No announcement yet.

Knife fighting where to look

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Knife fighting where to look

    Hello guys as a newbie was wondering what arts I should look into with a heavy emphasis on knives or edged weapons in general.
    Fu Hung Hsieh remains Fu Hung Hsieh and Kung-tzu Yu remains Kung-tzu Yu.

    Welcome to bullshido.

    Filipino martial arts (Kali, arnis, eskrima) are your friend for a lot of knife work. Lots of short stick work too, which equates to long knife.

    Can't post video links easily from this device, but a YouTube search of any of those three names will give a good indication. Obviously tagging knife into the search alongside it will show more specific fma knife drills.

    I imagine some western martial arts will include sensible knife work too - someone of that ilk will probably be along soon enough to advise.

    Outside of that, most knife stuff you find will likely be trad martial art madness. Fun that'll get you killed

    Be sure to keep us posted what you choose, and how you get on

    When life gives you lemons... BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!

    "what's the best thing about aikido then?"
    "To be defeated by your enemies, to be driven by them from the field of battle, and to hear the lamentations of your women." ermghoti


      I'd say look into Filipino styles where they train with fencing masks. The Filipino arts tend to start with weapons and move towards empty hands later, while most other styles are the other way around. Sayoc and Atienza kali are considered very blade specific styles. FMAs tend to be duelling/warfare based, so hold ups and whatnot aren't a big thing in a more traditional school.

      Tantojutsu (Japanese knife fighting) can be good stuff, but if you find it, it's likely to be a small part of some ninja goofiness.

      Apache knife is a system with dubious origins but not a bad training method (their stuff is knife-sparring based with fake blood on the arms to make them difficult to grab).

      The small bit of systema I've done and the videos I've seen make me not too keen on their knife methods. Parts of their fundamentals make a lot of sense, but the free play, although not choreographed, didn't have the right intensity.

      Silat (Indonesian) is also very blade focused because it comes from a blade culture, and I've seen one guy who uses a fairly classical looking silat style use the kneeling/harimau stuff in a Dog Brothers match. There's also a lot of compliant and culty silat out there, so select wisely. It seems to be taught in a typical "you do this, then I do this and this and this, then reset" kind of way.

      Krav maga does some work with knives, but it is very simple so that it can be learned quickly and be consistent with empty hand stuff. Harder, faster, simpler training than systema, and includes more being held at knifepoint type stuff than the Southeast Asian arts (which are more dueling/warfare based). The downside is that the krav maga blocking methods are vulnerable to a trained knife fighting attack (cutting on the pull back or turning the palm over after a high looping thrust to cut low). FMA knife defenses are designed to minimize these things; krav maga defenses are just made to stop basic attacks with or without something in the hand. Meh, still many times better than the demo style knife defenses you'll see at krotty/tkd demos.

      Historical European martial arts contain dagger vs dagger and dagger vs unarmed material, but the weapons they're dealing with are not like a modern knife. A rondel dagger is very long and the edge is not very sharp (some old manuals have techniqes where you grab your dagger's blade with your free hand). They look like this:

      Aside from that, WMA training is very non-codified: maybe a group spars, maybe they don't.

      Hapkido and aikido both do defenses against knives, but they're iffy (mostly because techniques assume one committed lunging attack). If you watch some tanto randori on youtube, you'll get an idea of how an aikidoka would really fare if attacked with a knife (note that the knifer has a lot of guidelines on how he's allowed to attack). Also I don't think they ever get into the offensive use of the knife, which IMHO is important if you intend on understanding defending against it.

      Like anything else in the martial arts, live training is important to developing any real skill. Things like training knives, fencing masks, magic markers, chalk markers etc are good signs; there should be people really trying to get each other while protecting themselves, not just techniques where someone lunges at you and pauses while you cut them to ribbons.


        Great responses I knew about the Filipino aspect of it but thanks for putting names to styles and I was interested in what the Japanese and Chinese had to say on the subject thanks.
        Fu Hung Hsieh remains Fu Hung Hsieh and Kung-tzu Yu remains Kung-tzu Yu.


          Originally posted by danharr View Post
          Great responses I knew about the Filipino aspect of it but thanks for putting names to styles and I was interested in what the Japanese and Chinese had to say on the subject thanks.
          Several Chinese arts teach paired daggers like this:

          and may also teach the weapon singularly. The thing is, they tend to use them only in the reverse grip (that was the proper way to hold a knife for fighting at my old kung fu school). This is a mistake, in my opinion. If you get some masks and rubber knives and do forward vs reverse grip sparring match, the forward grip will tend to win if you're using self preservation instincts. It has more reach and can be used in a straight line. Reach and range are important if you want to hit and not be hit. But anyway, if you look at double dagger forms in Chinese arts, they pale in comparison to Filipino knifework on a number of levels.

          Here's a video I took of a choy li fut double daggers vs empty hands form at a tournament:

          IMHO there's a whole lot wrong with using a dagger in that way, and defending in that way.

          That's just one example from many Chinese arts, of course, but I've never seen any knifework from China that I was really impressed with. They usually try to put everything inside a classical kung fu framework but there's problems with that (stance and arm position that aren't so great when your opponent just has to touch you). I've heard about knife skills among unsavory kung fu types, hatchetmen, gangsters and the like, but that's not really the kind of stuff most kung fu school teach.


            I see what you mean lots of beautiful dueling but not very practical like open handed fighting you have to choose between practical defense styles and artistic expression.
            Fu Hung Hsieh remains Fu Hung Hsieh and Kung-tzu Yu remains Kung-tzu Yu.


              I would recommend trying to find a swordplay school. In Vancouver, we have the chance to have the Academie Duello which offer a Mastery program (5-8 years training). With it, you'll learn longsword, rapier, sidesword, dagger, etc... Of course, the weapons and training are focusing on historical techniques but you'll most likely be apply to apply that training to a modern situation.

              PS: Stay away from fencing, it doesn't count.


                fencing isn't the same as knife fighting, but the skills of footwork, range control, and handspeed will transfer over VERY well. if you can pick up fencing and supplement it with knife sparring experience, you should be pretty successful.
                Fight Film Friday
                Watching violence on film, violently.
                Click here to donate!


                  Quick addendum regarding KM and knife defenses. Since the OP inquired as to what martial art places a generally heavy emphasis on knives, Krav isn't the best way to go.

                  Most Krav schools will generally not introduce knife defenses in depth until the higher levels, and even still, you'll probably be spending the vast majority of your time on empty handed combat. If do you choose Krav anyway, the quality of instruction also varies wildly, especially when it comes to higher level material. Some instructors teaching knife defense have very little idea regarding how knives actually come into play on the street and you might end up spending all your time in compliant partner drills that at best will be useless and at worst will result in you getting killed.

                  It gets even worse when actually learning the knife itself in Krav, as that takes a rather long time spent mostly training empty hand techniques that you probably never signed up for.

                  If you want to spend a large amount of time drilling weapons, look for an FMA, fencing or WMA school. I fully agree with Conde Koma that western fencing can be helpful when it comes to learning skills that will transfer over to the knife as well.



                  Edit this module to specify a template to display.