OK, following on from the cutting edge theme lets twist round a little and look at some of the myths of tackling a knife. When I was working with Lee last Friday we were practicing some Silat drills set by Eddie Quinn. We were using training knives in a horizontal figure of eight motion using our training partners arms crossed in an X as a guide where to cut. In a drill I notice some people approach it as just that and do nice wide, flowing figure of eights, the motion looks and feels good, I try to think that if I am cutting someone the knife needs to be worked efficiently and effectively so a smaller tighter figure of eight motion results, keep it cutting, less waste more slice if you get my meaning. Getting Lee to think of the slicing and not the shape helped his technique no end and mine too. If our objective is to develop a defence against a particular attack then we need to know the attack intimately and however difficult see it from the perspective of the attacker.

On Saturday morning we were training with some new body armour, the first hour is for the Ju Jitsu syllabus, then we have one and a half hours of serious playtime. This week we built-in some knife defences. Now I have about 20 knife defences to learn for my 4th dan syllabus, I do not like any of them, I am too near the knife. That is fine with a friendly opponent providing a tame feed with a rubber knife. Anybody like to try it with my Fairbairn Sykes Fighting knife? Thought not, I will skewer you and gut you very quickly. Well not really of course but it is what the knife is for. Listen to Stan, a man who has used one properly:

Not pretty? Of course not, a knife is in my opinion the best weapon for close quarter combat, it rarely misses, does not jam and does not need reloading. I have seen no end of really useless videos on youtube and elsewhere showing defences against a knife, they are dangerous and if you buy into them and ever have to use them you will get hurt, or worse still, die. I have faced two knife attacks and one ‘pretend’ knife attack. The first was a big Bowie type knife pulled by a guy I had fought with earlier in a crowded situation, up close punching, he broke my tooth, I saw him afterwards and as he was on his own we went to punish him, he pulled the knife, we ran. The second time me and a mate were chased by a group of lads with knives out, we were lost and trapped, I picked up a three-foot scaffold pole, stepped into a doorway and when the first guy came round the corner waving his knife, bingo, head shot, man down others running. The third was a robber I had chased from the scene of a crime, I caught him we scuffled and he made to pull a knife, I did not gamble, it was dark and quiet and NOBODY from the robbed shop had followed to help, I did not want to die for a few hundred cigs, I backed of and let him go. This haunts me sometimes, I bet he did not have a knife and was bluffing, I should have taken him out, but?

The reality of a knife is really scary, trust me, my few experiences tell me that the safest way to ‘defend’ against a knife is to run, fast and as far away from it as possible. Create space, use your own weapon, a chair, laptop anything, get behind something to act as a barrier obstacle, combine them but get away. Too many armchair commandos actually believe their own bullshit, knives hurt, they cut, they pierce, they kill, they are very nasty indeed. Too many people are convinced that their ‘system’ has the answer, many are good but I suspect if the stakes were really high, like lets say a committed attack from a deranged opponent with a real tasty knife, I suspect a lot of people would not come forward to acid test their defence. Hoch Hochheim has a great saying, “everything works sometimes, nothing works all the time”.  I trained with Hoch and Mo Teague last year, we spent a lot of time on knife drills, both defensive and attacking, quick kills, it was a great seminar and anyone attending who had notions that they could disarm easily with say a trap and wrap were enlightened. It got really interesting when I had three knives against my one and I tripped and went down and had to fight back up off the floor, in reality I would have been bleeding out badly.

Many examples of knife disarms involve trap and wrap, it is like mounting the tiger, once on it is dangerous to try getting off. Of course the commandos amongst us will win a percentage of the time as long as the attack is right, introduce a little chaos and it starts to go pear shape. Whilst we were waiting to start a drill on saturday, my partner turned her back on me and I was holding the training knife, I ‘cut’ her throat, she had offered it me as a gift. Another quickly understood how many times she had been cut and stabbed when instead of the predictable feed I switched hands and came in slicing and shanking. We do not teach trap and wrap or any other syllabus technique on our Saturday sessions we kick punch anything to keep them away, it is messy, soes not possess any style, you get cut, you minimize the wound, here is why:

So unless you want to be shanked and sliced take care not to get suckered into the latest this beats everything else system. The reason I liked Eddie Quinn’s ‘Approach’ was the brutal simplicity and honesty, delivered by a guy who was nearly killed in a knife attack. You will notice I have not provided clips from Youtube showing the knife defence techniques I avoid now and that is because whilst some people a clearly frauds and some are deranged, there are people who with no ill meaning at all who actually believe their own system has the answers, it is not my job to sit in judgement but to get people to think. All of the above can be equally dangerous if you blindly believe, when you see a technique demonstrated start asking questions, be critical not accepting what you are fed, just like the slow knife feed, it may be disingenuous. Cheerio for now, Twisting The Knife Twice comes tomorrow, same channel, same time, stay sharp 😉