Monday, June 18, 2012

Knife Fighting Class

Tara and I had been looking forward the the Knife Fighting Class that Double Tap organized.  Of course, some of our friends looked at us askance.  They weren't suprised so much, as perplexed, after all, we're shooters, why on earth would we need a knife fighting class?

The answer is, because sometimes you don't have time to employ your gun.  And, quite honestly, I think shooters tend to become too dependent on their guns.  It's not always the answer.  Once a gun comes into play, it's a whole lot harder to de-escalate a situation.  I've always believed that a gun is the last resort - the very first thing that should come into play is your brain.  I would not hesitate to shoot if it was necessary, but you can't unpull a trigger and recall a bullet.

While I'm a firm believer in gun training, I also believe we should train in other types of defense.  Hence, the knife fighting class.  We were issued training knives by Keen Edge Knives.  They look like the real deal, but will only leave bruises.

And - look - it's wrapped in paracord,
it's for survival :)

The "blade" is nice and wide and dull.

The back of the blade is even wider.

I've handled children's toys that are more dangerous.

Let me tell you, I'm not an easily intimidated woman, but I was intimidated by this class.  It was completely out of my comfort zone.  One of the first drills we did was a simple test to see how big our personal bubble is.  Now, I know I have a big bubble, and I don't like people in it, but because of the out-of-my-element factor, it almost doubled.  I actually let the instructor take a couple of extra steps into my bubble before I stopped him so I wouldn't look so freakish.  I stopped him about eight feet away from me - I would have rather stopped him at twelve feet.  Interesting, though, I have *no* bubble with Tara.  None whatsoever, we can occupy the same space in the universe without a problem.  My bubble with Double Tap is about two feet, so it was a good demonstration (to me at least) of how comfort impacts our bubble.  My bubble with other people in the class was pretty much the standard six feet until I relaxed.

I learned that the fetal position (albeit standing) is a defensive pose: hands and forearms up around your face, palms in, abs tight so you're curled down a bit, knees bent and rotated toward each other.   Standing that way protects all major arteries, yet still allows you to move.  We practiced moving across the floor that way, pushing with our front leg and stepping with our back.  After we'd chased each other across the floor, we did some unarmed defense, where we slowly walked through the three basic steps that became the basis of pretty much everything we did.

Our attacker stood with one fist extended, as though they had just thrown a punch.  Our first contact was with our weak hand, to brush their hand aside (away from us); second, our strong hand came up under our weak hand to make contact with their arm, at just below the elbow, we brushed our strong hand down their arm until we got to their wrist, at which point we locked our middle finger and thumb around their wrist.  Our third contact was a strike with our weak hand to their arm, just above the elbow.
Tara and Double Tap,
just before the third contact

Tara's not very big,
but she figured out how to put Double Tap down

After we mastered those three steps, we started incorporating moving to our weak side as we made contact with the attacker and built from there.  We learned wrist locks and arm bars, all from the same basic first couple of contacts.  We learned how to strike to cause the attacker to lose their weapon.  We learned how to re-direct an overhead strike, causing the attacker to stab himself.  If we missed the re-direction, we learned how to dance under their arm and execute an arm bar.

I had an a-ha moment when I realized that if I could move 1100# horses around, I could certainly move a 200# man if I just quit fighting it and used their momentum against them.  After that, I felt a bit like Steven Seagal and things started clicking.

We didn't get to "attacking" with a knife until the last half hour of class, and I'm still very shaky with the "Flowing Hands", but I'm much more confident in my ability to defend myself and create space between myself and a bad guy should the need arise.

My take-aways from class are:
  • You're going to get cut and it's going to hurt; it's up to you to direct where you're going to get cut - protect the major arteries (radial, brachial, carotid, femoral, aorta).
  • This is not something that the instructor verbalized, but I found that once I made physical contact with the attacker I felt more confident that I could "read" his movements and I felt a whole lot more comfortable tucked up against my attacker, with my hand on his wrist than I did at the sharp, pointy end of the knife.
  • It doesn't take a lot of force or brute strength to do any of the moves we did.
  • A lot of what we learned would work against a bad guy with a gun as well.
I will most certainly be taking more of these classes, and will pay for Ashinator to take them as well, because I think it's important to train not only with your gun, but in a variety of different disciplines.


agirlandhergun said...

Awesome! Sounds like it was very beneficial. Love the classes where I am forced out of my comfort zone...hate it, but I learn so much.

Love your survival purple paracord:)

Allenspark Lodge said...

I tried to put an edge on that knife last weekend, but it's just AWFUL.

You been sawing BRICKS with that thing?

She needs to just get a new one.


The Bipolar Diva said...

I would LOVE a class like that!

The Lowry Place said...

That would be fun!

Anonymous said...

I want to take a class! It sounds awesome!