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Friday, February 04, 2005

And Speaking of Knives

There is one thing I rarely see when people work with knives.

When I see people train with blades it is almost always squared off with knives out, one person attacks and the other defends. I am sure that everyone here is familiar with this.

So my question is, "How did that knife get in your hand?".

If you intend to use a knife to defend yourself then the one thing you need to practice above all else is getting that knife in your hand while keeping your attacker from killing you. The $500.00 "fighting-folder" that remains clipped to your pocket, or is dropped in an attempt to deploy it is worse than useless. I say worse because you have wasted time trying to get it out when you should have been using the time for something that would be saving your life.

Try it out some time. Have a training partner attack you while you have a training knife in a sheath in your belt, see if you can get it in play before you get "killed".

Then get a training folder, or make one by buying a cheap folder and grinding off the edge and rounding the point. See if you can get that sucker out of your pocket, opened and into use before your training partner cancels your ticket.

What you will find is that it is very hard to do so unless you have trained for it.

Here are a few tips that will help.

Fixed blade knives are better than folders as a rule because there are less steps involved in deploying them.

Always carry your knife in the same place.

practice drawing your knife under every conceivable circumstance, including sitting in your car, rolling on the ground, while a friend is shoving you around, with your "off" hand. Use your imagination.

Practice opening your folder with one hand until you can do it in your sleep.

Get two knives of the same kind, one you will carry and keep as sharp as a razor, the other you will grind the edge off, round the point and paint the grip red to use as a trainer (A trick I learned from Bob Orlando) threat way your practice knife and your carry knife will feel the same. This works the same for fixed blades and folders.

When my students are ready to learn the knife I have them get two Gerber Profiles for their training knives ($20.00 at Wal-Mart) This works quite well and they end up with a good cheap belt knife that they can use for all manner of tasks that to not involve putting holes in other people.

One exercise I use is to have a student stand with her eyes closed and her knife sheathed. I will walk around them with a focus mitt on one hand. at some point I will push them and they have to move away from the push at an angle (rather than straight back) draw their knife and cut or stab the focus mitt, which I may have moved to a different position.

Try it, it is a fun challenge.

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