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In Reality- using an edged weapon for self-defense

Discussion in 'Personal Security Devices & Self-Defense' started by mercop, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. mercop

    mercop Empty Pockets

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    This is going to be the first article in our new column called "In Reality", in which I will tackle some age old questions when it comes to all things related to preparedness and personal protection. We are first going to start off with the reality of using an edged weapon for self-defense.

    We live in a society where you would think that we are desensitized to violence, but for some reason people are still shocked when they are actually witness to it. Even in a state that allows its citizens to carry concealed firearms, the path of someone involved in a clear cut shooting is likely to be a long one. The only thing that would be worse is cutting someone in self-defense.

    Here are some obvious hurdles when it comes to the righteous use of a knife for self-defense. On one hand most people do not view knives as a legitimate personal protection tool, even those that are huge proponents of the right to self-defense. When they envision someone protecting themselves with something, it is usually a firearm. Thanks to TV and movies, we have all sat through thousands of shoot, don't shoot situations. But when it comes to edged weapons, we have seen lots of "knife fighting" with no clear lines drawn as when you would mentally choose to cut as you would to "drop the hammer". Because of distance and target focus, most on screen blade play is a flurry of body movement that ends with a fatal dramatic stab. The same is true of scenes involving firearms where our good guy appears to be down and out until you see the villain fall backwards. Only then does your mind put two and two together realizing that our hero was able to deploy his gun and fire a contact shot, thus saving his life. A knife is viewed as a sneaky tool that can come out of anywhere.

    Keeping the above in mind, let's look at the physics of using a knife. Being a contact distance weapon that can puncture, tear, or cut flesh, an edged weapon requires that you be able to touch your attacker. At the same time, the attacker must be in a position to employ deadly force on you. This justifies one out of the three things needed that allows you to use deadly force, they have the immediate opportunity.

    The next part we need to fulfill is jeopardy, meaning that the attacker is acting in a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that they intend to kill or cripple you. A particular act in and of itself may not kill you but it would be reasonable to believe that you would as they say in the UFC "not be capable of intelligently defending yourself". For instance, they are not attacking you with a weapon per se, but you have just been pushed during that altercation and have just had your head bounced off of a brick wall and you are going in and out of consciousness. There is a lot of blood and things are getting foggy, you have weapons on you, once you are out cold will he take your money and run or take your weapons and finish you? The extent of your jeopardy is more like a thermostat that can fluctuate greatly second to second based on multiple factors that if ever understood it will only be weeks, months, or years later. You have to make that decision in the moment with the information you have.

    Even though for our purposes we are discussing it last, the first part of justifying deadly force is ability. Let's cover the five basic examples as they relate to the defensive use of an edged weapon-

    Weapon employed against you- if it is a firearm and it is outside arms distance, your ability to do anything even with a knife in hand is very small. Any impact weapon is likely to extend the reach of your attacker, probably negating the use of your knife, even if you have it in hand. Now we are down to knife on knife which makes up a huge portion of cultural martial arts, and "knife fighting". By definition this would require you to be within reach of someone with a knife and you having pre-deployed yours, or deploying it as you are being attacked. For you to meet this deadly force with deadly force, you would have to articulate that you saw or anticipated your attacker having a knife which provoked you to draw yours. For you to cut them, depending on the blade length, they would have to be in a position to cut you as well. More likely to result in a mutual cutting.

    Force in numbers- is a situation where one could articulate that even without seeing any visible weapons, deploying a knife would be more than justified. The problem is tool fixation. When surrounded by a few people, moving forward creates a vacuum where everyone fills in behind you. You can only stab or cut one person at a time. Once the pack moves in and your arm is controlled, the knife is a moot point. I would rather start off with a stick in hand personally.

    Able vs Disabled- a situation that is very misunderstood. It does not mean that you walked out of your house with a broken leg and were attacked by someone who was able bodied. It can be as simple as you being knocked down to the ground and you cannot or are not allowed to get up. Not being able to stand up or walk is a disability. Again, another example would be losing consciousness from blunt force trauma to the head or strangulation. This is contact distance fighting where you will need to be able to cut your attacker off of you.

