Embarassing Knife Questions


March 21, 2003, 10:49 AM
So I've been using knives for nearly my entire life but I still have a few questions that either I was afraid to ask, or no one knew the answer to.

1- How do you go from sabre type grip to reverse grip effectively?

2- The opposite of above

3- What are some basic movements that one can do in reverse grip?

4- How can one reliably (and quickly) draw and open a folder with a thumb stud or hole? This is for both tip up and tip down carry.

5- I've seen people who put small lengths of paracord on the end of their folders, what function does this perform?

6- About how long does it take you to draw, open, and strike with your folder?

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Navy joe
March 21, 2003, 08:17 PM
I'm no trained knife fighter, I still have all my extremities attached :).

1 & 2. I am pretty dexterous and a little flip in the hand is easy enough to switch grips. Not something to be done anywhere close to someone who would like to take your knife away though. I would try to stick with one unless you could have a free moment.

3. I like reverse and can pretty much do anything needed from it. Small quick parry type defensive slashes are easy as are quick thrusts straight ahead. Not always the greatest plan, but some really devestating slashes can be made if given the chance. With the knife held thumb across the butt and pointed ahead with arm up in a boxing protective stance just below line of sight is where I like to be, Things seem to work well for me from there. Downward stabs and hook stabs on the back stroke of a slash seem to be two things reverse is better suited to than saber. With a small single edge like the Spyderco Native I've got today it also makes stab and rip out in an upward direction seem easier.

4. Practice. Being a lefty I do it different anyway. Some left handed clips, some right handed carried tip up. I prefer one that I can snap open, I do this reliably through practice. Never tried assisted opening or Emerson wave, all things I need to do.

5. as a wrist loop I would suppose. I support lanyard use, but haven't figured out how to keep them from fouling blade deployment on a folder though.

6. 1.5 seconds I'd guess, never ran a timer. Faster with some of my flip open folders or fixed blades. Much slower if fixed blade is relegated to boot.

See? You weren't afraid to ask and I still don't know the answers. :D

March 21, 2003, 08:52 PM
Navy Joe,

Thanks for the post! Even though you still have all of your fingers and no knifefighting scars your input is still valuable. I pretty much do most things like you do. When you say you just flip it over, are you basically letting it spin in the palm of your hand and then using your thumb to put the edge in the correct direction? As for opening the blade, when you say snap it, do you even touch the thumb stud? I can do it where I just draw it and whip the blade out without even touching the thumb stud/hole, but I only have about 90% success doing this.

BTW- I have one cool looking scar on my left arm that looks like a battle wound...its from a...a...toilet. :o

Navy joe
March 21, 2003, 09:45 PM
well, I had to think about it. Opening I don't use the stud unless it is a tight knife like my Spydercos. Anything else I just flip open. The key is sharp movement, I can usually do it with little to no perceptible hand movement. Just a quick snap one way and reverse direction with all the arm muscles rigid. Helps if you have heavy blades, like my benchmade did or buck Strider folding bayonet curently does.

From saber or natural to reverse. I drop the thumb to the side and cross the index finger over to the other side of the knife so it rotates between the middle and index fingers really. Rest of the fingers follow, I dunno it was real easy to do until I started tryingf to explain it, now I'm sitting here dropping knives in my lap.

From reverse to saber I seem to like to loosen my grip and bring the thumb and index fingers to a pinch grip at the end of the handle. The knife is swung tip fwd in a small arc and at the end I kinda release the pinch grip and it falls back into the hand. With a sinlge edge a half roll needs to get thrown in to keep the edge aligned. That's why I like real knives, everything is sharp, less to think about.

Like I said, I'm pretty good at moving the knife in my hands but I'd be hard pressed to do all that Hollyweird toss the knife from hand to hand crap in front of someone who wanted me bleeding.

I got plenty of knife scars, just all self rendered. The best was using the spine of a poorly made liner lock knife as a screwdriver to close a 1/4 turn fastener. Twisting the handle unlocked the liner closing the blade in the serration area around my index finger. I think it stopped when it hit bone, shoulda been stitched, it leaked for two days no matter how I dressed it. Stupid people and sharp things, a winning combo.

