How much of an advantage is a knife?

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Any time I was visiting another dojo, if I was asked what I would like to work on from their art, I would request either self defense, sparring or weapons defense. And that's been a lot of dojos over the years. [and a lot of **** whoopings I got]

The speed and agility parts were never a problem for me. I'm just not good against knives, never have been. Unless I have a knife. And I practice a lot with a knife.

And you bring up a terrific point - the realization in students that it's scary. One thing I've seen throughout the years, in some places - is an almost blaise approach to knife training.

And the dreaded X block of a knife. You know, where you cross the wrists and block an incoming straight strike and then disarm with a wrist lock.......like I used to teach when I was a youngster. Thank God nobody actually had to use that and got themselves killed.

Probably goes back to the fear factor and trying to overcome that.

Anyway, some of my thoughts:

I did look it up and of the many You Tube examples I saw, I wasnt satisfied. Many were showing why it would be so easy for the knife wielder to effectively defeat any attempt at a cross block. And darned if it wasnt as long as the defender blocked and then just stood there awaiting their fate. I was intrigued by the sequences below:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4&&FORM=VDRVRV

About 1:38 he reaches forward and grasps the hand in a cross hand grasp. Goodness! Even about 1:49, he grasps the wrist in a more controlling way, but again pauses for the defender to switch the knife to the opposite hand. Not recommended. Worse, neither cross block is really a block. A good cross hand block is with the fists clenched and is done in a scissor fashion so the wrists arent just blocking, but actually striking. With a good firm grasp like at 1:49, done as the defender makes a step to the left to even with the attackers plane (no cross block there by the way), while directing the strike to the left or the attacker, then moves the attackers hand and arm down and back and then up as the defender steps through with his right foot, the defender will find he has pulled in the attacker while twisting the arm, and can then bring the arm down forcefully and into the attackers abdomen; preferably into the liver, but certainly deeply into the bowels. The attackers left arm will have ceased to be useful as the defender pulls the attackers right arm forward then back while deflecting it away from himself.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hapkido+knife+defense&view=detail&mid=920BBFCB258E038F7760920BBFCB258E038F7760&FORM=VIRE

It is similar to the defense at 1:09, but significantly different in the control of the attacker, and again does not employ a cross block. By not controlling the wrist better with two hands, and not pulling him off balance a bit, in fact, the left arm of the attacker might be brought into play. Also, by not stepping to the side, you meet the arm coming full force. Trying to stop it with one hand at the wrist and the other more with the thumb is to me way more dangerous. I am not sure if the defender is trying to use an elbow pressure point since it isnt quite placed right, but no matter, I would consider it an inferior defense.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=9052CB30F2D539A6D94F9052CB30F2D539A6D94F&&FORM=VDRVRV In this video, you can see a much better application of defense after a cross block. It still lacks a strike, and is also a little tricky, but likely to work if done correctly and quickly. I personally would prefer what I described above.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,196
Reaction score
4,851
Location
San Francisco
Either one is a bad day at Black Rock. But if given my druthers, put that gun to my forehead any day. Frightening as all get out, but if you have done that and haven't yet shot me, life as you know it is over.

I know that sounds silly, but I've drilled handgun disarms so many times for so many years....and, yes, it's probably been a waste of time, but hey, what can I say?

Just keep them damn knives away from me.
Now I know your one weakness. Beware: Im coming to Maui in a few months...MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,196
Reaction score
4,851
Location
San Francisco
Well it is an effective strategy. Just grab the blade. Look them in the eyes too to let them know your the alpha and they will instinctively back down. o_O
Or they just whip the knife back and sever the tendons in all of your fingers. And then laugh at the silly alpha-wannabe who grabbed the blade...
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,706
Reaction score
10,023
Location
Maui
Probably goes back to the fear factor and trying to overcome that.

