Knife fighting techniques


March 11, 2009, 09:47 AM
I remember seeing a book published by Paladin Press over two decades ago on Knife fighting techniques. Is there a book or a DVD that would explain the techniques? I have seen a video by Mac "the animal" and it gave some pretty good examples. One thing is to have a knife the other thing is to know how to use one. Any information will be appreciated! Thanks to all!

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Hungry Seagull
March 11, 2009, 09:56 AM
Just close the distance and get the blade in. Once in, flip the target over your hip and down to the ground. Then hammer the head with the handle of the knife. Enough to induce bells and whistles to get out.

Forget about all that movie stuff and techniques. Too much thinking slows you down and gets you sliced up.

I also was taught a method of cross drawing the blade lower right to upper left against the assailant's face while the return strike takes him in the neck or chest. Simple, no frills and very viciously fast.

But thank god, Im too fat, too old and too slow/clumsy to be playing with the sharp things these days. The steak knive gets away from my dinner plate from time to time.

One other thing, you probably WILL get hit with a knife as well or something else. As far as Im concerned, it's even stevens.

I was once dropped by a person who rubbed his fist and said that knives were for wussies who dont know how to hit properly. (in his other hand was a 6 foot chain with inch long links) I learned that little lesson. (And well deserved too... thank you whoever you are for using the least amount of force to end that little problem =)

March 11, 2009, 10:11 AM
Take some courses in Sayoc Kali or Pencak Silat. Personally, if given the choice of any edged weapons instructor, Steve Tarani would be high up on the top of my list.

Search Youtube for Steve Tarani. Some is a bit showy and would be difficult for anyone who doesn't live and breathe edged weapons combat to employ in an actual fight, but I've brought up the topic with a couple Feds that Steve has trained, and they have the basics down cold and could easily defeat a moderatley skilled knife-wielding assailant (i.e. me when we tussled ;)).

Todd A
March 11, 2009, 10:33 AM
One option is to use Google and sift through all the hits. There are some on this board who can possibly recomend material by top end instructors.Perhaps they will chime in.

In my opinion a knife isn't a great choice for SD. If it comes to it I'll use a pocket stick/fist load before my knife comes out.

That said IMHO the very basics are

a)to be able to deploy your knife quickly,

b)know basic anatomy to choose the most effective targets

c) be able to instantly see openings to hit those targets

No matter which "style" you choose to train in I don't see a true "choreographed" knife fight ever happening on the street. It would most likely be you pulling your knife to quickly stop a guy who is imitating a singer sowing machine.

March 11, 2009, 10:40 AM
read some of what's already been posted here and you'll see that the best recommendation is to get some training first hand, next is to get videos from credible sources, lastly is to just keep it simple.

March 11, 2009, 12:30 PM
The best technique is to run.

Even the winner in a knife fight is going to lose some blood, or worse.


March 11, 2009, 01:15 PM
Get through 'that' door, drop knife, kick under door for door stop.
Keep running.

Use Enough Tennis Shoe

March 11, 2009, 01:21 PM
+1 rcmodel and sm. We had a brief on knife fighting, and the two main points were "Don't stop fighting when you get cut" and "Don't stop fighting when you see blood." I have zero interest in being in a knife fight. I carry a pocket knife regularly but it'll be a cold day in hell when I use it as a weapon.

Carl Levitian
March 11, 2009, 01:55 PM
My own techniques for knife fighting;

When the other guy in an altercation pulls a knife, that's when you take your blackthorn/hornbeam/locust/ash/or other tough walking stick, and swing like the stickball games you played as a kid. Swing hard and fast, and break anything in the path of the stick.

Then run like a scalded cat!

If your too old or semi-gimped up to run, like some of us, then once you break something, keep swinging. Like Linda Hamilton told the shrink in Termanator 2; "There's 209 bones in the human body. That's one."

Todd A
March 11, 2009, 04:35 PM
Use Enough Tennis Shoe

Great. Another piece of tactical equipment I need to add to my EDC carry load.:(

I wear work boots.:banghead:

March 11, 2009, 05:59 PM
read some of what's already been posted here and you'll see that the best recommendation is to get some training first hand, next is to get videos from credible sources, lastly is to just keep it simple.

