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
Carol A. hathaway
1/3/2021 02:35:02 pm
Hi Sifu Kuttel~Happy New Year! I found your site because you were recommended to me by Sensei Ando Mierzwa. This is what I asked him, followed by what he answered:
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Thoughts, memories, lessons and the little tidbits of martial philosophies I stumble upon along my journey.