160 - Mailbox: Knife defence training

Opinions from W and Jeth on martial arts knife defence videos and also knife grips...

From “W”:

“Hi man
I spent a few hours watching a load of knife fighting videos, some real fights and some looking around at other hand vs knife videos and I have to say it has brought to light that what you are teaching us is very in depth and well thought through! I was seeing all kinds of madness . It was very enlightening!”

J - Thanks W. For some years now, I have pretty much given up watching or paying any attention to “Ewe-tube” videos on these subjects or even self defence instruction in general.

I am not a martial artist and have no “art” to sell or convince anyone of.

It’s not that I feel that I’m better than other providers, it’s just that I don’t want to get distracted by dead ends and detours in terms of study.

I still watch and consider the occasional one though if I’m researching a specific idea or if students share them.

I will be a student for the rest of my life but I’m protective of that student process in terms of quality of input data.

Most of the content I see is only posted to generate income - there are some great people out there but also a sea of absolute idiots creating fad content and they don’t care who watches it, kids etc.

Personally, I have a big problem with people making instructional material depicting not defending but USING a knife against others and then making this easily available to anyone. It’s a fact that Ewe-tube is a source of information that plays a part in knife crime.

Videos that are attached to a specific style or art are particularly bad as a lot of times the defence tactics are to fit the art rather than the problem.

There should be simply no restriction on your approach to this context otherwise you’re selling yourself and your training short.

New people are particularly vulnerable to getting caught up in these limiting ideas - I certainly was when I started out.

All of my current thinking in knife defence is an amalgam of not just the open FN framework but also other outside ideas as a starting point and then each idea is filtered through:

Research - real crime situations, video, testing, talking to other trainers etc etc.

Training/ Learning - breaking down situations into their core pieces and understanding each of those pieces to then rebuild a skill. Pressure. Keep or discard.

Experience - would this have worked in something I experienced?

I’m grossly simplifying this process but really, I’ve found personally that chaotic experience based training is really a far faster and more accurate educator.

Because the margin of error is so low in knife defence training I just don’t have time for anything/ anyone that isn’t “high percentage” in terms of result.

W - “This week at home I have been playing with the ice pick grip and actually found it to be quite comfortable! Although I noticed that i needed to be slightly closer to the target than using the sabre grip.”

Yes, it enables a very powerful grip, certainly with descending strikes. It’s important to remember that it’s just a position to hold a knife in and has pros and cons associated with it. So when cycling this understanding back into unarmed defence scenarios bear this in mind.

There are entire martial/knife systems that extoll it’s superior qualities which makes you wonder how much analysis they did when coming up with these claims or is it just a gimmick?

Or maybe just something to allow their marketing to differ from “Honest Eddie’s “ system down the street that uses another approach?

It’s fine and very interesting if it’s explored in the context of being part of modular training which some experts like Hock Hochheim and Jim Keating have done as a solution to a specific situation.

But as an all answering panacea? It’s not a complete, big picture answer.

Through the experience of pressure testing that comfort that you felt will be immediately apparent in some situations but not in others.

Your reach is limited greatly as you have noted so the reverse grip can come into play in very close/ grappling type problems as well as the classic rage stab from 12 - 2 O’clock as well as being used by an aggressor while running after a victim to stab them in the back.