A ? for Ray on blade fighting

I have this book on prison knife fighting written by a couple of guys who spent their fair share of time in the slammer. They said that they developed their knife figthing techniques by practicing with the small blade of a nail clipper sharpened on the last 1/4 inch so that it hurt, but wasn't lethal.

Anyway, their conclusions about knife fighting was that it was crazy to try to imitate a fencer with a short blade because you were likely to get your arm chopped up. They advocated putting the empty hand forward and even "sacrificing" it to stop the attacker's blade in order to open up a killing series of stabs.

Now I think your instructor was in more real blade fights than these guys so I don't necessarily believe everything they say, but I was wondering what your opinion is on these issues.

By the way, when I come to train in Cali with Mike later this year I am going to take 12 private lessons and have of them are going to be dedicated to Kali illistrisimo.


I would assume that in prison, space is very limited, therefore, to assume a fighting stance designed for long range would not be the best tactic. In ilustrisimo, our arm positioning in close range is different than what would be used in long range. The arm positioning in close range that Raymond taught us has the arm with the empty hand protectioning the weapon hand. In addition, in close range you can expect to get cut, so the mentality we have is the same as those guys in prison which would be "to avoid getting cut if possible, but if we get cut, we will take it in a non-vital area in order to make sure we get a kill shot." If you ever face off knife against knife, I think you must have the mentality that you may end up in the hospital, but your opponent will end up in the morge.

From video footage I have seen of encounters with a knife in prisons, it is never a duel. 2 guys never face off beginning at long range. It is usually one person sneaking up on anyone and doing some psycho stabbing at close range. So I believe it is not a matter of right or wrong, but rather the context in which the techniques are being used.

By the way, the tactic you mentioned it totally correct in the context in which you have a knife and your opponent is empty handed and also if your opponent has a stick.

On another side note, the interesting thing about ilustrisimo is that after you understand the concepts and techniques, what type of fighting stance matters very little. In our training with Raymond he used about 4-5 different fighting stances and some of them looked so non threatening, you wouldn't even think of them as a fighting stance.

Anyway, maybe Ray can elaborate some more.

Hey Ridge,

The book your talking about is "Bloody Iron" by Jenks and Brown (am I right??). You should also check out another book called "Put 'em Down, Take 'em Out" by Pentecost.............these books in my personal opinion are EXCELLENT!!!

It's simple, it works and it's FULL ON!!!

I have read these books many times and HAVE adopted it's priciples. Although I use an ice pick "edge facing in" grip.

Bolo is correct in his explanations. To add a story to that. I had a student who was a real, as we Aussies call it "Unco" (Very un-coorditated). He could not get the moves I taught him, it was just too challenging. So needless to say he got cleaned up in sparring all the time (I had a small school then)......I came across the book mentioned above, and taught him the techniques from it.......a total of 3.

For some reason, he really took to the method, and ended up cleaning everybody up......and he got in some real heavy shots against me.......damn!!!

You CANNOT SAY our method is the best, nor can you say their method is the best either........choose a method that suits YOU personally.

I see myself as a "Menu" - I present you with a selection of methods and concepts. When we find something that suits you personally, then we specialise in that to get you "combat ready". Once all is hunky dory........then we try other things for fun.

I can fight either method......just depends on my mood on the day or whether I'm feeling lazy or not!?!


Yep, that's the book! Its interesting to see that what they teach is not contradictory to what you teach.

All of the prison footage I have seen has been like that too. Actually the guys who wrote the book talked a lot about ambushes and how they are pretty much the norm rather than a blade on blade fight.

Hi Ray,

Congrats on the forum. I see Lemon is using it as a platform to give you crap already......*g*.

Hey Ridge,

I might add that that this method of left hand and foot forward is also the one recommended by Fairbairn, Sykes and Applegate.

A tip when actually fighting knife to knife with this one is NOT to hold the arm across the body as a bar but to hold it extended straight out from the shoulder so that if an opponent wants to hit it, he must commit his weapon well off line to your vitals. The advantages of this are fairly obvious.

Ray showed me this very early in my training and to be honest I never use it when sparring with him however I think that in a real fight, I probably would as it protects the knife hand, protects the centreline and facilitates a very hard thrust into the stomach. Palm parries cannot deal with this type of attack, you have to commit to a defence. Ray's cross block is a good option. Of course when you commit to a defence, you open up for second intention attacks....So it goes...

There's a guy on the forum called "Tysaw". That guy's seen all the prison niceties. Real eye openers. He's a busy guy, but I hope he'll tune in on this thread to give some input. This is right up his alley.


As for "rear knife position" (or whatever call that), when I am keeping knife hand back -close to my body - Bolo´s comments are pretty much which I am working on.

But still there is one thing, which can play BIG role in close space knife fighting( phone box, small prison´s rooms,etc..). When you are inside ( against empty hand attacker)...in clinch range,keeping knife hand back ( by turning your body sideways) is vital. Other way, opponet can be easily cotrol your knife hand with tie-ups! Morever - you have to use your second -"alive" hand to control clinch and eventually get kill shot. So greco clinch stuff realy works awesome in this scenario.

Against knife attacker, situation in close range is similar, but I found out that direct forward pressure with "pinning" or turning principle works the best for me. Reverse grip is outstanding in close range knife fighting because is allows me to pin or "trap" dynamicly his attacking limb on his body and simultanesly get through with my kills shot.

So generaly - two forearms block or its variation -ilustrisimo "cross block" - works awesome agains surprise attacks and with pinning or turning principle, are great ways how to survive knife attacks.


rayfloro - where do you teach? which state are you in?

Hi Gakami,

I'm in NSW at Carlingford........give me a ring on 0410 616 864


rayfloro - ah I'm in Melbourne. Would've loved to come check out your school.. I've never ever had any knife training. The only weapons training I've ever done was kendo, and well, there's only so many places you can conceal a bamboo sword in your clothes when in public..

Can someone provide pics/description of the two forearms and cross block methods?

Hey Gakami,

You should come to this:


I am an instructor under Ray and I would be happy to show you some stuff at the conference. You will get an idea of some of the military and medieval dagger stuff from my class. I would be happy to show you some defensive knife in the alotted bouting time if you like.

You should just bite the bullet and come up and train with Ray though. He can easily show you something of value in one hour. Given a whole weekend....

Hi Stu,

the conference looks very cool! How much overlap do you find between some of the older European styles of dagger/ knife usage and Raymond's style of Kali?

Cheers, Tim.

P.S. - I'm tempted to try and make it in Oct. Do participants need to bring their own training equipment?

Hi Tim,

I find that there is quite a bit of crossover between Ray's system and the medieval stuff.

The differences are far easier to show in person than in written form though.

The easiest way to differentiate is to say that Ray's method uses nontelegraphic movement, bodyfeinting, careful manipulation of distance and a very tight structure.

The medieval methods I have been exposed to use a deliberately telegraphic attack to draw a response, feint only by changing targets and angles rather than by bodyfeinting and use a deliberately wide loose structure in order to widespace the defences that can be used.
This is probably a little OT for this forum. If you want to talk about Medieval Dagger then start a topic with some questions on the History Forum if you like.

So what you do is learn BOTH so you've got the best of two methods...........