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Author Topic: sparring/fighting with bladed weapons  (Read 32144 times)
maija
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« on: May 23, 2007, 07:46:20 PM »

This thread goes back to the "June 2007 Gathering" thread, and a comment by JDN on may 21st regarding the regularity with which blade sparring using training blades, usually turns into a "bloodbath" with both parties cut to ribbons.
i am personally continually irritated by blade sparring which involves the opponents, after a bit of dancing around, running at eachother into a clinch and stabbing eachother to death, with obvious complete disregard for their own safety.
standing in front of someone holding a live blade, knife, machete, katana, pinute, whatever, and i can tell you that my first impulse is not to run at them, taking a few cuts on the way in as i go for the strike/take down.
so my question is..how do you train in a respect for the blade, which holds true even when you are sparring with non-live blades?  chalking the blades has been mentioned which is great, and of course the shock knife.
any other thoughts?
the training method i learned from sonny has a built in escalation that keeps the idea of evasion uppermost whilst upping the ante on the competitive level of the flow. i think this a great way to keep aware of the unforgiving nature of the blade.
of course this can fly out of the window when the adrenalin raises, especially if you feel you are losing! but i have to say that the few occasions that i saw sonny start to lose his temper, it was because we were sparring as a group, getting sloppy and exchanging hits. the live blades would then come out and we would each have to flow with him. sometimes he would make us block with the blade held against the body whilst he struck and caused sparks from the steel to steel contact, the cold shower he called it. otherwise we would take turns with the aluminium or foam blades, and the first hit on the hand, or body we had to sit out.
i know this is a question with many aspects:- training empty hand against weapon, pure self defence, etc,  but i guess i am most interested in both opponents  armed and with some skill. i think this scenario has more subtle risk evaluation questions, and perhaps more tactical ones.
personally, getting away clean seems like a worthy goal. so how do you train it alongside the idea that you probably will not......?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 06:03:21 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged

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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2007, 09:12:32 PM »

I think this is going to be a good thread and I look forward to reading some great replies. Im not sure how to address the some of the other questions but I guess in the case of sparring or in a Gathering setting maybe an option is to have several judges watching from different angles just like they do in the tournaments. Matches would be short but "realistic" if we follow the one hit concept that Maija practiced with Maestro Sonny, another idea is that while using the "one cut your out" concept add in the idea that if the cut is "Minor" i.e. on a hand then the cut person loses or has limited use of that hand or appendage.

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so how do you train it alongside the idea that you probably will not......?

Quote
standing in front of someone holding a live blade, knife, machete, katana, pinute, whatever, and i can tell you that my first impulse is not to run at them, taking a few cuts on the way in as i go for the strike/take down.

IMHO I believe that one of the most important factors would be mental preparation.

I finally got a chance to watch the Grandfathers Speak VOL 2 and Maestro Sonny was amazingly fast, I liked his idea and ability to check with the flate of the blade vs using the alive \ empty hand.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 12:32:15 AM by Robertlk808 » Logged

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Bandolero
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2007, 06:23:06 AM »

3 rules of AMOK!

- Don't cut yourself.
- Don't let the other guy cut you
- You do all the cutting

I think the one hit training concept has been taken to an extreme.  How many times have we read about guys who were seriously stabbed, who said afterwards they did not even know they had been stabbed?  "It felt like a punch."  While a deep stab may eventually catch up with you, it may not immediately do so.  In my own life, during a sudden knife attack when I was a teenager, I twisted in place and took a knife deep into the shoulder that was initially headed for my chest.  I managed to run about 1/2 mile to get away from the attacker and his gang buddies.  To train such that at the first thrusting contact that one immediately sits down may be counter-productive.  Like telling a guy you are training in firerarms (using Airsoft or sims) that the moment he gets hit he is out of the fight/dead.  I think we would all agree that what we want are guys who, despite taking a hit, drive the fuck on and finish the job against their opponent.  Perhaps, if you are standing outside a hospital emergency room when you take a thrust to the chest, immediately disengaging and running into the ER for help MIGHT be the right thing to do, rather than to continue to fight it out outside.  But out on the street we gotta keep fighting until we prevail because if we don't prevail we are likely to die.

If thrusts are not necessarily immediately incapacitating, then certainly slashes should not be considered so.  While I am no wizard at such, I think much to much is made of the theory that if you slash somebody in the arm, their arm muscles will no longer be able to function.  Thatmay be the case if the slash is in the sweet spot and deep enough.  But what happens if, for example, your opponent is wearing a leather jacket in the winter with maybe a sweater on underneath?  You cannot be sure your slash was sufficiently deep.  Your opponent may not be out of the fight at all.  Cut? Yes.  Out of the fight?  Not necessarily.  Remember, on the street many of us are only really packing folders, sometimes with a maximum blade length of 3" so that we are not in violation of the law and get our asses locked up and thrown in jail.  I see far too many people train knife sparring with 6" trainers, when the chances they will really have anything more than a 3" folder available to them on the street is quite remote.  In AMOK! training, accessing under pressure has a premium placed on it for just this sort of reason.

