Home Personal Defense Are You Defenseless Without Your Carry Gun?

Are You Defenseless Without Your Carry Gun?

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Dan Z for TTAG
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By Rick Saxby

It seems that most civilians who have a concealed carry permit these days also carry a folding knife. Some pack a blade just for convenience and others as a personal defense back-up to their pistol. But while plenty people who carry a knife train extensively with their carry pistol, very few have ever trained to defend themselves with their folding knife.

The truth is that most people don’t choose a folding knife as a self-defense tool. They just buy something that’s “good enough.”

I hear a lot of people with CCW permits say that carrying is a lifestyle and they actively avoid places where they can’t carry a firearm. But that’s not always possible.

If you carry legally then there are certain places where you are will have to disarm yourself. Places like:

  • Work – most employers don’t allow employees to carry firearms
  • Public transportation
  • Post office, DMV, Courts and other government facilities
  • Schools
  • Sporting events

Unfortunately, most mass shootings occur in places just like these where you’re not allowed to carry a firearm. Many concealed carry permit holders put this reality out of sight and out of mind figuring they’ll just avoid these places as much as possible.

But if all you have under your belt is firearms training and you get into a hostile situation in a place that prevents you from having a firearm with you, then you are truly defenseless – a one trick pony with no backup. That’s where other options, such as a good blade or a collapsible baton (a so-called police baton) can be invaluable.

Courtesy Amazon

Studies show that a person armed with a club or a knife can travel seven yards in about two seconds. It takes about 1.5 seconds for a trained person to react, present a firearm and get off one or two shots. Statistically speaking, unless one is very aware of his or her situation and looking for attack cues, an assailant will reach you before you can respond.

I’m not suggesting anyone bring a knife to a gun fight; I’m just saying not to underestimate what someone with a knife is capable of. Especially if they’re actually trained to use it.

The problem is, guns won’t always help. Women between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest rates of victimization for violent crimes, followed closely by those 20-24. In cases of rape, half the victims of rape are under the age of 18 years. A full third of all the rapes that occur happen to females between the ages of 12 and 17. The numbers say the average rape victim is a teenager.

Self defense baton (courtesy Amazon)

Here’s the point: by the time women are old enough to legally carry a gun, they have already passed the age when they’re most likely to be abducted or sexually assaulted.

And there’s no shortage of politicians who are dedicated to banning all civilians from owning guns.


Think it can’t happen? Think back to post-Katrina New Orleans.

What if you found yourself in a situation in which you and your family were forced to evacuate your home because of some kind of natural or man-made disaster? What if your guns were confiscated? Or you ‘re forced to shelter in a facility that prevents carrying a firearm?

God forbid you find yourself in a situation where you need your firearm and don’t have it because it’s been taken away from you. But you can’t just assume you’ll never be in that kind of  situation.


The only true, practical self defense incorporates using a knife and/or expandable baton training in close quarters situations, along with your firearm. It’s not a cure-all, but neither is a gun. By combining other weapons into your personal defense training, you greatly increase your chances of walking away from a bad situation.


Good quality self defense weapons such as a folding or fixed blade knife or a steel baton can be extremely effective. They allow you an effective means of personal defense in “gun-free” situations and you probably won’t get them confiscated, either. Just be sure to find a good trainer to give yourself the best self-defense options available to you in any given situation.


Rick Saxby was the publisher of fightingphilosophy.com.


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  1. Original Buckheimer 10 oz. Denver black jack and Benchmade 4″ plain blade auto Bedlam…other stuff as needed…so happy to be in AZ…the only “weapon” prohibited and listed by name as such are karate sticks…and you can find those on the bottom shelves of glass display cases in any “smoke shop”. -30-

    • I have to carry a baton for work every day and it’s good for breaking glass or beating the crap out of anyone that comes near you when you’re surrounded in a riot situation (been there) but for one on one assailant I would not recommend it. You’d have to seriously train with it (like wayyy more than your average PD or mil unit) for that application and even then odds are by the time you get it out and extended your assailant will most likely have removed it from your hand and begun bludgeoning you to death with it. Plus you look like a toolbox carrying one. Just don’t.

