Reverse-grip with knives and swords – A clarification



The reverse-grip, used with either knives or swords, is beloved of Hollywood fight choreography. But how useful is it? In a follow up to my previous video …

38 thoughts on “Reverse-grip with knives and swords – A clarification

  1. Deep Ashtray says:

    The reverse grip with a sword can be very effective defensively because it allows you to use the blade to guard the length of your torso and is easily maneuvered to guard your legs from that hold. It has the added benefit of concealing your weapon from your adversary. It also allows you to get in very close and go belly to belly in a duel with your opponent and deliver both cuts and stabs. Despite what you've tried to demonstrate here, the reverse grip with a sword or knife also was used effectively to find the gaps in the armor. The reverse grip style I was introduced to comes out of China and Mongolia. You might have heard of singing sword technique where a sword is dragged across the body like a violin bow across the strings but the bow is making the sounds– a master swordsman can literally make the sword hum as it glides across the body. People trained in European traditions have a very hard time grasping it until they've had a live demonstration.

  2. cp1cupcake says:

    I used to practice a modern martial art. The basic level use of knives was to use them in an ice grip and pretend you aren't using them, so just punch like normal.

  3. Rich Magliula says:

    I know I’m crazy late to this video but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how much my wife and I enjoyed your wife’s contribution as well as your earnest consideration of her input. My wife especially loved your wife’s deadpan delivery of “Giants aren’t real.” Well played on all fronts.

  4. Mikefule says:

    I agree that the reverse grip slash is of very limited utility — possibly if you're already holding the knife that way and an opportunity arises when grappling, but clearly not when you are duelling. Another aspect of the reverse grip: if your opponent grabs your weapon arm. It is far easier to force someone else's arm to bend than to force it to straighten. Point up, if your arm is forced to bend, you poke your own eye out. Point down, if your arm is forced to bend, the point comes to bear on your opponent.

  5. Southern Knight says:

    As for myself, I carry inverted on my waistband at 8 o'clock position.( fixed boot knife) I'm left handed and draw from there to an inverted hand grip and you will never see me draw it, especially up close, as my hand hardly has to move. Just a couple of inches and pull down. It takes no effort.
    My main opening strike is to step forward with my right foot and shoot my left hand up in front of me to my opponent's neck where I do an off center punch. Once my punch passes the neck, cutting the artery, I draw back, angling my point into the back of the person's neck and spinal cord and pull them forward.
    This works when the person is facing away from you too, if you're in murder mode.
    You pull back and knee the person in the mid section, then you can let go or bring the person down to the ground. Fight is over instantly.
    At distance, I like the normal grip, but up close, inverted is best and makes it harder to be disarmed, as you can be with normal grip.
    I am a freestyle knife fighter. Both grips work, if you train to fight that way. Training is key!

  6. Southern Knight says:

    5:30 The reverse sword grip is not ideal with a curved sword. You want a straight sword like a ninjato, which will retain more reach when inverted.
    Both inverted knife and sword styles are ideal for close quarters and hidden ambush techniques.
    Very few people actually know correct and useful inverted techniques with the sword.

  7. T Koutlosh says:

    You don't get any tip speed from wrist in revers grip, but you have some good structure behind it, so I believe you could use it for pushing against enemy's forearm while shorting distance. Push hands away from center with your blade and than hook or stab as with rondel dagger..

  8. roman legionhare says:

    Seems to me a cut is better delivered with a standard grip. As to the scenario where you are crawling and have to slash upwards, that was a pretty weak upward slash with the icepick grip.

  9. Art Solano says:

    Sad because I thought the Kendo in "Last Samurai" was so good when he was being trained. I gagged when the ninjas attacked and Katsumoto went reverse grip on a Katana in one hand and regular grip in the other. Then they did some spinning moves where they put their back to their opponent. The sword fight in Tokyo at the end was entertaining. Its hard to find good kendo in movies as the choreographers put too many spins and jumps into it. Re-watching Captain Algrin below his sword swing sometimes look horrible but at times look good.

  10. FableBlaze says:

    I am probably asking too late and maybe it has been discussed already.
    But if i have two knives or swords, then would using normal grip in my primary hand and reverse grip in my offhand make sense? My thinking is that i this way i could use my offhand primarily for blocking and my primary hand for attacks.

  11. TheLoneRideR says:

    I can think of a reason to cut rather than stab when holding the blade reversed as you mentioned near the end, while striking as if punching, ans that is, you stand a greater chance of hitting an exposed target (face below helmet brim, etc.) with the longer edge than the tiny point, so if you are striking frantically it will at least be more likely to contact as the edge is longer. Then you can follow up with a thrust…

  12. John C says:

    Right… Why use the reverse grip or icepick grip when you can make the same slashing motion with a standard grip and have more power. I agree completely. Although I can see the flashiness of icepick slashing being a useful intimidation tactic against those who are less skilled with blades like your common mugger who merely uses a knife out of desperation. Of course, if you run into someone with skill, you're going to want to go with a standard grip to give yourself every advantage possible.

  13. Undo Reality says:

    You may want a reverse grip on a katana if your opponent has a heavy weapon like a poll arm and you are on the defensive, the blunt side of the sword would rest on your forearm when you block and would make it more rigid.

  14. Matthew Bannock says:

    [nods] The tip I had been given from a military friend was the slash is primarily the feint to set up the hook or stab, it could become an attack of opportunity but even then you finish with the stab….

    But OMG your wife is hilarious

    … OK but if you are wolverine?
    …. What about Giants?
    …. Ah they aren't real

    So Wolverine is realistic but Giants not so much… um does she know something we should know?!

  15. Sam Williams says:

    My research of tranfer of energy through a hand is that three fingers have a straight angle when your wrist is locked the pinkie ring and middle fingers, the forefinger is a weaker anchor than the pinkie. Maybe I studied the wrong research?

  16. Adam Di'Cristofaro says:

    iv always wondered why they did this in movies and also just assumed they think it looks cool but know its really about the choreographing kind opens my eyes to how these things get made . thank you great video

  17. losthor1zon says:

    +scholagladiatoria – I have one movie scenario for you where an "ice pick" grip on a katana was used to good effect.
    At the end of "Sanjuro", where there is a duel between the two ronin, Mifune's character gains a slight advantage by drawing his sword with that grip and cutting up into the opponent before the opponent can complete a conventional draw-cut. However, to be fair, I'm not sure whether his other hand was used behind the blade to add pressure to the blade on the way up or not.

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