New article: How they hold the knife doesn't tell you if they know how to use it.

Discussion in 'Knife Arts' started by lklawson, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    New CBD article:How they hold the knife doesn't tell you if they know how to use it.

    "In the last few years, I've seen a lot of ink (electrons?) spilled over trying to gauge a person's skill based on how he holds the knife.
    Most of it revolves around looking at how a person holds the knife and trying to draw a conclusion about whether or not they have any training. "

    http://cbd.atspace.com/articles.html

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
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  2. Happy-Papi

    Happy-Papi Green Belt

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    Thank you for sharing this. I totally agree with all of it.

    For me it is difficult to see a person's skill level by just basing it on how they hold their knives.
    I've been playing and doing work (chores like cutting/chopping trees, harvesting rice, and house work) with knives for a long time but I know that my skills are still very limited. For me unlike most FMA, my training consisted more on back stabbing skills than duels. It was more on where to hit, damage and effect, time, infection spread rate and what kind of tools (single, double, ice pick, tube, triangular, barbed.. metal, plastic, glass, wood, or rock... plus style, size, length and weight) to use based on temperature, location and climate, the moon's effect on injuries (best time for clotting or gushing...) which is really weird to study I guess. It was more like witchcraft more than MA, hahaha! This is why my duel skills is basically crap, lol.

    Based on what you wrote, it looks like I use the Folsom Prison Style more.
    Next is the ice pick grip not because I prefer using it but because of muscle memory of the pistol plus knife hold. Sometimes I tend to hold the knife with my forefinger on top of the knife like I'm peeling an apple but I don't know why this happens???

    For longer blades I always use the normal forward grip because it feels natural. It feels very clumsy to hold a longer blade like a machete inverted. I also trained with two bolos using inverted grip but when my buddies saw that, they all laughed and said "are you some kind of a wannabe ninja". I still can do the sinawali using two bolos but will not be using it on a fight unless I have some shuriken with me and a black mask. Better for me to have one blade and a shield than two blades.

    I knew some practitioners who tends to show that they have weak knife skills but the truth is that they are very good. Some of them will even drop their knives and act stupid, then their back-up knife come to work. I go more for the aura or the feeling if the guy is just bluffing or will be committing to his attack. I've seen guys who handles knives very good but won't commit and guys who seems to look very afraid but goes for it.

    Skilled or not, an opponent with a knife is always a threat.
     
  3. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Ill add something. How you hold a knife can have as much to do with how youre storing it, and how you hide it. You could have a knife reverse grip for no reason other than so you can palm it up behind your arm. Or hammer grip so you can hold it behind your leg. Or it could be cross-drawn, and you just pulled it out ice-pick style. Or you could draw it straight and just end up with it hammer grip.

    Its all too common to overthink it. Furthermore, 'how to use a knife' from the antagonists point of view is easy. Stab repeatedly. More refined versions of that might indicate nothing more than the antagonist googling it.
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    A lot of people don't realize how useful this is. While such "training" is informal, it provides an intimate knowledge of the various blades and their capabilities. Just because a Chef isn't a Martial Artist doesn't mean he doesn't know how to take me apart piecemeal with a knife!

    Say it loud, brutha!

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  5. Happy-Papi

    Happy-Papi Green Belt

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  6. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    SImplest of all, really, if one is capable of "processing" under the circumstances (I am, others are, many are not ):

    The way the knife is held does tell you which directions of attack are available to your assailant with their current grip...somewhat useful information in certain stages of things, if you're capable of processing it.......but if you're capable of processing that information, then, pretty generally, the guy with the knife might just be at a disadvantage, and not even know it.....
     
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  7. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Of course. :) That is one of the "messages" I was talking about.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk (mobile)
     
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  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah... that guy just might be finding himself at a slight disadvantage! LOL
     
  9. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice article! :) Thanks for posting. I too, have heard alot of the 'myths' of how the blade is held. IMHO, and as someone else said, it's difficult, and wrong, to assume that how someone is holding the blade, determines skill level. When I do blade work with my teachers, we'll use a variety of grips. And I agree with HP....anyone with a knife should be considered a threat.
     
  10. Mark Jacobs

    Mark Jacobs White Belt

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  11. SuitableScroll

    SuitableScroll Yellow Belt

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    I've seen way to many variations on how someone holds a knife to really ever try and guestimate someone's skill by how they hold the knife. They might even be holding it in a position that makes them look like they don't what they're doing on purpose! Besides that, if someone has enough training holding a knife in an absurd position, it doesn't really matter that its an absurd position, what matters is that they are skilled using that hold on the knife. Personally I have trained fighting with knives in particularly retarded looking grips so that in case I ever had to grab one quickly and I did it wrong I was prepared to use it anyways. So it all really comes down to the persons training and in my opinion you can never really tell someone's skill by the way they hold their knife.
     
