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Benning Boy 12-02-2009 03:14 PM

Let's Debate Knife Defense
For this particular forum section, this may be the most important thread to date.

Almost all of us carry knives. Most of us carry one for utility work, but many also view it as a sort of last line of defense. Yeah, it's not your pistol, but it's better than nothing.

In my time in the Army, we were issued massive bayonets, and trained in it's use when mounted to a rifle, but recieved no formal training on it's use by itself. This bothered me.

So I sought out formal training on my own.

This has always been a low-traffic section, which saddens me and perplexes me, as most of us own multiple knives. Many are confident that they could defend themselves with one if needed, but in reality have no idea how.

Guys with training, identify yourselves and contribute. Understand, here and now, that opinions are going to vary greatly, as everyone who participates has a different angle, background, etcetera. Different theories are gonna work for different people.

Knives carry more of a stigma, legally, than even firearms. Depending on where you're from, that machete you tote legally may be grounds for arrest in another state, country, etcetera.

Let's begin.

Benning Boy 12-02-2009 03:17 PM

Areas we should discuss:

1) Blade shapes

2) Targets

3) Stab vs. slash

4) Lengths

5) Best blade for the buck

Anything else anybody wants to throw in there.

Dillinger 12-02-2009 04:26 PM

I have a small amount of blade training. I am not even going to pretend to know an iota of what a guy like Francisco or Jack has forgotten in their lives. I am by no means an expert, and in a knife fight, I know enough to get myself hurt, and hopefully get ahold of the other guy to hurt him.

Period... LOL

What I have always been shown is that in a knife fight, both people are going to get cut. That was evidenced rather quickly the first time I watched a knife instructor square off with one of his students with marker knives, the type that have an edge to them that is somewhat like a long Sharpie.

Both guys had marks on their uniforms and it was evident both of them would be in bad shape.

For my daily carry, I have about a dozen that I rotate thru. Right now I am carrying a SOG ATS-34 Night Vision with the Arc-Lock. It's a fast opening, tanto shaped blade that I keep hair shaving sharp.

The blade is about 3.5" or 4" long and I was always taught to fight with the blade extending from the bottom of the fist, thumb over the top of the handle, blade pretty much parallel with your forearm and to use downward stabbing or side to side cutting techniques.

This technique is flawed in that it does not offer really great reach, but my goal in a knife fight is to get AWAY from the other person, to clear the immediate threat.

I am going to be honest, I would rather get shot then get stabbed.

Knowing what a knife can do to meat does not make me want to see what would happen when a knife slashes my less than washboard abs open for the first time. :eek:

My whole goal is to keep my knife in my hand. With an out the front, butter knife, type of hold, it is much easier to have the blade hit bone and run your hand over your own blade ( which is why people who commit knife homicides usually cut themselves ).

Also, either the Ulnar Nerve or the Medium Nerve, I can't remember, runs along the wrist, and with your wrist tilted down, in a butter knife type of hold, it's more exposed then if you make a fist with the blade coming out the bottom of it.

I don't have a black belt in knife fighting, I have never been in a real knife fight and I hope I never have to be in one. It is something that personally, I would rather not take part in, which is why I try to carry as often as possible.

Now, if you are somewhere and something happens and you don't have your weapon, a good knife can be used for a lot of things. And you always have your thumbs, which can be invaluable in a close struggle.

I would recommend that anyone interesting in some knife techniques take a look at the DVD's put out by the founder of Cold Steel. Lynn is a world champion knife fighter in multiple disciplines and he is a BIG guy. He shows some very real world techniques that can be used by even someone who is "overweight" to seriously damage an opponent in a very short period of time.

One blade I am very intrigued with, and I have been waiting for Francisco to come into the chat room sometime, is the Karambit. That blade looks like it would be IDEAL for the type of knife defense I have "studied" for lack of a better term, in the past.

Any thoughts?

falseharmonix 12-02-2009 04:55 PM

I'd love to hear some views on legal viewpoints as well. I'm heading to NYC for New Years and know the LEO's will be checking people and herding us like cattle to see The Ball drop. I'd like to carry something (just bought this from Spyderco...i've got a serious knife addiction growing lol) but judging by the laws I might not be able to.

bigbad-ratman 12-02-2009 05:10 PM

i have also received a little bit of weapons training in the past, nothing real recent though. one thing i found interesting was that more people seem to think that when defending with you off-hand you should use the back of your hand. the thinking obviously, if you injure the back of your hand you can still use your grip. i have also seen Philipino knife demonstrations where the off hand was for deflecting the attacks, not so much grabbing. the attacking principle there was short slashes that were less likely to get stuck as opposed to stabs.
as for my fav "back up for my back up" i carry a SOG Sealpup knife. large to do whatever i need, not large enough to get in the way, with a blade that is partially serated. i normally have at least one pocket knife on me whenever i leave the house as well. however i really feel that if my life came down to me defending with my knife i am in trouble. all the other fight training i have centers around keeping your attacker close...not really a good thing when they have a knife and are intent on using it.

