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Knife Grip Question

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Just watched David Gelb's exquisite documentary on Jiro Ono and his 3 Michelin star sushi restaurant, I couldn't help but to be held in awe of the fish, the knives and the manual skills displayed throughout the movie.

My question stems from the 'grip' used consistently seems a modified pinch and claw with their forefinger extending along the spine of the knife......a habit that I actually worked to overcome based on a CIA knife skills video. Is this a cultural difference? Is it related to delicacy and blade balance? Does this apply due to blade geometry or cutting stroke?

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  1. they are probably push cutting to avoid harming the fish