"Bananna peel" disarm?



Hello all,

In another forum when I was discussing knife defense someone emailed me and suggested I use the "bananna peel" disarm from Kali. The way he described it was "peel the thumb back like a bananna peel". Well I tried this and I got totally trashed by my training partner. I asked the person that gave me this suggestions what I did wrong and he suggested I raise the question on a forum. So here I am. :)

Basically as the attacker was thrusting in I tried to grab his thrumb and "pull back". This seems dangerous to me anyway as it seems I could accidently grab the knife blade. Anyway I did manage to grab the thumb but as I attempted to "peel back" the other guy just pushed his body into mine, going with the direction I was pulling his thumb, knocked me off balance, freed his knife hand and proceeded to slice and dice me at will. I do have other knife counters that I've tried that work much better for me, so it's not a huge concern, but I was just wondering if I was doing this particular one "bassackwards".


John M. Drake
We grab the thumbpad in a lot of our knife disarms, but it isn't a disarm in and of itself, merely a component of one. It sounds like someone neglected to tell you a step or two.

There are numerous disarms that can be affected after having loosened the thumb's grip on the blade. A popular one that we don't train is to place the wrist/forearm of your other hand on the flat of the blade and push it towards the attacker while peeling the thumb. However, an attacker with 1/10 of an ounce of common sense will simply rotate the blade, forcing you to cut your wrist/forearm on the blade as you attempt the disarm. Some people get by this by wearing leather gauntlets, but how many of us wear them out and about? :)

When you tried the technique on someone, did your training partner have FMA experience? Working that with an FMA practitioner may help.

Let us know what you discover!

We do that in Modern Arnis as a the first step in a disarm (if i understand your description correctly)--it's not the whole thing. Hitting the back of the hand with your other hand is the simplest continuation of it.

You might also ask on the FMA-general or Modern Arnis fora.
We do that disarm as well. Personally I think disarms happen best on the ground where motion is limited but the one you described can also be done with and "oblique" type of asist in the diasarm. This way if the attacker is turning to cut you still get the disarm and no cut. forearm works well.
Also try to sweep the hand away from you and toe=wards the outside guard of the opponent. They typically pull back (which is good then if they also enter they assist the disarm, if they don't you enter. When they pull back you use your tricep to pull the flat of the blade against the hand. (think reverse wrist lock)...(only in form)
Good luck.
my favorite way to disarm is a quick pop with your elbo, but unless I'm mistaken the bananna peel disarm you speak of assumes you have control of a knife. It's kinda hard to just catch a knife hand in the middle of the attack, but once you have it I was taught to grab the meaty part of the thumb than use something to knock the blade out of the hand, I have found your elbo from the other arm or a knee is the easiest.

Almost forgot, if you have controled their arm and you have their thumb, you can probably just pull the knife right out of their hand with your other hand.
There are 6 basic types of disarms in Kali:
1. Harness
2. Leverage
3. Vine
4. Snake
5. Thumb-Based
6. Quick Strip

It sounds like you are referring to a thumb-based disarm. The main thing is to realize that you cannot arbitrarily (sp?) grab his hand when he is slashing at you! You have to set the technique up, which I am sure you already know. One of the ways I like to set this up is when he gives you an angle #5 (straight line stab) you have your knife in pakal (icepick,blade down-thumb up) grip. You slash the side of his wrist closest to your blade with an upward motion. Then you "hook" his wrist with your blade. Pass the blade down in a small circle until you get to 6:00 (straight down). Then pick his wrist up with your empty hand and place it where you want. Just remember, in combat you do not work for a disarm, it is just kinda there. Also, it will not work in combat if you do not literally cut his structure of how he is holding the blade somehow. It is kinda difficult to explain in words. Feel free to get up with me and I will show you. Hope this helps.
Seeker of Truth
All disarms are thumb based. To drop the stick the thumb has to release. It doesn't matter how you accomplish it, impact, or snake, or hinge, the pressure makes the thumb release.
100 % true! Thumb-Based just means that you physically grab the meat of the thumb, however all disarms have to follow the line of the thumb in order to work. Great Point! Thanks.
Hello all,

Thanks for the good information! I think Cthulhu hit the nail on the head. Some of the steps must have been left out. Any good books on the subject? Anyway I've been experimenting with knife defense by trying to apply general techniques I've learned from JFJKD. Some things worked. Some things didn't. Some things worked after I adjusted what I was doing. (For example, I learned how to lop away from myself and twist the arm so that my opponent couldn't cut my wrist.) I've even come up with a couple of "new" things (new to me at least) that seem to work but that I'm unable to describe. I've been working with a guy that had some training under Vunak (see this OJKD man can be open minded. [:)]) but his Kali experience is limited and he's not familair with this disarm. (He just knows how to totally screw up the way I was trying to do it.) Anyway I need to drop by "seekeroftruth's" school here in Nashville someday when I have "free time". (I think we talked an Dan's forum once.)


John M. Drake
I think it is great that you are so open minded, and I look forward to meeting you soon. I am still interested in going down to visit Sifu Lamar with you! I have just been really busy lately. Keep me posted. Thanks in advance.
Seeker Of Truth

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