Tag Archives: knife combatives

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? 

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How to make a paper knife sheath video, click here

Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

Get what is called the best knife combatives ever written, Amazon, Kindle, ebook, collectable color hardcover or paperback, Over 2,000 how-to photos.

Knife Dueling?

Knife-to-knife dueling is a controversial subject. I have come to believe that knife dueling is way over emphasized and over-practiced in these so-called “reality” knife training courses. This is something I have long called – “the myth of the duel.” The “myth of the duel” is complex subject in the splitting and organizing of martial arts and survival training. (You don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
 
Too many knife practitioners, fooled or ignorantly thinking they are studying realistic, modern or military knife combatives, express themselves through too much knife versus knife dueling. A methodology that is a mythology.
 
If you should escape a prisoner of war camp with a sharpened butter knife, the people who hunt you down have machine guns and dogs. It is unlikely you will be in a Rathbone-Fairbanks duel. Though it has happened in peculiar military circumstances as I have recorded in my Knife Combatives book. It took extensive searching into auto-biographies, biographies and history books, here in the age of firearms, to collect military knife duel events. They are quite rare in the big picture of combat. There are a few more civilian-criminal events than military. The second murderer I caught in the act, in Texas, had killed a rival in a bloody. kitchen-knife duel!
 
We in modern times live in a hand, stick, knife and gun, mixed-weapon world and a stand-off duel of sorts is not common. Still we must practice a proportionate, appropriate amount of knife versus knife dueling because the uncommon event has and will occur. We always need many knife skills in combinations, slashing, stabbing, support strikes and kicks, footwork and many aspects of knife awareness.
 
For example, in the “who, what, where, when, how and why of life”, if you are standing with a knife in your hand, in front of another person with a knife? Why are you still there? If at all possible, an orderly retreat is in order. You better have a good reason to stay!
 
 
I think knife course instructors may knife spar at each and every one of their own classes and seminars for exercise as they wish, as long as they teach and grasp the Myth of the Duel concept. The legendary Dan Inosanto said once in a seminar I attended, “knife dueling is really about developing footwork.” Instructors have different reasons for pursuing the subject. History? Fun? Competition?
 
Reality knife dueling can occur! They have happened. But common instructors usually forget the stress quick draw, the usually complicated, overall situations, and the physical layout of indoor and outdoor grounds/flooring where duels occur. These are overlooked factors in reality dueling training.
 
Strange places? I worked a murder case once where a big-knife, Bowie versus K-Bar, duel occurred between the driver and passenger in the cab of a big lumber truck, traveling down a two-lane highway! Driving and dueling. The driver won!
 
When survival training we should work on the obvious things first, and not spend a lot of time on things less likely to occur. Once this doctrine has been proportioned, we can delve into the less likely, because, as I have said, these things happen too!
 
The same holds true for stick fighting. It is unlikely most people will be in a 28-inch stick fight, duel. Of course, if you do these things for fun, as a hobby? As a sport? Go for it! I am happy if you are happy. I just hope people know what they are doing, and why they are doing what they are doing in the big picture. (As I said earlier, you don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
 
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Less Than Lethal Knife Fighting

Less-Than-Lethal Knife Tactics

At times, missions, rules of engagement, the law, and use of force standards require the capture, containment and control, not the death of an enemy. This is once called by professionals as “non-lethal” measures, but military and law enforcement specialists recognize that the term “less-than-lethal” is a smarter, and a more comprehensive phrase than “non-lethal” – as various tactics and equipment designed not to kill and called non-lethal, might still actually kill despite the intent, design and name. This renders the term “non-lethal,” into an operational misnomer and confusing liability.
 

A comprehensive knife program also covers less-than lethal applications. This is important for the mission and legality. Your knife course must drop all the death cult, over-the-top, violent, macho imagery (unless you are a member of an elite military unit where such imagery is psychologically smart -which is NOT the majority of us). The knife is “just a tool,” as the old saying goes, but a tool with stigma. The following tactics are less-than-lethal and can be substituted for lethal movement.

We know that the knife strikes with:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-the tip
  • 3-the edge or edges
  • 4-flat of the blade
  • 5-the clenched hand-fist grip on the handle

Less than lethal applications of this are:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-if single-edge, a dull edge for striking.
  • 3-flat of the blade.
  • 4-hand grip as a punch.

Less-Than-Lethal 1: Verbal Skills and the Art of Surrender

Your presence, your weapon presentation, your speech, your threats, your disarm, in the onset of a fight may cause the enemy to surrender. At times, getting in and getting the tip of your knife up against the enemy, along with a verbal threat, may coerce him to surrender.

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 2: The knife pommel strike

The pommel strikes, saber or reverse grips are other less-than-lethal strikes unless it cracks the skull. Or, your pommel has a “Klingon-spiked-end” which renders a whole range of pommel use, useless.

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 3: All support hand strikes and kicks

Striking and kicking the enemy are less-than-lethal moves.  The enemy has dropped his weapon and is theoretically an unarmed man and in many situations, both military and civilian cannot be killed.

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 4: The knife hand grip punches

The practitioner can turn his knife grip into a punch with the flat of his fist, forgoing the stab or slash, with a saber or reverse grip.

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 5: The closed folder

The practitioner may fail to open, or close his or her tactical folder and use the closed folder as a “palm stick,” impact weapon.”

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 5: Knife slashes on secondary targets

With a working knowledge of anatomy, a practitioner may slash various “secondary” targets like muscles and so forth that may cause an enemy to surrender or collapse, without a fatality.

*****

Less-Than-Lethal 6: The flat of the blade strikes a stunning blow and grappling

Many militaries teach the flat of the blade strike to the head of an enemy to stun and bewilder them, as a set-up for further action. When a less-than-lethal mission becomes mandatory this flat strike becomes an option for striking, as well as a considerable amount of pushing and pulling of grappling. 

In Summary… Of course the use of the knife is always stigmatized trouble. It is a nasty weapon, but every one who dares “study” the knife for the military, for enforcement or self defense, one who engages in a knife system, should be aware of its full potential, and that includes the “who, what, when, where, how and why” to minimize its damage.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get all of his Hock’s films and books here

My Mistakes in the Knife Teaching World.

