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Reality of knife combat
REALITY OF KNIFE COMBAT
There are many so-called "experts" who claim to be able to teach you either knife fighting or defense against a knife. The problem is that most of them are just teaching martial sports, which are ill-equipped for defense against armed violence.
While I have great respect for the martial sports and martial athletes, their training does not deal with, or realistically deal with, knife attacks."
Forms, one-step sparring and fighting in a ring or cage will not prepare you physically or psychologically for what happens if you are attacked by a knife-wielding assailant intent on taking your life! Hell, martial sports won’t even prepare you for an unarmed assailant intent on taking your life, but that is a discussion we will engage in at a later date.
Whatever you do regarding knives must:
A) Work to keep you alive and
B) If it does work, not put you in prison for murder or manslaughter
While B is important, it only becomes an issue if you survive A.
Unfortunately, based on a lot of what I have seen taught or have encountered while working with the students of these self-proclaimed "knife experts", for them, getting past A is going to be nearly impossible to impossible.
Quite simply, most knife assaults are assassination attempts. How they occur is significantly different than how a "knife fight” occurs.
I am going to share with you some things to help save your life, so, put on your thinking caps. Let’s be martial scholars and not give in to emotion.
I know it hurts to face the fact that your years of training will not help you against a knife attack and will most likely get you killed in such a situation.
I know it is hard to free yourself from the Martial Matrix. However, I will do my best to help you. The journey may be painful for some. It might get messy. Better to bleed on the mat than on the street, though.
And remember: it's your life on the line out there, so don't let anybody tell you that you don't have the right to respectfully question what you are being taught or to think for yourself.
Here are a few lies we are taught in these “gyms”, “studios” and worshops.
1. You are going to have time to draw your own weapon
As a person who trains intensely on drawing a blade and a pistol under stress and duress, I have learned to draw and deploy a knife in under one second.
Despite this fairly good speed however, my chances for drawing my weapons at the onset of a knife attack are slim to none.
Because by the time I realize there is a knife involved, I am already being attacked.
Most knife "fighting" training is predicated on the assumption that you have somehow managed to get a blade in your hand.
If you are attacked by a young punk, a total incompetent or someone who is brandishing the knife in order to get you to back off, then there is a chance that you might have time to draw your own weapon.
However, if you are dealing with anyone with any experience, street savvy or cunning, you will not be able to draw your own blade when you are attacked. Against such a person, there is just not enough time.
Such a person will not show his weapon before he attacks.
That is because those who are foolish enough to brandish weapons in places where weapons are common don't live long themselves.
And yet that is exactly what you are expecting him to do so you can draw your own knife or hop into your defensive stance and defeat him.
2. You are going to be engaged in a knife "fight"
Check out youtube and you can find scores of videos of “real knife fights”. At least ninety-nine percent of these are staged. What is being promoted as knife fighting is choreographed “dueling.” Such dueling appeals to the masses because that is what is being learned in these gyms and studios. By dueling, I mean the opponents are standing toe-to-toe, with the same type of weapons and trying to kill each other like “civilized gentlemen”.
First of all, there are few places in the world where knife fighting is still legal (none of these are in the U.S., Phillipines or Europe, by the way), so only an absolute fool would allow themselves to be filmed while engaged in an illegal act that could land them in prison for a lifetime.
Second, the reason someone uses a weapon on someone else is to stack the deck in their favor.
People do use weapons to fight, they use weapons to kill and to win. The absolute last thing any attacker wants to do is to fight you with equal weapons.
If he was looking for a fight, he wouldn't have attacked you with a weapon in the first place.
And if he knows you have a knife, he is going to attack you with a bigger and better weapon to keep you from winning.
As far as your attacker is concerned he is not fighting youhe is assassinating you.
He is not going to want to stand there with you and hack it out. Unfortunately, this is exactly the fantasy that many so-called knife fighting instructors promote. Return to top of page
3. Your attacker is going to attack you a certain way
I have a demonstration that I do during knife workshops: I find the highest ranking martial artist present and I tell him to stop my attack. I do a controlled, fast attack (i.e. SE Asian style attack). Most of the time they stop it. I then tell them to block one more attack and – aiming for the same target - I do a wild “prison rush” (i.e. Afrikan style knife attack) on them. I have gutted every one of them.