  2. MMA or BJJ is better than a baton and even a knife if you have a gun anyway. Speaking generally. YMMV.

    • MMA & BJJ are not anywhere close to real life…nobody dies. Thinking they are any kind of equivalent to a down and dirty street fight will absolutely get you killed. Where are the 3 on 1 ambush in the dark parking garage or the bewildered person asking the time and grabbing your wrist while their partner chokes you out? Many modern names are used…changing names changes nothing…movies are pretty much bravo sierra, but carefully watch the prehistoric scene in 2001…Sure, most of us carry smart phones and wear shoes. The ape like creatures killed by ambush and with sticks. People making a living by complicating the basic make my old bones tired. If you have something to hit with, don’t foxtrot around, hit as effectively and as often as circumstances permit until your opponent is down, out and unable to continue their attack, then either run like hell or get your back against the nearest wall until the adrenaline settles down. Don’t let your guard down as rats travel and attack in packs. The prize for walking away from a killing encounter is your life. There is no sub-category for winning with the least amount of gear. Nobody ever walked away from a lethal encounter muttering to themselves, “Dang, I had too much gear”. -30-

      • A lot of great points, but just because martial arts can’t train you like a street-fight doesn’t mean it’s not helpful or effective. I also personally think having empty-handed skills is far more valuable than those flimsy batons.

        • It is neither helpful or effective. I’m not putting down the arts, I’ve shopped pretty much the whole franchise; boxing, judo, karate, hapkido…they all lull the student into believing there is order out in the street and serves to narrow perception. The world is random chaos, in order to survive this mix it is necessary to flow with the energy, not try to impose formalized tactics. The first and only time I got my clock well and truly cleaned was by this “old”, guy…his training was “gutter fighting”, (look it up) and surviving a war… afterwards…I didn’t get beat by somebody who knew the truth with a “T”, I got beat by an opponent with no quit in him. You don’t get there on the mat, you get there by knowing that it’s not win or lose, it’s live or die and as far as I know they don’t have a belt for that.-30-

        • Michael:
          It does not sound as if you’ve tried any of the Classical Martial Arts. I’ll bet you don’t even know what the differences between the Classical, the Traditional, and the Eclectic Martial Arts are…
          Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Explain the three to me in 6 sentences or less. You won’t be able to do it by cut and paste, so don’t even try… -30-

        • Most of the traditional arts taught today are for sport. Most have digressed to the point of wanting students and not teaching the original basics which was self defense. I currently study Krav Maga and Kali. Of the two I would recommend Kali for the average person. It is less impact and designed for simpler moves. It is blade based but uses sticks to learn the moves. There is not difference between stick, blade, or open hand moves. Just the distance. Also it is sudden and instant. No defense, just offense, counter offense, and re counter offense. You are training for combat after all. Great exercise as well. Most of the blade work in the mainstream styles are based on Kali flows. Just myh two cents.

        • Old AF: Krav Maga is pretty close to my style, a Classical one called: “Zenkoku Ryukyu Kempo Karate Kobudo Rengo Kai”. Its descendant is now known as Ryu Te, a lot less of a mouthful, but the original name had a real meaning. Its Okinawan for; The Ryukyu Islands Open Hand and Ancient Weapons Federation.
          Had Michael chosen to answer the challenge I would have accepted an answer as simple as; Prior to the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Traditional as taught from 1868-1945, and the modern, or eclectic, styles as taught after 1945. Naturally, there’s a lot more to it than that, but I could still say:
          “Classical is the way karate was taught prior to 1868, with the emphasis on actual combat techniques. Eclectic is the modern way of training, to win in a ring with rules and referees, with no training in actual combat techniques. And Traditional is as taught after the Meiji Restoration caused Japan to dictate that Karate training would henceforth consist of self discipline and the ‘spiritual’ ‘way’, of Karate rather than combat techniques.”
          That’s less than six sentences easily, but I left leeway, and many other wordings would have sufficed.
          Mine was a pretty safe bet, since the Traditional and Modern styles are virtually all that are left now, except for a very few of us with training in the actual combat techniques of the Old Ones. But they are worth seeking out. You’ll have to take my word on that, since there is no way to demonstrate through a keyboard. But they are pretty awesome……

      • This is kinda silly IMHO. All training, including with firearms, is then pointless because… nobody dies.

        The point of training is not to get used to killing and dying. Yes, there is the value of learning the physics of fighting, how to throw and take a punch, execute a throw or strangle someone quickly and efficiently. But the real value is that training like this is meant to get you used to operating under stress so that you do not panic because no matter how fancy your moves are they’re worth exactly nothing if you cannot deploy them because your brain just shut down. I’ve been involved in martial arts for most of my life and I can tell you with certainty that nothing is quite as disconcerting as someone twice your size crushing the air out of you for multiple minutes at a time. If they have any idea what they’re doing, and you don’t know what you’re doing, the effect is that you’re helpless and basically being constricted the same way a big snake eats a rodent. You’re fucked and not only do you know it but you get time to think about it. It sucks and it induces panic very rapidly. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a big component here.

