COMBAT KNIFE SEMINAR REVIEW...
by Ari Kandel, GC 3rd degree
past Saturday was an excellent seminar about Guided Chaos Combat Knife
methods. Far from being a "knife fighting" seminar where everyone would
learn techniques for dueling, the seminar was focused on the real-world
use of and defense against knives and similar weapons.
seminar began with an introduction by John. He discussed different
types of commonly carried knives (small straight blades, folders, push
daggers, etc.), their advantages and disadvantages, carry and
concealment methods and accessibility issues. Emphasis was placed on
the carrier's ability to bring the knife into play amidst the chaos of
physical violence. John also demonstrated various ways of using a
closed folding knife in those cases where you may be able to unclip the
knife from your pocket but don't have the time/space/stability to open
it. This is very important information, as real-world fights involving
knives rarely begin along the lines of the "West Side Story" dueling
paradigm (he pulls a knife and shows it to you, you pull yours, then
you circle and fight with graceful movements as people snap and dance
John and Lt. Col. Al then covered the use of the
Dog-Dig motion (described in the book "Attackproof") to gain distance
and run when someone is attempting to stab you up at close range, or
even if you've already been stabbed. This presentation began with a
demonstration of why most martial arts methods advocated for use
against dynamic knife attacks (e.g. X-blocks, wrist locks and throws,
grabbing the knife-wielding limb and other grappling methods) fail
miserably when attempted against real attacks with knives. When an
attacker is moving unpredictably to cut and stab you up at maximum
adrenaline speed, using all weapons at his disposal, it becomes almost
impossible to man up and control his movement to the point of avoiding
getting stabbed and cut in vital areas. The Dog-Dig method is intended
to keep the knife away from your most vital organs long enough to allow
you to build distance and momentum to escape. My right (knife-holding)
arm got severely abused while helping Al and John demonstrate this, as
their "dog-digs" pack a hefty wallop thanks to internal dropping and
hand conditioning with the slam bag! It was demonstrated that
attempting to simply run from a close-range knife attack is a recipe
for failure. Everyone got to practice Dog-Digging and running from
close-range attacks with foam rubber knives. John also touched on the
importance of kicking if you have more distance but can't immediately
escape. Despite the advocacy of kicking as an unarmed method of
defending against a knife attack by such close combat experts as
Fairbairn, Applegate and others, many martial artists seem to doubt its
effectiveness (often while supporting clearly ineffective methods).
John pointed out that in order to have any chance of success, you have
to be able to thrust kick HARD and FAST while maintaining good balance,
and footwear can make the difference.
The next drill involved
using a knife to survive an attack by multiple people. The drill began
with the participant, foam rubber knife already in hand, standing on a
crash mat surrounded by three hanging man dummies controlled by big
guys standing behind them. On John's cue, the guys controlling the
dummies would make them "attack," closing in and swinging to crush and
hit the student in the middle. The student had to keep moving, spinning
and striking with the knife and anatomical weapons to maintain space
and balance and destroy the attackers as quickly as possible,
minimizing damage to himself. The crash mat forced the student to lift
his knees and stomp to protect his groin and maintain balance. Rapid,
full-body movement and dropping power were necessary to avoid being
crushed and immobilized between the dummies. John emphasized effective,
powerful, gross-motor use of all parts of the knife (point, edge, butt)
in the melee, and the need to BUTCHER the attackers (rather than merely
stabbing or cutting) in order to achieve adequate stopping power with
the knife. This was an extremely chaotic, exhausting, screaming wild
drill. The lesson was not lost on the students that the skills needed
to survive such an attack are NOT necessarily those developed for
dueling, and are in fact similar to those needed to survive such a
situation unarmed (e.g. balance, dropping power, efficient mobility,
looseness, and the ability to adapt to chaotic motion) plus the
coordination and knowledge to effectively employ the knife (and not
stab yourself in the process!).
