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Queensidecas' thread got me thinking and I didn't want to hijack or derail so...


Just to state my assumptions up front. I am well informed about the different schools of tactical knife combat and associated martial arts. The only school of thought that has me convinced are the Prison and QCB based approaches that employ knives specialized in stabbing with a hit grip.
I remain unconvinced that stabbing is a viable technique for most of us. It seems (judging from photos I've seen) to take an awful lot of stab wounds to stop someone.

I've noticed in training that people, even many with extensive training in stabbing oriented edged weapon methods, revert to slashing under pressure(Force On Force). I've seen a lot of repetitive angle 1, angle 2, angle 1, angle 2, etc. type stuff. It seems slashing will likely result in horrific looking, but largely superficial, and ineffectual wounds. Throw in a heavy coat, and that type of slashing could be completely
futile.

So, what do you all think? What should we do?
 

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The situation with respect to stabbings in prisons may have more to do with the types of weapons available versus any significant benefit to stabbing versus slashing. Creating a stabbing impliment is probably a lot easier given what prisoners have access to (materials and the ability to work the materials) then creating a sharpened blade for slashing.

Comprehensive training will include slashing, stabbing and combinations of both.
 

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In Eskrima I'm taught to slash/fillet my opponent. The more serious the slash the less likely the attacker is to proceed.

IMHO
 

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This is not an either/or. First of all, it is dumb to bring a knife to a gun fight. The knife is for that part of the fight where you cannot get to your firearm but can get to your knife.

Second, it is a combination of stabbing and slashing that gets the job done. You MUST realize that in the heat of combat a BG will be able to fight a long time with significant injuries. Whether you shoot him or slash him or stab him, he will not give up instantly. So you must overwhelm him with intensity, speed, and technique.

Translation: hit vital areas with slashes and stab to keep him "out of time" so to speak.
 

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My primary technique is to slash. Stabbing with a knife is like a gunshot. You can get either many times in a lot of places before you go down. Placement is key. With slashing, your wound area is bigger and more likely to stop (not necessarily kill) the attacker. I can get shot or stabbed in the arm and it not stop me, but if a slash severs the muscle and tendons, that arm is now non-functional. Granted a stab or bullet in the right place will do the same, but you have to be more precise. Precise just isn't there in a fight. Plus a bullet will usually go further into a body than a knife will. A stab and then slash would be a nasty wound.

Also, try stabbing an artery. Slashing is is so much easier and the chances for success are so much better. Just make sure that your blade is sharp and you put effort into your cuts as not to make a bunch of superficial cuts.

That said, there is a time and place for stabbing, just like there is for head shots, but generally center mass is better as you can get the same effect for less effort.
 

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I think a slashing type is best.
When using a sharp blade even
slashing will slice right through heavy
jackets, clothing and on down into flesh.
While it is a popular saying "dont bring a knife
to a gunfight" a knife when used in very close quarters
is better than a gun and probably more deadly.
A big advantage of stabbing is of course deeper wounds
also stabbing is more discrete which is one reason the method
is used more in prisons. Good to practice different methods and
styles
 

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Prison officials worry about deep poking shivs more than slashing shivs due to the vastly increased chances of infection, especially for lower abdominal hits.

I prefer stabbing techniques for the speed and smaller arc of movement for potential detection and subsequent deflection by your opponent. Add a bit of the FMA thrust-cut technique and you can get a pretty good hybrid of the two with each strike.
 

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For those who continue with the gun show slogan comments like "Just shoot them" and "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight"- have you done any force on force against edged weapons?

We have narrowed it down to the two most likely angles you will be attacked at, Angle 1 traveling high right to low left from a right handed attacker, and Angle 7 which is a stab. Angle 1 looks remarkably like a roundhouse punch, and Angle 7 a jab or rabbit punch. Research shows that most victims of edged weapon attacks did not see the weapon. In addition it takes on average 3/4 of a second to respond to a visual stimuli. That said I think we can all agree that responding to a roundhouse punch with a firearm in most circumstances is going to be unjustified. So someone is swinging at you and you are able to see a weapon, what are the chances of you being able to deploy your pistol, get the muzzle between you and the attacker and pull the trigger before they #1, slash your face/neck with a box cutter, or #2, plunge a screwdriver between your ribs?

This past weekend we did an Edged Weapon Survival / Combative Pistol Course in Pittsburgh. Students found out fast that going to the traditional two handed shooting stance resulted in them taking at least one cut/stab to a vital area. They were also attacked with impact weapons representing tire irons while they were wearing headgear. This resulted in them taking what would be a crippling blow to the side or top of the head.

One student realized they need to deal with the assault first, and needed to move. They began using their reaction side hand to block/wrap/deflect their attacker. This coupled with moving at a hard 45 degree angle to the right of their attacker usually resulted in them landing rounds without being touched by the weapon.

