I was recently reading a Tom Clancy book – Power and Empire – (which of course isn’t written by him anymore, since he passed away in 2013) and the main character went through some pretty intense knife-fighting training to enhance his martial art skills. I’ll go into more detail about it later. But it made me think about the fact that I don’t have any real knowledge of how to defend myself with a blade. Sure I own lots of knifes. In fact I own several iconic fighting knives. But if I went up against a really skilled knife fighter, I’m pretty sure I would lose. So my questions to you is: Would you survive a knife fight?
I know what you are thinking!! Why fight with a knife, when I have a perfectly good pistol? Because, depending on where you live and where you go, you can’t always carry a firearm. You can carry a knife into many more places than you can carry a pistol. In some scary parts of the United States, getting a conceal carry license is very difficult. But carrying a concealed knife is still acceptable.
In Texas (where I live) we have pretty open knife laws. You can basically carry any knife you want, anywhere you want. Well that might be stretching the truth a little. There are restrictions for age and certain locations like schools and such. But most of the places I go, I could carry a knife. Look up the laws for where you live and adhere to them. This site seems to have a good list: Knife laws by State
In my Army Infantry basic training we worked with a knife for maybe two hours. Basically we were told you can slash or stab with a knife. Only use it when you are out of ammo or if you are trying to be quiet. There was no technique or “best place to stab” instructions. We spent more time with hand-to-hand combat. Very basic martial art techniques.
Back to the Tom Clancy book, they talked specifically about a martial art called Kali which originated in the Philippines. The knife that they used was the karambit. Jack Ryan Jr. (the main character) spent some time learning to use the knife and how to defend against knives. I’d seen a karambit before, but honestly looked at them as some of the “wicked” looking knives that are typically sold to teenagers. I knew nothing about their origins or their history. It wasn’t till I saw a video of Doug Marcaida showing basic techniques in combination with martial arts that I really took the knife seriously. Here is the video:
Not only did the knife enhance the martial arts, but it provides a much deadlier option with each and every strike. Even the dull practice knife provides an advantage for regular hand-to-hand fighting. It provides an extension to your hand that can be used to block and trap strikes against you. That is just not possible with hands alone. Very interesting.
The video is to help promote and sell a specific brand that can be found at The Ultimate Knife website. I’m linking to the site but have no affiliate link associated with the site. It was a good video and an eye opener. I am linking to it because of that.
In my experience the average person really doesn’t really know how to fight in general and certainly does not know how to fight with a knife. Practicing some really basic techniques would give you a huge advantage over the average joe. But just like any other skill you really have to practice hard to get good at anything.
I think every prepper should own a good bushcraft knife to make survival easier. But if you are going to carry a knife with the intention of defending yourself with it, you should know how to use it. Or it will simply be a weapon that can be taken away from you and used against you.