I do think it is important for guys to spend some time trying to go in and stab an opponent to death.  It is a way for you to test whether you can pull it off or not.  A reality check so to speak.  If your check hand is well developed you may actually be able to fend off any serious damage to you while you do in fact inflict some serious damage on your opponent.  One of the drills I have run people through when I did some coordination of training at The Warriors Forge in Manassas was what I call the "20 second drill."  You are in a knife duel with an adversary, and his buddies are 20 seconds away and closing fast to jump in on his side.  You don't have the luxury of sparring and dancing ad infinitum.  You have to try and make something happen in which you prevail during the exhange, because if you do not once his buddies get there you will be in a world of shit.  You need to know what you can do and what you can get away with (if anything).  During a sparring session once I personally was able to pin a guy's hand to his side/grab his wrist long enough to nail him a few times before his brain registered what had happened and was able to bring his blade into play.  The primal scream coupled with the sudden attack on my part seemed to work at that moment in time and space.  Suppose I had done that and backed out as quickly as I had come in?  I might have come out way better than my opponent in such an exchange that might have started the diminishment process significantly in my favor.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 07:58:46 PM by Cold War Scout » Logged

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maija
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2007, 08:55:29 AM »

hi cold war scout!
love the idea of the 20 second window. very nice.
one of my training partners has done some research into what are "stopping " cuts/hits. some research through reading and some through empirical study from his years as a bouncer. he has found, as you point out, that the human body is an amazing machine especially when it is "motivated". i have also heard from research done by my toyama ryu teacher that decapitation is the only true guarantee of stopping a katana wielding opponent! so you are right, you can't just stop at the first clash...don't know how many times i've got nailed in that moment after i've landed a strike and don't follow up. ASSUMING victory is indeed dangerous!
the reason why sonny would get us to sit out after taking one hit was generally as a reaction to our losing sight of where our own body was in space. it was done as an incentive for us to pay attention more to NOT taking hits if at all possible...your 3rd rule, not to build in a mentality of giving up.
his idea was that accuracy was the key, and we practiced cutting the angles finer and finer during sparring until the muscle memory was there to give us the best chance possible of taking the LEAST injury.
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armydoc
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2007, 10:11:57 AM »

Good thread!   I'm not part of his organization, but I know that in Hoch Hochheim's "Scientific Knife-fighting Congress" they do what they call "kill shot sparring."   From what I saw, it seems that its not really a "one shot", for the reasons that CWS referred to.   Instead, they have someone serving as a "referee" that pays close attention to the action and calls a halt  when one person has landed what he judges to have been "enough" to stop the other guy, or when both fighters have clashed enough that both would be dead.   Obviously this would require some skill and good judgement on the "referees" part, but getting to serve as both the fighter and the referee at different times gives one two very distinct impressions of the action.   Learning to watch for both good and bad tactics and how to deliver and avoid telling blows as the referee transfers directly over to putting it into action as the fighter.   

Keith
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 11:01:55 AM »

Woof All:

I have great interest in this subject and we already have some highly qualified folks here discussing it.  cool I look forward to the discussion.

TAC,
CD
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Bandolero
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 02:06:40 PM »

A good referee can sure help make a quality difference in assessing what are clearly strikes that would have some debilitating effect.  But he/she has their work cutout for them.  Depending upon the angle/field of view a ref may see soemthing that he/she thinks was a significant strike, however in reality it may have only been a grazing strike/strike through clothing that actually had little or no body behind it at that moment.  Those of you who have sparred while wearing very loose t-shirts probably know exatly what I mean already.  Conversely I have seen scenarios where the strike appeared to have either not hit/barely hit/appeared to be an insignificant fight stopper, when in reality the strike would have been an effective one even if not immediately.

For those of you who have trained with the Shockknife, I have a question.  When you were nailed in a part of the body that would not have been especially fight ending in and of itself, let's say the love handles, was the pain significant enough to cause you to recoil/react?  I wonder if even such electric stimulation training also overlooks the reality, in this case, that a love handle strike might have no effect at all on an adversary.  I guess my general question is does the electric shock cause reactions that might not really take place in a live blade scenario?  When I think of electrical shock, I think of recoil.  Of pulling away from the pain.  If thisa is the case, and I admit I don't know, if one is pumped up with adrenaline because one is in a fight for one's life, would one notice that dramatically that one has been struck?

Gotta run to a track meet.  Ciao fo' now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 05:11:40 PM »

Woof:

With DB Gatherings part of the charm is that there are "No judges, no referees, no trophies"-- so part of me is leery of being pulled into such a function.

yip!
CD
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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2007, 06:21:28 PM »

Woof:

With DB Gatherings part of the charm is that there are "No judges, no referees, no trophies"-- so part of me is leery of being pulled into such a function.

yip!
CD

I hear that and what a tricky task it is to keep the sparring realistic.  I guess way it comes down to the players activating the "watcher" and being honest when a good slash or thrust is executed and felt but then again in such an adrenalized state sometimes the thrust \ slash isnt felt.  Tricky indeed.
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maija
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2007, 07:12:54 PM »

i'm not sure whether referee-ing would solve the problem, it's just too subjective and remote from the experience. if one of the goals of sparring is to gain insight about your own skills and gaps, someone else telling you that you are now dead may not necessarily help.
we used to play a game where small squares of paper were safety-pinned to various parts of our t-shirts indicating key targets, heart, kidneys, neck etc. both players had paper targets and the game was to pull off an opponents target without losing any of your own. you had to engage to be able to pick off a target, but of course this put you in immediate danger of losing one of your own. we never tried it with long sleeves, to indicate arm cuts, but i bet this would add an interesting element to the game.
perhaps some form of this idea of 'protect and capture' could be added to the knife sparring as a test of relative skill?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2007, 11:16:42 PM »

I think aluminum training blades  and the pain they can generate and the risk of hand breaks that they entail has some merit , , ,
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Bandolero
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2007, 05:45:05 AM »

The down side to the hard contact trainers is exactly that also.  The risk of injury to a training partner.  Unless the sparrer just does not care whether he breaks a rib or two, he can only thrust but so hard when the opportunity presents itself.  In order to back off on the possibility of causing such injury, the person in position to land a real hard strike will often back off the intensity of his attack so as to minimize that occurrence.  This often translates into a reduction of body mechanics (e.g. the depth of the closing of the body, the slowing down of arm and hand speed, and the non-full extension of the knife wielding arm).  The opponent does not realize just how truly well he would have gotten nailed.  And the attacker does not get to fully explore the vitality of his attack.

