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Old 12-02-2009, 08:44 PM   #11
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The tendons on the back of the hand and top of the forearm control opening of the fist. The tendons on the underside of the forearm control closing. you want to keep your palms facing your body in a defensive situation. I will sacrifice (temporaily) the opening feature of my fists to maintain grip.

Understanding anatomy will help understand targeting. Long bones provide structure, but also provide protection for nerve bundles and arteries. The Brachial artery does flow a huge amount of blood but is sandwiched between the humerous and the thoracic cavity making it a difficult target. The femoral artery is even bigger but is on the inside of the Femor and buried deep in the muscle. The subclavian artery is the same thing as the brachial only before it leaves the thorax. It sits directly behind the collar bone (clavicle). A downward stab behind the clavicle can sever this artery and bleed out in short order.

Surface cuts are frequently ignored in the short term. Penetrating stabs tend to have more immediate incapacitating effect. Deep cuts that sever large arteries or disembowel can be very effective, quickly. Laying open large muscle groups can look nasty, but generally do not stop fights quickly.
Getting around behind the adversary and penetrating the kidney pretty much puts an end to the fight. Uric acid spilled into the abdominal cavity will cause immediate paralysis (ask the OSS about this). The blood rich, renal artery fed kidney can bleed you out in seconds.

Of course there is always the carotid artery/jugular veins in the neck. Both are fairy deep in the neck on either side of the windpipe. With ones chin tucked they can be hard to reach.

Several good slashes followed by a downward piercing thrust with a good strong blade (like a tanto) to the top of the head will take away an adversary's ability to fight. Skulls are really not that hard to penetrate with a good blade.

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:46 PM   #12
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God but I hate YouTube Vids, but here is a good series on knife fighting and techniques featuring Addy Hernandez

Onec again it is very important to say no one ever became a shooter, martial artist or street fighter watching a vid!!
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:47 PM   #13
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^^ Proving once again while I agree with a lot of what Robo says out of fear of my own safety.

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:57 PM   #14
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JD, Killing is not my business, but is something I am willing to do with brutal efficiency. If I must spill someones blood, I want it to pool all alone with out any of mine co-mingling. Understanding how to kill quickly allows me to NOT start the process until absolutely necessary.

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
If I must spill someone's blood, I want it to pool all alone with out any of mine co-mingling.
Now that is a statement I think we can all respect and understand big guy.

JD
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
JD, Killing is not my business, but is something I am willing to do with brutal efficiency. If I must spill someones blood, I want it to pool all alone with out any of mine co-mingling. Understanding how to kill quickly allows me to NOT start the process until absolutely necessary.
Indeed, and Robo pretty much has summed up any, and all comments I would have made, in his two posts, except for one personal comment opinion for JD.

I like the Karambit. It is a very efficient and very deadly, fighting defensive blade weapon. It has a natural fit and stays secure in one's hand and it greatly enhances the natural movements, power and flexibility of one's hand and arm in all thrust, slash and pull movements.

It is also very challenging to defend one's self against someone who is experienced and proficiently trained to use it. If all possible, if this blade weaponry is produced in a lethal threat situation......please use a gun.

Jack
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:57 PM   #17
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Indeed, and Robo pretty much has summed up any, and all comments I would have made, in his two posts, except for one personal comment opinion for JD.

I like the Karambit. It is a very efficient and very deadly, fighting defensive blade weapon. It has a natural fit and stays secure in one's hand and it greatly enhances the natural movements, power and flexibility of one's hand and arm in all thrust, slash and pull movements.

It is also very challenging to defend one's self against someone who is experienced and proficiently trained to use it. If all possible, if this blade weaponry is produced in a lethal threat situation......please use a gun.

Jack
Thank you sir. I appreciate the input and you have confirmed what I have read and seen demostrated with that particular blade.

I respect your opinion and appreciate your input in this, and every, thread.

JD
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:06 AM   #18
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I carry an SOG Twitch XL but I love the Karambit. An LEO at the local range has one. When he first got it he had all these puncture holes in the back of his hand while practicing with it. If you go to the Emerson knives website there's some cool video demos.
I really don't know anything about knife fighting but I've been trying to read up on it. I guess it depends on how you are attacked. If someone has you in a choke hold, you can slice across the tendons on the top of the forearm, and that will completely imobilize that hand. If someone has you in a headlock, you can open up the femoral artery. There are probably as many defensive knife moves as there are attack moves. As far as how to hold the knife, I too was told to hold the knife with the blade parallel with the forearm. The reasons given were that 1) it's a more natural way to swing a knife, akin to throwing a punch, 2) it's easier to maintain control of your knife, and 3) the farther out from your body the blade is as you defend, the bigger the arc and the slower the movement will be. You can make contact more quickly if the knife is closer to your body. I would love to hear from more members who are experienced in knife fighting. I think everyone should learn at least a few moves because IMO empty hands fighting or using a knife is the only way to buy time to draw your handgun from concealment.

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Old 12-03-2009, 04:02 AM   #19
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I don't know how I missed this thread, great idea Benning!

Although my interest in knives has been life long, until recently it had been almost exclusively utility related. I considered them tools first and foremost, for both urban and outdoors applications. My formal training with them as weapons is only a couple of years old, I was lucky enough to chance upon some excellent instructors through my knife business and I started training just because I needed to get in better shape.

My country's VERY restrictive gun laws (at least when it comes to carrying them, not so much for owning them) were another reason for me to start looking at blades for self defense. Sure, they aren't as good as my .357, but they are better than my knuckles.

