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FIGHTING KNIVES, FRUITS TO NUTS?

 

Notes on Paring Knives, Kitchen Knives for Knife Fighting?

This is my knife, there are many like it, but this one is mine.”   – Paraphrasing the rifle creed of a Marine.

“This is my paring knife, I eat food with it in public, I claim to trick police and still kill criminals.” –  the creed of tricky, niche knife instructors

To me, (and the law) generically speaking, a knife is a knife. Sure there are many different kinds of knives, some better at some things than others. But in a primitive level, a knife is a knife. So, when some folks pop up “on the competitive, martial market” advertising their niche wares, at times there are arguing that a smaller, paring/fruit knife is really good for knife fighting and for tricking the local gendarmes, my answer is “ahhh…well, yeah maybe, okay…”

I would never have excluded paring knives as a potential weapon. Of course not. Perhaps I have worked way too many police cases where kitchen knives, big and small, mostly bigger, have been used. Of course they can be weapons. Always have been. (One must recall that the size of a knife used when stabbing is a big forensic issue in deaths and aggravated assaults.)

There seems to be a little in-and-out (pun intended) fad/craze about using paring or fruit knives for fighting-killing criminals, instead of toting around bigger tactical knives or tactical folders, if even as some sort of a clever trick played on the local police. The trick you see…is to pocket carry the small, food knife, stabbed in a piece of fruit, all of which may or may not all be inside a plastic, zip-lock-like bag? This MUST be a James Bond trick! Huh? Toting an unsheathed paring knife around is one thing, sticking a pear in the pointy end, in your pocket is another thing.

Fruit Stuck on a Knife, In a Pocket? The hope is to attain some level of “plausible deniability,” which is rather self explanatory, and more of a government public relations expression than a legal definition. “I carry a knife to eat cut-able fruit for a quick snack, Mr. Patrolman.”  This will not work for you in many anti-knife, countries, or many cities and-or states in the U.S.A..

You know the paring knife, those little kitchen knives just about everyone has and uses at home? The kind of knife here in the United States and many other countries, you can buy for about a d two or three dollars in the common, Dollar Stores, Walmart, or in every grocery storeOne guy told me that when he lands from a plane ride into another state or country, he quickly runs to a cheapy store or supermarket right away, and buys a paring/fruit knife for self defense. No he is not “Gray man” or “Jason Bourne.” He sells car parts and just anticipates brutal attacks on every corner, or hotel room. Is that preparation a good idea? Too much? Too little? Whatever, although I don’t know how he’ll carry the raw blade around, but its good for the hotel room and…thereabouts. I don’t know. Why not? 

And I do consider the classic these defense problems too, and at least in hotels, especially in the no-no, weapon-free states and countries I work in. I don’t exactly, often travel to the best and safest places all the time. I was in a motel in Africa one night, and the power went out, various people filled the streets outside and…well, that’s another long story…

But let’s take for a moment an official look at these paring knives. Professor Google defines one as, “… a small, short-bladed knife, used for intricate cutting, peeling, mincing and dicing. The blades are simple, sharp and precise. Length Range: From 3.5-4 inches, although some come in 2.5 inch ranges. Ideal for: Peeling and cutting small fruit and vegetables, even cracking nuts open.” Tons of them everywhere. They are pointy, sharp and cheap and you probably can get them anywhere. 

Cheap knives. Expensive knives. Food prep knives. I saw a fixed-blade knife in a big knife show one weekend back in the 1990s. It was very cool and not officially assigned to kitchen duties, but for all around other knife-stuff on up to killing Nazis. It was about $175. Then that same day, my wife and I were in a kitchen store in an outlet shopping mall and they had kitchen knife sets for sale. From a short distance, I saw a set with similar designed wooden handles and blade “color.” I looked closer, I swear, I swear, the middle knife in the set of 8, looked EXACTLY like the $175 knife I saw earlier at the show. The whole kitchen knife set was like $19.99. Sure, probably the knives were made differently. But how much? (Great knives can be obtained, cheap at “Home Depots.”) Now…what does this mean? I don’t exactly know, but I must ask my standard who, what, where, when, how and why” questions: 

  • “Who-knife?”
  • “What-knife?”
  • “Where-knife?”
  • “When-knife?”
  • “How-knife?”
  • and “Why-knife?”

I ask you these same questions every time I start a knife session. While we spend a whole lot on special “fighting” knives, we need to mention it is long known, world-wide, in law enforcement circles that simple kitchen knives of all sizes are used a whole lot, oh like in 90% of all knife-crime attacks in the entire civilized world. The rest of the world? Good chance you are going to be attacked by a knife-like, handy “work-tool” they use in the jungle, woods, garages or farm fields, thereabouts. I have a friend who works security in Mexico who translated a famous, underground phrase into English for me –

“You will be killed by a 5 peso knife.”

