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MDTS is a New York based firearms training and personal protection consulting company. We specialize in pistol, concealed carry, shotgun, carbine, defensive knife, less lethal, physical defense and threat awareness training courses. Mobile training courses are available in N.Y. and abroad. Contact us to host a training course at your range or location. Click logo below to see schedule of classes near you.

Posts Tagged ‘Knife’

Small Knives for Self Defense

Posted on: October 1st, 2016 by admin No Comments

*Please note, it is YOUR responsibility to know and understand the laws regarding carrying a knife. This post and video are for information purposes only.


Small Knives for Self Defense video with considerations for utilizing smaller edged weapons for self defense.




Small Knives for Self Defense


The goal of any defensive knife usage is to effect disengagement by the attacker as quickly as possible; to get an attacker(s) off you and keep them away. To STOP the threat.


What can be accomplished with a 6 plus inch field knife is different than what can be accomplished with a 3-4 inch small fixed blade or folder. Larger blades have more mass and weight thus requiring less power to inflict fight stopping wounds. The small knife, while dangerous, requires more power due to its reduced weight and blade length.


Other factors may inhibit its effectiveness in a defensive situation to include heavy clothing, subject drug usage, movement, aggression and determination of attacker. Small knife techniques when applying power to thrusts, slashes and hacks will closely resemble empty hand boxing. The small knife simply acts as a sharpened, pointed, extension of the hand.


Once knife mechanics have been learned techniques are practiced with speed and power to effective target areas and then integrated with tactics.


See also Defensive Knives and Stopping The Threat




NEShooters Summit 2014

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by admin No Comments

This will be five years that I have taught at the NEShooters summit in Pelham, NH. Training conferences like these are an excellent opportunity to sample and attend training on a number of personal protection and shooting oriented topics with some great instructors with varied backgrounds from all over the U.S. It is also a great way to connect with like-minded people while getting some excellent training. Come join us this year.

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Click on image for more details and registration information.



Optimizing the EDC Folding Knife

Posted on: February 9th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Most who come to one of our Small Knife Skills classes show up with a folding knife. There’s nothing wrong with that and there are a number of excellent folding knife options available today. I prefer and advocate the carry of a small fixed blade for a number of reasons which, if you have been to one of our knife classes, you have heard. Regardless, the run of the mill folding knife can be improved for Every Day Carry (EDC) in a number of ways. I wrote this article for the personal defense network in 2011. Since I have been doing so many knife classes over the last couple months I thought I would re-post this for anyone who hasn’t seen it. I hope you find something useful in it. – Chris


Click on image for full article

MDTS Debrief: Knife Fight Vid Footage

Posted on: January 28th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Video footage from a knife fight outside of Hillview High School, Newlands East, South Africa.


Study of criminal assaults shows us that here in the U.S. during robberies, rape, kidnapping or assault one individual has a knife (or other weapon) and the good guy has nothing or the weapons they do have are concealed. This is what Craig Douglas (SouthNarc) described back in 2006 or earlier as “Unequal Initiative & Disproportionate Armament”.  They have a weapon out and ready, I have a weapon/s, however they are concealed and I have to catch up to them in order to equal the playing field or dig myself out of this initiative deficit.


One of my friends and knife mentors, Tom Sotis of AMOK! likes to say that if you have a knife and they have a knife it can very easily become a knife fight (paraphrased). Its just a matter of whether you have the skills to get the knife out and utilize it to protect yourself, in time. Thats a big part of training with the knife.


This vid is of a reported gang related incident far and away different from criminal assault most law abiding citizens here in the U.S. may encounter. Regardless, this  video demonstrates an actual knife vs. knife encounter and demonstrates many elements:


1) Dynamic movement, when space is available.


2) Both combatants, whether trained or untrained assume a reverse grip on the knife, attacking and counter-attacking with strong overhand downward thrusts or  in an attempt to plunge the knife into the other.


3) Note the use of the off-hand or support hand for ranging and in an attempt to attach and get ahold. Once attached an aggressive attacker can repeatedly make contact. Movement is a survival skill.


4) Note the use of other techniques such as the younger mans kick toward the end. Fighting with a knife is not just fighting with a knife, it’s a fight and a knife happens to be present making things a little more serious.