For this reason there is a lot to be said about the NOK hard contact trainers.  You can nail somebody with 100% intensity and it is unlikely to injure your partner or to break.  It also allows you to train at a seminar for several full days running without the debilitating effects that constant strikes and dings that a hard contact trainer may result in.  You still need a hard contact trainer for disarms in order to obtain the necessary leverages and pressures that hard trainer material will generate.

Live blade training certainly has its place.  For the obvious reasons, safety must be that which the training revolves around, which of course results in application limitations.  At The Warriors Forge we like live blade exposure for several reasons.  1) so we get used to the look of facing real steel with a view towards getting some level of being innured to the apprehension of facing real steel.  2) so we can better realize that "hey this stuff works against the real thing also."  In fact, IMHO, one often does better against a live blade than against a trainer.  The brain has an amazing ability to focus sharp as a razor blade when the blade is real.  The brain does not allow itself to get filled up with extraneous, non-useful bullsh!t when it's the real deal facing it.  I have seen much better performance of the check hand against real blades than against trainers.

There is no reason to necessarily go "beserk" with live blade training.  Just getting each other used to the dynamics of incoming real blade is a benefit in and of itself.  If the attacker comes in using controlled (in the sense of not trying to run you through) #1, # 2, # 3, # 4, # 5, # 8, # 9 attacks, the defender can execute check hand parries.  I have seen an excellent elevation of check hand placement and hand speed when using real steel by even the most average person.  The attacker can build up to forward pressure while delivering these strikes, thus necessitating, in some cases, movement and in some cases (e.g the up against the wall, limited ability to move scenario) the ability to stand firm and execute your defenses.  Admittedly these live blade sceanrios are not completely representative of the real world.  The attacker always has to be ready to halt an attack in mid-air, which means controlled, non-100% deliveries, but it is a way to introduce live blade training into the mix in a way that I think benefits all students, yet does so in a manner that provides for good safety considerations.  I have run some disarm moments with the live blade, but generally prefer to keep the sheath on (a flying blade is inherently dangerous).  Even these controlled session with a live blade are not risk free.  On one occasion I came to find out that I had a slash in my gym shorts literally right where the head of my Johnson would habve been (had I been a black man  smiley ).

Back to hard trainer training.  One thing that can be done to protect the upper torso during hard contact blade training, and this is frequently easy for LEOs to do, is to wear your body armor.  This will diminish the power of thrusts thus allowing for some harder contact with less concern of damage to each other.  Plus it has the added benefit of enhancing your conditioning by default.  At The Warriors Forge Dino takes every opportunity to insert that into the mix.  Training sessions will often start with everybody having to do 20 burpees, and then the sparring sessions begin.  45 seconds, 5 seconds to switch partners and then it's on again.  Three evolutions of that usually convince folks that knife sparring is some pretty anaerobically intense activity.  But then again you Dog Brothers know that way better than anybody else.  smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2007, 08:06:29 AM »

Excellent post CWS!

To clarify, my comment about aluminun training blades was directed exclusively towards occasional high adrenal days like a DB Gathering.  Also, we continue to explore the Shocknife.

I agree entirely that the NOK trainers are quite good.  As a matter of fact, after the Gathering my intention is to look into us carrying them here on this website.

Yip!
CD
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armydoc
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2007, 08:48:22 AM »

As CWS points out, a progression in the type and level of sparring in a training environment is important.  The intensity and type of attacks can be controlled by a good training partner.  Different levels of protective gear can be used depending on the situation.   But as Guro Crafty pointed out, maybe we should be concentrating here on how to pull off competitive knife sparring in a setting such as a Dog Brother's Gathering.

I understand Guro Crafty's reluctance to serve as a "referee" during such bouts.  And I don't think it is the total answer, but it can solve some problems.   With the stick and using minimal protective gear, an effective strike is unquestionable....you see the results!   grin   But not so with a knife.  As has been pointed out, an effective strike with the knife may not even be noticed, or what would have been a very effective fight stopper...such as a deep slash to the flexor tendons of the forearm....may not be acknowledged by the receiver because it didn't produce the disability that a real knife would.   So having a "referee" that is watching for such strikes would be helpful.  But that does NOT negate the fighters' responsibility to acknowledge good shots that the "referee" may not have been able to see.    I think an important aspect in knife sparring would be to get people away from the idea that the fighters can crash in on the opponent and take the action to the ground.  This may work well with the sticks, but would be a problem with the knife!   A "referee" would see that both fighters were taking effective shots and stop the action immediately.    Another point to consider is that what might be judged a "killing" blow may not necessarily stop the action.   A deep thrust to the chest or torso can still allow the opponent to keep fighting for a period of time...time enough to do considerable damage to his/her opponent.   Hence the FMA idea of "defanging the snake" and the more modern version of "biomechanical cutting" or "speed stops."    So again, a "referee" could serve as an important mitigating factor in such cases.    Effective, realistic knife sparring is a bit of a different animal from stick sparring, as I'm sure everyone realizes!   wink

Keith

Keith
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2007, 09:39:06 AM »

All:

I'd like to interject here about the words "sparring" and "fighting".

Over the years some people in an effort to dimish what we do have called what we do "sparring" and not "fighting".  I readily admit to this being a bit of a pet peeve of mine.  By the standards of other things that are called fights (boxing, kickboxing, MMA, etc) what we do is fight, not spar.

In that the conversation here in great part is about what we sometimes playfully call "sport knife dueling" done in a training hall context, the word "sparring" is often more accurate that "fighting", but IMHO I dislike the word sparring for what happens at a Gathering.

