Learning to use a small knife for self defense.

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Learning to use a small knife for self defense.

Postby eric235u » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:35 pm

Hi all. I desire to learn how to use a small knife properly. Something that is legal to carry around if need be. Size limits in Boston (I think) are 2.5". Do any of the local police teach courses? Who are generally considered the experts on the topic? Thanks for any tips.
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Postby f.Channell » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:22 pm

If I wanted knife training I would check out a kali escrima school.
Contact Van as I believe Wes Tasker is nearby in Cambridge.
Wes sometimes comments in this forum as well.

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Postby Hugh » Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:08 pm

If you check the forum at www.spyderco.com you should find mention of a fellow who teaches self defense with the Spyderco Delica, a 3" folder that is legal in almost any jurisdiction of which I can think. If you don't find his name by lurking, join up, it's free, and ask.
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my thoughts...

Postby Sochin » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:59 pm

I have a few thoughts on this topic that can be found at http://defendyourself101.ca/articles/ab ... our-pocket

The article doesn't cover everything I think about the topic, just some stuff I think is usually missing from discussions about such things.
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Postby jorvik » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:45 pm

The best small knife IMHO is a karambit and you really need instruction in it. But there are lots of clips online and many DVD's available' like this guy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O6MchAe ... re=related

or this guy


you really need to get a small trainer. If you do Uechi I think the karambit would fit in very well with your standard practise, and you can twirl your karambit while you wlk through sanchin :wink:

Postby Hugh » Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:46 pm

In line with what sochin had to say, I have talked about knife fighting with a couple of retired military types who have actually engaged in knife fights and both of them said that the difference between the winner and the loser in such an affiar was that the loser went to the morgue and the winner went to the emergency room. They both said that both participants in a knife fight usually wound up looking like hamburger.

I would also suggest that you may want to check out the work of Massad Ayoob. He is a writer and ex-LEO from New Hampshire who is also an expert witness in trials involving the use of deadly force in self defense. He has written books and articles on the subject and I highly recommend them. I will warn you that they tend to be a bit on the gritty, scary side.
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Make No Mistake

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:28 pm

Hi Guys:

Ayoob is always a great reference, at least on combat and police weaponology, so I would be inclined to think his input in other PD and Self defense areas should be excellent.

However, as I pointed out on another thread, ther is no size limit at to what you can own or carry for cutlery in Mass.

3.5inches is the actual statutory 'measure' but not for purpose of 'legality..

If you actually use a knife of this length or over it will be in the immediate 'deadly weapon assalt with class (as is a 'shod shot" so I don't get all het up about thses things.

So, you can carry a Bowie, but if you assualt someone with one, for sentencing purposes, the j to automatically considesr it a 'deadly weapon', but again, so is a foot. depending.

Aslo, I have seen judges, attach a sentence to an assualt as an "assault with a DW" when the knives were shorter.

The judge in one case said to me, "yeah, I know, so appeal!!!" (through the clerk).

This is far from the only time judges have pulled this type of thing knowingly ex:

"I don't think there was any 'abuse' or any 'proof that there will be, but I am going to issue the Restraining order anyway". (CYA 101)

Re" the "remoteness theory' an evidenciary rule excluding evidence of a defendant's action too far away in distance and in time to be deemed allowable:

My guy was seen speeding tem miles and 1 half hour from a fatal crash in which he was involved.

Clearly too far away in place and in time.

Point being; what a defendant might be doing and hour ago and miles away means '0' really as to what he was doing at the point in time and space in question.

The judge allowed the speeding testimony from an old lady up the highway, the Defendant had the judment, quite predicticably, entered agaisnt him and the judge gave me one off those so "appeal" looks.

So, I had to have the client accept a very poor settlement on the civil end and cop a plea on the criminal end.

So much for proper research I guess.

But, don't be confused about the 3.5" thing and remember assualt with a DW "to wit, a shod foot" can carry the same penalties as a blade.

