The story of the “Akita” and “Shiba” knives begins with an idea by Punong Guro “Crafty Dog” Marc Denny.
Endorsement by Frankie McRae
I wanted to let you know that since we have started working together I have learned a tremendous amount. More so with the adaptation of your fighting stance and the flexibility it offers for my Gunfighter series. I have found that it allows for a more mobile base to a more reflexive stance that keeps the shooter from becoming too lazy and moving into a Weaver stance. Indeed, I think it no less an innovation than the Weaver stance and no less deserving of its own name and hereby propose “the Crafty Dog Stance”.
You know how I feel about a restrictive position. The Crafty Dog gives a more powerful position to the shooter to start from and makes movement easier. It is better for recoil management in a rapid shooting engagement and allows smaller shooters and women to shoot bigger handguns without all the shoulder involvement. It allows for better follow thru and for sure makes recovery easier for faster shooting and quicker target engagement for follow on shots. I just taught a three day Gunfighter course and some of the students had attended a previous course. They loved the new addition and thought it was better adapted to shooting as well. One student said it was more comfortable for him to use the Crafty Dog than a regular Isosceles because it put less stress on his lower back with all the kit on. Anything that helps our backs with 60lbs of body armor and kit has got to be better than the normal. I wanted to thank you again for the mentoring and the new techniques you have taught me. I hope one day to be able to reciprocate as much.
Signed, Frankie McRae
Frankie is an 18 Delta (Special Forces Combat Medic). He is the former head of the US Army Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance Target Analysis and Exploitation Techniques Course (SFARTAETC) at Ft. Bragg N.C. He started his military career in the 1st Ranger Bn as an 11B infantryman. He served in the 1st Special Forces Group (ABN) Okinawa Japan, in Cco 1st Bn. 1st SFG(A) (C-1-1) where he was an assault team leader for F team,Troop 1 in the Combatant Commanders In-extremis Force (CIF) conducting operations in Operation Enduring Freedom. Advising, training and standing up the Light Reaction Company of the Armed Forces of the Phillipines (AFP). He was then assigned as an Instructor to the SFARTAETC at the Special Warfare Center and School in Ft. Bragg NC, was promoted and became the NCOIC of the course and awarded for having the highest graduation rate for the course in it’s twenty year history . He also served as a Troop SGM Troop 1 and Team SGT ODA-354 in B co 2nd Bn 3rd SFG(A) CIF in IRAQ as an Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Force (ICTF) Company SGM advisor and combat leader on many missions in Iraq and also attended the Israeli Counter-Terrorism Course as an exchange instructor.
Due to the influence of martial arts “sport knife dueling” (sparring and fighting with training knives in dueling fashion) in the Filipino Martial Arts/Dog Brothers world for many years Marc had preferred hammer grip. The reach was intuitively greater as was seeking to score hits with snap cuts.
Naturally, as a result of this experience, his EDC was hammer grip as well.
However, unlike martial arts “sport knife dueling”– which typically is done with a fixed blade trainer knife, real world application includes getting a folding knife open and in hand. ((Unlike sport knife dueling the real world problems to be solved were often other than a one-on-one duel.))
With a wave opening (i.e. the blade opens into position as part of drawing the knife from the pants pocket) draw into hammer grip, typically the draw begins with a moment of pinch grip and a rearward motion while shifting to a hammer fist grip or a saber grip (thumb on spine of blade).
This presents some serious problems:
Typically good people will be drawing their knives for self defense application under high adrenal circumstances. Not only do fine motor skills (e.g. the pinch grip and the transition to that actual grip) seriously diminish in the presence of an adrenal dump, but sometimes the fight is actually underway. To be jostled or hit during the pinch grip and rearward motion of such a draw stroke (which leaves the head and neck exposed!) is to very likely drop the knife in the moment you need it most!
There is also the matter of stopping power. With the advent of surveillance footage and the like of recent years we have seen again and again that, unlike in sport knife dueling, aggressive people (often on drugs, alcohol, and/or are emotionally disturbed) frequently do not realize or care that they have been cut or stabbed and are unlikely to be stopped in time by the actual blood loss created by a typical EDC folder knife– which usually has a blade somewhere around three inches.
The solution that Marc came up with was to use Ice Pick grip with a kerambit ring with a straight blade and a handle of a particular design.
Now, typically kerambit knives have a talon blade.
This makes for tremendous cutting power and when used in a boxing modality it can be used to great effect for fighting
However Marc preferred the intuitive power of the ice pick/hammer fist motion and so he chose to have both a straight blade.
This meant the draw stroke no longer required a transition through pinch grip, that with the index finger in the ring the knife was far likelier to be retained if one was jostled or struck during the draw stroke, that the motion of the draw stroke was up and forward thus making for better protection of the head and neck, and that the natural primal power of the ice pick motion could be brought to bear.
One deep question remained– and it is one common to all knives: What of the risk of the hand sliding down the handle onto the blade during a thrust? What if the thrust hits something hard? What if the handle is slippery from blood?
Typically with the ice pick grip the solution is to cap the butt of the handle with the thumb but problems arise with a traditional kermabit ring — WHICH IS DESIGNED AND LOCATED AT THE END OF THE HANDLE FOR THE ERGONOMICS OF A TALON BLADE.
