Tips for the Urban Jungle

Sep 23, 1999
Hey everyone,

Lets start a thread with GOOD Urban Jungle knife tips. Let's number them too, so we can count easily how many we get!

1) As I walk past persons on the street, I often have my hand as though it looks like it is in my pocket, but really it is over the pouch that holds my knife. If I need it, I can get it out very quickly that way.

2) Don't get lazy with your sharpening. The "carry 2 knives, one virgin oen for SD use so that it is sharp" thread really drove me nuts (my apologies to the thread starter.) If you have to carry 2 knives and reserve 1 for self defense so that your fightin' knife is sharp, you should be SHARPENING your EDC! Every string or box cut you make with your EDC is training, remember that.

3) 20 seconds every other day of practicing drwaing your folder fast and opening it could make a world of difference on the street.

4) "pretty" knives with nice colors and simple designs will poke a bad guy's kidneys just as well as the latest blactical knife (black tactical) and it may be more sheeple friendly. Your camoflage shoudl match your environment, and pretty knives blend in in the urban jungle.

Brian Jones

Jan 17, 1999
Actually Cray -- I used agree with you on point #2. But then I thought, "What if I just got done with a long carving, cutting, whittling project and someone attacked me, and I hadn't had a chance to sharpen it yet? Since we all plan for the worst possible contingencies, I thought I'd bring along that other knife...;)

I'll post more later...

Jun 2, 2001

I agree with most of your points.

Like Brian said, it's better to have two knives in case one is temporarily dull or you pulled it out of your pouch and while trying to flick it open you end up tossing the knife, you just loose it because it got stuck in clothing or bone, got disarmed or you just can't reach your one blade because they came from behind and grabed your strong side arm. You get the picture.

Keeping your hand on or by your pouch makes good sense. Actually if I feel that I need to, I'll palm my knife closed in my hand as I walk.

Practicing opening your folder is always a good idea. Actually pricaticing your draw while someone is coming at you or already engaged with you is even better.

"pretty" knives with nice colors and simple designs will poke a bad guy's kidneys just as well as the latest blactical knife (black tactical)

Yes, they will stick someone as well as a black knife (handle and blade) but they will also be more easily seen by the BG or witnesses. I prefer to choose when someone sees (or doesn't see) my knife.

Good thread, here's my tip:

5. If you have to use a knife, go DEEP.

Dec 3, 2001
Two knives indeed have their benefits. Not only is it possible that your utility knife is dulled by work as to make it less effective in an attack, but also the fact that a knife that is well designed for SD might not be necessary or useful in utility tasks. I do not recommend necessarily keeping the factory edge on the SD blade, as practice cutting is important. However, your SD knife should be very sharp if you are carrying it for SD. The only time it should get dull is in cutting practice and should be sharpened quickly afterwards.

As for pretty colors, if you like them then get them. if not then don't. It ain't that big of a deal no matter what either side wants you to believe. If someone is scared of a 3 inch black death warrior psycho ninja 420J artery severer 4000 they will be scared of a MOP ultra refined gentlemanly unintimidator number one. It is a fear of bladed instruments, not the color black. Unless its got a red handle, a bunch of tools, and a little silver cross on it they are gonna freak. I can appreciate and carry a beautiful knife and for EDC that is cool, IMO. However, when choosing a fighter, the color scheme is one of my last concerns. AND, if it came down to the same knife with a polished blade of a flat black blade I would actually take the black one. Why not give yourself back the benefit of surprise in certain situations if someone has decided to turn the tables in their favor already?

My Urban Jungle knife tip would be to practice with the same blade you will carry and if possible a drone. If you want to carry several for SD, thats great, but make sure you know how each one handles in its fighting applications.

