TACTICAL ? Run or Fight!

Oct 20, 2000
There's so much talk of tactical knives that it would really be prudent to bring up some crucial points before somebody really gets hurt.

It is fine to own a beautifully crafted tactical folding knife or fixed blade which serves no other purpose than to dispose of a potential assailant.

But wisdoms deems that a tactical knife does not a fighter make. In real life situations, the one who survives to tell the tale is usually the one who either talks his way out of it or gladly surrenders his valuables, or even runs as fast as he can.

Very few people really know what to do with with a tactical knife in a life-threatening situation. Chances are that if you are a knife fighter, you can probably disarm or neutralise a potential assailant with a few deft moves.

It is much easier to imagine oneself disarming a mugger or robber but unless you have experience fighting in the streets or physically neutralising an attacker, you probably don't know what you are talking about. Or worse, the police want to talk to you about a previous case!

Robbers who are usually street fighters are people who can and probably use anything they can lay their hands on to maim their victim or knock them out. In other words, there are no rules and the fight is always dirty.

A less than 4 inch blade (unless it is in the hands of an expert) will do nothing to improve the situation for the potential victim. If you are good at praying, I suggest you get on to it immediately. Then, there's giving up your wallet. Remember, you can always recoup that financial loss and thereby buy yourself another hefty-looking blade to impress your friends.

Colleagues have frequently told me how they can bring a potential mugger to his knees in 10 seconds flat - aided by a nasty-looking blade. Hogwash! Chances are that the undesirable chap opposite you will speed you on to your grave, should you entertain any thought of being another Steven Seagal or Bruce Lee.

Easy imagining yourself a hero than actually being one. There are plenty of heroes in the mortuary - just ask the hospital authorities.

Make Love your strongest weapon. Compassion your shield and forgiveness your armour.
Good advice - he who runs lives to enjoy another day.


Speaking as a former motorcylist living in sleazy saloons, I couldn't agree more. As for 'sophisticated' weaponry, the most dangerous weapon I ever brandished was those heavy cut glass ashtrays they used to have. Trust me, anybody that ever saw five pounds of heavy crystal flying through the air will never look a 'tactical' knife in the same way. I disagree about martial artists, however. I have never seen karate successfully used in a bar fight. In a 'no rules' fight brawlers win because we cheat--and the use the term 'we' because I will cheat every time. As an older man, I turn from cat calling and insults. I surrender the lane to guys with 'road rage.' I have been mugged, but never successfully. And of course, if my wife is with me, all bets are off--I'll try to kill you as fast as I can. But looking back over three decades of being successfully paranoid, I have come up with my own survival guide: I quit going to bars, and I now attend church, and the church I go to hasn't seen a drunken fist fight in over eighteen months ;-) I find street thugs to be cowards who take the path of least resistance, and my wallet means broken body parts. I use Colonel Jeff Cooper's 'color code' for being in public, and I travel in 'condition yellow.' During the last two decades, I've raised my voice once, and I haven't thrown a punch at all. Further, I take my joy not in senseless violence, but in constructive pursuits.--OKG

Really enjoyed reading your piece on Life on the road and the bit about the church.

Glad to hear about the valuable saloon tips from a seasoned motorcyclist.

Stay close to God, brother. That's the safest route anywhere.

Make Love your strongest weapon. Compassion your shield and forgiveness your armour.
i love ya man....
and you don't even have to give me your Bud Light!
I think that the only time you should pull out your tactical knife would be if the guy looks like he's gonna kill ya. I mean, if you can run or give him something (unless you're an expert), DO IT!

If you really feel you're in danger, get a gun! Much more effective.



Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
To Costas and Kelt34: I am flattered, but I think when you get as much gray hair as I have (but at least, it's very thick), you'll feel the same way. We have a saying here: There's the old, and there's the bold, but there aren't that many OLD BOLD. I was fortunate enough to learn some hard lessons and get some good breaks.--OKG
I have had the unfortunate experience of having to draw a knife once, and having to defend myself manually another time.

