Knife Defense

Discussion in 'Knife Arts' started by Hawke, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Hawke

    Hawke Master Black Belt

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    Greetings Everyone,

    Have you guys noticed that people practice knife defense as if it's only a one shot? The common one being a straight thrust.

    Silat Suffian Bela Diri - Knife Defense & Disarm


    Please do not misunderstand me, this guy has way more talent than me.

    But how would we defense against something like this:

    Piper Knife - Slipstream


    Piper System - South African Knife Combatives
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=QhpAsE8z6JI&feature=related

    What's your thoughts?
     
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  2. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    That is a serious problem with most knife defense. It's taught from an unrealistic single attack that you can see a mile away. There's no backup and no margin for error.

    Piper? Some of the best martial artists and fighters I know get the creeping horrors at the thought of having to take on a good Piper guy with anything shorter than a sword.

    For the rest of you...

    If you look at the stuff that Nigel and the rest do and say "Our knife defense techniques would have no trouble with that at all," you either need a serious reality check or psychiatric examination. This stuff is absolutely deadly "Stick him and cut pieces off until he's deceased" stuff. Most of what you have plain will not work. I guarantee it. In particular, the Ki Society types who say "If you attack you have already lost, because your energy is unbalanced while I am keeping weight underside and extending Ki" are fatally stupid. So are the "I will kick the knife out of his hand" or "I will reach in, pluck his hand out of the air and do a disabling wristlock" crowds. And yes, I've heard that first one with numbing frequency from Tohei-style black belts.
     
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  3. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I have to agree with Tellner on this. There is alot of garbage out there as far as knife defense goes. Of course on the flip side, there is some good stuff out there too. Alot of the PT guys as well as folks like Bram Frank have some great knife work.

    When I started training in the Filipino arts, I really did a double take and re-evaluated my prior knife stuff.

    I liked what I saw in the clips that were posted. Looks like some great material!
     
  4. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    When I first started thinking about knife defense, I went through a lot of this in my head. I had the advantage of starting with knife dueling according to 16h Century methods, so I knew first what knives were used for, as well as using the off-hand for parrying, trapping, and striking.

    Basically what I came down to was this:

    A knife is stronger than empty hands, period. If that weren't the case, it wouldn't be a weapon. I don't cut my steak with my fist, it's not suited for it.

    Training is an important factor with knives. Just owning one doesn't automatically mean you're dangerous. The more you train with it, the more efficient it becomes as a weapon.

    Starting from these two often-forgotten conclusions my answer became simple.

    (Obviously these conclusions are generic, anything could happen. I know someone's going to argue that point anyway, but I felt like stating it now so I could simply copy and paste it again as an argument for later.)

    A.) A trained empty hand fighter generally beats an untrained empty hand fighter.

    B.) A trained empty hand fighter is as equally equipped as another trained empty hand fighter.

    Now, up to this point, most people keep their common sense. Hopefully, most people realize that there is no "magical" style that will guarantee victory against anyone else who has trained as long as you have. If you go into a fight with an equal opponent, you have 50% chance of winning.

    But, you add a knife (and, curiously knives seem to be the only weapon that does this to people), and that idea of common sense goes out the window.

    A knife can equalize the disparity in training. So:

    C.) A trained empty hand fighter is as equally equipped as an untrained knife wielder.

    --This means that defenses against an untrained knife fighter are about 50%. Bad odds, when your life is on the line. Especially when the "edge" is with the house on at least needing stitches.

    D.) A trained empty hand fighter will lose to a trained knife fighter.

    I don't see what's so hard about this. If you're equally matched before he had a knife, why do you expect an advantage now that he has one (and is trained with it)? Does a knife make it harder to fight all of a sudden? But that is what many "knife defense" enthusiasts claim. I even saw a quote once, supposedly by Bruce Lee that went something like: "An empty hand fighter will win against a man with a knife, because the empty hand fighter has four weapons, while the knife fighter only has one." (Ha! Apply that saying to a shotgun, and see how much sense it makes!)
    :bs:

    It's quite simple, to me. As hard as you train against knives, as long as you are limited to empty hands, the best you can hope for is to even the odds against an untrained knifer. Which is worthwhile to me, so I train for that.

    Of course, why would I get into a scrape with a trained knife fighter in the first place? Besides, "trained" fighters usually get you before you even know they have a knife, so the best defense against them is being aware and alert.
     
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  5. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    True.

    Partially true. Training will make you better. An untrained person with a knife is plenty dangerous if he's willing to stick or cut you with it. A knife multiplies your effective force immensely. A five year old can quite literally kill you with a knife. She would be hard-pressed to do the same thing with her fist.

    All else being equal, yes. But only if the training has progressed to a certain stage.

    OK

    I don't know about that. People can be pretty darned nonchalant about club and gun defense.