I'll go one step further than our esteemed HSO and say, "the best recommendation (beyond avoidance, of course) is to get some training on simple techniques first hand, from credible sources-who have videos out to reinforce what you've learned."

I'll also say that the more I learn about edged weapons, the less I like the idea of being around when one is in use. That's some serious stuff, right there.

March 11, 2009, 06:25 PM
Another piece of tactical equipment I need to add to my EDC carry load.

Dont forget to make sure you pait it black or digi.

March 11, 2009, 06:31 PM
My answer to a knife fight is going to end in a bang... now a knife will be handy after that bang to collect the scalp. Gotta give ya that much.. :D

March 12, 2009, 01:07 AM
Carl has a good answer. If you know the other guy has a knife, use something else. Something, anything, to create distance. A firearm if you have it, but if not, anything long or throwable.


Hungry Seagull
March 12, 2009, 01:21 AM
Knives are one thing, hanguns and long guns are another. Lead pipes, bats etc are all good.

But when they haul out a sword.... it's difficult to function due to that fear feeling. Personally I feel lucky never to have faced a sword becuase in my line of work, there were plenty of shops selling swords in various places and Katanas were good short ones for in-cab defense.

Chain was my favorite distance weapon. As a old flatbedder, grabbing 10 feet of 1/2 inch chain, wrap a few lengths somewhere on your person and use the last 7 feet or so to strike or wrap assailent's arm.

Sometimes that chain had a binder on the end. Those were solid forgings up to 2 feet long apeice.

I have a bad memory now so.. I leave it here.

March 12, 2009, 11:24 AM
New Hampshire law doesn't make a difference in weapons. If you use a stick to harm someone, you may as well use a gun...

So if someone should pull a baton, a bat, a knife it is all the same as if he pulled a gun. Swords too..

I lost my father in law and his 2nd wife to murder by stabbings. My wife wasn't a very happy camper for a very long time and she sort of still isn't.

Since that day I have carried one gun anywhere while on my place, and 2 guns any time I leave this place. I mean anywhere, any place any building and any state. I don't even sit here to typo un-armed, not ever.

Never again is SWAT going to be 3 hours too late for me and mine.

We often go to upstate Ny as that is where my wife is from. In the doing I must travel thru Mass.. Both states have draconian law, and I just don't care.. No more murders on my watch PERIOD.

A stick might fend off a bad dog, but you won't catch me fending off a human assailant with a knife, bat ot stick. The idea of me carrying a sword, while I have 2 is silly.

March 12, 2009, 11:58 AM
Best knife technique---

Run or pull your pistol.

March 12, 2009, 12:33 PM
I wrote this a few months ago

Personal Strategy

This is an update of an older post, I hope it stimulates some discussion.

Been trying to put my thoughts on my Self defense philosophy into a format I can share with others. It is more about thinking and planning than blazing guns.
Here it is. Tell me what you think. It is not carved in stone and I am open to all suggestions!

I use the acronym STARE W

S = Situational awareness. Think. Be aware of what is around you, and how it is developing, and how it will affect you. In a static situation like the home,keep thinking and re-evaluating your plan.

T = Train with all your weapons of choice. Create a layered defense, Become
proficient using your brain, hands, impact weapons, knives,and guns.
Think about other things that can be improvised weapon in a given

A = Avoid potential trouble. Blend in. Keep your mouth shut.

R = Remove yourself from the area, run, walk, drive.

E = Escape or evade from the problem, if you can

and the W is:

W = Win if fighting is your only option.

March 12, 2009, 08:10 PM
Doc, I can buy that... At 57 years I don't run all that fast anymore, mostly due to back injury.

I only run at primitive black powder events, but I walk alot everyday. At least 1 mile, and much more often a lot more than that working, but everyday I walk the dogs 1 mile just before dinner.

Attending black powder events I get to thro knife and hawk, plus shoot flinters, so I am sort of training.

Now the mental set for me is hard up. Most of the time i am a nice guy, often times too nice, but make a threat to me and mine and I get pretty mean.

The ones who leave are far better off than the ones that still want that test...

Coming in 2nd best in a duel of life isn't going to work in my book.

And of course 'we' as 'we' are are always the last to find out we just arrived in that duel of life.

That bad guy is well aware of what his plans are before 'we' do.

