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The Bob Ross of advanced knife fighting
August 27, 2013 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Paul Vunak doesn't want you to be irresponsible while fighting with knives. Here he is, busting common knife fighting myths in his dulcet tones. Bonus: best video transition in history around the 4:39 mark.
posted by lattiboy (103 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know about knife-fighting, but Paul Vunak is my go-to man for advanced hand-gesturing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:00 PM on August 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought that said "best video translation in history" so I turned on YouTube's automatic English captions...

hi i'm public welcome to a dance night fighting. first of all we call the stake advance because we're going to teach drills we've not shown before. it is the drills that make a night fighter it is not the techniques. this is the first thing we have to understand. never has there been a subject cock by so many
posted by oulipian at 1:10 PM on August 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


So... bandage. Respect!
posted by uraniumwilly at 1:12 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, if you require a supercut of people in helmets being slapped in the face, this is it.
posted by lattiboy at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2013


Apparently, if you want to be perceived as an expert on any topic, it is critical that you begin any presentation with an exasperated, impatient explanation of why everyone else in the field is wrong - particularly if the audience has never heard of any of that "wrong" advice.
posted by The World Famous at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Totally glad I stayed around for the transition.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:17 PM on August 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Has anyone seen the video of Vunak KOing himself demonstrating a headbutt? Hilarious.
posted by longbaugh at 1:22 PM on August 27, 2013


This video is also part of the Boom Mike Fighting Techniques series. Wave it around to hypnotize your opponent.

"So... bandage. Respect!"

I was thinking the same thing. What kind of knife fighting expert doesn't have any cut... Oh!
posted by Kevin Street at 1:25 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's no mistakes in knife fighting, just happy OH GOD I'M BLEEDING I'M CUT MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!
posted by fatbird at 1:28 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


For the advanced class, there's always Surviving Edged Weapons.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:28 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


This will come in really handy because I have decided that my Fall project is to mouth-off in biker bars.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:29 PM on August 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Just youtube *any* Systema knife defence video for a laugh. It's a complete joke.
posted by longbaugh at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2013


- What they got you teaching, sergeant?

- Edged weapons, sir. Knife fighting.

- Don't you teach them knife fighting. Teach them to kill. That way they meet some son of a bitch studied knife fighting, they send his soul to hell.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:33 PM on August 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Comedy gold
posted by longbaugh at 1:35 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wasn't there an askme like 5 years ago where some dude was like "i'm going on vacation in south america so i need to learn how to fight with a machete, what are the best machete-fighting resources?"?
posted by elizardbits at 1:37 PM on August 27, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yes there was and it was the best askme ever.
posted by Think_Long at 1:39 PM on August 27, 2013


I just forwarded that transition to all of my video editor friends. Move over, Star Wipe and Venetian Blinds, there's a new sheriff in town, and his name is The Knife!
posted by vibrotronica at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: Is this the one?
posted by asterix at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2013 [22 favorites]


YES THAT IS IT THAT IS THE BEST THING
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow, Paul Vunak is still around? Does anybody else remember the full-page ads he used to take out in Black Belt Magazine like 20 years ago? It was always black and white, with a "speed blur" picture of him, and usually some menacing language about how badly you were going to get beaten in a street fight without his methods. I seem to remember that there was some eye gouging and biting involved in some of his techniques that caused a controversy at one point, too...

Apparently, if you want to be perceived as an expert on any topic, it is critical that you begin any presentation with an exasperated, impatient explanation of why everyone else in the field is wrong - particularly if the audience has never heard of any of that "wrong" advice.

So... I studied a number of different martial arts styles over the course of 15 years or so, and I actually was taught almost the exact techniques he was explaining in several of them, so yeah, most people who have enough interest in martial arts to buy one of his videos probably have heard some of this. He may be a shameless self-promoter, but he's not completely full of it.
posted by KGMoney at 1:46 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bonus: best video transition in history around the 4:39 mark.

I think that's known in the trade...

*Puts on sunglasses*

as a cut

Yeeeeaaaaahhhh
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:47 PM on August 27, 2013 [32 favorites]


He may be a shameless self-promoter, but he's not completely full of it.

Oh, I'm not saying he's full of it. I'm observing that his is not the only expert instruction video to begin with an drawn-out screed of exasperation at the wrong-headedness of the expert's competitors.
posted by The World Famous at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everybody estimates the kick in the groin.
posted by sixpack at 1:52 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was my impression that there's no such thing as 'knife fighting' People with knives who intend to use them don't want a 'fight'; they want an assassination. They want to kill you, and to do so before you even know that you're under threat.

