How much of an advantage is a knife?

Discussion in 'Security and Bouncers' started by Joab, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    W.E. "Dangerous Dan" Fairbairn, who was the police chief of Shanghai during the 1930's and came out on top of over 600 documented fights while arresting various thugs and trainer of the British Commandoes during World War II and the author of the classic "Get Tough!" wrote the knife is the most dangerous weapon in close quarter combat. John Perkins, a former New York City Police officer with lots of experience with close quarter combat, and founder of the "Attack Proof" self defense system stated, "anyone with a knife immediately becomes a 12th degree blackbelt".

    With all due respect to Fairbairn who knows more about this subject than I ever will, it seems to me a gun is more dangerous, as all you have to do is pull a trigger. And with respect to Perkins, while I agree a knife gives you a tremendous advantage over an unarmed opponent, this is a bit of hyerbole, I can't imagine some punk with a knife who doesn't really know what he's doing is more capable to defeat an expert in hand to hand combat who is unarmed. Still, the punk would only have to get lucky once.

    What do you think? All opinions appreciated.
     
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  2. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    Range matters a lot, with a little distance I would agree, but as soon as that distance disappears a knife is a very dangerous weapon.

    Give it a try, put on some gloves and give one person a fake knife, even with a substantial gap in skill levels the guy with the knife is still very likely to do a lot of damage.
     
  3. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    face a knife at close range and the advantage goes to the knife in most cases.
    A pistol is dangerous at long range but a knife even in the hands of a fool is dangerous at hand to hand range
     
  4. morph4me

    morph4me Goin' with the flow

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    A gun in dangerous if the person using it can hit what he aims at and your standing in front of him, but the bullet only comes from one direction. At close range a knife can come at you from different directions, and you don't have to be terribly accurate to do damage, and you may never know it until you've been cut a couple of times, and it doesn't require a great amount of training, just a willingness to get someone else's blood on you.
     
  5. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Seems to some folks it's not that dangerous if you grab the blade. :rolleyes:
     
  6. diamondbar1971

    diamondbar1971 Green Belt

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    any attacker who has a razor knife in hand, is a potentially very dangerous individual, and should not be taken lightly and should be dealt with quickly and effectively.
     
  7. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    Great replies thus far.

    Someone here posted some fotos of knife wounds and they are NOT for those with weak constitutions.

    A knife is better than nothing, but here's the deal: If you're not willing to do extensive damage with the knife, get bloody, witness the gore you cause with your blade and accept that you very well may kill someone with the right kinds of cuts, then you should *never* *ever* carry a knife. It is a very personal kind of combat, the results of which you may carry with you forever.

    A weapon - any weapon - in the hand gives great advantage at potentially great cost.

    Never underestimate it.
     
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  8. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Range is the key. At close range a knife can be accessed and deployed very quickly. A stab can easily be lethal. It's a much deadlier weapon than many people realize. Even if you "block" it you're apt to get cut...now you're fighting at, what, 90% While bleeding, in pain, and fearful? Maybe going into shock? Sure I'd take a gun in most situations, but don't underestimate the knife. Train with a knife expert and see how your defenses work! Use a chalked training knife. It's an eye-opener.
     
  9. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Sgt. Dennis Tueller, a Salt Lake City Police officer and defensive tactics trainer, developed what is called the "21 ft. rule," throguh a pretty extensive study which basically shows that a person can travel about that far in 1.5 seconds, and that if an officer has his sidearm holstered and is attacked by a person with a knife within that range, he can't deploy his weapon fast enough to respond reliably.

    That basically means that within that range, the guy with the gun in his holster gets stabbed (the moist likely attack by an untrained knife wielder), maybe repeatedly.

    Never mind what someone trained with a knife can do....

    Stabbed someone with a pen once, and wound up with a face and mouth full of their blood and getting to watch them die. Wayyyy better than getting killed, but not a pleasant experinece, either.

    That said, people often can go on fighting for a while with a knife wound, depending on where it is, and survivors of knife attacks often report thinking they were simply punched, not stabbed....
     
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  10. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    I would never underestimate somebody with a knife, but I'm not so sure that it is the most dangerous close quarter weapon and I'm not sure even somebody who is reallt bad with a knife automatically becomes a 12th degree blackbelt. I would rather go against someone with a knife than someone with a gun, even at a close quarter range.
     
  11. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Well, yeah-being threatened with a knife does offer the defender one glaring advantage over being threatened with a gun.....

    ...you can run. (I'd rather not face either, thanks....)
     
  12. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    From my personal experience:

    I have been able to close some distance, pull a weapon before they could clear their firearm.

    I have also had a firearm pointed at me from 3 feet away, and there was nothing I could do. (* Actually in the Hostage thread I explained what I did do, but it was not attack *)

    I have been cut on the arm and had a shallow stab in the leg along with many other knife encounters that either did not close or I was able to address the issue as I either had mroe luck or more training and determination.


