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  1. Mordschlag is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 2:31pm


     Style: ARMA, Antagonistics

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Problem Fighting Against the Bowie

    Sup Westerners,

    I've been finding myself in a dilemma lately. I picked up a handful of training knives for the ARMA group here including some small daggers, a rondell, and two bowies. We've been mostly sparring with the rondell and doing bowie versus bowie, but the past few times we've been doing non-bowie versus bowie and a pattern emerges rapidly:

    The guy with the bowie picks apart the non-bowie guy most of the time. This usually happens, apparently, because the non-bowie fighter gets immediately in range of the bowie without being able to attack the bowie fighter. I've gotten lucky a few times against the bowie with the rondell, since iron door with a dagger can stop a cut and allow you grab the weapon hand. But by and large the mass and length of the bowie usually leads to the smaller weaponed fighter getting sniped, cut, and stop-thrusted before being able to attack the bowie fighter.

    I also noticed a few things about trying to stop a bowie attack too. A smaller dagger can't seem to effectively parry attacks from a bowie. The off-hand can help in binding against the weapon hand so you can grapple it, but this often leads to the bowie fighter simply feinting a bit and then hacking the off-hand. The rondell can counter-thrust\stop-thrust a bowie attack but only two-handed parries with it seem to work consistently.

    With all that in mind I'd like to know is if anyone has any experiences of using a smaller weapon (or a rondell) successfully against a bowie, preferably without getting your hands hacked apart in the process. Has anyone had observations contrary to my own, and if so how? A more general question would be how can a fighter with a smaller blade overcome the dangers of fighting against someone with a larger one?

    Thanks,
  2. doc8404 is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 2:48pm


     Style: Pekiti Tirsia Kali

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    So, I'm a noob on this forum, but I love my Kali (Filipino Martial Arts). A large part of the curriculum is trained with a rattan stick (roughly 30" long) or a "knife" (anywhere from 4"+). While it is often trained stick v stick or blade v blade, we also train stick v empty-hand and knife v empty hand. Sounds like you are looking for knife v stick (rondell v bowie).

    I personally do not have enough experience to comfortably give a step by step break down on beating the Bowie, but I see several options available. I also see that you are in Austin, TX. Near you is the Tactical Arts Academy run by Leslie Buck, a well know Kali man. You may want to consider stopping in. I see that you are a Renaissance fighter, but I think you may find a few things to add to your personal style.
  3. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 3:08pm

    supporting member
     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

    2
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    A lot of knife-sparring folks just play the long range game, which makes sense because it maintains the largest reaction gap, but if you try to play the same way against a longer blade, it can be very difficult. What I propose is a change in mindset- you can't try to stay at long range and snipe at the weapon arm/face/lead leg, which is like 90% of a lot of fighters' strategy.

    I mentioned this next part from my training log:
    Quote Originally Posted by sharpening the blade
    -tried applying stalking footwork against Chris, using a reverse grip against his forward grip. Using lateral steps to cut off his attempts at circling, I would herd him into the corner so I could close and finish with pakal stabs. I've been considering this sort of thing because I want to be able to use the reverse grip as well as the forward one, but it requires a different approach. Generally, a forward grip excels at reach, and a knife fighter will try to stay just out of reach, and will beat a reverse grip every time if a long range game is played, because the reverse grip doesn't have the same reach. Well, if I can get good at closing, then the reverse grip tactics can be used at a closer distance. So I've decided that if I'm going to use the reverse grip, I won't use the same largo tactics I usually do.
    As I understand it, a Rondel dagger is/was used in a reverse grip, and reverse grip knife is tied in with wrestling in Western sources, so I'll bet you've got some idea to close, bind and stab. Can you do it faster than a snap cut or back cut? Well, that's a tall order, but what else can one do?

    Recently, I attended a little weapon throwdown and got to do a little bowie knife sparring with Nick Papadakis. We used some fancy new Cold Steel trainers in bowie size. Lots of fun. Aside from the range problem, the other issue of the bowie is that it excels at defending against hand/wrist cuts. Its small enough that your whole hand can move out of range of a strike, but long enough that it can intercept the incoming weapon arm at a distance where their blade can't reach. You can also get a decent counter-cut just by turning the wrist over and snapping the swedge.


