You are here:

Self Defense/Can aikido work against knife?


Hello Mr. Quinn!
I have been studying Tangsodo in Canada for years, but I have always wondered if Aikido techniques could work against someone attacking with a knife in a street scenario.

I have visited a kapap instructor in the region who say it's garbage because all they do is thrust a single times and they're too compliant. He said that all knife attacks are really quick and if you try to grab, you'll get cut 'many times.' He also said that through pressure testing, he found that most techniques including grappling and joint locks work terribly compared to striking.

I tend to agree with your instructor fundamentally, but there is more to it than that, Most people can only perform gross motor skills like striking under the adrenal dump of a real attack. This is why basic striking has the better and perhaps best chance of being effective in real attack.

The fact is for 23 years I have trained people under adrenal stress conditions at RMCAT and most MA people have great difficulty even striking the armored assailant with real power in their fist few scenarios. But before the weekend is over they learn to control and use that adrenal dump and then they are really hitting hard and fast.

How you are conditioned to deal with the adrenal dump is more important than technique or style most often. The real thing is nothing like sparring in the dojo so many never realize this.

The few people I meet that could make Aikido technique's work in a real fight were all true masters who studied it as children and were then in their fifties. But Aikido principles are important to grasp, and not so much the specific techniques.

There are some people so big and tough that striking techniques isn't going to have much affect on them, you need to take their balance and toss them head first into a car or telephone pole or wall or floor.That is Aikido's real strength.

Self Defense

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Peyton Quinn


I can answer questions on actual self-defense for today’s world and contrast the very critical difference between ‘martial arts training’ and actual comprehensive self-defense training. In particular, I have 24 years of experience training people to deal effectively and employ productively the adrenal stress reaction, which is the only thing one can really count on in a true self-defense emergency. I also worked as ‘bouncer” and “cooler” in the seventies and my knowledge is not theoretical but experiential. While my primary experience is in “hand to hand” fighting and training people in this skill, In addition I was employed by a major industry player to conduct terminal ballistic tests on all handgun calibers of all manufacturers and their bullet designs to determine their effectiveness in ‘stopping power”. I have no axes to grind in this field and I just call it as I see it from actual experience and over eight hundred shooting cases I researched in conjunction with my contract to evaluate terminal ballistics (stopping power of handgun loads and calibers)


Black Belt Magazine called my RMCAT program “The best short term self-defense program existent”. This was unprecedented in their 40 years of publishing their magazine and this followed their year long study of “reality based self-defense programs”. My program is based on adrenal stress conditioning thorough scenario based training and fight scenarios using specially armored assailants that allows absolute full contact to head and groin areas. I have been instructing this training with my staff for 22 years at present. I am a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame and was named “Self-Defense Instructor of the Year in 2008 by Black Belt Magazine. I have advanced rank in Wado Ryu Karate, Judo, Aikido and Wing Chung Gung Fu. I also have experience in other martial arts, but I recognize that martial arts training is not true and comprehensive self-defense training for today’s world. I have instructed firearms training for self-defense for over 20 years and I once ran a liquor store where I was forced to employ firearms for my own survival. I have degrees in mathematics, Psychology and Education from my studies at The university of Colorado and the University of Texas. I have very strong knowledge of terminal ballistics of handguns from my employment in this field to determine the stopping power of handgun loads from both ballistic gelatin tests and actual case studies of shootings. I continue to instruct firearms for self-defense through scenario based training as I have for many years now.

I have written serval books, the most relevant on the topic of self-defense and martial art being “ A Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling’ many feel this book changed the Martial Arts industry, and Real Fighting : Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training. This last book was named one of the best books ever written on self-defense by Black Belt Magazine along with Mushashi’s “Book of Five Rings” and Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kung Do”. My articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Inside Knug Fu, and The National Association of Professional Martial Artist (NAPMA) where I have a monthly column called “Reality Check”. I have other publications dealing with the effect od the adrenal reaction on learning and memory among these “Freedom From Fear: Taking back control of Your life and Dissolving Depression”. I also have written on the relationship between the adrenal complex and the biochemistry of PTSD.

Bachelor of Science: Psychology Bachelor of Arts: Mathematics Certified Secondary School Education: Mathematics Black Belts in Karate, Judo Fukishidoan rank (Shodan level Black Belt) in Aikido Graduate of Lethal Force Institute

Awards and Honors
Black Belt Hall of Fame Member Self-Defense Instructor of the Year 2008 My book “Real Fighting: Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training “ was named one of the five best books ever written on self-defense and martial arts by Black Belt Magazine. In 1973 my software program’ Software development of the Sheldon Domain” a pattern recognition algorithm was awarded 2nd place by the IEEE society

Past/Present Clients
IBM,Philco Ford, Wells Fargo and several security related firms.

©2017 All rights reserved.