    This is the part where I definitely have to say "No". Not merely "No" but "Hell, No!" Training can overcome the inherent disparity that exists between the empty hand and a knife. A trained empty hand fighter is at worse odds. I'm not saying he can't prevail. It's certainly possible. But his odds of leaving under his own power or without a trip to the ER are not very good.

    Any hit with a knife is potentially crippling or lethal. It doesn't require a lot of power. It doesn't require pinpoint accuracy.

    That's how the smart money bets. It might not happen all the time, but it's the most likely outcome. Besides, a "trained knife fighter" will not duel. The other guy won't see the blade unless he's really good at picking up on intention. Knife duelling is not as common as knifing. There's a reason why one of the first things out of a police officer's mouth is often something like "Keep your hands where I can see them."

    Hoog. I really doubt that that was Bruce Lee.

    Aware and alert is great. It begs the question "What do you do when you've identified a threat?" That's the most frustrating problem with that particular advice. It doesn't tell you how to proceed. Full flight or sudden all-out murderous violence and immediate control of the limb that's holding the knife are probably a good place to start.
     
  6. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    MJS: The guys I linked to all have extensive FMA training and a frightening amount of OJT. They've incorporated Piper into their training. You might want to get in touch with the Piper System people and start looking at the clips they've so kindly provided. The use of rhythm and especially five-part syncopation (four limbs plus the body) has a uniquely African quality. It's good stuff and will make you rethink a lot of what you already do and how you prepare for things.

    Thardey: I don't mean to beat up on you. I'm just trying to underline how serious this stuff is.
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    There's a lot of fantasy about knife defense out there.

    The best way to disarm someone who's got a knife is from 25 feet away, with your gun out.

    The distant second best way is to use a stick, assuming you've got the appropriate training. (Ask British bobbies whether a truncheon can go a long way to equal the odds in a knife fight... with sufficient training.) Tasers and other similar gadgets rank somewhere like second and a half.

    The worst way to face someone armed with a knife is with your empty hands. There are ways it can be done. There is ALWAYS a good chance you'll be injured. The advantage of sufficient training is that you may be able to limit the injuries to relatively minor ones, that can be closed up with sutures, instead of treated with major surgery.

    But, with all that said, if you're facing someone with a knife -- that's not a reason to simply give up! Nor is being cut a reason to expect to die. It takes time to bleed out -- and, if nothing else, you can use that time to take the ******* who did it to you along for the ride!
     
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  8. Skpotamus

    Skpotamus Brown Belt

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    Michael Janich and the Dog Brothers both have some very good realistic material. I've also heard very good things about Ray Floro's stuff as well, but have only gotten to view his 7 vital truths video segments before. Check out the Die Less Often trailers on youtube for the Dog Brothers stuff and martialbladeconcepts for Janich's material.

    I've used Michael Janichs' stuff in my school with good results. We go live during our knife training, meaning we pad up and use rubber knives/foam wrapped PVC sticks, and the attacker can come at you with anything (knife, off hand punch, kicks, headbutts, etc), and keep coming until they are either disabled or they get you. We get bruised up and sometimes bloodied. It sucks.

    The other night I managed to tie up an arm and was trying for an armbar, only to have my partner head butt me in the nose, switch the knife to his empty hand and start trying to stab me with that arm. In a real fight, I would have been stabbed several times. Very sobering effect on your training.

    It's truly scary when you get realistic with knife training. If you can see the knife before the attack begins, even with superb realistic training, you're still going to get cut or stabbed quite a bit in the dojo. With a LOT of practice, I see about a 60-70% success rate of people defending the attacks against determined attackers. When we can use an environmental tool (such as a stick, a club, a gun), our success rate goes up somewhat, if we can deploy it without getting "gutted" first.
     
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  9. Doc_Jude

    Doc_Jude 3rd Black Belt

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    Most knifers don't attack with the level of complexity of Piper or Sayoc-trained folks. Statistically, it just won't happen. I think training for the most probable attack styles will yield the most useful results, as far as applicable skill sets go. The standard FMA strike pattern, at least the top half of the pattern with upward and straight thrusts included, will prepare someone for 99.44% of knife attacks.

    With a knifer of this level of skill, the best thing is to simply go back to that old adage: "Don't play his game." Why stick your hand into the proverbial Cuisinart???

    If facing a Piper knifer:
    - MAKE SOME FRIGGIN' SPACE!!!
    - Get something longer than the knife (stick, chair, broom handle, tent pole, something, anything!) and just go Caveman, esp hitting the knife hand/limb, with power and speed Dog Bros style
    - Throw anything and everything at him
    - Destroy his mobility (sticks/kicks to the knees, or lower)
    - Run like a bat outta hell at the first chance!

