Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lack of Realistic Training in today’s Defensive Knife Courses

Defensive knife tactics are an underrated necessary skill. In today’s world where the criminal is better trained and more determined than ever before, one must be skilled both physical and mentally to face these new challenges and go home at the end of each day. In order for someone to acquire these skills, one must seek out and train with instructors which teach effective, real world defensive techniques.

Today’s defensive community is plagued with unrealistic training techniques as well as unproven training techniques. Many instructors teach techniques which are ineffective in real life street fights. These techniques are praised upon by the instructors, yet students have absolutely no way of determining if these techniques are really effective. This is extremely dangerous as the student may depend on these skills one day to save their life, or the life of a friend or partner.

Students must understand that techniques that look ‘devastating’ in a dojo, in a training video or on TV may not work on the street. Attacks on the street are fast, furious, and the attacker is determined to either hurt you, or kill you.

Most trainers will pair up students, each knowing when to attack and how to attack. Then, both students move slowly so that each student has time to move and to react. This is great for basic training when understanding the fundamentals of a technique is essential; however, to train for ‘real life survival’, this training MUST escalate to unknown, full speed attacks.

Most techniques seen in today’s defensive courses depend on either fine motor skills, which are seriously depleted when your heart starts racing, or the student must practice the technique for years to acquire proficiencies because the technique requires a sequence of steps, and the student must perform each and every step in order for the technique to be performed correctly.

Students must understand that when faced with a Real Attack, when the attacker actually wants to hurt you, or kill you, that you must act fast, without remorse, and which ever technique, or techniques you use must immediately stop the attack.

Your heart will be racing, your blood pressure will increase dramatically, and your body will go through many changes. Some of these changes include; a reduction in your vision, loss of hearing, and most importantly, your ability to think and manipulate your extremities. If you are surprised and caught off guard, you will not have time to think, only time to react.

This is why highly effective and proven techniques are so important. The techniques must be simple, and must be engrained through repetitive practice, both physically and mentally, so if you are ever attacked, you won’t need to think, because you’ll already be reacting.

Proving that techniques are effective is especially true when learning techniques against edged weapons. Edged weapons are extremely dangerous and applying techniques that simply don’t work is a tactical liability, and can get you and others killed.

Several years ago I started substituting rubber training knifes for large Crayola Markers. These markers would leave a colored mark on the attacked if the defensive technique wasn’t applied correctly. This was a great way of training, however, the markers were constantly breaking, and wasn’t professional looking, or effective as a reality based training tool, as markers do not feel or act the same way as a blade. Only the tip of the marker would leave a mark, where a blade has an edge as well as a point, letting it cut in many directions.

I then tried using chalk on the edge of training knifes, which worked similar to using markers, but the mark was hard to see and needed to be re-applied to the blades constantly.

Then I read an article about Hank Hayes and No Lie Blades, a company which manufactures training knife and provides tactical combat training to Military, Law Enforcement and civilians there training knives use ink or paint on their felt lined knifes that leaves marks, much like what I was use to. I went to there website at, I found it very informative and quite different from many other websites. Their training knifes looked professional, and the marks that were seen in the article left no doubt that the knife made contact and a defensive technique in fact failed. I called No Lie Blades and reached Hank Hayes the CEO and ordered two of their ‘Standard Series, Double Edged Knife kits’.

I received the No Lie Blades several days later, along with two instructional knife defense DVD’s and several tubes of lipstick. That same week I held a Defensive Knife Course. Before class started, I prepped the knives as stated in the directions. I was extremely impressed with both the quality of the No Lie Blade training knives as well as the incredible deep red (blood like) mark that these training blades left. There was no doubt when the blade made contact. It was also possible to clean the felt and use them as regular training knifes without them leaving their mark on the defender.

During class I noticed an immediate change in the student’s attitude as they were amazed with the product as well, and they simply hated getting marked by them. Several of the students have had defensive knife instruction before, from another instructor, and realized that they had a lot more to learn than they had previously thought. This made the student try much harder ‘Not’ to get marked. The students moved faster, and they took training more seriously. The students seemed to learn the techniques much faster than with previous training blades.

The No Lie Blades training knives greatly enhanced my combat skills and helped provide the immediate proof that the students needed. I have purchased several more of these training knives from No Lie Blades and use them religiously in my training curriculums. These are high quality training knifes, easy to use, feels great in the hands and there mark leaves no doubt that they made contact, these blades DO NOT LIE.

Ron Lauinger
LMI Inc Specializes in Tactical Marksmanship and Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Instruction.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Defending the committed knife weapons attack.

This interactive training session is written and designed for operators who are in the face of life threatening situations on a daily basis or those that find the need to be prepared for these situations. This session is targeted to what happens on the streets with an edged weapons attacker who is committed, has a volatile temper and great intent.

