Knifefighting vs. Street Clothing

Knifefighting vs. Street Clothing

This is a discussion on Knifefighting vs. Street Clothing within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I saw this topic posted by the member CWL on The High Road forum and I found it interesting and wanted your guys' opinions on ...

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Thread: Knifefighting vs. Street Clothing

  1. #1
    Guest Array Risque007's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Springfield, Missouri

    Knifefighting vs. Street Clothing

    I saw this topic posted by the member CWL on The High Road forum and I found it interesting and wanted your guys' opinions on it.

    While picking up some to-go food last weekend, I made some observations about the typical street-level hoods I would most likely encounter in an assault/robbery situation.

    Modern street fashion has evolved to become very effective against knives. (makes sense.)

    Street fashion seems to involve wearing layers of very loose but heavy denim jacket (sometimes padded) over a synthetic basketball/football jersey and another t-shirt, perhaps add a hoodie as well. The looseness combined with layers of various dense materials makes an extremely effective "armor" to entangle, catch, block and insulate against the typical slashing moves & thrusts I have studied in FMA. Even the zipper may be effective in reducing belly/abdominal strikes.

    I think that most of the folders I carry would be rendered useless except for a solid thrust or only against the neck and face. Even small-medium fixed blades may not do very well here.

    We have never addressed this in any MA classes, where we usually wear single-layer cotton t-shirts or Gis. My combinations, if used in the real world, may only result in shredded denim and a few superficial cuts to BG, while allowing BG to respond with a world of hurt.

    Can anyone share suggestions on effective techniques & folders? I am thinking that billhook knives may be the most effective, but would like to hear all suggestions.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Smack in the middle of wealthy on one side and dirt poor on the other
    Not all knife wielders slash only. Some of us...train to use whatever technique works. For instance, when I first started, the basics I was taught was to work around the clock system. By that I mean all your slashes, stabs, thrusts, etc... originate around the clock (1,2,3,4,5,6-12 - you get the idea). Anywhoo, stabs are just as, if not more so effective by someone who is trained....Armor or not.
    The other thing to think about, at least for me...Is that when I train to stab...I'm not trying to bury the blade in's more like short pokes and very fast, multiple strikes within a very short timespan. If I notice someone has a good layer of clothing on, the only time I'm slashing is if I can get his arms or neck.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    SW Missouri
    Multiple layers of clothing or even a single layer of "tough" clothing like a leather jacket may very well provide protection against slashes and "little poking type" thrusts but I doubt they'd stop a real thrust. Unless you have a knife with a very wide blade or a point with a broad profile (like some of the "americanized" tantos out there) most knives won't have any problem penetrating even multiple layers of tough fabric.

    I primarily train a reverse-grip, edge-in method where the thrusts are very fact, I don't think of the method as thrusting as much as hitting with hammerfist strikes that just happen to have several inches of steel protruding from them. I don't even think about the blade, I think about slamming the base of my fist into the intended target.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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  5. #4
    Member Array Reffy's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    I have no professional training, nor do I have a professional opinion, but I've all ways said knives were to get you out of a fight, not into a fight. By that I mean knives are last ditch ALLWAYS, it's the weapon meant to be felt, not seen. Just knowing that you have a knife should make you less reluctant to throw down fists at a bar anyway.
    A knife is for when he running at you and he looks like he's high on PCP. Or for that bar fight in which the cop beat on that woman. And when that's the case I've all ways envisioned myself going for his legs. Close up, deep strikes into the legs.

  6. #5
    New Member Array Seamusalaska's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Baggy clothes? Layers? Time for Tanto. Ditto to Reffy on the leg business if you know what you're doing.

  7. #6
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    Array Betty's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    I really doubt the fashion deliberately evolved around effectiveness against knives. The hoods emulate what's fashionable, like what the gangbanga rappers wear, and that happens to be super-baggy everything. While the side-effect of the fashion may deter some knife slashes, it certainly won't stop somebody who knows what he's really doing with a blade.

    The upside (for us) to the overly-baggy clothes is that the wearer can be restricted by his own clothing. Pants of excessive waist size worn on a much smaller person sure aren't an advantage in any kind of fight, especially when I see these guys have to walk slowly and hold their pants up just to get around. I'd like to see one try to catch me while he's trying to keep his pants from falling off.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    My input is that my personal rule 1. of attending a knife fight is to bring a gun . I carry big sharp knives as tools , and have been in fights where sharp stuff is involved , I dont care to repeat the experiance .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    +1 redneck.

  10. #9
    Senior Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Agreement Here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jchoo View Post
    +1 redneck.

    This picture denotes my preferred method of knife fighting...

