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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:10 am 
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Over the last while I have been working on refining teaching knife defence. I set up a ten week plan with a 1.5 hour session devoted to knife defence each Wednesday in my personal dojo. (We have repeated a few of the sessions.)

I invited my main workout partners: Rick B, Stan, Adam and Rav in addition I invited a couple of new folk: Eric who has a Wing Chun and Security background and is now training in Jujutsu, Chris who has 15 years of Muay Thai in the UK and Canada and Chris invited Paul who has extensive background in various MA and was a LEO for a long time in the UK and is now a protection specialist.

It is a great group because they are well trained and have a good attitude towards training and training on that hard edge of contact.

My approach to dealing with a blade is pretty simple.

There are four options.

Four “options” NOT choices.

The option you go with depends on the distance = time = opportunity.

As the distance decreases your time decreases and your opportunities decrease so you ARE MOVED from Option 1 through to Option 4 based on the distance = time = opportunity continuum.

Options:

1. Run. If you see the threat with enough distance and time to get out of there – always get out of there. This option requires the most distance and time.

2. Arm yourself. If you see the threat but cannot get out of there then arm yourself either by deploying a weapon you carry or improvise with what is around you. You don’t have the distance or time to run but you have enough to arm yourself.

3. Engage. You read and see the assault as it begins – move in and engage hard and fast and decisive. Here you didn’t have enough time to run or arm yourself but you saw the assault soon enough to engage immediately.

4. Disengage / Engage. Here you are caught unaware but not so much you are dead. You have to avoid the assault as you do some damage or clear the incoming weapon arm then immediately engage hard and fast and decisive. This is the last option where you have the opportunity not to start at already being knifed. No time to run. No time to arm yourself. No time to engage. Your only option is to disengage and then engage hard and fast.

Again the above are not choices you make they are the options you should take give the distance and time you have. The distance may not be to you. The guy with the knife may be closing in on a family member therefore running is not an option but arming yourself to intervene may be.

The goal of the sessions was to work through the basic principles of protecting yourself against a knife and move increasingly towards reality and knifings (assaults).

The Ten Session plan:

1. How to use a knife: I work off of 9 basic cuts and thrusts focusing on the attack mindset. To defend against a knife you MUST know how to use one. I very much dislike any demonstration where the attacks defended against are poorly executed.

2. Sensitivity: This focuses again on the way a knife can be used and the movements that can gain a small amount of space = time = opportunity.

3. Working against big movements: Big movements do happen but not by experienced knife people or those who really want to take you out. However, working against big movements allows the reinforcement of the attack mindset and the progressive destruction approach.

For the next two sessions I took a different approach to showing what I wanted done and simply allowed the guys to find their way using the principles but nothing specific (unless they got stuck). What this did was allow them to work at bringing the principles I was showing back to their own base.

4. Knife against the body: Here we begin with the knife placed on the body like a mugging. While some might say then just give the guy your wallet I like Tony Blauer’s comment: “What if it isn’t your wallet they want?” What if they say – “Don’t move while we put your wife in the van?” Working knife against the body gets things in real tight and closer showing how the progressive destruction approach is altered.

5. Night of the Living Dead (NLD): Again I used this soft adrenaline training to bring what they had been shown back into their base. We began with the big movements at half way through then at the start of the attack then we moved to on the body and finished with on the body but you do not get to open your eyes. This is NOT an easy drill to do although everyone thinks so before they try it.

So far this is where we are in the progression, and this is what is coming:

6. Tight movement attacks: Now the person using the blade is much better and there are no big movements.

7. Against the wall: Still tight attacks but now your movement is limited by starting with your back against a wall.

8. Improvised Weapons: When one of the options is to arm yourself going over how to use rigid weapons and flexible weapons and finding them anywhere is a good thing to go over and train.

9. Assaults: The hardest and most realistic attacks to deal with. Here the blade comes out of a hidden position and drives in multiple times unless stopped. When someone wants to take you out they do not want you to see the knife. There is no flashing of the blade to intimidate. There is only a sharp pointy piece of metal at the end of a weapon arm repeatedly stabbing at you. There are no knife fights only knifings. This one we will (like others) no doubt repeat a number of times because it brings home just how deadly a knife assault is.

10. Blades on the ground: Like it or not, start with it or not, you could end up on the ground and the other person has a blade.

So far it has been a great experience. I may post some trailers of the training but sorry folks the full videos are in the paid member’s section of my web site.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Great post, Rick_thank you.

Sensible advice.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:36 am 
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Thanks Van.

Tonight was tight attacks and the two sessions where I wanted the guys to bring the principles back to what they do worked great. Tonight they worked the principles but each one expressed them based on their own base. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:14 pm 
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The most common knife assault is one hand grabbing or interfering with the “victim” and the hand holding the knife pumping from the hip with stabbing thrusts. The thrust do not extend far from the body and are usually done over the foot to the rear.

