The grab strategy is now deemed possible and “okay.” In the 1990s and early 2000s, I received a considerable amount of talk forum ridicule for demonstrating and suggesting that – if you could grab the knife bearing limb, it was good idea. The common criticism back then by the “know-it-alls” was that such grabs were absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!
Ridiculed, my High Home Films videos and the bigger TRS “Unarmed vs the Knife” video segment in 2002 were so maligned. I Had suggested that IF you could, you grab the limb and should INSTANTLY fight on.
This is a lethal force attack, you grab and knock-snot out of the attacker’s eyes, face and or throat, etc. I have collected news-feeds for decades on knife attacks and totally untrained people have been winning (and even disarming knives) with regularity, world-wide. Grabbing the knife limb is-was a consistent factor. As with medieval art attached, if you need to look back-back-back.
Some of you will say “What? We’ve done this grab all along.” But some of you can’t say that. Training is tricky thing. Common sense does not always reign supreme. You see there are always several martial “boys clubs” out there that are rather mindlessly revered and followed, then replicated. They now show the knife limb grab a lot, thank goodness. They do tend to grab with two hands and maybe, arm wrap and body turn, etc. But some I see, I think, spend a bit too much time in the arm-grab-wrestle moment when they should be instantly attacking the face-throat. Whatever, at least the grab is deemed okay!
But what of this other arm? I have seen MANY (and rather famous) experts doing this grab-wrestle on film and both parties, the attacker and defender frequently ignore the other’s free arm. Standing or ground. Watch for this next time. Watch these workouts with an open mind, keep an eye on the free hand and think what it could do to the demonstrator if actually used.
Specifically, the knife attacker gets grabbed, plays along with the capture in training and never instantly buzz-saws in with the free hand to the face and neck of the defender-grabber. Then the opposite, the defender grabs the knife limb and the attacker doesn’t instantly destroy the defender’s face or throat. This works both ways.
This ignorance, this miss-step neglect of the other free arm-hand drives me BONKERS-NUTs especially even when watching quite a number of BJJ/wrestling moves. The free hand of the semi-captured or captured partner often just dangles out there, doing nothing. Or, the free hand does something non-fight ending so the wrestling can continue.
But, it is only bonkers to me when the instructors claim what they are doing is “street.” Sports-okay, because the free hand cannot cheat. (I don’t do sports so my bonkers filter is extremely low.) And why are sport people doing knife anyway? They are off-mission and their solution-blend is also often off-mission.
My ridiculed 1990s formula for “grab knife limb and attack” was:
A: Single-hand limb grab and instantly support hand strikes face-throat. Buzz-saw continues…
-B: Double-hand limb grab, when knife limb seems sufficiently secured, one hand instantly releases and strikes face, throat. Buzz saw continues.
– Extra! Get your knife limb grabbed? Your attacker’s support hand instantly busts in on defender’s face, throat.
I could write a small book on this “other hand” subject, but at least the modern boys clubs like the grab again! Defending or attacking, knife or not, the support hand is a both a vital tool and a vital worry. You should not be taught to mindlessly ignore it.
My last two years in the late 90s I wound up back in patrol (I was a real “Adam 12” dinosaur patrolman from the 70s) resurrected back into uniform after some 17-plus years as a detective.
All thanks to some upper-management, “flip-the-applecart” plan. (Lets make the foot-doctors into heart-surgeons and heart-surgeons into foot-doctors.) So, after catching a hitman and filing 12 organized crime cases, I found myself on midnight shift patrol one day, or should I say…night. I had some fun, yes, did some stuff, yes, but it really was a waste of time, grade and experience for me and the flipped others, AND the citizens who rely on expertise.
I had enough military (Army) and quasi-military (policing) in me, to “buckle-up,” “shut up” and go where they sent me. I never once took a promotional exam, (military police or Texas police) wanting to remain in line operations in patrol and investigations. Maybe I should have though? To thwart numerous, deskbound, admin, idiot ideas?
Some of my friends took these tests and remind me they created some ideas for effective change, But me? I was selfish. I wanted to catch criminals, and I spent a blissful 17 years as, what many use to call, a “lone wolf” detective. I was-not, am-not a socially driven public servant by today’s standards, turning and improving agencies into pubic-happy-machines or solving big problems. I just wanted to work cases. Selfish – I confess I used victims as vessels to wrap my hands around the throats of criminals. I mean, I wasn’t rude or dismissive of victims, but I new my mission. Thus, I am-was a dinosaur.
There are numerous stories about why I eventually retired in the Wolfpack Publishing book with their exciting title Kill or Be Killed. Nowadays, I tell all my police and military friends to NOT be like me. Take tests. move up. Build financial security. Build your family. Yours and their future. Don’t remain powerless, bottom-rung, cannon fodder like I was.
In very generic terms, and with you as the “tosser-thrower-tripper,” in the old-school business of “taking people down,” it would be worthy of mentioning, worthy of thinking about, these two kinds of takedown categories.
1-Going down with him.
2-Staying up or somewhat up as he goes down.
There’s one group of methods were you crash down on the ground with the opponent. The other group is when you chunk the guy down and you remain “up,” as in standing, or at least knee-high.
With the first group, there are way more takedown options, including way easier and even sloppy options for when both of you just crash-tackle-fall to the ground together. Actually, almost any idiot can do that, as witnessed in the world of yesterday and today.
