Modern Arnis Knife Practicioners take note!

I had heard about this already. I was in New York City when it happened, but I didn't realize that the culprit was supposedly trained in FMA. It is very sad. It is also a lesson for practitioners and teachers out their. Knives are no joke, and should be treated like a firearm. Only use a knife if your life is in danger, and you are intent on killing the attacker. Trust me when I say this; it is very easy to forget how deadly a knife really is when your playing with it every day in class. You become desensitized to it, and next thing you know you find yourself using one and killing someone, or severly injuring someone. What happend to this accountant could have been any one of us on this forum.

Also; teachers: always cover your @$$. The media, the court system, and some Law Enforcement Officers (not all, but some) do not understand martial arts. They especially don't understand FMA. You could teach one seminar on knife defense, and some attendee whom you've never seen before exept on that one day could kill with the knife. Now your facing possible prosecution for teaching him "deadly eskrima knife techniques". This is the sad but true reality that all teachers could face. Just make sure you are insured, you make everyone sign a waiver, and that you make it a point to take the time to tell every student how deadly the knife really is. Have a set 30 second speech that you give every seminar or class on how the knife should be treated as deadly force, and that you may be responsible for ending someones life if you choose to use one. And an attacker may be responsable for ending your life if that is what they choose to attack you with. You will only benifit your students in the long run by taking the time to do this. And although this might not stop someone from using a knife to kill, at the very least it may just save you from criminal prosecution.

I'm off my soapbox now. If anyone gets any information on the instructor that might be facing criminal prosecution, please post it here. If the person is someone we know, there might be something we can do to help this instructor if they end up facing persecution (ie. letters on that persons behalf, or something of the sort). We all need to stick together in situations like this.

Mr. Lamade:

I agree with what you said below. The only person to blame in this case is Mr. Umali. Considering his attempted suicide after he discovered what he had done, it seems he understood the gravity of what occured. Sorry if this did not come across, but the teacher and the art are not to blame here. Bad judgement is.


Richard Curren

Originally posted by lhommedieu
After reading accounts in all three NYC major newspapers, Ive concluded that the individual in question is a fairly typical Filipino martial arts student. He sounds like the kind of guy that most of us would like to have a beer with after class. Hes attended some college, has worked as a computer programmer, and likes playing paintball gun games. His parents state that he has never been in any trouble, and that hes respectful of his elders. Weve all trained with this kind of guy. While I am not 100% sure, I also think that I know the instructor in question. Hes also a decent guy. The way that he markets his school, trains his students, and practices his art is very typical of what most of us do today. As everyone is aware, its the realistic nature of a weapons-based martial art that appeals to most people seeking a method of self-defense, and Filipino martial arts instructors generally promote this aspect of their art to some extent or another out of a sense of pride and also to gain students. With respect to the question of whether martial arts teachers bear responsibility for the actions of these students, I offer the following:

We practice what the media has called a lethal, deadly, and vicious martial art. I recently attended an all-day seminar on the use of a knife on an unarmed opponent. The training was a lot of fun, and the illusion that I could ever be in such complete control of my environment when faced with an imminent danger to my person or my family was certainly gratifying to my ego. In the back of my mind, however, I kept asking the kinds of questions that I am sure are familiar to most martial artists that employ weapons in their training. One was: What would the circumstances have to be for me to attack an unarmed person with a knife? Answer: If I was certain that unless I used deadly force, my life or the lives of my loved ones were in immediate jeopardy. Obviously, this awareness could only take place in an extreme situation, wherein no other choice was possible. This has to be part of the mind-set of the art that we train, as well as the understanding that no one is exempt from making a tragic decision when placed under extreme stress. Unfortunately, many martial artists train for that inevitable day in the future where their skills will be put to the test, instead of learning how to temper their judgment every day. We cannot pretend that, as teachers, we do not bear some responsibility for imparting the moral and legal consequences for learning martial arts skills, particularly if we practice the martial arts that use weapons. At issue here is the juxtaposition between the way in which we often promote the dynamic and violent nature of Filipino martial arts, on the one hand, and having 20/20 hindsight when one of our students acts out his fantasies in a situation for which he was obviously, and completely, emotionally unprepared, on the other.

