CQB Services
Edged Weapons
Defence Program

Sunday 24th October 2004
In Hemel Hempstead

This excellent course was put on by Dennis Martin who was assisted by CQB instructors Simon Squires, John Deacon and Lee Morrison. The course started with a lecture on edged weapon awareness which went on to cover an array of issues relating to the edged weapon threat. Considering that the usual Power point projector was unavailable for this course, Den still managed to put over a very interesting and educating lecture. This is such a serious topic that it is important to give the trainee an in-depth look at what any of us could be up against in such a situation. First we looked at the definition of a knife fight two guys duelling with knives is an extreme rarity therefore our definition is the fact that any potential aggressor that we face today could be carrying, and if we have any indication or cue that they are, then we can determine that this is a potential knife fight. Reason being that at any point the said weapon could be bought into play. Next we were asked to write down as many things that could be employed as an edged weapon as we could think off here is what I jotted down to give you an idea.

· Obviously ANY knife by design
· Screw driver/chisel etc
· Broken glass
· Ripped piece of tin
· Ceramics
· Stanley blade
· Pencil/pen/metal pen refill
· Syringe
· Bicycle spoke

The list can go on, and on as long as an individual has the intention to cut or stab there will always be an edged weapon available. We then took a look into a little history of early edged weapons. Den talked of how man is a tool bearing animal and how our first weapon was a simple stone, then man realised through experience that certain shaped stones i.e. those with sharper edges could do a more efficient job. Moving on man realised how if we bash one rock onto another he could create these sharp edges and points and hence the birth of the first edged weapon and tool. Then came the age of bronze then iron followed by mans ability to melt steel and the rest as they say is history. Sword play was extremely popular with early aristocracy and it was not uncommon for a sword master to earn £1000 for a course of lessons in this life saving skill and that was back in the late 1800's. Then came the period of the Bowie knife followed by WW2 both of which re-stimulated interest back into the edged weapon.

Then we looked at 3 key areas relating to edged weapons in general, those being

Knife threat: The threat of course being anyone armed with such an implement. Put a blade in anyone's hand and you have just made them dangerous. Some mention, as a joke was made that physco's and women are a serious threat, and that psycho women are the worst of all, which I will admit to laughing in agreement to, just a little but seriously anyone with a knife is a serious threat for the simple reason that the said weapon will dramatically increase their chances of success, in hurting you. Also if we look at the scale of weapons we can determine that the firearm if used at the correct range is the most efficient, however at close range the knife can be more deadly even against a hand gun. Just look at cases where police officers have been stabbed and killed at close quarters before the officer has even had a chance to draw his weapon. Impact weapons are good at what they do, but are some what limited it is the knife that comes out as potentially the most dangerous.

Knife usage: The danger here being that a knife needs no power or skill to create horrific injury or death the individual simply has to wail with it any way he/she can. If you are unfortunate enough to come across anyone who has trained extensively with the blade then you are in real trouble. These points were re-enforced with graphic colour pictures depicting victims of knife attacks.

Knife skills: This relates to the above point of training offensive knife skills to a level of proficiency and of course our available counter measures unarmed against the knife.

Next we looked at the knife as a weapon; its ability to damage comes from the blade profile. You can see at a glance if the weapon is designed for thrusting or slashing or both. Some blades are designed to specifically aggravate the wound by tapering the blade which then creates two wounds, one on the way in the other on the way out. Above all the sharpness of the knife is always the issue. Momentum and power are irrelevant, when using the blade you just need to let the sharp edge do the work, its sharpness alone is what makes it lethal.

Profile of a knife fighter: The majority of us would find it most repugnant to actually use a knife on another human being. Even in war it is far easier for an individual to take out the enemy with a long range missile this is considered impersonal and is far easier than being up close and personal and actually doing the job with a blade. But people as young as 14 year old hood rats on the street, do. Therefore we must assume that those that can are desensitised to killing. This is the knifer; a most dangerous opponent. Such individuals have commitment and intention and will get close to you via deception. One example from South Africa is the methods used by beggars who will approach their potential victim, very humble with their hands held together in front as if praying. They will get close enough to ask for some money and then stab the recipient in the face with a bicycle spoke that was previously concealed by their hands before proceeding to rob them. The thing to understand here is that if someone attacks you with an edged weapon they have just offered you lethal deadly force. In law you are justified to respond with a level of force that will enable you to deal with the threat. Up to and including deadly force if you have justification. One thing the knifer will have is a psychological edge over his potential victim. This comes from the familiarity of the visual presence of a knife which is an indication of immediate danger to all of us. The next few headings are now moving towards edged weapon defence; so let's take a look at a few points in turn.

Misconceptions in knife defence:
However skilled you are at what you do, unarmed you are at a disadvantage against a blade. Also single attacks with the knife are unlikely as in reality the knife just keeps moving. If you treat the knife as you would a punch then your defence will fail. The knife will cut on the way in and the way out and will keep on cutting whatever it comes in contact with. A quick look at the blade profile and the dynamics of movement involved in any physical struggle will tell you that.

The primary target for the knife is skin; therefore blocking the blade is out. I do believe that you can fend the blade arm and jam the limbs to a certain extent if you strive to get inside the weapon bearing limb and seize that limb whilst wailing into his groin and low line with multiple knee strikes. But awareness must be in play for any strategy to work as this case study indicates;

a soccer violence incident between Liverpool and a rival Italian team, left a man stabbed and slashed who didn't even know that he had been, until the Doctor told him. Where's your knife defence if you don't even know that you've been cut?

