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Truth About Knife Disarms


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Jan.03, 2010 Blog

The truth about Knife disarms.

Imagine a situation where even the slightest mistake can result into extremely serious wounds or possibly the end of your very own life? Imagine yourself trying to make your favourite disarm technique work, just as your hands are becoming more and more slippery and completely covered with your own blood. The truth about knife disarms is that the chance of getting badly stabbed and get covered in nasty cuts are extremely high and that to face a real knife, held by an assailant that is seriously intentioned to use it, can be one of the scariest situations you could possibly ever face; after all any idiot can be dangerous with a blade in his hand, so if you ever are unlucky enough to be in that situation, what do you do? Where do you go?

It wouldn’t really matter where you will end up as long as you can get there all in one piece, so the first knife defence lesson you should take, is ‘sprinting ‘. Run if you can and don’t stop running until your lungs are going to fall out. What now might sounds like a weak act of cowardly, it is really what everyone should do when facing a real blade. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fine blade or simply a kitchen knife they are both designed to cut and stab and you just don’t want to taste the quality of the steel into your own flesh.

In the FMA there is a great emphasis on training empty hands against the blade.. There are a lot of genuinely good Instructors out there, but unfortunately because of the commercial aspect of Martial Arts teaching, there is also a lot of bad Kali, Escrima and Arnis Instructors (for us Kaliradman but apart for the name we also have a completely different approach to dealing with the blade, we will talk about this in a future Blog).

The best way to spot a fraudster is simply to ask a very simple question:”Could you make any of the techniques you teach work under the pressure and adrenal conditions of a real life scenario?” If his answer is yes than you know is time to look elsewhere. Some of the best (and I have seen many) FMA instructors out there would easily admit that training with blades is only a great way to enhance their empty hands training and develop and enormous respect for the blade. A lot of people don’t respect the blade and they train immaturely. In our last knife seminar I turned away three guys that turned up with some sort of ‘throwing knives’ stating that ‘they weren’t that sharp’. Can you believe that?

Training with blades will make you sharp as you will know that a single mistake would result in a fatal one in real life. But we are talking about training aluminium blades, possibly from a registered brand and not just any blade here. Learning knife disarms will get your grip stronger and your locks tighter, momentum and timing will drastically improve, but this is only a game.

In the FMA there are two sides to the arts: The first refers to a stage art (like a show) and the second is a killing art. People get really impressed when they see a FMA Instructor causing the blade to fly off the attacker hands with lighting fast moves, sometimes even managing to retain the blade off their hands, but such practice is only a show, but then again new students are more likely to sign up for a class that looks good, than something that is effective and that’s why most people teach this side of the art.

The reality is that all you need is a handful of core drills, but to most people it gets boring after two minutes of practice and this is why hundreds of drills have been created in the FMA, but the trained eye realizes immediately that is only the same material packaged differently.

To be brutally honest, … there is no counter against a skilled blade master because they are trained to counter the disarms.

Against somebody who is not a knife fighter, your chances of survival improve by your training, if not possible to run away, look for an equalizer (roll up your newspaper, look for a bottle, a stick anything that can create some distance between you and that blade). Only if cornered or with family or friends will we resort to empty hands. If the difference between life and death is having knife defense skills, my money will always be on the FMA and is because you will know what the real danger is if you are on the receiving end of a knife attack. Israeli Krav maga, Russian Systema, KFM, BBC, H&M, MMS…there are literally tens of different ‘modern systems’ that claims to have invented new incredible ways of dealing with a knife attack, but the minute you investigate, you realize that all of them have taken moves and drills and principles from the FMA. Filipino Martial Arts are at the core of any of these systems simply because is a killing art that to this days can make the difference between life and death in the streets of the Philippines and Filipinos are the most respected knife fighters in the world. But they all carry blades, and hardly ever the scenario is empty hand vs knife.

Knowing a few good moves will always be better than knowing nothing at all, but we need to keep things into prospective. In real life, never look to disarm and retain the blade; try instead to grab hold and monitor the attacking limb (the only chance you have to make it work is against a single commited attack) and position the blade away from your vital organs, only then you can start looking into breaking harms or dislocating shoulders. Disarms, the flow drills, ‘the tricks’, they will enhance our energy feel and develop reaction skills, and that is all great and needed however, they are only the equivalent of kick ups in football. Great to improve and enhance the control of the ball; but to win premierships and world cups you will have to get to the bottom of things and score Goals. Keep it simple. Think it like this ‘I would not want to be poor if I was a Footballer’

Until next month

Train hard and hit even harder

Antonio Faedda

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