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Monday, September 27, 2004

I probably joke about going too far in self-defence situations moreso than I should. I can see the look on E's face right now if she gets around to reading this, but I've been actually telling myself I should stop. If nothing else, I don't want to end up like one of these people who say things like this... (From a post on the defend.net forums)
That is why if you are going to start a fight it is best to start yelling something like, "hey why the hell did you hit me!" because eye witness testimony is terribly unreliable and many people will then claim that the person did in fact hit you and you were defending yourself when it actuality you were the attacker.
That being said, I do accept in principle the idea that if I hurt you while you were trying to do me harm, that's what you get for screwing with me. I don't look for fights, I don't want to fight. I want to be left alone. I'm old and slow and KNOW I will get my @$$ kicked. Therefore, my goal will be to keep my @$$-beating to a minimum, preferably by escaping. But if I can't and if you end up with a limp for life, or worse, then, as a co-worker is famous for saying, "Sorry 'bout your luck."

A lot of other people buy into that, too -- but it seems like some of those people don't have a concept of all the hell that attitude can buy you. They seem unaware of certain realities that are articulated well in this article on lethal force from the Mark "Animal" MacYoung's website.
Moreover, if you choose to carry a knife you need to know that such a weapon is considered a "thug's weapon" in most cultures. And if you do use a knife on someone then you had damn well make sure that the wound pattern matches your claim of "self-defense." Unfortunately, most training in stick and knife arts don't take either issue into consideration. They are in fact, training you to end up in prison for murder.
So, these clips from selected articles are for you, the person who just can't wait to get him or herself in a situation where you actually get to use all that fancy weapon-work you spent so much time perfecting. The quiet ones who don't brag or boast, but who'll stand there calmly like an anime hero, in the midst of chaos and violence "knowing" that you can get that tac folder out before any of these freaks come within five paces, and woe betide any who do...

Knife Fighting: A Reality Break
Most so-called "knife fighting" training that is currently taught has very little to do with how knives are commonly used in violent situations. This is because much of what is being taught is predicated on what can only be called "dueling." This is not to say that what is being taught is ineffective, far from it. In fact, much of what is being taught would work if you ever found yourself in a knife to knife duel. However, the mindset, physics, strategies and attacks that occur in such situations are radically different than the many other ways that violent people use knives. Dueling is only one aspect of knife work, to survive you need to know the others as well.
Knife fighting lies
Lie # 9 Knowing kali makes you a knife fighter
Kali, Escrima, Arnis, FMA, all of them have the aura and mystery of being weapons based arts. Deadly, savage arts of the Filipino warriors. Lurid stories about guerrilla actions against Japanese invaders, duels and death matches that the founder of the style was involved in abound.

Quite honestly what these maestros survived is incredible and is more than worthy of kudos. These older gentlemen survived a totally different culture, socio-economic environment, time and, in some cases, a World War and foreign invasion of their homeland.

That having been said however, just because the founder of the system or lineage was a walking piece of bad-assed real-estate doesn't make you one.

They weren't knife fighters, those people were survivors. It's what comes from living a hellishly hard life. While they had physical skill that helped them, what kept them alive, what allowed them to strike fast enough, hard enough and brutally enough wasn't their art -- it was the commitment not to die. It was that grim savagery to do whatever is necessary and to do it faster and harder than the other person that kept them alive. In the lexicon, they had "heart."

Their art just allowed them to do that faster.

Knowing an art doesn't give you that kind of commitment, that kind of ruthlessness, that kind of grim endurance or that willingness to descend into savagery to stay alive. Just knowing the art doesn't make you a knife fighter. You have to have "heart" as well -- that willingness to wade through hell and come out the other side.

Lie #19 You can use a knife on another human being without legal repercussions
I have seen videos by so-called "knife fighting masters" who actually show the fool encouraging his students to slash someone with a knife for trying to slug the student. I have also seen videos where after disarming their attackers with several slashes to the arm, these knife killers proceed to slash their -- no longer armed -- attacker to ribbons. I have stood in my front room with attorneys and use of force experts and watched a tape on knife fighting where a supposed "expert," not only starts a bar fight, does a suicide move that would have gotten his throat slit and then kneels down and stabs a downed opponent -- in front of witnesses! Actions that everyone agreed would be prosecuted as murder.

As such, don't even get me started on the bozo's who insist their students cut a person multiple times because "one cut may not stop him." Unfortunately, this kind of training often goes awry when the attacker attempts to withdraw and the knife fighter keeps on slashing, even after the ex-attacker has turned his back on the knife fighter. Now, this once upon a time attacker has been slashed many times after he was disarmed and is slashed more on his back while attempting to retreat...guess who is going to go to prison for attempted murder?

A knife is considered a lethal force instrument...and the use of lethal force is *very* narrowly approved. If you use one another human being you had better damned well be firmly within those parameters...if not, then you are -- in the eyes of the law and society -- the bad guy.

Before you even think of picking up a knife for "self-defense" go out and take a course on Judicious Use of Lethal force. Do NOT take any knife fighting experts word on the subject, go to the source lawyers and expert witnesses on use of force.