Today’s blog post is not for the faint of heart. We will be discussing some gory details as it relates to knife fights. If you want to know the do’s and don’ts then keep reading, there’s a lot of good information in store for you.
Michael Janich is the developer of Martial Blade Concepts, a self-defense regimen that incorporates Filipino martial arts to efficiently stop attackers with a knife and specifically targets common knife fight mistakes and corrects them.
Michael says that when using a knife for self-defense, it is important to not try to kill an attacker, as many people believe. Rather, it is advised to quickly hurt the attacker, stunning them so you have the opportunity to evade the danger.
If you’re using a knife for self-defense, it means you fear for your life and you can legally justify why you brought the knife into play. In that type of situation, you could be up close and personal with the assailant and they too could have a weapon.
If your attacker has a weapon in hand, Michael doesn’t suggest going for a hard-to-reach organ like the heart, instead, cut tendons in the arm. If you cut away at the muscles and tendons in someone’s arm or leg, they can’t hold the weapon or stand up, giving you the chance to escape the situation. Attacking the person’s body is a classic knife fight mistake.
Check out this transcript from a call I had with Michael and hear it from Michael Janich himself.
Michael: When you look at realistic self-defense, for example, in the shooting community, they always talk about stopping power with the firearm side. That is the accepted goal in the responsible ethical use of self-defense.
When you shoot somebody, you’re not trying to kill. You’re certainly applying lethal force but your goal is to make the attacker stop. In many cases, people are defending themselves in an inefficient way that leaves them exposed to danger for a very long period of time.
There are tremendous misconceptions about the stopping power of a knife. Actually, a coworker wrote a book called Contemporary Knife Targeting and it disproves a lot of the myths that surround knife use as far as how long it takes somebody to bleed unconscious or bleed to death, even when a major artery is severed.
The bottom line is, if you’re fighting with a knife, look at the legal requirements. The reason you’re using a knife is that you can testify lethal force was required given that situation. That means if you’re in fear for your life or you’re in fear of bodily injury.
What that means is you’re now at contact distance with somebody else that also has a deadly weapon. Somebody is trying to beat your head in with a hammer or stick, brick, bottle, a board, whatever it is. You’re now fighting at arm’s length with legal weapons. If you say one of the typical things is you’re going to cut the neck because you’re going to target the carotid artery.
If you cut the carotid artery, the person has to lose 30% of their total blood volume to bleed to unconsciousness. The carotid artery, the common carotid carries 7.5% of your blood flow. If you severed the carotid artery, you would have a maximum heart rate of about 240 beats per minute. The average person can take about a minute and 15 seconds to bleed to unconsciousness. That’s a long time when somebody’s swinging a tire iron at you.
Me: Yeah, especially when there’s adrenaline involved and everything else. It’s not like you make that slice and then the guy drops. Although this is gruesome, I suppose very important to consider, somebody can still be bludgeoning the heck out of you as they’re bleeding out because they’ve still got gas in the tank so to speak.
Michael: Exactly, there’s enough oxygen in their brain, enough blood volume still left in their system to carry oxygen to the brain to allow them to stay conscious for a period of time. If you look at the traditional Filipino martial arts, one of the things you’ll hear reference to is what they call defanging the snake.
In Filipino martial arts, they consider the hand that holds the weapon to be like a snake and the weapon to be the fang of the snake. For self-defense all you need to do is defang the snake, AKA get rid of the attacker’s weapon.
What’s interesting in Filipino martial arts is that it’s basically a battlefield for tribal arts. They’ll defang the snake, disarm the other person, and then they’ll follow up with killing strikes. If you do that in self-defense, you may have something that is extremely effective in the traditional system of martial arts that will also send you to prison because as soon as you disable that person, they’re going to walk or leave the threat.
The support for your use of deadly force can disappear when the knife is taken. Now you have a weapon and training and they do not. It’s a coin flip at this point that if you go on offense that you’ll have a legally justifiable defense.
The hardest part can be finding the right knife to use. There are so many out there on the market, all with very different advantages. Not all knives are meant for self defense and I would personally hate for you to be caught with the wrong knife during an attack. My personal recommendation is a classic Stiletto blade. The design is as old as time and was even used by the Italian mob, so you know this style must be good if even they used it! If you’d like to get your very own, I have worked out a special deal with Steel River to get your first Stiletto at a heavily discounted price. If you are interested, just click the button below and claim your discount.