Self Defense with Knives

For those who train with knives:
1.Who do you train with?
2. What are the attributes of a good self-defense knives
3.What do you own and carry?

"1.Who do you train with?"

Benn with many people over the years, currently i am with a Kali guy

"2. What are the attributes of a good self-defense knives"


3.What do you own and carry?"

I am in Iraq right now, so I carry a gun everywhere I go, but I also carry two folders. I carry a Kershaw Blur. I use this for everything from mail to opening crab legs.

In the civillian world its not normal to use a tool everywhere. Even pulling out a multitool is odd. Not here, a good folder makes life easier.

The second one I carry is the Applegate-Fairbairn. Its a bigger blade and I carry it on my left. I like the knife but there are many alternatives out there.

I train with two knives, so I carry two. I have training knives and we spar with them. Try sparring with someone with rubber knives, you will realize the best defense is a gun.

What kind of knife you use will be for the purpose. If we were fighting another equiped army I want a heavy blade that can cut through thick clothing and some load bearing equipmwnt they will wear. Also training will change for military combat compared to on the street guy in a T-shirt.

I train with a guy who has been in FMA for over 20 years. He carries two small fixed blades that sit sideways on his belt. If he were to fight you with them you would barely see them.

A knife like the Kabar is a utlity knife, not just a fighting knife, so the design is stronger, and bigger for many uses (BTW, when the Kabar was used in WWII it was issued to all services, not just the marines, later the marines adopted it as thiers alone and everyone else got away from it)

How you fight will also change what type of knife you will carry. Ray Floro has a knife developed for his system based on how he fights. Look at the Kenpo Knife designed by Gil Hibbens, big knife.

In my job I dont wear the body armor all day, so the folders work great, If I was in towns kicking in doors I would have a bigger fixed blade.

Look at the UWK from cold steel, its the SOG blade from Vietnam with an updated handle.

Tactical Knives really didnt come around until the end of the 70's and 80's. We had a few like The Randall Model 1, the Vietnam SOG that are legendary knifes. The Kabar is a good fighting knife.

When you look at the history of blade fighting, the US doesnt have a long history like the rest of the world because by the time we were fighting wars we were a gun military. The rest of the world started in knife and sword and developed those arts long before us. Sure we carried it into the Americas, but not like the rest of the world was.

The bowie design has been the biggest influence on our knives, the Kabar, SOG, and so many others. Its a great design.

Look at the Kabar TDI for a different look at knife use

Look at these:

They are held in the hand and come straight out between the fingers so when you punch they puncture. Buy two of these and take up boxing.

What is your background. What are you doing in Iraq? Thanks for your posts. You been a big hlep on this thread and on others I have written.

here is a clip of my instructor on this subject


What was the name of the tactical knife book?

For me, I've trained at a lot of different places. I've worked with traditional Kali guys and, when I worked at a gun shop, had nice interesting conversations with a little old man who knew a little too graphically how to take out sentries.

Attributes that I look for a in a self defense knife is overall durability. It must be razor sharp and, since I'm not in the military and carry folders, the locking mechanism must be very strong as well. I don't want to have to worry about the lock breaking when I'm using it.

Most of the knives that I carry are Cold Steel because I feel that overall they are the best for the price and quality. I've owned Benchmade and many other high dollar knives and have found that Cold Steel outworks them and is cheapr however this is just my opinion. As far as specifics, I carry a Cold Steel Ti Lite most of the time with the 4 inch blade. Some times, I will carry by Vaquero Grande with the 6 inch blade but that's not too often.

I have actually had to use my Ti Lite in a self defense situation and it's a fine blade.

I've always been a cold steel guy. Knives "for self defense" is a ticklish
subject. This should be approached with caution from every possible


Good book on Tactical Knives. Worth getting

Tactical Knives (Paperback)
by Dietmar Pohl

I posted the book on tactical knives because it goes over the history of them. Tactical knives are still fairly young.

