CQB Services Combative knife Seminar:

6 th February 2005 at the Prescot leisure centre Liverpool .

This was the first eagerly awaited course of the New Year from CQB Services and as always Dennis Martin put on an excellent program. The subject matter was Offensive Combative knife and contained some very eye opening information into the mindset of both the Urban Operative who might where applicable and legal; carry a tactical edged weapon for Self-Protection and also into that of the street ugly knifer; who goes out with the pre-meditated intention of employing such a tool as a means to support his/her criminal activities or for no other reason than their intention to offer gratuitous violence for violence sake. An understanding of the latter is of particular importance to all of us; if our objective is to avoid such predators. The physical aspect of the course i.e. the instructional use of an edged weapon was also very useful, as we will now gain a deeper understanding; as to how such a weapon might be employed against us, if we have an equal understanding of how to actually employ the same in a combative sense ourselves.


It is not my intention to cover any of the physical drills practiced on the day in any great detail. To do so would be both irresponsible of me and disrespectful to Dennis. I will however give the reader an insight into this most excellent program and offer the suggestion that if you have an interest in Combatives as a whole, then this topic is an essential part of your study. Therefore get yourself to the next program and train. We started as always with an introduction into the day's events. Dennis would be teaching each module himself with the help of several of his instructors including myself, John Deacon and Simon Squires and in addition to this there were several of the Liverpool Gutterfighters on hand to demonstrate and get hands on with everyone. Amongst some of the things discussed during the introduction we talked about how everything in Combatives is based on the Operator. This stands from both a mindset and performance point of view; the knife is no exception here either. The point was made that the knife is easy to use but very difficult to defend against especially unarmed. The employment of an edged weapon carried by an Operative where applicable and legal for the purpose of Self-Protection is a completely different ball game from that of the knife attacker. The latter is already in predator mode, with knife ready to hand and ready and willing to engage. Carrying an edged weapon for Self-Protection however; requires the development of MINDSET, the practice of deployment and task specific training for the edged weapon's Combative use. So as you can see the knife attacker still has the advantage. We then looked into the pros and cons of the knife and a couple of drills that introduced the trainee into the mental requirements needed to produce this state of attitude and aggression something that the knife attacker has already in abundance.


The drills we covered involved the use of a tactical training knife. These were available to buy on the day from our very own John Deacon and Lee Sinnot. These were specific for the task, good safe, ground smooth metal training knifes. The importance of safety was emphasised by Den and each of the instructors throughout the day. This became especially important during the use of live blades which were incorporated with great effect into several of the drills. We then looked at various grips for the knife and went onto practice the basic angles of slashes and thrusts. These are covered over 7 lines and were practiced solo and with partners in various combinations. All very simple stuff; as said, the knife is easy to use.

'Stroke with the knife, contour with the blade, tight fist loose wrist.''

Hector Grant Taylor

Den demonstrates vertical snap cuts to a pad and also a close in thrust on Brian.


Additional drills incorporated the use of snap cuts, flat blade and the use of the reverse knife grip used for Pikal along with various methods of employing the tactics of artifice and deception in order to get close to the target and take the offensive. The influences here were wide and varied; coming from great people like Marcus Wynne and Leo Gaje and of course our great Close Combat forefathers; the likes of Fairbain, Biddle, Styers and Stavers. After that came a much needed sit down, as we all listened intently to Phil Matthews as he gave his superb presentation into the history and the evolution of the Fairbairn & Sykes Fighting knife Phil then went on to discuss various other edged weapons of that period. It has to be said that Phil really does know his stuff; he was placed on the spot and asked questions relating to his subject from all directions. Very informative stuff the late historian Pete Robins would have enjoyed Phil's presentation very much.

The first Pattern F& S knife with its 3'' Quillians across the handle.


The next aspect of training covered related to the carry and access; for the deployment of our tactical folder. Here we looked at the two favoured carry points, the appendix pocket carry and carrying the weapon out of sight clipped behind our belt. Here we are looking at making the motion as gross motor as possible and various drills were practiced that incorporated striking with our free off hand as we accessed our weapon. Also opening the knife from the tight clinch of a horizontal grapple as well as in response to various audio cues. At some point during the day we all took part in a fun drill where each of us had to blow up a balloon and pin the end to our clothing, from here we had to place our hands on top of our heads until Den's command when we all had to access and draw our training folders, from here it was a last man standing and everyone had to pop everyone else's balloon before theirs got popped. Our very own John Skillen became last man standing after employing the tactic of very small balloon pinned to body; offers a very small target proving undeniably that size matters. Needless to say that the whole package was put together into one final stress test at the end with allowed each student to integrate their empty hand skills on the pad man then turn to face another aggressor with a simulated padded arm that we would then incorporate the access and deployment of our edged weapon; in this case a live blade. This was a very adrenal producing experience and like I said at the beginning, a real eye opener. All in all a great day was had by all and to top it all our Combatives brother from Italy Carlo was made up as a CQB Instructor under Den and is welcomed among the ranks by the rest of us; well done Carlo.

CQB Instructors John Deacon and Si Squires showing knife guard.

Dennis martin with Urban Combatives instructor Simon Alpin.
My student Dave Mulliner gets the psyche out look from mad eyed slack bladder

Liverpool gutter fighters Brian and Tony demonstrate a partner knife drill.