One of my favorite concepts when it comes to knife fighting is “De-fanging the snake,” which like it sounds means you don’t need to fear the bite if it ain’t got fangs. How it translates into knife fighting is, take away the opponent's knife and you gain the advantage.
The basic way of De-fanging the snake is to attack the knife hand. Infact, most people will go as far to say that the fight is pretty much won once the hand has been hit. So after last Mondays visit to the ER and a handful of stitches later (get it?), I would like to revisit this concept with a bit more experience in the field.
*Now I have to put a disclaimer out as this was only my experience and each situation presents a completely different set of variables so it could go any which way depending on the severity of the cut/s. I took a direct and full force stab to the hand that went clean to the bone, though no tendons, ligaments or major veins were severed so I came out of it very lucky… 5 hours later…
I recall hearing about how once the hand is cut, it will bleed out quite fast and the body will go into shock, there’s a good chance that the tendons and nerves will be damaged and the knife will no longer be able to be held resulting in a quick shifting of advantage. For me that was not the case, I was able to put my knives away, step out of class, clean up the wound (which wouldn’t stop bleeding), change out of my uniform and walk home to try to super glue it up (which didn’t work) before feeling any signs of going into shock. Infact, I never lost any dexterity throughout the situation, and shock made me feel a little queasy at its worst. I ended up using a rubber band as a makeshift tourniquet, wrapped it with a paper towel and drove myself over to the ER, pissed off at the whole situation. Now as the ER is famous for, I spent the next 5 hours waiting on stitches so I had plenty of time to think this over. And here’s what I concluded:
Yes, the concept of de-fanging the snake is sound. However, you cannot treat your training like point sparring or tag with the first strike automatically winning. You must keep the long term of the exchange in mind and continue to follow through in combinations rather than single movements. Use caution as if it could end with one strike, but should you make contact, continue your advance until victory is certain. Do not waste the effort it took to close in by withdrawing prematurely, rather use your advance to your advantage. If you are not for or competing in a point match, move cautiously and in combinations and keep my experience in mind… and never misjudge your distance.
*This is a repost from my Tumblr originally posted October 2015
The old way that push hands is typically taught is as a chain of techniques, each as a counter to the last technique. An intricate strand of countless responses in neutralization, redirection, and counter pushes. Each response is logical to the specific situation, although as consequence to the increase of consecutive situations, the earlier techniques become buried and forgotten. Often times similar responses to advances are standardized to one response, and all others discarded as less useful.
Such is life, we tend to find ourselves dealing with chains of situations, choices and options by defaulting to the responses and techniques that more often work for us based on our experiences and outcomes, whether they are the best for us or not.
Sometimes the convenient response is all we need, but there are times we should seek to address the situation as unique as it presents itself. To specifically, impeccably, deal with it. Maybe we can better ourselves and others with a calculated approach, but then again, maybe it should be more simple than that.
* This is a repost from my Tumblr, originally posted Sept. 2016