If someone is going to use a knife on you, you will not see it until after they've stuck you multiple times in your vital midsection ...probably from behind.

The rest of this crap is just theatre.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:53 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can believe he knows what he's talking about. But knife fighting... wow, not the kind of subject you should learn from watching a tape. Maybe it can be learned properly after hundreds of hours of practice with an expert instructor - but even then it's the kind of skill set nobody outside of special forces commandos should ever need to use.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:54 PM on August 27, 2013


Yeah, knife fighting seems to me more like sword-fighting - a valid martial art that people take seriously, but that no one currently practicing has ever once actually used in an uncontrolled situation.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:55 PM on August 27, 2013


I've seen entire books on how to hold a knife!
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:57 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read the title too quickly and was expecting some kind of Bob Ross knife fighting parody/mashup sort of thing. And frankly, I'm a little disappointed.
posted by usonian at 1:58 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


underestimates said kick in the groin.
posted by sixpack at 1:58 PM on August 27, 2013


He never even got to explaining whether I point the fork tines up or tines down!
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here it is: Lies about Knife Fighting.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:01 PM on August 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


"De-fanging the snake" is my new go-to phrase for any kind of situation.

Hey boss, looks like the Exchange mail store is almost full. Gotta de-fang that snake, yeah?
posted by lattiboy at 2:03 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


All you need to know about knife fighting: No one wins a knife fight; sometimes, one of the participants loses less.
posted by Etrigan at 2:06 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like that he opened with "give a toddler a marker and they will mark your shit up". Unlike some of the self-defense videos I have seen hosted by beer-bellied men in camo shirts who love 80's Schwartzenegger, it seems relatively responsible to let you know that a child who has no potty training, let alone combat training, will cut you wide open.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:11 PM on August 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Unlike some of the self-defense videos I have seen hosted by beer-bellied men in camo shirts who love 80's Schwartzenegger, it seems relatively responsible to let you know that a child who has no potty training, let alone combat training, will cut you wide open.

At the summer camp weekend my martial arts style puts on, that's one of the final drills. The black belts learn a series of knife defenses as part of their curriculum. They all bring white t-shirts and are handed markers, and run through them. No one - not the fourth- and fifth-degree black belts who have been training for thirty years - makes it through without looking like they got ambushed by a pack of feral kindergarteners.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:14 PM on August 27, 2013 [23 favorites]


I like that he opened with "give a toddler a marker and they will mark your shit up"

Several years of toy lightsaber fights with my children have convinced me that lightsabers are just a bad idea.
posted by The World Famous at 2:16 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


This isn't knife fighting. This is giant potato peeler fighting.
posted by mullacc at 2:18 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I asked my dad about this once when I was a kid. As a federal LEO, he'd had some basic hand-to-hand - come-along holds and that sort of of stuff. Lots of firearms training. One day I asked him "what do you do if the other guy has a knife?"

"Oh, if the other guy has a knife? And he really knows how to use it? You turn around and run like a bunny in the other direction."
posted by jquinby at 2:19 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


At the summer camp weekend my martial arts style puts on, that's one of the final drills. The black belts learn a series of knife defenses as fart of their curriculum. They all bring white t-shirts and are handed markers, and run through them. No one - not the fourth- and fifth-degree black belts who have been training for thirty years - makes it through without looking like they got ambushed by a pack of feral kindergarteners.

As soon as he mentioned the child with the marker I basically thought of a situation like this, and I can't imagine it playing out any other way. As an extension of that thought, it strikes me that there is *no such thing* as a "knife fighting expert" as your chances of getting in more than one or two knife fights in your life are vanishingly small, and your chances of surviving as many are even smaller. Given that the average length of a knife fight is probably 15 seconds, this makes getting any level of experience at all (as a benchmark, think of Malcolm gladwell's "10,000 hours") essentially impossible.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:19 PM on August 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Comedy gold yt
posted by longbaugh at 4:35 PM on August 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Hahaha! Those seem like excellent techniques for fighting off the Putty Patrol.
posted by cacofonie at 2:20 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"De-fanging the snake" is my new go-to phrase for any kind of situation.

Hey boss, looks like the Exchange mail store is almost full. Gotta de-fang that snake, yeah?




"Hey, want another beer?"

