Knives on the street, by Marcus

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Knives on the street, by Marcus

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:08 pm

Guys, this thread is solid it

From Marcus:
Hi guys --

I'd like to tap the substantial street experience of you guys to help me out with a research point in my current book. While I've had some experiences with knives coming at me in the street, I'm a long way from that thing now and have been for years. I have a few questions that I hope you guys working front line will help me out with (Den, John Skillen, Juggababba, Romulus, etc. etc. etc.) The thing I find most valuable about this forum is the wealth of real world experience here -- and that's something I respect.

In terms of being attacked with a knife, we all know it doesn't take much training to hurt someone with a blade. I make a distinction between seeing that someone has training with a knife, and seeing someone who has experience using the knife on humans.

In your experiences, have you ever encountered an opponent who displayed any training (martial arts wise, etc.) with a knife?

Have you encountered someone who was experienced with using a knife in the real world on the street(used deception, set up, closed distance, etc.)?

Would you comment on your experience on identifying the difference? Would you handle the two differently?

Also, in terms of the knives you see on the street...have any of you seen a "tactical" knife used against you or your comrades? Or a martial arts type knife like a balisong? By tactical knife or martial arts knife I mean a purpose built fighting knife, as opposed to a Stanley knife or a kitchen knife or a pen knife.

What sort of blades have you encountered?

Have you ever seen a knifer using a fixed blade knife deployed from a sheath?

Any experiences or knowledge that you share will be greatly appreciated (and yes, you do get acknowledgements in the book!

Thanks for your help, guys!

cheers, M

From Den
I was talking to a couple of guys I know a while back, and they had seem by column in Combat Mag. They commented on the picture of me with the knife, to the effect that it was quite frightening. Now, these guys have stabbed a lot of people....and I mean a lot. They usually tend to cheap weapons, butcher knives and machetes.
Their technique, is pure aggression, they are all about attack, attack and keep on attacking.
I was chatting to Marcus on the phone last week and he mentioned that in his opinion, knife technique is very simple, once you have the mindset, the attitude. Couldn't agree more, and these two guys are a real modelling exercise, and I've added their lessons to my program.
I also had a big collection of edged weapons I'd taken off people. I used to display them on the knife courses.
Off the top of my head there were several flick-knives, [including a huge Italian stilletto switchblade], small fixed blades and folders, kitchen knives,bradawls and corkscrews, and, of course the "Liverpool credit-card", the Stanley knives.
The most vicious was a small folder [non-locking] modified to a wicked curved/serrated edge.
I can't think of one knife that I would regard as a real "tactical" blade. But they would all do the business.
Hope this helps,

From Marcus
I got an interesting e-mail from a guy off-line, with some useful information and a point or two. Let me be clear that I'm not suggesting that knife training is useless or of no value...I've spent most of my life playing with knives, and obviously training is important. My point, one that I make over and over, is that the thing that drives any physical technique in a real fight is the mental driver, the attitude, the willingess, the bottle as you guys call it. That's why I talk so much about mental training, because as I've said elsewhere, I don't think it gets addressed as well as it should. I got my mindset the hard way. I wouldn't wish that path on any body. When I was an instructor, a significant challenge I faced was how to install that mental attitude into students who were willing to do the work, but didn't have the real world experiences that shape the fighter's mind. That's what led me to explore all the stuff Den and I have been doing in that realm over the years.

With knives on the street, I know a lot of guys who are very well trained in knife technique, but have no experience with a street fight of any kind, armed or unarmed. I also know a lot of guys who have no formal training whatsoever who are extremely experienced and successful street fighters and some of them have stuck humans with a blade. I also know a much smaller number of guys who are both well trained with a knife and have stuck some bodies.

What I'm trying to learn with my questions is what you guys, who are out on the line right now, are seeing and experiencing in regards to the knife on the street. I'm specifically interested if any of you have run into or heard of baddies who are specifically well trained AND experienced with the blade...and how you handled them and how you spotted them.

I appreciate all your help, guys! Thanks!

cheers, M

From Greg
Hi Marcus,

I have had a few experiences with edged weapons on the door in various nightclubs and pubs.

I have a scar on my forehead above my left eye about three inches long from a meat clever while fighting against some gypsies.

I have a scar on my nose from a bottle, slashes on my back and a big scar on my left knee from a bottle.

As regards being trained I wouldn’t say I have fought a trained knife fighter but a lot of these guys who glass or bottle people I would say they are pretty f@’%ing sharp, doing this kind of thing every week.

I once had a Chinese guy throw a bottle at me and then pull a machete. He really pulled that machete fast and he threw the bottle as a distraction. He really moved fast.

The time I was hit in the head I was trying to throw a punch and slipped almost falling on the floor in a pool of my own blood.

The mindset that got me through was one of absolute dread that if I went down I was dead. I thought I have to get as ruthless as the guys that are trying to hurt me and so did.

A few times on the door when I have gone to deal with a patron he has put his hand in his coat or down the back of his pants, I banged the guy out as soon as I seen this, and the usual knife they had was a small lock knife.

Once when I was in Minnesota near Rick Faye's gym waiting at the bus stop an Indian guy who was arguing with his wife on the phone put the phone down and came up to me with this long kitchen kneife that he pulled out of his jeans and said" If you ever put the phone down on me when I am talking to my wife again I will cut you from ear to ear"

Now obviously I shit myself, and the way I dealt with him was before he got to close I kicked the bus stop as hard as I could and made a load of noise screaming and shouting what I was gonna do to him, and he slowly backed off mumbling something that I don't remember.

A drill I use to teach this is to get three guys in front with focus pads on in range and give the guy a designated blow and tell the pad man to reach back or on the clothes or down the sock or anywhere like they were reaching for a knife, stool, ashtray whatever and then boom the pad of the one that moved. This really trains the peripheral and the idea that you must knock the guy out before he gets to the weapon.
Here is one more I can think of.

I met this girl on a club I was working, and the club next door operated what they called the breakfast club, which meant you could stay in all night and then get your breakfast.

This club was in the gay village and when all the doorman went home I took the girl to the club against the advice of my brother I might add.

Anyway at some point in the night some one was giving the girl I was with grief, I told the guy to cool it he said ok mate but tried to push me.

I said “what’s up with you” and he stepped towards me menacingly so I front kicked him, he went flying and his buddy ran at me so I clumped him.

Then this is where I ran into a bit of trouble.

They all started shouting gay basher, gay basher thus turning the whole club against me.

I had to fight my bollocks off just to get out. I was using my extendable baton and the ash tray and everything.

I got down the stairs to where the doorman was and I said come back up here with me.

We both ran up the stairs and I ran into the club again thinking I had backup, he did a runner. Ha Ha!!

So I managed to get out again.

As I was walking round the side of the club the door swung open and these two pricks came out both tooled up.

One with a bottleneck one with a knife.

I got my springy baton out and opened it so they could hear the whoosh of it opening.

One said what was that, “ I sad keep coming son and I will show you”

Boom as one got in range I whacked him as hard as I could on the hand and on the head, as dick head number two started to run I whacked him on the head.

At the time I was in heavy training for boxing and wrestling and considered myself pretty fit.

But I was knackered in a flash and the blows I was throwing weren’t having the effect I would have liked.

Luckily I wasn’t fighting a trained knife fighter or it could have been a lot worse.

This kind of stuff is what happens when the little head rules the big head.
Not the first time I have run into trouble going off with a woman after my shift. Ha Ha!!

Its hard to say specifically what happens it’s all in turbo charge speed, I just know that when I have been in these positions I get a massive surge of adrenaline and ride it going on a berzerka sussing out what your actions are having on the situation and what changes to what you are doing are needed if any.

It feels like regular Greg runs off and a different one takes over, this is probably due to the change in mindset needed to deal with this kind of scenario, I have been told that my body shape changes kinda curled over and head forward, and the way I move and run etc changes, I can’t say how true this is just what other doormen have told me.

Afterwards is a killer to, the come down, the trembly legs, the feeling of wanting to cry, coupled with what feels like a euphoric state.

This is just a few examples there are more.

Cheers Man


From Marcus
Hi Greg!

Great stuff, thanks for sharing your hard-earned expertise! You see, you bring up a very good point I mention above...there's the "trained" individual, who maybe trains in a gym or does tapes, or whatever...and then there's the "experienced" individual who, like you say, does it for real every week. And then there's the rare bird, the trained and experienced individual. your insights are really valuable, thank you!

And yeah, Minnesota had a bunch of very weird birds wandering around in the street...I've worked in places like Joburg, Bogota, Detroit, and Karachi, but I had more bizarre violent or almost violent incidents in Minneapolis than those other places. I always thought that was strange. Must be the bitter cold that drives them mad!

Thanks again, Greg! Anything else you might offer up would be greatly appreciated!

cheers, Marcus

Last edited by on Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:20 pm; edited 2 times in total

Dennis M

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Re: Knives on the street, by Marcus

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:18 pm

From Marcus
Hey Greg!