        The argument that X art doesn’t work against Y number of people is also silly. I don’t care if the defender is Bruce motherfucking Lee, pile enough people up against him and he’s going to lose every time. Master Martial Artist vs. Street Mob and the outcome is all but certain. Multiple opponents and the odds are always in their favor. That doesn’t mean that you’re totally fucked in most cases but it does mean you have a hill to climb that they do not and no level/type of training is going to make fighting four people like fighting one. This is where cross training so you have a broader set of skills and experience matters because it gives you options.

        For example, the concept that BJJ is very limited is common but is mostly a misconception created by the UFC because of the way the commentators talk about what’s going on. Yes, BJJ is mostly a groundfighting art and supposedly 80% of street fights go to the ground. That said, the fight isn’t about “fighting on the ground” necessarily because someone put you there, but also knowing how to put THEM there and prevent yourself from being put there. As such, BJJ steals a lot of stuff from Judo and while groundfighting 2v1 is a losing battle it’s going to be 1v1 if you throw the first guy on the ground hard enough to shatter bones, which is exactly why BJJ snagged those throws from Judo: because it doesn’t matter how hard you are or how high you are when your spine is in a zillion pieces, you have a chunk of your rib inside your lung or are out cold. Many of those throws are simple to execute and, done properly and with gusto will put people into the ground at multiple times the force of gravity. They didn’t fall out of a plane from 1000 feet, they got shot into the ground by a cannon. If you did this on a hard surface and did so with intent to harm the chances they get back up are virtually nil. The chances they live are up in the air and depend on a lot of factors but the chances they become familiar with the folks working in the ICU are near 100% if they survive. One thing is pretty damn sure: they’re done fighting for the day. And that’s what we care about. The real upside of this is because of physics, small people without much physical power, like a 100lb girl can put a huge guy down for the count in a couple of seconds provided the girl knows what she’s doing.

        The other, IMHO, major benefit is how martial arts changes your overall point of view. After a while you start to look at the world differently in terms of timing, distance, personal space etc because you’re becoming aware of what you’re capable of and at what range which makes you start to think about what that guy over there might be capable of and at what range. It enhances your ability to use situational awareness because you start to think in “circles” of how far and how fast people can move based on having actually seen it repeatedly. Ba Gua calls this a “killer line” and it’s something everyone has. It’s the max distance at which I can reach out and touch you from our current positions in space. You have one too. If yours is larger and you’re aware of it you have an advantage that boxers call a “reach advantage”. Some people have a natural understanding of this while others have to learn it but once it’s understood and applied it makes you very difficult to land a punch on or get a hold of. You come in, hit them and are out again before they can respond. You see this talent with excellent boxers and Muy Thai folks. It’s lauded and for a damn good reason. Durability is great but that’s for if you make a mistake or they get lucky. Durability and being slippery is better because you rarely have to take the damage to dish it out. Not only are you prettier at the end but you run a lot less chance of taking a lucky shot that puts you down.

        Finally, if you think a school is lulling you into thinking there is order in a fight then the issue isn’t the art but the school. This is “McDojo” teaching and it’s really not useful or the school focuses only on competition. A school that’s focused more on self-defense will not do this. Example: Ask a BJJ school about “dirty jiu jitsu”. If they don’t know what that is or say something about how that’s not right, walk away if self-defense is your gig here. They’re either a McDojo or they focus almost exclusively on competition JJ. Neither is useful for your preferred application.

  3. The overwhelming number of places I might venture into that will not allow me to carry my firearm will also not allow knives or an Asp-type weapon, either. I’m hoping my own mindset to try to survive will help me a lot- I can run very well if the threat isn’t all that close. Close quarters I wouldn’t worry about picking up whatever is near by to use as a weapon, nor would I (I hope) worry about grabbing, gouging, kicking, biting or anything else if I feel my life is in danger. Violence of action is a surprising thing to a lot of bullies and miscreants- something entirely unexpected. I’ve always felt that if I was going down anyway, it may as well be fighting as best as I can.

  4. If you’re defensless or can’t handle a situation without a gun, you’ve got some serious coping issues.

    • Not sure what “coping skill” short of your own firearm is going to stop a killer armed with a firearm.

      • Lots of things. Improvise. If you can’t survive out in the world without a gun for self defense you have some issues a gun wont fix.

