How to choose a knife for everyday carry

One of the questions I get a lot is how to choose a knife for everyday carry (EDC). This is simultaneously a complex question that requires you to consider many different factors, while also being very simple and straightforward. The simple answer:

Carry the knife you need.

The complex answer comes from figuring out exactly what this means. Your situation will be different from mine, so what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. If you live in another country, laws are different as well, limiting or expanding your options.

I will go over several of the factors I feel are the most important to consider before you can pick a knife for your everyday carry. But first, you need to answer another question:

Do you really need to carry a knife?

This may sound like a weird question but bear with me.

The purpose of a daily carry knife is to have it on you pretty much wherever you go, every single day. Then the first step is analyzing where you go every day: do you need a knife there or not? Answer that question truthfully before continuing. The answer may be that another tool would be more useful: a multitool, a sap, a kubotan, a monkey fist, etc. So first of all, figure out if a knife is the best tool for you.

Let’s assume it is, then we can get into the factors you have to consider before making a selection. Key point: these factors are not all equally important. Some factors may heavily outweigh others, depending on your situation. For instance, if you live in a country where open carry is obligatory, there is no legal need to consider how to hide the blade on your body. This will also influence your carry options as the draw will be different than with a hidden carry. All that changes which specific knife you end up buying. Keep that in mind while reading the list below.

How to choose a knife for everyday carry

Consider the following before making a choice on which knife to buy:

  •  What does the law say? Try this page as a starting point for an overview of international knife laws. Do some research to make sure the information is up to date because it changes regularly. If you choose to ignore the law, understand that this has consequences.
  • What kind of hands do you have? Large? Small? Long, thin fingers? Short, stubby ones? Etc. If you can’t comfortably grip a knife, it’s not a good choice for you.
  • Fixed blade or folder? In my country (and in many others), fixed blades are forbidden for carry. Locking folders are as well and police have the leeway to make a judgment call for non-locking folders. Make sure you know what is applicable to your country and State.
  • Blade length. This is often a legal consideration where blades beyond a certain length are illegal to carry. If you mainly use it for cutting, length is less important. For stabbing, a longer blade is more effective.
  • Single or multipurpose? If you buy a “tactical” knife designed primarily as a weapon, this makes it less useful as a tool for other uses while also marking it clearly as a weapon. Should you use it in self-defense, you’ll have to explain later on why you were carrying what was clearly a weapon designed to kill. District attorneys and lawyers enjoy it when you hand them ammunition to convict you… Look at the sales pitch of some of those tactical knives and then imagine how a lawyer could influence a jury with it to make you look bad? There are more than enough other knives available that don’t advertise as such and are just as effective for self-defense. These also have a form and shape that makes them multi-functional. Given that you will likely use your EDC knife much more often for non-self-defense related tasks, it’s something to consider…
  • Blade retention/handle. How well can you hold on to the knife when you cut and stab with it? Blades can snag, ripping the knife out of your hand. Stabbing and hitting the ribs can mean your hand slips off the handle and onto the blade, cutting into your own hand. Other handles and knife designs are good enough to let you break ribs instead of diverting the blade. The type of handle influences your ability to hold the knife and use it effectively.
  • Guard/thumb rise/finger groove or not? Expanding on the previous topic of knife retention, the design can help or hinder in that regard. A knife with a guard or thumb rise can secure your grip and increase the pressure of a cut/stab. The same with a finger groove, as it allows for a more secure grip when things go wrong. But if they are poorly positioned or don’t fit your hand, then they are counter-productive. Sometimes, having none of those is better than having features that don’t work for you personally.
  • Stealth or convenience? My personal philosophy is that if there is no reason to show you have a weapon, hide it. So my preference goes to a hidden carry. But the more you have to hide the knife, the less convenient it becomes as you make compromises to keep the knife from showing. Find the right balance for your needs.
  • Drawing method. If you carry a knife for self-defense, being able to quickly draw it under stress is paramount. A weapon you cannot access in time is just as useless as a weapon you don’t have on you. Different knives will favor different drawing methods, so this is an important factor to consider.
  • Can you afford a trainer? The single best training method for your EDC knife is to get a perfect copy that has a dull edge and rounded off point. That way it is safe to train with for both you and your training partners. More expensive brands sell trainers that are exact replicas and they are worth the investment in my opinion. If you buy a cheaper knife, consider buying a second one and blunting it for training purposes.
  • Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. There are some very expensive knives out there. Some of them are worht the money, lots of them aren’t. Some cheap knives or even mass-produced kitchen knives outperform them, strange as this may seem. So don’t just throw money out the window by picking the most expensive thing you see.