.This is where I have fallen down. Where my knife course has fallen down. Before the fall, in the 1990s there was a “resurgence” if you will, a re-look, re-examination of older knife material (which essential was a lot of knife dueling). Some might call it “knife fighting,” but I don’t like that term. But you are still indeed, fighting with a knife when you are…fighting with a knife. Still, I don’t like many terms, images, messages, logos relating to the knife and knife fighting. By that time in the 90s, I was in police work for quite a while, both in the Army and in Texas, most of that time as a detective. I’d seen and experienced working on a lot of knife crime, as in aggravated assaults, rapes, attempted murders and murders. I myself have been attacked by both knife and ax.

I know the depressing, dark side, the wet side in juxtaposition to all the smiling people having fun, slap-dashing around in gyms playing tag with wooden and rubber knives. Knife training is often treated quite cavalierly. This doesn’t have to be the case as very serious cultures exist, like the culture of pistol training is quite serious and full of foreboding and legal scares. Careful, mature training cultures do exist, and this must certainly become true in knife training also.

In the early 90s, this edged weapon resurgence was sort of an international turning point in knife training. A reboot if you will? It first resurrected the old military knife courses and the semi-legendary names of yesteryear. They weren’t “kuraty” superstars. A sophisticated look at them however, revealed, they weren’t so sophisticated. So several of us, using the newer sports training methods of the time, and bolstered by years in Filipino martial arts or other historical backgrounds, stepped up and made “new” knife courses. Gone was the martial arts uniforms, belts, etc. We wore jeans with pockets and regular clothing belts. Street clothes.


Some of the 90s knife pioneers? James Keating. Tom Sotis. Kelly Worden, Bram Frank, Bob Kasper, yours truly, to name just a few, but there really were only a few of us. Paul Vunak is a late 80s pioneer in many areas. (Still, some of these guys were overdosing on knife dueling.) We wore shirts, jeans and shoes. I even taught at times in a suit and tie. Skeptical, we didn’t trust the old stuff and we didn’t trust the established martial arts either, even the Filipino applications of the knife are often tricky and  too “duely”. (Do you want to walk around wearing a vest with 12 knives? Seriously.) Be free. Think free. Be skeptical. Are you a replicator? Or an innovator?

Still, the old just helps the new. This was also part of a bigger “breakaway” from establishments that was going on in that decade. The world was seeing MMA (or at least ground wrestling) on TV like never before. And somehow a collection of old stuff, dressed in athletic pants, painted in the “Israeli mystique” – Krav Maga – was really shoved down the throats of Tae Kwon Do schools as mandatory, by clever (and insidious) shaming,  business groups, like NAPA in the 90s.

The “Mixed Revolution” was in the 1990s martial air! Jeet Kune Do was spreading into a heyday. Inosanto JKD/MMA was already doing Thai and ground, and so much more. Ever hear of “Shoot?” But, I guess the Israeli mystique was greater than the Bruce Lee mystique?

Mystique? Yes. Ever so important in advertising, sales and manipulation. That’s how we pick shoes, cars, purses and pistols (politicians, religions and…) Manipulation. More on that later…

My knife course had a few odd, infancy names in 1990 and 1991, but it was quickly called “When Necessary? Force Necessary: Knife!” But that 5-word title was a little long and clunky and it was shortened to just 3 words – “Force Necessary: Knife!” I do prefer the longer, clunky name, as it completely explains exactly what I mean to say. Only use that force necessary when absolutely necessary. But I got around the country and quickly, the whole world doing that knife material. Lots of traveling, lots of seminars.  It lead to being voted Black Belt Magazine, Weapon Instructor of the Year and also into their BB Hall of Fame. (back when readers actually mailed in votes.) I also “scored-very well” in the non-arts, growing “combatives” world.

Black Belt. Tact Knifes. Hall of Fames. TRS. Such was the jargon and the martial/political stage of the 90s. Today, it’s hard to grasp that the total, martial world communication back that existed was with a mere 6 or 8 international, martial arts magazines. That’s it! Try and list them. Yes, Black Belt, Blitz, Martial Arts Illustrated, Inside Kung Fu, Inside Karate. Think of some more. Try and list them. They were the filter for us all. Talk forums developed slowly later and now, like the magazines, are almost all extinct.

Now? Nowadays, I don’t know where the martial arts communication filter exists, specifically. The…web…the gazillions of webpages? The gazillions of podcasts? The gazillion of….Instagrams? Facebook? Yesterday’s business card is today’s webpage. And any dipshit can pay to have amazing looking webpages. The battle for exposure takes a business up and down many extremely, frustrating, costly roads.

Of course with all businesses, this 1990s knife movement kicked off a new interest and a fair number of new knife courses popped up through and to, by 2005-ish, often by less experienced, less organized people, and in my opinion doing less comprehensive programs. But this business evolution is to be expected. Invent a new “widget?” There’s a knock-off. Then knock-offs with an “S.” In the big picture of training and education however, not widgets, this can be a positive thing. Awareness. Curiosity. Growth.

So, when did I fall? It happened slowly and then one day you are down looking up. How’d I get down here? Not enough Instagram pictures? Some 25-odd years later, in about 2015, on a popular public forum someone asked me what I thought of Johnny Swift’s new, knife, quick-draw article. Of course it was named something super-spiffy like “Armageddon Instrument Production,” but it’s just knife quick draws. Brand new, Biblical-worthy advice Swift  preached, and published in the new amazing world of web-jargon magazines called something like “Organic Micro Evolution of Edged Prophetic Dynasty.” (I just made that magazine name up, but how far am I off? Have you seen these seminars names lately? Aren’t you impressed, or can you see right through the pretentiousness?) Twenty and 30 year-olds salivated! 

I read Swift’s ground-breaking, testament as featured in “Retrograde, Skill Supremacy, Fusion Elite Magazine” and I replied on the public forum –

“Oh, I have to like Swift’s article. It is virtually, word-for-word,
from my 1992, Knife Level 1 outline.”

