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So I have a knife..

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Vicious-Peanut, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. Vicious-Peanut

    Vicious-Peanut Well-Known Member

    I am planning on getting a Gerber Presto 3" soon to carry when I'm not on campus. It seems to me that alot of people carry knives for 'self-defense' (along with normal uses), but truly have no idea what they would do if such a situation arose. I know I wouldn't. I searched and saw that most people recommend taking a course or something along those lines, but I cannot afford to do so. So my question is for those of you who have actual training, are there any videos that are actually worth what they cost and teach you the basics correctly? Do you have an simple techniques that you could share with us?

  2. Six O'clock Tactical

    Six O'clock Tactical Well-Known Member

    When it comes to a situation like that, here is what I have learned.

    An unarmed, trained individual will disarm an untrained, armed individual almost immediately.
    A trained, armed individual is someone you need to run away from.

    Since theres no telling who is who, run anyway.

    If running is absolutely impossible, prepare to get cut up a bit at the very least.
    Two trained, armed individuals will get cut up really bad.
    Two untrained, armed individuals will get cut up really bad.

    What it comes down to is the situation. When you produce a weapon, there are very few ways that the situation will end in your favor. My opinion, get a knife with a grip that you cannot lose control of, run from everything, and if they want your life, fight dirty.

    Videos are very limited in what they can teach you, as the only critic of how good you are doing is yourself. I tried that with golf... I also really suck at golf.

    Dont go on the offensive, and if they are literally between you and your way out, its worth it to get to that exit with a few cuts. If they arent super aggressive you should be able to move around them until you can run. Never grapple, as stabbing becomes really easy in this situation.
  3. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    Good Advice

    You're going to get some good advice here from experienced, competent folks, like hso and JShirley, to name a couple, but let me get in my two cents before the pros show up.

    Self defense with a knife is -- at the very best of times -- risky, messy, and to be avoided under all but the most extreme circumstances.

    If you must contemplate using a knife for this, then yes, train for it.

    Personally, I'd find some way to carry a stick. Not as convenient, but when it comes to edged weapons, distance is your friend.

    I'll bow out here, and leave the other commentary to the experts.
  4. Vicious-Peanut

    Vicious-Peanut Well-Known Member

    I certainly agree with the "run" idea. If I get surprised at my truck I have a big 3 D cell mag lite bulb end up sticking up from my seat back within easy grasp that would do great for smacking someone in the head.

    I suppose that most people who carry a knife really don't think of it as a self-defense tool. I think of it more as a utility tool than can act as a defense tool. Perhaps it is best to simply not count on a knife at all.

    What's that old saying? An ounce of running is worth a pound of tactical? :D
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    I question this. It may happen, and it may not. It is more likely that a trained individual who sees a potential threat with a knife will either leave or use a distance weapon. If an "untrained" individual with a knife has the sense not to display it until it's in use, the chance of your hypothetical trained individual disarming his blade-armed assailant without incurring harm is slim.

    I suggest carrying something other than a knife for SD. Even something like a Mini Maglite can be an effective SD tool, is legal everywhere, and the user is less likely to accidentally get HIV or other blood-born pathogens.


    PS- you can usually tell who is truly dangerous, whether they're "trained" or not. There are levels of awareness. The obviously hyper-alert individual is probably trained and dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as the quietly alert. Be quietly alert- it's much less obvious.
  6. Six O'clock Tactical

    Six O'clock Tactical Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I worded that poorly, sorry. The problem being, even if you make a few marks on your target, and assuming the target is a baddy, should you lose control of your knife to a trained individual you are now facing an angry, trained, armed man who already has proven that the law does not bother him.