There are other points you could consider, but I believe these are some of the most important ones. The key is to take a hard look at your own circumstances and environment and taking into account all these points, one at a time. This slowly guides you towards a specific type of knife that is a perfect fit for you. Once you buy it, then you have to train, a lot, so it becomes second nature to access and handle that knife.

 

Some examples

To help you out, here is a picture of some of the knives I own. I only bought two of them, the others are gifts. Take a look:

How to choose a knife for everyday carry

How to choose a knife for everyday carry

Before I go on: none of these knives are legal to carry in my country, so I don’t. The same applies to you: before you choose a knife for everyday carry, remember to research your laws as to what is allowed.

Let’s go over them below, but just one note: some of these knives are hard to find nowadays so I did my best to find the closest thing to it in.

1. Spyderco Delica. The first quality knife I ever bought. I got it 20 years ago as a general utility knife. I wanted something small and reliable, this one fit the bill. The grip isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, but the thumb rise compensates for that. The thumb opening via the typical Spyderco hole in the blade works well for me and the clip hooks well into my pocket pants. It can also be unscrewed and placed in the opposite position, making it practical for both left and right-hand carry

2. Cheap knockoff. I bought this knife many years ago at an Army surplus store. It was 10 or 15€, no more. It’s a cheap folder that lies well in my hand and is great for opening boxes, cutting rope, etc. I mainly have it handy to cut through my car seat or break the car window should I ever be in a bad crash or need to cut my kids loose. These reasons are specific to my past: a friend of mine died in a car crash after he missed an exit. He couldn’t get out and burned to death. I vowed to never die like that if I could help it, so I have a tool handy to get free if I still have the ability to do so.

I don’t know the brand and can’t find it anymore. The closest thing I can find to this knife is the Spyderco Matriarch, though the blade has a slightly different shape. Another one that looks like it is the Spyderco Byrd Hawkbill (thank you Jason.)

3. Benchmade Mel Pardue. I received this one as a gift. The grip doesn’t work for me and stabbing hard with it would mean my hand sliding onto the blade. As the spear tip is very good for stabbing, that makes it a problem. The serrated part of the blade allows for cutting/sawing through thick rope very easily, which is a plus. It is matted and doesn’t reflect light, making it a good choice for certain scenarios. The clip isn’t bad, but the design of the knife makes it impossible for me to do a reliable quick-draw; the knife is too small and flat for my hand. Overall, this is a backup blade for me, at best.

4. Old SOG folder. I’ve had the knife for almost 20 years now and I forgot which model this is. I looked it up but didn’t find it right away. The closest thing I’ve found is this one.

SOG makes quality blades and this one is no different. Because it doesn’t have a clip and the placement of the thumb stub doesn’t work for me, it is useless for quickdraw. That makes it suitable as a utility pocket knife, with some limited self-defense use. It is a sturdy blade though and I’ve used it for all sorts of things, abusing it a lot: it has taken it all in stride and except for needing some inevitable sharpening, it performed great.