Al K. would have been the most knowledgeable on this point.

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Postby mhosea » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:56 pm

Hugh wrote:a 3" folder that is legal in almost any jurisdiction of which I can think.

I think the Boston (city) ordinance is 2.5" (and 1.5" for switchblades and such), unless you're carrying your "cutlery" on the way to some particular actiivity that requires it, e.g. cooking, fishing, hunting, etc.
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Postby Hugh » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:26 pm

mhosea wrote:
Hugh wrote:a 3" folder that is legal in almost any jurisdiction of which I can think.

I think the Boston (city) ordinance is 2.5" (and 1.5" for switchblades and such), unless you're carrying your "cutlery" on the way to some particular actiivity that requires it, e.g. cooking, fishing, hunting, etc.

Actually, I misspoke to the extent that 2.5" is th elaw for carrying a folder into a federal building. Please see 18USC930. But I had not included the fedgov as that is not a jurisdiction in the normal sense of the word.

And are you certain that carrying a switchbladre of any length s legal in Massachusetts?
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No Switch Blades/No Daggers or Dirks.

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:08 pm

I am VERY GLAD Hugh that you asked that question.

My initial response was incomplete.

A switch blade knife or a double edged knife is, ab initio, illegal in Massachusetts.

I aplogize for not making that clear.

Other than that, the length of the blade, (ie: over 3.5") I am informed, is relative to the "charge" that might be brought and not necessarily a crime in itself..

If you can jump out of your shoes before kicking someone---you'll stay out of ADW by means of a dangerous weapon.

A DANGEROUS weapons is a "a shod foot" is but not to my knowledge, a 'deadly weapon'------if you get the idea.

Assualt with a 'Dangerous weapon' may not be a felony and only a misdemeanor level crime, but assualt with a deadly weapon is a crime at the felony level.

The former, misdemeanor ADW, is subject to less than one or two year sentence in a state correctional instituition and the latter for longer periods.

CAVEAT: A misdemeanor assualt conviction may still permanently disqualify you from obtaining a license to carry a firearm. that's another question.

To get a 'corrections officer" a permit, three lawyers were stuck because of a juvenile misdemeanor assualt OTHERWISE not raisable, meaning not raisable as ecvidence of proclivity for actions in a court of law.

I am unfamiliar, now, with the "appeal" procedures for permit denial whereas I was familiar with such cases and the law in effect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before the 1998 so called "assualt rifle ban". You can see the bill was horrendously underdescribed and oversold to the public, or, perhaps the legislature and Governor just did not care.


A 209A Restraining order will surely pro tem disqualify you from getting an LTC, but PERHAPS not permanently disqualify you from obtaining such a license.

So be careful in pleading out to a misdemeanor assualt and vigourously oppose issuance of 209A orders.

You can see a great deal of discretion is given to the local Police in charging parties involved in an armed confrontation.

Likewise a heavy burden is put on the individual (the attackee if you will) to assess the threatand be familiar with a good deal of wacky laws that conflict.

One is also, outside of the home, obliged to seek retreat in the Commonwealth if retreat is available when one is assualted.

I might not be found 'able' to retreat because of physical infirmities.

Further, you are bound to use only the level of force necessary to repel the attack

I do not think gang bangers think this thru, somehow!!! 8O

But the whole system is so subjective and dangerous for the party defending him or herself it is is more that a little frightening.

So, I someone is attempting to assualt you, you are obliged to retreat at the very least, before using 'deadly force".

Clearly one, for example, once the original assualting party has turned to flee perhaps after you have displayed a weapon (which might be, in itself, a 'civil assault :? ), you can't chase the allegled attack or shoot him as HE retreats.

To and to all this is the fact the Massachussetts has, also, a Good Samaritan law that may oblige one to come to another's aid if they are being assualted.

Every fact situation has to be reviewed and evaluated on its own merits.

As to special local ordinances, as in Boston, you will have to consult someone else.