In the vein of my tip I return to the issue of EDC vs dedicated SD knife. If you have a new knife that you might want to put into your SD carry rotation thats cool. If it is suited for utility carry it as an EDC blade. Handling it will familiarize you with the way it handles. Also practice with it. Once you are familiar with the way it handles make it a SDC and use it in your SDC rotation and take it out of EDC rotation. Hope that makes some sense.
Sep 23, 1999

this is GOLD! Keep the ideas rolling! This thread is what Bladeforums is all about. Rational conversation about cool pointy things :)

I should be done the second Magic Knot Knife ever (see avatar) soon. I'll be done the handle and all, save for the magic knot. When I get it done, I'll post pics of it. I see my Magic Knot Knife as one example of a "pretty" knife that is good for SD and good for chores too. I need to tweak the deign some more, but that will come.

Anyway, look for pics in, oh, maybe 2 weeks.

Brian: Yeah, after whittling your knife may be dull. But don't you have that ATC 'hawk within arm's reach when you're doing woodwork? WHO NEEDS A KNIFE WHEN YOU HAVE A SPIKE HAWK! :):):)
May 29, 2000
I agree with Crayola on the "use one knife for EDC and self-defense" point. Not only does it help you practice "muscle-memory" but, if you DO have to use it, and the matter goes to court, having some bits of tape or cardboard on it will only help your defense. At least I would think so....."honest your Honor, I carry that knife to use at work, and when the guy jumped me, it was what I had with me"

As far as the "keep your self-defense knife sharp by not using it",
most of us here on the forums are going to keep their knives sharp, no matter what we use them for. But, if you are really worried about it, I can tell you from personal experience that a dull knife will still do damage to a person. I was working at a grocery store one summer, using a box-cutter to cut the tops off of cases of something (cans of greenbeans, corn, etc.) to make a floor display. The blade in my box-cutter was getting dull, but I wanted to get the display built and didn't feel like walking ALL the way to the backroom just to get a fresh blade. Well, I should have...just as I realized what direction I was cutting the blade slipped and cut through both my Wranglers and my leg underneath!:eek: I ended up at the hospital, and received five stitches to close up the cut in my leg. Luckily I was holding the box at just the right angle so when the blade slipped, it just grazed the top of my leg. Still, it was enough. Had I been using something with a longer blade, it would have gone in deeper. And this was a blade that was too dull to cut cardboard! But it went though denim and me just fine.

Now I know that being a box-cutter it had a thinner blade than the knives that we carry, but unless someone just absolutely abuses the heck out of their knife, I would think that it would still be sharp enough.

That having been said, I still carry a back-up knife in my off-hand pocket, but more for pure back-up in case my primary knife gets knocked out of my hand, or I fumble it on the draw.:D


PS: I love threads like this!

PPS: or is it PSS:? oh well, anyway, another thing I do is inspect my knife constantly throughout the day. That way, if it is too fouled up with tape, or has gotten pocket fuzz up in the lock, I have a chance to clean it before I head out. Plus, its one more reason I have to take my knife out and play with it!
Dec 3, 2001
If it is legal to carry, IMO it doesn't matter if it is in pristine shape or battered with chicken feathers stuck to it.

And I would like to clarify about "keeping the SD blade sharp by not using it." That is not entirely accurate. Do use it...for EDC for a while to get used to it. After that continue to use it...for cutting practice. After practice though, it should be sharpened. It is only as part of SDC that it should not be used for utility tasks.

Muscle memory developed from using a knife on boxes and whatnot is not going to help that much in SD use. The way you hold and use the knife are very different. Muscle memory from training will be helpful so concentrate on what will be most helpful.

So here is my take. Carry knives that are legal, so it does not matter how many you have if they are all legal. A knife weighs only ounces. At the heavy end of the spectrum, is 7 extra ounces going to significantly burden you? The trade off of having a blade that will always be ready for SD duty and in optimum condition is worth it, it would seem.