"In a sec. I gotta go de-fang the snake."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:22 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


As soon as he mentioned the child with the marker I basically thought of a situation like this, and I can't imagine it playing out any other way.

Yeah. Even worse, these are scripted drills - like, "I'm going to take an overhand swing aiming at your face on the cue, now block it." There are no surprises at all. And it's still basically impossible to defend barehand without bleeding. (Of course, it's also totally possible to be jumped on by three Red Sox fans and get "Yankees Suck" scrawled on your forehead, but that's a different issue.)
posted by restless_nomad at 2:23 PM on August 27, 2013


Everybody estimates the kick in the groin.
Banga-da-banga-da-bang
posted by Foam Pants at 2:24 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Oh, if the other guy has a knife? And he really knows how to use it? You turn around and run like a bunny in the other direction."

Sage advice.
posted by kafziel at 2:39 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hey, want another beer?"

"In a sec. I gotta go de-fang the snake."


Then after you can have the beer and re-fang the snake.
posted by ian1977 at 2:43 PM on August 27, 2013


SouthNarc's ShivWorks program is one of the best genuine knife defence systems out there imo. It's based on FMA (much like Vunak) and is very much respected by those in the know or "at the sharp end" if I may be allowed a wee joke.
posted by longbaugh at 2:43 PM on August 27, 2013


Put Em Down, Take Em Out!: Knife Fighting Techniques from Folsom Prison.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:46 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: "All you need to know about knife fighting: No one wins a knife fight; sometimes, one of the participants loses less."

I figured out what's been bothering me about your posts lately. What happened to the rhymes?
posted by Samizdata at 2:57 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The idea of getting cornered by a baddie with a knife, or any edged weapon, pretty much scares the shit out of me. A gun - not that I've ever had a gun waved in my face, but, y'know - a gun just doesn't terrify me the same way (though, of course it does), because a gun is a machine that requires an operator, so there's a lot of ways that it can break down, and on top of that a gun just isn't gonna fuck you up the same way a knife or machete is. Sure it'll shoot your guts all over the floor, but that just means you're dead. A knife is a deadly extension to a person's arm and is gonna take off your fingers and your hand and mess up your belly and hnnng. So awful. Knifes is scary.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


TheWhiteSkull: ""De-fanging the snake" is my new go-to phrase for any kind of situation.

Hey boss, looks like the Exchange mail store is almost full. Gotta de-fang that snake, yeah?




"Hey, want another beer?"

"In a sec. I gotta go de-fang the snake."
"

Or...

"Hey, baby! You look FINE tonight. Wanna defang my snake?"
posted by Samizdata at 2:59 PM on August 27, 2013


:-(
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:00 PM on August 27, 2013


turbid dahlia: "The idea of getting cornered by a baddie with a knife, or any edged weapon, pretty much scares the shit out of me. A gun - not that I've ever had a gun waved in my face, but, y'know - a gun just doesn't terrify me the same way (though, of course it does), because a gun is a machine that requires an operator, so there's a lot of ways that it can break down, and on top of that a gun just isn't gonna fuck you up the same way a knife or machete is. Sure it'll shoot your guts all over the floor, but that just means you're dead. A knife is a deadly extension to a person's arm and is gonna take off your fingers and your hand and mess up your belly and hnnng. So awful. Knifes is scary."

When I was younger and playing an Assassin game, I stopped by my local 7-11 for a Slurpee and shooting the shit with my friend that worked there. He kept offering to hold on to the dart gun in my coat. I declined as I lived less than 200 yards from there. I finally head out.

You know how 7-11's of the traditional sort always have asymmetric fronts?

Well, as I leave, I hear "FREEZE!" and I look to see a cop, drawn, at the end of the long wall.

You know how people say time slows down?

I swear the barrel of that gun got to be the size of the Holland tunnel. And I could see the bullet at the end of it, sweating oil and poising itself to jump out of the barrel and into me.

You know how people say cops shoot too readily?

He told me to hit the dirt. I did. I honestly didn't know my bad knees could bend that fast. The cop came over and frisked me. He found the (obviously fake) dart gun and, once I got back up, made me break it on the trash can while giving me the sternest of warnings (no paperwork) once I explained.

You know how hitting the ground rapidly can waste a perfectly good Slurpee?

I went back inside for a new Slurpee and my clerk friend told me he had seen a woman go outside and call 911, despite the fact I had made no threatening moves and was cheerful and friendly in the store. She saw the bulge in the coat. (She came back in while the police was dealing with me and told him all this.)