    Quote Originally Posted by doc8404 View Post
    So, I'm a noob on this forum, but I love my Kali (Filipino Martial Arts). A large part of the curriculum is trained with a rattan stick (roughly 30" long) or a "knife" (anywhere from 4"+). While it is often trained stick v stick or blade v blade, we also train stick v empty-hand and knife v empty hand. Sounds like you are looking for knife v stick (rondell v bowie).
    I've done training where empty hand, knife and stick are interchangeable, and I'll say this: it may seem like its all the same, but when you spar it out, you see that its not so simple to apply.
  4. Mr. Machette is online now

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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 3:09pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: FMA, Ego Warrior

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What you're encountering is probably the reason bowie knives were so popular as deffensive tools in their day.

    In my personal experience, the only counter that's "easy" to pull against a longer,
    heavier blade is an attack against the knife hand itself. (Allowing you to say at the outside edge of their striking range while hopefully crippling their ability to hold the weapon.)

    Closing distance to get past the big knife is very difficult to time right and will take a great deal of practice. So keep it up, and work on that de-fang for starters!
  5. Diesel_tke is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 3:10pm

    supporting member
     Style: stick,Taiji, mountainbike

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    We spar a lot with mismatched sizes. It is pretty fun to try to pick apart the differences. The benifit of the longer weapon is usually range and sometimes the weight allows for harder hits. The down side is that is takes longer to swing and recover. So the shorter weapon usually has speed as and advantage and while range is a disadvantage outside, it is an advantage when in close. So I would be looking to try to crash quickly either blocking and crashing, or waiting until a strike passes, and then closing to crash. Then using short quick thrusts once on the inside.

    But, I'm sure someone with more experience will have more insight.


    edit: Perma has the real! No one had posted when I read before.

    I would add that even small differences in weapon size has made a big difference for me. We would spar for a while and I was getting hit way too much. Then my coach would hold up our sticks and point out that I only had about 2 inches shorter on my stick. But I didn't know it! Huge difference for me!
    Last edited by Diesel_tke; 1/02/2013 3:14pm at . Reason: working while posting
    Combatives training log.

    Gezere: paraphrase from Bas Rutten, Never escalate the level of violence in fight you are losing. :D

    Drum thread

    Pavel Tsatsouline: kettlebell workouts give you “cardio without the dishonour of aerobics”.
  6. SteveM is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/02/2013 3:34pm

    Business Class Supporting Membersupporting member
     Central Texas Combatives Training Group Style: AMOK!

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The theme for our "Pre-Mayan Apolcalypse" class we did a few weeks ago in Killeen was sparring with dissimilar weapons.

    Honestly I didn't find bowie vs short knife to be so problematic that I couldn't use my normal knife v knife tactics, but I'm kind of tall so maybe the reach wasn't so dissimilar. No doubt though short knife vs machete or vs sword required a shift.

    Generally we found fakes or throwing a second weapon to be essential for reliably entering when opposed by a much larger knife or sword. On the fakes there are certainly some that work better than others.

    Since we are only about an hour north of you maybe you can come train with us sometime.
  7. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/03/2013 1:57pm


     Style: Bowie

    3
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mordschlag View Post
    Sup Westerners,

    I've been finding myself in a dilemma lately. I picked up a handful of training knives for the ARMA group here including some small daggers, a rondell, and two bowies. We've been mostly sparring with the rondell and doing bowie versus bowie,
    Awesome! Love it!

    but the past few times we've been doing non-bowie versus bowie and a pattern emerges rapidly:

    The guy with the bowie picks apart the non-bowie guy most of the time. This usually happens, apparently, because the non-bowie fighter gets immediately in range of the bowie without being able to attack the bowie fighter. I've gotten lucky a few times against the bowie with the rondell, since iron door with a dagger can stop a cut and allow you grab the weapon hand. But by and large the mass and length of the bowie usually leads to the smaller weaponed fighter getting sniped, cut, and stop-thrusted before being able to attack the bowie fighter.
    You are playing in his "Time of the Hand" or "Time of the Hand and Body." This is to his advantage when using conventional tactics.

    Really there is no way to "fix" this. The opponent has a larger, longer reaching weapon. Tactically, you have to use zoning footwork, which is slower than his knife and comparatively easily countered so you have to do it during his attack. So you have to either know when his attack is coming using ESP or draw it.