5. Boker Gemini Law Enforcement Model Knife. This is another old model that used to be reserved for LEOs. I got it as a gift and like it a lot. The grip isn’t perfect, but it works well enough in my hand. The blade is matted, but the coating comes off a bit too easily for my taste. This knife is the only one that is truly ambidextrous: you can change the clip but there is also a thumb stud on both sides of the blade. So you can open it just as easily in your left as your right hand.

The only downside is the locking mechanism. I’ve had a hard time adjusting it so it has the right balance between loose enough for a quick opening and too loose, making it is unstable. That makes it unreliable for self-defense which is why I disqualify it as an EDC tool. At best it is backup or a utility knife.

6. Benchmade AFCK. Another discontinued one, this is one that resembles it somewhat. It is by far my favorite knife for many reasons. The handle has great ergonomics that make it fit perfectly in my hand and the texture gives a good grip. The blade is razor-sharp and holds an edge well; even a quick slashing movement from the wrist would cut deeply. Because of the length of the blade and the grooves on the back, it is also suitable for powerful thrusting techniques without having to be afraid of losing your grip.

Of all the knives in this list, the AFCK is the only one I can comfortably use in both regular grip and reverse grip, increasing its versatility for me. Pikal grip (reverse grip, edge in) isn’t possible because of the handle ergonomics. But as I don’t favor that grip, this is irrelevant to me. Overall, this would be my primary choice for a pure self-defense EDC.

7. Spyderco Civilian. Spyderco designed this knife for undercover LEOs who have some very specific factors to take into account. It is useless for stabbing but is the best folder I know for cutting, slashing and rending. As a utility knife, it sucks, but that is no surprise as it was not designed for that: it is made to cut flesh and bone and does so extremely well. Even if you don’t have a lot of physical strength, you can still easily and effectively defend yourself with it.

Its strength also makes its weakness: I would only use this knife as an EDC in the most extreme of circumstances. If you use this one in self-defense and end up in court, the prosecutor or opposing counsel will show the jury the horrific wounds this knife caused. He will also explain that the purpose of this knife is to kill, painting you as a violent thug who doesn’t care about the lives of others. I would urge you to think for a long time about choosing this knife as an everyday carry…

 

Conclusion

This is by no means the definitive guide on how to choose a knife for everyday carry, nor was it meant to be that. I wrote it to answer the question from my perspective, because people ask it all the time. As an aside, a knife is far from the only thing you would include in your EDC. A sensible EDC kit has other tools in it as well, including emergency medical supplies. Obviously, you also have to spend the necessary time training to be able to use everything in your EDC when the time comes. The carrying is the easy part…

I hope this article helped you out with your own EDC, how a knife could fit into it and how to choose one. My main point is to think things through and consider what is relevant to you before buying anything.

Good luck!

 

This article was originally published in my Patreon monthly newsletter. I revised it and slightly expanded it here.

 

P.S.: I wrote an article a few years ago on a more comprehensive EDC kit. You might enjoy that one too.

Joe Rogan and the narrow focus of MMA

A while ago, somebody forwarded a video to Joe Rogan and he shared it on his social media. In it was a friend of mine, Bobbe, doing a drill in which he works his way around a training partner via several half-kneeling positions. I immediately understood what the drill was about as I’ve seen plenty of similar drills before.
Turns out a whole lot of people hadn’t. And they saw it fit to ridicule Bobbe to no end.
The video went viral thanks to Joe and to this day, Bobbe gets shit over it. Hence me writing this article.

If you go through the comments, aside of the insults, the criticisms boil down to:

  • The partner is just standing there.
  • This isn’t realistic, nobody fights like that.
  • The arm movements Bobbe does aren’t effective.

I’ll address all these points, but first something else.
I Like Joe Rogan. I like his stand-up comedy, his podcast and often like his UFC commentary. However, to the best of my knowledge, the bulk of his training is in Tae Kwon Do and Ju Jitsu. Apparently, he’s done some muay Thai/Kickboxing training as well, but I’ve only rarely heard him talk about it.
We’ll get back to that.