On the other hand, there are obvious limits to what we can achieve as martial arts teachers. No one can teach another person to behave responsibly in every situation, no matter how much we may desire it. Perhaps the best we can do is follow the example of the schools that teach the use of the gun in self-defense (for example, LFI), and spend some more time examining the consequences of the use of lethal force with our students.

What persuaded this guy to pull out a knife in the middle of a fight between a 250-pound bouncer and a couple of his friends? Did he think that his or someone elses life was at stake? Or did he merely allow the darker angels of his nature to end one life and irrevocably change his own forever? If the student was drinking (and here I am making an assumption) are the consequences of combining impaired judgment with this kind of knowledge so different than getting in a car while intoxicated and mowing someone down while driving home from a party? Is it different from accidentally shooting a friend on a hunting trip after ignoring common rules of gun safety? Im certainly aware that this is an imperfect analogy but I think that there is enough truth shared between both situations to merit a comparison with the actions of this individual. Youre supposed to know not to drink and drive; youre supposed to know not fool around with firearms; and youre supposed to know the limits of the use of deadly force. Im going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this individual had no idea of the consequences of his actions up until the time that he learned that the other guy had died. Now, unfortunately, he is an expert in reality-based self-defense. I think he has a lot to teach us.


Steve Lamade
Nope. I've been trying to find that out but haven't seen anything yet. I think the authorities may be trying to make sure business isn't impacted by an individual's actions perhaps? The Sayoc Kali forums have some buzz about this and there is some reference to a perenium thrust which is a technique used in the Sayoc system. However, that really is just speculation.


Richard Curren
Originally posted by Emptyglass
Bad publicity for the FMA and someone killed needlessly and shamefully by an individual who should never have been taught.

Very sad.


Richard Curren

A Damn Shame thaqt the alleged knifer is being associated with Eskrima, the generic terminology used in the article; however your point has considerable merit, Richard. Knife instruction has be to very guarded. On the other hand, given the apparent outside of the law associations that all of the people appaered to have, are we sure that the training was restricted to "eskrima". There were several Chinese people mentioned in the article.

Just some food for thought :)
Hi Norshadow:

I'm not sure of anything. Everything I've written has been based on media reporting. Once again I will reiterate that all of this is speculation and upon rereading my original post I think I may have given the impression that I believed Mr. Umali's teacher was to blame for this.

That was most definitely <B><U>NOT</U></B> my intention. My apologies if that came across to anyone. However, it is unfortunate that the Filipino Martial Arts may get a black eye for this (aside from the obvious misfortune of Mr. Blake's death).

My reason for posting was more of a heads-up for those FMA instructors who do teach the knife in case the media comes knocking at their doors looking for info.


Richard Curren
The Sayoc Kali forums have some buzz about this and there is some reference to a perenium thrust which is a technique used in the Sayoc system. However, that really is just speculation.

A thrust to the perineum is generally done with the tip pointing almost straight up, and can be called a "technique" if the area is specifically targetted. However, any system that employs an upward, vertical, hooking thrust with the knife or sword can lay claim to it as a "technique," insofar as the perineum is one of the areas that can get struck even if it is not specifically targeted.

The media has stated both that Mr. Blake died as a result of a wound to the "groin" and to the "femoral artery." The femoral artery branches off the aorta to travel down each leg and is one of the major arteries in the body. It can be located between the pubic bone and the greater trochanter, lateral to the perineum on the medial aspect of the upper thigh, in the anatomical "triangle" formed by the inguinal ligament, Gracialis muscle, and Sartorius muscle. This area is much easier to target than the perineum, in my opinion, and can be just as easily damaged by a targetted thrust as by a thrust to the lower abdomen that missed or by a flinch response that extended the knife straight forward towards the legs.

I am not making these remarks as excuses for the person who killed Mr. Blake, but as observations about just how easy it for the femoral artery to be cut. A couple of years ago, a police officer in New York died as a result of being pushed into a mirror during a routine arrest. The officer fell on the mirror, which broke into shards and severed his femoral artery.

Steve Lamade
I'm curious why the victim died 11 hours later--does anyone know anything about this? Have the NYC papers been more specific? Was he essentially dead from loss of blood but maintained on life support for a while?

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