Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Fighting Way of the … Kitchen Knife

The Fighting Way of the … Kitchen Knife by W. Hock Hochheim

     When things go bump in my night, I reach for my Springfield Armory .45 caliber, semi-automatic handgun by the bed. And if things go bump through the day, I have several pistols stationed around my house in the fine legend of the old “lunge and reach” rule. You might say that I need this security above and beyond the usual safety concerns of citizens. After decades as a police detective in Texas, I was primarily involved in sending criminals to prison. Murderers, robbers, rapists, and flat-out lousy people. And now through the years, they are being released from jail. And if one of them gets frisky enough … well, I just need some guns around. 

     When things go bump in your night? What do you have? I do feel sorry for you if you cannot feel the soothing heft of, at the very least, a pistol in your vulnerable hand at that very primal moment. But never mind that whole no-gun-rights thing now because I actually want to talk to you about knives, not guns. Especially kitchen knives.

     I get a fair amount of correspondence asking me about knife training. And some folks demand “tactical folder” training only and, in particular, not about “that big knife stuff.” No fixed-blade knives because,

     "I will be carrying my folder,” they explain. “I don't carry a gun. I will never have a big knife either.”

     Some of these people live in countries where guns are a big no-no. In some cases, any knife is a big no-no. Not for criminals, of course, just good people.

     But for the folding-knife-only requests, I do try to explain that once you open the folder, it looks and operates like any of kind of “fixed-blade" knife anyway, and their folder request becomes a moot issue. Once opened, the training is the same. I think they catch on to this idea pretty easily when explained. So we stress the "quick draw" and opening folding knives in our Knife Level 1 via various exercises, drills, and scenarios standing, sitting, kneeling, and on the ground being pushed, struck, attacked, etc. We get the opening part of the folder done way early.

     But I still do hear some complaints on the “big knife,” or what some call “Bowie Knife” fighting or even naysayers on big-knife dueling because they say they'll never, ever hold such a big knife. (Remember, they've already bought their $400-plus, specialized elite combat folding knife made by combat master Jake Twilly, knife maker to the stars and kings! Which is why they are now calling you.)

     It is well known in the knife and crime business that many, if not most, knife attacks in the civilized world are done with single-edge, kitchen cutlery. It is usually an incredibly high statistic- like about 99.9%! Claim some police agencies around the globe. I always question these numbers; but when so many diverse sources claim such high numbers, there's fire inside that smoke. Note the term "civilized world," not some island in the Pacific that still worships coke bottles as Gods or parts of Africa, Asia, and so forth.

     Yes, kitchen knives. Why? One reason is they are just so darn handy in restaurants and homes when tempers flare or where criminals crawl, etc. Keep in mind that many burglars, home invaders, and rapists use the kitchen knives of their victims so as not to be caught roaming the streets with a big knife before or after the crime. They break in and go straight to the kitchen. So a fair number of home invasions and rapes are with kitchen knives. (I like to say in classes that if you wake up to the sound of your silverware crashing at night? This is not a good thing.)

     Bump! So if your secreted gun is not handy in your home or you don't have a gun, you might well race to your kitchen and grab … brace yourself … the biggest knife you can find. Even if you feel a little shaky at home for some reason, you might well carry a kitchen knife back to the bedroom with you. It won't be the small paring knife. You won't pass over your giant carving knife to select a small steak knife because it …resembles your pocket folder, will you? No, you will get the la grande heifer model. 

     Even the criminal grabs your biggest knife in the kitchen drawer or the butcher block, if just for the intimidation factor. In many a desperate moment, you will be using a big or even Bowie Knife-sized, edged weapon to scrap with a rapist or a criminal. Learning to handle and move with and against a big knife is quite probable and important and should neither be ignored or ridiculed.

     We live in a mixed-weapon world. A hand, stick, knife, and gun world. Your likes or dislikes of weapons, your local laws, or your personal preferences may not count or matter in an emergency fight for your life. If you dislike big knives or want small knife training or vice versa or want training in just one very slim, specific style, size, or shape of a knife, you may be missing the sharpest point of what a real emergency means, no pun intended. 

 Death Grip of the Knife Training Film
 "When it gets way too close!"

 - get the DVD, or
 - download it right now