JMHO,
CD
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Bandolero
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2007, 01:37:23 PM »

Don't have much time.  Gotta run off to a track meet.

One of the things you will frequently see in hard contact knife sparring is how often the blade goes flying.  Sometimes from seemingly innocuous strikes.  One of the things I like to occasionally do in training is to bang forearms while each partner is holding a trainer.  Each partner throws a # 1 and the forearms crash.  Then the other way, each partner throws a # 2 and the forearms crash.  Like banging sticks, just using forearms instead.  The reality is you can only do so much of that and so hard before the effect starts taking a toll.  With McDavid thigh wraps (see below link), you can last longer and/or go a little harder and/or protect your body a little better for a longer, healthier life:

http://www.sweatbandtennis.co.uk/shop/detail.asp?ProductGroupID=13179#

It's important to get a sense of these jarring shocks that frequently result in guys losing solid grip of their blades.  The ultimate is to get a pair of Crafty's Lameco arm guards.  You can really crash hard then.  You can start getting to bone jarring contact levels without damaging each other's forearms.  If you do not get accustomed to bone jarring action, and this is JMHO, you are 1) more likely to lose your blade when sparring, 2) less likely to give your blade the appropriate grip it needs to have on it in street combat.  Some guys hold their blades way too loosely and cavalierly, and it is not infreqeuntly that they are the ones to experience blade launching.  If you are not already doing so, get some type of hand grip devices to help you strengthen your grip (even a tennis ball will do the job).

Another good skill to practice are hand hits.  When two guys are initially squaring off, if you can get a couple of good hand shots in with your blade on his blade hand (assuming he has taken a weapon forward position), you are starting what would be a real world diminishment process.  Do it quickly and it's almost before the guy knows what happened.  You are essentially still within your bubble contact range, except you took the opportunity to do something with it.  A couple of good slashes by you on an opponent's hand is a pretty good way to start a knife duel.  Practice this strike in front of a mirror with an emphasis on non-telegraphing of movement and you will be surprised how deep and solidly you can connect with a hand that's out there, and still get back quickly.
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armydoc
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2007, 04:04:17 PM »

In that the conversation here in great part is about what we sometimes playfully call "sport knife dueling" done in a training hall context, the word "sparring" is often more accurate that "fighting", but IMHO I dislike the word sparring for what happens at a Gathering.

---Understood!  What happens at a gathering I would definetly call "fighting"!   It qualifies as such simply because the blows landed with a stick are just what they are....shots with a stick!  They have their affect just as the weapon was intended.   Working with a training weapon that represents a knife but that cannot truly deliver the same types of blows as a knife is a step back from reality and, as you suggest, may not really qualify as "fighting". 

Another good skill to practice are hand hits.  When two guys are initially squaring off, if you can get a couple of good hand shots in with your blade on his blade hand (assuming he has taken a weapon forward position), you are starting what would be a real world diminishment process.  Do it quickly and it's almost before the guy knows what happened.

---I agree 100%.   One of the things we do as part of the progression in sparring that I mentioned before is what I call "hand sparring."  In this method only the weapon hand and forearm is a target.   Its a good way to introduce people to knife sparring because it is a bit less intimidating and doesn't require as much protective gear.   It also gets people really focused on attacking and defending the weapon hand, which is a key component in knife "dueling." 

Keith
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Tom Stillman
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2007, 04:07:40 PM »

Woof all,  This June during the warm up fights,  I am going to introduce a swing knife which is  a wood dowel (representing a knife) connected to a  teather that wraps around the wrist and swings out like a nunchaku. It should be fun.     Also: I have some concerns about the knife fighting warm up's. It seems to me that many of the fighters are doing alot of crashing and  kicking during these "warm up fights" Although many people have different ideas of how a real knife fight scenario unfolds, my concern is that if I sustain an injury that keeps me from participating in a day of stick fighting, I will be really bummed. (very disapointed)  I think that these gatherings have atracted many serious knife fighters with something to prove which is a great thing except for the fact that the knife fights here are used as a warm up exercise before a day of hardcore stick fighting. I am sure I can find someone to knife fight with who has the same concerns as myself.   P.S.  I am also looking for someone to fight me against my single/double nunchaku. Size and weight not a concern to me.  I am 47 yr's old 6'5" 225 lbs. The nunchaku I use are rattan an very light weight so you can take a shot and not wory so much about serious injury. Anyone interested please reply on "June Gathering Thread" on this site. Thanks.  TS
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 04:14:14 PM by Tom Stillman » Logged

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maija
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2007, 05:50:39 PM »

I agree with army doc that knife and stick sparring/fighting are different animals, the similarities and differences are something that me and my training partners are working on right now - what skills transfer from one to the other, and what do not? This is why the question of how to blade fight/spar/train "realistically"with an opponent is interesting to me.
I also wholeheartedly agree that the hand and arm are the primary targets to consider, and also to protect. If your opponent loses their weapon, for whatever reason, you just upped your chances considerably. i really like the arm crashing exercise CWS suggested alongside accuracy training to hit the hand.
Tom mentioning that he is 6'5" and 225lbs brings to mind a fellow training partner who is about the same size as Tom AND left handed. At 5'6'' and 150lbs, i would not fight this guy with sticks. But with blades.....? you bet.  The times we've played i did find it hard to get any cuts to his body, or close on him, but conversly i always landed multiple hand/arm shots and he never succeeding in closing on me either. I guess the prospect of getting skewered on the way in was not what either of us wanted.
Sticks on the other hand...he probably would have run right over me sooner or later.  A blade has a deterrent effect that makes it a great leveller.
To me the main difference with blades is that you cannot just close on your opponent without potentially sustaining serious injury, so the tactics have to be different. I think a way of defining skill is by how LITTLE injury you yourself take, not just how many times you cut them. Cutting is not so hard, but NOT getting cut yourself is much harder. I believe this aspect is ignored too much and should be given as much weight as following through, keeping on fighting after taking a hit and all the other things that improve our skills through fighting/sparring.
After all, if your opponent is down, but you have severed tendons and a punctured lung, you've got to wonder whether it could have gone differently.....isn't that what training is for?