My review/remark caused a lot of guffaws and a few smart ass remarks, among the 20 and 30 year old readers, most of whom were so submerged in modern “dynasty jargon” and up to their beards in mystique, and lost in the gazillion web world, they’d never even heard of us older guys from the 90s. I mean, who am I to comment like this on their latest fad-boy genius? I added that I was not suggesting that Johnny Swift plagiarized my outline, as it might have innocently been co-opted, or the older info has become so, ever so embedded into the “knife world” it was deemed as open knowledge. I get that. Sure. That happens. (That level 1 outline is/was free to the public and has been distributed for literally 3 decades, and my knife books have been for sale since about then too.)

I reminded the guffawers that the spread of education is a good thing and that at very least, I only partook in that process. I said that the old just helps the new, and you have to remember the old, so history doesn’t repeat itself. As a great gun instructor Dave Spaulding likes to remind us, “It’s not new. It’s just new to you.”

One guy was clever enough to say, “Well, sorry I missed you when I was 5 years old.” Ha! I told him that was a pretty damn, funny retort. It was. But missed me? Dude, I never left. But actually he never knew I was around to begin with. That is part of the mysterious “fall.” 

I added in that discussion with Mr. Wise-ass that the spread of education was a good thing, and I only partook in the process. Seriously, I frequently read as new, many old catchy terms, ideas, expressions I published and advertised decades ago.

My really big mistake in the knife world, training business is…I think, not emphasizing the knife training course only. Alone. My obsession was/is with covering the bigger picture. Hand, stick, knife, gun. That’s “where it’s at” for me (is that phrase too 90s? Yikes, maybe too beatnik 60s?). The 1990s evolved into the 2000s and my step-by-step into what I really wanted to do all along since the 90s. My goal is to create the best hand, stick, knife and gun courses. It’s a mixed weapon world. Each subject I have is a carefully constructed 4-pillar, foundation. But I think when you shoot for this holistic picture, each separate pillar seems to get a little lost, a little less appreciated, a little less noticed. It also makes me appear to be less specialized. This ain’t true. There’s a big mixed weapon matrix:

But anyway, back to the knife! Inside a comprehensive knife course is:

  • * Knife vs hand.
  • * Knife vs stick.
  • * Knife vs knife.
  • * Knife vs some gun threats.
  • * Standing, kneeling, sitting and on the ground.
  • * Saber and reverse grip experimentation.
  • * Skill developing exercises.
  • * Knife combat scenarios and situations.
  • * Legal issues and smarts.
  • * Who what, where, when, how and why questions
  • * Criminal history knife stories.
  • * War history knife stories. 

I do get a kick out of the occasional lame-brain who pipes up and says, “Knife training? Just stick the pointy end in the other guy.” Especially when these same complainers spend about ten thousand $$$ a year – plus – shooting at gun ranges. Why not just stick the pointy end of the bullet in the other guy, too, Brainiac? Is it all really that simple?

But, not focusing just on the knife is a marketing problem. I don’t advertise or highlight “just the knife” like other courses do. This is one point where I have really fallen down and why my knife course has fallen down through the years.

Another problem for me? No “flags.” I have no crutch system, no flag to fly, like Pekiti, JKD, Brazil-Mania, Krav. Silat. Arnis. Bruce Lee. UFC. It’s just little ol’ me flapping in the wind. I can’t draw in extraneous-system-people, capture super search terms, as some of those are obligated to attend, even arm-twisted by “the system” they’re in. Brand names are…brand names.

Plus, I avoid and dodge macho, death messages, grim reapers, and death images mystique. I would never advertise that I am “always bladed.” And I am not in any “mafia.” I am life-long cop. I fight the Mafia. I am not in any “cartel,” or a “cult” etc. Look, I can make the distinction between something that is a little fun and ironic and something/someone that is sick and weird. It takes a little investigation too, to not jump to conclusions, but sick and weird is sick and weird.


Various other ultra-violent, whack-job messaging should be reserved as a primer mentality for very serious, military, combat groups. THEIR psychology. Their prep. Not cops and certainly not every day, walk-around citizens. Mimicking them makes you look like a wannabe punk. Look at the lawsuits filed on cops and citizens. Go ahead, have a little death-engraved-logo on your cop gun and see what happens when you shoot someone. Have a patch or tattoo of a grim reaper with a knife, or a skull with a knife through it, and see what happens when you have to use a knife. We the police, the prosecutors search your history when you are in an assault, knifing or shooting. Mature survival is enduring the end game – as in the legal aftermath, is a big part of a well-thought-out, course. (Again, mature gun easily people understand this.)

Not like this silly fucker in New York for example – I read one New York City, very popular, international knife “cartel-liberty” group headline paragraph:

“I love it when I carve someone’s balls off and put them in his empty eye sockets.”

Shit man, you probably work in a fucking supermarket. And you think and talk like this? You need to be on watch list. These idiots give us all a bad name. But images and expressions like this, or near like this, this mystique, does attract a certain sick customer, usually young, or young in the brains anyway. (After my public complaints and comments on this, this moron took that line down.)

No Mystique? Which leads me back to the first paragraph. We know the established advertising fact the “the grass is always greener on the other….” side of the street? Other country? The sewers of Spain. The temples of Thailand. The monasteries of China? The borders of Israel…the…and so on. Me? I appear to be just a bland, white guy with some info. I don’t even have any tattoos!  Many well-known knife people are Filipino, just cause, because…they are Filipino. They may have never been to the Philippines, but they have an exotic sounding name.

And the serious military angle? Even with them, take a look at the most sophisticated, revered, respected, top-flight, Special Forces vets and most play it quiet cool like a gray man.

Lackadaisical about making rank and instructors. I don’t really run the classic franchise business as seen in self defense, BJJ and Krav, other combatives courses, and Lord knows, classic martial arts. I am often lackadaisical about promoting people and making instructors. Other systems do this like precision clockwork, where I fail to emphasize this. It does hurt the proverbial martial, business model.