Edited to add that it is, indeed, P.P.S.;)
Dec 30, 1999
on the flip side:

for defense if you are wearing a backpack, wear it in front and not in back

a tip i picked up from some post/trhead attributing it to Pete Kautz.
Aug 16, 2001
I remember reading an article in Fighting Knives or Full Contact that said that you should carry pepper spray in addition to your knife. Spray attacker in the face, if he keeps coming start cutting. My suggestion wear some good shoes that you can run in cause you should never get into a knife fight unless you have no other choice........
May 1, 2000
I live just down the street from a little grocery store and I do a lot of my shopping there. I usually sneak in just before closing time and when I walk back to my apartment with bags of groceries, I use a knife, flashlight, koppo stick, and/or pen to hold the bags. You know that carrying multiple heavy plastic bags can cut the circulation off in your fingers and become uncomfortable. By slipping something through the handles, you’ve made yourself a much more comfortable handle for those bags. In addition, you already have something in your hand if you should happen to need it. I can quickly and easily drop the bags while holding onto my makeshift tactical handle. No one will give me a second look, even with a closed folder in my hand, because they see the grocery bags in my hands and never look for anything else. A flashlight in this role can also be turned on if desired to remind cars of my presence or light up dark corners, etc. The most comfortable way to do this with a folder is pivot forward, spine up. This ads a step to the presentation because the knife must be rotated in the hand before opening, but spine down gets uncomfortable. If the knife has a tip-up clip you’ll have to watch to make sure that the handles of the bag don’t get caught in the clip when you go to drop the bag, so practice at home first. Folders with 3.5”-4” blades are most comfortable for me to do this with, could be different for you depending on the size of your hands. I carry it in hammer grip with the handles of the plastic bag between my middle and ring fingers, that way I can release my ring finger and pinky to drop the bag and I still have three fingers to hold my handle securely; once the bag is dropped, secure the grip with the other two fingers.

If you carry a tip-up folder in your front pants pocket and you wear a ring, try drawing the folder by using the ring to hook the clip. You’ve got a very discrete draw into a position in your hand that is secure without using your fingers. You can keep your fingers flat, or even apart, the knife stays in your hand and stays concealed.

Just as a thought experiment, walk around with the mindset of a predator. Instead of focusing on people who may be a threat to you, focus on being a threat to them. Don’t ask, “could I take that guy?” ask, “how could I take that guy?” Look at all people as targets, for theft or assault. What kind of openings do they give you? How close will they let you get to them without doing anything to put themselves in a safer position? I’m not recommending that you hurt people, only that you think about doing so. Be aware that if you do take on a predator mindset, someone could potentially pick up on that and feel the need to defend themselves against you, so do be careful. The purpose of this is to look from the other side at people’s vulnerabilities as a way to work on reducing your own. If you try this, you’ll see how easy it would be to at least get the first shot in on most people and they would have no idea what hit them. Use this knowledge to make yourself a harder target.

For the last week or so, I’ve taken to keeping a koppo stick in my hand most of the time I’m walking around outside or on the bus. It is made of wood so as to be CA legal, with rounded ends, all black with a black loop of gutless paracord. It took about 20 minutes to make and looks just like a pen in my hand. No one has given it a second look, even on very crowded streets and busses. Because of the loop, I can still use the hand without dropping or removing it. An informal survey of three friends had no idea what it was either in my hand or when I handed it to them. I don’t think this is illegal brandishing because it’s not threatening, but if I foresee a close interaction with an LEO I’ll discretely drop it into a pocket. I keep it in my weak hand, keeping the strong hand free for a knife if necessary. While no one’s asked about it yet, if they do I’ll just tell them that I’m trying to quit smoking and I find it easier not to smoke if I have something in my hand to fiddle with. I’ll call it a pocket stick, which is so obvious a name that it’s disarming and does not suggest “weapon” to someone who doesn’t already know what it is.

Sometimes when I sense that a homeless person is about to approach me, I’ll ask them for a cigarette or some change. If fux with their OODA loop and keeps them from asking me.