        • I survived “out in the world” for 50 years or so before I bought my first firearm. I have never been attacked, mugged or even just beat up in a bar brawl. So unless you live in a bad neighborhood, or like to hang out in such places, the odds of actually needing a firearm are pretty small in this country.

  5. I have a knife on me while at work since I can’t carry a firearm there.

    Since I work in an office environment, I’m very aware of the items that are within reach from my chair that can be used as weapons if needed.

    As an example – to my right, I have access to a letter opener, pencils and pens, chopsticks (yes, chopsticks), a coffee mug, as well as my Whataburger Yeti tumbler. To my left, I have two small American flags, some more pens, a stapler and a tape dispenser.

    It’s important to know what you have available and REMEMBER that you have it available.

  6. A folder is a joke for in the moment defense. Been there, know for a fact its utterly useless.

    There is no substitute for a fixed blade or even a switch blade. I don’t need to be fumbling about trying to open a folder, I need BOOM! KNIFE! instantly when I get my hand on it. A fixed blade is handy in the left hand or right hand.

    No seriously, a letter opener or even a big ass ring is going to be more useful in the heat of the moment than a folder.

    • Sounds like your only experience with folding knives has been with garbage ones. There are plenty that can easily and quickly be flipped open with one hand. There are also spring assisted knives

      • “Sounds like your only experience with folding knives has been with garbage ones. ”

        I don’t care how high speed/low drag your folder is, a fixed blade wins every time over a folder. An auto knife, while more reliable to deploy (and hence, faster) is good, it’s still not as fast as a fixed blade.

        However, for some folks, the auto knife is a good trade-off for concealability/comfort vs. speed of deployment.

        I’ve been to a number of knife classes (by Tarani, and others) and learned a thing or two. I much prefer a gun for self-defense, but up close, counter-knife skills can help save your life. What’s more, many of them work for blocking punches and stick defense as well.


        ETA: Most people have never tried to deploy a folder when someone is beating the hell out of them. Or trying to snatch their carry piece. Or choking them out.

    • That inability to handle a folder while riding a massive shot of adrenaline is a known issue for a lot of people. It’s been covered over on Breach, Bang Clear as well.

      The guys who really, really study knife work say it’s common to miss on opening a flipper when it really matters. This can be trained around but unless you have a reason or a serious interest in knife fighting it’s generally easier to swap knife type than to train to use a folder.

      Their opinion is that the ability to open the knife is compromised not just by adrenaline but also the statistical chances around the situation which are that by the time you realize you need the knife you’re already wrapped up with the person because you were either taken by surprise or had another problem, such as your gun took a shit while someone charged you, which is why using the knife is even on the table.

      A lot of the stats they work with are from LE, so I’m not sure how applicable they are if you’re just a CCW holder. My personal experience says that knife attacks are basically random in location, so it’s worth a look I suppose.

      Generally, I’d say the advice to run from a knife is good advice. Make dat space. OTOH, I will say that in both encounters I’ve had like this, the person enraged enough to attack with a knife is not going to just stand there if you run. My experience is entirely anecdotal though and in neither case was it a “Give me your wallet” kind of thing, they were high on meth or something and completely bonkers. Running would have only move the situation to another location and limited my cardio capacity to boot.

      My personal advice would be: If you can avoid a knife fight/attack, do so at all costs. If you need to defend yourself with a knife, go fucking bonkers. Random, unbridled aggression wielding a blade is difficult for anyone to deal with.

  7. There’s always that saying there mind is the greatest weapon… Mostly I guess you need the will and skill to survive and counter attack with speed and violence, with whatever weapons you have access to. Guns, knives, batons, pepper spray, tasers, stun guns, sticks, bricks, bottles, whatever you can find.

    Regardless of skill and weapons someone may well get the jump on you before you can respond, so there are no guarantees. But at least giving yourself some chance of defense seems better than none at all.

    Body armor isn’t a bad idea either, in a bagpack, satchel, brief case, etc, or your vest if you want to schlep that around. Maybe being able to absorb a few rounds while either fleeing or counterattacking would come in handy, but who can say… Chances are you don’t need anything, until suddenly and violently, you do…

    • The mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool. Was told this a long time ago by a martial arts instructor.

  8. My quick wit and charming personality are my primary weapon, my breath is #2, and last resort is the glock22 or the M47

  9. As Craig in Iowa stated, almost all (if not all) of the places that forbid handguns also forbid knives and batons.

    On the extremely rare occasion that I go someplace which does not allow knives, batons, nor firearms, I carry a sturdy wooden cane. That is a far more valuable and effective self-defense weapon than knives and telescoping batons. More importantly, no one can ban them, period.