And then of course, next there is the use of the “tactical knives” to take up the statistical slack. Small percentage left though, huh? In or out of the field, the military rarely uses a knife in combat, opting for guns and grenades, but rather they are used as a handy tool, and when it does, it won’t be a little kitchen knife. As the one and only wise, Paul Howe, retired Delta Force, war vet likes to say,

“I like my tools to be weapons, and my weapons to be tools,” 

Knife Tool-Knife Weapon. Whether 5 pesos or $500, I am not a collector of knives, per say, so I do not collect them just for the sake of admiration and collection, if you know what I mean. And I mean to say that while I really do like the looks of some knives, but to me, they are just tools. I don’t collect pairs of pliers, screwdrivers or hammers either.

Do you see what I mean? That is how boring I am. Simple tools. Use-able. I understand that some people really do love collecting knives. Fine with me. Have fun with it, I say. If you want to spend $1,000 and get a super-duper, steel blade that will stab-penetrate an Army tank? Go for it. If you’re happy? I’m happy. I’d like to look at them too. Hold them for a few seconds and flip them in my hand. “Size” them up, and so forth. But, I’m just not going to buy it. Buy it and then…what? Stick it in a drawer with so many others, Somewhere in my house, waiting for the next tank war?

Instead, I suffer horribly from, my malady is, the collection of simple knife TACTICS. Knife moves. Knife movements, Knife techniques. Knife situations. Knife law. Not the collections of knives.

Kitchen versus tactical. Knives and Names. Worry about the name of your knife and the name of your knife course. Most of you already also know how I feel about carrying knives called like, Close Quarter Combat 7 or, SEAL Team, Throat-slitter 6, or studying knife courses with crazy names. (Remember the more macho you really are deep down? The least you need to flaunt it.) Its all fun and games with macho, militant knives until you actually use your “Klingon CQC De-Bowelizer” in a fight. Or, you have graduated from knife courses with violent names similar to “Beserker,” or “Destructo.” What about that “Prison-Stick em” course offered with special “prison-stick em’ knives? Or, do you like to proclaim yourself some sort of a “bastard child” of some international, “knife mafia.” 

Police and prosecutors will, we/they will take a hard look at this and add tour fetishes to the demise of your freedom, or life even. Trust me on this. I have worked these cases. How extreme can this be? I recently saw a webpage banner of one of these out-lander, knife “families” and one wrote a little ditty ON THE TOP BANNER about “cutting someone balls off and sticking them in the newly-knife-emptied eye sockets.”  YOU…are a sick fuck. YOU…are why the rest of us carry knives and guns.

The name of your knife and the name of your knife course, like your comments on social media, whack-job tattoos, etc. works against you. If you think you are defending yourself with some macho, knife cult course, how well will you defend yourself AFTER you stab the crap out of someone, with all this mess in your background? (After this essay was first published in 2016, this idiot, or after the idiot group leader’s mandate, this sick idiot took that banner down.)

Back to he pocket-carry, fruit knife. Can you walk around with a paring knife and be safe from police scrutiny and keep safe from self-inflecting wounds? Yes, and you could of course, carry your sheath-less paring knife inside your pocket, for one cool example –  with a little clever Origami (folded paper ala Japan) sheath. (See video link below.) It won’t be a sheath-sheath, but you won’t sit down, say, and stab or cut your thigh. Will the knife come out freely from the paper sheath or require two hands to clear the knife in your desperate quick draw?

Will this world of crime-war-law treat you better if you have a cute little, paring knife and not a commando hatchet “in your pocket?” In the real world, a paring/fruit knife is still but a knife. Whatever knife, in the end, a knife is a knife. To a cop who pats you down, a knife is a knife. We all already know about the record high use of kitchen knives. 

I am also told the fruit/knife/bag idea was originated some by other people years and years ago. I also heard this idea years ago with walnuts. Stick the small knife tip inside a walnut and have it and some of these nuts loose in your pocket. A walnut is smaller than an apple!

“Oh noooo, London officer, or Sydney officer, (______ insert city officer) I just like nuts and use this illegal knife to crack them open.”

The nut rig might be better in a little paper sack with some other nuts awaiting shell dismemberment? Or maybe better – a metal lunch box? Then you get to look like Charlie Brown walking to school all the time. (Again, where are you walking to and from?)

Using that wet, fruit pocket carry for “plausible deniability?” You know, I just don’t think so. Maybe in some way, rural area of Mexico? Or a picnic area on the coast of Greece? I think these fruit and nut knifers are really S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G this bag, pocket method of carry in a desperate ploy to sound all insider-innovative. To me? Not so much. Being a cop and being around cops for most of my adult life – a cop sees a knife. A knife is a knife. What happens next will all fall into local length laws, knife laws, personalities and the situation, etc.

