Everything there is to know about knife fights (almost)

When I was in the martial arts I saw a lot of silly things. Techniques that looked great in the empty air but wouldn’t stand a chance against someone actually trying to hurt you. Complex technique combinations that had no chance of actually being implemented in real life. Techniques that only seemed to work if you practiced them at less than full speed. Stuff that only “worked” against a compliant partner. You get the idea.

Very few things work against a person trying to really hurt you, going about it at full speed, in a frenzy, pumped up on illegal substances, who has surprised you, and is maybe bigger/younger/stronger/more-skilled/more-experienced than you.

You see a lot of the same silliness in the knife fighting arts.

Here’s just a few of the things to keep in mind if you study the knife for self-defense (and you should)

  • Any knife will cut and penetrate flesh. Don’t get hung up on the knife. It’s getting that knife into action that’s critical. Worry about where/how you carry it and how you access it…from compromised positions like being under the mount.
  • Targeting knife slashes and thrusts at specific anatomical locations is only going to be possible in the very, very, very best of circumstances. You will more likely just be cutting and poking any target of opportunity that you can get to while compromised.
  • If you can’t combine your knife work with really effective empty-hands skills and techniques, you don’t even have half of what you’ll need.
  • Attitude counts.  A fight is not a flow drill.  Hoch Hochheim used to have a t-shirt for his students that showed two Arnis sticks on fire, because your mind, body and will must be ON RAGING FIRE to prevail.
  • Constant forward pressure into your assailant is critical.  You can never let up the intense physical forward pressure.
  • You better have a plan for what happens after you use your knife to hopefully gain the little time or distance you need to get the bad guy off you for a second.  Escape, draw a gun, deal with the BG’s buddies.  Etc.  You ain’t done yet.
  • You better know some first aid and be resourceful about the equipment you’ll need to implement it, because you will be injured, probably cut, maybe badly, possibly even by your own knife.
  • If you aren’t practicing realistically — in protective gear, with drone trainers, and with enough force that you get hurt (but hopefully not injured) — than you aren’t really training, you’re just masturbating with an edged weapon.
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8 thoughts on “Everything there is to know about knife fights (almost)

  1. Quick drive by comments influenced by the discussion I’m having with Lou on your other post:

    Reality in knife training
    *You Tube has quite a few very graphic real world knife encounters. Take a look at those.
    *Kill something with a knife. Get some blood on it. Slaughter a chicken, dress out a deer, kill a pig.
    *If you can’t do that (either logistically or squeamish) then at least hit some meat with the blade you intend to carry on the street. Dress up a roast in a T-shirt, or go buy a past date or unapproved cow/pig carcass and stab it, cut it, test it out. That will definitely influence the perception of reality.
    *train with the live blade. I continue to be astonished by the number of knife “practitioners” and “instructors” who will NOT train with a live blade because it’s too dangerous. If you never train with it, how are you going to install the necessary skill set of knowing where the edge and point are, how you might cut yourself, how to unf**k a poor hand grip/position?
    *work on acquisition of the blade, and realize that posturing with a blade is generally foolish — it’s an ambush/concealed till after there’s blood on it weapon, and all the theorizing in the world about that falls apart on the street in application.
    *I know and have spent significant time with a number of individuals who have body counts with knife kills. They don’t obsess about knife steel or custom makers. Knives of choice from several: Schrade Fisherman’s Filet Knife, standard issue K-Bar, Gerber Mk2 (VN era), Buck Folding Hunter, sharpened screwdriver.

    Don’t see too many of those in knife forums or collector sites.

    Anyway, that’s it. Back to the computer mine digging out research.

    cheers, m

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  2. […] Tool vs. Technique & Training. “[Keep in mind that] Any knife will cut and penetrate flesh. Don’t get hung up on the knife. It’s getting that knife into action that’s critical. Worry about where/how you carry it and how you access it…from compromised positions like being under the mount, [and] If you aren’t practicing realistically — in protective gear, with drone trainers, and with enough force that you get hurt (but hopefully not injured) — then you aren’t really training, you’re just masturbating with an edged weapon.” Ralph Mroz, Everything there is to know about knife fights (almost) […]

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  3. […] Tool vs. Technique & Training. “[Keep in mind that] Any knife will cut and penetrate flesh. Don’t get hung up on the knife. It’s getting that knife into action that’s critical. Worry about where/how you carry it and how you access it…from compromised positions like being under the mount, [and] If you aren’t practicing realistically — in protective gear, with drone trainers, and with enough force that you get hurt (but hopefully not injured) — then you aren’t really training, you’re just masturbating with an edged weapon.” Ralph Mroz, Everything there is to know about knife fights (almost) […]

    Like

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