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slowtyper
04-06-2011, 11:35 PM
When I first started cooking I learned to use the pinch-grip on my knives, which I find much better than a "normal" grip that most people use on their knives. However, I notice Japanese chefs use a grip where the index finger is resting (well, not sure if they are putting pressure down with that finger) on the back of the spine of the knife.

Is it something specific to the WA style handle? Or just a japanese thing?

Very curious about this and searching online didn't turn up many answers.

eg http://www.dreamstime.com/japanese-chef-slicing-raw-fish-for-sushi-thumb15066365.jpg

JBroida
04-06-2011, 11:45 PM
When I first started cooking I learned to use the pinch-grip on my knives, which I find much better than a "normal" grip that most people use on their knives. However, I notice Japanese chefs use a grip where the index finger is resting (well, not sure if they are putting pressure down with that finger) on the back of the spine of the knife.

Is it something specific to the WA style handle? Or just a japanese thing?

Very curious about this and searching online didn't turn up many answers.

eg http://www.dreamstime.com/japanese-chef-slicing-raw-fish-for-sushi-thumb15066365.jpg

there are various grips used by japanese chefs... you see the one pictured used a lot with yanagiba and deba. They use pinchgrips on some knives sometimes... usuba comes to mind.

UglyJoe
04-07-2011, 12:17 AM
There is a book on Japanese knives I have that says something along the lines of using the "point" grip when doing delicate work where you need fine tip control as well as tactile feedback. For instance, when filleting with a deba, a finger on the spine of the knife gives you more angle control (holding a knife near horizontal is difficult with a pinch grip) and as the knife runs along the bones of the fish the feedback to feel how the knife is moving across the bones is increased with the "point" grip. However, when doing thin chopping work with something like a usuba, usually the pinch grip is preferred - although I have seen many chefs use use the "point" grip when chopping with a yanagi, for probably two reasons: the blade is narrow enough that a pinch grip is difficult and most work with a yanagi is done with a "point" grip and therefore the chef is used to using a "point" grip with that knife style and simply more comfortable with it even when using it for task other than the usual.

Eamon Burke
04-07-2011, 12:23 AM
I think that this grip provides the best control for soft meats with minimal finger clearance. To use flight terms, it doesn't offer much in the way of Yaw control, but in turn provides moderate Pitch control and great Roll control. Pinch grip is more Pitch->Yaw->Roll. The sword style "death grip" only offers extreme Yaw control, because people are scared of cutting their fingers.

Cadillac J
04-07-2011, 11:43 AM
I haven't used the pinch grip in some time now...it is weird how your style just changes without even realizing it.

My index is usually on the spine, or I just have all my fingers gently in contact around the handle...just seems to work better this way for Japanese knives to me.

festally
04-07-2011, 02:14 PM
I started using that index finger on the spine grip, before knowing anything about Japanese knives. I generally switch from a pinch grip (which I use most of the time) to it when I need more accuracy, tip control. And, exclusively with narrower blades that lack of knuckle clearance for board work. About the only time, I use a hammer grip is when swinging a cleaver.

Cadillac J
04-07-2011, 03:29 PM
Even with daily use of my 300 suji, I find that a light grip on the handle and finger on the spine(or not) has just as much control versus a pinch grip. Because the edge is so sharp, it never slips off or has side-to-side wobble...the more finesse with grip and cutting motion, the easier the knife cuts IMO.

slowtyper
04-07-2011, 04:03 PM
Seems like its quite a prevalent grip, but I never hear anyone ever mention it anywhere (especially when looking up knife skills info).

SpikeC
04-07-2011, 05:03 PM
I'm wondering if it is because that with the pinch grip you are forced to let the tool do the work. With most things that is the way to get good results- tune the tool and then get out of its way.

Cadillac J
04-08-2011, 08:41 AM
I'm wondering if it is because that with the pinch grip you are forced to let the tool do the work. With most things that is the way to get good results- tune the tool and then get out of its way.

Maybe I'm not understanding your thought here, because I see it the opposite way.

Generally speaking, when using a pinch grip choked up on the blade, more leverage comes from your arm/hand to do the work versuse a gentle grip farther back on the handle better utilizes the leverage of the blade.

Andrew H
04-08-2011, 10:34 AM
Last night one of sous chefs on IC for Morimoto was doing some fine cutting with a yangi and was using the point grip.

Vertigo
04-08-2011, 10:46 AM
I use that particular grip a lot, especially when doing precision/tip work with a longer knife. I realized the other day I hold my 270s in five different ways, depending on the task, and two of them involve "pointing" with my index finger for better control (especially when peeling grapes, slicing garlic, and other small-scale tasks).

swarfrat
04-08-2011, 01:21 PM
During the credits on Avec Eric he uses a pinch grip in the opening for a chiffonade and in the closing he uses a point grip for a tomato and pinch grip for a pepper..


sr.

SpikeC
04-08-2011, 03:11 PM
Maybe I'm not understanding your thought here, because I see it the opposite way.

Generally speaking, when using a pinch grip choked up on the blade, more leverage comes from your arm/hand to do the work versuse a gentle grip farther back on the handle better utilizes the leverage of the blade.

