A Few Thoughts of Bret Gould

Survival Blades

What is a survival blade and how does it relate to everyday carry.  I had a guy in a kung fu/fma class ask me what was the best knife to use in a fight. I responded the one you have in your hand when it starts.  There is no definitive answer to this dilemma. It all depends?

It depends on the day and what your level of EDC is.  I had a knife sparring match with a man several years ago. He was a highly skilled martial artist, former green beret.  I was trying to illustrate the point about knife stopping power.  We then knife sparred. I turned his arms and wrists red for several minutes. He then saw what I had done and found I did not have any marks on me.  He realized I had some experience with knives.  He then stated that he liked dagger type blades for the versatility. I stated I agreed but to a point.  I stated they were only good for concealed carry and not for battle field use. He argues. I walked out to my truck and got out a dagger and my Bowie knife.  I asked him to cut the 1x 6 board I brought in , standing up on it’s end. He just nicked it with the dagger. I split it to the floor with the Bowie.  I demonstrated knife stopping power.  Knives are like guns in that they possess different levels of stopping power.

Go to the Cold Steel website and watch the Cold Steel khukuri,  one of my favorite knives, cut 11 one inch thick manila ropes in a bundle with one cut.  Watch the cold steel owner cut the head off of a pig carcass with one flick of the wrist.  People , this is serious stopping power.  Do I like this blade? Oh yea.  But it is only applicable to certain carry options. I go to a much smaller Bowie blade in a shoulder holster for other carry situations or to a dagger on the belt for concealed carry for every day.
But the point is I carry something everyday.  Be aware of what you want out of your knife.


With the things we have on the horizon, a hotly contested election. possible hit on Iran, most of use are thinking of survival , with equipment being high on the list.  but many forget about our feet. What will we wear?
I took knife fighting from a master instructor in another life and he always had a focus on footwear.  He taught western fencing and knife fighting and noted that whenever I showed up for practice I always wore light weight hiking boots.  He laughed and called them fencing boots but was actually very pleased. I wore footwear that enabled me to use fast footwork. sure footwork, protected my feet and ankles and could be used as a weapon themselves.

Folks I’ve done martial arts for more that 37 years and most people’s failing in martial arts is in the feet. Watch the karate guys, the judo guys, the MMA guys etc.  What problem do they all share?  They practice BAREFOOTED.   Do we fight bare foot, no.  Is it better to kick barefoot, no. So why do they do it and still claim to be effective?  It is hard to leave the comfort zone.  Being a native of Louisiana and a Cajun, I explored the French martial art of Savate. Not the whole answer to the problem but an interesting choice.  Savate was a street fighting art based on the docks and water fronts of France and was based on kicking with a work boot.

So now we have something more.  The hard sole of the boot and the tip of the boot, to protect the foot and amplify one’s kicking power.  Focus on the light weight hiking boots for everyday wear and a good combat boot for those more serious moments.  Practice kicking with the boots on and learn to use the boot so you don’t get the boot in combat.


Of all the things I’ve learned in my 26 years in law enforcement, 14 years teaching combat and 37 years in martial arts, is the importance of the combat mind set.  So what is it and how does it work?

Many years ago, the man who would revolutionize combat handgunning, Jeff Cooper put forth the theory of combat mind set.  Now for the sake of authenticity, Cooper really did not put forth anything that was earth shattering or new.   From the training of the Spartans, the Vikings, the Samurai, we learn that the combat mindset was used throughout history. but Cooper quantified it for us westerners.

Cooper gave us the color code of combat.  He preached that the colors should go from white to black in progression.  Condition white being no threat and condition  black being death.  One starts in condition white, normal no awareness, to condition level , situational awareness, to condition red, you are in a fight, to condition black being death.  Cooper advised us to be in condition yellow at all times.  This means having weapons on one’s person, training to use those weapons, being in shape to fight, being able to fight and having the mind set to fight if it comes.  This does not mean to look to provoke fights but to be ready to respond when necessary.

Train people. Train.

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3 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts of Bret Gould”

  1. I am Jeff Cooper fan myself, good points that you brought out and something for me think about regards my family. None of them are trained in CQB including H2H in any form. I do carry sharp things in my EDC as well. Currently the armed forces carry three blades (A:Fixed, B:Folder and C:MT) My survival triangle blade carry is this (Dress: Spyderco Delica 4, Kirshaw and leatherman juicer – Everyday or Casual: Benchmade, Syderco Delica 4 and MT “Gerber – Field/hunting,SHTF: RAT-7, Benchmade and MT “Gerber).

  2. A “just sayin'” – at most “megamart” type places, you can get inexpensive, “decent” quality ankle-height lightweight Vibram-sole hiking boots with steel ‘work’ toes 🙂

  3. I carry a battery of knives with me every single day. But, none of them are of the fighting variety. I have a Swiss Army Knife (Huntsman) in my pocket, a Schrade Tough Tool Multi-plier on my belt, a Cabela’s Mini-tool on one key chain and another, smaller Swiss Army Knife (Tinkerer?) on a second set of keys. I do have 2 NRA blades in my Governor pistol bag (one fixed, one folding lock). I do have a large, Gil Hibben Bowie knife on my web gear. I picked up a neck knife from Kennesaw Cutlery for $2.98, but I never wear it. Truthfully, if the situation is life or death, I going to guns.


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