Anyway, some of my thoughts:

I did look it up and of the many You Tube examples I saw, I wasnt satisfied. Many were showing why it would be so easy for the knife wielder to effectively defeat any attempt at a cross block. And darned if it wasnt as long as the defender blocked and then just stood there awaiting their fate. I was intrigued by the sequences below:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4&&FORM=VDRVRV

About 1:38 he reaches forward and grasps the hand in a cross hand grasp. Goodness! Even about 1:49, he grasps the wrist in a more controlling way, but again pauses for the defender to switch the knife to the opposite hand. Not recommended. Worse, neither cross block is really a block. A good cross hand block is with the fists clenched and is done in a scissor fashion so the wrists arent just blocking, but actually striking. With a good firm grasp like at 1:49, done as the defender makes a step to the left to even with the attackers plane (no cross block there by the way), while directing the strike to the left or the attacker, then moves the attackers hand and arm down and back and then up as the defender steps through with his right foot, the defender will find he has pulled in the attacker while twisting the arm, and can then bring the arm down forcefully and into the attackers abdomen; preferably into the liver, but certainly deeply into the bowels. The attackers left arm will have ceased to be useful as the defender pulls the attackers right arm forward then back while deflecting it away from himself.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hapkido+knife+defense&view=detail&mid=920BBFCB258E038F7760920BBFCB258E038F7760&FORM=VIRE

It is similar to the defense at 1:09, but significantly different in the control of the attacker, and again does not employ a cross block. By not controlling the wrist better with two hands, and not pulling him off balance a bit, in fact, the left arm of the attacker might be brought into play. Also, by not stepping to the side, you meet the arm coming full force. Trying to stop it with one hand at the wrist and the other more with the thumb is to me way more dangerous. I am not sure if the defender is trying to use an elbow pressure point since it isnt quite placed right, but no matter, I would consider it an inferior defense.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=9052CB30F2D539A6D94F9052CB30F2D539A6D94F&&FORM=VDRVRV In this video, you can see a much better application of defense after a cross block. It still lacks a strike, and is also a little tricky, but likely to work if done correctly and quickly. I personally would prefer what I described above.

The Hapkido clip - I love Hapkido, it's one of my all time favorite Arts. But, I find most of that particular clip tactically impractical. Some of it, like if you pause at the 1;38 mark, that's the exact thing I was refering to as to what I taught when I was a youngster. That exact thing right there! And, man, I could really impress with it, I was fast, I flowed, I rocked. Can still, too, and look really good doing it. It will get you killed though. Deader than crap.

The last clip, the cute young man who says at the 1:03 mark, "let's say you're cop or something"...... that boy never handcuffed anybody in his whole fricken' life. Not once, ever.

And his hip-jump-back X block....at the very least he should have moon walked. [I don't know what it is about that kid, I just want make fun of him for some reason. I feel bad about it, though. But, still..]
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,706
Reaction score
10,023
Location
Maui
@Flying Crane.....Oh, rock on, bro!

Been over a year since you've been here, yeah? My schedule has changed since then. Now on a four day work week, I'm off Wed, Thurs, Fri. If you want to train, those are the days I have time to get beat up. :) If you want to just be on your own with family, that's okay, too. It's all good. You need anything, Michael, you let me know.

You should have my cell, if not, I'll P.M you. Oh, goody, crazy person coming to Maui! Just what the place needs.....
 
Last edited:

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,706
Reaction score
10,023
Location
Maui
Double post
 
Last edited:

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,315
Reaction score
10,082
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Probably goes back to the fear factor and trying to overcome that.

Anyway, some of my thoughts:

I did look it up and of the many You Tube examples I saw, I wasnt satisfied. Many were showing why it would be so easy for the knife wielder to effectively defeat any attempt at a cross block. And darned if it wasnt as long as the defender blocked and then just stood there awaiting their fate. I was intrigued by the sequences below:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4F69A4A96E8420CDC01D4&&FORM=VDRVRV

About 1:38 he reaches forward and grasps the hand in a cross hand grasp. Goodness! Even about 1:49, he grasps the wrist in a more controlling way, but again pauses for the defender to switch the knife to the opposite hand. Not recommended. Worse, neither cross block is really a block. A good cross hand block is with the fists clenched and is done in a scissor fashion so the wrists arent just blocking, but actually striking. With a good firm grasp like at 1:49, done as the defender makes a step to the left to even with the attackers plane (no cross block there by the way), while directing the strike to the left or the attacker, then moves the attackers hand and arm down and back and then up as the defender steps through with his right foot, the defender will find he has pulled in the attacker while twisting the arm, and can then bring the arm down forcefully and into the attackers abdomen; preferably into the liver, but certainly deeply into the bowels. The attackers left arm will have ceased to be useful as the defender pulls the attackers right arm forward then back while deflecting it away from himself.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hapkido+knife+defense&view=detail&mid=920BBFCB258E038F7760920BBFCB258E038F7760&FORM=VIRE