  12. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    That is a decent article. However, he does make a few errors in my opinion. Most notably, I think that he forgets how the width of the blade affect the ability to inflict injury during a stab. There are many historical accounts which cannot be ignored in which a narrow blade fails to disable an opponent. Jim Bowie, notably, took a sword cane in the lung and survive to use a knife to kill his opponent.

    Further, I believe he underestimates how easy it is to perform a deep thrust using the forward grip.

    I do agree, however, that it is well thought out and worth a read.

    The favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  13. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    "For example, many folding knives come with clips on them that allow them to attach to the inside of a pocket or waistband from which they can be quickly drawn. But the position the hand will be in when it draws these knives will usually allow only for a quick opening and deployment of the knife in a forward grip."

    I have a few qualms with that. For me, a folder clipped to my belt or pants is harder to get to because i have to clear my shirt first. If i wanted to deploy a knife quickly id get a fixed blade and a secure sheath. From there, yeah, its easier to open in a forward grip, but that assumes you didnt open it in advance and slide it between your belt and your body. It assumes the weapon is closed.

    Lastly,
    "If you are attempting to draw a folding knife while under attack (a very difficult prospect to begin with and one not easily accomplished) trying to then somehow turn the knife so you are gripping it in a reverse grip may be all but impossible given that you may not have the time. And even if you do have a split second to try and reverse the grip of the knife in the middle of a combat situation, you may be so nervous and adrenalized, you risk fumbling the knife and dropping it.
    Of course, a far simpler answer over which grip to use is simply to avoid fighting with a knife whenever possible. Then the grip doesn’t matter so much."

    What the ****?
    So basically hes discrediting folders because you cant use his preferred grip? What is that? And avoid fighting with a knife because you cant get your precious reversed grip? Next time, just start the article with "Dont use a knife, because you might not be able to hold it right! Also, holding knives forward has TOTALLY never been used to kill people. Nope. *plugs fingers in ears*"

    I think i require coffee.

    This article was interesting as far as i could sit here and learn all the reasons why i disagree with it.
     
  14. Zack Cart

    Zack Cart Brown Belt

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    Huh. Yeah, but if I see a guy dancing towards me in a light, mobile stance, with hand held veins in right across the major throughways of his neck, his other hand holding a knife close to his chest, centered with a forward grip, blade perpendicular to the floor....

    No, I'm not going to judge his skill level, perse, but there are a few basic positions which are in no way intuitive to assume, which pretty much no one would just "happen" to use, and which are fairly unique to and descriptive of a certain style of training. And, if a guy LOOKS like he has, say, some Kali training, I'm going to be running twice as fast as if he looked like he learned his knife skills from The Shining. And in either case, I'd be running pretty fast!
     
  15. cloud dancing

    cloud dancing Yellow Belt

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    old schoool{1920's-1970's} used the blade up style.Writing about his travels and fights/was merchant marine, lLamour always claimed that when he saw grip with blade up he knew it was a professional fighter.not that it would stop him from taking it away but swiping the guts sliding upwards and holding the inner arms as targets.most military hold blade edge down and forward.Tuccker taught me to hold onefinger in front of the crosspiece.to maintain grip and strike.Strikes should be straight with no rotation of the blade.use to stab and kill only. but then he had multiple kills in combat. elite teams ahve huge hours learning to use the blade.
     
  16. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    A bit of a necro (well a lot of a necro ;) ) but you can do more things than attack. One of the things I like about the reverse grip is what I have done irl using flashlights like this...Stinger® Series - Stinger® LED | Streamlight and in training with training knifes. You can use it for control as it creates an angle with your forearm. This control then can provide an opening, with the knife, for a back handed stab or slash. I think that, sometimes, people become preoccupied with stabbing and slashing with a knife. Yes this is what the knife was designed for, but you can do so much more with the weapon if you know how to use it (and the knife handle is designed appropriately to provide for better retention. Karambit style handles are ideal for this kind of work imo).

    So back to the point. You can be looking at someone holding a knife in their right hand saying "these are his most practical avenues of attack" but if you are not aware be wondering where all of the leverage is coming on that is forcing an arm in a direction you don't want it to go, and now there is an opening for whatever.
     
  17. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Necromancer

    ;)
     
  18. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Well I don't think my resurrection led to " After having been flogged to death the thread may have been deceased for many years, and bringing it back may have scant relevance to the current topic..." ;)

    I wasn't here when the thread was created and do actually find the topic interesting because, imo, the art of the blade is a lot more complicated than popular culture allows for.

    So I think this pic more embodies the necromancer in me here...[​IMG]
    :dead:
     
  19. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    No worries. I have been guilty of plenty of thread necromancy on a variety of forums over the years. I just love that website and you gave me an excuse.
     
  20. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Oh I know :) . I just have found this topic an "interesting" one because I think both have their place and the universal "this is better than that" has never tracked with me.
     

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