March 21, 2003, 10:03 PM
BTW- I have one cool looking scar on my left arm that looks like a battle wound...its from a...a...toilet.

NO WAY! I have a cool looking scar on my right hand from a toilet!!

March 22, 2003, 08:15 AM
Here is the method of changing grips I was shown in a siminar.

From forward grip: rotate the blade so it is facing up, then let

knife rotate between thumb and index finger. From reverse grip

to forward grip: rotate knive first, then twist blade. It was

explained that you are less likely to cut yourself this way.

Navy Joe, your right, this is hard to explain!

Navy joe
March 22, 2003, 09:40 AM
Here is another from saber to reverse. 1. Roll your knife hand palm up. 2. Open hand, fully opening the back of your hand while maintaining a light grip at the index finger. The rear of the knife handle should want to rotate out toward the fingers. 3. Spread your pinky away from the ring finger and let the knife pass under the pinky. 4. Pinched between the pinky and ring finger let knife rotate, at the same time the thumb should pass to the underside of the knife to help rotate around. 5. Complete however feels right to you.

I just dropped a SOG Pentagon pretty close to my lap, so I'll quit now.

:cuss: Ban toilets now! For the children! To protest this great evil, I think I'll go stage a sit-on.

March 22, 2003, 05:06 PM
Go over to 1911forum.com and post the same question for Brownie (aka Robin Brown). He can answer any question you have about knives. He also has a site here http://www.folders-r-us.org.


March 22, 2003, 07:47 PM
Thanks for all of the replies everyone. It seems like everyone has a different way of doing it. I'll have to try all of them and see which ones work for me. As for toilets...I was remodeling and the one I was carrying down the stairs fell, shattered, and gave me a pretty sweet looking scar on my arm :D

Tarpley- Mr. Brown posts here...he is extremely helpful and one of these days I'll have to visit MA to do some training.

March 22, 2003, 08:54 PM
To go from sabre, retain a grip on the knife with your index finger and thumb. Now release the other three fingers and move them over the top, flipping the knife between the middle and index fingers. Collapse your grip and index the thumb over the butt to keep the knife from slipping in the grip. You should be reverse grip, blade out.

Hope that helped,

March 22, 2003, 11:26 PM
If you take this to nonFirearms Weapons Brownie and others will answer.

BTW If you cap your knife with your thumb you've got a very good chance of loosing your thumb in a knife fight. Reverse grips should be held like a hammer or with the thumb along the handle to avoid this.

March 23, 2003, 09:16 AM
Thanks again! These tips are extremely helpful.

Moderators, is there any way this could be moved to the Non-Firearm section?

March 23, 2003, 08:01 PM
uhhh... hso, Not to get in any urinating competition, but Brownie taught me to cap the end on a reverse grip to keep the hand from sliding down the blade. Saw him today and confirmed same. We may differ on this, but I agree with a lot of your posts.

Stay safe,

Navy joe
March 23, 2003, 08:57 PM
I agree, I can't see how capping exposes much more of me to get whacked, while it gives me much more power to thrust with.

March 23, 2003, 11:25 PM

I am left handed, but most knives are "right biased" and so I have had to teach my right hand how to open a folder quickly; and that meant I had to develop little tricks.

The biggest however is the "flick" of the wrist. I don't push with the thumb. I don't have enough dexterity in my right hand to do that; I however, push with my right thumb to get it started, and then FLICK!

and it opens. Try it with your weak hand, and you will discover how you are suppose to open it, what works and what doesn't.

A lot of things will work in your strong hand, but only a few correct methods will work in your weak hand.

Jim March
March 24, 2003, 02:59 AM
>> Embarassing Knife Questions
So I've been using knives for nearly my entire life but I still have a few questions that either I was afraid to ask, or no one knew the answer to.

1- How do you go from sabre type grip to reverse grip effectively? <<

In the middle of a fight? In my personal opinion, you flat-out DO NOT.