 

Some thoughts

MMA has become the dominant combat sport in modern societies around the world, but in particular in the US. As a result, MMA is used as the gold standard: “if it doesn’t work in the cage, it doesn’t work”. Such a statement betrays a staggering amount of ignorance or even stupidity. The first can be helped and is nobody’s fault, the second, well, some people could do worse than not talking about things they don’t understand.

Here’s the thing: this dynamic is not new. Not at all.

Most Western countries were introduced to Asian martial arts with judo and jujitsu, sometimes all the way back to the 1940s and 50s. Because these are so different from Western boxing and wrestling, people latched on to them and there were plenty of matches between practitioners of those systems to figure out which style was better.

Fast forward to the 60s and 70s and Karate came along. Suddenly, it was seen as more effective than the previous arts, because it focused more on striking. A few years later in the 70s, Bruce Lee introduced Chinese martial arts to the public. Because he was such a charismatic presence on the screen and his physicality, Chinese martial arts challenged the status quo regarding which martial art was best when it comes to fighting. And so on it went until we are now in 2018.

The dynamic is this: anytime a new martial art shows up, people wonder if it is good enough to take on the ones that are already established. This results in conflicts, mixed fights and one art/style/system eventually becomes dominant in the minds of the general population as it gains popularity. Today, MMA is dominant and everything is compared to it.

Unfortunately, that comparison offers a false equivalency. MMA is not self-defense, nor is it a traditional martial art. These are all separate things, though they overlap in some regards.

MMA has a very narrow focus: it is a combat sport (and a violent one at that) focused on empty-hand dueling. It excels at that and being an MMA coach myself, I have nothing but praise for it as a sport. But it is not the only filter through which you should view fighting and violence. Many things that matter in the cage don’t matter in the street and vice versa.

Now some enthusiasts get upset when I say this and dismiss it out of hand. I find that a bizarre way of reasoning. I’ve already written extensively about using Mixed Martial Arts for Self-Defense, so I won’t repeat it all here. In short: in the Octagon, there are no multiple opponents, you are never attacked by surprise, your opponent is never much heavier or stronger than you, there are no weapons involved, and much, much more.

In self-defense, all these factors are of critical importance. They have a huge influence on how you train and fight. Here are some more, but compared to traditional martial arts:

In many Japanese martial arts, there are techniques to stop somebody from drawing a sword and to beat him before he completes the draw. If you can stop the guy from getting his weapon out, it is useless to him and you can beat him as he tries to go for it. This has zero relevance in the cage. There are no weapons there, so if you see somebody doing a Japanese form with that technique, it’ll look stupid to you. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t look stupid to practitioners of combatives and law enforcement. They know that stopping a thug or attacker form getting his knife or firearm out is one of the best ways to not get killed. So that traditional technique still has relevance today, but not in the MMA paradigm.

A lot of low stances and traditional footwork looks ridiculous and is not usable in an MMA fight. That’s because it was developed and perfected to be used in a South-East Asian jungle during monsoon season: using typical MMA footwork and techniques in that unstable and slippery environment means you fall flat on your ass in no time and the guy you’re facing will crawl all over you, cutting you up along the way, until he is close enough to slit your throat. Again, irrelevant in the cage, but outside of it…

There are loads more examples, but I’ll leave it at that. My point stands:

MMA as a sport has a narrow focus and it doesn’t encompass all there is to fighting, not by a long shot.

So with that out of the way, here are some thoughts on the whole incident.

 

Drills? Why do that?

The key point so many of the commenters whined about was how Bobbe’s drill was useless. This means two things: they don’t know the goal of the drill or they think drills are useless.

Let’s look at the second first, what about drills?

In every single competitive sport, practitioners use drills. There are all kinds of drills and they teach all sorts of things, but, they are designed to focus on one (or several) aspect(s) of the sport and improve the skills needed there. For example:

Apply the same faulty logic here: “No football player runs like that!” So this drill is useless, right? So we must now ridicule these players, right?