    Please note that knives and sturdy canes are only effective for self-defense against attackers who do not have firearms.

    • “Please note that knives and sturdy canes are only effective for self-defense against attackers who do not have firearms.”

      In untrained hands, yeah, for the most part you’re right.

      With a modicum of training, at under 6′, the knife is every bit as good as a gun. Some might say even better. And don’t assume because some criminal has a blade that he or she are ignorant in its use. Much as America has a gun culture, the rest of the world has a knife culture.

      The knife is meant to be felt, not seen (like a gun).

  10. Baton are illegal to carry in Texas. Yep, Texas.

    I have written and personally spoken with my Texas State Reps and Senator about this and the interest level is low. Weapons that cause pain, WITHOUT significant long-term damage or death, like a properly used ASP baton are the best fight stoppers. Smack someone in the hand or elbow or collar bone (one of my faves) and see how enthusiastic they are to continue with these bones fractured or broken.

    In the VERY good video on knife fighting techniques, permanent and grievous bodily damage, though not necessarily life threatening damage, still has to be done to stop the fight, much less perhaps, but much like firearms usage. Also, if it is me with the baton or in this case short crowbar or tire iron, I will get at leaste one blow in, I promise.

    Rob Pincus is a waste of video and my time. He is a stuffed shirt taking people’s money in return for very little or nothing.

    • True. A year from now nobody will care or remember what weapons were used, only who lived and who died.-30-

      • Been shot and stabbed (well, slashed), also combat wounded (OEF), but never dead 😉

        • And I’ll bet you remember real well what weapon was used also, despite the claims of those( like Michael) who don’t know any better!

  11. Although I simply have ignored signs that say I can’t carry in a particular place for decades. I also know that without the instinct to kill without thought or remorse any tool can quickly become useless. So no I’m never defenseless regardless of the tools available. Because I know if need be I can and will fight with whatever is available. That mindset has served me well for many years and saved my ass several times.

  12. Way back when I frequented some really bad places in Chiraq. Completely unarmed except for my 19″ arms and great strength. Got in some scrapes with various brown and white boyz. I won…now I get Medicare. I’m old. I always have a SabreRed peppergel thing & a folding knife. And an axe and some more stuff in my car. It is amusing all the comments I see about how horrible Chicago is…man up😏

  13. Knives as a weapon are about as dangerous to the person holding them as the person on the other end unless there is a LOT of training involved. Getting into a knife fight is a very bad time. I’d rather take my chances running for cover if I’m not cornered.

    Batons are a legal quagmire because of the gray area between lethal and less lethal force unless you have certifications you can show the jury. Difficult to conceal a real baton (as opposed to a mall-ninja one that won’t crush a fly without breaking).

    Pepper spray… not as legally perilous, can work, but isn’t a magic wand and takes a few seconds to have any effect. Small and unobtrusive.

    Taser (actual taser that shoots barbs): when it works, works very well. Tough to train with it though. Fairly simple (point and shoot). Still banned in some places but the courts are striking down such laws. Expensive but will go down in price.

    Stun guns: Pointless except all but the least determined attacker. Useful if some dude refuses to stop pawing you at the bar.

    I’d recommend basic self-defense skills (pick your favorite martial art) over most options. If I had to I’d go with taser or pepper spray. I carry a knife but it’s meant to cut cake because I have just enough experience seeing the results of knife fights to know I don’t want to be in one and if I really need to use it it’ll be because I’m on the ground and I just need to stick the pointy end in the person strangling me.

    • The first time someone trying to kill you must realize that you are defending yourself with a knife is when you pull it out of them. Lots of “bravo sierra”, knife fighter training out there. On the the job training is the only sure way of learning anything. Second sure way is having a WW2, UDT, Pacific Theater veteran for an uncle. When I was 12 years old he explained to me that my mother was his favorite sister and he didn’t ever want to have to tell her why I didn’t get home. I ALWAYS get home! Uncle Dave, thank you, …really miss you. -30-

  14. In Pennsylvania 18 PACS 908 specifically outlaws batons, metal knuckles, saps, or similar sand bag type weapons, and switchblades among many other things. A folding knife is fine, even spring assisted, but most of the places here where guns are prohibited also prohibit knives. Major sports and concert venues, courts at all levels, federal buildings, and airports come to mind. You might walk into a public school with a knife to get your kid. But then some have metal detectors so maybe not.