Back to cuts. vs slashes. We are discussing the offensive use of edged weapons, when you are backed into a corner. View yourself as a cat in that situation. Your knife should be used as a claw in a frenzy to make the predator realize you are not worth his life. You fight to stop the attacker, not to win or kill him. If he dies in the fight, that is the breaks. I view cut/rips/slashes as the claws. Stabs are your teeth. Teeth are used defensively, but usually only after the claws open up the attackers body to expose vital areas.

At the beginning of an attack, where you are defending with an edged weapon, you are most likely to be moving backward. When humans are forced backwards, their arms go out to the side trying to keep their balance. If you have a knife in your hand and are defending at this point, you will be slashing. What we have evidenced during force on force is that the slashes usually cut the outside of the shoulder and across the torso. This does little to any of the body systems.

The human arm is only capable of three things: pushing, pulling, and swinging. We are hardwired to use swinging to defend ourselves since it covers the most area in front of us to block/wrap/evade. With a knife, it also allows us to cover more area on our attacker increasing the chances of a cut. Long before we had edged weapons, we were stuck with our natural impact weapons at the end of our arms...our fists. We learned early on that the centrifugal force generated by swinging worked well for beating people off of us or at least changing their mind about the attack. Before the invention of purpose driven weapons, pushing someone (stabbing) off of us had little benefit, especially when there was a disparity in size. In life and death situations at contact distance when being driven back, our primitive mind had a tendency to win out over our trained mind. We can't change it so we train into it.

The way we do this at MCS is with Inverted Edge Tactics. By using the inverted grip, we placed the blade in a position to take natural advantage of the natural path of our hands (from the waist line up to our chest). On its way up, you feel the knife "catch" in vital areas and pull as your attacker responds to the pain. This causes a devastating scissor effect.

Focusing on the tool instead of the fight is a deadly error. - George
 

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The stabbing vs slashing debate will go on forever. What I think is important is for each person to adopt a style, choose an appropriate knife for that style, train in that style, and hope you NEVER are force to defend yourself with a knife. ALL of that assumes that you dont have your handgun because you are in a place/situation where you are not allowed to have it or some other circumstance.

Having said all of that the reason I chose stabbing over slashing as my personal defense style is I am 100% convinced through evident reason, logic and my own personal experiences that philosophies and concepts expoused by Marc Macyoung on his website: No Nonsense Self Defense - Reliable information for dangerous situations about self defense using a knife are totally correct. Read up on everything he has to say on the topic and make up your own mind. I am also convinced that the fastest way to end a knife fight is from deep stabs and ending a fight quickly is the only thing that is important if your only goal is self defense. Figure 8 slashing techniques are nonsense. You should be running away instead of standing off if you have the time to stand there swinging your knife in a figure 8 and other such garbage. I think the best real world scenario of true knife attacks and self defense is basically what happens in prison. These hardened criminals are more lethal with a knife than anyone and I think their view on how to attack and defend with a knife is more realistic than anyone since they are the only people that actually kill and get killed with knives in modern society. They are also limited to using shanks which are basically the size of most folders and small fixed blades that the law limits people to carrying.

My own analysis: I think the concept of a knife fight is utter nonsense, especially a knife fight vs someone else with a knife. This isnt the movies, it is real life and you play for keeps. No second chances. I am not in the least bit interested in fighting anyone. Fighting is a completely different mindset that self defense and as I said above I couldnt agree more with what Marc MacYoung has to say about it. For me I want a small knife made for lethal stabs that has a point that can punch through anything so that if I am truly cornered and cannot run, that I can deliver the necessary critical blows that WILL allow me to get away.

If the bad guy has a gun and I dont, the only chance is to give them what they want and PRAY that if that doesnt satisfy them that you can either disarm them or run. If I have my gun, I will defend myself while retreating. Having a plan for a defensive knife scenario is just for the off chance that situation #1 occurs and I am in a place that would not allow me to conceal carry my handgun
 

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Some other thoughts on stabbing vs slashing. In terms of pure physics stabbing is more economical in terms of energy spent and power delivered as compared to slashing. Another plus is it is much harder to disarm someone who is stabbing and it takes much less techique and traing to stab.

This discussion reminds me of a popular forum topic on sword forums. The question posed was if we were all knocked back to the stone ages and you were forced to combat with ancient weaponry what would you use. Japaneese style swords, broadswords, spears, knives, maces..blah blah. At anyrate almost everyone agreed that assuming equal level of training, the short spear is the most leathal weapon ever devised by man. The economy of motion for a fast spear thrust is unequaled and the lack of training to be efficient with a short spear is staggering. The range and economy of motion put the short spear at the top of the list.
 