It is similar to the defense at 1:09, but significantly different in the control of the attacker, and again does not employ a cross block. By not controlling the wrist better with two hands, and not pulling him off balance a bit, in fact, the left arm of the attacker might be brought into play. Also, by not stepping to the side, you meet the arm coming full force. Trying to stop it with one hand at the wrist and the other more with the thumb is to me way more dangerous. I am not sure if the defender is trying to use an elbow pressure point since it isnt quite placed right, but no matter, I would consider it an inferior defense.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cross+block+against+knife&&view=detail&mid=9052CB30F2D539A6D94F9052CB30F2D539A6D94F&&FORM=VDRVRV In this video, you can see a much better application of defense after a cross block. It still lacks a strike, and is also a little tricky, but likely to work if done correctly and quickly. I personally would prefer what I described above.
I can't view the videos - can you post direct links (instead of the Bing links)?
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,196
Reaction score
4,851
Location
San Francisco
@Flying Crane.....Oh, rock on, bro!

Been over a year since you've been here, yeah? My schedule has changed since then. Now on a four day work week, I'm off Wed, Thurs, Fri. If you want to train, those are the days I have time to get beat up. :) If you want to just be on your own with family, that's okay, too. It's all good. You need anything, Michael, you let me know.

You should have my cell, if not, I'll P.M you. Oh, goody, crazy person coming to Maui! Just what the place needs.....
Not sure what our schedule wil be like, but Ill let you know if I have any time. We will be in Lahaina.
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
The Hapkido clip - I love Hapkido, it's one of my all time favorite Arts. But, I find most of that particular clip tactically impractical. Some of it, like if you pause at the 1;38 mark, that's the exact thing I was refering to as to what I taught when I was a youngster. That exact thing right there! And, man, I could really impress with it, I was fast, I flowed, I rocked. Can still, too, and look really good doing it. It will get you killed though. Deader than crap.

The last clip, the cute young man who says at the 1:03 mark, "let's say you're cop or something"...... that boy never handcuffed anybody in his whole fricken' life. Not once, ever.

And his hip-jump-back X block....at the very least he should have moon walked. [I don't know what it is about that kid, I just want make fun of him for some reason. I feel bad about it, though. But, still..]

I agree, as I said, it just doesn't really look like the person teaching has received good instruction, and is passing the poor instruction along. That move at the 1:38 mark just looks so wrong, so clumsy. And the young lad, you are right. Now in much of the Hapkido knife defense I learned, we finished by taking the attacker's knife away from him and cutting him long and wide. So less need to subdue the attacker any more. And you are right, his little bunny hop is dangerous and wasteful of motion.

I notice you didn't mention anything about it, did you learn cross block to be delivered as a strike?
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
I can't view the videos - can you post direct links (instead of the Bing links)?

Didn't I mention those videos were extremely secret videos of the 10,000 year old Hapkido Grand Master's test boards? I only escaped with the videos because they thought I died when I jumped off the top of Mt Sorak with them in my bag. Almost did too. If it hadn't been for the mountain fairy who thought the GMs were to harsh and saved me without realizing I had those videos, I couldn't show them now. :D

I'll see what I can do.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,196
Reaction score
4,851
Location
San Francisco
You should be able to view the first video at https://youtu.be/ZkVy7S6wwEY

And the second at




If neither works let me know.
The attached video of the two young guys working the knife defense, is exactly the kind of thing that strikes me as unrealistic, making unreasonable assumptions about how a knife encounter would play out. I really cringe when I see that kind of thing.

