What kind of knife is best for knife fighting?

Discussion in 'Knife Arts' started by Joab, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    Not that I intend to fight with a knife, its more of an academic question. What kind of knife is best for knife fighting? All opinions appreciated.
     
  2. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    I usually go with sharp and pointy. :)
     
  3. mwd0818

    mwd0818 Green Belt

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    You so beat me to this one!!!
     
  4. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    Can you be a little more specific than that? What about the Bowie knife, of Fairbairn/Applegate? What about the Ka-bar? Or perhaps something else?
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    The one you have with you.

    Seriously. If you can't legally carry it, it's not much good unless you intend to break the law.

    Other than that, I believe it is down to personal choice and your own comfort zone. I prefer a very small knife with a parrot-beak blade. Something I can grasp firmly, which disappears in my hand with the exception of 2 inches of hooked blade sticking out, which I would attempt to use to open the belly.

    Bad guys do not tend to continue fighting when they have to hold their intestines in with both hands, and a slash is much more effective in terms of not needing to be accurate than a stab. People take stab wounds all the time and aren't even aware they've been stuck until later, even if the wound is life-threatening. Spill their guts out and it will get their attention.
     
  6. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    Too general...

    Sharp, pointy, easy to conceal.... :)

    Personal preference...I like SpiderCo http://www.spyderco.com/
     
  7. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    OK, I resisted my initial urge to be asinine and replay "a sword" or "a gun" or something else equally wanker-ish.

    The truth is "best knife for knife fighting" covers a massive number of unstated and implied prerequisites.

    The question has been answered differently numerous times by vastly varying cultures.

    The reason is simple yet complex. The heart of the question is really, "what is knife fighting?" There are many constituents to what knife fighting is but some basics include:

    • What is the physical build and general physical capabilities of the opponent you will likely face?
    • What kind of armour or protective clothing will your likely opponent be wearing?
    • Are "knife fights" usually to the death or are they more often duels of honor where wounding or "first blood" is sufficient?
    • If "first blood" type duels are common, what kind of wound and location on the body is sufficient (i.e., a scar to the face, a cut to the arm, or any cut anywhere)?
    • Is a knife fight likely to be initiated from surprise or ambush?
    • Are there specific social (or legal) conventions on how a knife may be carried, displayed, or accessed (such as prohibitions against concealing the knife or, alternately, prohibitions against carrying visible knifes).
    • Is your most likely available knife going to be influenced or dictated by cultural conventions such as a knife which is "traditional to that culture (i.e., navaja, skean dhu, kirpan, or kukri)?
    • Are there specific legal restrictions on the type of knife you may use (i.e., single edged only, restrictions on length, no fixed blades, or no locking mechanism on folders)?
    Once you answer these and many other, similar, questions you can begin to narrow down the options of which knife is ideal for you and your requirements.

    Personally, me, I happen to like Bowie Knives. ;)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  8. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    He didn't say anything about carrying a knife for self defense. He was pretty vague, actually. He might be referring to a knife-v-knife duel in a classical setting, or maybe he's planning on visiting the Philippines, or who-knows-what.

    While I agree with your recommendation re carrying a knife for SD, the OP didn't really give enough information to answer the question.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  9. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Maybe concealment isn't important. Ceteris Paribus, I'd take a D-Guard Bowie or a cut down 1860 over a spiderco any day. But neither are particularly concealable so if "easy to conceal" is important, then neither of those will do.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  10. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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  11. K831

    K831 Black Belt

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    Well, you first post, and your last post, require a different answer. For "fighting" against another human being I would want one type of knife, for going to Iraq as a Marine, I would choose another. Right down to the steel. For example, in a pure fighting knife, I would choose a knife in something like 154CM/ATS-34 but for going to Iraq/Afghanistan I might choose D2 or even sv30.

    Nevertheless I will try and give you my answer in the format I think you are looking for;

    Pure fighting knife(many of these fit the Afgan knife too) -

    Handle -

    Design must be ergonomic and provide a secure grip in short and long held (the ergonomics matter here depending on how you fight, and might be different if you fight short held edge in, for example)

    Material must provide good grip and feel, even when hands are sweaty/bloody (see Emerson's use of G10)

    Forward thumb ramp so my hand doesn't slip forward if I stab and abruptly stop (hit bone etc)

    Pommel that facilitates hammer fist strikes

    Blade -

    I prefer a recurve blade as I believe they slice better and the design facilitates better trapping with the blade. I prefer a spear point for thrusting (followed by a drop point). I prefer non serrated blades in a pure fighter.