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san_86
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2007, 05:12:56 PM »

Great topic Maija, thanks for bringing it up.

Finding the most realistic way to spar/train with knives is the hardest task in self defense. I'm really looking forward to everyones response. There are so many variables I'm just going to put out what I have observed in no particular order.

 If our goal is self defense we should focus on what we carry (3 to 4 inch folders).
  That fighting with small folders is dramatical different than even using a 6 inch knife.
 That attacking the weapon hand with a small knife is a bad idea and the shorter your opponents weapon,the harder it is.
 That generally speaking, stopping shots with a knife aren't killing shots, and vice versa. (by stopping shot, I mean a hit which will momentarily freeze your opponent)
  That being first is the most important thing, so fighting from the draw has to be incorporated.
  That your blood pressure can be your worst enemy in a knife fight, dramatical increasing the effects of knife wounds.
  Use your environment when you spar. We( my training partners )have a Bar and a parking lot to spar in.
  How do we use deception and distraction in a training environment?

I'm sorry that was all so random but I would appreciate any input. I'm very interested in the shock knife and if anyone has any experience with it could you give your opinion on its use?

Something to think about:
 One night at work I saw a fight about a block away from me between a patron who had just left the club and a homeless guy. In the time it took me to run up to them, the homeless guy had broken his wine bottle (BTW many street people drink wine because the bottles are thicker and can take more impact when broken) and had repeatedly stabbed the patron in the chest, both sides of his neck and when he turned to run, in both kidneys. The attacker ran off leaving me and the victim.  This guy was a mess but was enraged. Trying to control and help him was all but impossible,and he was still thrashing and cursing as the ambulance took him away.The police came back and told me he had died on the way to the hospital.

Several things have stuck with me from that encounter:
The terrifying level of skill of the attacker.
The massive amount of damage the victim sustained and was still very capable of fighting for a long time.
So how do we train for this?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2007, 07:51:18 PM »

Good comments San 86.

Just a quick yip to add that our endorsement clip of Shocknife can be found at www.Shocknife.com

Yip!
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2007, 08:22:43 PM »

Some very good points and issues being raised by you folks.  But I would expect nothing less than that from folks who have associated themselves with the Dog Brtohers.

There is only one reason I "signed on" to the way of the Dog Brothers.  I think it is on e of the very rare, dynamic combatives approaches that will really prepare people for the extreme violence and viciousness of street combat. From empty hands to blades to sticks.

Our biggest personal safety concerns are not some guy who has been training in a dojo for 20 years. It is the street thug who has grown up learning from the school of hard knocks, been fighting all his life, survived prison and is very unimpressed with whatever color of belt you may have. He will either kill you or take an ass whipping from you. It really ain't no big deal either way to him. All part of the cost of doing business when one lives one's life like a flash in the pan.

I remember an outlaw biker bandit once saying to me "man I'll pull your eyeball right out of your skull and eat it."  Does your training prepare you for mortal combat with somebody this vicious?  Do you have the internal switch to go from 0-60 bam! just like that when facing somebody like this?  Because you better.  I think the Dog Brothers way, for those who immerse themselves in it, does this.
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2007, 01:34:29 PM »

Straight knife sparring is cool.  But I think when its done in the context of a scenario the training value is multiplied.  Here's a couple of the scenarios we've used.  The hidden knife or knives (one partner or both) while empty hand sparring.  Countering the berserker.  This one can be done from the previous one or as a way to spice up your regular knife sparring.  The set up is simple your designated berserker won't care if you cut him he'll just keep coming.  The defender obviously shouldn't try to trade shots. That one's great for footwork development.  Another useful scenario could one vs multiple opponents(armed or even unarmed).  For beginners we do one vs zombies.  You know arms extended walking toward you moderate speed not fast.  As they get better we do hand tag to develop speed.  One we do at almost every session involving knife sparring is to switch hands once they've been hit.  This one is great for bilateralism.

A very important key however is Maija's original point which was to not get cut.  This is probably the most important point in any knife training session.  I keep some horrible pictures of people wounded with knives, in my training bag.  I use them to remind our group of the reality of knife fighting.  This is specially important if people start to goof off.  I never want them to forget the severity of true knife encounters.

Hope this helps,
Tony Torre
Miami Arnis Group
www.miamiarnisgroup.com
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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2007, 10:33:48 AM »

  Here's a couple of the scenarios we've used.  The hidden knife or knives (one partner or both) while empty hand sparring.  Countering the berserker.  This one can be done from the previous one or as a way to spice up your regular knife sparring.  The set up is simple your designated berserker won't care if you cut him he'll just keep coming.  The defender obviously shouldn't try to trade shots. That one's great for footwork development.  Another useful scenario could one vs multiple opponents(armed or even unarmed).  For beginners we do one vs zombies.  You know arms extended walking toward you moderate speed not fast.  As they get better we do hand tag to develop speed.  One we do at almost every session involving knife sparring is to switch hands once they've been hit.  This one is great for bilateralism.

---Those sound very useful and fun!  Thanks for the input!   smiley

A very important key however is Maija's original point which was to not get cut.  This is probably the most important point in any knife training session. 