It is not a sophisticated attack, but it is a very common way to attack someone with a knife in the USA.
I love the Filipino martial arts. They have a strong Afrikan influence. However, The Filipino martial arts are predicated on one basic assumption: that you will be fighting a trained Filipino-style knife fighter.
The problem with that assumption is that not everyone attacks the way that someone trained in the Filipino martial arts will attack you. Against Filipino-style attacks, the counters work great.
However, in Afrika and indeed in the U.S., someone who is attacking you with a knife is attempting to murder you. They are not going to hang back cautiously in fear of your weapon and fighting skill.
Instead they will attempt to overwhelm you and quickly kill you by any means necessary. And the Afrikan knife fighter does this with great skill and deceptiveness.
Such an attack is totally different than the well balanced and fluid attacks of the Filipino martial arts.
Although the Afrikan and Filipino martial arts have similarities, each are different and each are equally lethal. And those differences CAN kill you.
4. Your opponent is going to passively stand there while you carve him up, just like in the magazines, in the training drills and in the movies.
Your opponent is not going to throw a strike, leave his arm out there for you to destroy it and then stand there while you execute a series of “kill-moves” and a perfect disarm and throw.
He is going to slash and kick and punch and…
Few people realize that the wild, defensive flailing of your knife-wielding opponent is just as dangerous and damaging as an intentional strike.
In fact, such wild, emotional knife use is often more dangerous, because it is unpredictable.
Even if you are skilled with a knife and tearing your opponent up, his defensive moves can still hurt you badly. Many warriors have been killed by a dying opponent, who flails desperately with his knife, even as he breathes his last breath.
I have seen a serious over emphasis on defense before closing on your attacker and a serious lack of emphasis on defense after closing. Such over – or under – emphasis on defense will get you mauled, if not killed.
Fights are never static. Your opponent will move and if he can move, he can hurt you. If he hurts you, he will stop your chance to do your really cool “kill moves”.
5. Knowing how to stickfight means you know how to knife fight
Many people claim that a stick has similarities to all weapons, which is true, it does. They also claim that if you know how to use a stick you can use all (non projectile) weapons.
This is not entirely true. While the stick can be used to teach you the finite number of angles at which you can attack an opponent with any weapon, and can be used to teach drills that are translatable to any weapon, there are differences and the differences are just as important as the similarities.
The simple truth is that different weapons handle differently.
They have different weights, sizes, timing, requirements and uses.
To begin with, a stick doesn't have an edge.
With blade work the point and the edge are critical components, however, the physics of a stick do not require an exactness of edge control.
A stick is an impact weapon; a blade is designed to cut, slice, stab and hack.
If you do not have your edge on target, then you create a totally different set of physics and reactions other than the one you want.
If you are learning stick fighting, then accept that you are learning stick fighting. If you are learning knife work, then you are learning knife work.
While there are similarities, there are radical differences.
Don't tell yourself or allow yourself to be told otherwise.
If you don't believe me, try working out with a wide variety of weapons and do the exact same move. These differences especially become manifest when your weapon encounters flesh.
6. You are in a fight at all
If you want to live, you don't go in with a "fighting attitude" to any altercation involving weapons.
Weapons take it out of the arena of fighting and put it in the realm of combat.
If you see a weapon deployed, run. If you must stay, do not even think of fighting. You are in combat. Someone is going to get seriously hurt. Will it be him or you?
7. Expect to get cut
Some instructors will tell you how much damage your knife will do to an attacker. That you will tear flesh and tendons and ligaments. That he will bleed out in seconds. That your opponent has little chance to survive because a blade is so devastating.
Then later, he turns around and says that old cliché: “In an encounter against a knife, expect to get cut", as though getting cut is a minor inconvenience!
You must do your damndest not to get cut at all! However, if you do get cut, always trade a cut for a kill.
That is the difference between fighting and combat.
8. Drills teach you how to knife fight
Drills teach principles. They teach ideas. They are the map, not the territory.
Last edited by Baba Balogun; 04-30-2011 at 04:39 PM.
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Last edited by Obadele Kambon; 06-01-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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-Jacob Carruthers, "Mdw Ntr"
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