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Knife Fighting
Part 3: Knife Fighting Resources
Knife fighting isn't a complete martial art--lose your weapon and you lose your ability to fight. Unless you've trained in a martial art that focuses on knife use yet adapts weapon techniques to open-hand strikes--like in the Filipino martial arts--you're in bad shape. But if you're inclined to carry an edged weapon, it makes sense to learn how to use it. Click for more information on fixed bladed knives
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 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Knife Fighting is Hot!
• Part 2: Knife Fighting Styles
• Part 3: Resources
 Join the Discussion
"Look at the screwdriver. Why doesn't someone come up with a system specifically designed to use it as a weapon to its full capacity? You could take a bunch of knife stuff, etc (probably mostly from escrima) and work it out fairly effectively."
 Related Resources
• Force Continuum
• Martial Arts: Arnis/Escrima/Kali
• Martial Arts: Fencing
• Martial Arts: Kendo
• Martial Arts: Knife Fighting
• Martial Arts: Weapons
 From Other Guides
• About Civil Liberties
• About Crime/Punishment
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Paladin Press
• Spyderco Knives

If you don't live close to a knife fighting school, you can travel to attend seminars and camps--usually week or weekend-long training sessions with other like-minded students. Or, you can read books and watch videos to get the gist of an instructor's doctrine, and practice the techniques with your partners.

Paladin Press has probably the largest selection of knife-fighting resources--including videos and books by Ryan, Keating, and Janich, as well as older texts by Fairbairn, Applegate, and the like. Paladin was for many years the only publisher who would touch "outlaw" topics like recipes for explosives, hit man training guides, and yes, knife-fighting texts. For example, they have the exclusive reprint rights to John Styers' USMC knife fighting text, Cold Steel.

But of course, just as you can't "learn karate from book," you can't learn knife fighting solely from reading a book or watching a tape.

Build Knife Fighting Into Your Style

I think the best way to learn knife fighting is to incorporate knife techniques into your current style. People fight the way they're trained. Regardless of their current training, under stress they'll revert back to whatever they consider their "root style". If you lose your knife, you'll use techniques from aikido, kung fu, tae kwon do, or whatever style you've performed millions of repetitions in. Logically then, you should see how the inclusion of a knife into the mix affects your base techniques and your ability to fight.

Consult your teacher to see what he or she can teach you. Often, your teacher will be intrigued as well, and will want to see what works and what won't work in knife scenarios. You could "spar" with chalked training knives, or just felt-tipped markers. The visual feedback from all the "hits" gives you a chilling insight into how devastating knives can be. (Note: Always wear eye protection when sparring with knives--even "soft" training blades. Some instructors advocate throat protection as well). Realistically include knife offense as well as self-defense. Gone are the days where drills include a powerful-but-limiting x-block followed up by a reverse punch to the chest, or where uke just holds the tanto out there so you can easily blend and execute your aikido technique.

For more information, check out the resources here at About Martial Arts. Train hard!

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