanted to mention another way to improve the attacks and end the collusion - by adding a rubber knife into the mix.
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First, some warnings - use good sense.  Even a flexible rubber knife can destroy an eye, and the handles of rubber knives are often thick and inflexible and hurt when you get hit with them.  Don't ever, ever practice with wooden or aluminum simulation knives because these can still stab, and it's easy to fall on them. (It's nearly impossible to fall on a wooden sword, but easy to fall on a wooden knife.)
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With those common sense warnings in mind, adding a rubber knife into practice can make it a lot better - or it might not change your practice much.  It's tempting to learn 2-3 cool moves (one of them has to be tenkan kotegaeshi) and consider yourself competent at knife techniques.  Phooey.
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Let me suggest a different mode of practice.  You should never become completely comfortable practicing against a knife.  The purpose of adding a knife into practice is to make uke more aggressive and more obviously dangerous - to make the attacker totally outclass the defender.  The presence of the knife should make you very uncomfortable - so uncomfortable, in fact, that it should force you to grow and get better.
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And don't get stuck (pun intended) with simple, slow tsuki (chest stab) or men (overhead) attacks ala Jim Carey's famous karate skit.  Here are a couple of ways of varying things in order to end the collusion and put some spice - some life back into your practice...
  • Stab twice - define uke's role by saying it is his intent to stab or cut tori twice, no matter what else happens in the technique.  Perhaps at a beginning level you might say the first attack has to be a zombie tsuki but the second attack can happen however uke wants.  Here's another article about the stab-twice idea.
  • Progressive chaos - You might start with the first attack being a zombie tsuki, but then progress to practice where they still have to make a tsuki but they might preceed it with a slash or feint.  Progress from there toward freeform attacks in a stepwise fashion.  But progress instead of stagnating.
  • Start already stabbed - Perhaps you can start some techniques having already been stabbed in the shoulder or side, working under the assumption that a sneaky knife attacker might likely hit you before you can pull the trigger on your technique.  Work your technique maximizing control and minimizing the frequency and depth of cuts you sustain.
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 Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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