    Is the situation improbable? Possibly. Would I personally want to take that chance? Never.
  7. Jason_G

    Jason_G Well-Known Member

    I'm not a self defense expert of any sort, but I have seen some results of knife fights when I was still intent on going to medical school. What I can tell you is it may not matter much at all as to who is more trained than who. Knife fights in general are horribly bloody and dangerous affairs where the "novice" may very well inflict a fatal wound on an "expert". Generally the only way to win one for sure is to make sure you're the only one that has a knife- and I think that's called murder or manslaughter, depending on where you're at. I think "run away" is the best advice posted so far. If you can't run, most courts will see a knife as a deadly weapon, and you pulling a gun would not be considered an "escalation of force" if you were threatened with a blade, at least not to my feeble understanding, though you should certainly check on your laws yourself and not take anyone's word on an internet forum. A gun is better than a knife in my book.
    All of that being said, a blade-oriented SD course certainly would not hurt, if you were interested in that sort of thing. I just think a knife is a horribly unreliable means of defense when compared with other options.

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2008
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Check the school for martial arts clubs if you can't afford to pay for training. Check the local martial arts schools for one that will trade you for training. A student's schedule may allow you to find a Guro, Sifu or Sense that will let you clean the place for a couple of hours at a time for participation in a class (very old school approach).

    That said, I agree that a knife is not the fist thing I'd go for if I had a handy impact weapon available like my cane or baton. You can carry a cheap takedown pool cue with you all the time. Find someplace/someone that you can take a little escrima from or practice from one of the ASP videos. Spend some time on a heavy bag or padded tree getting your strikes down. Heck, you can even play pool with it.
  9. Mandirigma

    Mandirigma Well-Known Member

    Alright, if its the best you can do, then its the best you can do but *I* personally don't like the video approach myself. Let me be more specific. I don't like learning from a video by yourself.

    Too many little things aren't covered. Yes you'll learn some basics and fundamentals, you may even get lucky and understand it, but there's an "energy" that you don't get without having a feeder (a training partner thats attacking you or feeding you attacks). There's a difference between watching it on a video and seeing/feeling a training knife coming at you.

    You can overcome this by having a friend train with you but again I'm not a fan of that approach either. I also don't like that you can be teaching yourself bad habits.

    Arfin, John, Hso, and all had very valid points.

    Stick beats knife (3 D cell maglight is stick for this purpose).

    Its pretty much agreed upon, if you are going to get into a knife fight regardless of your or your opponents skill level. You are going to get cut.

    One thing you may look at, is see if your school (I'm guessing college) has a martial arts course as part of your curriculum. When I went, karate and judo were offered. I opted out as at the time I was already training M-F.
  10. BigBadJohn

    BigBadJohn Well-Known Member

    Carrying a knife for self defense is usually a no no, Carrying a knife as a tool is different. Being from NJ where CCW is just about impossible to get, I carry a
    Spyderco Calypso jr everywhere I go. If asked by a cop I just say it is a tool needed for work,it's never given a second look. The Gerber Presto is an assisted opener and around here are frowned upon by the police as a switchblade. If there's noway to escape and as a total last resort the bg shouldn't see the knife until its too late. Practice draw, slash and run until it becomes second nature.
  11. eliphalet

    eliphalet Well-Known Member

    Very good advice. I've always held to the opinion that any SD weapon whether knife, training, or whatever is worth about twice as much if unknown to your opponent until you use it. It is hard to prepare for what you have no idea is coming..
  12. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Well-Known Member

    in a campus environment that is very "anti-weapon", pepper spray usually gets a free pass (not in all places but i'd say a lot of them). w/ practice and in the right circumstances, it can be very effective at keeping multiple attackers at bay. the ability to use against more than one BG is one of the strongest "pros" in my book.

    +1 to all the sage advice above. Bright light, sticks, awareness.
  13. Boats

    Boats member

    I illegally carried a S&W 639 through four years of college and three years of law school. I have a CCW permit, but the public universities here take it upon themselves to act as if they are above the law via "school rules" so I returned them the favor.

    It is legal to license carry on public university property in Oregon. I was "above the rules."

    So check your local laws and you might find that it is your university breaking the law.

