[This is a response to recent post A few thoughts on knife fighting…. – Rourke]
Shotguns are often touted as first response to home invasion or burglary. I arm myself with a SIG P220 .45acp because a pistol telegraphs less around corners than do long guns. I will have my combat knife as well because it is always on my pistol belt. We’ve all seen westerns where the cowboy buckles on his gun belt. Everyone should have a gun belt. Having a holstered pistol, magazines, light, and knife already on a gun belt makes for quick arming. Looping a belt through a holster takes too long, especially under stress and at night. Pistols should always have holsters for the same reason long arms should always have slings. You may need both hands free. Ever tried to climb a ladder with a shotgun?
I have a katana displayed on a stand in my bedroom. I just might take it as well. A katana can quietly stab through sheetrock walls and the horror of a combat be-handing or even be-heading. Oh the horror, the horror! For anyone breaking into a residence at night, I say fitting justice.
I’ve been in two too many knife fights. The first happened when I was a teenager and I was cut in the gut. It happened because of my mouth that lived a life of its own. I survived only because my unskilled opponent had a short knife. My second knife fight was also one sided. By then I was in government service. I had knocked down my opponent and foolishly presuming the upper hand, approached close enough to absorb a knife strike through the lower leg. I was better trained by then and had learned the cardinal rule for all knife fights: always bring a pistol.
Having twice seen firsthand the utility of one of man’s oldest tools I decided to learn knife fighting. Given equal armament, retreat when possible, is always better than confrontation. Unless total surprise is operant, you are going to be cut. I learned strikes, reversals, traps, blocks but the more I learned about knife fighting, the more this became apparent: you are going to be cut.
A professional never telegraphs superior armament or skill. If someone threatens me with a knife, my first plan is to pull out a pistol and shoot him between the eyes. Twice. I am never without a pistol but if I were, given that kind of an approach I might hold my knife in a non-professional manner while feigning abject fear (the fear part will be easy). You will never know whether a professional or a panhandler is approaching.
Being confronted by someone with a knife is grounds for the application of lethal force especially if that someone is within your uncomfort zone. My uncomfort zone is eighteen feet. Yes, that far. Never forget a knife can be thrown and a knife in the throat is a game ender.
Anyone serious about knife fighting should have a practice knife. With the exception of identifying red micarta handles and dull blade (1/8” blunt), my practice knives are identical to my carry knife. Else you are going to get cut. I had performed a reversal a hundred times to perfection with my practice knife and the first time I tried it with the combat knife, I got sliced. One can never practice enough. Interest in knife fighting developed into an interest in kendo and I cannot say enough about mushin or empty mind so essential to any combat action.
Having survived two knife fights and a gunfight or so makes me sudden, much less likely to analyze and much more quickly to act with those two rounds between the eyes. Knives are in some ways more deadly than pistols because distance can lull a greater armed person into a sense of superiority when faced by a knife wielding opponent.
Never forget a knife can be thrown.
You will be too slow on the draw to counter a thrown knife. A double tap to the head is the correct response.