    In a close quarter hand to hand conflict, a knife elevates the damage potention infinitely. A gun does as well, but it is directional as mentioned above in this thread.


    To test you skills get a cheap squirt gun, by doing this if it breaks you are out little. I recommend getting a few. Fill them up and execute your techniques.

    If you get wet then you would have been shot. The reaction of the pressure of water is slower in travel speed then the slowest ammo from a firearm.

    The use a marker (* water soluable *) or a small piece of chalk and use this as your knife. Engage, and see where the color marks are. Having multiple colors gives you multiple attempts to try to see if you are getting any better or if a technique works better for you than antoher.



    But, from stories I have been told and personal experience, with a gun people will not engage and just give them their money. With a knife either they do not see it or think they can take it away or control it. The issue is that the most untrained and the extreme trained are the worst opponents to face as they will come at you and you just will not see it until it is too late.
     
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  13. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Tried doing a search but wasn't able to find it... far too many topics on the subject... a little while back there were a group of videos that showed the gun draw against a knife attacker... at varying distances. Seems the knife won out every time. Even at a distance of 25+ feet away.
    Agree with Shesulsa do not ever-ever underestimate the knife wielder. And as Arnisador said you're fighting at less than full capacity when you do get cut. And I'll go to add that the percentage gets less with each cut you sustain... it doesn't take much. Shock, blood loss, severed nerves, ligaments, tendons all of that reduces your ability. AVOID getting cut and I'll re-state again as I have on another thread, grabbing the blade is not-a-bright-idea. The hand, the wrist, arm that is holding the blade yes but not the metal itself. Unless you want "your wife to be opening up your ketchup bottles for the rest of your life".
     
  14. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    The advantage the knife gives that even if you are able to re-direct it, you will likely get cut. The gun has to be pointed at you to inflict its damage. And the fact that the knife never needs to be reloaded and it never runs out of ammo.
     
  15. David Weatherly

    David Weatherly Black Belt

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    Most knife attacks are pretty brutal. The attacker is not likely to cut or thrust once and then stop. As someone suggested, using a chalk knife and trying to defend against it without getting cut is a very eye opening experience.
    An attacker really doesn't need any technique to do a lot of damage with a knife.
    I realize the same could be said for a gun but the bullet can only come from one direction unlike a knife attack.

    David
     
  16. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Neither a gun nor knife is "more dangerous." Neither makes you more or less dead if successfully employed against you.

    Arguing over the issue is like arguing which is better: peanut butter or chocolate. They're both good alone -- but great together.
     
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  17. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    Thanks to everyone for their replys. It would be interesting indeed to try to defend against a knife with a marker and see how I do as compared to a water gun. Of course the water would not be moving as fast as a bullet.

    I would suggest its' not really a good idea to try to grab a wrist to defend yourself against a knife, there is a good chance you won't even see the wrist before the blade is sticking out of you. I would say the best defense against a knife wielder is to run, shoot him with a shot gun if you have one, handgun if not, pick up a chair and throw it at him, or anything else you can get your hands on and run! and keep on running. Jumping to the side and kicking him in the knee is suggested by one former teacher.

    Personally, I would rather go against a knife wielder than a gun wielder. If someone pulls a gun on you within the distance that it is possible to redirect the gun he is stupid. There is no defense against a gun wielder who is to far away unless he freezes or the gun jams or he is out of ammo or you have a gun or something.

    Again, thanks for all the sound, reasonable comments, I like this discussion forum a lot.
     
  18. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    Watch a few prison stabbings and get back with me on the kung fu expert dealing with some mere 'untrained punk with a knife'. The 'sewing machine' is very effecting in poking holes in your internal organs. ;)

    As to the knife versus gun, it depends on range. At touching distance a large knife is capable of doing more damage in less time than a handgun. Handguns don't easily severe limbs and cut open your belly so your intestines drop out. The advantage of the gun is in range, and that advantage reduces the closer one gets.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
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  19. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    If you want realistic knife training, get a group of buddies and have one of them with a knife (you don't know which one) attack you when you aren't paying attention. Most knife attacks i've seen in the street involved the victim not even knowing there was a knife involved until they got stabbed a few times.

    The reality of the knife isn't a squared off duel as most folks in the dojo train it....it is undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy. Awareness and controlling proxemics is your best defense, then followed by dealing with the attack.

    Letting the attacker get within arms reach before you know he's making his run means you've already failed spectacularly and are now going to bleed for it!

    The knife is and always has been a weapon of ambush. Undetected movement for total surprise on the enemy. You have to be able to be a good reader of intent, and deal with encroachment in some situations with suitable pre-emptive violence to avoid being stabbed. Pre-emptive violence means you have recognized the threat, and strike FIRST before he is set to move.
     
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  20. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Excellent training suggestion having an unknown holding the knife... but even more so... having several attacks but some with a knife and some without, at random... helps up the ante and reinforces the adage of expecting the unexpected.
     

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