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Do Fighting Knives Require Training?

by George Wehby   |  June 28th, 2011 7

While forming a cooperative relationship with John Benner and his instructors at Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) for the show Personal Defense, I got to have some discussions on the use of folding knives for self-defense.  I’ll be completely honest in that my many years of martial arts training and professional gun carrying experience, I had very little formal training in the edged weapon department.  My training mostly centered on dealing with an attacker using a knife against me or someone else.  Funny enough, I always carried a knife with the idea that I might have to use it as a self-defense tool.

TDI folding knife from Ka-Bar.Though I always carried a knife and considered its use, training was definitely not a priority at the time.  These discussions at TDI got me thinking and led to some self-reflection where I noticed some tactical hypocrisy on my part.  Here I am, an avid preacher of training and I hadn’t really trained with these knives I carry.  I did have some opinions about knife training in that I thought Knife vs. Knife training was a little hokey–at least as a self-defense measure–but using a blade in certain context was definitely a personal defense option.  I in no way dislike the knife fighting martial arts (they are quite neat and beautiful), I just felt self-defense training can be better spent somewhere else other than learning to use a knife against another guy with a knife.

In my forming opinion (I am open to influence), knife training should focus on fundamentals similar to that of firearms.  Safety, stance, draw, proper effective deployment, target areas (whether they are vital “blood cuts” or wounding “mechanical cuts”),  use-no-use situations (like shoot no-shoot) and most definitely legality.

Keep in mind, different jurisdictions view possessing knives and their use very differently.  Just as with firearms, it is important to know your legal rights and the possible consequences of bringing a knife into a situation.  In the end of the day, it’s about protecting yourself, so be smart and train hard and consider the tactical folding knives if you do not already. Happy cutting.

  • Dave

    For the vast majority of people, the knife is the most versatile, often carried and easily deployed weapon.

  • Reggie

    Being also trained in the martial arts I have never given a lot thought to carrying a knife, however most people I know who carry them have never trained on their use. If attacked the ones I have spoken to about the knife would show it hoping the attacker would back off.

  • Will

    The most important rule I learned during edged weapon training is simply this. Never pull out a knife unless you, yourself, are willing to get cut. Just because you deploy it, doesn't guarantee that you will be the last one holding it.

  • Hilario Witiza

    If mostly registered self defense situations happens between 3 and 7 yards the knife is the best gun you can carry.
    In that sense, first: dont use folding knifes.
    Second:grip the knife in the sense of the arm, edge up,
    Third:target the wrist, the femoral,the liver
    Fouth:to the chest cavity enter from down to up.
    Five:keep a good phisycal condition

  • Spike1point5

    I would rather have a knife with me in most situations than a gun, just for reliability, while a gun should always function correctly if you maintain it, guns can jam. Knives do not.

    1) always know that in any self-defence situation, you WILL get cut. If you go into it expecting to, it won't come as a shock.
    2) forget fancy sliders or folders. What you want is a fixed blade. something like the SOG desert dagger is perfect.
    3) don't try fancy stuff. Blade along the arm, edge up so you can slash or stab. keep your arms close, no wide, overreaching strikes.
    4) like I said, no showy stuff. focus on sticking the blade where he doesn't want it to go

    • Dennis Terry

      a knife instead of a gun we will write this one on your tombstone

  • Dennis Terry

    its true you dont need a permit for a knife and they are always loaded but who is stupid enough to bring a knife to a gun fight

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