I figure when a bad comes to a home with people already inside he knows that, and then if still he enters it is going to be you or him as the victim, and i always choose him....

If given the chance to walk and it is in public I will walk every time... Not given that choice means I am not going to use a knife or sticks, rocks, clubs, batons or anything else other than a gun.

Been there once and the system failed, then there were the murders and again the system failed...

There is no way I will wait for the system again. Come play bad guy with me and your gonna need 6 men to carry you away..

not you Doc that is a figure of speech..... :o

March 13, 2009, 11:06 AM
if you're talking about probable real world situations, i think hungry seagull and todd a got it right. now if you're talking about less likely one on one duelling situations, there are many excellent styles out there.

March 13, 2009, 12:02 PM
Dueling is further removed from reality than knife fighting, and knife "fighting" (fighting a knife wielder with a knife) isn't very realistic anyway.

March 13, 2009, 12:32 PM
a knife should only be used in last resort knife fights are bloody and not always over as quickly as one would think.... fighting with a knife like many egded weapons is all about distance... and interception.. .. if they reach for you punish whatever is closer... anything that comes in reach strike it quick in and out... its not like the movies with intracit combos and blades klinking together... more often than not one guy goes to the morgue and the other to the hospital... of course all this is a last resort ... when entering a knife fight you may as well figure your gonna give something... moblity dexterity ...

Loyalist Dave
March 17, 2009, 08:34 AM
Take some courses in Sayoc Kali or Pencak Silat.
Yep Kali or Escrima (same family with many different sub styles) or Silat are good ideas. You ARE going to be cut, but the question is will you be cut in a flesh wound or something much more serious? Training gives you a better "chance" at avoiding the latter.

Knives are used up close and personal, and having watched knife attacks (not limited to prison videos) caught on cameras, the person under attack does not have time to get out a firearm nor to extend the distance and escape. In some cases the victim didn't know they were knifed until the second or third wound was inflicted.

Watch Surviving Edged Weapons to get a good idea of what could occur. No it's not a training video, but more of a warning, and yes the guys playing the bad-guys are expert knife wielders, but it makes you wonder how untrained a BG could be and still do alot of damage to an equally untrained victim?


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 19, 2009, 01:59 PM
Fast forward to about 2:30 in this video:

March 21, 2009, 11:40 AM
The truth is that your are about 10 times more likely to have to defend yourself against and edged weapon than ever use one, even to defend yourself. My research from talking to several different prisons, police and looking at my personal collection has shown that the average sized of edged weapon will be around four inches. You are most likely to face box cutters, steak knives and screwdrivers. You will likely not see the weapon, so if your training is based on weapon recognition you will not fare well. Because most eged weapons carried by bad guys are either good for cutting or stabbing, seldom both, their attacks are weapon fixated and cyclic. This can be a good thing since the angles are normally repetitious and not flowing.

Defenses need to be principle not technique based and help you to do three things-
Block/evade the cut through suppression or redirection.
Get cut as little as possible
Control the offending hand leading you into central nervous systems disruption and joint destruction of the elbows and knees. Take away his ability to think, hold the knife and stand.- George

March 21, 2009, 06:28 PM
Or, stated otherwise, you can stop any machine three ways:

electrical failure;
structural failure;
hydraulic failure.

The first two are usually quickest. ;)


March 21, 2009, 09:01 PM

That is how it was shared by some folks familiar with the initials OSS and some other interesting folks.

Back in the day...

March 22, 2009, 09:45 AM
The funny thing is that even though hydraulic is the slowest gun many gun carriers believe that because they are carrying a gun with a caliber starting in 4...that their attacker will burst into flames. I am sure that others here have seen in force on force that when it is impact or edged weapon vs gun the defender can have a tendency to freeze in place. I believe this is because of previous training that concentrated on gun vs gun since, during which people tend to create distance on both side. With contact distance weapons they keep going even with just momentum.- George

March 22, 2009, 08:40 PM
Well, I know that relatively peaceful, light-bodied whitetail deer should be left alone to bleed out for half an hour after I put a hunting round into them- and I've seen one buck, solidly hit with a good hunting round, who refused to believe he was dead when I walked up 30 minutes later.

A CNS shot took that one out. After he jumped up and ran.

