Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Knife Randori Videos
Here's a different angle on knife fighting realism...
I'm only speaking here from California - other folks in the know regarding other states, please feel free to jump in, make corrections, etc.
My experience lends itself more to what I see in Joeseph's video. i.e. that is how I was instructed to fight with a knife by Mr. Michael Robert Pick. For me, the best way of using that technique is to keep the weapon as close to being an ambush weapon as you can - when you are the yielder. When you are not the yielder, obviously then, the best way to defend yourself against the best way of using a knife is to prevent and/or reduce the ambush. This last point can be related to my criticism of the foreig police videos posted above.
From this perspective, the idea of "fencing" with a knife can only be understood as a mistake and/or a departure from the best way of attacking with and defending against a knife. As a mistake then, one looks to correct it, not continue it. If one uses any of the fencing techniques commonly practiced in the currently well-known knife paradigms, one should only be using them to get out of that situation - not to stay in it, and not to try and push it into a victory, etc. The reasons for this is because one is dealing here with low percentages of survival and/or escaping without serious bodily injury, etc. For me, anyone wanting to talk about the true danger of a knife isn't also going to praise and/or emphasize fencing techniques and/or fencing drills over ambush techniques and/or ambush defensive techniques.
But, let's say you do. So you are on the street here in California, about to get in a real knife fight/defense. I won't make you go in there empty handed, leaving this to the "real" fencing techniques of knife fighting... Oh, like in training you are carrying a straight knife on your person - whoops! PC 12020 - dirk or dagger. Felony. Whoops here comes cuffs, jail, loss of career options, etc.
Okay, let's say the cops don't catch you with the dirk or dagger on the way to the fencing match. Your enemy attackers, you draw your dirk/dagger and away you go. Wow! you actually win. Cops show up: Oh know - PC 12020 again. Oooo - Maybe even P245 - Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Oh no - it's found out you carry that weapon for defensive purposes - oh man - it looks like the cops are trying to show intent, write everything in the report to see if the DA wants to slap you with Attempted Murder. Oh know - the guy dies - whoops, looks like the DA is trying to put together an intent for you - since you were carrying an illegal weapon, your train in its usage, etc., - is that a murder or manslaughter change coming your way. Man, the felonies are piling up.
Okay - you are not dumb enough to walk around with a PC 12020 weapons. But, are you smart enough to train for knife fencing with a folder? I have to say, not many Filipino drills, for example, center themselves around the folder. But, let's say you school does. So you have your folder, and you are attacked by a real criminal with a knife - a real dirtbag - whoops, he doesn't care about the law, that is why he is a dirtbag. He had a PC 12020 knife - dirk/dagger. His draw is way faster than yours - whoops, did you work on folder against a straight knife in your knife fencing school. Oh, you didn't, you are dead - ambush percentages lie with the illegal weapon.
But, let's say you got your folder worked in nice and good - I mean if flips open just by hanging upside down, or wow, you even sprung for an emmerson folder. and you are in the fencing match now - and wow, you actually win. You don't have a scratch on you - that guy is cut up to shreds. The cops show up - oh man - they don't like how easy your knife opens. They categorize it as a prohibited weapon. Oh know, you are on that same road again - the one of piled up felonies.
In California, the reality of knife fighting for civilians is this: Felony charges.
It is not too realistic or too fair to be instructing on "real" knife fighting tactics while being complete oblivious to the consequences of such training when it is implemented in the real world. No one I could imagine in the criminal justice system is going to say,"Wow, that goodness you had that knife" if you used it in a self-defense scenario akin to the one's similar to the Filipino fencing drills.
That said, in my opinion, only non-civilian personnel will most likely be able to avoid the pile of felonies. Particularly non-civilian personnel authorized to carry firearms, etc. I'll let the soldiers speak on this from their perspective, but again, I would say from a law enforcement standard, fencing with a knife or against a knife is not reality as a viable tactic but rather reality as a mistake in tactics one failed to employ.
What I would like to see is folks that are instructing cops on knife tactics - both offensive and defensive - to own up and say, "Okay, we are now going to practice stuff that you might have to do if you f-ed up on everything else I taught you about ambush, counter-ambush tactics, and the proper implementation of your weapons, etc., and what I'm going to show you should only be used to get your ass out of the mistake and back to the viable tactics of ambush, counter-ambush, and the proper implementation of your weapons." But this might be a problem, since, in my experience, very few folks that instruct cops on knife tactics know or bother to instruct cops on ambush, counter-ambush, and proper weapon implementation - and vice versa.
Additionally, let me ask the knife fencers out there. At your school, or with your instructor, are you ever instructed on the legal consequences of applying your craft in the real world. I know I never was when I dabbled in the fencing stuff. That topic never ever EVER came up. And yet, I doubt anything would seem more real than that smell of sweat, urine, feces, sperm, and alcohol you get a whiff of right when the jail out door opens.
(sorry, no time for proofing).