    Male vs Female- gender does not change the physics. Even if your attacker is doing something that justifies deadly force, but you are not close enough to touch him, the knife is useless. Again, the likeliest situation is one where you need to cut the attacker off of you.

    Physical size and strength- the same realities apply here as they do for male vs female.

    In reality, to make the judicious use of edged weapons relevant to the situations where they are most likely to be used, we have to-

    * Begin the majority of drills with the attacker initiating contact with the good guy in the form of a punch, push, or bum rush.
    * Train the student to use the smallest amount of space and movement necessary to deploy their knife.
    * Train the student to use the natural funnels of the body such as the crotch, arm pits, and sides of the neck as landmarks for default targeting, instead of focusing on being at a distance to be able see the body to use intentional targeting.

    * The majority of deployment practice should be done from any position other than standing upright.
    * A heavy emphasis needs to be placed on the use of open hand combatives that allow the student to create space to deploy the knife, use them along with the knife to include getting the attacker off of them.



    Make sure reality is driving your training, not your training driving your reality.
     
  2. Talkingstick

    Talkingstick Loaded Pockets

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    ...and "In Reality" exactly how many knife fights have you been involved in????
     
  3. mercop

    mercop Empty Pockets

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    Never been in any "knife fights". I have been lucky enough to successfully defend against edged weapons three times. If you have actual knife fighting experience I would love to hear your thoughts that are contrary to what I have posted.- George
     
  4. P35

    P35 Loaded Pockets

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    who is the "we" and "our"?
     
  5. jda

    jda Loaded Pockets

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    anything will do if you will do
     
  6. mercop

    mercop Empty Pockets

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    Modern Combative Systems, alumni, and instructors
     
  7. Talkingstick

    Talkingstick Loaded Pockets

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    Well friend, I'm not the one holding myself out as an expert giving advice to those unfortunate souls who are just liable to follow what they are being sold.

    I'm not really inclined to get into a match with you; only to relate that I've seen enough to know that if you are going to use a knife as a self defense weapon, you really need to look at places other than the Internet for advice. Watching videos just won't "cut" it; it's a little late to discover that at the time of an actual confrontation.

    I don't have anything to sell....I've seen enough to know that you don't either.

    The last sentence in your original post opened the door to my query. :D
     
  8. mercop

    mercop Empty Pockets

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    Again, I have no interest in arguing with you. I did ask for you to relate to me your experience that is contrary to what I have posted. Please advise me of your background so that I have a better understanding of the source of the information. I am not an expert, rather a conduit of information, and I want to provide the best information possible. If you can help me do that please do.- George
     
  9. WARFIST

    WARFIST Banned

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    i love it i caught this article on FB and its very informative ;)
     
  10. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    If we're going to talk reality, then so be it.

    I may get flamed for this but I have some views formed over a very long life that is dangerously nearing the big seven-zero. For fifty years now I've been a member of the N.R.A. Every month, the very first thing i go to is the armed citizen collum in my american Rifleman. Many times it's been proven the mere sight and presense of a weapon is enough to deter a criminal, who are by nature, very big cowards.

    Twice in the last year and a half I've been the would be victim of a crime. Twice, for lack of a firearm, I've presented a knife and made deffinate intent to use it. In both cases the would be attacker backed off. Backed off from a white haired old man almost 70 years of age. My would be assailants were half my age or less, stronger, faster, and undoubtedly more vicious, but they didn't want a fight with an old man with a knife.

    I think any weapon and open intent to use it, will discourage 99% of the criminals. They want your money, or they want to harm you just for some perverted kicks, or whatever. What they don't want is to get sliced and/or stabbed. And every punk out there probably knows what a knife will do, either from his own victims, or seen it on the streets.


