FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
Ok, so you’ve recently purchased the tactical folding knife of your dreams. It's constructed of the finest steel and alloys available, sharp enough to cut through a felonious, hell-bent on killing you assailant’s body like a laser beam, and it opens instantly and locks solidly with a touch of the auto-opening button (it sounds like a lot of the Benchmade Models I’ve reviewed recently).
Now what? Well the big question is: Do you have the skills necessary to effectively use it? I can give you a carbon copy of Ken Block’s rally racecar, but without training and practice, do you really think you could drive it like him? If not, do you really think that just purchasing a state of the art knife is enough to make you proficient with it?
If you do a little research into the “art” of knife fighting and the training available, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are numerous knife fighting “systems,” and IMHO, for law enforcement purposes, many of them violate the NUM principle: no unnecessary movement. Now I’m not trying to slam those who wish to practice knife fighting as a martial art. I’d rather fight a man with a chainsaw than be locked in an elevator with a highly trained, knife-based martial artist. If you have the time and motivation to dedicate yourself to those levels of training, by all means go for it. I was a black belt in three different karate systems by the time I was 22. However, much of what I learned then had nothing to do with real fighting, and many of the techniques were unnecessary and/or nothing more than tacti-cool choreography.
It’s the same way with many of the exotic knife fighting systems. Although the core principles are highly lethal, many systems also contain flashy techniques that are, for our purposes, unnecessary. If you find yourself in a last ditch, life or death altercation that you are forced to employ a knife, what you want is speed and efficiency. You want to learn techniques and concepts that will neutralize the threat as fast and simply as is humanly possible.
“I know that that’s sharp. I know it has a point. I know that if I stick it in somebody or move it past somebody, it’s gonna cut ‘em. It’s gonna hurt ‘em and I’m going to have an effect. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more you need to know … in application of these things …”
The above quote comes from the introduction to Crucible Founder Kelly McCann’s Kem-ba-tiv Knife DVD, available from paladinpress.com. Although the quote oversimplifies even his system of efficient knife use, I knew that when I heard him say this, that he was definitely on the right track. If you’ll pardon the pun, McCann gets right to the meat of the practical, combative applications of the knife. He doesn’t waste valuable training time with the “artistic” or exotic methodologies of advanced cutlery usage.
The Kem-ba-tiv Knife DVD covers:
What attributes of any particular knife makes it suitable as an emergency back up weapon? McCann covers this subject in detail.
McCann explains and displays the equipment you’ll need to conduct serious knife training safely. While no realistic physical combatives training is completely without risk, following his words of wisdom will minimize the chances of a serious training injury.
This is possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of knife skills. How do you quickly and efficiently draw your knife when an unexpected assailant is pummeling you? How should the knife be carried in your pocket, tip up or tip down? McCann explains his thoughts on these vital concepts, and goes into detail a to why they are your best options in the real world.
Guard Position & Footwork
McCann’s guard position, while not flashy, is efficient and practical for real world combative altercations. His concepts of footwork breakdown and explain some highly complicated martial arts tactics into a useable form.
Grip & Movement
Although there are numerous ways to hold a knife, McCann explains his primary grip and why he believes it to be the best. Movement is highly important, not only when on the offensive, but defensively as well. One of the best defenses against any weapon is to not be standing where you were, when the attack was launched in your direction. The section on a knife defense he calls fending, is the most realistic and practical concept for defending against a knife attack that I’ve ever seen taught.
Although many knife systems work with of eight angles of attack, some that I’ve seen use as many as 16 or even higher. McCann has done what Bruce Lee suggested in his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do: “It’s not daily increase, but daily decrease -- hack away the unessentials.” McCann’s DVD only teaches the five most practical and real world useable angles of attack. All of which will flow from one to the other seamlessly.
McCann covers other aspects of the combative use of the knife, that space will preclude me from talking about. Besides the content, the other thing that I really admired about this DVD is McCann’s teaching style. He does not come across as the ultimate know-it-all: “because I said so” type of trainer. He not only teaches what to do, he takes the time to explain why he believes his concepts are the most effective and efficient. Often discussing counter points to his beliefs, and then methodically tearing them down in a respectful manner.
If you carry a knife as a last resort backup weapon, I'd highly recommend that you get McCann’s Kem-ba-tiv knife DVD, and train in the drills presented within. Just as you can’t utilize a racecar’s maximum potential without training and practice, a knife is no different. As history has shown, the well-trained warrior will always have an advantage over his untrained opponent. Quality training is the key to prevailing over those who would otherwise defeat you.