---I agree 100%.   This is the key focus in Lynn Thompson's "Long Range Knife-fighting" curriculum for Cold Steel.   This is also why I have some misgivings about the traditional FMA middle-range "give & exchange" drills.   When these are the only thing practiced, they have the danger of leaving the trainees with the impression that getting cut is acceptable, and that the preferrable range for a knife exchange is at mid to close range.    I also believe that fighting/sparring at a longer range is a different thing in and of itself than the middle range drilling, and that it should be trained separately in its own right.  My impression is that there are plenty of FMA groups that don't get into actual "knife sparring" and so seldom train at this range and are missing out.   But then this was a topic of debate in a prior thread and no need to go into it here. 

Keith
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2007, 10:55:29 AM »

A very important key however is Maija's original point which was to not get cut.  This is probably the most important point in any knife training session. Keith

Which is exactly why the first two rules of AMOK! have to do with YOU not being the one getting cut.  smiley

Given my druthers I am going to try and establish a long range bubble with an opponent.  Another reason I like going for quick hand cuts if I can get them in, is because it allows you to somewhat gauge your opponents body mechanics.  Does he have good arm and hand speed?  By moving, it allows you to some degree to gauge his footwork/speed on feet.  A couple of fakes are also potentially good in getting a quick read on your opponent.  Where is he holding his blade?  Is he leaving a part of his body unprotected?  If his blade is particularly high and he does not seem to have good body mechanics, can you maybe get some kicks on the low line in?  Is he really leaving his arm extended out there? 

I think once you can start getting a feel for these overall dynamics, it helps you choose a wiser course of action.
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2007, 02:14:06 PM »

CWS brings up an excellent point about who we are most likely to face in a street encounter. The skills learned while dueling an expert are incredibly important. However, when dealing with an amateur / thug you have to make a conscious adjustment or suffer the consequence. 

When sparring with Maestro Sonny you could not check him to hard or to long. A hard check would give him to much information and he would immediately switch to your vulnerable side and light you up with multiple cuts. You had to be neutral in your defense or you would die........sooner anyway.

On the other hand, one of my training partners is an expert level boxer with no weapon experience. The first time we sparred with knives he threw a right hook to my neck which I cross check/cut quite easily. The problem was that he wasn't looking for information, he was looking for my neck.  While he took a debilitating cut to his fore arm, I took a knife in the neck. It wasn't my training that was lacking but my mindset.

So I was thinking that knife fights(sparing) could be in two parts. Have an attacker and a defender that would switch roles in the second round. The attackers goal is to grab and stab, only being able to use the knife after they got a hold of the defender. The defenders job is to evade and cut/thrust. At three? cuts, the attacker has to break and start over.

My thinking is that this would really work the defenders evasion skills. With separate goals ,the players might not get frustrated and go in for the double kill?  I'm sure this can be improved upon, so I would appreciate any comments.
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armydoc
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« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2007, 07:01:43 PM »

So I was thinking that knife fights(sparing) could be in two parts. Have an attacker and a defender that would switch roles in the second round. The attackers goal is to grab and stab, only being able to use the knife after they got a hold of the defender. The defenders job is to evade and cut/thrust. At three? cuts, the attacker has to break and start over.

My thinking is that this would really work the defenders evasion skills. With separate goals ,the players might not get frustrated and go in for the double kill?  I'm sure this can be improved upon, so I would appreciate any comments.

These are good ideas and I like what you are saying.   But are we trying to come up with multiple progressive sparring drills, or are we trying to figure out how the knife can be "sparred" in a realistic way as possible in a setting such as a Dog Brother's Gathering?

Keith
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sting
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« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2007, 08:02:53 PM »

I wouldn't worry about it too much as reflexes, blade awareness and grip are trained.  Fighters that attack with abandon aren't much worse than the knife dancers that circle about with menacing knife flows that produce zero engagements because they never saw or made an opening.   I've fought with people at the Gathering that have the blade edge pointed in, just check the Gallery pictures, so there are plenty of basics to learn under the stress of a bout.  I think the best lessons are learned from fight 1st time fighters, be they untrained or overtrained , as they probably represent the greatest threat and highlight the simple fact that the human mind is unable to register a blade as a threat.

The current guidelines set forth by Crafty are adequate: test your knife skills in any way you can, but when the fighters clinch and stab each other, just end the round.

Minor improvements would be to fight with cleaner blades to avoid injecting the bacteria living on dirty aluminum training blades.  No one should be walking away from a gathering with Hepatitis B or tetanus.  Clear plastic car door protectors are great on longer blades, a suggestion made by Bob Burgee og trainingblades.com .  Also, those plastic, wooden and rubber blades are just silly-looking.  The aluminum blades carry a risk of hand breakage, but that is minimal from what I've seen.  The shine of metal adds to the realism, both for the fighters and spectators, the latter of whom learn by observation.



« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 01:52:45 AM by sting » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2007, 09:58:56 PM »

Hi armydoc,

I was trying to come up with a way to avoid the crashing people seem to do while fighting, be it at the Gathering or training at home. Then sting comes along with a brilliant and simple idea to break on the clinch. When I read it I laughed at myself....out loud.

I still plan on exploring it as a drill and I'm sure Maija will be happy to cut me to ribbons in the process.

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« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2007, 11:23:28 AM »

Some interesting stuff here...
Sting said....." the human mind is unable to register a blade as a threat".  i know he is talking in the context of a "heightened experience" event such at the gathering, but REALLY??  Surely this is the problem?! Your training has not prepared you adequately and now you are probably dead.
Obviously not seeing the blade AT ALL means you don't register it as a threat, but a live blade in the hand of an aggressor standing in front of you? if you don't act as though this is a threat, well i think you need some help before testing your "skills".