You know how hard it is to find an accurate, high powered dart gun that looks properly fake?
posted by Samizdata at 3:08 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]



Here's what I was told by someone in the know about knife fighting.

Do whatever you can to avoid it. Situational awareness is key.

If you can run.

If for some reason you are in a situation where you know that there is a knife or the potential of a knife, you can't get away and it doesn't seem like deescalating is going to work do whatever you can to keep the knife from making an appearance.

If the situation starts where the knife has already made an appearance it's either already in you (failure of step one) or is threatening to be in you. Pulling your own knife is low on the list of priorities. It's a last resort. Even with top notch training it's not going to go easy.

If it's made an appearance, not already in you, you can't get away and it's farther away then the person can reach you with it, do you're utmost to stay out of it's reach. You try to use anything that might be available around you to keep it away and disable the wielder.

If in the above step the knife is within reach, like on your throat, or just a step in front of you the options are limited. If it's on your throat and the person really intends to kill you more then likely they will. If it's a step in front of you and you figure there's no way to talk it out your much better off at least trying to get it, into the out of reach zone. Things like kicking at the legs or groin etc.

If you pull your knife and both go at it. Good luck. You're going to need it.

Long story short, you don't want to ever be in a knife fight.
posted by Jalliah at 3:08 PM on August 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I see he does not teach the vital skill of how to use your knife to bamboozle your opponent into throwing his gun away
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:11 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just googled Systema, Hilarious. I had no idea.
posted by fingerbang at 3:15 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


If someone is going to use a knife on you, you will not see it until after they've stuck you multiple times in your vital midsection ...probably from behind.

Yep. And a lot of the theater, at least in the street, is for sake of intimidation. Force the opponent to lose confidence because they're unsure of themselves. Perhaps because they haven't made up their mind or they want something else. Money. The joy of causing fear or simple sadism.

Someone who's planning to kill you well, yeah, they won't let you see it coming.

But most martial arts aren't concerned with lethal combat. Case in point, in the video, most of the focus is on defending, e.g. slash the knifehand, and evading. Which is practical. But ignores the fact that you might need to kill your opponent and so most of the focus is on the knife rather than on your opponent (who is much easier to control, grab, etc).

A nice bit of instruction from Stan Scott (old school commando) - don't have to push it forward, just grab him and pull him onto the knife.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:25 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


From one of the links somewhere above:

"In all the times I have been assaulted with knives, only once was I able to pull my own weapon."

The thing I always find very very interesting about a lot of the guys who teach self-defence techniques is they always say "deescalation is very important" and that you should always talk and run away but then every single one of them without fail talks not only about the fight that they were once in (which no doubt precipitated their interest in self-defence/martial arts/knife fighting/whatever), but then the multiple fights they have been in since. From the quote above I deduce that not only was this dude in one actual proper knife fight, he was in at least two or three. So either he's an ultra-badass who actively goes looking for fights (I'm 34 and have never had a knife pulled on me, and I've only been in maybe half a dozen actual fights, mostly in my youth) or is just a plain old-fashioned liar.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:28 PM on August 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


But most martial arts aren't concerned with lethal combat. Case in point, in the video, most of the focus is on defending, e.g. slash the knifehand, and evading. Which is practical. But ignores the fact that you might need to kill your opponent and so most of the focus is on the knife rather than on your opponent (who is much easier to control, grab, etc).

Well, once you disable their knife, then you have a situation where one person has a knife and the other does not. And that's a situation with really only one outcome.
posted by kafziel at 3:28 PM on August 27, 2013


Put down the knife and put up your dukes? What happens when the baddie grabs both knives?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:29 PM on August 27, 2013


I'm 34 and have never had a knife pulled on me

I just opened your profile page and brandished a marmalade-smeared knife at it. Congratulations!
posted by elizardbits at 3:31 PM on August 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


What about a banana?
posted by dortmunder at 3:32 PM on August 27, 2013


Oh god!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:35 PM on August 27, 2013


Knifing someone: blood, urine, & feces.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2013


"A nice bit of instruction from Stan Scott (old school commando)"

Listening to Stan Scott talk about how to properly cut out the throat of a sentry is chilling, because it's obvious that he's really done it. There's no doubt he knows what he's talking about.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the quote above I deduce that not only was this dude in one actual proper knife fight, he was in at least two or three.

From that quote, I deduced that he is completely full of crap. But I could be wrong.
posted by The World Famous at 3:45 PM on August 27, 2013


Most of these punks with knives think twice once they've seen the size of my halberd.
posted by Flashman at 3:45 PM on August 27, 2013


And yet he's doing it in a non Fairbairn-Sykes approved method...
posted by longbaugh at 3:45 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


From that quote, I deduced that he is completely full of crap. But I could be wrong.

Yeah, that's what I'm saying. He's either a bare-faced liar or an actual sociopath who likes to insert himself into situations where there's gonna be a knife getting pulled.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:49 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


who likes to insert himself into situations where there's gonna be a knife getting pulled.

...or a police/security officer, soldier, doorman/bouncer, etc.
posted by longbaugh at 3:53 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"And yet he's doing it in a non Fairbairn-Sykes approved method..."

Maybe you start to develop your own style after killing enough sentries. All I know is war is really awful, and I wouldn't want to be on either end of that knife.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:00 PM on August 27, 2013


He says in the first fifteen seconds that drills make the knife fighter, not the knife.

This checks out... I just chased a guy with a knife down the street with a Tanaka 1.4hp gas-powered concrete drill fitted with a 1" auger bit while screaming "DEFANG DA SNAYKE!" I think he could detect my superior battle aura. Super helpful video, I can't wait to see what's after the 16 second mark.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:12 PM on August 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


...or a police/security officer, soldier, doorman/bouncer, etc.

With his own knife, that he sadly states he was only able to pull once? Then he is bouncing some fucked-up crazy bars. I don't think a cop is allowed to carry/use a knife for fightin' purposes anywhere in the world, and I don't think too many security officers would be allowed to either. A soldier, maybe, but then if he's a soldier getting in knife fights he's using his gun wrong.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


With his own knife, that he sadly states he was only able to pull once? Then he is bouncing some fucked-up crazy bars.

I live in Texas, granted, but I would be surprised if much less than 50% of bouncers in downtown bars in Austin customarily worked unarmed. Hell, I know bartenders who routinely carry weapons, legality aside.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:22 PM on August 27, 2013


Last I heard, I think Paul Vunak was on house arrest and offering "personal seminars" at his place. Friends have told stories of how coked out of his mind he was during trainings they've done with him.

These days, a lot of the "old guard" knife people have had to either move towards the traditional (kali and stuff) or the practical (dog brothers/combatives) not that there isn't crossover. But most of the flair and fine-motor skills are being weaned out of actual fighting/defense training except by the most ardent "artists".

[note: Southnarc is respected BUT his ice-pick grip with the blade towards you--like a reverse karambit--makes me nervous....IF I had to use a knife, I think most of us would resort to prison-style shanking/sewing attacks, so a lot of the controlling maneuvers and the notion of "muscle memory" stuff would go out the window.]
posted by whatgorilla at 4:24 PM on August 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paul Vunak more recently...

The P'Kal grip used by SouthNarc is specific to the clip knife. He teaches "fencing" style grips in his EWO course.
posted by longbaugh at 4:24 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I live in Texas, granted, but I would be surprised if much less than 50% of bouncers in downtown bars in Austin customarily worked unarmed.

Jesus. Well, I guess I'm just glad I do my drinking at home these days, when I have anything at all.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:27 PM on August 27, 2013


begin any presentation with an exasperated, impatient explanation of why everyone else in the field is wrong

It's a hook that works, I guess....it generates contoversy and views....I've seen Youtube bass videos like "Why the one finger per fret method is totally wrong" that you'd only need to see if you slavishly believed that always, in all positions, for all possible parts, this is how you must do fingering. Maybe someone is out there telling people that, who knows....when I was a kid there were still a lot of people insisting that you use upright bass (no 3rd finger) fingering in the low positions
posted by thelonius at 4:54 PM on August 27, 2013


I'd like to get him together with the Cold Steel guy for a full speed, steel cage, grudge match. Should I be posting that to Projects?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:59 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I did some bouncing in Daytona Beach, it would mean our ass and/or job if the boss caught us armed with anything more threatening than a coffee stirrer. He had a liquor license to keep.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:09 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Weird, I was JUST talking earlier today about Ernest Emerson and what a tool he is--we were watching him flip a karambit around in a youtube video in a crazy-impracticle style. I think he takes himself more seriously than the Cold Steel guy. My friend said the Strider guy was horrible--had lied about military service and being awesome, etc.... Too bad, he has some great fixed knives--not $400 great.

