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The Reality of the Blade

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  • The Reality of the Blade

    My intention is to start, with this thread, an investigation into what exactly happens when the knives come out. I intend to look at things from a martial standpoint (I'm no expert, but I still may have insight) a psychological standing (look at PTSD from being on either side of the edge) sociological and legal considerations (what it means to use or carry a knife in terms of public consciousness, modern media, and the legal system) and medical (anatomical, physiological, and treatment) considerations.

    Obviously this will be an undertaking requiring alot of time and work...which is why I want you guys (and girls) to weigh in on this and offer insight and opinions. I later intend on distilling whatever we come up with here to perhaps publish in some medium at a later time.

    I will get the ball rolling with a case study of something that happened in the last decade that, as martial artists, should have a PROFOUND impact on our training and our own perceptions of self defense and using weapons. I have included all of the links I have gathered so far on this topic and will urge you to read them before reading my synapsis or thoughts on the issue. I will, however, ask you to consider the differences in the stories and what is posted in the articles, and keep an eye out for the tone of the articles. Finally I want you to read the court transcript and the martial artist's ruling in on the topic.

    The Case of Isaias Umali
    (an atienza kali practitioner who mortally wounded a bouncer with a shot to the femoral artery and is now serving a very hefty prison term.)

    NY Daily News

    NY Times
    Man Who Killed a Bouncer Is Called Heroic by His Lawyer - New York Times
    On the Day of Bouncer's Funeral, A Martial Arts Student Is Charged - The New York Times

    Now Public
    East Village Murder Followups | NowPublic News Coverage

    Filipino Express (towards bottom of the page)
    The Filipino Express Online

    Martial Arts N.Y.
    Martial Arts N.Y.: November 2004

    Asian Week
    Eskrima Expert Convicted in NYC Nightclub Stabbing : AsianWeek

    No. 66: People v Umali

    Sayoc Forum (Guro Rafael's thoughts on the matter)
    Kali practitioner on trial in NYC

    The Martialist (James Keating's thoughts on the matter)
    The Martialist: The Magazine For Those Who Fight Unfairly

  • #2
    Just for reference, here is a picture of the femoral artery, so you can get an idea of the wound. It is an anatomical photo, so...if you're squeemish...sorry. I want you to have an understanding of the relative accuracy of the strike (or lack thereof) and the penetration of muscle tissue (very close to the surface if you look at the cross section) to get to the artery.

    The arteries are located for you in the pictures...

    here's a youtube video of a very brief explaination of anterior compartment thigh muscles. That blue tube is the superficial femoral artery. (plastic model may be less "icky" to look at)
    YouTube - Leg Model - Thigh - Anterior Compartment


    • #3
      I'm in a visual mode today...

      Lt. Dave Grossman's Factors on Killing

      Printable Copy of Psychological Effects of Combat - Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, Author
      Range Factors

      Options in an Encounter

      Google Image Result for


      • #4
        Stress and combat
        WellnessOptions Magazine issue12 - Emotional fitness

        I am posting these so that the reader can understand the disorientation and lack of rationality in a serious situation on the physiological level.

        I also want the reader to look above at the Grossman factors and examine if there was social facilitiation for the stabbing, if it was malicious, an act of true percieved 3rd party defense (an error of fact), or something else...

        I also want to focus on the psychological trauma that the knifer (Umali) experienced after the incident that he was involved in, including killing another human being, being in a violent encounter where he felt threatened, and if using a knife made a difference, or if the result would have been the same with a gun... (while doing this, I am not intending to minimize the horror of the victim or their ultimate loss...I am simply trying to use this incident as a case point for studying the psychological effects of using a knife on another person from the knifer's perspective, since some of the martial artists {i.e. those who always pack an ugly EDC} on this forum could, god forbid, endure that.)

        If you want a general direction where I'm going with that, note the blood spatter from the arterial spray and the proximity of play.


        • #5

          PTSD Symptoms

          A fair assessment of the geeneral perspective on using a knife or carrying a knife, i.e. anti-knife culture article.
          Knife crime and masculinity - The F-Word


          • #6
            Knife legislation (really good page)
            Knife Laws & Assistance, Local, State & Federal


            • #7
              Knife Wound Treatment
              (plug for a medical dvd, some basic tips)
              YouTube - Knife Wound First Aid

              wikihow...I know, I'll post better info later...
              WikiAnswers - Can you survive a gunshot wound to the femoral artery
              How to Attend to a Stab Wound - wikiHow
              How to Stop Bleeding - wikiHow
              How to Decide to Use a Tourniquet (Home Remedy) - wikiHow

              Newer Timetable (don't have the book....looking to get it, challenges Fairbairn's table. Or might be an awkward conversation with a pathologist or my anatomy professor...)