It is a fundamental error of reasoning when people dismiss drills as useless simply because they don’t know or understand them.

Then there’s the goal of Bobbe’s drill.

As mentioned, I’ve seen loads of drills like this in Silat and they all tend to teach specific things:

  • Getting used to working near an opponent.
  • Learning all the different positions you may find yourself in.
  • Learning how to transition from one position to the next.
  • Learning which angles of attack are available and which aren’t.
  • Attacking targets without having to look for them.
  • Etc.

These drills are usually taught with an immobile partner at first, to make it easier to learn all these things. In more advanced versions of the drill, there is more movement, a back and forth and even resistance from the partner.

So the example in Bobbe’s video is just a basic drill and the method of training shown is pretty standard for traditional martial arts as well. MMA enthusiasts said this is useless for training to fight in the cage. Yeah, about that:

Every single criticism leveled against Bobbe’s video can be thrown at Firas Zahabi.  Every. Single. One.
The partner is just standing there.

Nobody fights like that.

His techniques aren’t effective.

So following the same logic, Firas is full of shit and knows nothing about MMA, right? Oh wait

The disappointing thing about the BJJ crowd’s negative comments and ridicule is that they should know better: they do compliant-partner drills all the time:

Using the same logic from the commentators, Emily Kwok must be full of shit, know nothing about BJJ and her drill is useless, right? Oh wait

Something else:

Did you notice in the previous examples how Emily and Firas did their drills in a relaxed, flowing manner instead of going fast and hard? Kind of like how Bobbe went relaxed and flowing? Do you have any doubt that Firas and Emily are able to go fast and hard with their techniques should they choose to?

If not, why on earth would you think Bobbe is unable to go much, much faster than in that drill?

Double-standard much?

On a final note: If you can imagine Bobbe going much faster, imagine him doing that drill at speed but with a knife in his hand or with a palm razor (see picture in the Update below.) You’re having difficulty picturing that? Here, let me help you a bit:

 

Conclusion

People mistake the intensity of MMA as an accurate way of measuring the validity of any given martial art. These kinds of “that wouldn’t work in the Octagon” comments are stupid and juvenile. They’re juvenile because they make as much sense as arguing over which one is better, Star Wars or Star Trek? They’re stupid because they compare apples to rubber bands; there’s no point. Do you see tennis fans saying Federer could beat all the best badminton players? Do you see Nascar fans claiming their champions could easily win Formula One races? Same thing: there’s no point. Different sport, different context, different environment, and so on. Such dogmatic comparisons are useless.

MMA is not the only filter through which you can see fighting and neither is BJJ the only one through which you can see ground work. There is a wide range of martial arts out there and they all have something to offer that doesn’t work in the Octagon, but is most certainly useful outside of that narrow context.

I’ll leave you with this:

To to get a black belt in his system, my Kuntao teacher, the late Bob Orlando, made you do a project. You had to list all the different martial arts in the world. List every single one you could find and explain how they were connected to each other. With that list, you could see that his style was only a very, very small part of all the knowledge that is out there in this field.
This teaches humility and makes the newly minted black belt understand just how little he actually knows compared to how much there is to learn.

It also drives home the point that it is unwise to talk about other martial arts because you don’t train in them. If you don’t understand why another system does the things they do, there is no upside in criticizing them as speaking in ignorance is stupid and arrogant.

How much better would the world be if a whole lot more people did just that before they spout bile or ridicule on a video they don’t understand the first thing about?

 

Update:

Bobbe explained the purpose of the drill in a response on social media. He kindly allowed me to share it here:

I’m not going to defend this video, but I will try to explain it.

I am primarily a South East Asian practitioner, with a passion for knives, close range and sensitivity. I’m an in-fighter, and I fully believe/condone trickery, deception and wetwork in application. So before I teach anything, this is the stance I come from.