>> 2- The opposite of above <<

See answer to #1. And it's mid-fight that matters. If you screw around with this other times, you'll risk doing it when faced with something scary, and that's nuts.

>> 3- What are some basic movements that one can do in reverse grip? <<

(The following applies to "edge out" reverse - "edge in" is a whole different critter.)

The reverse is famous for it's ability to do "roll-outs" - somebody grabs your knife-arm wrist, you can easily break free with a "rolling motion". Do it FAST, or he'll bring his other hand into your knife-arm's elbow and "collapse it back" and you're screwed.

It also allows faster cuts in close. Reverse is the hallmark of the guy who's fast, confident and wants to "move inside" and go ape on you.

The opposite is the "outsider", the guy who wants to fight at longer range, pick his shots, step out and back and sideways with every blade strike. Against an "insider", he wants to step back and to the side while nailing the guy charging in, usually to the knife hand but elsewhere as targets open up.

The reverse grip has one interesting advantage: when attacked, it's possible things will "start at close range" if you've failed to maintain situational awareness. If things start close, the guy set up to draw and operate in the reverse grip has an advantage. BUT spotting trouble before it's that close offers an even greater advantage!

>> 4- How can one reliably (and quickly) draw and open a folder with a thumb stud or hole? This is for both tip up and tip down carry. <<

I don't touch either. I snap. But then again, I'm into megafolders, blades out past 5", with lots of blade mass so if you're in a 4"-or-under legal jurisdiction, it's a different thing.

IF you choose "the way of the reverse", there's an interesting trick available even on a 4" class:

Hold your hand out as if you were gripping a motorcycle handgrip, or a bar held horizontal. Now shift your thumb so it's "capping" the fist on the inside, with the thumbnail vertical. Open the thumb and insert the pommel of the closed folder, closed, with the pivot end down and the blade ready to open away from you, and with the body of the knife pointed straight down.

Now make a sharp "cat scratching at a door" motion, whipping the blade open. Once it opens, keep pressure on with the thumb and open then your fingers, and it'll drop straight into reverse.

>> 5- I've seen people who put small lengths of paracord on the end of their folders, what function does this perform? <<

Used to yank the pommel end up out of the pocket on a smaller piece.

>> 6- About how long does it take you to draw, open, and strike with your folder? <<

Under one second, forward grip, 5.45" blade, using one of my own sheaths...the original "Mark4" long-term testbed as pictured here:


March 24, 2003, 11:06 PM
Cold, no problem. I'm sure that Brownie would tell you that this is an old debate for reverse grip. I'd had trainers advocate both ways. I've gotten whacked on the thumb capping the butt and on the thumb not, it's just less frequent for me not capping. As to sliding down the grip, never had that problem stabbing from reverse grib, or thrusting from saber either so I can't speak to the problem.

March 25, 2003, 10:37 AM
First, let me start by saying I appreciate all the kind words about my knowledge/ability relative bladeware from various posters here.

I would only consider myself knowledgable about subjects I am involved with [ like knives ] and use daily or that I have been trained in and had enough time to develop correctly through practice with others using the training tools available.

I know less than I want to know always and continue to educate myself in the bladewares through various mediums like this and other forums as well as formal training.

Nothing is better than the give and take from forum members who relate their own experiences which can and probablt does help others in the quest for knowledge and practical applications where [ in this instance ] knives are concerned.

I learn as much as anyone else on the boards and frequent them to gain insight into thers perceptions/experiences in subjects that interest me.

Some of you have expressed your desires to learn various techniques with a folder or straight blade and ask some very relavant/pertinent questions which are then discussed and bantyed back and forth with people who have their own views based on experience or training. This is good as it opens the communication between people who share common interests and goals.

Though I do retain quite a bit of knowledge in the bladecrafts as well as extensive experience in the real world with martial weapons I am in no way to be considered by anyone the encyclopedia here. I have some knowledge and do not mind sharing this or real world experiences with people here on the forum.

Up until a few years ago I was so covert in my actions/work that not many knew of me except those I trained or worked with. I am no longer [ for the last 10 years or so ] involved regularly with the boys and have decided after 30 years to come above ground [ sorta speak ] and help others from the civilian sector.

