Martial Arts Mythbusting: Knife Fights Are Bulls**t

Consensual two person knife fights almost NEVER happen in western society, so why are we training for knife duelling in our martial arts classes?

21 thoughts on “Martial Arts Mythbusting: Knife Fights Are Bulls**t

  1. B. F. Galbraith says:

    News flash: if you can't fight with a knife, you can't defend against one either. That's like trying to learn how to not get taken down without learning how to grapple – you have to learn grappling to learn to not get taken down. Same thing with a knife, none of your martial arts techniques will work if you don't know how to knife fight in the first place.

  2. Theodore Wurz says:

    While I agree that being in a dueling situation with knives is extremely rare in the western world, you can develop a knowledge and awareness of blades by training in all aspects of them. This can help you, should you have to defend yourself against a blade if you are armed with a firearm (very common) or potentially unarmed.

  3. MaharlikaAWA says:

    Knife fights happen. You an say what you want. What is also bullshit is sport BJJ.

    In reality there are times when you may pick up a knife to defend yourself and another guy may have a knife as well. Better to cover your ass than be sorry.

  4. Quinn Giles says:

    Stephen! I know it's really hard to do but show us some knife defense.
    What should you do if all of a sudden your stabbed 2 or 3 times and now it's time to defend against the sewing machine?

    I feel like the most realist thing would be a wrestling control on that stabbing arm like a clinch that traps the arm instead of catching the knife hand. That's near impossible in my opinion.

    But yeah I would love a detailed knife defense video for ambushes like you said.
    Also from different positions like guard and mount and side control top and bottom.

    I would LOVE a vid like this. Everyone elses knife videos even the gracie's seems kinda impossible stuff…

    Also this one was really good. Thanks!!

  5. Anathmatician says:

    I would have to say I would not suggest bending your arm to give a false sense of measure in European fencing (if that is what you mean?). Attacking short is fine, and there are a number of other ways of creating a false sense of measure, but attacking with a bent arm will tend to either attract counters, or just being straight up attacked and outreached (depending on the weapon and the circumstances).

  6. Tim Is Green says:

    Wait, you mean you don't commonly need to use knife fighting technique to fend off a group of Sicilian smugglers after escaping the dreaded Château d'If to seek revenge against your twisted half brother for stealing your family estate and having you wrongfully convicted of a crime you did not commit? 😉

    But speaking seriously something I found interesting when research 19th century knife fencing was that a lot of it was kinda hypothetical is the same way contemporary knife fighting is, with fencing masters of the day drawing ideas from historical sources and fringe communities where knife duels were a thing.

  7. RobDegraves says:

    A couple of notes. The duels you speak of had strict rules that were enforced by powerful social pressures. Barring a specific social setting in which those rules and that pressure matters, dueling is rarely, if ever, seen. There is nothing wrong with learning how to use a knife, but dueling with them is not likely. Second note, what you said about knife fighting is applicable to every weapon, modern or ancient. Most fights where someone has decided they might end someone else's life tend to begin as an ambush. Learning to look for and recognize those situations is very important. It's not that hard to defeat someone that has a knife, assuming you are better armed or prepared. It's nearly impossible if you are not.

  8. Guba Doce Pares - London says:

    SGM Danny Guba says "there is no master of the knife". I totally agree, and Eskrima just helps you to improve your chances of survival. If your opponent has a knife and you don't, you have to be successful every time with your defence but they only have to be successful once with their attack. Knife sparring is however very fun like you say and it does still teach you a lot about the knife, and it gives you good reaction skills and footwork. Still worth practicing in my view!

  9. Logic Prevails says:

    The thing you show at the end also works for bjj: you shake hands and first thing you do is move back. I guarantee you he will follow and run into your e.g. double-leg. (Of course in competition this works best if your opponent hasn't seen you do this before, but even then many fall for that)

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