    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jchoo View Post
    +1 redneck.

    Indy was lucky that guy was showboating and not charging him because he is inside 21 feet.
    Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

  12. #11
    Member Array Rick Oshay's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    I do have professional training. Slash or stab? It does not matter if you dont have a target. Knifing your attacker will not instantaneousely stop him in his tracks (Did someone mention crack / PCP addict?) unless you sepparate thier brain from thier spinal column. So basically, unless you decapitate your assailant you have to do maximum damage in minimum time to the body's structural connections and internal organs to create shock and extreme blood loss. Meanwhile your at contact distance with your attacker(s). You have to train, train, train. You have to be able to locate and strike the body's weak points. Can you locate and strike his femoral artery? Is your blade long enougth to penetrate into the thoractic cavity and sever his cardiac arteries? Oh Yeah, I remember the point I wanted to bring up (no pun intended, lol)...Saw teeth on the spine of a fighting knife may look really cool in a movie, but in real life have a tendency to get stuck in stuff like clothing or rib cages, and should be avoided........... Anyway, I think it's easier to carry and be proficient with a large caliber firearm. Whats that old saying 'bout "the more we sweat in training , the less we'll bleed in a fight"??
    "The more people I meet, the more I like my Dog"

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Wabash IN
    My trainer stressed serrations for its increased cutting ability. He was a former Army Ranger who saw action btw.

    I do both from an earth grip (usually). The handle is used to strike. I'll go after blood vessels, tendons and especially nerve centers. I'm fond of the idea of taking out an attacker's arm, then the attacker.

    I can't really illustrate what I'm talking about without someone using my camera, and there's nobody here at this point.

    Make an X with your arms. Attacker is right handed, I'm left handed. Catch the attacking arm with your right hand, slash under the armpit with the knife in the left hand, severing an important artery and hopefully knicking a nerve bundle. Move up, slash the side of the neck. From there plunge downward into the base of the neck. Two cuts and one stab, and you're well on your way to winning.

    I gotta go to sleep, but I'll see what I can do about pics, or at least a more coherent discription.

    Josh <><

  14. #13
    Array AzQkr's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    In the Superstitions
    My trainer stressed serrations for its increased cutting ability.

    Not all serrations are created equally, consequently, not all serrations will give increased cutting ability in various mediums they have to bite through.

    In my own testing years ago and that of James Keating of Comtech fame [ one of the emeritas' in the world of knife knowledge ], and reported and discussed ad nauseum on bladeforums with others finding the same results, serrations are not conducive to increased cutting ability on clothing, the teeth drag on the materials, thus slowing the blade some resulting in cuts that are not as deep.

    Serrations increase cutting ability in cardboard, on ropes, etc, in loose clothing which may bundle/bind they are not as effective [ as a rule ] over a nicely sharpened straight edge blade.

    Now, another thing that needs to be addressed is that most will not keep their knives sharp enough all the time, or use a dedicated blade for SD only, keeping it razor sharp. The serrated blades create more cutting edge per inch of blade, so they stay sharper longer as a rule, and thats one of the reasons why many carry a serrated blade to begin with, it requires less resharpening overall.

    I carry straight edges blades exclusively for SD. The edge gets touched at least once a week to keep it honed to it's full potential whether it touches anything in between those times or not as it is not as sharp as when I've just finished touching it with the stones after only a few days.

    How many sharpen, resharpen their knives nightly/weekly, let alone anytime the edge actually has had to work during the day? Not many from what I've seen.

    Many tell me over the years their knives are sharp. Upon inspection and testing, they are not. They see the edge on my blades and know what sharp is. Big difference, but then being anal about the edges of my blades has always been an issue

    The mind is the limiting factor

    Quick Kill Rifle and Pistol Instructor

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    John Farnam did some tests using knives against ballistics gelatin protected by leather and denim. The results seem to show that a knife's sharpness, quality and profile have a big influence on their ability to penetrate heavy clothing. The leather and denim were effective against cheap, dull knives. However, sharp, high quality knives penetrated with ease. In particular, knives with points that aren't designed for stabbing did poorly when trying to stab through heavy clothing.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamusalaska View Post
    Baggy clothes? Layers? Time for Tanto.
    Actually a Tanto profile is meant for slashing at an unarmored target. Their armor piercing abilities are a lot of hype. What you can do with one you can do better with other shapes. I know, I've done it.

    Japanese weapons were fairly easily defeated by the armor of their day. Most duels were fought unarmored. Japanese edged fighting also involved relatively small amounts of thrusts, due to their physiques. They concentrated on slashing techniques. Europeans concentrated more on thrusting because of longer legs hence a very different weapons shape evolution.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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