5) Heavy downward slash/stab to younger mans right quadrant was enough to cause him to disengage, he is now in ICU fighting for his life with puncture damage to liver, lungs and spleen.


6) Finally, note the size of these blades that are being used. 5+inches in length or more.


Link to full story here  with video if you cannot access Youtube vid due to age restrictions


Practical Small Knife 2

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by admin No Comments

The Practical Small Knife Skills 2 course will outline an effective defensive structure utilizing a small knife or knife-like object. Core skills sets presented in PSKS1 are reviewed and drilled then new material is presented including knife vs. knife drilling to develop speed, reaction, timing, power and tactics.


Course Topics/Modules of Instruction:
Counter Knife Skills & Ranged Accessing
Forward & Reverse Grip Skills & Drilling:
Counter-Offensive Movement
Support Hand Integration



Equipment List:
Inert training knives will be provided for all training evolutions, eye protection (some eye protection will be available), mouth guard, groin protection, your personal folding knife (optional), note taking materials


*A knife is NOT required to attend this course. Various makes, models and designs from modern manufacturers of will be on display for those who may be deciding what knife they would like to purchase.


*Attendees will be subject to moderate to greater than moderate contact. Be prepared.

Practical Small Knife Seminar

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by admin No Comments

This Small Knife Skills seminar is designed for the lawful folding knife or small fixed blade owner who carries a knife as an everyday tool or last resort defensive weapon. This seminar follows a non-attribute based learning model presenting attendees with a methodology applicable to conventional edged tools and improvised knife- like objects common in our every day environments. A solid grounding in safety and fundamentals of defensive knife application are presented. A heavy emphasis is placed upon the student’s ability to access and deploy the knife while under the stress of close range confrontation.


(2-4) hr. Course Topics/Modules of Instruction:
Safety Considerations
Justifiable Use of Force Overview
The Knife for Personal Protection
Knife Selection- Folder vs. Fixed Blade Analysis
Carry, Presentation & In-Fight Access
Conventional & Unconventional Grips
Anatomical Targeting Priorities
Edge & Point Driven Methodologies
Countering Close Range Assaults
Close Range Applications


Equipment List:
Inert training knives will be provided for all training evolutions, eye protection (some eye protection will be available), mouth guard, groin protection, your personal folding knife (optional), note taking materials


*A knife is NOT required to attend this course. Various makes, models and designs from modern manufacturers of will be on display for those who may be deciding what knife they would like to purchase.

*Attendees may be subject to moderate to greater than moderate contact. Be prepared.

Concealed Carry Considerations

Posted on: December 6th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

A few MDTS Concealed Carry Considerations


Why are you carrying a pistol?


Are you carrying or want to carry because you just got a new handgun and just want to “strap it on” for the day? Are you carrying because it’s your god given right? Are you carrying because you want to be ready to protect yourself, your family or someone else? Maybe today is the day a guy walks into your store, the office you work at or the mall you are shopping in with your wife. WE don’t get to choose when bad things happen; the criminals, emotionally disturbed, active killers and terrorists do.


If you have a concealed carry license and choose to carry your firearm or even a personal defense knife for self defense it’s important the only people who know you are carrying is you, a partner or a family member. The information you present, via how you dress, walk, consistent physical actions (like always adjusting a holster when get out of the car), all give you away to the watchful observer. There ARE watchful observers; other CCW holders, police officers, soccer moms and even a criminal or two.



That’s quite a lump on his side….



Think like the bad guy

If you carry concealed, a handgun or perhaps a personal defense knife, do you display an overt signature of readiness to those in your environment? Have you considered what information you present to those observing you? If you were a criminal, looking at potential victims, what intel would you look for? How would you select the victim? Does a gun or knife scare you or are you used to seeing such everyday tools of your trade? Will a handgun taken off an unconscious victim fetch a good price down the street? Can that pocket knife this person has be used to assault someone else you have had your eye on or does the gang need weapons?

Type of clothing?
How they walk – do they exhibit signs of some type of injury?
Do they display signs of readiness or possible resistance like the pocket clip of a knife or a bulge under a shirt or coat?
Do they continually touch a certain area around the waistline?
Which is the victims dominant hand?