So your knife has a piece of fruit in the end, maybe in a bag? Anyway, can you:

  • wear baggy enough pants for all this?
  • stab a guy with such a short knife with its tip already in fruit? When “God made his little green apples,” some of those apples are hard. Better pick a really soft, more squishy-collapsible peach then. Think about that.
  • stab, with knife in fruit, all while inside a zip-lock-like bag, you holding the handle outside of the bag? As some “experts” actually suggest? Think about this people! And let’s remember the lesser penetrations and lesser success in using really small, naked, knives, lest of all, ones laden with fruit on the end, lest of all, all of this inside a bag.
  • also, plastic bags reduce some slashing effectiveness and knives with stuck fruits severely limit the already limited slashing surfaces and effects. 

This fruit-bag trick will probably not fool anyone unless the police deem the carrier is like a certified Forest Gump type. Or maybe the investigating authorities are dimwits? The situation will rule out. 

If this paring, fruit knife…is “legal” in size and so forth, you don’t really need the fruit or nut excuse, the plastic bag excuse, or the “hungry-later” excuse. Fruit -on-knife fighting. Review the pros and cons for yourself, and don’t become an ex-con by misconstruing knives and the law. There are many different knives. Which one is yours? 

___________________________________

How to make a paper knife sheath video, click here

Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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The Perceptions of Your Fight

Who Fight? What Fight? Where Fight? When Fight? How Fight and Why Fight?
(Or, How I learned to wrestle with my preconceived notions)
 
 
     I am an old police detective from a time when Community Oriented Policing was going to save the world and cure cancer. One of the main points of said movement was that the “perception of crime” was just as real to citizens as the real crime was. Look at how the murder rates in small parts of Chicago, Baltimore or St Louis effect the opinions of outsider people on those entire states. In other countries, those tiny jurisdictions effect the opinion of the USA. 
 
Usually the perception of crime was/is always way higher than the real McCoy. So, police then not only had to fight real crime, but had to have an advertising and public relations campaign against the perception of crime. I then sarcastically nicknamed our police agency the “Happy Machine” because we had to also make people… “happy.” I would often walk into the squad room briefing and mutter, “another day at the happy machine,” which would make my fellow officers laugh and chuckle. The first time I said it there was an uproar of laughter. It least that made them happy?
 
     Fact was and is, in the big picture, most people in the USA and other civilized countries will never be victims of crime. But people have fear and a perception of their future crime problem. They imagine a home invader? Rapist? Mugger? Mass shooter. Crazy guy? Serial killer? Kidnapping? Bar fight? Road Rage? Etc. Some even have an imaginary perception of how they will handle it. Gun? Knife? MMA? WWII? Kill? Maim? Contain? Negotiate? Pray? Etc. It certainly would help if their perceptions were as accurate as possible. 
 
     Perception, as defined – “a way of regarding, trying to understand, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”
 
     Mental impressions and being impressionable. I recently watched the very first episodes of the 1980’s TJ Hooker cop show, just for sheer nostalgia. I was already a street cop and detective when TJ was on prime time TV. On patrol in a giant squad car prowling residential streets, Hooker lectures his rookie partner – you know, that skinny kid with the weird hairdo – the shame and horror of Los Angeles, how people cowered and hid in their houses, fearing the crime on the streets. That was 1981! They were scaring the BeJesus out of you back then. Of course that was dramatic, but the fear idea fed and still feeds people. Perceptions.
 
 
     How deep was that paranoid perception of criminals? Has that perception changed? Many perceptions about fighting against bad guys are subliminally shaped by books, movies, TV and even personal fantasy projections.
 
Same with fights. Remember back when Chuck Norris or Claude Van Damme would kick a bad guy down? The bad guy would crash and the Chucks and the Claudes would just stand there, in a poster-boy, fighting pose, bouncing up and down, waiting for the serial killer or hit-man to stand back up and continue the fight. Art imitates life and life mimics art. How many people actually, waited for bad guys to stand back up up? That was the “movie fight” until Steven Seagal came along and started breaking arms.
     We had a champion black belt in our old karate school I attended decades ago, who got into a fight….in a bar…and lost. He came to class and told the school owner, “I was in a fight last night and it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.” If you are in a non-sport class, your student should return to you and say, “I was in a fight last night and it was just like you told me.” Perception.
 
     Perception is the running guts of training though isn’t it? We martial folks, civilians, police and military train for the perception of what we think our “fight” will be like. If you are sport fighting, you know exactly who, what, where, when, how and why about your scheduled fight. You have a darn good perception of the “Ws.” Even if you are a soldier, you have some good perceptions about what might happen to you and your unit, all from a gathered mission intelligence and assignment history. (This is why God made sergeants.) You know the Octagon fight will happen and you’ve seen enough of them on TV to plan ahead. And you are pretty sure trouble is ahead in a war zone, but what about sporadic criminals versus citizen encounters? That may never happen…
 
“What are your preconceived notions about fighting?
Your first fight? Your next fight?
 
