23 April, 2012

Knife Fighting in Karate?

I read a great article today over at the Prevail Training blog about Knife Fighting versus Knife Defense.  I have capitalized those words because in the article a very good point about how this is treated in martial arts circles is made.

Article here.

I got me thinking a bit about what a karate response to a knife attack would be.  Always more questions without answer, but I believe each one leads closer to the answer of what is the spirit of my practice.


  1. good link... would like to hear further thoughts about karate on your part, too.

  2. I'm of the opinion that for realistic knife survival training, there are only so many things you can hope to do. I see the lines blurred, there are no Karate, or Jiu Jitsu etc. exclusive responses. There are a few key things to consider, regardless of style. I did a series on knife survival very much in line with the thoughts posted on Prevail Training if you're interested.

  3. @jc

    This has been what I have been thinking about. I have read discussions, seen videos, and practised different techniques in different ways according to the school they are from, highlighting the differences in the reactions and intent of each school in the same situation. I find myself wondering "What is the intent behind karate techniques? Can it be said to have a unifying mental intent? Or are they a collection of techniques with a similar flavour but radically different approaches?" The latter would make reverse engineering all the more difficult. Perhaps I will post my thoughts about this later, what little I have so far.

    I recall your articles - I will need to go over them again before I write my own post. I think the key to knife survival is drilled in responses. I think sometimes karateka forget that since we train to be unarmed is no guarantee anyone else will be. Nor should it mean that we should remain unarmed if we happen to have access to a weapon, improvised or otherwise. And I would wager that the majority of techniques do not handle these types of situations.

    Thanks for your comments and encouragements.