Assisted opening blades, as I understand it, lack a "button and Spring" release and are not considered switchblades.

But they might easily befound as such without our even being made aware of it in a timely fashion or if one runs afoul of a cranky judge.

It might be possible that a double edged sword could be considered a 'dagger or dirk" under the law.

The Police generally can be said not to be running around busting sword and knife collectors in the streets or their homes.

But still it IS clear that, if a warrant was lawfully issued, you would go to jail is a "Daggger or dirk" was found in your home.

So far swords are OK.

Research is required in that making a dangerous or deadly weapon illlegal in Mass. illegal ab initio does not compute, as it seems clear that one may use a deadly weapon and/or deadly force when in fear of one's life.

Firearms are all deadly weapons but subject both to possible Constirutional Protection and extensive State Federal and local regulation at the same time.

The Matter of the right ot keep and bear arms will be heard for virtualy the first time in the Supreme court this Spring vis a vis DC's complete firearms ban.

Regardless of the situation I in the aftermath of an armed fight, or even a disarmed one, it would be good advice for one to SAY nothing to an arresting offficer beyond MAYBE "I was really scared for my life and couldn't get away" without consulting a GOOD criminal attorney.

I was relatively lucky to get a couple of misdemeanor level assualt charges tossed at the Clerk's Hearing to Show cause level.

If matters in those incidents had gone to trial before a Judge or Jury, , I can guarantee I would NOT have been Lawyer trying the matter.

Believe it or not, it would have been ethically my RESPONSIBILITY to refer the matter to such an experienced attorney.

So, how does one obtain his trial experience in such cases-sitting as second counsel if one is not a sole practitioner maybe.

But, I will say this, beyond saying owning or carrying daggers, dirks, NUNCHUCKs or "Clacker Sticks" (as they were called) and firearms without the appropriate license ( and a license is not granted to own or carry any type of knife or nunchaku :roll: ) are crimes in THEMSELVES, it remains good common sense to say "better to be judged by twelve than carried by six".

(yes, I think some felonies can be tried before six man jury, but then the old saw would be no fun in the utterance.)

A man dragged from his car, beaten and mugged while held at knife point WAS in fact convicted of Felony ADW when he got up shot one attacker as he fled the scene.

Shoot or cut first and be willing or able to say you thought the the attacker (s) were armed and you were stuck in your car and could not retreat and you were afraid for your life OH YEAH!!!!!


Everyone is, and that's why the state of the laws in Massachussetts are literally dangerous to one's health.

What about swords of the two edged type? Illegal ab initio?

I can say that the police are not running about arresting sword and knife collectors, but that could change!

It also remains clear that attacking someone with virtually any sword will land one at the wrong end of a felony ADW.

Leaping around a bit; note that OJ was acquited of murderbut held responsible in a civil 'wrongful death" action.

The civil action recquiring only 'a preponderance of the evidence" finding.

There is a civil action for assualts of varying types.

I you're rich, this is a problem and I doubt you are insured against such matters, so 'assett protection" now become another issue (seriously).

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MGLA Ch. 269

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:31 pm

Is almost impossibly complex but, although no length limit is mentioned in that chapter, to wit, section 10 et seq, the 'ab initio' list of proscribed weapons is pretyy much as described.

That would include:

Daggers, Dirks, Nunchaku, stilletto (? not actually defined)
'or a device or case which enable a knofe with a locking blade to be drawn in a locked position , ant ballistic knife, any knife having a double edged blade, or a switch knife,or any knife having a is released from the handledle, having a lengthof over one and one half inches (???) , or a slung shot, blowgin, blackjack, metallic effect (oh, know that's clear) as mettalknuckles, nunchaku , zoobow (???? wha!!!!) also known as klackers of kungfu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two piefces of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather ((this could include a brakdown fishing pole!!!???) or a shuriken, or any similar starlike object intend to injure a person when thrown (keep that xmas ornament in check guys) , or any armband , made with leather which has mettallic spikes (watch out oh you Goths) point or studs or any similar device made from any material weighted with metal or any other substancce or a cestus or a similar material material weithted with metal and worn on the hands, or a manrikikurigatsu or similar lengthof chain having weigeithed ends"

Ok. I got that.

did you??