Why would I believe a determined and much more dangerous adversary would be any less tough?

George, I'm a firm believer in understanding how to use a firearm as an impact tool. Not because it's most effectively used this way, but because mechanical devices malfunction or run dry. But they are still usually pieces of metal that you're already holding while you're being attacked. Firearm as impact tool is just another tool in the box, hopefully one you'll never have to use.


March 26, 2009, 11:17 PM
My personal view is that my EDC knife is only intended for serious SHTF situations. If I can run, Im going to at the first chance.

That being said, if I was in a situation where it was blade vs. blade, there is no one proven strategy that will work every time. I would swing like crazy to make the BG lean back a little, kick hard at the shins, then if he leans forward a little to defend against another kick, get close fast and let the blade find any unprotected area.
Thats my take on things. Im sure that my plan would NOT go as planned, but at least I would not be standing there peeing my pants in fear while things get way out of hand.

March 27, 2009, 12:03 AM
George, I'm a firm believer in understanding how to use a firearm as an impact tool. Not because it's most effectively used this way, but because mechanical devices malfunction or run dry.

Word. Once again, you have stated my feelings as well as I could have.

March 27, 2009, 12:14 AM
I have hit people with my gun. Works well, a pistol punch to the chest gets the point across.

March 27, 2009, 12:41 PM
Pretty much if someone wants to attack you with a knife, they're not going to want to duel. He's not going to attack while he thinks you have a good chance of defending yourself. He's going to sneak up and then get stab happy on you while his homies hold you down. (see minute 1:47 in the video here)

You're going to be too busy trying to get him off you to think about which knife or gun is going to be your excalibur weapon of defense.

Cops and security professionals excepted, because they have to intervene in dangerous situations. If you're getting stabbed, you have already made too many dumbass mistakes in one day for a premium superweapon to help you.

March 27, 2009, 10:40 PM
Yes, by all means: if attacked by someone with a knife, shoot him. Shoot him many, many times. Of course that always works best if you have a gun.

My point is that responding to a question about knife fighting techniques (or stick fighting or baseball bat fighting or bare knuckle fighting or or or...) with "The best knife to take to a knife fight is a gun" is like never wearing your seatbelt because you don't PLAN on being in an accident. The OP's question presumes that for whatever reason, he isn't armed with a gun. There are several good reasons for having at least some familiarity with the use of a knife in close quarter combat. Two of the most valid are:

(1) Sometimes travel makes it impossible to take a gun along. Alternative weapons may be the only option. That might mean having a knife 'made' for combat tucked away in a piece of checked luggage or even ducking into a store or outdoor market and buying a "throwaway", i.e. a sharp kitchen knife.

(2) Learning to use or at least developing a familiarity with other kinds of weapons is useful in recognizing and gauging threats from people armed with those other kinds of weapons.

As for the OP, the thing about knives is that in many ways they are an extension of your body (vs. a projection of power that a gun offers). As such and like any other form of hand-to-hand combat, the only way to learn is by doing and developing motor memory through lots of repetition. In other words, you'll have to find some sparring partners who don't mind roughing it up on a routine basis. Obviously you can't start slashing one another but wooden training knives and body protection can give you an idea of what it might be like; of course, such sparring will be without the pain and shock of being cut for which there's really no training available. But sparring with wooden knives (or whatever) will help you understand that knives share something in common with Karate or Boxing or whatever else: YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HIT THE GUY FOR YOUR AMAZINGLY DEVASTATING WEAPON TO WORK whether it's a rock hard fist or a razor sharp blade. Sparring will hopefully help you grasp how hard it is to stab or slash someone without being cut yourself.

The cardinal rules of killing with a knife:

- Keep your knife close to your side, not stuck out in front like a spear.
- Strike first.
- Strike many times.
- Continue to strike even after you've been struck.
I call them "cardinal" because you don't have to really have any training to execute those rules.

The secondary rules of killing with a knife:
- Move in such a manner that you come at him from his unarmed side and try to attack his lower back/kidneys
- If possible and even if only temporarily, immobilize him by grabbing him and trapping his limbs so that you have the best shots (i.e. his lower back and kidneys) even if it means your arm that is doing the immobilization is cut.
I call these "secondary' because they depend on several factors over which you may have little control; i.e. you'll need to practice closing the distance and trapping and if he's a lot stronger than you, you may not be able to effectively immobilize him.