    I have no intention to keep my weapon hidden till the last minute. Whatever I have, I intend to make it known from the most possable range that I intend to defend myslef using that weapon. That gives them an out, if they want to take it. The best fight is the one you don't have to fight. As far as the knife fighting thing, I have no intention of getting into a knife fight. But if I am forced to defend myself, I'll do what my old fencing instructor told me; make them cometo you, and score on thier exteded weapon hand. If you have to cut them off you, then you've already screwed up by letting them get that close to you. No knife tactics on earth is going to help when you're blundering around in condition white and let some creatin right up to you with a knife.

    Use your head and observe what's going on around you, and you won't get in that spot.

    Keep it somple and don't overcomplicate things.
     
  11. mpi

    mpi Loaded Pockets

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    I've been cut and stabbed a couple times. some in the line of duty, and once while being stupid and arrogant in somebody else's country [El Salvador in the 80's]. it's always nasty and painful and messy.

    My best advice for a knife fight is to either run away or shoot the guy with the knife! I know that I'm gonna do whatever i have to do to avoid ever being cut again!
     
  12. Rob72

    Rob72 Loaded Pockets

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    We're talking at cross-purposes, jk. You handled the situations you described as well as could be expected. However, (and this is a common tactic in SW states) the bum's rush doesn't give you a chance for display or parry. I didn't follow the whole thread, but, in George's context of getting someone off you, who has knocked you down, and is either mounted or preparing a boot-party, an openiel is waaayyy down the ladder of optimal tools. I completely agree- if you find yourself in a mess, things have already faild badly. But, again in context, that's why I carry what is basically an ambidextrous shank. ;)

    Equally, the apexs as targets would seem a bit optimistic, without distance. With the arm extended down for a groin slash, or up tight for a pit, and still in the context of grappling, there is too much distance to cover and too much probability of having the weapon-hand pinned. Conversely, the torso is a large, obvious target that requires no particular positioning...
     
  13. Tango 191

    Tango 191 Loaded Pockets

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    +1 on this
     
  14. niagaratac

    niagaratac Loaded Pockets

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    I thought this was a forum about EDC items, not the funky knife martial arts instructors talking about philosophy in the art of knife fighting place. Anyone who is looking for a fight is stupid. Anyone that thinks being defenseless without a knife to scare and back down when a couple punks with only fists who corner you from restaurant to car is stupid as well. Clearly no one is stupid enough to draw a knife when someone at range has already drawn there gun.

    This is a collector forum for gadgets, like knifes with a phallic symbol equaling the blade, nothing more. No one here buys these things to go to war or with purpose to rip into someones soft target spot for a fast kill.

    That would be the freaky martial arts killing guys with weapons forums, turn left at first light keep going.
     
  15. jeeves3443

    jeeves3443 Loaded Pockets

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    On the same note. Carrying said 'Collectables' kind of demands at least some responsibility from the 'collector,' in that at some point they may be required to use it.

    Threads like this are simply a different out look from someone with some experience and/or perspective. In no way is this thread a 'Training manual.' I'm not sure how you got that impression.
     
  16. unloved

    unloved Empty Pockets

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    Did you happen to notice that you're in the "Personal Security Devices and Self-Defense" area?
     
  17. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    I don't want to have to close a potentially fruitful thread. Let's keep it civil, guys.
     
  18. GRIFFINHAWKS

    GRIFFINHAWKS Banned

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    Best defense: Using your head to AVOID the confrontation .
    Best weapon: Hand gun .

    BE WELL .. GH
     
  19. lukem

    lukem Empty Pockets

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    True!

    Not true. the "best weapon" is situationally dependent.
    Consider this: "guns are like lasers, they drill holes. Knives are like zippers for humans."
     
  20. GRIFFINHAWKS

    GRIFFINHAWKS Banned

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    Given the situation . Agreed .
    The post is actually a quote from an old friend (Marshall arts/Hand to hand Master/trainer)
    It's more like a 'serious' play on words .. A contradiction to avoiding the confrontation as it were .

    A knife, a gun, a sword ..
    Chances are you might not get to either one before a would-be comes up behind you anyway ..
    I really like sharp things but cutting up people is not tops on my list .

    BE WELL .. GH