The section is rather broad.

Machine gun passession is punishable by life imprsonment(but you can get a permit--which is not cross referenced online)

paragraph (j) makes unlawwful the carrying of a firearm on any school campus 'regardless of any license-----without the permission of the person or board in charge of said school' (Virginia Tech wannabees take notice, no joke intended, and one cannot really leave a firearm unnattended in one's car without careful reading of another statute not referenced. This means, technically, you can't pick your child up in the dirveway of a school while armed and licensed)

You know what; it would make me very uncomfortable at this point to render any opinion on any of these points with out a week's study and consultation with the local and state police.

More later.

I may get to talk with the state police and a captain at the local police to see how THEY interpret these matters. No wonder they spend a great deal of time at seminars on these subjects.

firther, the online version of the statute is not annotated or,perhaps, even correctly updated and I no longer have my copies of MGLA .
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Upon Further Inquiry

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:11 pm

----and further answering the defendant says---

I beleive the knife lengths mentioned are correct.

The convoluted section (b) of the statute is probable obviated by saying theirin at the beginning that: "whoever except as provided by law carries on his person, or carries on his personor under his control in a vehicle-------

So, it may be and it seems the common interpretation that this section of the law will not effect you if you have the proscribed items in your home (except for firearms for which I think you would need a permit regardless---and are not carrying them around on the street, you would not be breaking the law.

This begs the question as to what might be alleged as to how they got into your home.

The Section b. is an OLD statute apperently, according to one stream of thought-enacted in the 19th century to prevent foreign sailors from carrying these types of weapon in the then very busy port of Boston.

But, of course, it has NOT been repealled, amended or updated in any real sense.

On information and belief I beleive that the double edged knife part of the section is still zealously enforced.

But saying that I 'think' a portion of a duly written law is not enforced is asking for trouble.

Regarding the'picking up of one's child while carrying a firearm' on campus, I believe this is enforced.

So I was advised "to have a plan 'b' with regards to picking up your child---regardless of your need to protect yourself for which you were granted a permit-----"

I rather doubt that this was considered when the law was enacted.

It is clear that the statute is old and outdated and badl in need or repair, but don't look to OUR legislature to remedy the situation anytime soon.

We still have not dissected the length questions to the point, as it were, where I could say "you can rely on this"

It is, therefore, a great pity that my friend;. Al Kunian Esq., wo was conversant in these areas has passed on.

Certain attorneys and to some extent, GOAL (the local version of the NRA) has theories on these matters regardless of the fact that they certainly are not obliged (but to whom I render thanks) to have formed an opinion as the issues in section b. as the weapons covered theirein are not firearms.

In the short run I can only inform you, as to the length issues, as to what the various Sporting Goods store feel comfortable selling----and this is not a legal opinion as such.

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Boston Ordinance

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:18 pm

I Really hate, and so do the local and State Police, more or less, when a local government passes an ordinancew that is not in confluence with state law.

I makes it very difficult for any LEO of citizen driving through a local town to know what the law.

For example, Boston has an anti Assualt Rifle Ordinance and and ordinance of which mHosea spoke RE: knives.

In the Reagan Administration as Federal Law was Passed protecting gun owners from state prosecution (or at least that was the intent) and, generally, a federal law (if I remeber my conflict of laws courses-and, yes, there are specific courses one must take to understand those matters ALONE).

But in Theory that "Gun Owner's Protection Act" iwas intended to protect person passing through a state of local jusisdiction from prosecution by intervening local authorities.

So, it goes without saying, especially if you are travelling throught a jursidisction that has tough gun laws, that you make very sure that you are in compliance with the Federal Ordinanceat least.