The linked YouTube video showing the weaknesses of the X block, I get what he is saying and I dont disagree, but at the same time there needs to be something to use to deflect the knife attack and I think an X block COULD be a tool that COULD work, potentially. Its just that everything is sketchy and dangerous in this situation. Perhaps the danger is in the overcommittment to the defense, unrealistically expecting to quickly gain some kind of control of the knife or dominance of the situation after using the X block. What might be more realistic is simply using it against the attackers wrist or forearm to bounce away the attacks, even repeated attacks, without the over commitment that would leave you open or vulnerable. It isnt ultimately a solution, but it buys time perhaps to get away, preventing stabs or cuts to the torso or head, limiting injuries to the forearms. Its a sacrifice plan, and needs to lead to escape or its gonna be curtains.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,315
Reaction score
10,082
Location
Hendersonville, NC
You should be able to view the first video at https://youtu.be/ZkVy7S6wwEY
The first, as others have said, suffers from the same demo nonsense as many "ours is better" videos. If the pose-for-a-portrait blocks weren't enough, there's that oh-so-utilitarian smooth swap of the knife mid-attack. Not much realistic in any of that, IMO.

And the second at


If neither works let me know.
The second isn't a very good example of the questionable sequence he's showing. Most of the movements in that have a time and place, and might even have a time and place against knives, but the way he's doing them doesn't convince me, at all.
 

SeekGuidance

White Belt
Joined
Apr 7, 2018
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
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.
The only reason someone would pull out a knife or a gun in a fist fight is fear. The fear and adrenaline combined can make any lackey miss from a 1 metre range. A knife is accurate, you can slash with it and so forth. When it comes to knife fighting there are 2 types of it:
The one in the moves is where the person is an idiot and holds the knife in front of them out fear and not knowing how to use. They are basically giving away their wrist for you to crush.
The second style is the one where you should just run. I doubt any martial arts can save you from this. If they brandish a knife, take a step back and hold the knife close to their body, pointing at you, while the other hand is outstretched ready to jab at you, then they are an experience knife fighter. They will use the hand closest to you to distract. They could literally just wave it at you and the next thing you know is they are pumping the other hand holding the knife into your rib cage.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,315
Reaction score
10,082
Location
Hendersonville, NC
The only reason someone would pull out a knife or a gun in a fist fight is fear. The fear and adrenaline combined can make any lackey miss from a 1 metre range. A knife is accurate, you can slash with it and so forth. When it comes to knife fighting there are 2 types of it:
The one in the moves is where the person is an idiot and holds the knife in front of them out fear and not knowing how to use. They are basically giving away their wrist for you to crush.
The second style is the one where you should just run. I doubt any martial arts can save you from this. If they brandish a knife, take a step back and hold the knife close to their body, pointing at you, while the other hand is outstretched ready to jab at you, then they are an experience knife fighter. They will use the hand closest to you to distract. They could literally just wave it at you and the next thing you know is they are pumping the other hand holding the knife into your rib cage.
Not all trained knife people agree on keeping the knife back. I remember a seminar some years ago where the instructor (Ken Pannel, IIRC) said something like, "Why would I put my best weapon so far from your body?"
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,706
Reaction score
10,023
Location
Maui
I agree, as I said, it just doesn't really look like the person teaching has received good instruction, and is passing the poor instruction along. That move at the 1:38 mark just looks so wrong, so clumsy. And the young lad, you are right. Now in much of the Hapkido knife defense I learned, we finished by taking the attacker's knife away from him and cutting him long and wide. So less need to subdue the attacker any more. And you are right, his little bunny hop is dangerous and wasteful of motion.

I notice you didn't mention anything about it, did you learn cross block to be delivered as a strike?

Not initially, no. Shortly afterwards I did while training with some folks. I really liked it as a strike block, or whatever the terminology might be, and still do vs certain things. It's just not conducive to knife fighting in any way, shape or form.
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Not initially, no. Shortly afterwards I did while training with some folks. I really liked it as a strike block, or whatever the terminology might be, and still do vs certain things. It's just not conducive to knife fighting in any way, shape or form.

I agree with the caveat that anything might be useful in a given situation. But in general, I think it is better to block and evade, or control the knife hand/arm and try to do something destructive to the attacker.
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Not all trained knife people agree on keeping the knife back. I remember a seminar some years ago where the instructor (Ken Pannel, IIRC) said something like, "Why would I put my best weapon so far from your body?"

I suspect that is an individual preference for a given individual. If the person is fast, which a good knife fighter should be, you don't have a lot of time to decide if the attack is going to be a thrust to the abdomen, a up to downward strike, a slash from right to left or left to right. No doubt knife defense is a tricky thing. But you do have the option of retreating while evaluating your opponent, or kicking out a knee or ankle with as much speed as your opponent might attack you.
 
Top