knife-close-up-b-wThat's a Knife

The blade has long been a devastating and highly used weapon not only from accessibility, but also it’s efficiency and psychological impact. It is as fast, as subtle, as brutal as the hand that wields it and the mind that guides that hand. Many cultures and styles revolve around this simple tool that has been in existence almost as long as man. It is all this and more that one must not consider when facing a blade, but must have trained diligently while considering it. At the time of need is not the time to rely on thinking or useless techniques perpetuated in training halls all over the world. Training for static or single attacks using complicated arm and joint maneuvers is dangerous and setting the user up for failure under duress. The method you use must work with for a more realistic or reliable method will be based on a multi-directional, free flowing barrage of slashes, stabs and hooking maneuvers.

A major consideration that many do not know or think of is the primal affects of stress, where the surge of adrenaline will hamper fine motor reflexes as well as strength, clear thought, vision and deep psychological fear. We must also consider that if you have sweaty hands, or even bloody, the slip factor for grabbing and retaining the arm of the assailant is very high and probable. All of these factors will prohibit the defender from the very intricate fine motor skill techniques that look so great in the training hall in a calm cooperative environment.

Another problematic occurrence if you do manage to get a hold on the assailants blade wielding limb, is what their other hand will then do. Will it grab you to restrict your motion, or bring you into a grappling match with you preoccupied with the blade and then at severe disadvantage? Or will they strike you so that you are now being attacked on two fronts and incapable of carrying out your defense? There is also another major problem when you grab a hold of an opponent and that is their reflex responses. When you quickly and firmly grab a person there is an automatic withdrawal reflex. This will cause the muscles of the grabbed arm to tighten and pull back as the rest of the body also tightens and also withdraws. This withdrawal reflex can get you seriously injured as the blade can be retracted across the hands or arms you are restraining them with. You have also just placed them into a fight frame of mind as well as initiated a survival mode of their own. This will kick in primal and illogical actions from them… something extra you do not need to deal with. One other thing to consider is that if you do get cut across the wrist or arm, your grabbing and control of your hands becomes impossible. If you worked all your defenses on grabbing and controlling, you are then at a severe disadvantage.

Typically people are also taught several methods of handling various attacks, this in itself is problematic. Not only have you multiplied the difficulty factor but you will be placed in the disadvantage of needing to react with a proper action, under stress when the mental faculties are severely limited as is your probability of success. Also if there is even slight variation from trained technique, it will more often than not fail adding increased stress and if not trained for mind numbing surprise. The more efficient method would be a single approach so no matter which direction or way the opponent comes at you, thinking and choice is limited and direct response is taken.

Also most training includes dropping or throwing the opponent… which becomes a fight unto itself with a withdrawing and tightening opponent. But what the defender must also be aware of is as the opponent is falling, with all their body weight, is the probability that the defender will loose grip or ultimate control of the weapon. They may even become unbalanced to fall with the opponent or pulled into an unbalanced situation where the opponent again has a possibility to cut or stab with the blade. Or you could have dropped the opponent only for them to start slashing at your legs and ankles where there are major blood vessels that can be severed.

There is another typical training method taught in most styles or programs and that it disarming the opponent. With all of the above mentioned difficulties and reflexive instincts, disarming is a very dangerous proposition. But even saying the defender is able to disarm the weapon without getting stabbed or cut, there is the problem of their fingerprints also on the weapon. In today’s litigious society the probability of you going to court when the beaten defender sues you for assault, there is now a question as to who was the original wielder of that weapon.

One last caveat to address is the training devices so many use as well that yield less realistic scenarios. When training with wooden, plastic or even metal training knives does not help with the psychological side of the equation. Using real knives such as the flip knives, balisongs, machetes and even box cutters (dulled for safety, but still feeling and appearing to the body and mind as real) will add the necessary component to the training program.

So what is left to work with under such brutal and stressful attack with a bladed weapon? Instant dysfunction, reversal of mentalities of the attacker to the defender and simple reflexive responses that will remain consistent with increasing stress levels or laceration of hand, wrist or forearm muscle and tendons, or even to the body and legs. We must also limit our responses so that there is only one method to be employed which will eliminate critical or panic thinking demands posed by random irrational motion from our attackers. It must also not be based on grabbing or restraining in any manner, but rather simple striking actions that even if the wrist or arm is cut, remains possible with gross motor skills.

There are two main methods we can train in Kyusho, it is up to the practitioner to work with both and choose their preferred method. Then to train their selected or preferred method only but now under all types and levels of bladed weapon attack. These are arm destructions to dysfunction the weapon wielding arm, then following up to the legs, body and or head if needed. Or attacking the source of the attack bypassing the arm and weapon altogether. In both cases we must not consider the blade as it is not the problem, the problem is in the wielding opponent. So we must affect that person in a way that renders the blade as the inadamate object that it is. So we will address both methods here so you can gain insight on your preferred or natural tendencies. This is critical as if you fight your natural instincts or mobility, then you will be far less effective. You must find and hone your own natural skills rather than being forced to train someone’s prearranged techniques.

Understand that there are never guarantees you will not get cut in an encounter with a bladed opponent, to think otherwise is foolish. But train how to survive the attack with minimal possibility for injury as well as quick incapacitation of the attacker.


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