23 March 2013

The evolution of our Edged Weapon Survival Course

When people are looking for edged weapon training, one of the first things that people ask, or should ask,  is what is the background of the program or the trainer?  People want to know what the source of the information is.
In the case of edged weapons, the answer is usually cultural martial arts such as Kali or Escrima.  This is not so with the Modern Combative Systems Edged Weapon Survival Course, consisting of Spontaneous Attack Survival and Inverted Edge Tactics.  This does not mean that I don’t both enjoy and respect cultural but they take a long time to develop proficiency, and time is something that you may not have before you need the skills.
Another issue was that early on in my training I noticed people shutting down and being overwhelmed when attacks were not limited to just the knife being used, but used in combination with open hand combatives.  This is not something new students were exposed to since it would be like expecting a little leaguer to hit a professional fastball.  The difference is that a little leaguer would not be put into a position to face a professional fastball, but in reality the violence of an attack is not based on your level of preparedness to face it.
We started with the knowledge that most victims of edged weapon attacks report that they at least initially did not see the weapon, but in fact thought they were just being punched.  The second thing we took into consideration was the size of an edged weapon one is most likely to encounter on the street, which is based on the types of edged weapons most carried.  We estimate these at sub three inches.  On the long end you have a lot of steak knives and screwdrivers; on the shortened you have box cutters and razors knives.  Any internet search for training knives will show that they are usually 2-3 times longer that what you are most likely to face.  
The last part of the foundation for Spontaneous Attack Survival was the knowledge that because of the speed and violence at which attacks involving an edged weapon occur, your initial defensive response will be open handed.  The is one of the major places where we deviate with cultural edged weapon training which uses a great deal of knife on knife work.  In our opinion, this over utilization of knife on knife work encourages people to stay in front of their attack, which is the worst possible place you can be.
Our goal, during any attack, is to not get cut at all or to get cut as little as possible.  It does little to evade an initial cut or stab only to be killed with a subsequent attack.  Once in contact with an attacker, contact needed to be maintained until they are no longer a threat or you choose that distancing is an option.
So taking into consideration what we know about weapons, and what we know about the violence of attacks, we needed to get people to respond naturally to pain and the fear of pain.  To accomplish this we use very small stun guns.  People report that getting hit with one as they are moving feels like they are being sliced, but leaves no lasting injury.
What we found was that regardless of training, or access to their own weapons, spontaneous violent attacks resulted in people responding using the same natural protective responses.  We took these predictable natural responses and used them to develop conditioned Principle Based Responses that would exploit them, not work against them.  Drills were created to address the most common and powerful attacks from the angles they most often occur from.  An example of which would be our Shank Defense which is done with that defender being grabbed from the rear and stunned in the kidney.  The goal of Spontaneous Attack Survival is to train students to defend from the worst positions they can end up in, not the ones they want to be in.
Training to use a knife for self-defense was also not largely based on the three things needed to do so; justification, time, and opportunity.  Training based on cultural martial arts and military training spent no time discussing the justification of using a knife for self-defense in the real world.  Some systems also require a specific knife or type of knife to be used.
Inverted Edge Tactics was created to take advantage of the previously mentioned natural protective response and can be used with any knife, of any design, no matter the size.  This is made possible with the use of default targeting instead of intentional targeting where advocate target cuts on specific parts of the body.  
To physically use a knife to defend yourself necessitates that you be within reach of your attacker.  Inverted Edge Tactics is designed to cut your attacker off of you during all three ranges of interpersonal combat; standing free range movement, clinch, and on the ground.
The stumbling point for using any weapon to defend yourself is the ability to introduce it into the fight.  This is based on time, distance, and opportunity.  As previously stated, a knife is only physically effective within its reach.  If you are being attacked, you need time and distance to deploy your knife.  Again, this is where open hand skills are needed to create time, distance, and opportunity.  Your strong hand, or weapon hand, is logically your most effective defensive hand and needs to be used for that purpose before it can be used to access a weapon.
The above is provide as an explanation of the research, science, and consideration that went into our Edged Weapon Survival Program.

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