05 October 2015

3 reasons knowing how to "fight with a knife" will get you killed


Do you think that carrying a gun can physically stop you from being hit from a round from an attackers firearm?  If not, then why would you think that carrying a knife would keep you from getting cut from a bad guys blade?

In the late 90's my agency had money and required all of us to chose an educational goal and they would pay for it.  Being a smart ass I asked to become a "subject mater expert in edged weapons".  Much to my surprise they granted my wish.  Over the next several years until they ran out of money they sent me to several courses and seminars on edged weapons and knife fighting.  These classes were taught by talented individuals whose names your would probably recognize.  Here are a few things they all had in common.

1)  None of the instructors were ex military, law enforcement, or corrections.
2)  Seldom were attendees in a career in which they dealt with violence.
3)  All drills started with you and your partner having a knife in your hand.
4)  All drills were predicated on being able to your attackers knife.
5)  Your primary defense against your attacker was your knife.
6)  Knives used were 3-4 times the size of edged weapons I saw on the street.
7)  Lots of time was dedicated to footwork and trading cuts.
8)  There was no integration of open hand combatives.

During and at the end of these courses, I had to use my common sense and experience filter to sift the material and see what I could use for myself and what I could pass onto other officers, which was required of me.  After this was done there was not much there.  The same was true when I began to teach Citizens after starting MCS.  Here are the 3 reasons while practicing knife fighting will get you killed. 

1) Misunderstanding  Combative Anatomy- classes always focused on you cutting/stabbing your attacker in such a way that he would bleed out or you would cut a tendon or muscle that would remove his ability to use/hold his knife.  More or less this was teaching the student that if they did not have a knife to defend against a knife there was no defense.  

2)  Seeing the edged weapon- defenses were based on the premise that you could see your attackers edged weapon.  This has two problems, the first is that we know you are very unlikely, even in well lighted conditions to see the blade that cuts you.  And two, you are starting drills knowing that deadly force on your end is justified because they have a knife.

3)  The myth distance- not unlike a high school fist fight, students start at distance, move in, exchange some slashes, and move back out.  The chances of both of you having and edged weapon is slim.  He will most likely have an edged weapon you cannot see, and you not seeing that weapon will probably not have deployed your own.  He will use a blitz attack, closing the distance as fast as possible allowing him to use his weapon against you and shutting down your natural defenses.

Excluding a firearm, and attacker has to be close enough to touch you with the weapon to attack.  It makes no difference whether it is fist, stick, or knife.  If someone was coming at you with a Dremel tool (the hand) you would not base your defense on the bit that was attached.  The most effective way to survive the attack is to move to the outside of the Dremel and unplug it (Central Nervous System Disruption).  This is fundamental to all physical attacks...not just those involving edge weapons.  You can only physically defend against a contact distance attack if you are within contact distance.  Move to the outside, use the offending arm to stay to the outside and attack the head with elbows until there is no longer a threat.  Once you are involved in violence the only way to survive is by being more violent than your attacker.


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