Jim Bowie was a celebrated knife fighter. There's probably a correlation to the fact that he was also relatively large for the day and age. In the Vidalia Sand Bar incident, one of his victims succeeded in stabbing Bowie with a cane sword but it didn't incapacitate Bowie who then closed the distance proceeded to carve the other guy up. In short, a strong, fast, larger and determined opponent isn't going to play around and do the "Dance of Death" with you with fancy-smancy moves and blade on blade theatrics (like Steven Seagal and Tommy Lee Jones flashy 'chink! chink! chink! chink!' with sparks flying nonsense near the end of UNDER SIEGE)

If you really do wind up in a knife on knife situation from which you cannot extricate yourself, then you have to steel your mind to seeing it through to the end. If you're going to run because you get cut then you probably could have and should have run BEFORE you got cut. But if you couldn't run and had to fight, see it through to the end.

Most knife fights aren't really "fights" so much as mugging since the knife vs. knife scenario rarely happens except in prison and maybe some 'third world countries' where blades are still the primary weapon. Even in those settings, it's rarely a case of 'knife vs. knife' since most knife attacks are sneak attacks on either an unarmed victim or an unsuspecting victim (or both).

So in summary, my advice is to get some training videos and practice. Video tape your sparring sessions. Be ready to be appalled at how silly you look flailing and swatting away. Then understand that if it ever does come down to a fight of knife vs. knife it'll probably come down to "The First With The Most".

March 27, 2009, 11:50 PM
Folder into the Fight drill using Inverted Edge Tactics

You can change the drill to suit your needs. Usually takes about 1.5 minutes. A long 1.5 minutes. This was done during our class in Indianapolis earlier this month. (

Hungry Seagull
March 27, 2009, 11:58 PM
the chink chink chink chink movie scene was ok... but heaping drama bull for the unwashed masses; overly hollywood.

You want a crush? Go watch Rob Roy, I think it was a Scottish Fighter with a Broadsword who smashed a ballet dancer with a pointy thing in it.

March 28, 2009, 02:24 PM
Love the movie Rob Roy...but to be persnickety and accurate (as far as the movie goes), Rob 'Bad Boy' Roy and his claymore only defeated the Court Dandy with his light rapier by (Rob Roy) grabbing the latter's blade (while kneeling) and twisting it so that he (the court dandy) could not withdraw it for a followup strike. At that point, the court dandy would have been better off to have charged (closed the gap) Rob Roy and either used a dagger (assuming he had one) or applied a choke hold...or simply have run away though of course that would have so dishonored him his livelihood would have been lost.

How accurately that duel portrayed the results of claymore vs. rapier duel is debatable. Claymores and rapiers were not 'standardized' so it'd be hard to make any generalized claims about the efficiency of one vs. the other...but it is fair to know that a swordsman from England or the Continent armed with a rapier was more likely to have received at least basic training vs. the typical Scots Highlander armed with a claymore. Assuming the claymore and rapier were of fairly equal overall mass, a man armed with a longer albeit slimmer rapier would probably have at least a slight advantage.

Interestingly, whenever the early European powers began trade with Japan, duels between Samurai armed with the usual and Europeans armed with rapiers were often staged. Despite the invincibility conferred on Samurai by Hollywood, the winners in such duels were usually the Europeans via a straight stab to the Samurai's arm. In short, the straight line strike is usually the most likely to land, be it a weapon or a punch. For that reason, when raising armies, spears remained the weapon of choice for arming peasants and other 'non professional' conscripts/levies throughout most wars in most countries. Even a relatively untrained man can be effective with a stabbing/thrusting spear against all manner of professionals. Accurate representations of this simple fact are demonstrated in two movies that come to mind: THE SEVEN SAMURAI in which villagers are armed and receive rudimentary training with makeshift spears and -oddly enough- THE WIND AND THE LION. In that movie, Candace Bergen is kidnapped by Arab bandits around 1900. In one scene, she uses a long spear (actually a tent pole with a sharp metal point) to stab and kill a couple of bandits armed with swords. Her technique was simple and to the point (pun intended): a simple decisive thrust. A spear to the guts usually wins a fight.