Self defense (knives, guns, products, training, etc.) brings out lots of nuts.
posted by whatgorilla at 5:12 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe Biden and I have been working the door as bouncers at a club off New York Ave every third Friday since just after the election. That man knows his way around a blade.
posted by humanfont at 5:22 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


This checks out... I just chased a guy with a knife down the street with a Tanaka 1.4hp gas-powered concrete drill fitted with a 1" auger bit while screaming "DEFANG DA SNAYKE!"


I can only picture this as a Berkeley Breathed cartoon.



Seriously, though, I've never had a knife pulled on me, but I've had a gun pulled on me, and there was absolutely nothing I could have done at that point if I'd been armed with any kind of weapon. Let me tell you, I de-escalated the hell out of that situation.

I gave him the $40 I had in my pocket, and he ran away.


Also, is Systema self-defense, or modern dance? Because if it is modern dance, it contains one of the sharpest and most nuanced commentaries on the performance of masculinity that I have seen in a long time, and should probably receive some sort of arts grant. Seriously, there is some Apr├Ęs-midi d'un faune-level shit going on there.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:45 PM on August 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


I cannot even conceive of a bar owner having (or knowing about) their bouncers being armed with anything, even pepper spray. The liability, the escalation, the fact many bouncers are guys too unstable for proper security work. Ugh. It just boggles the mind.

I worked in some rough, rough hoods, but at no point did I ever think, "You know, a WEAPON would really diffuse this situation". Especially considering a big stint of my time was spent near Hurlburt Field, where the real bad motherfuckers get sent to kill people.

I'm amazed I did it for so long without being seriously hurt, but having the MPs on speed-dial was a nice edge.
posted by lattiboy at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Also, is Systema self-defense, or modern dance?"

It seems to have a bad reputation.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:50 PM on August 27, 2013


The liability, the escalation, the fact many bouncers are guys too unstable for proper security work.

Yeah. I think it's a terrible idea, I've just, you know, met a lot of bouncers. I don't think many (or any) of them are officially armed, but I bet most of them have at least an easily-concealable knife that they carry specifically for that nebulous occasion when the beat starts up and they have to tie their wrist to someone else's and do the dance.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:55 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 12 year old with the marker scares me enough without even thinking about a knife.
posted by arcticseal at 6:00 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I saw a street fight once - one idiot punk kid against this drunk guy, who had a few friends with him, all drunk and pretty scary looking dudes. We were blocked in our parking space by the idiot's scooter (the fight was over an almost fender between the kid and the other people's car). So the fight ended with the kid on the ground getting kicked, but we could see that the friends, who were standing and watching, all had their knives out behind their backs. Scary as hell.

Absolutely not like sparring with your classmates at the dojo too, not even a little bit. People who daydream about getting in street fights and whipping ass with their Bruce Lee Youtube moves are out of their minds.
posted by thelonius at 7:01 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This book has been sitting unread on my shelf for a while. Think I'll go crack it open.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I cannot even conceive of a bar owner having (or knowing about) their bouncers being armed with anything, even pepper spray.

You've known a pretty small cross-section of bar owners and/or bouncers if you think they're all really good at long-term planning and short-term decision-making.
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 PM on August 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: It's serious, and it's gross, and it's ugly.

In my college days, I thought that knives were cool. I still do. I still carry one day-to-day because they're so useful. But I didn't realize that knives are scary. Some days, still, I forget that. In retrospect that purpose/intention vs. capability thing made me look a little like Iran to my college administrators in the '90s midwest. growing up as a kid who was allowed to bring craft-sized snap-off boxcutters to elementary school after demonstrating that I could use it well and responsibly and that my parents were ok about it, in '80s Pacific Canada.

Have had a knife pulled on me by a mentally-ill narcotics-abusing person-of-no-fixed-address while buying some good mafia-pot off a regular former-street-kid-on-a-downward-heroin-spiral-tout a block from a trendy neighbourhood (Robson) in downtown Vancouver in the early '00s.

The poor guy was more afraid of us than we were of him, I think. My tout made to "pull his" and basically shooed the guy off. His "gf"/insurance was genuinely and seriously spooked, though. It never occurred to me that pulling out my own, or even making to, was anything better than an absolutely terrible idea.

posted by porpoise at 9:17 PM on August 27, 2013


I carried a boot knife clipped to a hand-sewn inside loop in my jeans for like half of eighth grade, because I read far too much medieval-esque fantasy and thought blades were awesome. Even then, before Columbine and all that, it would have gone over rather poorly had anyone discovered it.

