This week’s episode is all about edged weapons. Please don’t cringe and roll your eyes just yet. When we start talking about knives, people tend to fall into one of two camps. The first camp, in some ways justified by the amount of nonsense being perpetrated on the internet, thinks blades are for criminals and mall ninja wannabes. Belonging in this camp is the “professional trainer” that almost cuts his fingers off right before he shoots the ceiling at an indoor range. And then puts the incident on Youtube. The second camp is the other end of the spectrum, the guy that carries 15 knives at all times, and has a special happy sock dedicated to “Under Siege.” Or anything else starring Steven Seagal carving bad guys up like a Christmas Turkey.
Check out all the episodes in this series:
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 1 Stop The Nonsense!
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 2 Revolver or Pistol for CCW?
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 3 Fighting with Edged Weapons
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 4 Lights and Lasers!
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 5 Holster Selection & Where to Carry
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 6 Red Dots vs Iron Sights
- 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 7 Truck Guns
There is a lot of Walter Mitty nonsense when it comes to blades. If your “Soldier of Fortune” collection spans enough decades, you can watch the knife ads come full circle. “Secret knife fighting technique of the… Apache, Navy Seals, IDF, Prison Yard, Samurai, Orient” (that last one may not be PC anymore, but I have that issue), etc., until it comes back to the Apache and starts over. The more foreign the origin of the technique the better as that makes it more magic and secret.
The last craze I remember really taking hold was in 2007 or 2008; we were all going to learn Systema from ex-Spetsnaz ninjas. My thought at the time was maybe I should go to Russia and open The American Green Beret Secret Knife Fighting School (double secret probation edition.) That wouldn’t have actually worked for a couple of reasons. For starters, our best technique is calling in an airstrike while enjoying a scotch on the rocks. And, well, they would have paid in Rubles over there. No thanks!
I have good news for you, though. Knives are not rocket science. I haven’t seen any magic technique as long as I have been walking this Earth. In fact, there is a pretty good argument that knives are the simplest of weapons to use in a self-defense situation, and that we have been using them so long that deploying them should be mostly instinctive. I tell my students, “There are no professionals left when it comes to knives, myself included. But plenty of amateurs get it right every day. Put the stabby part in the other guy. Don’t let him put the stabby part in you.”
Am I saying you shouldn’t spend some time learning to use a knife? I’m not. If you have the time and there is a reputable place to train, go for it! But don’t let it take over your life. A little bit of knife skill goes a long way. If nothing else, you have to frame it in terms of odds. What are you, as a civilian in the United States, most likely to use in a physical confrontation? If you’re smart, your feet. Because you’ll get the heck outta there before it escalates. But if physical contact is unavoidable, you’ll probably just use your hands. Truth be told, you are a lot more likely to get in a scuffle that doesn’t justify the use of lethal force than you are one that does. But if you do get in a life or death situation, do you prefer a knife or a gun? Both are lethal weapons and equal in the eyes of the law if you use one. What is the least likely of all scenarios, unless you happen to pal around with the street gangs in a Michael Jackson video? Knife on knife, which is what most blade schools end up teaching in very short order.
There is one knife training program that I do highly recommend. And for the low introductory price of $44.95 per month (with a 6-year mandatory, no-cancellation contract), you can subscribe to Clay’s Elite Ninja DVD Club, which will teach you everything in the universe about Spec Ops Knife Tactical Engagement Scenarios. Or SOKTES for short. Barring that, a few day of seminar or classes from Sayoc or Escrima would be my recommendation. Just don’t ever let the dojo B.S. start clouding your judgment. Your primary job is to learn to use your gun. Would you rather be an expert knife fighter in a gunfight, or an expert gunfighter in a gunfight? Me too.
So why do I believe in carrying an edged weapon? Because it is a complementary weapon, not a replacement. I carry a fixed blade every day, mostly because I live in a state where that is legal. I am too old and busted up to be in a streetfight, but I accept that a lethal force encounter may very well start that way. If I can’t get my gun out, my blade is accessible by my non-dominant hand. If my gun breaks or gets taken away, a blade gives me something besides my mean mug to fall back on. One thing I have learned about jujitsu, you don’t want to grapple a guy holding a knife if you can avoid it. Plus, there are places I can legally take my knife (a folder at least) that I can’t take a gun. Not the best option if things go pear shaped, but still better than nothing.
The biggest problem with a fixed blade for concealed carry is that most of them weren’t made for it. The best solution I have seen to date comes from my own guys, made by a couple retired silly fellas over at Spartan Blades. The same knife they created as a “get off me” blade for assaulters works fantastic for concealed carry. The sheath is small and streamlined and easily attaches to a belt. The blade itself, called the CQB tool,is exactly that. It features a ring on one end for deployment and retention and a sharp end on the other. Put the sharp end in the bad guy. Wash, rinse, repeat, until either the situation stops, or you get your gun out and apply some Sam Colt as the conditioner. The end.