    Trained or not, and I'm trained in Kali, and been getting into Muay Thai, knives are a last resort weapon. My EDC is a RAT Cutlery RC-3 carried IWB. My folders are usually tools, but I have a few trusted folders that I can use when a gun or a fixed blade is inappropriate attire.

    Thing is I don't run. It's not that I can't, it's that I hate it. Any endurance I have is from pick-up games, hiking, or swimming. I don't jog and I don't sprint for anyone not shooting at me. I joined the Navy in part because I hate running with a passion. At 40 I'm not a likely candidate to get far from the most likely youthful perps either.

    Finally, as Col. Cooper once put it, "One cannot confront evil by running from it." If it's flight or fight, the odds have to be remarkably bad for me for the flight option to come to the top.

    Knowing my predisposition, and apparently instinctual attitude, is to fight, (damn Viking stock), I learned how to do it to fairly maximum effect.

    Were I not allowed a firearm, I'd use a cane from canemasters.com


    I'd even explore getting it cut and a male-female friction coupler put into it so the bottom 28" could be freed up with a good tug so that I'd have a very serviceable escrima stick, which I have countless more hours with than a knife.

    And I'd back that cane with a knife. If I couldn't use a fixed blade due to the law, I'd use my Spyderco Chinook III because that's about as good as its going to get for a "so-called" combat folder IMO.


    Training is important. The will to win is just as important. Find a martial arts class that features effective sparring as part of the training. Hell, pick up boxing, wrestling, sport judo, or anything that is going to get you knocked about a lot.

    The thing that grabs everyone in a fight is fear and apprehension of the unknown. The more you know about scrapes, and the more you know you aren't going to fold in the face of a threat or a simple assault, the more you know you can take and deal damage, the more effective you are.

    Go get your ass kicked in a controlled setting until it doesn't happen anymore. Chances are good that if you are sober, know how to fight, and have practiced getting wailed upon until you can dish as well as you take, and someone doesn't have the drop on you cold or has you at gunpoint, or outnumbered more than two to one, chances are good that you'll have more options on your menu than running like Daniel-san from the Cobra Kai at the Halloween dance.

    Some folks might say that learning a martial art or how to box is a waste of time or money. Heck, I've said myself that training to knife fight is a waste of time and money even though I did it for three years three times a week.

    Folks may say things like, "What is Muay Thai gonna do for you in a real fight where you're gonna get tackled like them UFC guys do it?"

    UFC ain't a real fight. It's a fighting match in a cage with well defined rules and no weapons. You might get tackled in a street fight. If you aren't the aggressor, you can officially fear for your life on the ground. Shoot them. Stab them. Rip his balls off. Gouge an eye out. Strike the throat.

    Learn how to fight. Learn how to fight intensely. Learn to be aware of your situation at all times, even if it's casual notations of exits, improv weapon locations, the lighting, etc.

    If you never look like easy prey, chances are great that you'll be skipped as a hard target by any street robber, even a crew who knows their chosen "profession."

    Whew, sorry for the length. Long story short--learn to kick some ass so you don't have to. Then, if you have to anyway, you have more than a puncher's chance.

    Remember the will to win? Here's my favorite happy ending ever:

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  14. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    SOme years ago Professor Gary Kleck of Florida State University took a look at department of justice cases where in the type pf defense use to defens against a street robber or assault was compared by looking at outcomes. The two outcomes of most interest was when the crime was stopped and when the defender was injured.

    Given the intire general population to work with (no variable for training verses non training) using a knife was fairly low on preventing the completion of the crime and fairly high among those action likely to result in injury to the defender.

    Owning a Get box don't make you Chet Atkins owning a car don't make you Richard Petty and owning a knife does not make you a "knife fighter."

    I guess videos might be better than nothing or just give you the confidence to stand an deliver when you really should have been running and screaming "FIRE!" I would have hated to be going under anestisia last month and heard my doctor say he had learned to do this proceedure by video tape and I was his first live patient.

