Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Knife Fighting vs. Fighting with a Knife

The phrase "knife fighting vs. fighting with a knife" comes from John Peterson. I don't endorse his products, but he has made a few good points, and this is one of them. Can you use a knife without learning a new skillset?

In other words, could you use any of the hand techniques you now know if you had a knife in that hand? If so, you are able to fight with a knife. Or would you have to learn a new set of techniques just for when you are holding a blade? That's knife fighting.

Perhaps the most adaptable hand technique to fighting with a knife is the judo chop. One combat posltion I practice involves holding my right forearm 8-10 inches in front of my throat, fingers extended. The open left hand is held vertical in front of the solar plexus.

From this position I can snap out chops to the heavy bag's head, neck & throat. Now, what if I close my hand aroufnd the hilt of a knife -- blade extending out from the little-finger side of the hand? The same snapping motion transforms the chope into stabs.

Learning to fight with a knife instead of learning knife fighting involves economy of technique. You don't have to practice two different sets of moves to fight empty handed or with a knife. Nor do you have to switch gears, mentally.

Maybe that's why my jujitsu instructor always said that a person who's no good with his hands won't be any good with a weapon, either.

Continued in "Knife Fighting vs. Fighting with a Knife, 2"

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Stephen Boyd said...

I have often wondered this same thing. Does not jujitsu mainly focus on your hands?

Seth Ben-Ezra said...

Oddly enough, I made just this comment to someone the other day, though I've never heard of John Peterson.

This was something that was stressed during my aikijutsu training. All the training and techniques were intended for use with any weapon, be it knife, staff, sword, or empty hand. Like you mention, the idea is that you don't need to switch mental gears when switching weapons.

Gravelbelly said...


John Peterson (I think I remember his name correctly) originated SCARS (special combat and reactionary systems). Not to be confused with John E. Peterson, whose "Pushing Yourself to Power I highly recommend.

And thanks for the word of confirmation.

BTW, we need to talk about the conference. email me.

Gravelbelly said...


When you mention jujitsu, a lot of people think of ground grappling because of the influence of Brazilian jujitsu in mixed martial arts contests. But jujitsu is much more.

Older than karate, jujitsu is sometimes called a parent art. It contains hand & elbow strikes, kicks, throws, joint locks, etc. It's a lot of fun.