Behavioural indicators and cues:
Here are a few indications of a potential knife threat;
· Visible weapon
· Weapon signatures (clip of tactical folder) for example
· Hidden hands, unless you can see both hands and palms, be wary
· Access position; hunched over
· Verbal threat "I'll cut your face off!''
· High risk groups; Prison in-mates are masters of improvised weapons. Also gangs love blades and have the propensity for violence also martial artists are attracted to blades and the drug culture.

''In a knife fight things go from bad to horrible real fast!''
American police officer Jim Philips; victim of a knife attack.

Injuries from knifes wounds: were depicted in some colour hand outs that I bought along just to give an insight into how dangerous an issue the knife threat really is. Even if a victim was not fatally stabbed, just being cut will result in blood loss to varying degrees of extremity along with possible loss to limb function and severe physical and psychological shock. The latter is something that you should know and expect in advance.

After an intense anaerobic warm up with Simon Squires, Den moved into the practical parts of the course using training weapons with safety measures in play. First we looked at some angles of offensive attack so that all students get an indication of how to use a knife, in order to gain a greater insight into how it can be used against you. Here we did various solo and partner drills all good stuff. Then Dennis asked me to teach the only strike really appropriate with this aspect of counter weapons training; the knee strike, which I taught as a brief conditioning module that would get the trainee used to working at close quarters from a hands on position. As always lots of impact and aggression was the requirement for the day. Following this John Deacon and Simon Squires demonstrated knife usage from a ground grappling situation which really emphasised two points as far as I could see, first if you are unfortunate enough to get caught in a rear choke/strangle on the ground with you up turned like a turtle, then drawing an edged weapon from your person may be your only available option and secondly it highlighted one of dangers of going to the ground with an assailant, if he's got a blade the first you will know about it is when its in you.

Next up Dennis presented a program for edged weapon defence called the G.U.N system this stands for Grab, Undo and Neutralise. The first motion is to grab the weapon bearing limb using a butterfly formation of the hands whilst verbalising the threat as you see it, assuming that you do. This association of the word '''KNIFE!'' As the grab is made, acts as a trigger for your action. From here the undo part relates to anchoring the weapon arm in and to your side, keeping your elbows in for stability from here you neutralise the threat with multiple knee strikes into your aggressor's low line whilst verbalising ''DROP-THE-KNIFE!''.

This program was isolated into a progression of drills that allowed the student to gain a fast degree of competence of what Dennis was offering. The finale for this came from myself, John Deacon and Simon Squires who made up 3 power lines using armoured body shields training knifes and realistic role-play including unpredictable aggression and deceptive ploys from all 3 instructors. This was well received by all who took part. I think everyone took away something from this course along with the increased awareness of the seriousness to the whole issue in general. Special thanks to Malcolm Philips for hosting the day along with Dennis and all who took part and contributed to make a productive day for everyone

Pictures From The Course
If you are caught in a choke from this position, you're in trouble the only possible option here will be to access a weapon, as is demonstrated here by these up and coming combative trainees.
James accesses his weapon and is in a position to shank Phil just about any where and as many times as he wants a clear demonstration of one of the main reasons that you don't want to go to the ground when it goes live.
CQB instructors Simon Squires and John Deacon demonstrate weapon access from a horizontal grappling situation.
These guys gave an excellent demonstration of drawing a weapon under pressure. The mount position is no longer dominant if your aggressor underneath is throwing multiple rapid stabs in Pikal fashion to your rib cage
Master of Artifice JD demonstrates guard position with Den.
Den demonstrates the hand cut with Lee. This was used during WW2 with the snap cut. The Filipino systems call this defanging the snake.

Giles, Carlos from Italy and Jimmy Fatwing.
This course produced an excellent turn out of people.
Here is Dennis demonstrating the knife fighting posture and angles of attack.
Here Den emphasises the additional reach that an edged weapon will give you.
Mirrored partner drills for practicing angles of attack.
Lee Morrison drills the knife angles
Here is Lee Morrison drilling angles of attack with Lee Sinnot. One key point is that with a knife the target is skin, therefore everything is a target.
Here is the same drill practiced with Den emphasising attacks from low to high line all around the body.
Lee Morrison teaching the knee strike module; in this example the strike is used pre-emptively by exploding forward firing the strike knee into the groin; this is what Kelly MacCann calls ''walking violently.''
Here is the knee working from the clinch. The knee strike as an attack to the low line is the most commonly available strike from a hands on position hence its practicality relating to knife defence.
Here is Den showing the class some examples of edged weapons by design and items that have been adapted to be used as such. The above pics show a hair comb that pulls out into a stiletto type blade. Below shows a tanto type blade made of high density plastic that is strong enough to penetrate a car door and will make it through any metal detector. This high lights how unreliable metal detectors can be when used by security people during search procedures.
Mirror training the angles of attack with Lee Sinnot
Dennis and Simon square off in the knife guard position. In reality a knife on knife duel is an extremely rare occurrence what is more probable is that you would find yourself unarmed against a blade; this is the more likely definition of a knife fight.