You are here:

Self Defense/Can aikido work against knife?


I have been studying Tangsodo for years, but I have always wondered if Aikido techniques could work against someone attacking with a knife in a street scenario. I seriously respect aikido, I do wanna insult it but its kinda lame.

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.

So what do you think about Aikido knife defenses. Do you think aikidoka could actually disarm a street knife attack? Does aikido work?

There's a line from Murphy's Law of Combat
( )

"Anything you do can get you killed, including doing nothing.

Keep that in mind, we'll come back to it.

My fundamental problem when it comes to ANY martial artist talking about dealing with knife is that it's like a virgin telling me that he can tell me everything I need to know about sex because he watches a lot of porn.

This analogy works because different styles are like the dudes watching different porn. This virgin tells you this. This virgin tells you this. This one that.

And each one is convinced the other is 'wrong.'

Ummm not to point out the obvious, but you're all watching porn and jacking off. You're not actually getting laid, nor are you qualified to teach people how to fuck better.

The fundamental problem is there is NO ONE WAY to handle a knife.

There are all kinds of dynamics, circumstances, lead ups, ways knives are used, purposes for using a knife and EACH of them have their own physics and dynamics.

Most often knives are used as a 'threat display' -- often in the form of 'escalato' in a Monkey dance. The dude is
1) standing there screaming at you to get the fuck out of there (most violence comes with instructions how to avoid it
2) out of range (he's not attacking, he's threatening you)
3) he's showing you how serious he is (See this knife?)
4) it's because his other threat displays haven't worked ( )

And the reason his other threat displays haven't worked is because you're probably in a monkey dance

Hey, what's the best technique to use? Well if the instructions are to shut up... shut up.
If the instructions are to get the fuck out of there...  
If the instructions are to stop doing something...

The absolute LAST thing you want to do is step up with an 'oh yeah?' attitude and a half assed martial arts technique to prove your dick is bigger than this other 'monkey's

All of this stuff is about violence dynamics and the build up to violence. Why is this important? Well because the presence of a weapon is a game changer.

It is a game changer because different 'types' of violence have different Rules of Engagement (ROE)  You do NOT fucking monkey dance with a knife -- NOR do you try to 'fight' against one.  

Now NONE of this will you hear about in 'martial arts' training. This is disgusting because they often claim they teach 'awareness and avoidance' and then spend all their time teaching you ineffective techniques FOR those circumstances.

It's not that those techniques don't work. They actually do work -- in other circumstances.

The problem is that most of what is being taught out there is a 'fighting' mindset. As in two assholes going at it over some piss ant, dick measuring reason.  That is fighting. And approaching dealing with a knife with that mindset will get you killed.

Conversely I just got back from teaching how to survive being attacked by a knife in Phoenix. You know what? If you took an aikidoist, a kapap and tang so do instructors and put them in that class, they'd all see critical elements of THEIR arts in what I was showing.

That's Aikido!
That's KAPAP!
That's Tang Soo Do!

No motherfuckers, it's not getting killed. It's not getting killed because I'm  
a) not trying to fight the guy
b) not trying to use a particular technique/approach/way/system
c) trying to neutralize the danger to myself ASAP

Take aikido (which does work) Take KAPAP (which does work) Take Tang Soo Do (which also works) blend them together to find a way that the guy needs to be on the floor and maybe dead/dying within THREE MOVES and you'll figure out how to use martial arts to handle a knife.

Oh, I do mean three moves, NOT three techniques.

So here's my answer to does aikido work? By itself no. Does KAPAP work? By itself no. Does Tang Soo Do work? By itself no.  

What works is that in 1.5 seconds after that blade start coming at you he's on the deck and unable to attack you again.  

Self Defense

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

See CV

Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

Awards and Honors
See CV

Past/Present Clients
See CV

©2016 All rights reserved.