Using the arm over the rear foot allows the stabs to reach the victim but brings the knife back farther away from the victim and tucked off to the side of the aggressor making it hard to engage and trap that weapon arm.

The stabs are damaging and introduce shock to the body.

With the non-weapon hand either grabbing to immobilize the victim or thrown up into the victim’s face to distract and disorient it often has the victim trying to deal with the non-weapon arm rather than the true threat.

It is exceptionally hard or impossible to pass this attack by and gain control of the weapon arm because the movement is short and linear and done in static bursts.

In a progressive destruction system the main principle is to strike while avoiding. The avoiding can be footwork, a body turn, a guidance of the incoming attack, a jamming of the incoming attack – anything that gets you off the line of attack and prevents the strike from contacting you.

However, IF avoidance is all you do then the attacks will continue until your avoidance fails.

Therefore the phrase “strike while avoiding” is important in the ordering of the words.

You are NOT avoiding then striking.

You ARE striking as you avoid. The emphasis is on striking.

You have to think about the assault in this manner. The aggressor has initiated the assault so everything begins with it being their turn.

Any assailant who knows what they are doing is going to keep attacking until you can no longer defend yourself.

So they want to keep it their turn until you are incapacitated or dead.

To stop them you have to take the turn away from them and never give it back.

If your response is to continue to avoid then it is always their turn and eventually they will succeed.

At some point you must engage to take the turn away from them.

If you train to strike while avoiding, then the chance of taking over increases.

The interesting thing I have found is that most decently trained martial artists are very adept at avoiding the attack and can do it without consciously focusing on it therefore switching them over to strike while avoiding is simple.

Once you can convince them to let their already training instincts take over avoiding the attack then you can hone the new focus of the attack as those instincts are at work.

I set up this training to review my approach and I have learned a few things to alter and adapt but I have also confirm that the progression is working well too. Think of the approach I have taken to the knife work like learning to hit a baseball if you start off trying it against a 90 mile an hour fast ball you have little chance to learn. That’s why I begin the principles against larger attacks and then progress to the far more difficult to deal with attacks.

Progressive learning: Progressive learning begins with a focus on the efficiency of what you are doing – Do these principles work? And then moves towards effectiveness – Do these principles still work against total resistance?

For example when working the “mugging’ scenarios or the knife against the body we begin with the totally unrealistic static position of just the knife on the body. Then we add the free hand controlling with the knife on the body. Then we add the aggressor taking control (and often balance) with the knife on the body. And then the training becomes can you escape before your partner reacts?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:34 pm 
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These are all good points, Rick.

The thing that always concerned me, is that a person under attack with a blade, will make lots of mistakes or even freeze from the terrible fear, as I witnessed once back home when I saw someone being killed with a knife.

Moving off line [something that I focus most of the training on these days...but don't see practiced much elsewhere] is one of the keys to survive the attack, if at all possible, as you indicate.

Striking as one moves off line is also a key, as you point out, one of my favorite ways is to chop at the attacker's lower legs as we move, with our conditioned shins, in an attempt to break a knee or their lower legs.

Do you work with these 'shots'?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:13 am 
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Hi Van:

Yes, legs are introduced at the end of the tight movements then I think I will be adding a whole session on integrating them.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:31 am 
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It has been a fantastic day. Rory Miller is exceptionally experienced with violence but he has taken that experience farther and outside the box with his dissection of conflict that is applicable to all conflicts.

Rory is also a very articulate facilitator that would be at home in any venue.

He is also a great teacher. His drills are well constructed a properly progressive.

He also moves darn well for a guy with a massive knee brace on one leg!

And on top of it all he is a great guy.

I cannot wait for tomorrow. :multi:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:53 am 
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Location: Banff AB
Outstanding! Wish I was there...I need to take my ass north! This year I suspect I'm going somewhere. Who knows...need a job and a place for a horse! There is grass outside Edmonton and I know a few folks that shoot and fight up there, it's definitely on the list.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:35 am 
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Calen, Randy, Rory and me:

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:19 am 
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Looking good :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:40 pm 
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Real knife assault:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBVXglHeSxM

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:44 pm 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCowwLoKTds

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:45 pm 
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Warning on these - reality can rattle you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb-PkqG8jS8

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:48 pm 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBP6Zvj7DpM

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Rick Wilson wrote:


Notice the chaos of the ambush...it looked as though the security guard was trying to kick the assailant, but to no avail...the man was unstoppable full of adrenaline not even feeling the hits to the head with the ax handle.

But, of course we would KO him with a well placed karate strike...am I right?

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