    Just to throw something out there, that Hummingbird that Bobbe was doing is practically identical to knife attack DEFENSIVE techniques that we do in our style of Silat. I wonder how "new" this Piper stuff is. Sometimes folks on opposite ends of the earth come to the same conclusions. It happens, & it's not 100th Monkey stuff, it's just statistically inevitable.
     
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  10. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    I dunno. I think I'd take a spear or a sword or a naginata over a short stick :D

    Truth! Truth! Truth!

    There's a world of difference between surgery and exploratory surgery.

    The beer is cold in Valhalla, and Odin Valfather loves valor. If you die in battle you party every night and fight every day for eternity.

    Seriously, that's the razor edge of training. They have to trust their tools enough to fight withe singleminded determination. They have to be realistic enough to recognize the real threat. It's not an easy thing to balance.
     
  11. newGuy12

    newGuy12 Master of Arts

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    So far this is the only information I've found regarding an empty hand response. I guess this is all that can be said, as well.

    I have a question: This school does drills with live blades. I would assume that that is NOT the norm for most people who train with knives.

    I would think that there could be injuries, sometimes non-trivial injuries, that could arise from this. Does anyone have any thoughts about training with the real knife as opposed to a practice knife?
     
  12. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I didn't cover hows of unarmed knife defense for a simple reason. They're very similar to defending against an unarmed fighter (with extra concerns), and they don't lend themselves well to words. That's why you go to class...

    As to training with live weapons for disarms... It's a bad idea, in my opinion. You can use blunt weapons, you can use things like chalked blade trainers or the Shock Knife... but to extensively practice disarms with a live edge is simply unsafe, and will likely stress your medical insurance. Even moving very slowly with cooperation, accidents happen. They're guaranteed as you ramp up the intensity... so use some sort of trainer, not a live blade. (Consider... with the advent of Simunitions FX cartridges and similar products, cops more and more rarely use "real" ammunition for scenario training... 'cause accidents and mistakes do happen.)
     
  13. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Sorry, I should have clarified. By "winning" or "defeating," I meant "surviving."

    Also by "trained fighters" I mean specifically trained to deal with knives (and trained very well), not just empty hand fighters in general.

    My overall point was that if you don't expect an advantage when two trained empty-hand fighters face off, why would you expect to even have a chance when facing a trained knifer?
     
  14. Doc_Jude

    Doc_Jude 3rd Black Belt

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    IMO, live blade training does have some merit, but IT SHOULD ONLY BE PRACTICED BY HIGH LEVEL PRACTITIONERS. One master than I know of has been quotes as saying that "for someone to be called a master of the blade and yet has never faced one, he isn't qualified for the title of blade master". However, marking knives, marking aluminum trainers and especially shock knives provide more than enough feedback for beginning to intermediate students to gain from. I wouldn't recommend live blade training to anyone, that's an entirely personal choice.

    Piper practitioners appear to have knowledge of anatomy and knowledge of their preferred weapon. They know where to strike for maximum effect. They know that when using blades, speed is paramount which is why they used rather short movements, which makes them even more difficult to disarm. They appear to know how to check and pass, which makes their close range even more effective and more difficult to defend against. I see a lot of Silat-esque movement, but with different timing/rhythms than I'm used to, which I can only assume is the indigenous African influence. I'd be curious to know if any of the Piper guys were seriously influenced by Indonesian MAs or FMAs.
     
  15. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    No kidding. :)

    It's not that unarmed defenses against a knife can't work, it's just that a lot of the time they won't due to the huge advantage a knife weilder has over an unarmed opponent (victim).

    A lot of the time in the old European manuals, it starts off by saying "if he has drawn a dagger and you have not drawn yours..."

    See what the assumption is? You should have drawn your own knife already and gotten the jump on him and knifed him into oblivion. You've already made a fatal error by taking the knife to the gun fight, so to speak. ;) I suppose you could call it "taking your arteries to a knife fight".

    That being said, the Masters of Defence knew that this situation could happen and came up with counters that were as effective as possible, which is not to say "effective" in an absolute sense of being as optimal as the attack you're defending against. You were still probably going to get cut, and countering unarmed knife defence is reasonably easy, so if he knows what he's doing, you're screwed. If you can't run, then go down fighting... you might get lucky and pull it off, or he might make a mistake.

    Chances are, if it looks fancy, it won't work. ;)

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  16. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Control the distance

    Control the angles

    Equalize quickly with a tool

    Finalize the deal quickly

    Never Give UP!!!

    Just some simple words of advice! [​IMG]
     
  17. FieldDiscipline

    FieldDiscipline 2nd Black Belt

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    You speak very good sense sir.

    And simple is the way to go!
     
  18. matt.m

    matt.m Senior Master

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    1. Accept the fact "You will get injured."
    2. Have your wits about you and don't lock up.
    3. Attack/defend with ferocity and conviction. You will only get one chance.123
     

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