I do carry multiple knives, but I don’t segregate them unnecessarily. Any could be used for SD or utility, and I try to keep them all sharp. If I’m carrying a really small (i.e., 3”) knife I’d be less likely to draw it for SD, and if I’m carrying a really big (i.e., 5.5”) knife I’d be less likely to draw it for utility. I carry several not because I think I’ll ever need more than two knives for any one situation, but because I don’t know in advance where it will be convenient, discrete, fast, or possible to draw from. I’ve also noticed that some people who carry two weapons will carry one strong side and one weak side, while others will carry both strong side. I couldn’t decide which of those I wanted to do, so I carry two strong side and one weak side. Ambidextrous draw positions are preferable, but fewer, and have their own drawbacks. I try to keep my fourth knife off of the waistline (usually clipped inside my left boot), but depending on what I’m wearing that’s not always possible.

Pretty knives will definitely freak the sheeple out less. If I anticipate that I’ll have to use a knife in front of sheeple I’ll carry a pretty one. But if you ever want to discretely draw or even open your knife, you’ll appreciate how a black handled, black bladed knife is almost invisible against black clothes at night.

If you are really focused on SD, carry the same knives in the same locations always. Rotating is going to slow you down somewhat. If you split your drawing practice between 15 knives, and sometimes carry in a sheath, sometimes in a pocket, some tip-up, some tip-down, some holes, some disks, some studs, etc., your draw will not be as automatic or fast as if your setup is always the same. Given that, I still rotate my knives, because I’m a knife knut and I wouldn’t be as happy about it if I had to carry the same four knives in the same locations every day. I know that rotating is putting me at a disadvantage, but tactical considerations aren’t the only ones I’m concerned with.

Using a knife for utility is training for knife fighting the same way that shooting at paper targets is training for gunfighting.
Aug 27, 2001
Until about two years ago for about five years I didn't carry any blades because there was no need for one. My job is in the computer field building software. When a blade was needed there was one in reach.

I moved from Penna. to Oregon doing the same work, still no need for a blade. About two years ago I decided to train to become a self defense instructor, at this time I started to carry again. One thing I noticed was people in Oregon were way more open to people carrying knives then in Penna. and there were many more people carry knifes.

I carry a tactical folder in each of my front pockets for SD and were selected for stealth even though people here are knife friendly. Neither of these folders are used for cutting since as mentioned above I really don't have a need for it. On the other hand I do carry an additional folder if someone else has a need for a blade which is sheeple friendly.

Concerning practicing drawing knifes, I do this every day and when possible use a trainer and while someone is simulating an attack work with my draw under stress. I started doing this once I realized that from training that things are alot different under stress then by simply standing around practicing.

Concerning "fancy" colored blades, I agree that if you are among people who feel uncomfortable around knifes this most likely will makes them feel more at ease. My blades tend to be on the dull side i.e. black or SS, nothing fancy, again people I am around are not concerned about people carry as there are in other areas.

Lastly, this is a great discussion, as others have mentioned, this is one of the major points of this forum. Keep it going.
Nov 13, 2001
Originally posted by Crayola
The "carry 2 knives, one virgin oen for SD use so that it is sharp" thread really drove me nuts (my apologies to the thread starter.) If you have to carry 2 knives and reserve 1 for self defense so that your fightin' knife is sharp, you should be SHARPENING your EDC! Every string or box cut you make with your EDC is training, remember that.

Carry two of the same knife. One for utility and one for SD. This way you still gain a "feel" for your weapon. And buy a third. Dull the edge for drone use. BTW, I use low cost but high quality knives.
Jan 7, 2002
Someone has already made this point I believe. The best weapon is the one that is never seen. I would lose the idea that the weapon should be disposable, or of a price range you are willing to part with. The weapon should be less than the value you place on your life. Modify your choices based on your surroundings and local laws "if" this does not put you at risk. KEEP IT SIMPLE and comfortable, you should still be mobile.

It might be good to see some of what we leave the house with, pictures? What we carry, how we carry, where we are in the world or where we have been.