Benning Boy 12-02-2009 05:17 PM

And we get to some worthy points.

Grip is huge. I learned that a single edge is held edge down, a double edge is held with the flat of the blade parallel to the ground.

The popularity of the Karambit poses grip issues for me personally. This is a design with a whole art built around it, and lends itself to the slash and drawcut, but is somewhat limited on the stab.

Stabbing, I'm told, provides a halt. Slashing, while excellent for promoting blood loss, takes some time depending on the cable cut.

I'm with J.D., you want this over with quickly

I think we should look past the concept of a duel, as nobody wants to be involved in one. All that training will be out the window the first time somebody sticks you. A quick immobilize-escape seems more than prudent.

Edge- too sharp a knife will promote a cut that is so fine that it can actually seal itself. Too dull a blade will prevent you from reaching the really good artery opportunities.


Benning Boy 12-02-2009 05:28 PM

I think another huge misconception is throwing the knife. Never, ever, throw away the one weapon you have. A bee stings once, an is unarmed. A wasp keeps the stinger, and lights you up. Retention.

Never let your knife be taken from you.

I know the town badazz, pulled a knife on a skinny guy in a bar. Skinny guy took it from him, stuck it in him, finished his drink, and left. This was 30 years ago, the guy still hasn't lived it down. There's a stigma attached to getting stabbed with your own knife.


Benning Boy 12-02-2009 05:44 PM

And Ratman brings us to a hypothesis. I was taught the quickest way to make someone drop a knife was a slash to the back of the hand. But I believe he is correct that those tendons do not control grip. Can anyone tell us if the tendons in the back of the hand have any bearing on knife grip?

Well done, Ratman.

Dillinger 12-02-2009 07:16 PM

I come back to a situation I saw in a knife demo where the guy with the knife tried to thrust stick the knife in the guy who was defending.

The defender was able to trap the wrist, and though he got marked by the fake knife in the abdomen, the rest of the "fight' was over in about 3 seconds as the defender quickly subdued the attacker as he was in arms reach, and therefor, vulnerable.

I completely agree with never throwing a knife, unless it's a throwing knife and you are practicing for fun. Throwing away your only weapon is a horrible idea. :eek:

Now, as far as the slashing effect. I completely agree, it won't stop your opponent. What if WILL do, is make them SERIOUSLY reconsider their actions.

I am sure you have all seen this image before. WARNING: GRAPHIC!!

Now, there are several stories as to HOW that guy got in that bad of shape, but the fact remains, that guy is MESSED UP. I am pretty sure most people would be looking to exit stage left if they got hit with any ONE of those swipes.

There was a kid from the neighborhood growing up. A couple of years older. Kind of a loud mouth and a bit of a bully. But, he was one of the guys that would play baseball and football in the backyards, so we tolerated him.

He went to visit some relative's in Miami over the winter break and when he came back, he had about 27 stitches that were brand new to his stomach/chest region.

Apparently mouthy got into a quick arguement with a local, maybe a gang member, maybe just someone with a quick temper. In any event, dude took out his blade and made one slash, cross the body. Mouthy went into immediate shock and dropped to the ground. The other dude spit on him and walked away. And that wasn't even deep. It's not like his guts were spilling out or anything.

There is something VERY traumatic about a knife wound, which is why so many horror movies feature it. It's psychologically damaging to have your flesh severed.

I would always opt for the best action which, for me, is to create some distance. I would rather fight a guy with a knife on the move then try to stand and trade with them.

As for weak points? The clavicle area, on either side of the neck, was something that Brett, my gunsmith, taught me about. There is a nerve cluster and some arteries/veins in that whole region and any distruption causes some SERIOUS issues.

Obviously, this would have to be a stabbing situation, with the knife in a downward motion, but the overall trauma would be such that in that situation, if I lost my knife, I would not be too worried. :rolleyes:

I believe the Brachial Artery, under each arm, pumps more blood than your body holds every 30 seconds or so, so cutting that, near the arm pit, would definitely cause a quick bleed out situation. At the very least, such a wound would cause an immediate loss of blood which can lead to feeling dizzy and lacking motivation.

As for blades, dual edged blades are not legal in this state, so that is never been an option for me. I always prefer a sharp, bordering on razor sharp, blade with a strong "V" to it because when I hit something, like a small bone, or an artery or a ligament, I want to cut right through it on the way by. I don't want to get hung up on something important.

From personal experience, I can tell you that a half serrated blade will go RIGHT to the damn bone in nothing flat and leave a jagged, gnarly wound.

I was cutting some tie-wraps off a piece of cable one time, slipped and ran my blade across my thumb. The wound has permanently altered my thumbprint on my right hand...:eek:

slowryde45 12-02-2009 08:21 PM

A very good read:

Marc "Animal" MacYoung on knife fighting

Pay particular attention to the "legalities";)

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