Karate vs. the Knife.

arnisador

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A commonly heard statement in the FMA is that most traditional martial artists aren't prepared to face a competent knife-wielding attacker. It's a given that anyone is in bad shape if he or she is unarmed and the opponent has a knife--those are long odds--but there's a belief that traditional karate, Tae Kwon Do, aikido, etc., defenses are especially unrealistic. Certainly I have often seen people in these systems practice defenses against knife attacks that are lunge/reverse punches while holding a knife, which is an unrealistic attack if the attacker is knowledgeable about knives and knife fighting.

What do karateka think? As a former karateka who is now a FMA practitioner, I know that studying the FMA made it clear to me that I knew much less about defending against the knife than I had thought I did! On the other hand, the one time I was attacked with a knife (omitting the time I was able to get away), I did use some of my karate training as well as my FMA training.
 
Here's the reason I believe most karate and karate-like systems don't appear to have realistic knife defenses: they don't really train you on how to use a knife. You're taught defenses against a weapon you don't use, so can't fully understand. It's sort of like a defensive driving instructor telling you how to drive safely, when he himself doesn't know how to drive at all.

The only way to truly appreciate this problem is to do some bladework with an experienced FMA practitioner, or possibly a student of a Southeast Asian system that also trains blades.

I've had years of Okinawa-te training, and just my first blade lesson with my FMA training was a real eye opener.

Cthulhu
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
Here's the reason I believe most karate and karate-like systems don't appear to have realistic knife defenses: they don't really train you on how to use a knife. .

Cthulhu

I believe this is true for most styles.

If you don't how to use the weapon, be it a strick, kick, knife, bo, gun what ever, you'll never know what it really takes to defend yourself against it. (YOu don't know what your up against).

/Yari
 
Originally posted by arnisador
A commonly heard statement in the FMA is that most traditional martial artists aren't prepared to face a competent knife-wielding attacker. It's a given that anyone is in bad shape if he or she is unarmed and the opponent has a knife--those are long odds--but there's a belief that traditional karate, Tae Kwon Do, aikido, etc., defenses are especially unrealistic. Certainly I have often seen people in these systems practice defenses against knife attacks that are lunge/reverse punches while holding a knife, which is an unrealistic attack if the attacker is knowledgeable about knives and knife fighting.

What do karateka think? As a former karateka who is now a FMA practitioner, I know that studying the FMA made it clear to me that I knew much less about defending against the knife than I had thought I did! On the other hand, the one time I was attacked with a knife (omitting the time I was able to get away), I did use some of my karate training as well as my FMA training.

Thats the exact reason I started training with the scientific Fighting Congress as we did very little knife defence and nothing on learning how to wield a knife.

Cheers'
Sammy
 
And of course, the best defense, if possible, is to just run away. Even an unskilled person can use a knife. It's not hard to grasp the concept of 'pointy end goes in the other guy'. :)

Cthulhu
 
I think that most martial artists aren't adequately prepared for such situations. Most of the "standard knife defenses" I've seen over the years simply will not work and in many cases, they leave the defender very vulnerable.

Yilichuan teaches very effective defensive tactics against the knife and the training for these defenses is progressive and considered a very important part of training.

The same is true for handguns (provided the armed aggressor is close enough to reach out and caress).
 
Does any one has an opinion on Krav Maga's defence against armed attack?
 
I agree with the point that if your not trained in a weapon then you don't fully know how to defend against it. At my dojo we are very knowledgeable about how to defend and attack against weapons in our system kama, sai, katana, bo, tonfa, and nanchaku. But we don't focus on too much knife defense. We don't train in knife's so we don't practice defense against them too often.
 
Defense against weapons is actually a specialty of Yilichuan. One set of defensive maneuvers works against virtually any hand-held weapon (that is, a weapon which requires one to strike with it) such as the knife, bludgeon, baseball bat, razor blade, sword, or whatever.
A second set is designed for use against firearms (handguns).

Training for defense against an armed aggressor requires step-by-step training on a regular basis. Practicing it just once in a while won't do the job.

Of course, we also train to fight WITH a blade. The Yili knife-fighting techniques are considered secret techniques and are extremely effective.
 
against weapons in our system kama, sai, katana, bo, tonfa, and nanchaku.

What are the chances of being attacked with these weapons?

Or...does a defense against a edged weapon work regardless (to some extent)?

Rob

Apparently I posted too late...see above
 
Yes I agree Robo, the Bo is actually not that hard to believe. If your about to get into a fight with someone and they see a broomstick laying around then it could be used as a bo. We use our sai defense techniques for a knife. We practice defense against a knife it's just not aimed directly for knife.
 
Yes defense against an edged or small bladed weapon (katana, sai) does work to some extent.
 
We use our sai defense techniques for a knife

I guess I'm getting nitty-gritty here but...

Wouldn't it be more appropiate to use sai defense as for against a club? A sai doensn't have much in common with a knife except for the pointy tip.

It's just that self-defense are going to be boken up in to catagories such as against clubbing weapons, slashing/stabbing weapons discharging weapons, flexible weapons

A knife fighter is not going to stab you the same way you would stab with the sai. The short compact subtle movements that would do great damage with a knife would be ineffective if done with a sai.

The method of attack with some of the 'traditional' weapons does not seem to not translate well to what is happening in the street today.

This is how I would look at attacks from the 'traditional' weapons,

kama ---> dangerous club
sai ---> club
katana ---> big knife (run very fast in other dir)
bo ---> big club
tonfa ---> ???
nanchaku ---> chain or flexible

Using the sai as an example I don't see the correlation to a knife attack. And I have no idea what a tonfa would translate to.