If someone can snap a pic of you this close without you knowing….



Concealed, open or a little of both 

The image we present to those in our environment is key to successful or unsuccessful concealed carry of any personal protection tool. This image can be broken into (3) categories:

1) Covert – you understand the how, what and why of concealed carry and practice it every time you go out.

2) Overt – you consciously choose to display a force option. This is what Law Enforcement officers do, this is what some advocate as a means to “discourage” criminals from selecting you, this is what open carry advocates do to demonstrate their 2A rights (I will leave that issue for others to discuss).

3) Ignorant – NO IDEA how, what or why to conceal carry and shouldn’t be doing so.


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Some Generalized Guidelines for Practical Concealed Carry

*Elements of these guidelines adapted from Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts Principles of Concealed Carry


Remember – “Possession does not equal proficiency” – Clint Smith


  • Carry your gun! It is useless if you don’t have it when you need it
  • Dress around the handgun and check yourself prior to exiting a safe area
  • Limit cover garments to one layer over concealed handgun
  • One of the few elements we have absolute control over in a fight is the equipment we bring to it, choose wisely
  • Firearms must be reliable, serviceable, ready and accessible to both hands
  • The firearms manual of arms should be relatively simple; it may not always be you utilizing it (i.e. wife, son, daughter)
  • Mechanical safeties, slide stop/release, de-cockers should be accessible when operating one handed WITHOUT compromising the final firing grip, strong & support sides
  • Ammunition selected for carry must be reputable, factory loaded defense cartridge compatible with shooter and firearm
  • Holsters should be rigid, secure, familiar and compatible to the carrier’s personal and environmental circumstances
  • At least one illumination tool, a spare magazine and an edged weapon should be available and accessible to both hands
  • As a general rule, primary tools (tools you rely upon to protect your life i.e. – firearm, defensive knife) should be carried at the hips forward. Secondary and tertiary gear carried hips rearward
  • Situational, environmental and physical awareness AND proper concealment are the primary means of handgun weapon retention, you retain the handgun not just the holster



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Something stands out here to the discerning eye..


Is that all?

No. The gun, the holster, on body, off body, body type, belts, environment, placement, mode of dress….. the list goes on.


There is a lot more to practical concealed carry for personal protection but probably the most important question you need to ask and ask every time you “gun up”  is – Why am I carrying? We all have our reasons and they are all correct, for us. However, it imperative to remember that your perception of the world, the people around you, may not be the same perception they have. What you see as a “display of rights” may be an invitation for violence or selection. Readiness for any situation includes awareness, willingness and preparedness and they all apply to practical concealed carry.




MDTS Schedule 

Multidisciplinary Proficiency

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 by admin No Comments


MDTS advocates a multi-disciplinary approach to training; we do not have to be an expert at one single skill, but strive to be proficient at certain core personal protection skill sets. The defensive arts for a well rounded practitioner, CCW holder, officer or infantryman comprise numerous disciplines and sub disciplines. How does one maintain proficiency in each discipline while living a normal life filled with family, job, obligations and limited resources? Is proficiency in each discipline important or is just “having a gun” good enough?


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The Problem
We will rarely have the luxury of knowing what type of combative encounter we may face. If I knew I was going to be in a gunfight I could plan accordingly or avoid the situation altogether. Herein lies the crux of the matter; having the skill sets necessary to deal with a wide variety of situations. Simply having a black belt or possessing a CCW does not prepare you for what you may encounter. One must have variable force options and skill sets to deal with dynamic, changing combative environments. “Specializing” in today’s world could spell disaster.


Essential Solutions
Proficiency in 5 core disciplines and their sub-disciplines should be acquired and maintained. Consider these disciplines and how they may apply to you:


1) Threat Recognition & Management Skills – TRMS encompasses verbal and physical challenge, diffusion and avoidance skills. This is probably one of the least taught but most utilized and important of all the disciplines. More time is spent talking to known and unknown contacts in our environment than we spend fighting them. This is the most relevant skill in our personal defense profile; on a daily basis this skill set is/will be used more frequently than any other.