The City ordinance popped up on my 'google' search and is pretty much as Mhosea said, bit, if I read it correctly, the ordinance says that such weapon must be being carried with a specific intent, Ie: that of injuring a police officer of 'penetrating' and Officer;s closthing or protective gear.

If the City can't prove this intent (check the ordinance) it would be difficut fotr the procecution to make a case espicially against non residents of Boston who have no criminal records or history (admissible) of ---well---attacking Police Officers.

But this is just a part of what a defense attorney would raise in defense of any client.
I cannot help it and i despise it when confusing and BAD laws are eneacted.

Any attorney or former attorney HATES bad law.

I was involved in a couple of mattes regarding a Federal Court's 'jurisdiction' to hear a specific "Civil" matter.

The language of the Federal state require(S)((d) tht the Federal Court 'have the ability to render an enforceable decsion."

So, in a particular matter, a Fed. Ct. might have the ability to 'hear' a matter but not the 'power' to enforce their ruling in the state venue.

This is a serpentinte argument that turns on itself, as, if the Fed. Court cannot enforce a ruling, it technically does not have the power 'to hear it".

This cost one client a lot of money and me a serious dressing down from the senior partner when I failed to fing ta Texas Fed. CT. Decision changing the Federal interpretation of this issue.

I am REALLY glad I am no longer having to deal with the BAD LAW issues and irate clients who cannot be made to understand these distinctions or the reason why they have to pay for the "re-researching" of the matter with respect to THEIR case.

Attorneys are sometimes held to know much more than one can at a given point in time.

If you get an Attoreney who says he doesn't know, he probably doesn't.

But not all law presents such irritating, embarrassing and potential ethical problems.

But, bad law enactment and failure to update does cause the overspecialization of all but the genius level attorneys at large law firms, and. really, is not a desirable state of affairs.

I am STILL researching the "legality of tknives of various lengths" and may not try to define it further without consulation with the other attorneys and the local Police, who, at least, as opposed to the State Police, FRANKLY, , will at least, it seems, talk to someone merely seeking to understand the Law.

One converstation with a Local Captain regarded the spotting by him of an illegal double edged knife for sale at a flea market in ANOTHER town, and he could do nothing.

He informed the stand runner that he thought the item was not legal.

He did not feel immedialtely disposed to call the local police on the matter, but this is a decsion that one cannot rely rely on.

But it is at least clear, for sure, right know, that double edged weapons are not legal no to carry but may be legal to have in ones home .

Again, one one GOT an illegalweapon into one's home clearly would be a violation of the law.

If one ordered a knife legal in another state, from another state, to be delivered, assuming that a dealer in another state would ship to Massachussetts, which many firearms and knife and sword manufactures and distributors will NOT do, maybe it could then be said that you, as the owner, who did not know the knife was illegal until you literally opened the package unless,,it could be argued that you knowingly circumvented the state law.

Sorry to be vague.

This is the consequence of the enacting of poor law and everyone should be on top of one's one state level Reps and Senators on these matters to deter any further 'abuses" of legislative power.

I consider the knowingly enactment of poor and unenforeceable and "trap' type laws to be an abuse of power, but, it happens all the time.

By already enacted State Law at the Massachusetts level, (in force for a century), a VTech type perpetrator would have violated Mass. law the instant he stepped on a campus.

One professor at Immanuel College in Boston was terminated for suggesting that students be allowed to carry after they had complied with the state law by getting permission from the College Officials, which they assuredly would NOT have given..

His resoning was that one not seeking to get permission was simply uncatchable until after the fact, given that a student could , at any given time, legally purchase weapons'off campus".

After legally purchasing any weapon 'off campus' one should merely make arrangements with the dealer to 'hold'a weapon until pickeup and legal transportation.

On campus one must, therefore, rely on the local and campus police to protect the student body which, demonstrably, is impossible without airport level security practices.

You ARE at risk on campus, in terms of personal safety and/or inadvertent non compliance with the law.

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