Monday, May 14, 2012

A Basic Knife Curriculum: Course Syllabus

Today in Scumfucktopia we are going to be discussing what should and shouldn't  be part of your knife fighting repetoire.  I've trained the knife for a long time, survived an honest to god knife attack (by punching out a woman, so y'know, mixed emotions on that) and carried a blade for self defense since I was a lad.  I don't have the 'buy a glock n00b' dismissal that most people will give you on a survivalist forum if you even dare to mention the concept.  So I thought I'd help you out with some suggestions for using actually using a blade on another bag of warm fluids.  This is going to be a series in X parts.

First, let me tell you what I am assuming about you when designing this curriculum.  #1 You are a reasonably fit adult with a full complement of limbs.  #2 You have a modest level of proficiency in unarmed combat, both striking and grappling.  #3 You are not a raging jackass that will gut your family and tell the police the Internetz made you do it.

Assuming all of these things are true, let's look first at the limitations of the knife for self defense.  It seems like there are a lot, but really there are only two-one is short range, and the other is the health\safety\legal\psychological concerns you may have with actually getting the hideous, messy knife kill on an enemy at that short range.  No amount of training is going to fix either issue for you, but they are things you need to be aware of from the get go.

Now, then-on to the broad list of categories.  Where are the partitions in your technical toolbox?

1. Presentation (Carrying and drawing the weapon)
a. Carrying & Concealing the Knife
b. Drawing the Knife
c. Timed Reaction drills
2. Offensive Techniques (Techniques and drills for inflicting damage with the knife)
a. Stabby \ Slicy 101 - How the Knife Inflicts Damage
b. Angles and Footwork
c. Targeting
d. Attack types and drills
3. Defensive Techniques (Techniques for preventing knife damage to your own body)
a. Blocks and Counters
b. Knife Control - Takedowns and Disarms
c. Grappling Considerations
d. Timed Reaction Drills
4. "Alive" Training
a. An Intro to Aliveness
b. Live Sparring - Theory and Demo
c. "Winners Bleed, Losers Gush" Theory & Mitigation

Finally in this introductory post, I want to clarify a few things that this series is not.

This series is not an endless gearwhore jerkoff thread where we debate the best knife for the job.  By the time you have adequately trained with the weapon, a kitchen knife or prison shank is almost as good as a custom job in terms of practical efficiency.

This series is not a style vs. style debate.  Discussions will relate only to actual technique and tactics, rather than "This is where you need to train to fight with a knife."  Those discussions are seldom really productive as they involve a lot of generalities that do not apply to every school within the same organization.  Find a teacher and training partners you can work with and study with them; everything else is chatter.

Finally, I want to note that this series is not the final word.  I have some advantages over most tactical voices crying out in the wilderness in that I've had some serious training and survived a hostile encounter with a knife.  But I'm not claiming to be some godlike blade guru, just a guy like you who would rather not die if his rifle goes missing.  The only reason I'm writing this and not you is that I've spent a long time giving it serious thought.  Nothing more.

I'll have the first section up this week sometime.


  1. Thanks for doing this. I really appreciate the work you are putting into it.

  2. What RegT said. Kerodin mentioned other articles you've done on the subject. Any easy linkage to them?


  3. Well, a few (unsolicited and possibly worthless comments):

    Under 1. I might suggest adding a category on fouling/unfouling the drawstroke and knife retention.

    Under 2. I add "Assassination vs. Dueling" and go a little into the difference between things like SE Asian Martial Arts and The Folsom Machine or other similar schools of point/edge work. I think both have their place, but I hate it when the function of one is confused for the other.

    I'm really excited about this article series!

  4. They say he grows missing body parts.

  5. his mental pow pow pow is real pow pow pow. c norris is his jock strap.they say he is on our side.