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Defensive Knives?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Cosmoline, Oct 18, 2013.

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  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I think we 100% agree on that last bit. From what I can see, the knife related arts are the most difficult of all martial arts applicable to the real world. You need to have phenomenal coordination and reflexes, and stay aware of imminent counter-threats that can come from any direction. I would say it's considerably harder than sword fighting--which is itself very difficult.

    I figure my best bet would be to buy the nicest ivory-stocked custom blade I could, and if someone was threatening me I'd give the knife to them and escape while they admired its beauty.

    Living or dead?

    OK, but how do you reach those with a small blade? And I'm hearing from others that the goal is not to go in for a kill strike to the heart or head, but to focus on extremities. If you show me a knife fighting method that seeks to plunge daggers quickly into the heart of the foe, then I'm much more interested in them. Because if I don't need to do that, then I don't really need to draw any knife or gun.

    People get mixed up about the "intent to kill" business a lot. If you don't intend to kill, don't stab or shoot. Knives and firearms are not "stopping" weapons. They're deadly weapons. Only ever use them in the absolute gravest extreme when you're facing imminent unlawful deadly force--that is if you are just about to be MURDERED. And if you are, use the biggest baddest weapon you can. Because otherwise you'll die. If the threat ceases your defense must cease--that is what is meant by "shoot to stop". And of course if the threat is not sufficiently grave or imminent, you should not use deadly force. But people have somehow turned that around into a matter of subjective intent--what they intend inside their heart. SD turns on objective circumstances and whether the belief of imminent deadly threat was objectively reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    Deadly force is deadly force. While i might cut somebody in the wrist if that was the only target available, I would aim for the biggest artery available, a heart or throat stab. If I happened to have a short knife, like the 4 incher in the post, all the more important to use if forcefully where it will get maximum benefit. At close distances implied by using a small knife, there is no time for fancy carving that would take far more skill than stabbing where it counts.

    Hypothetical situation: I`m working in my yard in the morning and some goon jumps the fence and picks up a piece of firewood to brain me, presumably in a robbery attempt.

    1) legitament self defense.
    2) Not a hint of mutual combat (in the legal sense of the term).
    3) The knife is a tool that in this case gets pressed into service as a weapon.
    4) a knife is far better than bare knuckles.

    I am well aware that there are better weapons. In the above example I might just pick up a bigger piece of firewood! But if the knife was the available choice, I`d go for it.

    If you need some bedtime reading, try this guy-- http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/knifelies.html, but don`t read all his footnotes or you will go crazy!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Actually, and I'm wandering into pure opinion, here, I would say that it has a lot more to do with the blade style than with the length/velocity. A hooked knife or a very sharp and aggressively serrated knife or one with a very sharp point would be pretty destructive if applied properly (as a ripping or stabbing cut) to an area with tendons or blood vessels near the surface regardless of the size or velocity of the cut. On the other hand, I would think a plain edged knife with a more conventional profile, being used as a slicing weapon would be less likely to bite deeply into structures (like tendons/ligaments) that are slick and yielding unless the force/velocity was pretty impressive.
    If this is an option, it's necessary to stop the attack, and offers the best or a very good chance of stopping the attack, AND you can do it without getting killed or seriously injured then go for it. It's not that the defender should be concerned about the life of the attacker and actively working toward perserving it.

    It IS important to remember that killing the attacker isn't the goal and if you get caught up in the thought process that you can't succeed without killing the attacker it will not only screw up your priorities, it could look bad in the aftermath if the evidence shows that you were more focused on killing than on stopping the attack.

    More to the point, making lethal cuts & stabs generally exposes the defender to serious danger. If the defender can disable the attacker and stop the attack without exposing himself to serious danger, so much the better. If a defender can disable an attacker's arm or hand, or cut his forehead so blood runs down in his eyes he may end the attack just as effectively, with less exposure to danger and potentially more rapidly than if he had killed him.
    Yes they do. The easiest way to avoid getting mixed up is to keep in mind WHY deadly force is legal in some instances.

    It is declared to be legal so that citizens can preserve their own life in the face of a violent attack without fear of prosecution. it is not declared to be legal as a rapid means of capital punishment for attackers or as a means of taking criminals off the street. In short, self-defense laws are about preserving life, not about taking life.

    It is certainly true that the legal use of deadly force may result in the death of the attacker, but that is not the goal, it is merely an acceptable consequence. The goal is to preserve innocent life.
    They are both, and only a very minimal amount of study will demonstrate the absolutely incontrovertible truth of this statement. It's clear that they are deadly weapons, both by legal definition and the obvious evidence surrounding deaths resulting from the use of knives and guns. But, it's just as clear, from self-defense gun uses, that in 9 out of 10 successful defenses, the attacker is not even harmed.