Rob
 
A typical knife attack is actually very often either a box-cutter (basically all edge, not stabbing) or a shank such as a screwdriver (basically stabbing only, no edge). So a sai has aspects of a large shank.

What types of empty-hand defenses does one use against a sai?
 
What types of empty-hand defenses does one use against a sai?

Assuming you've dropped your katana?

Sorry, just kidding.

Learning those techniques to preserve the traditional aspects is cool. But the amount of work you have to put into weapons vs. empty hand is considerable.

I would rather give my training partner a screwdriver or a box cutter with the blades removed and see how the defenses actually prove out. Do the bulk of the work with the weapons that you will most likely be attacked with and move it backwards to traditional weapons when you've got it down.

If you want to put it into a generic format then get a 4-6" knife, short (6") and long club (12-18") and chain. If you could defend against these consistantly then I would say you have a good shot on the street (pun intended)

But firearms are a whole other consideration.

Rob
 
As I've said before there is very little knife defense. We are a very traditional martial art. We know how to defend against the jabs of a sai so I think that that could somewhat be translated against a knife. Very vaguely so. Arnisador to answer your question you can hit pressure points on the arm and do grabs also. I haven't done training against or with anything but a Bo and very vaguely with a katana so I'm not fully qualified to answer your questions. I have seen others do defense works with these weapons.
 
Very interesting I ran upon this, I was just discussing this yesterday with a gentlemen that had came to me for a lesson in FMA knife training. He is a traditional Karateka.

We discussed the use of edged weapon training within karate.

And as we discussed it, he and I agreed that the normal % of training of the edged weapon that he recieved and what I learnt as a Karateka was that from a "lunge, thrust" rather than a slash.
or an over head downward stabbing motion. And from both our experience we played with several different things that we were taught and what the normal defense was. THEN I pulled a "reality check" on him and from he thrust, stab, lunge I pulled back and began to slash, low and behold all the traditional knife techniques became rather quickly useless. Then after that I had his undivine attention and I began illistrating some of the FMA knife work, on how we guide, follow, contour, and re-direct etc... he was just blown away. By the end of the 2 hour training session we had, he had felt he came away with a new outlook on knife/edged weapon attack training. And for further notion he is a L.E.O. so it defenitly would possibly save his neck on the street had he ever or will ever encounter such a situation.

My only suggestion to knife fighting as i have heard is to understand the knife, you must explore its whole option and play with it, spar with it, (training of course) and search for what works. Instead of practicing a thrust disarm, Slash at the opponent, cut at the opponent, once you thrust turn and slice at the arm, thats realistic knife training. Go for the throat, the abdomonin, the leg, the kidney, areas of high arterial location, such as the armpit, wrist, back of knee, ackilies tendon, inside the elbow area, back of the hand... these are common knife attack areas aginst a skilled knife fighter... Just something to practice with if your interested in learning knife defense.... MAIN THING NOT TO TRY TO DO, IS GO FOR A DISARM, IF IT IS THERE THEN SO BE IT, GOAL TO KNIFE FIGHTING IS MAINLY TO DETER IT, OR MANAGE YOURSELF AWAY FROM IT, FIND AN EQUALIZER, LEARN TO MANUEVER AWAY RATHER THAN TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE WEAPON. I was once told a rather unique statement in knife fighting, "thiers only 2 types of people that leave a knife fight"
THE WOUNDED and or the DEAD. A good chance that if you attack a knife weilder and try for a disarm and even as an accident you could end up getting a nasty cut.

Just my outlook on edged weapons.
Cory
 
Well put. I tell my students that if they become involved in such a confrontation, they are guaranteed to get cut. Then the only question is whether or not they have a strong enough spirit to continue to the end or if they'll "turtle-up" and die.

We try to make our knife-defense training as realistic and as practical as possible.

Fortunately, the majority of thugs out there who pull knives on citizens aren't well-trained in the use of the weapon. But learning it's use and also how to defend oneself against it gives you an edge (no pun intended).
 
I have to agree with my Sifu...

Something I think most folks forget is that the typical idiot we are up against is not a trained martial artist. The "bad guy" is unlikely to have the discipline, money, dedication or time to put into training in martial arts, regardless of style.

So training against a sai, bo, nunchaku or tonfa wielding attacker, though a faultless practice in and of itself, would be completely different than dealing with a box cutter weilding, frightened sociopath bent on separating you from your wallet.

I think that if we are going to classify styles into MMA, TMA, etc., we need to define TMA in more detail, to include traditional arts that make use of continual development to deal with advances in technology (just as our archaic ancestors did to deal with the use of weapons instead of simple bare hands), and those that have decided to focus on preservation of the ancient techniques instead. In the latter case, arts such as iaido, kendo, kobudo come to mind.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
Remembering back to the 60's and early 70's when I studied karate, all of the defensive knife techniques we practiced had one thing in common - the attacker always commited himself to the thrust. This allowed all the techniques to work. We never practiced against a slasher or a knife wielder who was also a martial artist.

Although it is many years later, I remember clearly having reached the conclusion that an unarmed person wasn't likely to win a kinfe fight and that flight is the best defense. The second best defense was to find a weapon of convenience and try and beat the crap out your attacker anyway you could. Also, we never practised against multiple attackers with knives. It is my experience that cowards and thugs are rarely alone and therefore the liklihood of surviving a serious encounter with a few miscreants, unscathed, is minimal.
 
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