Food for thought

Interesting article, the legal ramifications of using a knife in a self defense situation makes for a good read.
I almost wonder if it ought to be mandatory reading on this forum or any place where people are buying "tactical" knives. :)
Great stuff. I think all the young whipper-snappers around here should take a look at it.

I read this article keeping in mind the "use of force" rules I learned when I got my degree in Criminal Justice, and this is an EXTREMELY well written piece!

A link to this article should be a sticky in all the "tactical" forums or maybe all the forums period.

I also think the authors article on the difference between self-defense and a fight is good.
I particularly noted the comments about 'wild flailing' attacks often succeeding - simply because they overwhelm practiced defensive tactics.

Many years ago I thought I was a skilled boxer, earning a high school letter, and winning most of my bouts against the other schools in our league. My illusions about my skills crashed when I was matched against a guy with no apparent 'skills' at all - a determined 'flailer' whose sole strategy was 100% offensive bull-rushing. I was effectively helpless - overwhelmed - and the bout was mercifully halted as a TKO.

That event occurred nearly 50 years ago. It was an 'attitude adjustment' that I've never forgotten.
That's a wicked good read. It just about sums up all of my CQB tactics: lots of punches, nuts, and knees. Practicing and sparring helps a lot, but aggression and physical fitness are key. Same thing with a knife, though I tend to focus on stabbing rather than slashing - I don't care about self defense. Volume of fire is what kills.

The sections on the legal ramifications were very, very good. If you need to defend yourself, use a gun.
I've often heard it said that the best swordsman in the world has nothing to fear from the second best swordsman in the world, it's the worst swordsman in the world he should run away from. I think some of that applies here...
Though neither the article or "Mr. Animal's" website are new to me, it is an interesting read even the 3rd or 4th time around - and I agree it should be required reading for anyone buying a tactical knife.

I think some people will read it and get the wrong idea though - some may even get offended :eek: . Still in all, I wouldn't take the article as a condemnation of martial arts blade training or FMA in particular, though both are referenced in the article.

Conversely, I would take it as a valid critique of many training methods & mindsets; so, if you can see the logic in what was said, don't stop knife training, rather, modify some aspects of one's knife training & look at some of the legal ramifications that go along with actually using a knife for self defense - stick to the basics, including defense against the 'prison rush' maybe, instead of how to "disarm" the knifer with your bare hands... Teach what 'self defense' means & how its different from fighting - and how fighting is different from combat.

"Animal" is a 'martial arts teacher' himself - whether he likes the cannotations that go along with that label or not - he didn't write that stuff to get people to stop training... What he did do was try to open some eyes about reality versus what is currently being taught as 'knife defense / knife fighting' in the martial arts world. Bravo to him for having the cajones to say it!

As for grappling with a knife - the article contains some good advice; DON'T!!!

Even in martial arts training, dealing with a larger, untrained practice knife wielding opponent that isn't limited to 'only attacking this way' is very challenging. Introduce the training knife to a grappling session & you have a real pickle of a problem - especially if the other dude has the knife and you are on the bottom... That sucks. But its good practice. There are some 'rules of thumb' you will find if you take care to notice them and your chances of surviving such an encounter are definately better with training than without.

That article was definately good food for good thought IMHO :)
I did a lot of reading from that site yesterday. Lot of real good food for thought. So much I didn't go to my FMA class. I've just started classes and over the last few days i had been think about weather the classes were for me. The stuff I had been learn is lots of fun, and spoke to me a lots of differant levels. Fighting not one of them, I've always been one to walk away. What really had been bothering me and what was talked,is once you know these things the seed of doubt in you that says "I can take this guy" is not really something I want. I like my flight responce and it's worked good for me. I understand a conciquesnce of training is a shift in mindset, but how do I keep my perspective? Can anyone give me some freeback on this?

I completly agree with what Triton said about having to worry about the person with no skill. After 10 yrs of Fencing it's not the ones who've been doing it for a while, it's the rank newbie that's going to give you problems.
Sabre: I would recomend you go back to that FMA class if you like it - don't stop training. And I wouldn't worry too much about the mindset thing - you sound like you have good comon sense (a misnomer if there ever was one - good sense, unfortunately, is all too uncomon!) - just use your head!

Keep your flight response - you control your training, not the other way around... at least when it comes to deciding when and if you should fight. If you don't feel what you are learning is being taught in a morally acceptable fashion, i.e.; if there is no mention of when not to use your knife skills, then you will have to supplement your training with some book learnin' ;) or talk to your instructor confidentially after class and express your concerns if you think he/she would be receptive...

Of course you could just drop the FMA thing & take up Hapkido! :D But then I am a bit partial!!!
Thanks for the input James,
I had decided to keep taking classes after continuing to think about things and talked it out with some friends. As one said "know enough to survive not enough to think I can win a fight". Well said I thought.

At some point I'll have a good sit down with him and talk about things. I've already talked with him about some of these issues after the first class, to feel him out... Now, that I've been thinking about things I'll have a better idea of what my questions are, and the vocabulary to use.

It just kinda surprised me how short of a time it took to for me to understand my questions about what I'm learning (one week), and this thread has helped alot!
Take Care
I really enjoyed the article and would welcome more from this author. One thing I thought about as I read was the act of actually pulling a knife on someone. I think it bears remembering that if you pull a knife on someone in self defense you have just given them permission to kill you any way they can. That means the attacker can then pull a gun and you are effectively checkmated. They may even take off running to their car or home and get a gun and come back and kill you. People are nuts these days. You probably heard on the news about the deer hunting fiasco in Wisconsin where five people were shot dead over an argument about hunting rights.

A second thought I had was that of throwing the knife at someone. I've done my share of knife throwing and it is indeed a pleasant pasttime, but that's all. From what I know of human physiology, the attacker would not drop in his tracks as in the movies, even with a good direct hit. What you have done is disarmed yourself and possibly given the attacker your weapon. I may be preaching to the choir here, but there may be some romantics out there who fancy throwing a knife at their opponent. Not a good idea.
Take care, defuse the situation, and run if you have to...
Sabre: Good luck dude - for what its worth, I think you're making the right decision. post again if you decide you want to check out Hapkido too (you could do both) as there are some good people up in Mass., including Master Harold Whalen from Boston, though I don't know if he's still teaching or not now...

Anyway, Good luck :) - and don't forget to wear eye protection of you do any free sparring with training knives - I should have said that in my earlier posts :eek: