Killing targets

Since we were discussing blade fighting stances and the idea of sacrificing a limb to finish a fight I was wondering what you would consider to be the most important target for a stick and for a knife. By this I mean if you wanted to take out or even kill a person as quickly as possible what would you be aiming for with each of these weapons?

Bolo has already told me about severing the nerve above the eye or cutting the flank instead of the front of the abdomen, but I am assuming there is kind of a "majic spot" you would go for if your life was on the line and you had no other choice.

Hi Ridge,

To be perfectly honest, I don't think there is a "magic spot" that you could absolutely guarantee to be an instant kill shot.

The theory seems sound when it's on paper, but the human body has a strange habit of NOT wanting to die. One thing I tell my guys is that when the knives are out and the flesh starts flying, it's going to be messy, it's going to be horrific, and it's not going to stop until one is dead.

Look at all the news, people are always stabbed MULTIPLE times........

I always say that I knife has lethality but NOT stopping power.......meaning, many times a person would be stabbed repeatedly, but still manages to run meters, or still manages to fight back. Whereas a baseball bat across the kneecaps is usually enough to put you on your butt.

We have found also in our sparring that the shorter the weapon, the greater the chance of the "double kill".....

However, I still prefer the knife for many reasons......and to answer your questions, I usually go for the areas that are OPEN, because inflicting an injury to one area, opens up another......

I am basically a "head hunter" - I like the eyes and throat area. That is where I would do multiple POWER shots, and if I have to do a hand strike or a gut strike to open up your throat, then I would......

Barring all of this, it is so easy to theories about it, but when you see blood, gore, and a life trying to live and fight in front of you........then it becomes a mental battle.

I also think, once you take a soul out of this world, I feel you won't be the same person.

I think your question is a good one, because when you think about it long and's just not worth it.


You said, "I always say that I knife has lethality but NOT stopping power.......meaning, many times a person would be stabbed repeatedly, but still manages to run meters, or still manages to fight back."

I was watching "Ghetto Brawls" a while ago. The video was basically a bunch of streetfights in the ghetto. There people where not martial artists, but regular people getting into fights. When people fought, they would get into their fighting stances and then throw punches like crazy. These were really wild punches. The crazy punches really had little effect of the combatants as 99% of the strikes either missed or were grazing. The only time strikes did any damage was when one person got ganged up on my multiple assailants.

One could say from watching that video that striking has very little effect or stopping power in a fight. However, I believe that a skill boxer or NHB fighter could probably have a far more devastating effect with his strikes than those untrained individuals.

Similarly, most altercations with a knife I have seen on video or heard of usually did not involve people who were trained in knife fighting. When it came to the prisoners in jail, their weapons were were deadly, but obviously not at the level of a well made knife.

I guess my point is that I think stopping power is greatly affected by a person's training. Granted, I don't think 1 strike will end all altercations, but I do think a well trained individual will probably need to use less strikes than an untrained individual. For example, when Radek first started training with you, he used a lot of weak slashing motions that had little stopping power. However, after few days of training, I was getting pounded into the ground by Radek and he was only hit me about 3 times. Not only did Radek stop me dead in my tracks, but I was cowering like a scared little girl!

Your thoughts?

I think I understand your point. Probably I should have asked what the most efficient targets are in terms of putting a stop to things as quickly as possible. To use Bolo's example of punching, wild swings are very inefficient whereas a boxer's pinpoint attacks on the chin or liver tend to end a fight much quicker.

If I am reading you right it sounds like the primary targets with the blade would be the eyes and throat while secondary targets like the hand or gut could be used to open the primary targets?

By the way, I would be very happy to get through this life and never have to shoot, stab, bludgeon, punch, choke, or kick a person, but I also have to accept that a problem may come to me some day uninvited and the only way to deal with it may be the use of lethal force. I also feel like if I was teaching my wife illistrisimo and she had to use it to stop someone from raping her then she would actually be doing this world a favor by sending his soul to the next world.