    -Bob Hollingsworth
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Yes. UFC used to have fewer rules, but it's always had some.
  16. Boats

    Boats member

    I only included the UFC tidbit because the disinformation net seems to have created a phenomenon that if one is not studying Brazilian jijitsu one can't hope to win a fight. This goes so far as videos all over the place showing grapplers immobilizing all manner of MA practitioners, apparently to show up that striking oriented arts are at a disadvantage on the ground.

    And they are, IF rules are involved. If someone tries to choke me out, they are getting shot, stabbed or other nastiness that will require a hospital for their efforts.

    The public's infatuation with grappling is rather funny in a way, especially since I encounter the "invincibility" attitude where I take my classes with some wannabe MMAers. I was asked by one of them how I'd counter him on the ground and I said I'd stab him in the throat after producing a clipped Spyderco Endura from the front pocket of my hoodie. What if he had my arm under control? I told him I have at least two knives and a gun on me about 98% of the time.

    "What do you need a gun for?"

    "To use against the trained, or against multiple assailants. This stuff is exercise first and self defense as a last resort."

    Many MAers in my experience have limited imaginations, practicing static knife and gun disarms like they will actually work. The grapplers think they can submit people in real life. There's lots of delusion going on at the typical dojo.

    I was watching Enter The Dragon last night on AMC and there is John Saxon getting arm barred in the early 70s by a huge Chinese martial artist apparently using a combative form of Tai Chi.

    Saxon's Mr. Roper would have been in terrible trouble IRL, as he was in the movie. That is until he clamped on to tear a chunk out of his opponent's calf with his teeth and forced the release of the arm bar.

    I'm sure Brock Lesner wishes he could have bitten Frank Mir last weekend.

    BJJ will get eventually get some sap killed in a really desperate street fight. But, hey it's popular in the ring, so it must be kick-ass IRL, right?
  17. BigBadJohn

    BigBadJohn Well-Known Member

    Boats, you are right for the most part, I have the advantage of many years of training in Tang Soo Do, and have traded techniques and tips with people from many different styles. To think BJJ is the be all end all is delusional, BUT if a highly trained jujitsu artist gets a hold of an arm,wrist, leg or knee and breaks it,the fight is usually over.
  18. Boats

    Boats member

    Getting ahold of someone in the technically correct manner is a huge problem outside. Indoors or in a ring? Not so much.

    Kali, which is my background, has a variety of joint and flow locks. They can be applied if the opportunity presents itself, the problem always being that the opportunity rarely presents itself on a determined or trained opponent. Most lock attempts take too much technical precision over too much time to be worth practically seeking in a real fight. Missed attempts at "large scale" or elaborate locking or limb breaking techniques are expensive in loss of flow, loss of balance, and opening to effective counterattacks as one's guard is effectively down while fruitlessly grab assing.

    Which I guess is why BJJ'ers in the ring must cross train in an effective striking art, because BJJ ain't effective in the stand-up, especially if the opponent has effective anti-take down methods in their skill set. BJJ would be even less worthwhile on the street, where there is no fence or rope to catch a backwards scramble away from a take down attempt and anyone with a weapon and the will to use it is not going to take too kindly to an attempted tackle.

    I'm not anti BJJ, because jijitsu is nothing to mock, but like everything else from the martial world, from 1911A1s, Glocks, .308, 5.56, to cut versus thrust, so on and so forth, fanboys distort the truth until it is obscured by their hype.
  19. BigBadJohn

    BigBadJohn Well-Known Member

    What do you think of the Gracies, do you think that all the stories of the street fights in Brazil where hype? or just unskilled fighters. They claim to be undefeated in all their challenges. I actually was happy to see Matt Hughes beat(understatement) Royce and I'm no a fan of Hughes.
  20. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Challenging the best fighters from another martial arts school is a long tradition. This is still very different than fighting on the street. In the real world, stay off the ground, if you can help it.

    It's good to know how to HIT the ground without getting hurt, but don't stay down if you can help it.


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