     I use to complain that so many of these modern fighting systems of recent times inadvertently train for a fight in “the bar,” or on the sidewalk or parking lot right outside the bar? That cursed dark alleyway out back of the bar? Roadhouse movie world? Bars. Bars. Bars. How many training videos were made right inside bars? Young guys teaching other young guys how to fight in bars and they just automatically assume/gravitate to the barroom setting. Meanwhile a soldier in Syria has another location in mind.
       Another problem is the “novice” fighter. Or as I like to call him, the stupid fighter. By the way that is the guy walking around the streets today you will probably fight next. You have been working hard to fight the trained fighter in many ways the mirror image of you, the other guy/gal in your school/system. Then idiot boy walks up and hits you with a chair . There’ s that classic Mark Twain observation that that the expert sword fighter fears the novice more than the other expert. He knows not what the novice will do! People perceive their next hand, stick, knife gun fight, based on what they do inside the classes they are taking.
     Real people seem to be fighting a whole lot, huh? Somewhere on the planet. Earth is a big place. Police are at least aware they could be fighting absolutely anyway, anywhere – inside or outside houses and business. On tile floor, rugs, cement, dirt, grass, mud, tar. I have never fought anybody underwater, though. HA! Should I train for that too? (Though I know of some cops fighting people on the fringes of oceans and lakes.)
 
     I think I’ve had to struggle, and, or fight, arrest most people on parking lots, streets and inside houses full of furniture more than other locales. And kick boxing and wrestling didn’t completely help me out. One time a crazy guy and I slid down a long, thick, muddy hill, in heavy rain, duke-ing it out, outside a hospital. Almost vertical ground fight. Almost upside-down. You really can fight in weird places in weird circumstances.    
 
     People on the planet Earth will fight in rural, urban, suburban areas, inside and outside of buildings at any time of day and regardless of the weather. (The term “urban combatives” always mystifies me. Some of the best UFC champs are farm boys. Would that be “Rural Combatives?”) 
 
     Gun instructor and ex-cop Tom Givens reports that through the years his shooting students have had over 60 gun encounters in parking lots (Memphis is a little crazy by the way) so an emphasis on shooting live fire AND SIMS, in and out of, and around cars should be pretty important. Parking lots are indeed melting pots of all kinds of people and places with various temperaments, and where bad guys do go to hunt. Records even show that one in every five vehicle accidents occur on parking lots too. Parking lots then are super-duper dangerous? Once again, in the big picture, if you compare say, Walmart’s total sales/customers, to its parking crimes and accidents, their parking lots are pretty darn safe places.
     We see crazy reports on the news about road rage. But look at the millions of cars in the USA taking billions of trips each day, compared to road rage incidents. Road crime and even vehicle accidents stats in comparison tell us the roadways are pretty darn safe too. Domestic and family violence/disturbances are way too high, but in comparison to the big picture of 340 million people in the USA? Not too bad (as far as we know.) There are over 100,000 schools/colleges in the US and a teeny-tiny sliver of school shootings. Add in attendance days and you have millions of safe days. Schools are pretty darn safe places. How about comparing the total number of houses with the total number of burglaries. Oh, and, by the way, the police don’t fight people all that often when compared to the tons of non-violent police/citizen interactions and arrests.
 
     It’s nice to do these big picture comparisons and breathe a sigh of relief, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare and be complacent. And when we prepare, we perceive. You are still left with these guesses, your perceptions and mental impressions of your future fight. We now watch crazy, reality, video clips on youtube and perhaps they do help the real perception of the wacky chaos that will most likely occur in a fight, and not leave us with some Chuck Norris, karate fight scene in our minds.
     It’s always a good rule to “reduce the abstract” when training, but there is still a time and place for you, in a sterile room, to learn and exercise some basic, generic things which we hope you can apply under the circumstance, come what may. Sadly, we don’t have Hollow Decks like on Star Trek where we can fight and turn up the knob on resistance and locations, and still go to work the next day not scarred or crippled.
     Come, what may. We learn the “come what may” via collecting good intelligence info on crime and war where you are and where you are going. So, we train to fight the fight we perceive and who, what, where, when, how and why we perceive it will happen.
 
Who will you really be fighting? 
What will it be like?
Where do you perceive your fight will be?
When will this happen?
How will it unfold?
Why are you there? Why are you still there?
 
Will things happen as fast as you think? Slower? Sporty Non-sporty? Indo artsy? Slinky Systema? Crazy? Hand? Stick? Knife? Gun? Will it start with an interview or ambush? How do you perceive your fight?
Come…what…may? 
 
What’s your fight REALLY gonna be like?