Jim March is correct when he warns not to be attempting grip changes in midstream during an altercation. You beg to be cut/disarmed/lose your defensive tool if you do. Most do not hold a knife tight enough and it has been proven through training that you can whack the knife out of the opponents hand quite frequently. [ There's a lesson here if you can see it ].

As to capping the butt of a knife in reverse grip. I was trained and have trained others to keep the thumb on the butt. The chances of running your hand down onto the blade in any stabbing is extreme if you hit hard targets like ribs and a little less so if only into tissue.

In reverese grip my thumb on the butt will be protected by the tip of the blade in the way I train. In reverse grip I like to keep the blade facing the opponent [ in his face ]which puts the thumb facing my own body and the blade tip facing the opponent. In this mode he sees he has to get by the blade to get to me.

I have seen people reverse grip the knife in a fashion that lays the spind of the blade across the forearm [ I do this also in certain situations as they develop]. In so doing you are presenting the thumb to the opponent if you reach into his inner circle. Almost holding it like a punch where the fingers/thumb are exposed as you reach in.

As I was trained on the longer knives [ different techniques ] as well, the theory was you let the blade lead and not the hand anyway. All this says is that there are techniques used to keep the hand protected by keeping the blade leading in and not the other way around. The opponent has to get through your blade first in this manner and you therfore are protecting the fingers, thumb and generally the hand utilizing these methods of defense/attack. Though taught on the long knives, this technique easily transitions to the defensive/tactical folders we carry around daily.

In a knife attack where I'm able to retrieve the blade in time to make it knife to knife I am waiting for you to reach in so I can cut the offendign limb. My defense is going to be to cut the hand/wrist [ these are my targets ] as you enter into my range while keeping the blade ahead of my own hand.

Where I'm concerned, you are going to take a cut to your hand/wrist/fingers [ depending on how accurate I was ] if you reach in on me. Reach out and take a cut to that area. That said, it really doesn't matter if you try to protect your thumb in reverse grip or sabre grip for that matter because I am not going for the thumbs but the general area from the mid forearm down to the fingers wherever I can land one on you.

It all comes down to this, you reach in, you get a cut on the arm/wrist/hand/fingers for your efforts. Protect the thumb and you get your fingers chopped [whatever I can connect on ].

Knifecraft does not really lend itself to narrative direction and explanations of how to make a certain move/cut/etc will be difficult at best. You really need the hands on training to be able to get it correct from someone who can show you the small finesses which make the techniques more effective.

I think you may be able to get the general idea of what the writer is saying but without being there, shown and corrected as you are learning leaves much open to interpretaion and probably will dilute the techniques to the point they no longer work or work but are too slow to use in real battles.

I put on a 9 hour class this last Sunday [ Cold, from this forum was there all day but not one of the two students ] and the two students would tell you that they were hurting from the first hour to the end of the day on the forearms, wrists, hands, fingers". Thats where they took hits all day in practice. Can't be avoided.

BTW--I am also recuperating from the training session as well. Even wearing a training gauntlet can not prevent damage to these area. It can help negate the effect of the "cut" but it can't stop you from taking hits above [ the forearm ] or below [ the fingers ] the leather gauntlet. My arms/hands take the same abuse as the students and usually more so as I have several taking shots at me all day while they have less so.

I appreciate all the kind words from others relative their confidence in my knowledge. Please keep in mind that I only know what I have been shown and practiced. There is certainly more to know than I have already absorbed and I'm not going to stop the learning process anytime soon.

Let me throw this out to the forum members. I do instruct and can travel to USA locations on the weekends. If any of you can get 10 people together for a class, PM me we'll work out the arrangements and pricing. I can train up to 20 per class and of course the price per student goes down the more there are to share the cost.

I wish everyone well in their quest for bladecraft knowledge. It is an honorable goal and one obtained once the hours have been spent in training. Life skills such as these can never be taken away from you once learned.


March 26, 2003, 05:20 PM
Good thread everyone, thanks.

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