Another interesting facet of this topic revolves around a study of stabbers and stickers in prison. A lot of the preference for a stabber vs. a sticker weapon design frequently falls along ethnic lines with White gangs usually preferring a larger edged weapon vs. a smaller slasher by Hispanic gangs and a pointed stabber by Black gangs. Of course, a lot of that depends on availability of raw materials and all types are used by different demographics, but the 'preference' for different forms of knives along racial lines is interesting.

Another observation in a hodgepodge of marginally related thoughts: ice picks usually make poor weapons unless they're really long, which they're usually not. The problem is that although they slide in easily, they don't cause the sort of trauma that is usually needed to incapacitate someone (severing nerves for pain and shock and severing arteries for loss of blood and unconsciousness). Something to think about if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to purchase an expedient weapon.

An anecdote about expedient weapons: 'Someone I know' was verbally menaced by pair of lowlifes in a Walmart parking lot on his way in. He was on a business trip in a state that did not recognize his CCW on a reciprocity agreement. He was then basically stalked in the Walmart by the lowlifes but not to a degree that was easily quantified (i.e. reportable to police). Besides purchasing the socks and related items he had gone there for, he also looked for a ball bat- but the store was sold out. So he bought a claw hammer with a long red phenolic handle for $10, a 5" long kitchen knife with a fairly thick and serrated blade for $5 and a box of nails for $1 (to go with the hammer in case 'something actually happened' and he was questioned about having just bought a hammer). Upon exiting the store on the way back to the rental car, the hammer was transferred from the bag to his right hand and shoulder and the knife (still in its little cardboard sleeve) moved to his left hip pocket. All of this was observed by the lowlifes who followed him out of the store and resumed their smack talk...but kept their distance. Those purchases were packed away in the checked baggage a few days later for the return home.

The point? Knives are always secondary weapons. Something with more range and lethality is preferred. But having some idea of how to use a knife when those other preferred weapons are not available is still a good idea.

March 28, 2009, 02:50 PM
When you want evidence you go to the source. The following items were seized by the Maryland DOC Special Operations Group from the old MD State Penn. I was there doing our Spontaneous Attack Survival for Corrections for them and the Intelligence unit. Improvised edged weapons are much more likely to be good stabbers than cutters. Targets are going to most likely be the face/neck and kidneys. Sometimes the upper back in hopes of getting a lung.

My favorite in the the picture though not a knife is the flail made with a pad lock, rolled up magazine and a piece of clothes line. Now this inmate was a thinker. A great improvised flail. Great for multiple opponents and defending against knives.

Hungry Seagull
March 28, 2009, 04:34 PM
The Inmate that created the Combination Lock Flail is probably a master of weapons art and would have stood to be extremely dangerous. All those weapons were nice but... the flail with the lock has to be the number one choice.

Must have taken alot of time and very minimal resources to make such a weapon happen.

I know that they should not be applauded for such weapons but that Flail in particular was something to behold.

The rest of the weapons look like they were taken out of carts or off bedframes or something and then somehow wrapped with some sort of paper. Dangerous yes in the right spots.

Regarding the man followed by low lifes and turning his Walmart into a weapons depot of oppertunity has demonstrated good thinking and improvision in a stressful situation. I doubt that these yapping low lifes would have been tolerated by me that long. Hats off to that traveler.

Regarding early weapons of battle, there was a pole about 12 feet and two inches across made from hardwood of good quality. Those were known as Pikes. You form a line of pikes and you can have that line probably two files deep hold off sword bearing infantry for a time. It will require either calvary or archers to break a pike line or even a Trecubet (Spelling?) if such weapons are around.

I think about weapons carried to sea in the late 1700's and early 1800's those were cutlasses which were weighted a little and designed to slice with some weight in a arc. You could do a bit of stabbing but not very well. If Im not mistaken, Officers on board ship had rapiers or very narrow swords that allowed them good reach to stab a cutlass man down. Two enemy ships side by side boarding each other were a part of combat in those days.

Usually Marine sharpshooters with muskets in the fighting tops cut down the Officers on the enemy ship in those days.

Going back even further, you also had small dagger type weapons among the English that when the range was too short to swing a sword, say in a castle stairwell (Those were usually spiraled to favor the defender's sword arm) and there are or was a variety of armor useful against such weapons, chainmail comes to mind.