This is a piece of a drill which focuses on sensitivity from a kneeling position, and circling a body without LOOKING at it, feeling where you are, and working different joints, limbs and body parts against levers and pressure. Some have mentioned the knee cranks and destructions in the drill, yes, those are there as well.

Let me say, about this drill: It’s called “Puteran” (meaning; “Turning”) in Mande Muda Pencak Silat, and before I explain it, let me tell you what it’s NOT:

1: Defense against an incoming attack.

2: A speed drill against a stationary opponent.

3: Things you can do if you *happen* to be kneeling in front of an opponent.

4: A Kata

5: A homoerotic knee-dance

Having said that – there are over a dozen variations of this drill, including with the opponent moving in various directions, adding attacks, counters and stealing the line. What you’re seeing here is step one – nothing more. I used my student’s incoming punch as a reference point to start from, because I like to begin that way. It can easily be trained with a person just standing there, not attacking at all, the attack isn’t the point.

This is not a “dead drill” – there are several directions to both arrive at this point, and to go to from here as well. What you are seeing is a piece of an interactive method from a system that emphasizes unique angles and unusual entries.

There are lots of versions where BOTH people are moving, attacking and countering simultaneously, in a free-flow style with no choreography. This little snippet was filmed after class, where I was teaching a beginning student how to achieve this. This is simply the baby steps.

Puteran addresses several things at once: Position AROUND the body, at various angles and levels (you only see level one here) both facing and with your back turned, as well as side-to-side sensitivity, foot placement at close range, and what’s known in silat as “Badan Dasar” – “Body Basics” when interacting with an opponent.

Some have mentioned what would happen if a blade was in my hand – yes, this drill also has bladed variations, but the most important lessons are in the first level: How many arts address leg attacks and moving from low, seated or kneeling positions *fluidly*? Further, you don’t “have” to kneel, doing this drill, try it standing up and just maneuvering yourself around a person.

I am a *touch* surprised at the reaction from the BJJ crowd – they do, like, several variations of this, for the EXACT same reasons! The biggest argument I’ve ever heard when confronted with this is something like “Yeah, but…we don’t wear a SARUNG!”

Okay, what-evs.

Examine the drills and forms of any classical martial art, and you’ll find that they often reflect the direction that the art itself is pointing you towards. For example, “Sink-Root-Punch” could qualify many Karate systems in a nutshell, and the forms and drills certainly reflect this. Pencak Silat is flow-based, it advocates moving and attacking off-line, obliquely, in a way that the opponent doesn’t see coming.

To accomplish this, you must actually train such lines to be common technique. Watch the last few turns, I don’t even touch my opponent, I’m just moving my body in a circle around his. This is something many other arts do standing up.

I don’t keep a plethora of drills in my repertoire anymore. I believe that the only way to achieve a modicum of skill is to cross hands, roll, flow and spar. To that end, the drills I retain and teach are what I call “blanket” drills – they can be used and modified to reflect multiple principles, so the student doesn’t spend years memorizing choreography over developing actual skill, or confusing recital with ability. This drill opens the door for flow when both people do it together, and can be done standing up, squatting, or kneeling – so it fits my criteria of necessity, but again, it’s one ingredient in the recipe of Harimau (tiger) Pencak Silat.

If your art or method doesn’t address low-line fighting from a kneeling or seated position, this drill will look strange to you. If this is the first time low-line attacks have ever crossed your path, you will probably be dismissive of the drill. There are precious few “systems” I’ve seen that even address the legs, outside of “stance” or “to kick with”. Similarly, if your art or method doesn’t address realistic knife attacks or defense…how can you expect to understand the sheer weight of consequence and responsibility that comes with even the simplest of training?

I’m including a clip of my late teacher demonstrating a few applications straight out of this drill – maybe that will do a better job than I can. You can also see some smaller variations of the drill.

Lastly – take one of these palm-razors that I frequently carry, and do the drill. Let me know if it opens your eyes.

