Monday, June 20, 2011

Response to Knife Fighting Lies


This is a response to Marc MacYoung's article Knife Fighting Lies found on his web page
nononsenseselfdefense.com/knifelies.html

The purpose is to offer a different perspective on the subject.

My response to his Intro
There is no problem with teaching "regurgitated" martial arts. Actually that word sounds offensive, let me say recycled. With the rich martial arts history of human kind, it is very difficult to come up with something truly unique and never seen before. Recycling is how sometimes styles and techniques are passed on.
I do agree that knife assaults and knife fights are different and that should be addressed.

Lie #1 You're going to have time to draw your own weapon.
I've been in altercations and I've had time to draw my own weapon. So I disagree with the author.

Lie #2 It's going to be a knife "fight"
To me a fight is when a situation turns into a struggle. A fight is a possibility during a physical altercation. It can happen. And to negate that to me is training unrealistically. I agree that a fight is illegal. But just because it's illegal I'm not going to not know how to fight.

Lie #3 But what if I'm cornered?
Being cornered, and not being able to run is a legitimate possibility. So I disagree with that. I do agree that people who are looking for trouble, constantly fantasizing about getting into a knife fight is not a good thing at all.

Lie #4 He's going to attack you a certain way
Sounds like this guy has something against FMA or is it against certain types of people that practice FMA? Anyways yeah anyone who restricts themselves to dealing with certain kinds of attacks will have trouble facing strangers and people from other styles. But learning how to fight against other styles is a different skill set. It's one thing to be good at your own style - nothing wrong with that, and then the next level is to face people from other styles. I do agree you don't want to be ignorant of other styles.

Lie #5 And then he is going to passively stand there while you carve him
I have a principal which I call the Frozen Principal. Often times when instructors demonstrate their techniques the student freezes for them and makes the instructor look good. I just want people to know that demonstration is different from real application. Demonstration is a valuable part of teaching, but it should not be confused with real abilities. Many people including instructors do not understand this at all.

Lie #6 Trapping and stripping
Trapping and sensitivity drills are done because you can't train hard and do full contact all the time. Now if a person trains only in trapping and sensitivity drills then I do feel that they are going to get a rude awakening in real life combat. But there are tremendous benefits in doing these types of practice.

Lie #7 Bio-mechanical cutting
Definitely important to know the law and understand the consequences. However knowing the law doesn't mean let it be a limitation to you.

Lie #8 Knowing how to stickfight means you know how to knife fight
If you are learning stick fighting then you can apply what you know to other weapons. Why wouldn't you? It doesn't make you an expert, but why limit yourself and say I only know how to use the stick?

Lie #9 Knowing Kali makes you a knife fighter
I guess this is like saying someone who trains in MMA versus someone who actually competes in it.

Lie #10 Grappling with a knife
I think the point here is not that grappling works everywhere, but that grappling can happen anywhere whether you like it or not. I would never say, I'm never going to grapple a knifer, why limit yourself?

Lie #11 The knife is an extension of your hand
When I said to my students the knife is an extension of your hand, it was to prevent my students from holding it like a club and just relying solely on the knife which stopped good body mechanics.

Lie #12 There is such a thing as a master knife fighter
I'm not sure if there is a sport of knife fighting. If there is, it's very minor compared to Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA. As for real blades with very limited rules and gear, I agree that there is no knife fighter out there who can present a legitimate record and say something like I have a 10-1-3 record against quality opponents.

Lie #13 That this is a "fight" at all
Once again I believe that a fight can happen during a survival situation.

Lie #14 Expect to get cut
I think the idea is, expect to get cut BUT try not to get cut.

Lie #15 The FMA are the ultimate knife fighting systems
I agree there is no superior style, I also feel that there is no inferior style and thinking that way is prejudice. So I think it's important to be polite and respectful towards practitioners of other styles.

Lie #16 It's easy to disarm an armed opponent
Nothing of quality is easy.

Lie #17 You can successfully fight an armed attacker
I like how the author distinguishes the differences between fighting and surviving. I teach this too. People often times do not know the difference. However you may have to fight to survive. And if so, nobody can tell me that I can't fight against an armed attacker.

Lie #18 Drills teach you how to knife fight
I agree that because a person trains in a ton of knife drills it's not going to make them a knife fighter. However I do see the importance of drills and it can really help develop good knife fighting skills.

Lie #19 You can use a knife on another human being without legal repercussions
I agree that legal issues and consequences cannot be ignored. However that is still not going to make me not learn how to fight out of an extreme scenario.

CONCLUSION
Some instructors will tell you that other methods are stupid and that their method is better. Other instructors will try to help you improve what your doing because they respect that you have your own martial arts path. I prefer and try to be the latter.
When the Gracie family first made it big in America, I felt that the media presented them to have the attitude that their style is better than yours, and they were willing to prove it in the Octagon or in a challenge match. However when it came to the Machado Brothers who are cousins to the Gracie family and also taught Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, seemed to me that they were portrayed as saying, Grappling is an effective art, why not add it to your martial arts style? Once again I like the approach of the latter better.

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