    Basically, you're thinking way too aggressively for this match-up. You're a German Longsword stylist, right? Thought so.

    Think of the Bowie as a short Messer. Use the Talhoffer plays for inspiration.

    Or think of it in terms of Classical Fencing. How would you best perform a passata sotto or an intercepting cut/stop-cut to the wrist? Draw the cut. Use an invitational position with your hand. Intentionally expose it. You know he's going to take the bait. When he begins his attack, move your hand/body. Neurologically speaking, it's too late for him to change then, once he's psychologically and physically committed to a given attack. Get a friend who doesn't do your bowie-deggen sparing and have him help you drill this.

    Another defensive technique is analogous to a boxer's "slip." Sometimes this is called "voiding." Present the hand then when the bowie takes the attack, slip it slightly and counter-lunge. It's a two beat exchange where as an intercepting cut or a passata sotto is a one beat exchange but it's a lot easier to learn.

    I also noticed a few things about trying to stop a bowie attack too. A smaller dagger can't seem to effectively parry attacks from a bowie.
    Really? What size deggen are you using? You'll just have to use good timing, similar but easier than the whole-hand-slip, and turn your true edge into the attack. Obviously, you have to use the forte. Just slip your wrist back a few inches, and twist your hand so the true edge meets the snipe/cut. Turn your fingers to your left if he is attacking Angle 1 and to the right if he's attacking Angle 2 (Classic Saber angles).

    The off-hand can help in binding against the weapon hand so you can grapple it, but this often leads to the bowie fighter simply feinting a bit and then hacking the off-hand.
    You're never going to grapple the bowie without crashing ranges to clinch. You can sometimes do this in place of a passata sotto or immediately following edge-to-edge contact in a parry but you have to absolutely own the time.

    The rondell can counter-thrust\stop-thrust a bowie attack but only two-handed parries with it seem to work consistently.
    Draw the cut and parry earlier into the attack. It's easier said than done.

    With all that in mind I'd like to know is if anyone has any experiences of using a smaller weapon (or a rondell) successfully against a bowie, preferably without getting your hands hacked apart in the process. Has anyone had observations contrary to my own, and if so how? A more general question would be how can a fighter with a smaller blade overcome the dangers of fighting against someone with a larger one?

    Thanks,
    Three key elements to making any shorter weapon work against a weapon with longer range.
    1. You have to be more of a master of Measure than your opponent (distance and movement)
    2. You have to be more of a master of Tempo than your opponent (timing and movement)
    3. Practice, Practice, Practice.


    Notice, especially, that it's really hard to achieve the first two if your opponent, a usual sparring partner, continually improves at the same pace as you. If you really want to prevail you have to improve more than your usual sparring partner and that may mean "secret" practice sessions and/or sessions without him.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  8. Permalost is offline
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    pro nonsense self defense

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    Posted On:
    1/03/2013 2:06pm

    supporting member
     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

    2
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Interesting thoughts from Kirk.

    Another thought: I sometimes use a false lead, with the weapon in my right and in front, but with the left leg forward. One of the things this allows for is a fleche type of a lunging attack, that can reach farther than the other person usually thinks and is delivered by stepping and barely moving the arm. I use this when I can't seem to reach on my attacks because the other guy retreats back too much.
  9. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/03/2013 2:22pm


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    Interesting thoughts from Kirk.

    Another thought: I sometimes use a false lead, with the weapon in my right and in front, but with the left leg forward. One of the things this allows for is a fleche type of a lunging attack, that can reach farther than the other person usually thinks and is delivered by stepping and barely moving the arm. I use this when I can't seem to reach on my attacks because the other guy retreats back too much.
    Darn straight!

    I also know a subtle way to close range while using a sort of milling/snakey-stick kinda motion. Steve Huff taught it to me and I tucked it away in my bag-o-tricks.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  10. Muerteds is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/03/2013 5:42pm


     Style: Itinerant Wanderer

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quick question- are the guys using the rondell dagger holding it in the traditional icepick grip when going versus the bowie? If so, there's your problem. If not, the advice you've been given is pretty solid. Short vs. long is always going to change the dynamic of what your'e doing.
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