Do you carry a knife? Do you have a knife on your kit? If you are reading this, I would bet you do. Have you been training on the proper use and defense of an edged weapon? I hope so. Now take a moment to reflect on your actual level of proficiency and the consistency of deliberate edged weapons defense training you conduct. I am referring to training to counter a committed attack at close quarters — an attack that may occur so quickly that you are unable to go to the gun (if you are carrying) during those critical first seconds.
Is That a Knife in Your Pocket?
Edged weapons have been used as secondary weapons since ancient times. Though personal weaponry and tactics have greatly changed, the majority of operators today utilize a primary, secondary, and tertiary weapons system, with the blade serving as one of the latter two capacities. It is common for many civilians to carry a knife every day; what is not common is for individuals to have been trained on the proper use of and defense of an edged weapon. The reasons for the lapse in edged weapons training are many: fiscal matters, time constraints, policies, fear… Let’s face it, the vision of a close quarters edged weapons attack in not a pleasant one.
Edged weapons continue to be a significant threat in today’s world. There are a plethora of studies and statistics to support this. Feel free to get “on the line” and research it. In a nutshell the FBI reported that “edged weapons are the second leading cause of homicides in the US behind handguns.” My experience has been that we tend to get saturated with developing / maintaining critical skill sets such as combat marksmanship, medical, and defensive shooting. All of these are critical; however, they put other critical skill sets on the back burner — edged weapons defense training being one of those.
Years ago I had the good fortune to gain instruction by a group of some of the best edged weapons trainers around. Under the tutelage of the aforementioned instructors, and with much assistance, time, and effort, we developed a custom enhanced defensive tactics (combatives) program to include edged weapons defense. For inexplicable reasons, WTF, the program was shit canned and I saw our edged weapons program dissipate. Some of us continued to train the troops behind closed doors or after hours; however, it was not legitimate.
Edged weapons are the second leading cause of homicides in the US behind handguns.
Failing to Train Is Training to Fail
I have witnessed agencies issue fixed blade knives without providing any training or for that matter without a plan to incorporate training. I have heard comments like, “Oh it’s a tool”; “it’s a survival knife, so I can cut myself free”; “it’s for breaching a lock and a tangos skull.” There is weight to those comments but first you need to learn and practice how to properly use that tool.
Let’s take it to the civilian / off-duty realm. You are somewhere approaching your vehicle and a dubious character brandishing a knife approaches you and demands money — fuck it — he decides to deliver a slash to your upper body. What are you gonna do? 1) You have a very low level of proficiency in edged weapons defense: embrace the slash with nothing but love and hope he doesn’t strike an artery or deliver more strikes. 2) Identify the threat and use the techniques you have trained to counter that attack and create space for an avenue of escape or dominate, immobilize, and control the attacker.
It is your responsibility to incorporate edged weapons defense into your training regimen. If your agency or network doesn’t have organic instructors, I recommend you do your research and seek out reputable organizations and trainers that teach sound fundamentals in edged weapons defense.
Make it happen. Put the edge back in your training.