I still think knives are cool. But I don't carry one any more. Too much hassle.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:30 PM on August 27, 2013


Am I the only one reminded of this?
posted by neuromodulator at 10:31 PM on August 27, 2013


How to Win a Fight - A guide to avoiding and surviving violence
posted by homunculus at 11:44 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


These days I carry a knife everyday... they tend to be unmistakably tools, tho, about as far away from"tactical" as a pocket pocket knife can be. I currently have a pair of "elephant toenails" and an Opinel Garden Knife in rotation. Sharp, sturdy, pretty to look at, about as threatening as a potting trowel.

If I'm worried about getting jumped by a knife fighter, I'd carry around a claw hammer or brass-handled hardwood cane or a gas powered concrete drill. I'm not generally, tho, so I don't.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:14 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 12 year old with the marker scares me enough without even thinking about a knife.
One time when I was in junior high school, our teacher was late. In those few unattended minutes, two of the... less disciplined boys in the class decided to have a marker fight - but to make it interesting they faced off while sitting in the ancient wooden chair/desk combos we had in the classroom. (Imagine Jake and Elwood in the Penguin scene, only furiously trying to tag each other with markers.)
posted by usonian at 5:36 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You just know that when Hollywood decides to do a big budget remake of this, they'll get Matthew McConaughey to play Paul Vunak.
posted by quin at 6:55 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guy pulled knife on me once. It was amazing! I had no idea I could run that fast, barefoot, in January, on pavement in Michigan! He was THAT close to my cahones!
posted by Goofyy at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2013


"Oh, if the other guy has a knife? And he really knows how to use it? You turn around and run like a bunny in the other direction."

I've heard similar anecdotes from the law enforcement folks that I know, and there's a good reason for it; Knives as weapons are really, really fucking dangerous.

People always joke about bringing a knife to a gun fight as though there was some wisdom in that. But the fact is, even a relatively small pocket knife can do damage far in excess of an average bullet wound in a matter of seconds. Sure, a gun gives you range, but statistically, most conflicts happen within arm's reach.

I've carried a knife since I was 12 or so (not as a weapon, but because knives are absurdly useful things to have). I've made more knives than I can count, I can and have sharpened damn near anything with even a rudimentary edge, so I feel confident in asserting that I'm pretty familiar with sharp stuff.

And if anyone ever pulled a knife on me? I'd run as fast as my legs would carry me. An unskilled knife fighter can be just as terrifying, because someone windmilling their arms with a razor on one end may be crude and look ridiculous, but best case, if it hits you, it'll still cause damage that you'll suffer with the rest of your life.
posted by quin at 8:32 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You weren't kidding about his "dulcet tones." I listened to the first minute of the video only and I already want an audiobook narrated by this man.
posted by seyirci at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"All you need to know about knife fighting: No one wins a knife fight; sometimes, one of the participants loses less."

I figured out what's been bothering me about your posts lately. What happened to the rhymes?


I got promoted.
posted by Etrigan at 5:51 PM on August 28, 2013


It seems to me that this video perpetuates common myths about knife fighting - that defending yourself against a knife involves squaring off against a guy with a knife of your own, like you're in the movies. If someone wants to kill you with a knife, their attack is going to look a lot more like this (no real violence in the video). Knowing a bunch of latin-sounding words is not going to help you. Do whatever it takes to stay out of a knife fight.
posted by Dasein at 7:53 PM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


You just know that when Hollywood decides to do a big budget remake of this, they'll get Matthew McConaughey to play Paul Vunak.

Funnily enough I nearly described him as the Matthew McConaughey of martial arts based on his prediliction for bongo drums and weed.
posted by longbaugh at 11:56 PM on August 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dasein - Vunaks's training background for knifework comes from the Filipino martial arts. Some of the FMAs were originally developed by guys who actually did square off with each other using knives, sticks, machetes, etc either in duels or warfare situations. (Unlike the traditional Japanese sword arts, this took place recently enough that there are probably still living practitioners who witnessed or participated in these fights.)

That said, your point is correct for most people in modern society. Knife duels are rare and generally avoidable. Assaults with a knife where the victim never even sees the knife are much more common.
posted by tdismukes at 7:14 AM on August 30, 2013


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