2) General Physical Preparedness (GPP) – Second on this list simply because possessing the ability to run away from a potential encounter (or endure a prolonged encounter) should be a major tactical consideration. Without a base level of GPP your ability to utilize the skill sets outlined below with the exception of firearms (and that can be argued depending upon range of the encounter) will be severely limited. Some could argue that GPP should be #1 simply because it leads to better health.


3) Physical Defense Skills – Possessing the ability to defend oneself unarmed should take precedence over weapon/tool skills. Without unarmed physical defensive skills and the ability to counter sudden spontaneous attacks, the tools we do possess could be quickly nullified. Physical defense skills are often the easiest to find and yet this disciple is overlooked or ignored. This type of training also tends to be much more affordable than other disciplines.


Essential Physical Defense Sub-disciplines include:

a. In-Fight-Weapon-Access
b. DefenseAgainstArmedAssailants
c. Grappling/Ground Defense


4) Edged/Improvised Weapons Skills – Edged/Improvised Weapons are prevalent, easy to acquire and can be carried in more places than a firearm. They can provide a potential force multiplying option for carry in non-permissive environments (NPE). This is a core discipline due to the affordability of quality edged weapons, ease of concealment/every day carry and the relatively short amount of time it takes to acquire basic defensive proficiency

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5) Firearms (CCW) – Firearms come last in the hierarchy simply because there are non-permissive environments that firearms cannot be carried in or through. A large number of employers  are  NPE’s with more becoming so every day.



Please note: This is just an example of my personal training hierarchy. The disciplines I feel are essential and the order in which I determine how much of my limited training time is dedicated to each. This hierarchy may be different for you.



Proficiency or Empowerment
How do we acquire and then maintain proficiency in each of the outlined disciplines? What do you consider proficient? What standards do you hold yourself to? Is training done in an effort to succeed and overcome the strictest of tests and standards or to just slide by because you don’t enjoy training that particular skill as much as another. Do you focus on making training empowering by feeling good about what you have done during a class or training session or is your focus on challenging yourself and attempting to overcome previously set goals; sometimes failing? Step back from your current training regimen and consider where you’re at and how you determine which discipline gets the most attention, training time and duration? Developing a training hierarchy is a highly individual process; setting goals and following performance standards should go hand in hand with the development of a personal training hierarchy.



To quote veteran Law Enforcement Officer, MMA Fighter & Trainer Paul Sharp:

“Skills degrade under pressure. Train to the highest possible standard; put yourself under pressure constantly and consistently. The rest will work itself out as part of the evolutionary process.”



Performance Standards and Self Evaluation
Establishing performance standards for a specific discipline should not be a random process or left to the “instructor” to determine if we are good enough. Your instructor won’t be there to help you during a combative encounter. Each of the various disciplines in a personal hierarchy should follow some type of self evaluation process. A base level of proficiency needs to be demonstrated before shelving that skill set to place greater focus on another or seek training in a new discipline outside our core. Each core skill set must be trained under fixed conditions and then move into more complex multi-task, multi-variant combative simulations or conditions. For this article the standards I provide below are “generic”. Adhere to some type of self evaluation on a consistent basis or risk stagnation and/or skill loss. What these generic standards won’t evaluate is your ability to make applicable use of force decisions.


There is no such thing as “good enough”, there is always room for improvement.



Threat Recognition Standards – TRMS skills, like all others, need to be trained into a conditioned response; yelling verbal commands at a paper 2D target is not enough. Training must be conducted vs. a live, moving, speaking opponent. Key challenge phrases need to be ingrained and easily issued without conscious thought. Once this can be done, on command, while multi-tasking (moving and/or accessing a tool at the same time) you have met the first standard and can proceed to scenario work.




GPP Standards– This is a highly individualized area but there are some specific standards we can strive to achieve which will help us determine how much emphasis we need to place on this discipline. One very useful standard I have found is Ross Enamaits burpee test. A burpee is a combination of bodyweight exercises which tax your strength, endurance and anaerobic capacity when done in high repetitions. Ross’s standard is 100 burpee’s in 10 minutes for an average person or athlete and 5-7 min. for elite athletes. Because the burpee is a multi-body part exercise, working the upper body and lower body, the cardiovascular system and requires no special equipment the burpee excels as a personal training modality and evaluation tool. Other GPP standards include any of the LEO/MIL Personal Fitness Tests which are numerous since each unit/agency usually has their own. A good resource to follow is Ace Any PFT – Stew Smith . Stew Smith is a former NSW Operator who now specializes in physical training and preparedness. Once a basic PFT score is achieved then GPP training can be conducted 2-5 times/week to maintain this level and focus can be shifted to other core disciplines/sub-discipline or a new discipline.