    • Interestingly, in Philadelphia, if you have a LTCF, you can legally carry a gun but you can’t legally carry a knife (unless it’s a tool needed for your job). The don’t really enforce that, though. Seem to use it as an add-on if someone is busted for something else.

      • Most BS laws are. Something they can use to get you to admit to something you didnt do.

  15. More than once in the Bahamas a knife was the only defense I had. All were successful. Only because the bad guy didn’t have a firearm. Friend of mine toured Europe with an ASP. Convinced coustoms it was a mono-pod for a camera.

  16. Just heard a commercial on the radio about some folding baton thing for chicks. Like it was better than a gun(!)…you don’t want to get that close to a rapist or a thief!

  17. Training could be a problem.

    Luckily, Arya Stark has explained the finer details of defense with a blade.

    “Stick them with the pointy end”.

      • Swords are very effective defensive weapons, even if you really don’t know what you are doing. A college kid living off campus from Johns Hopkins (Baltimore) was checking his garage after a burglary, carrying his trusty “sword like object” Katana. The burglar, still present, tried to attack him, but instead took the full downward force of the blade on his collar bone. It went deep enough to sever his aorta.

        Swords provide distance if you are using the pointy end, and cutting force if you are unfortunate enough to get really really close. A proper sword (post-Viking era) will pierce a human body with very little force unless it hits bone, and even then, can slam right through that as well. After all, they were blades designed to pierce chain mail. (Just received a new one in the mail today!)

        Unless you have trained and have expertise, do NOT get in a knife fight with someone armed with a knife. One or both of you will get cut. One or both of you may die. If you have no choice, try to disguise the fact that you even have a knife, so that your attacker first learns about it when it is too late. Try and attack the face and the neck if available.

  18. Nice collection of knives in photo. I really want a ZT.
    I carry a knife, a Kershaw Leek, I use it many times a day. Can operate it to open & close blind folded. Yes I trained w/knives in the military, and used them in same. I will not tell someone not to carry a knife. As above young women are at the greatest risk. ALL women should carry a knife IMO. I.E. The wife was in an area where her gun had to stay in the vehicle. Meeting let out after dark near the mission district. On her way to the vehicle a creepy person started to follow her. She deployed her knife w/3 1/2″ blade and creepy person crossed the street and went away. Yes even “untrained” a knife is a game changer.
    I am somewhat disabled and can justify a cane, I have a few that are just clubs in disguised as canes.

  19. ‘ ‘Cause I’m a karate man! And a karate man bruises on the inside! That’s called the “quart of blood” technique. You do that, a quart of blood will drop out of a man’s body.”

    Billy Ray Valentine

  20. Most people…even those comfortable with firearms….maybe, especially those comfortable with firearms..would be adroit in responding to a knife attack/club attack with a knife.

    Knives require an understanding that you need to be CLOSER to be effective, when every fiber of your being is telling you to get away.

    So a firearm allows you to act with distance to threats and maintain some deliberate calmness.

    When using a knife against a knife, you have accept that are probably going to be cut and stabbed viciously.

    If facing a club or other impact weapon….bones will likely be broken.

    If facing a firearm….well shit.

    I would say most people would be better off with a stick/cane/bat as they are probably more familiar with them. Next would be any heavy object that can be swung or poked.

    You are far from defenseless without a gun….but you are a definite disadvangage.

    • “When using a knife against a knife, you have accept that are probably going to be cut and stabbed viciously.”

      I know nothing about knife fighting, but I’ve heard it said that the key is to first accept you will get cut, then make it so the cut you take isn’t in a critical area, while the cut the other guy takes is. Seems perfectly reasonable as a strategy, but I have no idea how you make it happen tactically.

      • You so what you know to do and hope it works, cause it happens at 100 mph.

        • Ha…..I did escrima and hapkido in my salad days….good stuff for sure.

          But the education comes when someone attacks you with a knife or in my case an ice pick when you think its a fist fight.

          There’s a big difference between being threatened with a knife and attacked with a knife.

          Hard to stop a determined knife attack without taking some damage. YMMV.

      • As horrid as it sounds, the way you do that tactically is to take it square on the blocking part of the forearm. Feed your arm directly into it as the attacker commences. The front part of the forearm, where you learned to block strikes with if you were taught correctly(inside block, outside block, upward, or downward, it’s all the same), contains no vital blood vessels, or any other parts you cannot live without. It’s just skin and bones.
        When your forearm takes the cut, the knife will stick into the bone. Ever butcher some kind of a mammal, like a deer or a cow, and missed while deboning? Hit a bone with the edge and it stuck there until you could pry it out? Just like that. While your attacker is trying to get his knife out of your forearm, that gives you a good couple of seconds to destroy him with your other hand.
        Which, if you have the training to deliberately take the knife cut in the first place, ought to be a great plenty.