In the same vein, I shun all titles like guro, grandmaster, sensei, etc. “It’s just Hock,” I say, which also does not fly well with some organizations who base themselves on this structure. Also, street clothes please. It’s almost like I am insulting them? I’m not trying to. You do whatever you need to do to survive.

After the fall. However boring, I still do see some “knife people” all around the world. There are “normal” people, martial artists, historians, survivalists and hobbyists, gun people out there, interested in generic, evolved, knife material. There are. And that is who I mostly see when the knife topic comes around. Since I disdain the crazies and the fringers, they usually avoid me too. I know they know, I don’t like them.

I always do a few hours of knife in every seminar and I do have the occasional knife weekend seminars when and where I realize I need to catch up with people’s rank requests. And, normal people can always, sort of, hide their knife interests inside a classic martial arts name. To me the knife is inside of, part and parcel of, hand, stick, knife, gun crime and war, survival education.

So, me. Boring. No mystique. Not isolating the knife enough. Not promoting people fast enough. No skulls. No flags. No carved out-eyeballs. No macho. Just generic methods. Here is where I have shot myself in the…well, stabbed myself in the foot, in the knife training business, even though just a few of us are those innovator pioneers and turned the tide in the 1990s into what it all has become today. For better or for worse. Maybe you young fellers will learn from my mistakes?

It’s always good to mention and/or thank your prior teachers once in a while. I always do. But, before you young knife guys make any sarcastic jokes about me again (and Kelly and Bram, et al?) Keep in mind…your modern instructors might have “peeked” at all my and our long, established materials, and would not confess to it. I might just be your grandfather. Our materials have become such standard doctrine that these young guys don’t even know of us. 

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get what is still called the greatest knife book ever, 1000s of how-to photos in the topics above, click right here. (Now in a second updates edition.)

 

The Knife Whisperer – The Whispering Reverse Grip Knife Tip

The Whisper Tip of the Reverse Grip Knife

I’ve heard the whisper. Have you? The secret tip.

“If you see a guy hold a knife like this (reverse grip) watch out! He really knows what he is doing.” 

Said the tipster who knows nothing, anyway. A receiver from another tipster who knew nothing. I have heard that “insider tip” numerous times. One time, I was even told this tip by a guy who had never been in the Marines, but heard this tip from a “Marine friend.” The irony was I was in Triangle, VA, hotel restaurant next to the Marine base Quantico, there teaching Marines among other things – “knife.” Some of it saber grip knife.  

I have nothing against the reverse grip. I teach it too. But, how many times have you heard or been told, or been taught the reverse grip is the only grip to use? Because there are some popular courses out there preaching this idea. I am often both depressed and fascinated by the paths and ideas of various knife courses. Some appear to me like death cults, others have what seems to be oddball, incomplete conclusions.  Take for one example, the obsession with dueling. While dueling can happen, it is not the only thing that happens in a knife fight (ohhh, like ground fighting?)  Most never cover legal issues and just cut and stab away. Some way over-emphasize Sumbrada patterns. I could go on. Another is the various obsessions with knife grips.

In the 1980s, I was at a Dan Inosanto seminar and he said. “there is no one perfect knife grip, just the best one for the moment.”

Man! That little phrase stuck with me forever as a baseline. Sometimes I think I have short-changed myself as a teacher when I state my mission statement is total “hand, stick, knife, gun.” I think it subliminally shortchanges the 4 individual courses in the minds of practitioners. Courses of which I think are terrific, otherwise I would improve them or not teach them at all. I have slaved over these courses for decades to keep them simple and thorough. “Each course is stand-alone.” So, my stand-alone knife course seems to get buried inside this bigger mission – nomenclature.

I worry about knife grips too. With my Force Necessary: Knife course, I insist that a practitioner learn and experience BOTH the saber and reverse grips. Then after much COMPLETE study, they choose what their favorite grip is, based on the “who, what, where, when and how and why” of their lives. I never tell them to automatically favor any one grip. Pick one, but make it an EDUCATED choice (and not a whisper tip choice). I like both grips. But some don’t like or respect both grips and for odd and incomplete reasons.

The first time I received any training with a knife was in a Parker Kenpo class in about 1972 when they received Kenpo knives and dull trainers from Gil Hibben. The knife was designed to be held in a reverse grip and used in a kick boxing format. This initiation caused decades of Kenpo-ists to hold their knives in a reverse grip as though Moses, not Gil Hibbens, had handed them knives from the mountaintop. In the late 1990s I was teaching in a multi-instructor camp and a old Parker Kenpo black belt was there with his little group. I was covering saber grip material ( a pox! ) and he would horde his people over  into a corner and show them the “proper, reverse grip way” to fix what I was doing saber style. Which by the way his was more complicated and somewhat awkward than the simple saber material I was covering.  

Finally he had to approach me and said, “you know, the reverse grip is the superior grip.”

I said, “no it isn’t.”

He glared at me.

“You can do just as much or even more with a saber grip,” I added.

He stormed off – his 7th dan “master” self, all upset that someone younger in blue jeans and a polo shirt told him flat-out no. (oh, did I mention that he also makes and sells reverse-grip-only knives?) My next session by the way, I covered some reverse grip material, as I am…an equal opportunity stabber.

People pick grips for odd reasons too. I recently read from a guy writing about his grip choice. He said he once saw someone with a training knife, saber grip, stab a mitt and the guy’s hand slipped up on the blade. This made him pick the reverse grip. Really? That? Well, as a detective who has investigated knife crime for decades, I can tell you such slippage happens with BOTH saber AND reverse grips. It depends on the knife! It’s shape, handle texture and any guard/hilts, design, etc. Dear Reverser – your hand slips down on a reverse grip too. Jeez. In fact, a hammering reverse grip deals a mighty blow and your hand needs to be protected perhaps even more, versus an ice pick grip slip.

There are people and courses out there now that mandate the reverse grip, ignoring the saber grip, therefore treating the saber grip as worthless? Mindless followers argue that:

“well, the reverse grip is the Filipino way.”