Next thing, If the fight always ends at a clinch with both parties holding blades, now they are probably both "dead"  or both severely "injured". it shows a mindset that has "killing" as it's only focus, or at least a lack of imagination as to what might be possible. it's a place to start, but surely there is more?
I was talking with a training partner who is very knowledgeable about boxing, who after retiring from the military still trains and spars all the time. He pointed out that 100 years ago or so, boxing was not a particulary subtle sport, with both parties hitting at eachother without much technique. over the decades an evolution happened with counter punching, footwork and evasion becoming more and more important.  He thinks that this progression will also happen in MMA, and FMA fights, and i hope he is right.
Everyone is concerned with "realism" in blade sparring/fighting, and IMHO this has to encompass a wide field of responses. Sting is quite derogatory about those "knife dancers" who never enter, and though i understand his point that there is skill in creating an opening and going for it, i also think that as a natural reaction, this is ok at a beginning level. if the aggressor is not committed to taking you out and cannot find an opening, maybe backing off is a fine end to the fight?
This is also why i like san86's idea of training both ends of the equation because they don't necessarily occur in the same interaction. Is it suitable as a format for the gathering? i don't know, and this leads me to a question...
If the gathering is a place to gain "higher consciousness through harder contact" then perhaps blade fighting is not suitable for this as it is probably better described as "higher consciousness through as little contact as possible"!!!?
Maestro Sonny repeated more often than not "just don't get hit". Please note that this can mean anything from not being there in the first place, to both backing away slowly, to inflicting non life threatening injury, to taking your opponent out ASAP. I take his words very seriously.
Understanding which of these responses is appropriate because of who is standing in front of you and the situation that you are in, all play into blade fighting BECAUSE they are lethal weapons, closer to guns perhaps than sticks.....so again, are we training to prevail, or to die?






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sting
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« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2007, 02:32:34 PM »

Nothing like a little controversy to stimulate conversation.  Lots of good points raised by Maija, and to try to comment on each would require days.

Some clarification is required on registering the knife as a threat.   For the very reasons a knife is deadly, it is difficult for the mind and body to respond to it in a manner that is adequate to neutralize the threat.   I think the reason for this is simple:  the knife is difficult to see because it is usually small (unless viewed on its broad side) and moves quickly even in the hands of an untrained wielder.   The response to a knife seems very different from larger weapons, such as a stick or shinai.  All of this is obvious to anyone reading on this forum, but I typed it anyway.

Regarding knife playfights ending in a clinch, a minority seem to end this way, largely because one party is bladeless (dropped their weapon, never had one, ...)  or just scared.  Since very few of us have ever been in an altercation with a knife and even fewer in a real knife duel, it is difficult to speak with any authority on the matter of realism. 

There is a lot of criticism regarding the apparent lack of skill in actual knife sparring or stick fighting that is seen at the Gathering.  An interesting answer offered, for example by DBMAA on their video tapes, are that the techniques are much faster than can be seen.  This is strikingly similar to all of the golf, baseball, etc. sports training advice given by trainers that are judging important motions only by their pre and post movements.  In this era of high speed imaging, we have newer tools.

Knife dancing is a favorite topic of mine, as is stick twirling.  Largely, those that do better in knife playfights are the superior athletes with at least a few rounds of playfights behind them.  Most of the knife training I've seen among my travels in martial arts circles is just too slow or unrealistic.   A decent explanation for why this elaborate training isn't seen in knife playfights is that the muscle movements aren't actually trained.  The motions are similar in appearance, but not similar in function. Analogies can be made from other training:  practice pitching a baseball at 20mph for years and then expecting a 100 mph pitch to emerge when needed, jogging around a track for five miles and expecting to finish a 100m dash in 10 seconds,  lifting a bag of 16oz potato chips 1000 times and then expecting to be able to lift 1000 lbs once.  Add your own here.

Gints


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« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2007, 06:57:09 PM »

Nice, very nice! Great points gints.
I agree that the mind and body have to be quicker and more accurate in judging range and angle to be able to evade a blade, as the speed of interaction is more like boxing than sparring with longer weapons, but even though it is fast, because the blade is attached to the hand, it is no faster than a boxer with quick hands, it just has a few more options(!).
I would perhaps disagree however that the knife is necessarily harder to see than a longer bladed weapon....not with straight cuts, but if someone is used to manipulating the base separate from the tip (this does not apply to double handed weapons so much), i think it CAN be much harder to know which side to expect the tip to come at you. The tip of a long, single-handed, edged weapon can disappear from sight and has the horrible ability to "turn corners" when you least expect it.....but back to the topic.
I agree that the clinch seems more likely when one opponent becomes disarmed or has no weapon to start with...with the playing field skewed against you it is necessary to take a greater risk to prevail, and of course i'm sure we are all happy that we don't have to duel for real as part of our everyday lives, so we have to rely more on the body of knowledge that has been passed down to us by people that did have to, and of course check it out in as "realistic" a fashion as we can fabricate.
As far as technique, or lack thereof, that appears at gatherings. From the video footage that i have seen, IMHO more and more technique and finesse appear every year. Not perhaps in every fight, but it seems that i've seen some very nice entries, evasions, takedowns and turnovers, and making these work in this environment must mean that they really work!
Just as an aside, i'd like to say that what drew me to this forum is the fact that there is real discussion about interesting subjects from open minded, thoughtful, multitalented people from very varied backgrounds. The fact that a thread can get "spirited" and still have intelligent replies addressing the questions that came before is a very rare thing.
I think the skill of good conversation is very much like sparring: What i do has to have something to do with what my opponent is doing. It is an interactive process where both parties can experience and learn about themselves and others, in a very direct manner, but only if they are willing to listen.
Perhaps the conversation is better here because the sparring/fighting is better....?
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« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2007, 09:14:55 PM »