  21. Knives are close range weapons. Own a bunch of them, but easily defeated with the correct weapon. Remember the first one pulled on me. Buster. Tharp. We were seventeen. I countered with my Grandpa’s old hickory cane. He threw down the knife and ran away. With a really big black eye. Taught me something about knife fighting., Distance. Last time I saw a knife I showed him a 1911. I won that one too.

  22. Staying fit is my first line of defense.
    Trying to stay out of situations where a blade, gun or other weapon is necessary is my second line.

    My hiney is headin’ for the hills, if possible. I’ll have to rely on my firearm if it isn’t.

  23. This goes back to WW2, OSS/SOE unofficial but fully accepted doctrine. Getting caught was not part of the plan and even in war time a dead body in the wrong place or at the wrong time can be… problematic ; “If he throws a haymaker, I’ll use boxing, if he tries to box, I’ll use judo, if he tries judo, I’ll use karate…if he pulls a knife, I’ll kill him…”winners go home and make babies with the Prom Queen”.-30-

  24. Nope.

    Know Muay Thai and BJJ.

    Nothing more pleasing than cracking a face with an elbow and choking someone out watching them suffocate, and your only other thought is “I told you this wasn’t a good idea”.

  25. Montana allows concealed carry of a CSB (Collapsible Steel Baton) if you have a Montana CWP (Concealed Weapon Permit)…the fly in the ointment is that CSB’s are prohibited in the same places that firearms are prohibited…Post Office, Schools, courts, Federal, State, County or local government buildings.

    OTOH…I laugh when I see someone open-carrying a firearm in an REI store…it drives the granolas working there nuts (so to speak).

  26. There is basically no such thing in our legal system as lawful self defense with a knife. The amount of damage necessary to stop a determined attacker by using a folding knife will horrify any jury into convicting you, whatever the circumstances. We have a cultural allowance for self-defense using firearms. That allowance does not extend to knives.

    It’s an unfair double standard, but it’s one you should think hard about before you say “pfft, I’ll just stab the guy, it’s the same thing”. No, it isn’t. Ask Varg Freeborn.

  27. I’m a huge believer in pepper spray for its versatility and stand-off distance range, but I also carry a knife at all times. I lost my 18-year old Browning folder due to a worn rubber clip this past weekend at NRA AM. On Kat Ainsworth’s recommendation I bought a Bear & Son spring assist open knife for a reasonable price. Knives are good tools to have in any situation, not just as a backup weapon.

  28. I’ve trained Filipino martial arts for a few years and am pretty confident with a knife or a baton, but honestly if something happens that close and that fast, the first thing I’m going to deploy is going to be my steel toed shoes; legal everywhere, impossible to disarm and use against you, and essentially brass knuckles for your feet. I can’t think of anything else as discrete, even the strictest of offices isn’t going to bat an eye at you for wearing them (they even make sneakers and loafers with steel toes), and kicking doesn’t take a lot of fine motor skills under stress, just remember to keep them low.

    • Funny you should mention using your steel toed boots/shoes to kick an aggressor. I had some martial arts training in the 80’s. Mostly in street fighting techniques. My sinsei always used to say. Make your fist strike a well placed kick. Most aggressors are looking at your face and hands. They aren’t expecting an attack from the feet. Just remember once the fight is on. Make damn sure you’re the only one that walks away.

  29. If you have a jacket, grab it by the collar and swing it so it wraps around your forearm. The draping part can be used to entangle a knife blade. Once upon a time men did this with capes. Tuck your arm into the front/side of your body and use it as a shield for your abdomen. Keep your chin tucked in to protect the throat.

  30. Kenneth, you’re so right. I don’t know how to compare and contrast the different fighting styles. I learned to box from one of my uncles so his son would be able to practice for Golden Gloves. My judo is strictly of the plain vanilla YMCA type. A few years ago I lost my footing in a foyer of a house with a full finished basement. I don’t, to this day know exactly happened but I went down around twelve feet, never hit a stair step and rolled when I came to a stop. My friends all came running down after me. I was already back on my feet. I can only figure all of years of being thrown around the various dojos paid off in really, really knowing how to land. Mr. George Pesare supplied the ultimate definition of karate toughness, one of his female students got her green belt. They all walked together to the parking lot and he noticed the laundry baskets in the back of her car. He asked. And she told him that she was happy she earned her belt but she really had to do her laundry before she went home…as for the rest, I guess all I know about Eclectic is that everywhere I’ve gone, and I’ve been around, I’ve learned a little something different, the stuff that worked for me I’ve retained. I still like to fight. I like to hit and I don’t mind somebody trying to hit back. The purpose of shooting is hitting your target where you want to hit it. For me, the purpose of fighting is winning. Whether or not you want it to, any fight can turn into a fight to the death. I’ve seen it happen more often than I like to remember. I can respect all of the people that I’ve trained with and fought with over the years. I just want to pass along some of what I’ve been taught. If I’ve posted anything that has accidently offended anyone, I apologize. If I posted something that just flat out offended someone…I probably meant it. -30-