“The reverse grip is the Pekiti Tirsia way.”

“Ex-super-copper Pete Smith says the reverse grip is the best.”

People! People….people. FMA does BOTH grips. Pekiti Tirsia also teaches tons of saber grip material. And Pete Smith? He is just, flat-out, wrong-headed about this. He is not as smart as you think. He is not as smart as he thinks.

And I will go you one more reverse grip oddity that’s worse. There is a sub-culture out there that wants you to fight reverse grip, with a single edge knife, with the one sharp side, “inside,” facing back at your body. Not edge out to the outside world, where the enemy bodies are attacking you, but edge back at you. Dull edge at the enemy. This is its own unique thinking disorder. The world you are fighting is OUT there, not in your armpit. And why must you hook and haul ALL your enemies, ALL the time inside and close to you? Can you? Can you hook ALL people, ALL the time, in for your one- trick, special magic?

You should have a double-edged knife, which is legal in some places, or you should have a knife with one complete sharp edge and the other side/edge   1/4,  ½ or ¾ sharp anyway. (the so-called “false edge,” a confusing term for “civilians.”) Then the edge-in-only argument becomes moot, because you can still slash and stab, and stab and slash the outside world. But to purposely plan and buy and limit yourself to one edge, then limit yourself with that edge-in only, is…is…just a thinking disorder. It’s a dangerous, thoughtless, thinking disorder. People even make up these excuses…

“Well this type of knife is meant for…”

“I like this type of knife because when the guy is here, I can….

“It works really good for getting his arm away when he’s choking me…”

The guy is…here? How’d he get there? Dude, your “meant for” list is too small when you consider all the possibilities you might face. So then, are you going to carry 3 or 4 different “meant-for” knives for when the he’s here, one for one he’s there, and two for when he’s everywhere?  To cover all your “meant-fors?” All knives work well on an arm when someone is choking you. Dude, maximize your survival with the most versatile knife. “Meant-for knives” is like putting 2 rounds in a six gun, and then carrying 3 pistols. 

Why in the world…WHY…buy a fighting, survival knife to save your life and the lives of others that is single-edged? And then…and then…carry it, and use it, edge inward?

You do know sometimes in a fight, things don’t always go as “stabbingly” as planned. The reverse grip, edge-OUT offers a slashing  possibility, an ADVANTAGE that might diminish the opponent. A double-edged, or 1/4 or 1/2 edge or 3/4s on the other side is ALWAYS going to be an advantage.

Reverse grip tip in accidents. When the Samurai commit suicide – seppuku – they do it with a reverse grip. There’s a reason for this. It’s easier. The tip is already aimed inward. (Incidentally, the helper that will kill him if he fails? Holds a saber grip.) This “easy-tip-inward” is one more point no one seems to consider when raving about reverse grips. The tip is often aimed back at you. About once every 4 weeks on the nightly reruns of the “Cops” TV show you can see a reverse grip knifer get tackled by cops. When they turn the suspect over? He was – “self-stabbed.” One of our lesson plans with the reverse grip is self-awareness of these maneuvering problems.

I cover dropping to the ground and we see people stab their thighs, and when tackled or shoved against the wall, we see the “Cops” incident of the accidental self-stabbing. Tell people to practice falling while holding a knife and watch the accidents. If people are running and holding a reverse grip knife, and they trip and fall? Watch out! There are more reverse grip “selfie” accidents than saber grip ones. Just be aware of this!

Having written my extensive and popular knife book, which took years, studying crime, war and forensic medicine, working cases and the streets, you discover that there are about some…what.. 30 or so ways to fight people with a saber grip and about 25 ways with a reverse group. But, after 8 ways each, does it matter? 

There are many pros and cons for each grip. I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE REVERSE GRIP. I teach it also and I believe better and more thorough and thoughtful than most…or I wouldn’t try. I just don’t like the blind acceptance, the secret whisper about which grip is the best and which is to be ignored. And folks, the single-edge-inward version is just dangerous nonsense. And It bothers me that people thoughtlessly accept courses about these things. Question everything. Get educated. Then pick a knife and a grip you need for your world.

The knife is a very forgiving weapon, in that you can do a whole lot of screwed-up, stupid shit with a knife and get away with it. This is not an excuse to stay stupid. You have to think beyond that to create a comprehensive program and promote real knowledge.

Look, I really don’t care what grip you use as long as it is an EDUCATED, informed choice, and not some mindless, mandate from some short-sighted, and, or brainwashed person, or from that ignorant knife whisperer who knows somebody, who knew somebody else, who…

Some Responses:  “Years ago I was grappling with my training partner and had a wooden training knife in the reverse grip. Long story short, we went to the ground and I fell on the training knife and caught the tip in the ribs. That definitely made my eyes water. Since then I’m very iffy whether I’d ever use that grip with a live blade in a real situation. I still train both grips but I much prefer the saber grip due to the added reach, maneuverability, and the sharp end isn’t pointing back at me most of the time.” – Neil Ferguson, USA

“I was at a seminar where an “expert” told us that if we see a man using a knife in that grip to “Run! That man is a professional!”  First off, I’m gonna run either way genius! A twelve year old can get my wallet with a two inch folding knife. Stitches are expensive!  Furthermore most women use that grip when they stab. Are they professionals??” Zane Issacs, USA  (This leads us to wonder, do we not run when the man has a saber grip? – Hock)

*****

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

1400 how-to photos. 300 pages. Get the collector’s item hardcover, the over-sized paper back, or the spiral bound manual. Click here:

Personality of the Knife

Knives have personalities. The generic look. The generic history. Slashing look. Stabbers. The personal attachment look. What is the personality or your knife?

Knife circle 1

I think there are several factors in knife personalities.