Physical Defense Standards – While some have and do achieve a black belt in one style or martial system in 1.5 years others have been studying a martial system for 12 and still have not achieved this rank. Rank and meeting standards is not the same thing. Formal ranking in martial arts is highly subjective and simply achieving a black belt or instructor credentials does not mean fighting is known, mastered or that one is proficient at personal protection. Physical defense standards should follow a more objective path. Specific categories of unarmed physical defense should be outlined, trained and then pressure tested. If the pressure test is successfully navigated on a consistent basis from variable opponents within the context of criminal assault then proficiency has been demonstrated. Simply rehearsing a pre-arranged set of movements against a pre-arranged set of attacks (stimulus-response) is not demonstrable of skill under pressure or presented in a realistic manner.




For Physical Defense a core set of skill sets and sub-sets must be demonstrated:

1) Effective Default defense against spontaneous/ambush attacks. Trained solo and with partners and then pressure tested via moderate to full force spontaneous attack scenarios vs. single and multiple aggressors



2) Demonstration of Speed and Power for a limited number of “Hard Skills” – These skills may include chin-jab, elbow strikes, axe hand, knee strikes, kicks, jab/cross etc. (Specific skills are left to the trainee and or trainee’s coach/instructor to determine). This demonstration can first be performed on focus pads/shields then pressure tested via force-on-force drilling against padded assailants and finally through moderate to full contact sparring wherein only specific techniques are utilized thus demonstrating the ability to apply a skill on demand and during varying circumstances

3) Standing Grapple/Clinch – the same hard skills trained at range from your opponent are often difficult or impossible to apply while clinched or engaged in standing grapple. (This is why boxers often close and clinch to rest or weather a barrage of strikes from an opponent). Again, clinch skills are trained and proficiency is demonstrated via the ability to move in and out of and maintain control while in this range at will during moderate to full force sparring. This range may also include defense against and application of grabs and holds



4) Counter Take Down – the ability to negate an opponent’s ability to tackle, throw, or pull to the ground. Standards are met when one can consistently negate these attempts during alive, dynamic drilling and moderate to full force sparring against opponents knowledgeable and trained in these types of assaults


*In-Fight-Weapons-Access, Defense against Armed Assailants and Ground Grappling are sub-disciplines; separate entities requiring specific time and focus. They fall under Physical Defense because they are a natural extension of practical unarmed combat and beyond the scope of this single article.



Edged/Improvised Weapons Standards (EIW) – EIW standards begin with demonstrating a basic ability to access a specific tool (In-Fight-Weapon-Access). This skill must be repeatable under dynamic aggression and or moderate to full force drilling, scenarios, sparring. Demonstration of edged weapon hard skills such as movement off lines of attack, basic angles of attack, thrusts, slashes, strikes and combinations of above both solo and under pressure of attack



Firearm Standards (CCW) – Similar to EIW the ability to access the concealed (or stored) carry firearm solo and then under pressure of attack is fundamental may supersede even marksmanship. Fundamental, precision marksmanship standards such as 2 rounds into a 2 inch circle from 3, 5 and 7 yards with and without time pressure (timed drill). Combative marksmanship standards include 2 rounds in a 3×5 index card from variable distances under time pressure from in and out of the concealed holster, varied ready positions and varied body positions. Dynamic movement standards from in and out of the holster engaging an 8-10 inch center of visible mass target under time pressure while moving off line of attack in varied directions. Proficiency for all of the above demonstrated via square range drills PRIOR to engagement in live force-on-force scenarios and drills. A couple excellent resources which I have found useful in developing my personal standards include J. Michael Plaxco’s book “Shooting from Within” and Pat Rogers MEU-SOC Pistol Qualification course (page 2).

Hold yourself to some performance standard and train the skills you need work on based upon self evaluation of those standards. Fill the holes in your personal defense profile before someone discovers and exploits them.