In any area of life that we plan to gain funct-ional skill we must execute three key basic points.

1 Know what your up against.
2 Have some way to measure your progress.
3 Find what works and build on that skill set.

We found that after years of experience with Military, Law Enforcement and street combatives, there is a generally held belief that a person armed with a knife is less dangerous than a person armed with a firearm. Unfortunately until the operator is properly trained, experiences first hand or has a partner or team member wounded or killed by a knife attacker does this belief change.

In photo A1 you can see Hank Hayes addressing questions and educating this Military command
with the true dangers of an edged weapons attack, several different psychology and teaching methods are used to successfully achieve this.

In photo A2 you can see students using a marking training knife to identify and remember the impact of their injuries, these marks can also be seen in several other photos.

In photo A3 we can see the grim reality and aftermath of a committed knife attack. Notice the injury to lower left abdominal area, this officer had two children that will not grow up knowing their mom. To assist in this area of belief development I would suggest that you answer several questions. This will open the door to a stronger correct belief about edged weapons defense.

1 Have you ever been attacked by someone committed to killing you with a knife?
2 Have you ever been attacked by a committed attacker hell bent on beating the snot out of you?
3 Have you seen first hand what a body looks like after being
stabbed, hacked, and slashed multiple times?
4. Do you know how much blood you can lose before you lose hand and eye coordination, before you get dizzy and pass out, before you die?

Once you’ve answered these question’s you’ll be on your way to achieving the necessary groundwork for developing a solid edged weapons skills program.
Now lets look at what we’re up against. In photo sequence B you can see that the student to the right Cpl. Ramos is being drawn into the lead hand diversion and attack from Ssgt. McCarty, this is sometime referred to as an invisible deployment. Lets walk through each frame. In photo B1 Ssgt. McCarty has a sideways stancemaking it extremely difficult for Cpl. Ramos to see the knife on has attackers right rear side.
In photo B2 Ssgt. McCarty advances forward with a eye gouge/eye poke attack, these type of attacks when successful produces a visceral reaction that we as humans can not prevent. In photo B3 Ssgt. McCarty takes advantage of Cpl. Ramos and attacks viciously the abdominal and spleen area while still applying the eye attack. In photo B4 Ssgt. McCarty finishes his attack by ripping through everything in his path in one stroke. Notice
the mark on the students body which clearly show the damage area’s. The marking process is key to the learning phase, it visually links the lethality component to direct action.

Now that we’ve addressed knowing what your up against and have someway of measuring your progress. We’ll look at a few tactics that if used correctly can assist greatly in neutraliz-ing the edged weapons attack.

In photo sequence C Hank Hayes is coaching two military combat instructors in neutralizat-ion exercises.
In photo C1 the engagement starts, this time Cpl. Ramos on right knows better and in photo C2 immediately creates gap space, which equals
time. In photos C3-5 you can see Cpl. Ramos still creating space while picking up his closest weapons of opportunity (WOO), dirt. Again using targets that when hit will cause a visceral response Cpl. Ramos uses his WOO to achieve this response as seen in photo C6&7.

One of the great benefits in training with a proven Instructor or system is combat experience. We know that all people must react in some way to visceral reactive targets. In photo C8 Cpl. Ramos takes advantage of this
window of time and rushes in trapping the blade arm and attacking the throat or eye region as seen in photo C9. In photo C10 the attacker is using his right arm so Cpl. Ramos tracks to outside range maintaining contact pressure with the knife possessing arm, raking the face while moving to the outside range as seen in C11. In photo C12 Cpl. Ramos maintains control of the knife possessing arm pulling the attacker off balance while still attacking the eyes. This attack will be completely neutralized when Cpl.Ramos puts attacker on his back or disengages and gets to his firearm.

In this short contextual training segment we covered the very important need to know what your up against. Not knowing would be like going on a blind date, what’s this person going to be like, what’s this person going to look like and most important what’s this person going to smell like? To many unknowns these unknowns set fear, hesitation and so many other disempowering factors into motion. Which generally result in bad actions, for our purposes can mean death - Not good.
We looked at having some way to monitor and measure your progress, this would be
like going to school and not getting grades, we must have some way memorable to measure our progress that accurately records information. In our case a marking tool of some sort.

Finding what works can be tricking, because if you don’t know what your up against and
you don’ have a way to monitor your progress you can easy be faked out. Go out and do the homework, then get a marking devise.

When your not marked on the vitals your grades are going up. Stay Safe.

Author Hank Hayes is high risk senior level instructor for several US government branches and hundreds of Law Enforcement agencies he be can reached at, email at