    You talked about the potential for trouble if a defender used a knife to injure an attacker even when escape was possible, so you clearly understand the principle of not using force when it's not necessary. The same basic principle says you don't use any more force than is reasonably necessary to stop the attack.

    As stated before, that doesn't mean you have to try to save the attacker's life, but it does mean that when the attack ends, the justification for the use of force ends and that is true even if the attacker is still alive. Even if the attacker is completely uninjured. The idea that we must try to kill the attacker is not only tactically unsound, it is not consistent with the basic intent of self-defense laws.
    That is correct. But having the wrong goal is a problem for two reasons. If it becomes apparent that you were trying to kill when it wasn't necessary to do so (based on the objective circumstances of the situation) it will not go well for you. Second, as you have correctly pointed out more than once on this thread, going in for the kill (a lethal cut or stab) can expose you to unnecessary danger.

    In any endeavor, it is important to keep the true goal in mind. That goal is to survive with as little injury as possible.

    This is not something that you would say if you were reasonably familiar with self-defense law.

    Parity of force is a clear legal principle. You are allowed to do what is reasonably necessary to defend yourself. You are not allowed to unleash the "biggest baddest weapon you can" on an attacker unless that's the only reasonable way to defend yourself.
     
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Cosmoline,

    You've been given multiple examples, multiple explanations from martial arts practitioners, multiple explanations from law enforcement, even examples from the guys who show up on the scene to walk through the gore and try to keep the combatants and victims alive long enough to make the ER and even though you have no relevant experience you continue to hold to the mistaken belief that knives aren't effective as weapons. I personally know of two local women with essentially no training that used small folders to make attackers break off and flee. I know two knife makers who've defended themselves with their knives and and I know of more who've done the same. They're not martial artists. You don't need to be a skilled martial artist or prison yard fighter to use a knife to stop an attacker. Notice I didn't say kill, but stop. That's because people who are defending themselves are not intent upon killing, but upon stopping their attacker. You do have to have the mindset that you're not going to roll up in a ball and quit and that you're going to fight back with complete commitment to stop your attacker. Just because you've been learning to use a large western style doesn't mean that there's a real understanding of edged weapons. I've spent most of my adult life messing around with knives and training with people who are expert with them and I've shown both martial artists and law enforcement officers what can be done with a knife defensively to their surprise. Years of study and experience have taught me what a knife can do defensively and I've been able to share that with a few. John can tell you I'm no impressive figure, unless you're impressed with radial symmetry, but he and I both know and have shared with others what can be done with a remarkably small blade.

    That said, the smaller the blade the greater the skill required to achieve many of the results with a big blade, but at some point the size of the blade starts to become a hinderance to speed and movement and the techniques you use have to change to using the greater reach of the big blade to keep your attacker at a distance. I also sport fenced in college. I also studied "real" sword work with Maestro Eddie Floyd. I studied FMA knife and sword and Chinese Tai Chi sword. So from small blades to larger, from Filipino to Chinese to European cut and thrust, to being taught prison yard knife work by a max prison guard I've studied how blades of different sizes can be used defensively and offensively. They worked for thousands of years and they still work today, but like anything they're no guarantee of stopping an attack immediately. Even in ambush. But then nothing is 100%. Is the knife the ideal defensive tool, no. I'd rather have a cane or escrima stick since that gives me more options and I can actually carry one in plain sight and in my hand, but then I've trained with those and will say they can require as much skill and more to use effectively in defense.


    If it this was from anyone else we'd have to assume you were just acting as a troll after all the information provide by some of us who have real experiences shared, but we're just going to have to agree to disagree since you're basically alone in your beliefs on this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    You're still trying to apply large blade techniques to smaller blades, that's like trying to compare the techniques needed to drive a truck on the road to driving a Motocross bike on a purpose built track. You've admitted that you don't have any experience with small blade techniques, yet you continue to argue that they are somehow lacking. How can you continue to argue something you don't to understand?

    You started with a question on the technique to efficiently use a small bladed knife for self defense, but you refuse to listen to, and continue to disparage, any explanation that is offered.