After a short break, we moved
onto demonstrations and drills in the Hellevator. Technically, this is
the "Hellevator II," the portable second-generation version of the
structure featured in a couple of the video clips on the
www.attackproof.com website. The Hellevator II is slightly bigger and
has three instead of four walls so that students can easily observe
demonstrations performed inside it. (Big thanks to Wayne for designing,
building, transporting and assembling the Hellevator II!) John, Al and
Big Mike demonstrated how using the walls in a confined space to
enhance your balance can increase the effectiveness of your kicks for
keeping away and damaging a knifer. They also showed how confined space
can hinder many grappling attacks, as there may not be sufficient space
to allow the victim to fall or be overextended or driven off-balance.
Each student had a go at keeping a knife-wielding Big Mike out of knife
range in the Hellevator by kicking away at the kicking shield he was
holding while balancing against the wall. An important point was to
STAY against the wall, rather than allowing yourself to bounce off of
it in between kicks.
Next, Lt. Col. Al demonstrated the
usefulness of "knife sparring" with foam rubber knives simply as a
reflex and movement exercise. He and John showed how Guided Chaos
concepts such as drop-hitting, body unity and isolation can be applied
to the blade. Everyone squared off and sparred for a little while, with
John and Al going around to give advice and point out interesting
situations. Al gave me an idea about how to integrate kicking with
knife use. John pointed out the ultimate futility of standard "knife
dueling" by making "clean" hits impossible simply by wiggling the knife
around in a "silly" (albeit unpredictable) fashion and advancing.
Several times, I ended up on the receiving end of Native American-style
killing entries by Lt. Col. Al. Even with the foam rubber knives, these
were VERY scary, as they involved Al's whole body diving in. They felt
impossible to resist or escape.
We then drilled countering
static knife threats from all different angles, using the method of
simultaneously drop-hitting the knife arm, moving the body offline and
attacking the attacker, all in one motion, while controlling the knife
arm with sensitivity. John and Al were quick to point out, however,
that the methods typically used by criminals to threaten with a knife
made countering and escaping extremely difficult, if not impossible.
For example, it's typically not a "static" threat at all, as the
attacker will usually violently jerk the victim off-balance with a
semi-choke from behind, and/or continuously move the knife
unpredictably between different targets while shoving and/or pinning
the victim from the front. Frequently, a second attacker severely
complicates the situation.
This led into a discussion of the
behavioral aspects of hold-up scenarios. Matt Kovsky wanted me to
present this part because he'd seen me cover it fairly thoroughly
before in class. I went through the possibilities of a real attacker's
goals. An attacker who threatens you with a knife may want your
property, in which case, give it to him and immediately run away.
However, he may want to take you to a second location, in which case
you're probably best off attacking him to get free and escape as soon
as any possibility of success presents itself. With John's help, I went
over how saying the right things and acting in certain ways can
facilitate escape. This presentation went fine . . . except for the
fact that my voice was still rather hoarse from all the screaming I'd
done in the multiple attacker drill earlier. One attendee compared the
sound of my voice to that of Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch when his
voice started changing! Don't worry: for the DVD, we'll either re-shoot
the scene or Matt will digitally modify my voice to be less
distracting. This could be funny--Darth Vader teaching self-defense. .
Oh yeah, did I mention? Matt Kovsky filmed the whole seminar for a future DVD release. [Now on sale]
last tactic covered in the seminar was going to the ground in a
last-ditch effort to gain distance between your vital organs and the
blade, as seen on the Guided Chaos Groundfighting DVD. Everyone got the
chance to try this against a fast, close-range attack. The idea was to
fend away the knife with your hands as you fell back, simultaneously
kicking out the knifer's legs. As the "attacker" for this drill, I can
say that a few people got this down very well, as my legs were saved
only by virtue of the fact that I knew what was happening and yielded
to all the kicks.