True Multidisciplinary Proficiency
Rarely do we see multiple core disciplines trained in the same class or during the same workout. If we may have to traverse a force continuum ranging from verbal challenge to unarmed contact and perhaps even lethal force via the use of a firearm, why do we train them all separately? Secondly, can’t we cover a broader range of skill sets in one workout thus managing time and resources and accomplishing more if we batched several disciplines together? Is having the ability to transition from one discipline to another under pressure more important than any single discipline individually? True multidisciplinary proficiency is demonstrating that you possess a standard knowledge of each core discipline and you can seamlessly transition between each during a dynamic combative encounter. There are some good multidisciplinary or commonly referenced “integrated” training programs available such as those offered by SouthNarc, Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts or Sharp Defense. Take a hard, honest look at what you are currently doing and why. Haphazardly jumping around from class to class or from skill set to skill set without reason or method is a sign of poor planning and preparation. A combative encounter may be completely random, preparation and training should not be.

NY/NJ/PA State Knife Laws

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

Some pretty decent info on NYS knife laws from KnifeUp online magazine.


“The determination of whether a person intended to use a knife against another may be left up to a jury, and a person still arrested and charged with crime, even though he or she did not intend to use the weapon unlawfully. In People v. Richards, the Court found that because Mr. Richards had not brandished the knife he was carrying, nor had he threatened to use it for any unlawful purpose, but told the arresting officer he had the knife for self-defense, he could not be said to have the intention of unlawfully using the knife. Because self-defense is a justifiable reason to use a weapon, it is therefore not an unlawful one, and Mr. Richards conviction for criminal possession of a weapon was reversed.”


Click on images below for more information for each state:

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Pick your state here.

NOV/DEC/JAN Schedule

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Updated schedule for Nov/Dec/Jan, check it out and get in while you can.


Practical Physical Defense 3

Posted on: October 31st, 2013 by admin No Comments

The MDTS practical physical defense skills series is an outcome based series of course work focused on countering spontaneous criminal assault. Following a non-attribute based, modernized combative framework, the principles and skills taught do not require extended attribute development to apply effectively. Through the proper application of tactics and physical skills, clients will learn to survive, counter and escape close range criminal assaults.


Course topics and modules of instruction:
Countering Contact Weapon Assaults
Initiative Deficit Tactics
Default Cover & Survival Positioning
Vertical Grappling/Clinch in the Weapon Based Environment (WBE)
Dominant Positioning
Control & Counter
Take Downs
Proximity Control & Initiative Based Tactics
Disengagement & Escape

Equipment List:
Comfortable clothing or duty uniform, mouthpiece, groin protection, note taking materials. During this coursework clients may experience mild to moderate contact, be prepared.


**Contact us today if you would like to host MDTS at your range or come to us here in the Mohawk Valley region for one of our Practical Physical Defense Courses. We have range and classroom facilities available that can accommodate large groups (12+), semi-private (2-4) or private training (1 on 1).

Knife work, because that’s how ninjas do it

Posted on: October 16th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

Paul Sharp is a veteran LEO, SWAT cop, MMA fighter, MMA coach and a friend. I am re-posting his most recent blog post on knives, knife carry and practical defensive application because we share many of the same ideas. The info below wasn’t gleaned from a book, DVD or even a martial arts or Combatives class. It was developed through hard work, experience and training against resistant opponents. -Chris



By Paul Sharp-  Sharp Defense

I’ve been asked a few times about my approach to using an edged weapon. Before we dive into this let me throw out this disclaimer; I have a series of drills I teach during MDOC that will help the student optimize the skills they learned during EWO. For the student that has not taken EWO the drills will still help to develop their edged weapon skills however the contextual framing that is foundational in EWO and ECQC won’t be there. This is something that is incumbent upon the student to rectify as soon as possible.  I know, disclaimers go at the end but I’m a rebel like that.

