Lately Ive been hyping Bram Frank's Conceptual Modular knife system to all of my buddies as being exceptionally aiki-like and therefore, a great match for aiki-folks looking to improve their knife skills. In fact, this is a large part of what I'm planning to share at our Aiki Buddies Gathering in October.
I thought today that i'd enumerate seven reasons that I'm so thrilled with Bram's work - particularly in the hands of aikidoka.
- It is conceptual rather than technical. We always like to claim that our aikido is based on principles rather than techniques - and this modular knife system is the same way. It teaches how to handle and move a knife in a functional way instead of trying to learn "100 new and improved techniques!"
- it is a small (think Tomiki-small), cyclic, modular training system very similar to the renzoku chains that we have spent so much practice time on for the past decade.
- It is based on probabilities rather than possibilities.
- it is relatively compassionate - so far as the act of cutting people with blades can be. The biomechanical cutting concept is not only less lethal than exsanguination, but it is faster and safer and more of a sure-thing.
- it gives a rich context to the knife stuff that we learn in sankata and rokukata.
- it makes extensive use of aiki-like off-line movement and angulation.
- both partners are learning simultaneously - similar to the renzoku chains or toshu randori - instead of one partner having to waste half of his time being a dummy while the other guy gets to learn something.