John showed how extremely high-level Guided
Chaos skill--being able to stick and flow around anything with complete
freedom of motion while maintaining perfect balance, moving in and
taking the attacker's balance while striking with killing power--can
help in dealing with a knife attack. However, he reiterated that there
are certainly no guarantees, and the slightest mistake can get you
killed. Further, stating explicitly what had been increasingly evident
throughout the seminar, John pointed out that real knife attacks by
committed criminals are rarely as predictable and easy to defend
against as those demonstrated and trained against by even
realistic-minded martial artists. The frequent cooperation of multiple
armed attackers and the fact that recidivists practice specifically to
allow victims no warning and no wherewithal nor opportunity to escape
expand the already great advantage armed attackers always hold. As
ever, awareness and acting to escape as early as possible are the keys
to surviving such attacks. Also, as an aid to defending one's self, a
knife can certainly be a useful weapon, but it is far from being a
magic self-defense wand. Knife selection, carry method and training for
deployment and use under any circumstances are key, and unarmed combat
skill and the attributes involved are still paramount.
off the conclusion of the seminar by demonstrating some ideas regarding
the integration of knife combat into contact flow. While he
demonstrated, a group of students gradually bunched up on one side of
the room, blocking John's view of the door. As John observed Al's
demonstration, a big birthday cake, sodas and snacks were brought into
the room and set up on a table behind the human screen that blocked
John's view. Yes, it was John's birthday! As soon as everything was set
up, Al ended his demonstration, the human screen parted, and the room
broke out into just about the sorriest rendition of "Happy Birthday"
I've ever heard. A great time was had by all! A few people took the
opportunity to work with Big Mike. I would have beaten him up had I not
just eaten, of course.
Incidentally, the party was NOT filmed for the DVD.
Overall, great seminar and party! Again, Happy Birthday John!!!
Kicking yourself for missing this seminar??? Get thyself to the next one! See the "Seminars, Events and Announcements" section of the Attackproof.com website for details.
[Editor's Note: Some of the best GC training info around can be found on Ari's Training Blog.]
P.S. Very relevant info: http://attackproof.com/laws-regarding-knives.html
The Anatomy Of Fear and How It Relates To Survival Skills Training
...and John Perkin's response:
"I have dealt with this topic since I was very young. My father and uncles
would simply attack me and throw or slam me with controlled but painful
blows in order that I become ready for real attacks. I developed the KCD
principles around this. The main thing that slows me up today is the fear of
lawsuits. When during a class a month ago a big police officer brought in by
"Meat" (one of our Bouncer students) suddenly just tried to land haymakers
on me I did not instantly hurt him but went into KCD control mode basically
out of fear that if I injured him I would have a legal situation, not to mention
the emotional inhibition of harming someone. I am basically a nice sensitive guy.
When teaching at Woodstock I found that a few of the students were
advanced instructors in NLP and they stated that what I was teaching
eclipsed what they learned in NLP. This you can take to the bank. Gary
Abatelli (KCD 4th degree) and Gerry Celente were present when the statements
were made and they also studied NLP for years.
Merely putting on a protective suit and slamming each other under some
scenario based situations is what I would expect from people who cannot
think outside the physical/emotional box.
This is why we teach all of the principles of KCD along with startle
response mechanisms built in. I have known of the Tachypsychia phenomenon
(a neurological condition that distorts the perception of time, usually induced by
physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event)
combat shooting and hand to hand.
A more basic and less scientific amount of information was built into
basic WW2 combatives already.
I have found, over years of observation and study of crime scene stats,
that those who expect danger and are approaching it (such as police officers)
have time to get into position both physically and mentally. This is why the
front sight picture type shooting works better for prepared police officers
responding to a scene than what happens during surprise attacks.
Why is it so that KCD trained fighters can defeat most of these scenario
based fighters. I will not state the names of the trainers but I think that
KCD addresses the Psycho/Psychical aspects far deeper than the mentioned
scientifically trained schools.
Maybe it is the fact that KCD starts with a good deal of combatives and
later morphs much of the simplified methodology into a more flowing and
natural way of fighting. Maybe it is the constant hands on touch training of
our Contact Flow exercise that helps the nervous system work. I like to call
this aspect of KCD training neuronic training as named by one of our MDs who
called it that.
KCD is developed with all of these factors taken into consideration. After
over 50 years of training and serious observation as a trainee in combatives
since age 5 and martial arts training for decades and serious street
experience along with scientific training in forensic crime reconstruction
with two of the world's eminent criminalists both in school and especially at
the scenes themselves I have developed and eclipsed the training by the suit
and gloves trainers."