I pulled my knife on a former co-worker after he whipped out his wanna-be Harpy, and cut through two layers of my nylon climbing rig. I instantly took two steps back, one to my weak side, and pulled out what I think was my Spydie Military in reverse grip. After seeing how fast I moved, and how effortlessly I employed my technique, "TOM" quickly shut his mouth, and folded his "toy" and took his leave, never to return to the shop again. Had he been smaller then I, or my size even, I never would have felt the need to pull out my knife. But I am 5'8", at about 160. WHile "TOM" on the otherhand, was 6'2" about 200. I have had formal martial arts training, for nearly 11 years, as well as grappling/wrestling for at least 4. I am more then confident that I could readily disarm an untrained person of similar to slightly greater strenght. I would never have called upon my knife unless I had full intentions of using it. Keep in mind, we were 85 feet in the air, on an antenna platform about as wide my kitchen.

After he left. I too came down...and threw up for a half an hour.

Another time, my girlfriend and I were leaving a pool hall after a few of the "locals" became loud. She knew how I could get, and promised that if we just left, she would make it worth my while. WHo am I to turn down the advances of a pretty woman. We left, and guess who met us in the parking lot. There were three teenagers, I was about 21 at the time. The biggest was my size. The other two were short and stocky. I had on my hip a Sypderco Police model, as well as a small Mini-Pal on my car key ring. Realizing I was outnumbered, and the chance of having the knives used against me was greater then my getting a chance to use them as tools of intimidation, I never reached for them.

I got the crapped kicked out of me that night. Nose was busted, and ribs bruised. I managed to severely hurt the big one, enough so that Law Enforcement later got involved. The two others managed to get me down and kick my face and chest. It wasn't until my girlfriend jumped on one of their backs, and started to scratch his face, that I was able to get up, wipe my face off, and fend off the other one. After seeing me fight of the last one, the one my girlfriend was fighting with threw her off, and made a mad dash for me. With a resounding CLICK, my nearly 10" Police model glistened in the dimmly lite parking lot. He stopped dead in his tracks, and turned and bolted for the pool hall.

The next day after seeing a doctor, I was welcomed home by two squad cars. As pleasant as the officers were, I still thought it ironic, that I WAS JUMPED, AND THEY CALLED THE COPS! With two witness, including a battered and bruised girlfriend, little much came of anything.

You want to preach about what happens when people begin to think violently about the knives they carry, that's all fun and good and everything...just know where you want to draw the line. I live in NYC, I have NEVER had a fight in the city! All my little riffs were in the wealthy suburbs of northern Long Island.

What we do today in life...echoes in eternity...
Every man dies...not every man lives...
Thank you golok, OKG, and Dangelo. Fantastic posts. It's great to read a mature discussion about real world use of knives as weapons. Your posts are full of wisdom and I hope some of the wannabe knife fighters 'round these parts pay close attention. Great thread guys!

Paracelsus, who never carries any weapon except awareness
OKG is very wise, and what he has said reveals actual experience. I know a little about some martial arts and weapons use. I was intemperate in my youth and I, too, have never seen "martial arts" used successfully in a barroom fight. However, the principals of legitimate martial arts instruction are often used to great success in the barroom situation (1) Whenever possible, walk away. (2) If forced to fight, strike first and, thereby, last.

Just walk away guys, or better yet, stay away in the first place.
I like some of the ideas presented here! However, pick up any good knife fighting book and usually the first technoque they describe is what direction to turn to while you run away. Serious knife fighters will run first. Fighting with a knife is the last resort. BUT, if it comes down to that, better to have that tactical knife then face someone unarmed.

One of the problems, I believe, is something most humans do all the time. Remember watching Rambo? What did you want after watching it? Certainly it wasn't to join the Green Berets! We wanted that bog ol' knife! Same thing here. Get a tactical knife with a neat o IWB carry sheath and now I'm a knife fighter!!! WRONG!!! Hopefully once the glow wears off people will go get some training or at least order a book or video tape and learn that the first knife fighting technique is to leave the knife in the sheath because it makes running easier!