    BTW: it doesn't take any training to be extremely dangerous with a small blade. Part of the justification for using deadly force (gunfire) against a person armed with a common small knife...as taught in LE academies...the inherent natural ability to employ it effectively. We've all seen kids who haven't been taught to fight who will flail both arms over their heads at another. Imagine the damage, both cutting and stabbing, that can be done if you put a knife, in the ice-pick hold, in just one on those hands. The natural instinct is to raise an arm to fend off the blows...all the recruits do it...and that is the beginning of losing the engagement
     
  6. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Cosmoline,

    Your posts in this thread lead me to believe you also don't understand firearm wounding mechanics.

    Further, "use the biggest, baddest weapon you can" is absolute NONSENSE, and not at all the type of rigorous thinking I would hope a lawyer would display. The "biggest, baddest" firearms, such as a .460 or .454, are not actually usually most effective at stopping deadly human threats, only heavy dangerous game. Good luck with neck carrying a sword.

    John
     
  7. Bix

    Bix Member

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    Dude - they stopped the fight. We don't know why the attackers broke off and we don't know what would have happened if they hadn't. What we do know, is that the folks in the stories I posted used small blades effectively as self defense tools.

    We don't expect instant incapacitation from anything we can reasonably carry concealed. One of my favorite Farnam quotes goes something like: "And what should we expect our attacker to do after we shoot him? Exactly what he was doing right before we shot him." I can dig up a bunch of other accounts involving criminals absorbing a scad of handgun rounds and still having 'the energy to run off'.

    Cosmoline - you've been around for a long time and I ordinarily would not give this much attention to this sort of conversation. There's a rising chorus here, man - maybe have a listen. :D
     
  8. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Cosmoline, take a look at the Ka-Bar TDI knives. Those were designed to be used by LE with no knife training. Functionally they're similar to a push knife without being a push knife, so they're legal almost everywhere. Anyone who can throw a punch can use one effectively. Put one in the hands of a boxer or even a low level empty hand martial artist and you effectively multiply his skill level. All of the conventional empty hand defense techniques go out the window when the adversary is throwing punches with a blade.

    As for the Shirley-Owens ARK knife, yeah, it's nasty. A short blade with a decent sized handle can also be used with punching techniques, or slightly modified punching techniques. I have very little formal martial arts training but that little blade makes me much more effective. I'll take any sturdy blade over going empty hand.
     
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Those do look pretty wicked.

    I am. I like to stoke the fire to read better.

    I'm pretty familiar with it. Maybe you can show me the code or decision that distinguishes between deadly force and EXTRA deadly force. Once you are using deadly force--and you surely are with a blade--there is no further parity of force analysis. In other words, no American state I am aware of forces you to match blade for blade or gun for gun. If he draws a blade, you can draw a cannon. If there is such a restriction please share it. The law is concerned with the life being protected at that point. And once it is a life in imminent peril, then there's really no greater threat is there?

    Where you can get yourself into real trouble is by using deadly force as non-deadly force. That is by shooting a leg or stabbing a hand. If you are facing imminent unlawful deadly force, then such lesser application of force may be insufficient. And if you are not facing that level of force, you ought not to be using deadly force in self defense. I understand the masters of knife work can use those blades for the full range of defense. I'm not at all sure the courts would share that view. So if for example you stab the hand of an unarmed junkie who accosts you, and he subsequently dies of the infection, you may be in real trouble.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  10. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Lethal force is lethal force. (Really, it's potentially lethal force.)

    Your examples seem trolling. "Shooting to maim" laws are obviously intended to address illegitimate use of a deadly weapon, such as criminals inflicting injury to make a point. Should a defender cut the hand of someone attempting an assault with a deadly weapon, and the attacker drops the weapon and screams "Don't hurt me", it would be illegal in most cases for the defender to then attempt a lethal strike.

    You are dancing on the line of trolling, and since you blatantly admit it with your "stoking the fire" comment, I am going to publicly warn you to stop.

    John
     
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll also add that "stoking the fire" does nothing to contribute to the discussion and does the others members a disservice. If you refuse to accept what's been presented simply say you reject it instead of toying with the members. Remember honest debate first require honesty, not sophistry.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Well now I've been officially sanctioned for trolling. Sorry if folks misunderstood. I am putting points forward and arguing from a position. Seeing what holds up and what doesn't. I'm not doing this for fun, but to challenge my own possibly erroneous views about small knives in particular and knife defense in general. I guess it rubs people the wrong way. For me it's part of understanding the issues better and seeing what holds up and what doesn't. I take a position and argue it into the ground, then assess the merits.

    For others who aren't argumentative, it seems rude I suppose. I apologize and will cease communications. Sorry about all this.
     
  13. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Since the resident mods are involved in the thread I will take responsibility for closing this thread.
    I will be also starting a new thread on the subject and welcome all to contribute.
     
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