Bobbe Edmonds Palm Razor

Palm Razor

I would like to thank Marc MacYoung for his patience with me, and generosity in allowing me to respond on his page.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my hand to the Seattle TSA, and let them know I’m available for pat-down seminars in your area.

Lastly, I wish to offer a free pat-down to any Asian or Latina cheerleaders who are ignorant of this country’s customs and laws, and/or need a Green Card. Please apply at the black 1978 Chevy van parked at the Target superstore in Renton, WA.

Wear uniform.

 

Teenager shot by police at Reno high school: Lessons to learn

I just got sent this link to a video of a teenager shot by the police at a Reno high school:

You can view another angle here.
What seems to be known so far.
The predictable response here.

What is likely to happen now:

  • There will be the usual outcry along the lines of “Why did he shoot him, the kid only had a knife?” from those with no understanding of the dynamics involved in such an encounter.
  • Then there will be some more outrage as the journalists, pundits and professional rabble-rousers do their thing.
  • In the end, nothing will change and it’ll be waiting for the next incident.

In the mean time, I suggest focusing on the lessons we can learn from this. There are several things to take away form this video:

  • Disarming somebody with a knife without hurting him is not easy, nor is there a guaranteed technique you can use to pull it off. What’s more, a knife represents lethal force. Such a threat is typically responded to with lethal force, such as a firearm. Why? Because when you don’t and things go wrong, they can go wrong in catastrophic fashion (fast forward to 7min15 for the attack):

  • If the officer didn’t stop the kid and went down himself like the officers in the previous video did, the kid could have slaughtered several of students who were standing there. It’s the officer’s duty to avoid that, along with not dying himself. So if you brandish a knife and threaten others with it, act erratic and refuse to drop it when ordered, you should expect a definite response from law enforcement.
  • For those who don’t understand this, here are some realities about violence, about knife vs. gun and also this article. As an overall strategy, when faced with a knife and you have the option: run. Run for your life. Which brings us to the next point.
  • Look at the other students. They refuse to leave and even come closer as soon as the kid is no longer looking right at them or moving in their direction. There is no way to emphasize enough how monumentally stupid this is… If you have kids, teach them to flee when an event like this happens. I teach this to my children and repeat the lesson regularly: being an innocent bystander doesn’t make you safe. On the contrary, you can become a victim in an instant or become collateral damage when law enforcement takes action. Here’s an article with many examples. Here’s a video that shows exactly how fast bystanders can become victims, even when they think the fight is over…
Teenager shot by police at Reno high school - Lessons to learn

Teenager threatening with a knife in Reno high school

Early reports claim the kid was bullied and lashed out like this to protect himself. I have no idea if this is true, the investigation is ongoing and should reveal more. If true, is this enough to give him a pass on pulling a knife like that? That discussion is beyond the point of this article. The point is to learn from this incident and avoid becoming a victim.

Good luck and stay safe.

How to block a knife attack

As you know, I’m working on a book on self-defense against the knife. By the way, I’m still looking for people who want to share their story about that (anonymous if they prefer.)

What often comes up in my research is that people fall victim to some misconceptions and myths about the techniques you can use when somebody tries to stab you with a blade. One of these is that you should try to “block the knife attack”. I’m not claiming it’s impossible because I know people who’ve done just that but I am going to say that there are good and bad ways of going about it. Not to put a fine point (hahaha) on it, do you want to know how to block a knife attack? Not like this guy did..

how to block a knife attack

How to block a knife attack? Not like this...

 

The irony of this picture is of course the tattoo on his chest. Seems like somebody wanted to test that theory…

Back on track.

There are numerous ways of defending against a knife attack and they all have their value. Some are better than others. Some are worthless in my opinion. And then there’s everything in between. That said, however “bad” you may judge a technique to be, there is only one factor that determines its worth in the end: did it work or not? [Read more…]