Culture of the knife Personality – One is the culture of the knife. Certain edged weapons have a history, a geographic flavor. Just think of the Japanese Tanto. The Kris. The Bowie knife. The Italian stiletto. The medieval dagger. The double-edged, commando knife. One in the martial business, or the knife aficionados, or makers recognize the aura/genre of many knives. This cultural attraction alone might be a main reason someone buys to collect, or buys to carry a knife. Somehow, some way, the look captures one’s fancy, imagination, expectation or whatever connection to books, movies, TV or past affiliation. Sort of a mysticism we mentally project upon a simple inanimate knife. After all, what makes us select the cars, pants, churches or sports teams we do? We are tribal, particular and peculiar from our hats down to our shoes. Hats and shoes as in style that is, not in size. We can’t change the size of our head or our feet. We can change the size and shape of a knife, but will the size be appropriate for our…”heads” and ”feet?”

Knife circle 3 med

Slashing, hacking and stabbing personalities – The shape and size of the knife tells an experienced handler what it can do best. Some are better hackers. Some long, thin ones are better stabbers. Some are wide and are better shaped for slicing. Like a carpet layer needs a certain angle for exactly what is needed, so do all knife users. A novice to so-called, knife “fighting,” a new-be to say, construction work, will not know what kind of knife does what best. Experience and education is called for.

Personal, knife personality examples – I knew a Green Beret, Vietnam vet who passed on standard Army/government issue knives and preferred his old own Bowie Knife, replete with a carved stag handle. It was a family heirloom you might say, and therefore more important to him than any generic, legend of Jim Bowie. He said it gave him a certain power, a certain mojo from which he garnered mental and physical strength. This is a personal touchstone, reminiscent of many cultures, such as some of the native Americans might carry a medicine bag of mojo. Same-same. 

     Another friend of mind sought an old-fashioned, traditional looking (and hard to open) pocket, folding knife with stag handles, with multiple blades, because his dad had a similar one and it was lost through time. Both, more “personal, private” personality, touchstone selections. Still, with game points awarded for symbolic and personal mojo, on the battlefield or for back porch whittling, the knife size, shape and handle must fall within a scope and range of usable practicality and common sense. Switch this over to a parallel concept – you wouldn’t a pack a flintlock pistol around for self defense, just because you love the early American history era. Extrapolate this idea over to other weapons and survival.

Knife circle 2 med

What personality knife do you really need? – Not just want for whatever abstract reason, but need? I think we have to return to the classic, Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions I use all the time to best determine this.

  • Who are you to need a knife?
  • Who are you to carry a knife?
  • What do you really need or want a knife exactly for?
  • What do you exactly expect to do with this knife?
  • What training do you have to make this a wise choice?What are the local laws for such a knife? What state and, or country do you live in?
  • What happens next? You use the knife and what will the police and prosecutors think of the name and look of your knife?
  • Where will you carry this knife? Job? Protection? Handiness?
  • Where on your body will you clip, or sheath or cart your knife?
  • When will you need this knife? Work time? Off-time? Daytime? Nighttime?
  • How will you acquire this knife?
  • How will you use it? Do you know how?
  • Why will you select a specific knife?

     Another, longer “what” question. The chicken or the egg? What came first for you? Or, what will come first, if you are just now thinking about knives? That mysterious adulation of …“the knife,” and then a knife training course? Or did you need a knife first for a task first, then seek a training course? This consideration might help clear a path for your knife selection and proper training. The collector, the historian, the practical user, the adulator? Who are you?

     But that last line of questioning…the “why.” Why will you select a specific knife? I suggest that you do not make a selection based on looks, genres, eras and or culture alone. I think you should select a knife on its ultimate practicality. Of course if you are a collector looking for this or that showpiece – “I own one! It’s a beauty!” –  have fun! (I am not much of a collector of things so I cannot relate to this, but of course, I do understand the hobby.) Or, if you are fanatic about say, old European sword and dagger fighting. Whatever. Get those weapons and mess around with them. Have fun and exercise. Shoot flintlock firearms (just don’t carry them as a self defense weapon).

Knife circle 4

Knives have personalities – The generic look. The generic history. The personal attachment. If you plan to actually carry and use a knife? Whether on the job as a telephone lineman, a surgeon, a soldier or a cop, or just a citizen with a hankering for a knife, think of them as tools and well…think of them as shoes. You’ll be wearing them too, and like your hat and shoes, you can change the style, but you can’t change the size of your head and feet. Get the appropriate tool/knife. See clearly, be fleet of foot for the trails and paths of life, Kemosabe. Don’t stumble around with the wrong size, else you’ll trip, fall and fail. And like “running with scissors,” running with the wrong knife can be a minor or costly mistake.

__________________________________

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Escalation! “If I pull my knife? And he is carrying a gun…?”

If I pull my knife? And he is carrying a gun?

“If I pull my knife? And he is carrying a gun? Will this cause him to pull his gun out? Will I cause the problem to escalate?”

An attendee to a seminar in Kentucky, someone with zero martial or martial arts experience, just a regular guy legally walking around with a gun and a knife, asked me this question.

What did I say? I said “yeah, that could happen.”
“That’s pretty messy,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
And everyone stared at me for words of wisdom and solution. I have none.

So often people want Magic Bullet answers to a lot of self-defense questions. There’s always big talk in the self-defense industry about “avoidance.” If too late to avoid, then next up in the event list is what they call “de-escalation.” Avoiding and de-escalating a common knucklehead before a fight starts is a cottage industry. Some folks confidently dole out solutions to confrontations in three to five steps or present mandatory checklists.
“Say these things!” 
“Do this!”
“Do that!”
“Stand like this!”
“Don’t ever….

Now, I think it is certainly good to be exposed to all these ideas and methods. Sure. Do so. But as an obsessed skeptic, I see the caveats beyond the advice. I don’t know about certain kinds of solutions, magic words, or stances when confronted or attacked.

I have investigated a whole lot of crimes through the decades; and while there are identifiable patterns and surprises, chaos can sure still reign supreme. But let me summarize by calling it all “situational.”