I think its important to understand the history of knives because it gives you a better idea of what is the best knife, or that there is no best knife. Each knife was designed for a purpose, so the purpose of one may not fit another.

A soldier marching across Europe will need a different type of knife than one in a Convoy in Iraq or what one would have used in Vietnam.

A cop who is part of a SWAT team will need a knife that is different than what a soldier will need.

And in the civillian world you will need a different knife than the military. It wont have to have to cut through thick clothing and equipment, its not a tool and fighting knife and it may have to be smaller.

What knife will work well will change on how you are training. I own Scott Sonnon video, he talks about in Russian Bayonett you use a larger knife, and some techniques (he is more flow than techniques) fit with the bigger knife.

I can see the influence of fencing in Scott Sonnons stuff. I really like what he does and I wish I could work out with someone who did European blade.

The guy I do Kali with prefers a small blade and he talks about keeping your weapon hidden so your intent is not easily seen.

I got Ray Floros DVD not long ago, with his style you would be a bad man with a screwdriver, so the type of knife ideal for his style will be very different than FMA.

So what is the best for self defense? Hard to say.

So you do like alot of us, buy many and justify it to the wife.

Here is a site with some bad pictures, knife fighting is not fun.

BTW Demi has a ton of good information, ightalong with what you are asking. Check out his site and pump him for info on here.

"What is your background. What are you doing in Iraq? Thanks for your posts. You been a big hlep on this thread and on others I have written."

Im in the Army, I run convoys in Iraq. I am like FedEx but not as fast. I actually like what I do, its interesting and my job makes a big difference in the big picture.

My background in the martial arts goes back to the late 70's. I came along when things were changeing fast in the martial arts world. When I use to go to tournaments they didnt wear gloves and it was light contact. But pads were just being introduced. So at that time all of us belived crazy crap about fighting.

Once padded gloves came along lots changed, stuff you thought would work in theory didnt. The idea of a fight ending in a few seconds is good until you fight someone that is still standing after you hit them.

I had to fight a guy who was in kickboxing back in the early 80's, he trained for 12 rounds, I trained for a fight that would last a few seconds. WHen we stopped I was feeling pretty bad, my friends thought they induced a heart attack Lol. Big lesson on conditioning. (After all I could beat ANY white belt in seconds)

I did Kempo for years, I worked out with a couple Parker Kenpo guys who were under Huk Planas. Huk brought in stick and knife to Kenpo from Dan Inosanto. Thats when I got into knife in the mid 80's.

When I moved I had to find new people to work out with and got a chance to expand. I started meeting people who trained under the concept of train like you fight. Sparring included clinch, grappling and standup. Great lessons. Another great lesson is to learn to ride a punch properly so you can return one.

It was getting old the style vs style talk, so UFC was great. After the first couple years and it was MMA, not one style of BJJ the martial arts world got better. Today everyone trades training information.

Training with different styles lets you know that people can fight no matter what they do for a style, its how you train that matters. Sure you need a good ground game and many dont, but a good, well trained fighter will do well in the street.

I like weapons training, I like the knife for obvious reasons, and I alway find someone that I can train with. I have been doing it for years.

I have pretty lucky that I am part of a couple big organizations and I get to keep active with the community. I have been teaching since te 80's.

I am a gun nut. When I was 13 my dad got me into Trap Shooting (Clay Targets) and I competed into my 20's. Now i just enjoy shooting. If it fires a bullet, lets take it to the range.

I shoot in IDPA with a 1911 .45. But I own many guns.

The attributes of a knife are insignificant next to the skill and cold, hard will needed to wield it, at least when self-defence is concerned.



 I dunnno about other states, but the rule is that using a gun for self defense are less legal hassle than using a knife.

 That site above is from Hock Hochheim. He has some pretty good instructional videos on knives. Probably the best I have seen (overall).

If you haven't looked at the "Blur" by Kershaw, it is my current favorite blade. I love this thing more than all my Cold Steel's, SOG, and Benchmade's combined.