I teach a simple approach to using the knife or small edged weapon. Let’s start by talking about gear. I define small as less than 12″OAL. This covers most fixed blades that can be carried in a concealed manner and just about every folder on the market. If you are trying to carry something bigger than that on an EDC basis, just carry a Claymore and be done with it. Folks are overly concerned about the size of the blade and much like firearms, guys will fall for the bigger is better sales pitch. In some situations a bigger blade is better and gives the one wielding the blade more options with regards to slashes, thrusts, parries and such however, if the blade is so large you have difficulty concealing it and as a result never carry it, it’s pointless…, no pun intended. As with anything in the realm of self-protection, this is something the individual user will have to work out. Regardless of what blade you purchase, I recommend a kydex sheath for carry as the sheath doesn’t collapse when the blade is removed making it easier to re-sheath the blade. This is a big bonus when we consider the realities of a criminal assault we find that most often the display of a weapon is a deterrent. If we think about it that way the ability to re-sheath the blade quickly and efficiently is fairly important when we need to move quickly out of an area….

Placement of the blade on our body is the next thing we have to think about. I prefer a position that puts the blade on the left side of my body, accessible with either hand. There are a number of reasons for this not the least of which is pistol retention. Nothing says let go of my pistol quite like a blade punching a hole in the bad guys chest. This positioning also works really well when we are entangled with one or more opponents and the force disparity is such that lethal force is necessary. Those that have attended ECQC, EWO or MDOC can attest that the pistol is not always the best option in that situation, sometimes a blade is actually a more viable option. The ability to access your blade with either hand as dictated by the entanglement is a key to your successful resolution of this unpleasant situation. One thing to bear in mind when it comes to entangled work, a blade can not malfunction due to your opponents grabbing it, and there is no muzzle to avert. Even if your opponent manages to avert the blade a simple wrist movement gets the blade back on line, much easier than a pistol at this range. For these reasons and more I greatly prefer a blade for entangled work which is why I prefer to have my blade accessible with either hand. If we consider our center line/navel as 12 o’clock, I like to have my blade positioned somewhere between 10-11. Wherever you end up carrying your knife make sure you can access it with one hand because if you’re entangled with one or more opponents you won’t be able to clear your cover garment with one hand while accessing your knife with the other. One handed access is an absolute.

What knives do I carry or recommend? My favorite knife is the Hobbes by Ian Wendt, I also carry a Clinch Pick from Shivworks and the large Ka-Bar TDI as well as the small Ka-Bar TDI. I’ve done a lot of work with push daggers in the past but over the last 2-3 years I have moved to a more conventional knife simply because the majority of students I’ve trained do not carry or use push daggers. The TDI knives are pretty close to the push dagger concept so I’ve adapted and teach a few things specific to push daggers for use with the TDI knives.

Once we decide on what knife, sheath and position of carry we are going to use, our next objective is to train up a simple and robust presentation method. I’ve been asked about forward grip versus reverse grip. I don’t have a preference. Typically if I’m presenting the knife with my left hand it will be in reverse grip and if I’m using my right hand it will be in forward grip. My knife work is point driven, I’m not a fan of slashes so regardless of the edge orientation my goal is to punch deep holes in my opponents.

My structure for using the blade is identical to my boxing and wrestling structure…., which is also fairly similar to my shooting structure. Think about the structure and posture you would adopt to withstand impact. You would probably have your feet shoulder width or maybe a little wider, if you’re right handed you will probably have your right foot back a bit with your weight distributed fairly evenly with maybe a little more weight forward putting your nose over your toes, shoulders up to assist your hand and arm structure in protecting your jaw. From this position you can move quickly forward, back and sideways as well as circle. You can also throw some heavy hands from this athletic posture, add a blade to one of those hands and the shot you throw will be extremely heavy. We use the same posture and structure while entangled and utilize our dirty boxing skills to bang in the clinch except the hand that is throwing shots has a blade in it. This streamlines our training, making efficient use of limited training time. Rather than have a completely separate approach to using an edged weapon which would mean a separate training session, we simply plug an edged weapon into our boxing and clinch game. Every time we box we are also working our edged weapon game. Every time I’m entangled and I work my way into a position where I can control my opponent with one arm while hitting him with the other I am training my entangled knife game.

As with almost every aspect of the self-protection skills we are seeking to develop, the fundamentals of the skill are simple, it’s the execution at a high level against great resistance that makes the skill advanced. We are always looking for depth not breadth.