How tight is your grip?

Discussion in 'Filipino Combat Arts Forum' started by Sensitive Biter, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Sensitive Biter

    Sensitive Biter

    Aug 24, 2009
    Simple but very crucial and vital question in knife and perhaps other hand-to-hand weapon use is:

    How tight do you hold the knife?

    There seem to be a few radically different schools of thought.

    Some, notably kung fu types, say loosely until the point of impact then tensed grip. This does not deal with unexpected impacts that I reckon one must expect in combat.

    Some few, including it seems to my dodgy memory a very experienced Escrima guy Cacoy "Boy" Hernandez's from his autobio from Paladin Press, advocated being "strong" from elbow down... a iron grip to avoid losing it...
    Maybe it was another "expert".

    Many military teachers teach a hammer grip, particularly a hammer reverse grip for stabs. That is because of the fact that it is a strong and most powerful (I am not going to argue with dumbasses who dispute this) stab, making adding of bodyweight easier.
    That fact is THE reason why untrained users instinctively use hammergrip and often by (usually weaker) women a Reverse Icepick stab.
    It works. That's why people do attack like that.

    [ A digression: Incidentally, for all you guys who appreciate reality rather than dogma, some homicidal thugs do use the straightarm overhead swinging icepick stab that "experts" say people "never" use. I know because I saw it on TV! Seriously though, three neoNazi youths were shown practising attacks and one liked this technique, this powerstab, so much he used it in a successful surprise on an unfortunate Black youth they assaulted. So even such a telegraphed attack can work against some... A subclavian cut. Bled out. R.I.P.

    It is not a bad technique for ambush or impaired, e.g.exhausted, assault as THE SPECIAL FORCES, both Russian and Chinese, teach it. You can get crazy power for the crushing killshots the Military favour.

    Oops! I forgot, NOBODY attacks like that. HAHAHA!

    The showing of covert Police inhouse AudioVisual surveillance of murderers on UK TV was a first, a predictive programming powerplay for the Establishment...
    But that's a whole bigger and nastier can of worms that is too scary for most profane* to even really contemplate... though we must to survive and be free.)

    Certainly I see sense in differentiating between highly advanced practice where one might be able to get away with a less secure grip for the added flexibility and speed advantages and a less masterful stabber for whom a strong hammergrip seems adviseable since losing grip is the penultimate disaster! Of course, the worst is internally wearing your own blade!

    Which sucks as I love shifting the grip in hand as I flow for optimal angle of attack... but the hard knocks of unexpected (but predictable) street reality
    must be accounted for.
    After all, even if one were careful to avoid his bones he will have other ideas! Forearms bones do just fine to disarm weak gripping knifers.

    I wonder what FMA and Systema (both recently and anciently well blooded systems) have to say on this gripping issue ? (Sorreee!!! Had to, just had to.. )

    I for myself am changing from a sabre grip to a "compound grip" to increase retention. If I have to fight I hope adrenaline will be a saviour not a sinner.

    *Since Knowledge is Power you shouldn't expect the Elite to share their Secrets with slaves... yeah, I mean you. Paying taxes is slavery itself.
  2. GRIM 62

    GRIM 62

    Mar 29, 2009
  3. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003

    I dare say one of---if not the last---skill set to master for a weapons man. (In the context of firearms though, the method taught in the Fairbairn-Sykes school of WWII combatives mentions the "convulsive grip" method, but that's for another discussion. . .)

    Just how tight is tight? Or loose? Are the mechanics the same for an impact/percussion weapon (stick, baton, club) and a slicing/thrusting weapon (knife, swords, blades)? Are they readily transferable?

    Even long time practitioners have acquired "bad habits" thru the years. Some even never really get it.

    Considering the limitations of cyber-space and the years one has to find that out for oneself (gotta earn and learn those skills right? ;)), I can say though that proper gripping it is just part of an overall balanced equation: Don't train to grip for the sake of retention only (tight). In the same token, don't train for the sake of multiple angling and rebounding strikes only (loose).
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  4. Sensitive Biter

    Sensitive Biter

    Aug 24, 2009

    I have just determined that the right grip is one that I can reliably hold on the steel after a very hard impact to the knife or a hard hit to the forearm.
    It is the unseen impact on the arm from his block that worries me. I suspect that it would depend on many factors and only testing will yield any decent answers.
  5. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    ^ (Lets out a chuckle of approval :thumbup:)

    I especially liked how you considered the elements beyond the hand.

    We get too tunnel-visioned into thinking that the degree of tightness (or even looseness for that matter) is seeing only the hand. Again, it is just an element of an overall equation.

    Just because you "death grip" your weapon with your hand doesn't mean the arms/elbow/shoulders, etc. has to be as tight as well.
  6. MM


    Nov 22, 1998
    I don't know man. I can't "death grip" without my forearm muscles contracting. I'm no kinesiologist but I think that's common for most people.
  7. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    Ah, indeed it does, including mine! More specifically, what I meant was the entire arm, elbow, shoulder platform (and by extension the whole body) shouldn't "lock-up" tight (as opposed to muscles naturally contracting), the elements I was referring beyond the hand.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  8. Hetman


    May 22, 2006
    I tend to go half way - keep it rather tight with thumb and index finger, and tensing other fingers on impact.
  9. machinest

    machinest Banned BANNED

    Nov 11, 2006
    practice on a dummy or a tree and you will figure it out. in a real fight for your life, more than likely you will have a death grip on your weapon.
  10. Jack Shen

    Jack Shen

    Jan 2, 2005
    I tend to be tight on whatever end the knife butt is.

    so for ice pick type grip, the thumb,index,and middle fingers will be tight, for regular grip the pinkie, ring and middle are tight. But I try not to death grip constantly, my hands will cramp up and will want to let go of my knife or stick after a while.
  11. idaho


    May 5, 2005
    I practise quite the oposite. In sabre grip my thumb and index finger are "active", and other fingers firmly hold the blade.

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