March 28, 2009, 05:32 PM

I agree on some points, and we may be forced to disagree on others. Re

- Keep your knife close to your side, not stuck out in front like a spear.

That's not necessarily true. I know of very effective fighting stances (seigan and chudan no kamai) that extend the knife at least partially, especially as your opponent lunges in.

As far the Asian vs. Western, what I had heard some years ago, was that, in those duels, the Westerners wounded the Japanese, and the Japanese killed the Westerners.

In any case, I have often told members here that an average spearman will beat a good swordsman with boring regularity.

Welcome to THR! :)


March 28, 2009, 06:11 PM
I thought this video had a lot of usefull info. I am only using my knife when I cannot carry my gun....Mexico,sporting events, etc. Better to have something than nothing. 1st option would be to try to stay out of trouble.

March 29, 2009, 03:00 AM
I know of very effective fighting stances (seigan and chudan no kamai) that extend the knife at least partially, especially as your opponent lunges in.

Hi John,

Thanks for the welcome!

Just to clarify, my comments/advice were offered for
(1) someone who is a novice to the idea
(2) someone trained in a entire 'system'.

Also, as far as kenjutsu/kendo techniques go, I'll say that most of them are not readily transferable to knife techniques especially of the size/style of knives 'most of us' are likely to have available (either by carry or emergency purchase). Seigan no Kamae/Chudan no Kamae as a sword fighting posture falls within mid to long range fighting vs. the short range knife on knife (or even knife against empty hand or other weapons). In fact, the ready guard of Chudan no Kamae with a sword is basically the same as with a spear or halberd (yari/naginata). I know a lot of katana techniques translate into identical or near identical wakizashi/tanto techniques but even the typical tanto is probably larger than the blade 'one of us' would likely be carrying in our society and again, its usage would be tied to a combat system.

Another major concern is that as a technique of the long sword, spear or halberd, Chudan no Kamae is pretty much intended for a two handed grip since the tsuba and even the blade offer some protection from the opponent's blade. With the two handed grip, an attack from the opponent can be fended off by blocking (actually, deflecting) with the blade. For that matter, European rapier, saber and foil/epee sword fighting also use a ready guard with a blade in front of the fighter albeit with one-handed grips. Even though they're one-handed swords, the blades and guards of the European saber, rapier and fencing sword also offer protection to the carry hand. That's not the case with the style/size of knife we're likely to carry or acquire as an expedient weapon in our society which is likely to leave the carry hand pretty much bare as far as protection from an opponent's blade or blunt weapon. For that matter, I've seen more than one knife that was presented too far forward actually being grabbed by the blade with close to half of those resulting in a disarming of the knife-wielder or at least momentary incapacitation that allowed him to be cut. (In fact, pretty much what happened in the duel near the end of the movie Rob Roy as was discussed) Obviously grabbing a knife by the blade will probably result in a nasty gash if the knife is sharp and sturdy but most guys aren't carrying a Bill Bagwell hammer forged bowie.

My advice about keeping the blade close to the body addresses a few concerns:

(1) keeping the blade hand out of the danger zone (cutting range of the opponent) until the last possible moment,
(2) keeping the blade 'invisible' as long as possible,
(3) allowing more flexibility for the type of strike since the close guard position allows a stab or a slash with no change from the starting point; this also goes along with a reduction in 'telegraphing' the kind of strike that's coming.

In this respect, the 'style' is closer to Escrima/Arnis as well as that seen in the 'American Penal System', the latter of course being motivated by a desire for concealment in the pre-attack phase to surprise when the attack begins.

All interesting stuff!

March 29, 2009, 03:26 AM
BPS, interesting video. One thing I don't like though is when Janich makes a quick check/redirect on his oponent's arm and winds up with both his own hands/arms to his (right) outside. At that moment he's very vulnerable to being knocked off balance by an opponent rushing forward. In fact, you can see that Janich's balance is rather shaky several times. I also question the wisdom of a slash to the opponent's leg through his jeans with a small blade when opponent's whole back is exposed available. From that position, a choke hold with the left arm leading to a drag down onto the blade in the right hand would be more effective. In addition, the opponent's leg is likely more mobile than his back. You don't want to start chasing his leg.

No, I don't want Janich to slash my leg through my jeans with his little knife. I probably wouldn't like that any more than I want to be shot with a .22; I'm just saying that I don't think passing up a torso stab (kidney or even a butt stab, in all sincerity) in favor a leg slash is ideal just like than shooting someone with a .22 vs. a 9mm isn't ideal. Better than nothing but still not ideal.

The main thing though is to work on some stuff with some training partners and develop some sort of muscle/motor memory, not to mention learning how it feels when the blade meets resistance. I've seen more than one knife 'fall out' of someone's hand because he didn't have a good enough grip on it and when he stabbed or cut and it met resistance, the knife was jarred loose. Talk about 'embarrassing':

"Oops! Uh...wait a minute...not only did I leave my gun at home, I just dropped my knife. Would you mind not killing me while I pick it up?"

March 29, 2009, 09:49 AM
If you are that close you likely don't have the time required to draw a weapon, for that matter you may not see that box cutter coming. The concentration needs to be on the mechanism of the attack.

Just as I don't believe in a dynamic confrontation you are going to be able to shoot the gun out of a bad guys hand or shoot him in the leg, I don't believe you will be able to target a specific muscle which of course would require your own blade. Instead I would rather concentrate training time learning to control the arm while attacking other targets. If you are controlling the arm you will have a little more confidence and time when choosing what to do next. -George

March 29, 2009, 10:31 AM
I think the two vital points to take away from all this is not to know only how to use one tool. That requires real training.

If you can't escape, have the will to see it through to the point you can.

March 29, 2009, 10:34 AM
hso, how dare you narrow it down to mindset and training.

March 29, 2009, 11:11 AM
Just as I don't believe in a dynamic confrontation you are going to be able to shoot the gun out of a bad guys hand or shoot him in the leg, I don't believe you will be able to target a specific muscle which of course would require your own blade.

I agree! I hope I conveyed that same basic thought when I said go for the torso (large target) vs. targeting the moving leg.

Instead I would rather concentrate training time learning to control the arm while attacking other targets. If you are controlling the arm you will have a little more confidence and time when choosing what to do next.

Assuming you mean "the other guy's arm", I 'pretty much agree' since I consider moving to the rear or opposite side of his blade hand to be a form of 'passive control' (you might not be actively engaging his blade hand/arm but you're disallowing him effective use of it as much as possible). In Janich's video, he engages his attacker's blade hand/arm but only briefly with a 'just enough' deflect that works out very tidily. Deflects of that nature are risky especially with bare hands and especially if the other guy is larger and stronger. Fancy footwork often works no better in a fistfight/knife fight/stick fight than fancy shooting works in a lethal real world shootout.

For one thing there's probably 4 mindsets that will prevail 'the first time' someone is attacked with a knife:

(1) Disbelief "that it's really happening" and along with that mind and muscle 'freeze' leading to a complete disregard for any techniques that were trained on and instead the defender begins wildly flailing about with his knife. :eek:
(2) Crazy fear leading to the flight mechanism :what:
(3) Enraged retaliation (likely if the physical attack was preceded by a verbal exchange or some other indication an lethal attack is about to follow) that will also probably lead to wild flailing about or -conversely- determined stabs and cuts but of a very rudimentary nature. In other words, also a dismissal of any learned techniques but with a more determined set of replacement actions that will probably be more effective at offense but with no attention to defense. :cuss:
(4) Calm reaction and a reliance on learned techniques from the dojo, fight club or whatever. :D

Of course, besides considering scenario 4 the least likely reaction (I give it odds of about 20 to 1 on the short end) that calm confidence can go flying out the window the instant our intrepid hero is actually CUT. :eek:

As Muhammed Ali said "Everyone's got a plan until the punches start flying."

March 29, 2009, 11:18 AM
I have defended against a knife open handed three times and with my ASP once. Every time it was like slow motion. I attribute the success to lots of luck and defending against the arm first, the body second and the knife last.

The time with the ASP was after a Taser failure. Bad cartridge so I had to go old school and transition to the ASP.

March 29, 2009, 05:37 PM

Good, knowledgeable response post. Let me say I'm delighted to have you here.

Yeah, in general, stressing gross motor movements, attacking larger targets, and getting offline of the attack are the way to go.


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