In the end, solutions are situational. Like calling plays in a football game, it depends on the situation. How you stand and what you say or do should be situational. Custom-built. (This essay is primarily about pulling out a knife but does and could certainly relate to pulling a pistol, too. It’s just that if this was a “pistol-centric” essay, I would be writing more about pistol situations.)

pajamaBoy knife copy

So there’s an argument! Then a fight! Given you have already performed all your pop/psych avoidance and de-escalation steps. You are armed under your coat or in your pocket with a knife or even a gun, and this verbal stuff just ain’t working! The mean man won’t leave! Or worse, the men (plural) won’t leave. Do you pull that knife out? That weapon out? There are some situational concerns with doing this; and these concerns certainly do involve his possible knives and guns and the overall escalating ladder of weaponry, violence, and legal problems.

Here are a few facts and related ideas on the subject to kick around:

Fact: Some people do leave. For many a year now, 65% to 70% of the time when a knife or pistol is pulled in the USA, the criminal leaves you alone. (old DOJ stats) Simple statement. I have often heard the easy average of 67% used (sticks, by the way, are not in these study figures.) I must warn folks that this is not as clean and simple an escape as it sounds. There are many emotional, ugly events that happen in this weapon presentation / confrontation, even if the bad guy does leave. In my experience and investigation, if the criminal is alone he might be quicker to leave, if he is in or around a group, “his” group, he puts on more of a show before leaving. Trauma and drama. We discuss these details in certain topical seminars and other specific essays.

Fact: Some people don’t leave. The good news with the 65%/35% split is you may only have to fight about 30% of the time! So 30% of the time, the opponent does not leave and the fight is on, whether he is unarmed or armed. The bad news is when you are now in that “unlucky 30%,” or you might say you are now a 100%-er. You are 100% there and stuck in it. A hand, stick, knife, or gunfight!

Fact: Some people are armed. General USA stats quoted for many years past say that 40% of the time the people we fight are armed. A few years back the FBI upped that anti. More being armed! And another gem to add in is that 40% of the time we fight two or more people. Hmmm. So 40% or more armed times 40% multiple opponents. Not a healthy equation. Lots of people. Lots of weapons. Lots of numerical possibilities. The “smart money” in the USA or anywhere else is always bet that the opponent is armed.

Facts: Times and reasons to pull. Logical and physical. Time and reason might seem the same, but defining times and reasons in your mind and for your training is smart. 

Time equals “when” and reason equals “why.” Two different questions. The motive and the moment to move. Either way, remember …

For the rest of this article, read Fightin’ Words, click here

01 Book Cover-med

 

Should You Even DARE Use a Knife to Defend Yourself?

Should I Even Dare to Use a Knife to Defend Myself?

A motto for my Force Necessary: Knife course is “Use your knife to save your life!” It’s also for desperate times and situations. Mine is a politically correct slogan that sets the stage for the carry-and-use doctrine.

The knife can be used for less-than-lethal purposes and lethal purposes. Yes, less-than-lethal despite its reputation. The edged weapon is not well looked upon in the legal systems of the civilized world. I must warn you that if you use one to defend yourself you usually will be harshly regarded and will be working under an emotional and costly deficit to clear yourself of legal trouble.

Carrying alone can be a problem. Most pocket and belt carry knives are illegal in many countries and in some cities and states in the United States, unless you have a very common sense reason to do so, such as your job. If you run across the street to grab a cup of coffee, from your factory job, you may be grilled by authorities about your pocket knife. (This has happened.)

Knife who, what, where, when, how and why?

Who are you to carry a knife?
What do you do that requires a knife?
Where do you do this knife-as-tool work?
When do you need a knife on your job or work?
How will you use this knife on your job or work?
Why such a knife?

These are some of the legal questions authorities will consider, investigate and ask about your knife-carry in these knife-restricted areas.

There is also a citizen-based, “never-knife” and “anti-knife” knife movement, if you will, in certain self defense and combatives programs. Many of these groups are in countries where knife carry is illegal. I get the message from several Krav Maga schools also, which is a bit surprising. I hear –

  • “I’ll never have a knife!”
  • “I’ll never need a knife, I have my unarmed skills.”
  • “Even if I disarm a knife, I’ll just throw it off.”
  • “Carrying Knives are illegal where I live. I won’t have one.”
  • “I don’t need knife training. Everyone already knows instinctively how to use a knife.”
  • “People who like and use knives are crazy, like criminals.”
  • “There are no self defense knife use statistics where I live. Why bother then?”
  • “Have you seen the kinds of people that carry and train with knives? they’re a cult. A crazy, wacky cult!”
    …and so on. 

Knives are quite ubiquitous. There are in the kitchens and probably the garages of every home in the world. They are in every restaurant in the world, and every business in the world that requires a minimal amount of handy work. There was a stabbing the other day in a Walmart. A man got a for-sale knife off a shelf and used it. These facts render some of the above quotes moot.

And I might address the “There are no self defense knife use statistics where I live. Why bother then?” comment. I usually hear it from people/instructors/school owners who live in countries where knife-carry is nearly of fully illegal. There are consistent numbers of knife and gun crime but not knife self defense. Could that be that knives are just not allowed on the streets for the normal law abiding citizen? The no-knife mentality bleeds over to forgetting the knife, like Judo people forget to punch.

Still, despite the stigma, I carry on with my own knife course – Force Necessary: Knife. Here’s why and perhaps some of the talking points I use, maybe you can use for your positions. The following is how and why I justify a “nasty, violent” knife course.  

First off, I understand your anti-knife concerns. I really do. I have wrangled with these issues. I have no particular fascination with knives themselves. I feel the same way about guns and sticks. I do not collect them, in the same way I wouldn’t collect wrenches or hammers, or all tools in general. These things to me are tools. Some folks do collect knives and of course that’s fine and fine hobby. But since I feel this way, this detachment, I might offer a very practical viewpoint on the subject, along with, needless to add, my decades of investigating knife crimes might add some value too. 
   
We live in a mixed weapon world and therefore I accept the challenge of trying to examine this…hand, stick, knife, gun world. Carry and possession laws aside, it’s still a hand, stick, knife, gun world. It’s a world of war and crime and that includes weapons. We fight criminals and/or worse, we fight enemy soldiers. Sometimes we escape them. Sometimes we capture them. Sometimes we have to injure them. And, sometimes we have to kill them.       

