By Morne Swanepoel
The Defensive Edge (A look at realistic Knife fighting)
‘The most constant thing in life is change. Everything that has been mummified belongs to the past. Mummification is a blockage in the body, there is no spirit. We are all alive and need to progress and go beyond…’ – Morne Swanepoel
In all of my training and experiences, the one area of the martial arts that frightens me the most is the knife. It is hard to convey the ugliness of the knife as a weapon. Anyone, trained-untrained, man-woman, is at a significant advantage with a knife and a great disadvantage against one.
So, how do we prepare ourselves for this fatal encounter?
REALITY is the key here, as most martial artists train primarily to defend against a face to face ‘Hollywood’ type knife attack. We need to distinguish between that which looks good for demonstration purposes and that which will work in actual knife fight. Look at the way you are training. You need to develop your training to gain the necessary skills and attributes to deal with high-speed blade attacks. Training with edged weapons is virtually useless unless it is balanced out with experience. We get this experience via resistance training or through actual sparring. Reality knife fighting occurs at combative speed and this is where we need to be functional & effective. This doesn’t mean that you should neglect the various drills that allow for creative, relaxed and playful training.
When you are in a confrontation that can cost you your life, you have no excuses for not having prepared as thoroughly as possible in your training. This means that your training exploration has to involve everything that works in a full resistance environment, and that you have to thoroughly prepare yourself for these defensive and offensive tactics. Martial Artists tend to focus on self-defence rather than offensive tactics. So why then should you train in offensive knife fighting skills? You need to understand the offensive elements in order to develop defensive tactics for any offensive techniques you might encounter. Knowledge of weapons working will give you an advantage if you must defend yourself against one.
You must always consider surrendering whenever a weapon is used, unless you believe that doing so will place you in greater danger. This is by no means cowardly reaction. Your possessions can be replaced – your life cannot. There can only be one winner in a knife fight and more often than not there are two losers. There is an old saying that says ’ When two tigers fight, the one will die today, the other dies tomorrow due to all it’s wounds it suffered’
Don’t just dismiss training with weapons because you think that you’ll never use them and that you will be able to avoid this type attack in the street. You will gain more insight, be more prepared for any situation, improve your attributes, and its loads of fun. Training with weapons is part of becoming the best that you can be.