My thinking is that a full grip(hammer grip) encourages a firm grip. A pinch grip, on the other hand, just utilizes the thumb and index finger on the blade resulting in a very "soft" grip, with the rest of the hand more or less just along for the ride. When power is needed, as in chopping up chunks of meat with a cleaver, a full grip is used, and when doing delicate cuts, like with mincing garlic, the hand moves toward the blade, using less power and more finesse.
That is my feeling on it, and how it seems to work for me. YMMV, however!

El Pescador
04-08-2011, 03:43 PM
Anybody remember the video of the guy peeling onions w/ what looked like a 210mm suji? If could find the video I would post it....some amazing nice skills.

Pesky

Cadillac J
04-08-2011, 04:40 PM
My thinking is that a full grip(hammer grip) encourages a firm grip. A pinch grip, on the other hand, just utilizes the thumb and index finger on the blade resulting in a very "soft" grip, with the rest of the hand more or less just along for the ride. When power is needed, as in chopping up chunks of meat with a cleaver, a full grip is used, and when doing delicate cuts, like with mincing garlic, the hand moves toward the blade, using less power and more finesse.
That is my feeling on it, and how it seems to work for me. YMMV, however!

We'll have to agree to disagree, as we have opposing views on this--but that makes it more interesting as it wouldn't be any fun if everyone did things the exact same way.

My 'hammer' or 'pointer' grip is very light and not aggressive at all...in fact, although all my fingers are wrapped around the handle, only my thumb and middle/ring fingers do most of the holding/guiding.

Any grip is what you make of it though, so whatever works. I just noticed that Japanese knives benefit from light grip on the handle to utilize the blade's own weight in the cut better.

Cadillac J
04-08-2011, 04:43 PM
Anybody remember the video of the guy peeling onions w/ what looked like a 210mm suji? If could find the video I would post it....some amazing nice skills.

Pesky

Do you mean Chef Sakai peeling an apple with his Nenox?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-xkL9DbwJc&feature=player_detailpage

El Pescador
04-08-2011, 05:05 PM
It was a video posted on the other forum about a year ago. Truly amazing.

festally
04-08-2011, 05:15 PM
This one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YKRnv0aq-8

SpikeC
04-08-2011, 06:41 PM
Any grip is what you make of it though, so whatever works. I just noticed that Japanese knives benefit from light grip on the handle to utilize the blade's own weight in the cut better.

This is the crux of the matter- keeping a light touch and letting the tool do the work. Like the old saying goes, "stroke it, don't choke it!

jaybett
04-09-2011, 04:24 AM
A tight grip with a vegetable cleaver, will cause your arm to ache after 10 or 15 minutes. A cleaver is all about guiding the weight, not trying to control it.

What I've learned from a cleaver, using a light grip, guiding the knife, instead of trying to control it, has carried over to other types of knives.

Jay

Mattias504
04-10-2011, 12:20 PM
I do the finger on the spine thing about 80% of the time. I just find it more comfortable.

Frege
04-16-2011, 02:15 PM
The "pointing grip" with the finger on the spine is the grip for slicing. Note in the photo at the top of this thread that the salmon is being sliced - that is, the knife is being drawn towards the body. Pinch grip is used for push cutting - that is, when the knife is moving forward, away from the body (and also downward). Other grips are used for when the food is held in the hand, off the board.

Cadillac J
04-17-2011, 01:45 PM
The "pointing grip" with the finger on the spine is the grip for slicing. Note in the photo at the top of this thread that the salmon is being sliced - that is, the knife is being drawn towards the body. Pinch grip is used for push cutting - that is, when the knife is moving forward, away from the body (and also downward). Other grips are used for when the food is held in the hand, off the board.

I think you drastically over generalizing here...there aren't any set rules to cutting that I've ever seen, as each person has a different technique.

I NEVER use pinch grip since getting into Japanese knives. Even when push cutting, either have one finger on the spine or all on the handle.

You might want to let him know he is breaking your "rules".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5opGmTnaxg&feature=player_detailpage

UglyJoe
04-17-2011, 01:58 PM
Yes, but, CJ, aren't you mostly using a suji now? The blade height on most sujis I feel encourages using the "point" technique, as I find a pinch grip on narrow blades to be a little cumbersome. I still contend that for most typical uses of a gyuto the pinch grip is a superior grip.

Cadillac J
04-17-2011, 02:38 PM
Yes, but, CJ, aren't you mostly using a suji now? The blade height on most sujis I feel encourages using the "point" technique, as I find a pinch grip on narrow blades to be a little cumbersome. I still contend that for most typical uses of a gyuto the pinch grip is a superior grip.

Yep, the suji is my every day knife and although I do agree with you that narrow blades encourage the point technique, when I grab my 270 or 240 gyutos I still never choke up on the blade to use them...the pinch grip for me has just disappeared over time since the switch from European knives.

I'm not saying I am right and others are wrong...just that I have realized through my experience that these light grips further back on the handle allow better use of the blade's own leverage for Japanese knives.