A person (who lives anywhere) should know how to use a stick, a knife or a gun, despite the laws possessing them. I am not talking about legal or illegal possessing here, as in walking around with an illegal weapon in your pocket. I am just talking about use. Using it. Knowing. Messing with it. Familiarization. 

The big picture.
Martial instructors with statistics of things that almost never happening? A whole lot of things hardly ever happen in some areas. There are 330 million people in the United States. Millions in other countries. And the odds of being a victim of any hand, stick, knife or gun crime is quite small in comparison. Keep this in mind when we discuss one hand-fighting-only instructor in the USA who declared it was waste of time to bother learning long gun disarming. “Long gun attacks never happen,” he said. “You would be smarter to get on a treadmill than learn long gun disarming.” He said these very things the same week a guy walked into a church with an AR-15 and killed people. Annually, consistently, people use long guns like hunting rifles and shotguns in crimes. The problem exists. Since it exists, the problem requires solutions and one movement is in the available, existence of long gun disarming training.

Stats also that say that knife defense hardly ever happens too? That beatings with impact weapons hardly “never happen.” That fistfights and unarmed beatings hardly ever happen. I agree in the big picture. I think you would discover though that even simple, unarmed fights are also extremely rare when compared to population size and the billions of personal interactions people have every day.

So then, if an actual, unarmed fight, or an actual unarmed attack/crime is so very, very rare in comparison to the population number, the interactions numbers, why do we then bother to practice any self-defense at all? If hardly anything happens? Why bother with your Krav Maga?

Crime rates are small compared to the over-all population. Most of you reading this now will never be in an unarmed fight, never a knife fight, never be shot, or never be a victim of crime. Still we work on these problems because on some level we know, it has happened, will happen and could happen to you and yours. It sort of – needs to be done.

I ask this of the “never-knife,” people, the “never long-gun” person, the unarmed-only trainer. Why bother doing anything then? Does your “no-knife” logic carry over to “no-hand,” “no-stick, “no-gun?” None of it happens a lot anyway. Why bother?

A study of the FBI crime records disclosed that through the years, 40% to 90% of the people the police must fight, are armed in some fashion. That’s a lot of weapons out there in the civilian world. But, of course, in the history of crime and war, a knife (and sharp, knife-like things) has been used, dare I say, countless times in combat. Since this “no-knife-no-matter-what” essay aired on social media back in 2016, Brits, Europeans and Australians have presented examples when desperate people have used knives to save lives and have been acquitted, even within their strict laws. Even guns have been used in self defense and shooters were acquitted in “no-gun’ worlds. In the end, the “totality of circumstances” (a legal term) and common sense should usually win out. We hope! Should you ever, even dare to use a knife to save your life? It will certainly be ugly. There will be ramifications.

I do get a kick out of the knife simpletons who say, “just stick the pointy end in someone.” Well, there are mental and physical and situational and legal issues to work on and work out. I also find it interesting that many of these same folks spend thousands and thousands of dollars to own and learn how to stick the…”pointy end of a bullet,” into someone. A simpleton might say back to them, “What? Just point the barrel and pull the trigger. Stick the pointy end of a bullet into someone.”  I would never say that about shooting and I won’t say that about the knife either.

Mental. Physical, Situational. Legal. I hope I don’t have to mention a long list of examples here. Training with a knife creates a desensitization of it’s use, something most people need. They need the speed, strength and coordination to overcome an opponent and their reflexive arms. What are the positions and situations of use? And my God, the legal issues!  One could write a book about these vital things (oh…I have!)

And I would be remiss not to comment here on the subject listed above on “lost,” dropped or disarmed knives in this essay. You might not have a knife, but he does! And in your unarmed combatives class, your Krav Maga class in “no-knife” countries still practice knife disarms ad nauseam. You break the guy’s nose and execute Disarm #22. It worked! Two things happen to the knife –

  • The knife either hits the floor, or,
  • The knife is now in your untrained hand.  

What happens next? One naysayer says he will just “throw that knife away” and continue to fight on versus one, (two or more) bad men unarmed. What size room are you in, anyway? And just because the knife (or gun) is on the floor doesn’t mean the bad guy can’t lunge down in a second’s flash and get it back. The lethal threat is not over because the knife has hit the floor at your feet. It’s still within lunge and reach and the deadly intent has been established with his assault.

Knives! Look…hey…they exist. They are everywhere. To save your life and the lives of others, use them when and where you got them. Its a hand, stick, knife, gun, world. If you call yourself a self defense, combatives, survivalist, you must have a working knowledge of hand, stick, knife, gun world.

Warning though, if you use a knife, even legally, you will still be rung through the legal ringer.  First the knife carry-and-use stigma. Then your background, your comments on social media, your “unusual” (they will call it) interest in weapons. Your knife brand name and your knife social group. Your tattoos. Everything will be used against you.  And you will spend a lot of money with lawyers. I have written about these obstacles extensively elsewhere. Violence sucks and this will suck too. 

So, despite all the negativity, I still maintain the Force Necessary: Knife course as a storehouse of information and research on the subject. Somebody has to do it.  Knife versus hand. Knife versus stick. Knife versus knife. Knife versus gun threats. Standing on down to floor/ground. Legal issues. Use of Force. Rules of engagement. Psychology. History. (Certainly not just knife dueling.)

I will leave you “never-ever-knife” folks with this thought. This question. It’s 4 am and you hear two thugs breaking into your back door. Your spouse and kids are asleep. Presuming you are unfortunate enough, deprived enough, not to have a gun handy, do you reach for the biggest kitchen knife you can get your hands on? Or, will they get to your big knife first instead, as so many home invaders and rapists like to use your kitchen knives, so they aren’t caught with a knife in transit. If you don’t even think about getting a kitchen knife in that very dark moment? You are a very poorly trained, self defense, survivalist. If you do realize you need to get the biggest knife you can find? You may have just joined that crazy knife cult you so quickly dismiss!

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Hock’s email is hockHochheim@forcenecessary.com

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