    Not completely decided, but I tend to lean towards a hollow grind for this application.

    A double edged blade would be preferable.

    Also important to consider is the sheath /draw-stroke / carry location.
     
  12. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    it also depends on preferred tactics. i like to use the point for the most part, so a stable hand guard that will keep my hand from sliding up the blade when i stab is important. other people might use the edge more & prefer a slightly curved blade. if you use the underhand grip a lot, you might use a lot of edge but if it's too curved it could dig into your forearm. a double edged blade would be problematic for the underhand grip for the similar reasons. but since i seldom actually carry a knife i think it's important for your tactics to be able to be easily translated to improvised weapons. for instance if you completely rely on the edge you might have a difficult time applying your skills with a broken beer bottle or an ice pick.

    jf
     
  13. prokarateshop

    prokarateshop Orange Belt

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    Though really really graphic, i do agree.. but how do you contend with clothing.. would a heavy shirt prove slashing ineffective..
     
  14. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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  15. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Really, Joab, this is such an open-ended question that it cannot truly be answered here. Different situations will have different requirements. And remember, it's not the knife, man, it's the knifeman.

    But for recommendations on how to use a knife, look to the work of Michael Janich. A sample video of his is , but I must warn that it is a bit graphic at times. You will see, however, that the knife itself matters little (see the results of a very small box-cutter type blade). Other videos of his have denim or other clothing wrapped around the "pork man" target, to show how clothing effects cutting ability.

    But really, there is no best fighting knife, the same way there is no best kick, no best gun, no best anything. The best is what works for the situation you are in, and what you can use effectively. That could include legal requirements, or you may be looking at what types of attacks you are going against (a soldier in Afghanistan will have a different type of attack and weapon to defend against than someone in the US getting caught up in a robbery).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  16. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    There really is no "best" knife. Sorry it just does not work that way. While one might be great in a certain situation and then not so good in another. I mean if I was in the jungle then a ginunting might be absolutely great. It clears bush, can chop wood (though that seems sacrilegious), cuts people effectively, etc. If I was in a mall in the United States then I would need some thing small like a benchmade griptillian which is compact, legal, easily accesible and cuts well. (heck I can open boxes with it all day) What really is more important than the knife is the user's ability with it. That is what is really important. [​IMG]
     
  17. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    It always comes down to software over hardware, tactics over tools.
     
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  18. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Whether you can carry it or not is an important practical consideration. It's even a concern for combat; if the regs don't permit a particular knife, then you can't carry it -- even if it's a fantastic knife for fighting that barely needs a human to hold it.

    There's no perfect knife for fighting. What fits me and the way I move is not going to be the same as what will be good for you. My grip or the way I use the knife may want a balance here but you want one more blade forward... or deeper into the handle. How and where I'm going to carry it (do I want it open or concealed, in a pocket or strapped to my belt...) will effect the choice, as will the environment. If I'm spending a lot of time in a wet environment, I have different needs than if I'm in a desert... And so on.
     
  19. K831

    K831 Black Belt

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    I find it a little funny that no one can answer Joab's question because of a desire to take it too seriously.

    Yes, we all know there is no "perfect" knife.

    Yes, we all know there is no "one knife" for all and very fighting situation

    Yes, we all know in the real world you should be able to carry it legally.

    Yes, we all know the "best" knife is the one you have on you...

    Ad nauseum...

    However, the OP isn't asking for suggestions loaded with all those "practical" pieces of advise.... he simply wants to have a "what if" discussion. He isn't talking about a knife he will actually carry in a US city.... just what characteristics would we want in our version of a great fighting knife... NO OTHER factors need to be considered.

    Maybe I'm wrong.... Joab correct me if I misunderstood you. But can't we all have a fun discussion about our preferred aspects of a fighting knife, and forget about everything else... at least in this one thread?
     
  20. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    Fine, I'll play...

    Big, scary, high "CDI" factor: Bowie, something like a Bagwell Hell's Belle.

    Small, concealable, and useful in the types of situations where a knife might actually come into play: Push-dagger or something like the Kasper Companion

    For the record, when my little brother (Army 11B) deployed to Iraq recently, I gave him a RAT Cutlery RC-5. I figured he'd get far more use out of a knife like that (5" blade, 1/4" stock, glass-breaker pommel) than a big, scary "fightin' knife." He will undoubtedly spend much more time cutting open pallets or prying open windows/doors than squared off against someone else with a knife...they gave him an M4 for dealing with people who need killing.
     

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