The Knife Decision

Quite a few threads around here about specific decisions an individual has to make when it comes to carrying a knife. Legal length, brand, methodology, etc. Most of importantly, the question of whether one is "prepared", psychologically, to use the knife in a self-defense situation has been brought up.

All this talk reminded me of a discussion I had with my father. My father is my first eskrima instructor, and I still turn to him for some technical adjustments to this day. I told him that, since I live in nyc, I'm going to carry a knife. He said "don't do that, son."

I asked him "why?"

He said "Because when you get into a fight, you'll use it."

His response is not just a reflection of a father's intuitive knowledge about his son, but also shows an astute understanding of the male psyche when it is involved in a high-stress physical conflict. Basically, he believes that when a person is truly involved in a REAL fight (not an argument, not a verbal exchange, not a shoving game, not a show of machismo), and the fight/flight/freeze mechanism has been activated, a man will most likely utilize his deadliest weapon. We're talking about an all-out fight, where someone has decided to either beat you badly, maim you, or kill you.

When one has been forced into this type of situation, a man loses all inhibitions, and will most certainly reach for the nearest deadliest weapon. If that weapon happens to be a folding knife, that's what he'll reach for. And he'll use it.

A "decision" implies that one is in control of their actions when put in a fight-for-survival situation, which really isn't the case. To a certain extent it is true, because a person does have the choice to carry a weapon or not before the actual event. But when a person DOES decide to carry a weapon, be it a knife, a can of mace, a pen, a pistol, or a 4 inch stick, even if he DREADS ever using it, even if he's unsure of ever using it when his life is on the line...believe me, somewhere, deep inside him, whether he knows it or not, the decision has been made.

Good post and your father is a wise man.

4 Ranges is highly correct... and communicates it wonderfully.

Wow. Great post. The hardest part to carrrying is killing your ego.

great post...I will say I also think it works in reverse for some people as well. I tend to be less likely to even engage in any type of avoidable situation if I have a weapon...

A.) I feel a bit less vulnerable (feeling vulnerable is a common cause of violent behavior) B.) I realize how quickly the situation could escalate and I could wake up in jail C.) A weapon drawn will cause others to draw theirs and people get hurt. D.) If I screw up I could be on the wrong end of my own weapon (eg you execute a perfect takedown to mount only to find that the guy who you are beating up has your knife/gun etc.

So...that keeps me out of avoidable situations (as you said shows of machismo)...the unavoidable and more serious situations are basically what that weapon is designed for. If someone wants to maim or kill me and I know I didn't escalate the situation using a weapon might be the best option. If it is going to be you or him or might as well be him.