Thanks a lot, mate. That's all useful stuff! Interesting comment you make about your physiology changing...that's one of the interesting things about "fighting state" in a trained individual, especially one who uses the neural-based training. The physiology changes dramatically...and in guys, like you, who have to go in and out of that on a regular basis, that leads to what I've talked about before, the "Combat Flow State" where you're in the zone, the same kind of zone athletes talk about, but with that adrenalized combative edge. Cool stuff. The language you're using is exactly what I've heard from a lot of experienced guys who fight at a very high level.

Thanks for sharing!

cheers, M

From Greg
HI Marcus,

Do you have any more info on the combat flow state, sounds very interesting.


From Marcus
Hi Greg! Saw your post. I don't want to get into a long post on the board right now (too much work!!), but I will gladly share with you! First read the thread "Crash Training" on Den's forum, which talks a bit about the Flow State, then drop me an e-mail and I'll get back to you with some exercises and background if you want to explore it on your own.

Basically, you already know what "flow" is -- it's the mental zone of superior athletic excellence. When everything just goes right, you make all the right moves at the right time. What you see on the faces of Olympic athletes right before they go. Combat flow is the same thing, but with that adrenaline fight cocktail in there, and the main components of it are enhance vision skills, faster subconscious/unconscious mental processing time, control/management of the adrenaline state so that it's not full tilt up, then down, but a more steady stream of it, and not to the point where you necessarily lose all your fine motor skills. What guys like you, who are highly trained AND highly experienced on the street do when you access that state is you're reading the combative scenario faster than most other people do AND you're processing what information you take in faster and your body is working without conscious thought invovlement, on the level of unconscious super-competence. You're multi-tasking on a number of levels, doing a number of things simultaneously in a fashion that is impossible to do consciously. It's the most common mindset denominator with guys who have repeated success in open ended fights, whether it's on the street or in the air as a pilot or in firefights as a small unit leader. Most guys with that skill set can't explain it, or fully understand (consciously) how they do it...they just do it.

The main physiological components are superior use of vision (tracking, scanning, reading people, etc.), superior processing of that information on the unconscious level (preconscious processing), for hand to hand fighting it's superior use of body positioning and transitioning between the various tools in your toolkit as appropriate to the fight. Really comes out in situations where you have multiple attackers, where you read the situation and dominate accordingly. An analogy is driving your car really fast down a busy street with broken read the situation and move accordingly, but you don't do it consciously, because the conscious mind is too slow and can't handle/process all the information coming in. Combat Flow people have very well automated processes in their unconscious mind that do things like evaluate threat, scan the environment, track targets simultaneously, manage their state, etc.

You train it by improving your use of vision (see the "Jedi Vision" thread), manipulating your time sense/distortion (I forget what thread that was in), practicing state management under stress, training techniques under pressure, and so on.

fighting a lot, for real, does all those things. It also builds in the necessary "databank" of experiences reading and responding in real time to real threats, which if somebody doesn't fight a lot (or at all), you have to give them through scenarios and forcing them to practice their mental skills all the time.

But if you've got students who either lack that experience or don't walk that path, doing some of the exercises above, installing it well, and then hardening it under stress/pressure scenarios graduating to open ended full blown scenarios does a pretty credible job of making it work for them.

cheers, M

From Nick Hughes

1st time I've heard it explained so eloquently..I've had a slew of multiples...the one I talk about, (because it was witnessed by a London Bobby from start to finish..and then some and thus can be verified) was against 21 poll tax rioter types one night.

2 of them were trying to break into a building and a businessman at the bus stop asked them what they were doing. They told him to "F Off" and so I stepped up to the plate and asked the same question. One of them got in my face so I elbowed him and knocked him out.

The other one picked his mate up and said they'd be back with their friends.

Normally that's rubbish but on this one rare occasion their mates were in the tube round the corner and came out en masse and armed to the teeth. I remember walking out into the middle of the street thinking "this is it..karma has finally caught up"

I figured I'd at least get one and take him with me so I picked a gobby one with a lump of wood and smashed him with another elbow angling down at 45 through his cheekbone...he dropped the wood on my leg...the only injury I got in the fight (it was a slight bruise the next day)

I then wrapped my hands in the tresses of one that had dreadlocks and just started reafing knees into this point I was up against a window and two clumps of his head - both hair and skin - came off in my hands. At that point I don't remember all of what happened which was unusual because when I fought every night I used to have a photographic memory when it came to the techniques used.

I do remember hitting one with a roundhouse in the head and thinking how slow it was compared to the ones I used to throw (hadn't been training much on kicks at that point) and some lady driving through the melee who said "Why don't you leave them alone you bully?" from the window of the car which i thought was pretty sureal.