              • #8
                Garland all your pics are x out for some reason. Can you repost them?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hardball View Post
                  Garland all your pics are x out for some reason. Can you repost them?
                  I'll try to re-find the links instead, I think they may have taken away posting photos due to some asshole coming in and posting porn pics on the board.

                  While I'm back on, I'll pose the idea of using a knife on an unarmed person...who could be in the process of arming themselves, has been disarmed, is armed with a non-conventional weapon such as a screwdriver or a wrench (that may not warrant lethal force to a judge and jury but can kill you dead as well as a knife), is in a group of armed persons, is in a group of unarmed persons, or who is so much larger as to create an obvious disparity of force...such as a 6'6' 300lb change the factors around a bit and add some other smaller, larger, older, some kids, some chicks to each side of the equation and think about the ethics and law....
                  Last edited by Garland; 06-26-2009, 03:52 PM.


                  • #10
                    I am going to post this right now...unless you are using a blunt trainer, you should assume there is no way to moderate force with a knife. It is a lethal force option, whether you kill the individual or wound them is irrelevant to it's potential. Never stab somebody in the leg to teach them a lesson...that artery is right there, and it's difficult to impossible to stop the bleeding depending on how far up the leg (or even into the pelvic girdle) you go.

                    Also, what do you guys weigh in on the ethics of teaching the knife? What do you tell your students...what do you teach, what do you not teach (if that's the case)?


                    • #11
                      I once did a similar research project. What I did was google hundreds of newpaper articles which had "fatal knife attacks". To my suprise, fist were used quite often in conjunction with the knife attack.

                      What I teach my students is to run unless you are cornered. The U.S. Army Self Defense manual (the version I read anyway) states that the best defense against a knife is a gun. I stick to that theory, if I can.

                      In practice with training blades we practice unarmed against knife attack. We concentrate on "capture" and then some type of wristlock for disarm. Knife fights are so unpredictable and I aways get cut up in "Practice"

                      In my opinion you can never get enough practice disarming a knife and you should try to train with as many different people as you can.

                      Then there is the problem, suppose your attacker has done time in prison? Then you can count on getting stabbed a hundred times. Run or pull a gun.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hardball View Post
                        In my opinion you can never get enough practice disarming a knife and you should try to train with as many different people as you can.

                        Then there is the problem, suppose your attacker has done time in prison? Then you can count on getting stabbed a hundred times. Run or pull a gun.
                        I also intend to look at the idea of defending against a knife, with my main ideology being that disarms are accidential if not incidental, attempt to dismiss the idea of dueling with blades, and include as much on knife-gun as I can, including the Tueller drill stuff...some things that hit a chord with me in Guro Crafty and Instructor Suarez's DLO series...

                        In many ways, I believe that the knife can be a superior weapon to a firearm in many circumstancesm, and that it may not always be a good idea to "bring a gun to a knife fight"... which I intend to illustrate to the best of my ability here...

                        basically...nothing I'm going to post here should be new or novel to many people on this forum...the only thing I'm trying to accomplish is compile, organize, and gain as much insight as possible...and maybe then try to reinvent the wheel...much, much farther down the road.


                        • #13
                          I always fall back on the LEGAL definition of "self defense".... using ANY deadly weapon means a potential life sentence unless you can REASONABLY justify the use of force.

                          My buddy Richard might be a perfect example. He disarmed a man with a knife in defense of a police officer who had been stabbed repeatedly. After he broke the guys arm he proceded to smash his face and head into the concrete. A bit excessive in my opinion but he was awarded by the red cross for saving the life of the officer...


                          • #14
                            Every true Martial Arts Practitioner should learn the dirty skills of Filipino knife fighting, it is invaluable.


                            • #15
                              No weapon, no matter what it is, even a sharp stick, should be taken lightly.

                              These concerns are the exact reason that avoidance and deescalation should be staples in any RBSD program.

                              Keeping a cool head keeps you alive.

                              The idea that the other guy should have a knife if he's going to fight in the street is kind of silly.

                              But at the same time what if he does and you don't pull yours.

                              Now maybe if you pull yours he is definitely going to pull his or maybe if he never sees yours he'll never pull his.....

                              or not.

                              Chicken or the egg?

                              All fighting should be avoided, some can't. It becomes a split second decision. Yes it's a shitty place to be.