The Tanto is a Japanese fighting knife.
|Fig. 1 Tantos||Fig. 2 Length of Tanto||Fig. 3 Length of Handle|
Figures 2 and 3 show the Tanto gripped as Maynard teaches. The way he teaches the grip on the Tanto is constantly changed between that shown in Fig. 2 and that shown in Fig. 3. In either figure the edge can be reversed. In Fig. 2 the Tanto is held for parrying but if the Tanto was being used to stab down the edge might be toward the users arm. In Fig. 3 if the Tanto was stabbing up as in Shomen Tsuki rather than straight in the blade would be down.
|Fig. 1 Extended||Fig. 2 Changing||Fig. 3 Down||Fig. 2 Changing||Fig. 3 Extended|
The above sequence shows the user changing the grip on the Tanto. This will not work if the user grips the handle with the pommel sticking out one side of the hand and the blade sticking out the other side. This is the major difference in the way of using the Tanto Maynard teaches and the western way of using a knife. Maynard usually holds the Tanto with the pommel in the hand and the way the Tanto is held is constantly changed. It gives an effect much like doubled edged blades coming out of both ends of the handle.
Aikido does not really get involved in how to use a Tanto, just how to take a Tanto, so the issues of handling the Tanto are not taught.