The only other one I remember was the last one who I caught with a kick in the guts as he was trying to break his Holstein bottle on the curb to stab me with.

At that point the boys in blue arrived and the cop who'd watched the whole thing (unbeknownst to me) came out and put a halt to the lacing I was going to give the bugger.

We followed the blood spots down into the tube to try and nab what was left of them but they'd got away. (Couldn't go down the escalators with police dogs as their pads get stuck in the grooves so I found out) By the time we went down the stairs they'd long gone.

We all ended up back at the station where I was given the medical feedback of the ones that were hospitalized. I couldn't work out who was hit with what except one who had a depressed fracture of the cheekbone, concussion, broken teeth, broken nose and shattered jaw and figured that was the first good elbow I used.

I've had a friend I was on the door with ask about it (that ability in multiples) because he stepped in to help one night and I was hitting people around him and me but not him and he couldn't figure out how I even knew he was there.

I've always put the ability down to a) experience but more importantly kata (practised correctly with loads of "imagery rehearsal" and group practise (the way we did it was ensuring everyone in the group moved as one unit so you had to develop peripheral vision, the ability to listen to movement of gis, feet and breathing etc around you)

It's the only exercise where I could ever practise fighting groups of people at once and sometimes "killing" every one of them. Sparring in multiples helped as well but it was always limited because of the need for safety.

Will read the threads you mentioned...hopefully that will help explain exactly what is going on when out there in it.

From Special Brew
Maybe it's a bit sad (posting on xmas eve), but its this or some festive movie with the familly....

I am just beginning working in policing, but I would like to add in a few cents worth in respect to types of weapons I have come across, and the context.

In recent robberies here carried out by addicts the knives they used were run of the mill kitchen knives probably better serving to intimidate by virtue of their length than actually to be put to use. It goes without saying, though, that just because they are cheap and nasty doesn't mean they are any less lethal.

When searching vehicles we sometimes come across workmans tools like screwdrivers, hammers etc, more than obvious purpose-made weapons. Some of the cars had previously contained obvious weapons like ASPs, but the workmans tools are much more ambiguous especially with dirty steel toe-cap boots and hi-vis clothing along with them. They could plausibly claim to be doing a bit of labouring for extra money, and its hard to argue with.

Finally- It was recently emphasised to me that a lot of eastern european migrants here carry knives routinely, and are not afraid to put them to use. I personally would put them in a higher-risk bracket given that so many of them seem to have put in some military service ?

From Nick Hughes
Special Brew,

You're right on the money with regards to your last paragraph.

When I first worked the door (not in the States) it was almost a tacit agreement between the n'ere do wells and us that no body would "tool up." Sure there'd be kicks and headbutts etc but no one dreamed of yanking out weapons.

Unfortunately we opened the country up to different ethnic groups (and no, before anyone flames me this is not racist it's just a statement of fact that we'll verify in a second) who carried blades and used them routinely.

It didn't strike home until I attended a seminar by Dan Inosanto who said "America - and Australia, Canada, England - has this John Wayne concept of the the fair fight. Eighty percent of the world's population don't think that way and carry knives and use them when they fight. They also do this in gangs and consider the concept of one on one silly." He went on to talk about one of his Indonesian mates who has three knives on him even when he's in the shower.

That was the one thing I took home from that seminar (You'll usually pick up one thing that just resonates with you and this was it). South Americans, East Europeans, Middle East, Turks, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Indonesians, Phillipinos, Islanders, all do it. Scary stuff.

The boys that want to fight fair are definitely in the minority.

Be Safe

From John Skillen
That took some posting - thanks Jimmy
The blades are a sample of the type of knife that is doing the rounds some come on keyrings others stashed in wallets, giggy packets, and held in the hand while you do the search.

The dusters are home made the one on the right is a 1985 version that a few of the early Loughborough doormen kept in their jacket pockets. I never carried but kept one as a momento for historical study, the duster was slipped on the hand whilst still in the pocket and quickly placed upon the jaw via the pocket, they are made of brass hence the name brass knuckle's. One of the lads had them knocked up at work. The one on the left was taken off a lad on the door during a gut feeling search about four months ago - back pocket of jeans.

Most of the blades in the pic will cut extremely easily and are very easy to conceal and stripe with.

I had a collection of cut throat razors but sadly these have had to disapear.
Take care

remember!! just because you can't see it! doesn't mean it doesn't exist!
trust know one but your gut feelings and your experience.

Dennis M

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