Three main attributes of knife fighting are surprise, aggression and speed

Cutting Edge Technology: Part 1- The Art Of Knife Fighting

Three main attributes of knife fighting are surprise, aggression and speed

In this and the next post I’m going to be talking about the myths, the dangers and the reality of engaging in combat with edged weapons, in particular the knife. I wrote this post for your self protection. I do not endorse or expect to be held responsible for any actions you may take based on the information contained in this post.

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The first, and the most important thing that you must know about is: what do we mean when we say a “realistic knife fight”. There are many, many theories and ideas about the art of knife defence and knife fighting. But, sadly, most of them are based on the background of traditional martial arts.

Not that this is a bad thing, but most martial arts are restricted by their rules, their ethics and the system itself.

Most martial arts are highly stylized and have little or no application to the real world. Don’t get me wrong I came from a very traditional style of Karate originally but I was lucky and was taught that you should always put things into context.

So you have to ask yourself, what are you basing your knife fighting theories on?

Have you ever been attacked with a knife?

Have you ever been stabbed with a knife?

Have you ever killed someone with a knife?

Have you ever  even been in a fight?

These are important questions to ask yourself, as they will affect your entire approach to the act of knife fighting, training.

Are you basing your theories on the movies or the TV or even stage fighting?

This is the time to take a good hard look at yourself and be totally honest.Honest with yourself and, if you are a teacher, honest with your students. You might get them killed!

Always keep in mind that if you are training to use a knife, realistically, the aim will be to kill another human being. End of story. This is the goal of a knife fight.

Would you be able to do that, if you were called upon to defend a friend or maybe yourself, and you had an edge weapon in your hand?

Would you be able to do that quickly without worrying about the consequences? As quickly as possible, aggressively, and be able to face yourself. And the results?

You must train with these questions in mind, at every single training session. Therein lies the problem as most students cannot even begin to think about what it must be like to consider taking another human being’s life.

…But there are people out there who will happily and easily take someones life.

It’s happening every week on the streets of the UK.

Do you think that you can match this mindset and therefore think that you could defend yourself against an attacker, an attacker who has absolute intent and wants to do you harm.Wants to kill you?

Remember this and keep this in mind when you’re training to defend or use a knife.

I see students skillfully disarm their friends in the gym. Stripping the knife fluidly and skillfully. It sometimes looks too good to be true. That’s because it is! And then I take the knife and attack them, and all of their techniques fly out of the window.

I’m not saying this to be critical of other martial arts or Instructors, far from it. I am simply asking people to be honest about what it is they’re doing. Particularly if you’re an instructor.  Ask yourself what is it you are teaching your students? If you are honest, you would probably tell them to run as a first option. That’s what I would do!

It’s your duty as a teacher to ensure the safety of your students. If someone attacks you with a knife, run, run and keep running!

I base all of my teaching on what I’ve been told by a whole variety of people over the past 50 years. And the best advice is from those who have done it. Who have been in a knife fight, who have been attacked and survived, not by an aging martial artist who has never had a fight in his life.

A skilled knife fighter is someone who has the following attributes. They have intent. Bucket loads of it. They want to kill you. Or at the very least cut you up.

They’ll use the element of surprise and shock. They slap you in the face; they thrust repeatedly and not give you time to grab the weapon. If you see it, that is!

When they launch the attack you’re finished, and they never give you an opportunity to breathe. They never give you a chance to defend or think, or run, it’s over that quickly.

These are the attributes YOU must work on when training with any edged weapon.

One of the myths in martial arts is that the more technique you have, the better you will be.

“Absolute bollocks.”

Keep it simple. Stupid. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.

That should be your mantra.

Techniques are not the determining factor in a knife fight it is the guy who acts first, and decisively, the guy who applies those simple principles. He’s the one who wins. He will be the victor.

I can’t remember who said it to me. But they were right when they said:

Ruthless Determination Overshadows Technique.

Every single time.

The desire to win the fight beats technique hands down, every time.

That’s what I call The Winning Edge. It is all about determination, that’s what  gets you off the floor when you’ve been knocked down, stabbed or punched.

Remember that no matter what you do, your job is  to knock the opponent out of the game as quickly as possible and keep the pressure on until they stay down.

That’s how you win a fight.

Despite what you may have been told. Despite what you may have seen in the movies, a knife fight is pretty short. It’s often over in seconds. So, keep this in mind when you’re training.

The big question next is, when was the last time you really tested yourself, you know, put yourself under pressure, tested your determination. You need to know what your cutoff point is, and you need to work on it.

You will never know what will happen in an actual situation. So, you must replicate reality as closely as possible. Training with a sharp-edged weapon may seem foolhardy, but for me a real weapon makes you move. Its real! It will cut you!

Shock knives are the next best thing. Check them out. They don’t half make you move, especially, especially if you put up the voltage, and they come about as close to an actual weapon as you can get.

Until Next time.

Stay on Point and share this with your friends and keep them safe.



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