This is a very broad topic and we could discuss the finer points for ever, and like it happens with every fighting technique, there are lots of opinions out there. The following are just some conclusions I've come to from my limited experience.

The first thing that shocked me is the speed of a knife and, as JD already mentioned, that a highly experienced instructor will still get cut by a novice. I remember that after my teacher taught me the first few blocking techniques he said "Now we'll try them out at full speed, and you'll see they are useless". He was right, all that nice checking and slashing is almost impossible to carry out properly at real speed. Trying to dodge works somewhat better.

Still, all those blocking exercises are good to build up muscle memory and improve hand to eye coordination. Both of which are fundamental for a decent knife fighting technique.

As to the slashing versus thrusting question, I think there's a place for both. Slashing is certainly easier to do, especially if you try to go for exposed limbs (the hands/arms are a good target). Sometimes the type of knife you're using will dictate technique, a hawkbill is not a good stabbing blade and something like a Cold Steel Urban Dart is not well suited for slashing. Most instructors nowadays seem to focus mainly on slashing.

Blade shapes can be discussed forever. This is a lot like handguns, what might work for me might not work for you and everything is a compromise. A good rule of thumb for somebody who's not going to be training a lot (because they can carry a gun, for example), who doesn't want to get a dozen different knives to try out, etc. The best thing, IMHO, is to get a quality knife that fulfills both the SD and utility roles. Something like a Spyderco Endura, a Cold Steel Voyager, Benchmade Griptilian, etc. Good basic folders that won't break the bank. The constant use will help build muscle memory, every time you flick that knife open to cut something you're actually doing a little training (if you carry the same knife almost every day).

If you're going to devote time to developing some specific knife fighting techniques, try out a bunch of different designs and one of them will fit you. I was surprised by the knife I found to be the best SD tool for me. I'd never been attracted by kerambits, never quite understood what all the fuzz was about, but after I started training with one it was clear that I could use it much better than any other knife I'd ever tried.

I'm faster and more accurate with it than with more traditional fighting knife designs, the traction and pull cutting feels more natural to me and I can combine it better with empty hand fighting from my MMA training (my knife instructors also train MMA with me, which helps a lot).

I'm very aware of its limitations: few designs are good for stabbing, the ones that are practical to carry usually have a reach disadvantage over a regular knife of the same size (doing knife vs kerambit fights with rubber trainers is challenging).

Hawkbills also work well with my fighting style, I love the Spyderco Superhawk and the new H1 Spyderhawk is the knife I carry when I go running or to the gym, since it's completely impervious to rust. But I know they aren't the most versatile knife designs, and I only started carrying them after a year or so of private lessons. My feeling is that specialized blade shapes can offer a lot, but they demand a time commitment to get the best out of them.

Folder vs fixed blade is another issue I see often, in my mind it's the same relationship as between handguns and rifles/shotguns. If I could chose, I'd go with a fixed blade every single time.No opening mechanisms to worry about, no locks fail, etc. But a folding knife is much more convenient tool, especially in urban areas. I'd say the minimum length I'd consider is 3", a bit more in the winter. Sure, you can fight with a smaller knife, just like you can carry a .22 instead of a 9mm or .45. Fixed blade knives with blades around 3" can still be carried in a pocket (like SOG's Mini Pentagon dagger), and there are some very light folders in that size as well (like BM's lovely 943 Osborne with it's handsome 3,4" blade).

Serrated vs plain edge is another hot topic, I like plain edges. I believe a mirror polished plain edge, the wicked kind of edge that will bite on anything, is superior to a serrated edge. It will do anything that a serrated edge does, and it will be more precise with neater cuts. However, "neat" might not be what one is looking for in SD, tearing through flesh and clothes might be better accomplished by a good serrated blade. Last week I acquired my first fully serrated knife exclusively for SD use, a Cold Seel Vaquero. The combination of recurve blade and serrations makes for a very aggressive slashing weapon. It's crude and untidy for utility applications, but then again crude and untidy might be a plus in a fight.

Oh, and +1000 to what Robo said about anatomy.

I guess in the end it all boils down to training. If you're going to incorporate a knife into your self defense strategy, you need to train to use it correctly. Good knife fighting education is hard to come by, I've seen a lot of classes that are too "duellistic" where both fighters are always facing each other with their knives drawn or others that focus too much on empty hand disarming techniques practiced slowly (some look nice and are fun, but they aren't worth a damn at full speed). You need to practice a variety of scenarios, drawing your blade after the fight has started, facing an opponent unarmed (this is frustrating, even two unarmed trained fighters against a single knife wielding combatant is hard as hell).

Sorry for the disorganized rambling, it's 2am and I just got back home from a kick ass AC/DC concert.

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Old 12-03-2009, 04:14 AM   #20
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Very good stuff, guys. This is going better than I hoped, and I'm glad to see the interest.

I will add a +1 to the femoral as a target. I've heard stories of super intelligent wild boars being the right height and having almost an instinct to go to this target on humans. Probably bull, but it does make sense.

IIRC, Col. Rex Applegate had a graph of target areas, with a timetable of how long it takes to bleed out from a cut to each area, I'll try to locate it.

Ethnically, I saw a guy a guy start some s**t in a Turkish bar. A Turk stabbed him in the hip with a thin folder, and left it there. There was almost no bleeding, but the guy's hip was immobile, and I got the vibe that the move was intended to do that. They weren't prone to sharing too much with Americans, so I never got any more insight into their techniques.

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