Hi Bolo and Ridge,

I agree with what you have said, and a trained individual will have the advantage......the difficult and unknown issue here is the "weapons".

Even though one practises and spars continually, the mental aspect is the BIG unknown.

Although one can move well and time well and use power well in a sparring scenario with "padded" knives.....when it comes down to reality, how will we all react????????

Will I perform with the same speed and efficiency that I do with practise sparring or will I shit myself and fall in a crying ball?!?!?!?!

You see seasoned LE officers and soldiers do extremely well in the range, but freeze when it comes time to shoot someone for real.

If an airline I'm on gets hijacked with MULTIPLE terrorist all with razor sharp blades.....will I have the guts to stand and fight?????

I AM CERTAIN that if I ever get into a fight with knives involved, my timing won't be as sharp, my power won't be as focused because of fear, adrenaline plus the "Oh Shit" is because of this that I train to hit higher percentage targets that are large and slow moving like the face and neck, and leaving the hands and arms as "targets of opportunity".........trying to hit targets small, fast targets like hands are too risky.

And remember......whilst you're stuffing around trying to defang the snake........he's going to plant HIS knife in your eye socket, or rip your guts open for you to pick up later.

I think what will help with the combat attitude is that if what you learnt was simple, direct and YOU KNOW you can pull it off............there is nothing worse than a threat coming at you, and you trying to remember a freagin drill.......

Very nice post!

I have little experience with knife fighting (technique or actual fights) - but, I have prosecuted many people for cutting someone with a knife. In short, I have spoken to lots of folks who have been cut and lived. Usually, they say something like:
I felt I got hit on my arm, but I didn't know that I was cut until later, when I noticed the blood, etc.etc.etc.

I have heard the same kind of thing from people that have been shot. The major difference is that people who are shot, usually say that they feel an impact like a punch, then they feel searing hot burning, until they notice the blood. Then, they realize they are shot.

I don't know if this helps any, but that's what I've heard.


What you stated about what other people have said in regards to what it is like to get shot or cut is similiar to what I have heard. However, keep a couple things in mind....

As far as being shot, I'm guessing that those who did not realize they were shot did not get shot right in the face or head. I have seen footage of an undercover cop get shot in the shoulder and not realize it until a later. I have never seen anyone get shot through the head and not realize it.

Similarly, of what I have seen and heard of knife attacks, many people who were cut, and did not realize it, were cut from slashing motions which sometimes severed nerves so they did not feel the pain after getting cut. Once again, I have never seen a person have a knife lodged into their skull and not realize that something was wrong.

The head is the ultimate target. Ray's method of knife fighting is to get deep penetration into the head, not to slash at the skin, muscles, or tendons.


I have studied several "case studies" where guys were talking about knife fights on the street. Actually , one accident was at news papers, several years ago. Basicaly both accidents ended with dead because of kill shots......1 STAB to the first accident, and several stabs to the head(eye socket, neck, ) during the second accident. Very interesting is fact, the both guys who used KILL shots has no experience with knife fighting. They just instinctively did what they did......

So everything depends on how deep you can penetrate in order to get in to inner organs.......and of course how precise is your "kill shot"...but during adrenalin rush - it is very very difficult to do that, like Raymonod said, stab whenever it is possible.....and results will come ......

Yeah...head shots are my favourite ones ....especially with "big" knife - perfect......:)


"Very interesting is fact, the both guys who used KILL shots has no experience with knife fighting. They just instinctively did what they did......"

This is crucial to the way I do is what an INEXPERIENCED person does that interests me.

It's due to this fact, when the adrenaline and fear is way beyond what one can bear, that one reverts back to what is "instinctive".

So if I can keep my training close to what I would do "instinctively" it just makes everything (hopefully) easier.

Another example is "flinching" - a lot of my defences is based on the "flinch" factor; as I see it, when one is caught "off guard" you will naturally flinch rather than execute a perfectly timed one handed parry.

Thanks for bringing that up Radek