"Come What May..."
You're right, all those "tactical" knives i owned are for shows only....shame on me.....but then again, i do know how to stick one in without any fancy moves. IMO, i prefer fist fights as they are more predictable and won't "dis-arm"(...hehe, get it? Dis-ARM?...) by your attacker....BUT of all the options, run or talking your way out of it is the best. I for one am not use to seeing wound with blood gushing out...., Good advise.
OKG, I too, am a Christian who regularly attends church, and used to hang out in bars and "bad" areas. My attitude and temper kept me in constant trouble. I no longer frequent bars, and haven't been in a bar fight in several years. Amazing what a change of scenery does.
golok, I don't see your point about a less than 4" blade. Blade length is immaterial, you can be killed with an ink pen. I've seen someone carved up with a box cutter. Like any weapon, the knife is not the threat, but the person using it. I do agree that merely owning a weapon does not make you a "warrior", and should not give a false sense of security.
My .02.
I'm with you Golok. Good advise for the uninformed. I always carry a tactical knife, but I look at the title "tactical" as meaning something different. Cutting seatbelts, screen doors, light prying and cutting accident victim's clothes ETC.... Not fighting unless absolutly nessassary. I carry a Beretta 92fs, a 21" ASP and a small can of CAPSTUN to take care of the idiots of the streets. If you were so good as to get all 3 of those from me. Then you would meet my blade in a fight or die situation. I'm only trained in "edged weapon survival", not actually fighting with one. Buying a tactical knife doesn't make you into Steven Segal. Remember that, and be safe.
The last time I had to use my evil-looking CQC-7 was when a few drunks
decided to 'ask' me for some change. They pulled their knives, yelled
'we have knives'.

'Duh, me too.'. They didn't notice I had an evil-looking yellow&black
can of Def-Tec 1 spray with me. Been told by a Mexican they use this
stuff to add flavour to their chilis. Though I emptied the can, it
taught these drunks a small lesson and messed up the remainder of
their night.
I am a African-American Male who lives and works in the Inner-city and while I have never had to use a knife on anyone I carry two and a large can of Pepper spray. There is a small percentage of the population that will not allow you to run from them and I have personally witnessed two severe "stompings" where even a two inch blade with the proper technique could have given the victims enough leeway to escape.
For those who have not experienced a potentially deadly physical force encounter and carry a "tactical" blade for PP (Personal Protection)or even a firearm you' ll do good to view a copy of "Surviving Edged Weapons" video from Calibri Press. It is a REAL eye opener for what goes on in the REAL world. One will see that size (person and blade) does not matter even in the hands of the untrained. And you' ll do good to follow the Maurice Green defense...

For the most part, my tactical knives are no more than great looking utility knives. I do not consider myself a coward, but I am niether a fool. I would rather run or surrender a few materials and live. Besides, I live in Los Angeles where it is foolish to bring a knife to a gunfight.
Well I can't run. Not for long anyways. There's also times when it would be tactically stupid regardless of how fast you are.

I've seen knives drive off muggers. Hell, I've done it twice. It's also VERY possible to be effective with a 4", or even 3" blade. At least one well-regarded US knife combatives teacher actually prefers such critters (Bram, over in the Commonsense self defense forum). I personally like bigger steel, my smallest daily carry piece is a folder with a 5.5" blade.

Training with a martial arts teacher who has a specific knife background, preferrably with a reputable lineage, helps a lot. However, somebody freaked out, hyped up and willing to use a blade can be extremely dangerous regardless of training. There's so many deliberately helpless sheeple out there that the sight of a blade can be damned effective.

It's a bit like the bear and the badger - sure, a bear can kill a badger but the skimpy food value of a dang badger isn't worth the torn-up bear paw that will inevitably result.

Street predators are little different, unless they're on drugs or drunk. A drunk won't do well in a knife fight against anybody even slightly skilled or thinking, but drugs...well that's a crapshoot. A lunatic crankster can be a nightmare.