But note this point– no kerambit ring meant needing a pinch grip as part of the draw stroke, but a traditional design meant no thumb capping which meant the primary protection against sliding down on the blade was the lateral ligament of the index finger– a slender reed indeed upon which to depend in a life or death fight!!!
What to do?
Marc’s solution was to ingeniously off set the ring so as to create a “thumb pommel” (thanks to a friend who is a patent attorney, he was able to establish “patent pending” for this design at a reasonable price!).
While he was at it, he made the ring much larger. Not only do standard size kerambit rings make it challenging to rapidly and surely establish the insertion of the index finger for the draw during “Condition Brown” circumstances, but they make it virtually impossible to wear any kind of gloves, be they shooting gloves or gloves for warmth.
The larger ring offers both the ease of insertion and allows for shooting and many every day gloves.
Somewhere around this time Marc, along with long time friend and student Kevin Carr as Chief Design Officer, formed “Akita Tactical Inc.” with the tag line of “Things tactical and practical for today’s warrior”.
Kevin provided Marc with some straight blade aluminum prototypes of the idea.
Around this time, a mysterious email to Marc arrived.
Enquiring about the possibility of training knife with Marc in the Malibu area, it made reference to a teacher with whom both of them had trained back in the 1980s and to the Middle East. Marc called the number provided. An obviously well educated woman answered. During the phone call she revealed that the prospective student was King Abdullah of Jordan!
An appointment was made.
Marc’s wife could not believe that the King of Jordan would be approaching her husband via email. Fresh from watching “Catfishing” with their daughter, she suspected trickery.
“Don’t give anyone your credit card number!” she cautioned.
Three days after seeing King Abdullah on TV with President Trump in the Rose Garden, the appointed day arrived. After making it past the well armed guards at the front gate, Marc was taken to a training area in the garage where he was introduced to King Abdullah and a colonel who was to be the King’s training partner. The king was warm and personable, and as befits a man who ascended to command of the Jordanian Special Forces over the course of some twenty years, quite fit.
“How would you like to be addressed Sir?”
“Well, my friends call me ‘Ab'” he replied and so “Ab” it was.
And with that out of the way the training began, with Marc introducing King Abdullah to his Chupacabra system. At the end of the scheduled two and a half hours of training, the King invited Marc to Jordan to train his bodyguards and his special forces and scheduled another lesson.
As Marc was leaving the garage, he noticed two gorgeous BMW motorcycles unlike any he had ever seen. (Three cylinders?!?) The king noticed and asked “Do you ride? Bring your helmet the next time you come!”
When he got home Marc checked with various friends in our Special Forces whether working with the Jordanian Army would be a good and patriotic thing to do. He got hearty thumbs up from all concerned, and began to read up.
*He is a man of religious tolerance. Israel has an embassy in Jordan, and Churches with their crosses on top can be openly seen. Christians serve in the Jordanian Military.
To learn more about King Abdullah: CLICK HERE
His wife is a modern woman:
*For geopolitical junkies here is an extended serious interview done the week after candidate Trump was elected President. Note his discussion on the nature of Islam beginning at 12:20
When Marc arrived for the next lesson, the King asked if Marc had brought his motorcycle helmet. He most certainly had! And so it was that after the lesson that Marc got to ride the King’s BMW motorcycle.
PICTURES!!! (The King and me, and me on the motorcycle with my helmet off)
PICTURES!!! (The King and me, and me on the motorcycle with my helmet off)
At the conclusion of the lesson the colonel asked if they could keep the aluminum prototypes of the Akita knife.
Arrangements were made and Marc assisted by DBMA Guro Lonely Dog Benjamin Rittiner arrived in Amman for two weeks of training with a group of Jordanian Special Forces, SMTs, and the Royal Bodyguard.
Copies of the prototype of the Akita had been made and distributed to the men involved.
At the end of the two weeks of training, King Abdullah came to review the results:
Arrangements were made for an additional two weeks of training were made and an order was made for actual Akita knives to be part of the training.
For this training Marc brought with him both the Akita 2.0 (the double edged version) and the Akita 1.5 (the edge coming up only half way on the spine of the blade). The men concurred in preferring the 1.5 version.
Building on the previous two weeks of training and, enabled by the distinctive handle design of the Akita, the focus was training integrating gun and knife for extreme CQB.
A sheep carcass was provided so that the men could experience the security of the grip on the Akita’s handle under full power application on flesh and bone.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO with NO FACES of the Jordanians being shown. Probably best to use just Benji and me.
Then it was time for the live fire integration of gun on targets and knife on the sheep.
The Sheep became dinner that night.
PHOTOS– no faces to be shown!
In discussion with the Royal Bodyguards a request was made for a smaller, lighter, and thinner version of the Akita. Unlike the Special Forces who would be carrying their Akitas in full kit, in addition to sidearm, magazine, and other things, they would be carrying theirs in a business suit. Thus was born “the Shiba”.
Upon Marc’s return to America, an order was placed for six hundred Akita 1.5s and fifty Shibas. With this order having been fulfilled, Akita Tactical now turns its attention to meeting the demand of the general public.
The Adventure continues!