With the second “stay-up” there are less options (and more skill) with remaining “up.”
I had to handcuff people most of my adult life when I fought them. In my professional life, on the sidewalks and streets, rocky roads and the tile floors of life, I always tried to be up, or somewhat up, trying for the knee-high or standing results rather than the full-out, ground-wrestling-around results. Once fully down-down, a whole host lof extra, messy things can happen with size, strength, adrenaline, weapons, etc…
I say “try” because sometimes the “toss-er” often falls anyway along with the “toss-ee” from the crazy “asses and elbows” mess that is a “fight.” And if things got rowdy with the “toss-ee,” if and when I got them down, I would try to sit on them, squeezing in on their beltline-pockets (weapons) area, in what was once called “Top-Side Saddle” or “Reverse Top-Side Saddle,” if he was face-down, as in “reverse.” The new, cool kids call it the “mount.”
So at times, I got way down there too, lower than “saddling.” And I had to flat out tackle people due to positional and situational circumstances. In this “ground zero” world there was a short, effective, old school bag of police tricks I was taught, (that including hitting) and I get to show this bag in some seminars when the topic comes up. They do work! And in some cases I had to to choke them out a few times. Nowadays chokes are pretty much taboo in almost all police ops, but okay for civilians if reasonably justified.
It might be worth it, to make a list of the easier, “2-man, crash downs” takedowns and the lessor, harder, “stay-up” takedowns. List and experiment with them. Or, at very least know about the two “ways” and that they exist.
The mistake? Ignoring the successful moves. I could write a ton about this point and its unintended after-effects in hand, stick, knife, gun survival training and related, muscle memory. But, I’ll just leave this shorter essay here.
The specific point of this is about misguiding mission, misguided training doctrine. This is about the training ignorance, the naivete of people – students and instructors, not to recognize this. Failing to recognize the devastating, simulated, tactic-technique, failing to “blow the whistle” and say,
“STOP! Okay, George, you probably won that one!”
This is a doctrine problem in any system, stick fighting, knife fighting. Any one. For one example, two stick-fighting guys bash each other’s helmets in, yet the fight ends with a grounded submission hold or choke? Nope, that fight ended 80 seconds earlier. Think about that. I have seen a lot of floor tap-outs by partner A on partner B, yet B had actually won that hand, or stick, or knife fight a minute earlier, first standing or maybe on the ground, simulating doing something vital-devastating, that was-
a) simulated for safety (and move totally ignored)
b) didn’t count in the rules (and move totally ignored) , or
c) Partner A was protected by safety gear (and move totally ignored).
Not recognizing this point, not rewarding this “winning move,” makes for incorrect, off-mission, survival doctrine and bad muscle memory. But listen, this is just fine for sports, arts, hobbies, exercises and fun, in which case it is NOT a terrible mistake. Know what you do and what you want. Know your mission. Stay on mission.
I worry about the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. In my courses and should be in your courses too, part of the “Who Question is “who do we fight?” Well, we fight three “enemies.”
Your “drunk uncle”
1: Who? Drunk Uncles: “Drunk uncle” is a metaphor that means all your relatives, near and dear, near and far. Kin folk or those close enough to be. It is very common in life to fight people that you do not wish to really hurt. Like your drunk buddy or uncle/relative. In police work we are also expected to fight but not really hurt people unless things get really “out-of-hand” and the situation escalates. But in person-to-person, poke your buddy’s eye out, bite off his ear, hammer-fist his throat or neck, smash his face, break bones, shatter his knee, and then see what happens to you. Usually, often, jail and lawsuits. Lots of money and problems. There is a whole lot of domestic violence out there, and violence on, and from, “who you know” is a big problem. (Remember, there are many intricacies in the complex laws of family violence, lest of all assaults and self defense.)
2: Who? Criminals: Essentially speaking, a stranger, (or for that matter even a friend, uncle or not, officially becomes a criminal when they assault you. You could just lump your uncle into this category once in a while too. But, what crime is being committed? Who, what where, when, how and why? The level of crime, the exact situation takes the exact temperature of your hot, lukewarm or cold response. Crime by the way often starts out with a trick ambush, which is a deep dive study also into the “what, where, when and “how” questions.
3: Who? Enemy soldiers: We know what those are. We usually like to kill them from as far away as possible, but often can’t do that either. Consider the military “rules of engagement.”
Civil law, criminal law and the Geneva Convention, as well as human ethics – look at fighting these three “bad guys” categories differently. Our responses and solutions confronting said “uncles, criminals and enemy soldiers” are very situational and may be:
Bargain (talk, show weapon, etc.).
Escape (orderly retreat – you leave or he leaves).
Hurt, on up to maim.
Detain, arrest and-or take prisoner.
Of course, not necessarily in that order. All are worth exploring in training through the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. All have happened and will happen. I make it a point to cover all of the above in the Force Necessarycourses.
Since we are Force Necessary and not Force UNnecessary, I do not teach sports or arts. I have done sports and arts for decades. I investigate sports and arts. I only borrow and raid from sports and arts for practical applications to solve these “uncles, criminals and enemy soldier” problems. Sports and arts are great laboratories, but it takes constant vigilance to know where to draw the line between art-sports and survival.