Re: sparring/fighting with bladed weapons
« Reply #29 on: Today at 12:23:28 PM »                                                                                                Some of Some of those same points could be argued about stick fighting as in knife fighting, as many times the stick often represents a long knife or machete. One could make the argument that to many blows are exchanged in hardcore stick fight training due to the weapon it represents.   I also agree that warding off an attack using a knife should be trained against single and multiple attackers. Actual trading of blows should be avoided at all costs in a real knife fight.IMHO grin  I have seen real knife fights end when neither person finds an opening that they feel confident that they can cut without getting cut while one backs away to make an escape. ( End of fight) smiley       I feel, out of the many bad people out there in this cold cruel world that would cut you down without a care or any remorse to speak of, out of those there is a large presentage of cowards, and if you can muster any kind of threatening defence that might put their life in jeopardy, then there is a fair chance the coward will walk away. I have also seen this happen outside my own apartment building years ago, where a man with a 3 foot piece of 2x4 lumber warded off a (large) Knife attack. Things are not always as they would seem.  I feel a good defence against a knife is not necessarily another knife!  Bricks work well as do chairs, trash cans,  broken wine bottles and the like make good weapons and can also be used as a great projectile weapon!   huh
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 10:03:53 PM by Tom Stillman » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2007, 10:08:34 PM »

Re: sparring/fighting with bladed weapons
« Reply #29 on: Today at 12:23:28 PM »                                                                                                Some of those same points could be argued about stick fighting as in knife fighting, as many times the stick often represents a long knife or machette.

I have heard this said many times, however, in the modern world, expandable batons are more and more in vogue.  Stick fighting/training can be directly applicable to this combat use of an impact weapon that has no edged weapon capability.  In fact with a baton, some strikes (e.g. thrusts) may not be viable because the baton might collapse.  I once had an ASP baton collapse on me when I used it during practice in my office to do a thrust into a couch cushion.
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« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2007, 11:02:22 PM »

Good Point!
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2007, 06:18:20 AM »

Here's an honest to goodness prison knife fight:


REGIONAL BRIEFING

Washington Post, Monday, June 4, 2007; B03

2 Inmates Hurt in Mutual Stabbing

Two inmates attacked each other with makeshift knives Saturday at a state prison in Jessup, a day after a brawl at a prison in Baltimore sent 18 inmates to the hospital, authorities said.

The most recent in a series of violent incidents at Maryland prisons broke out about noon, when inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution were returning to their cells from lunch, said Maj. Priscilla Doggett, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Correction.

One inmate attacked another with a makeshift knife, and the other, also armed with a homemade knife, defended himself, Doggett said. Both received stab wounds to the upper torso and were taken by ambulance to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Their wounds were not life-threatening, Doggett said. The building where their cells are was locked down for a short time, she said.

The Jessup correctional institution is a maximum-security prison with an inmate population of about 1,300.


-- Associated Press

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Tom Stillman
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« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2007, 03:32:35 PM »

Hey guys,  I have been working on different combos with the swing knife since stumbling on the idea of using it at the last gathering. Double swing knife is proving to be a strong combo but a little cumbersum. undecided  Swing knife and standard knife(reverse grip) combo also works well against right handers so far. I am right handed so that is what I am basing my results on. Using a reverse grip with a standard knife in my left hand and swing-knife in my right hand works well with  some of the straight arm parries.    The reverse grip tends to naturally drag the knife edge across opponents forearm when certain parrie or push techniques are used.  Once I reach a higher level of coordination with my left hand,    espada y daga and other combos should mature and become much stronger. Garrot factor also comes into play with swing knife cord.  cool  Hopefully one day I can put some of this stuff to the test at a Gathering of the pack !                         Dog Tom S.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2007, 10:52:45 PM by Tom Stillman » Logged

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rio
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« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2007, 08:31:22 PM »

hey CWS, when using the thrust with an expandable try more of a off line pushing strike. weak hand supporting the length of the baton and aiming to use only the tip. you kinda have to aim a little of line, not actually thrusting like a bladed sharp tipped weapon. a straight thrust would collapse and if you did have a support hand on, might skin your palm as well.
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« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2007, 02:24:39 PM »

I thought this was an interesting story. A little history being made?  cool   DT                                                                                Here are some snapshots, secretly taken from the hip, that show the fights in the mountains of the Philippines. On the pictures are fight scenes and in the background are Filipino people in traditional costume.  The tournament was part of a bigger event, which prime meaning was not the win of the individual. Each of the eight fighters represented their respective tribe and the fights were part of a ceremony with the goal of bringing the fighters and the tribes closer together. Apparently there was rivalry between the tribes that cost many lifes before.

The old men decided that to end this rivalry a special ceremony should be held and this ceremony should include fights, which should be carried out as short, high intensity fights with no rules, no protective gear. To resemble blade fights, sticks were used that had a nail sticking out a few millimetres on each side so that it was a relatively safe way of edged weapon fighting (as much as the phrase "relatively safe" can be applied to any way of edged weapon fighting). The old people were supervising the fights. The pictures I saw showed that it was a bloody affair; but when I met Danny he didn't show any visible scars. Maybe they used a good Himag? I will have to ask next time. According to Danny the ceremony was successful and the atmosphere between tribes and fighters after the fights was very good. I would have liked to eye witness this event, but some things are not possible....                    http://www.pekiti-tirsia.net/200406_Noheadgear.php?lang=en&soundsParam=on&file=200406_Noheadgear
« Last Edit: December 07, 2007, 11:15:24 AM by Tom Stillman » Logged

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2013, 10:05:10 AM »

 http://dogbrothersgear.com/Tools-of-the-Trade/
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 08:40:28 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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