Monday, June 19, 2006

Reexamining Modern Knife Instruction - WR Mann

In this FightingArts.com article, W.R. Mann provides "Advice on surviving an edged weapon attack." His position is that some, "instructors who teach knife self-defenses to the general public don’t understand how knife attacks really occur."

A common mistake, for example, is to emphasize (or practice mostly) stick work, erroneously believing that developing stick skills will automatically transfer to unarmed defense against the knife.

The problem with this approach is that the vast majority of edged weapon WR Mannattacks are sudden and without warning. In these situations victims have their hands so full just trying to avoid being stabbed, they have little time to pull out a weapon (even if they have one). In most cases the victim will be stabbed and perhaps not know it until afterwards. How is stick work relevant here?

There are some Filipino styles that do emphasize knife work, but mainly in an offensive capacity. They seem to delude themselves into believing that they will always be ready for any event. The reality is that bad things usually happen when you’re the least prepared for them. And for the most part, these styles don’t even teach any practical unarmed skills against a live blade.

That is not to say that I don’t practice knife-fighting (knife against knife). But I don’t do it to the exclusion of defensive knife work. I am also honest enough to realize that my chances are minimal when faced with an attacker armed with a knife. I also realize that I may not have a knife on me at all times, and even if I do have one, the chance that I can draw it in time against a determined attacker is not favorable.

So if the odds are stacked so heavily against you in the first place, why should you learn knife-defenses at all? For “knife awareness.” If you practice a program that includes a counter-knife component, you may be able to survive a knife attack, and that’s the point isn’t it? You probably won’t wipe the floor with your attacker, but it would be good to survive the assault.

Read the rest.

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1 comment:

Berin Loritsch said...

The knife is probably the scariest weapon for close distance fighting. Unlike a firearm, there are at least two edges you have to worry about (point and blade, and the second side if it is double-edged). That combined with the number of deceptive attacks that a skilled knife user has at his disposal. With a firearm, once you have cleared the line of fire you can go to work.

That said, it is obvious that getting involved in a knife fight is not a good thing. In fact, if you don't run you are stupid, cornered, or you have someone you care about who can't run as fast. The best defense is always awareness. You can avoid most fights by not provoking them.

In the event that one does happen, I've been taught to drop into a defensive stance where my leading arm is tight along my body and the wrist is away from the assailant. My trailing hand is in a normal fighting position. From this stance, I can more easily avoid the jabs and force the guy to commit. That's where the techniques I've learned actually work. Until the guy commits, there really isn't anything you can do.

Of course, the best is to never be in that situation to begin with.