Dec 11, 1999
Although I posted it on the "book contest" recently it very much belongs here. So, here it is:

When using small fixed blade (Schrade Sharpfinger) concealed in a hip pack, use a thong with large bead that hangs out of zipped pocket unconspicuously for easy grab without making the knife visible. Also, use loose leather sheath inside the pack instead of a tight kydex so you can pull the knife smoothly. Leather is quiet too.
I carry a Schrade Sharpfinger in a hip pack while jogging in the city park against potential dog attack. The small but sturdy blade has wicked point, unquestionably legal size, low price tag and fits nicely in hip pack. No lock and opening problems. Concealed carry of a knife is a legal requirement here. Small hip pack is absolutely innocent-looking (almost geaky), provides great access in front position, can carry OC spray and a dirty handkerchief too, whatever is more deterring. Futhermore, the hip pack does not interfere with movements.

Dec 9, 2001
Another view -

I carry the same knife for everyday application whether it might be utility or SD. It is most often clearly in view (pocket clip). If I have to use for SD I want to be able to demonstrate that my having a knife with me - regardless of the make or model - is a normal event. A friend of mine successfully defended himself and his girl against a mass attack in San Diego several years back, killing one of the attackers with his Randall #1. Because he ALWAYS carried the knife in plain view, hooked to his day pack, and was known by his immediate circle of friends and co-workers to do so, he was able to avoid the negatives aimed in his direction during the investigation.

Having a 2nd knife is fine, but both a luxury (for some) and potentially confusing over time. Technique, I suppose.

One should always keep one's edge sharp whether utility or SD. Maintaining one's equipment is the act of a professional. Along with a good knife should come a good stone or hone. Learn how to use either and you'll not worry about a dull blade.

Smart to move the knife around when wearing or carrying different clothing or items. Most of us don't think about that. Habit becomes Habit. Nice tip, this one.

I run with either my BM Bali clip or a sturdy Kali stick, and primarily because of the odd aggressive dog, as mentioned in another post. I prefer the stick if BOW-wow comes along. A sturdy stick is a good thing.

Great thread. Good job, Cray!
May 13, 2002
I don't know if it was my thread that you are refering to but I just want to clarify. I keep all my knives shaving sharp. I just like to keep SD knives mint. Even if it is just a hair sharper than my other knives it will cut that much deeper. I agree with you that using knives for every day tasks will help you with getting the knife out quicker but I have to dissagree that it will keep you prepared for SD. I think there is no substitute for good training. I always have more than one knife on me. And I can get the SD one out just as quick. My choice for SD is a spyderco matriarch(civillian too big for CT) But I also carry any number of knives for EDC. In the event I was attacked I would probably use both, The spydie for slashing and the EDC for stabbing. Anyway it is my personal choice to keep one extra sharp. I was not saying that everyone should do this only asking who already does.

Mitchell Knives

May 21, 2000
1. Train with a copy of your daily carry knife. Try to at least practice openings daily.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice...get good at everything.
3. You can easily palm a folder inside the pockets of a jacket and no one is the wiser. Works well during winter season.
4. Buy quality knives and keep them sharp.
5. Don't constantly change knives, at least not your SD knife.
6. Carrying 3 knives isn't a bad idea at all.
7. Carry a knife on your weak side too.
8. To make your folder less obvious, clip it inside your waistband.

9. ***Buy knives that you will not mind carrying each and every day. A knife is of no use if it's left at home.***

10. Read Bladforums - Lots of good stuff here.
Feb 16, 2001
I´m a beginner in using knives for SD but I have to say that the post by medusaoblongata was one that came very close to my own tactics.

The OODA loop is a great tool. Ididn´t have a name for it until, I believe it was Southnark mentioned it.

The predator mindset - I do it all the time but have had a hard time explaining it (I´ve called it "combat mindset" in some other post).

The carry of a grocery bag with a folder idea is excellent (the Gunting works great on plastic bags with handles, a quick drop and it´s deployed).

Great post, thanks.