    • Oh, I’m not taking any offense. You sound to me like someone really looking around and yet not finding exactly what you’re looking for. I’m trying to help. And if you’ve been through a lot of styles, you’ve probably noticed, ALL of them have little nuggets of truth, but mostly buried in a lot of what I call “filler”. The stuff they add in because its fancy, looks cool, will get you a point in a game, etc. They feel the need to add in SOMETHING to make up for all the stuff they’ve forgotten.
      All styles come from basically the same two, way back when(Okinawan Karate or Chinese Kung Fu), and so all of them contain the same old techniques. They are there in the Katas, and that’s why the Katas are all so similar, regardless of style. But they are buried and hidden, because they were one’s life in the old days, and not to be shared with just anyone. Thus they were easy to forget, and with Japan outlawing the real studies in 1868, today they are all but forgotten. The modern styles came about after WW2 as some the US garrison forces in Japan watched the Japanese practicing and wanted to learn for themselves. So the Japanese watered it down, showing nothing of reality, and just took their money. We WERE the enemies that had just destroyed their entire country, after all.
      But there are still some around that haven’t forgotten, and not just in Ryu Te. If there is no such dojo around in your area(Ryu Te is rare), I’d recommend going to every one available to you, but only as an observer. Sit quietly and watch a class. Observe whether they ask the students anything about Katas, mention technique in a deeper way than just weapons and targets, etc. To throw a punch or kick is NOT a technique. To block a shot is not one either. They are in there, but few will recognize this.
      I obviously cannot train you over the internet, but any potential class you might wish to become a part of should look something akin to this:
      Note the instructor creating very careful body and limb positioning. Note the way the instructor is showing how the movements in the Kata can be used against a real(yet still simulated for a class) threat. In a very basic form here, OFC. Its a child’s class.
      I’ll give away a little secret here… Ask the potential instructor of a class you’re interested in; “how many steps are in a technique?” If he says; “three”, he knows his subject. If he says; “Nine”, he would be more correct, but probably a good instructor would be withholding that from a beginner because it opens a rather large can of worms that is rather confusing until the student is well along the line, and discovering ways to use the Kata movements himself, without being shown them.
      If he says something akin to; “Two. A block and a counter”, you want a different instructor. These are the type who say they have thrown away the “dancing” because they focus on real fighting instead. The dangerously ignorant(at least to their students), no matter how many they can gather, or how much money they make, or claim to make.

  31. This is why my key chain is a monkey fist. Whacking someone with a 1″ steel ball bearing should buy me time to get a couple steps and run or draw. I carry a knife but I don’t really plan on fighting with it. I’d much rather have a sword. Same with Kung Fu and Akido. Use it to get distance, then ventilate.

    At times I am not permitted to carry, I do take my rock hammer along in the car. My degree is in Geology so it’s a valid reason to have it. Plus to identify you need a fresh surface to see, which requires a hammer. I’ve always hated fisticuffs and much prefer fighting from a distance.

  32. The 2nd Amendment is our “weapons permit”! It’s fine time we all band together to reassert our constitutional rights! Take back what our government (on all levels) and our law enforcement (who seam to have forgotten how to uphold the US Constitution-Bill of Rights.)

  33. +1 on falling. (That doesn’t sound right.)

    At least 5 times now the falling responses from throwing practice decades ago have spared me terrible injury. The most recent I recall only realizing something had happened as I noticed that energy-washed buzzing sting filling both arms.

    Back’s off the ground. Head tucked. Last reflections of a big “thwap” going silent. Dude, you went over…

    Front fall, back fall, tuck and roll out (in a parking lot in Bulgaria, among others: frakking post-Soviet pot holes.) 4-5 points in order they teach as airborn landing.

    For the klutz brigade getting some sense of movement n yr body in space also works like a power-up. Or un power-down.

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