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true it does take less training for stabbing motions.
Most people that use a knife with little or no training
naturally tend to use stabbing motions. The most basic
is the over the head (Ice pick grip) type stabbing motion
swinging down on someone. That type of motion seems like it would be
easier to be disarmed though. What I like and also fear with knives
is they are so easily hidden even when open and in someones hand
if held right.
 

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One of the issues that I think that mercop is bringing up, and he is quite correct for doing so, is that slashing is typically much more easily demonstrated as a defensive strike than a stab. What with the natural tendency for slashing while backpedalling when pressed, you even see this in saber fencing techniques, due to the aforementioned increased vitals coverage by the limbs you can further see his point.
Stabbing, on the other hand, is more difficult to state as a defensive technique due it's inherently more aggressive nature. Yes, you might have been defending yourself from an assault, but you still have to find a way to describe climbing straight up the side of your assailant's body with a long string of punctures as "I had no choice and I was in fear of my life". Everyone who has studied a striking art, let alone a stabbing-based blade system, knows that you don't get much out of your techniques if you use them as you step backwards, after all.
 

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...We are talking about defensively.
Yep. ^^

I've remained mum on this thread since noting when the OP first posted and there were no other responses, yet.
Simply because the answer is there is no all and any situations answer (!). Quite simply it very much depends.


There is now though a lot of theory posted here as well as links to other sites with more theory.

But bottom line...
* Who here has ever even once been in a fight on the streets against aggressors, and NOT as in a class/course against people who'll have lunch with you, and been stabbed or slashed?
* Of same very specific condition who has attempted to _defend_ against as much (taking the offensive is of no regard here for us), and did you fail or succeed?
* Who here has been first person witness with your own eyes to either of the above, and I mean start to finish not oh I saw a guy a block distant sitting/lying in a pool of his own blood?

When ever this subject comes up be it here or elsewhere I note there are always a strong positioning and voice from persons who have been through X, Y, or Z class/course training.
Persons who learned this or that offense and anti-offense as via the military, fighting against equally trained/skilled war fighters equally armed with tools akin to short swords.

None of this 'training' stuff though is of any _REAL_ use to civilians. Average Joe and Jane Citizen who is not walking the streets carrying a KaBar or a machete or a anything but at best a ~9" total length (blade and handle) as unfolded 'box cutter'.
Persons on the street that we might encounter are very much largely going to be untrained and have not been through a formal course/class. Street combatants training comes from street interaction and observation as well as applied practice...on the street.
They do not act nor react like folks who will have lunch with you at the end of your course/class.

Don't take my word for it though...

Just ask any person who actually has been stabbed/slashed, has been in the position of offense and/or defense, and/or has been direct first person witness to such violence as on the streets and/or in a prison (not jail nor 'detention center').

The answer to this question is simple and basic.
It's both and either.
The singular goal as on the streets, not in a combat class/course or military theater, is to STOP the actions of your attacker. How to best or most efficiently dispatch that person as in his/her ability to remain locomotive or even respirate is of low concern (!).

When being threatened or attacked by a person with any edged weapon (broken bottle, knife, pointed stick, etc.) the primary thought in the mind of the person at the opposite end is to either 1) Gain Distance to ESCAPE and/or 2) How can I make this person STOP being a threat right now!
If cutting him/her in the face with a slash by way of a razor blade will do that job then there is nothing further to discuss. This occurs, real world. If doing same with a carpet knife will get that job done then task complete. If stabbing that person in the neck, chest, or soft abdomen with a broken bottle will do it then job done.

Ask anyone who has really been under stress confronted with as much whether they were worried about being either stabbed or cut, they will tell you simply they just did not want to be _CUT_.
Bottom line.

Rather than discussing this amongst yourselves who largely have never ever seen such a situation thanks to having lived lives that are largely normal and simply average, it would be better and best to seek out the input of those who have been there and done that.
I guarantee you those persons will not have a specific camp to plant feet in. The answer is and has long been, both....and whatever else is necessary to make the attacker stop.

- Janq has been for real not in theory stabbed, defended successfully against slashes and stabs, and been first person witness to others undergoing same in win, lose, and draw efforts...all of and amongst the streets with real people who wanted my own and other folks lunch

P.S. - This is no different than anything else from using a firearm defensively to dance to sex.
It's nice to hear commentary from folks who have thoughts and theories on how things might go...But always at the end of the day bottom line what is most useful and pertinent and valuable is feedback from persons who have had both feet in directly and literally. Those persons first person reports and views are worth a hundred other persons theories on a matter. Recall how we all talked about this and that theory in HS as related to sex, and how off base and incorrect those were who had no more _real_ experience than we did as virgins.
This subject matter is no different, and is just as individual circumstance specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yep. ^^

I've remained mum on this thread since noting when the OP first posted and there were no other responses, yet.
Simply because the answer is there is no all and any situations answer (!). Quite simply it very much depends.
I wasn't really looking for an answer. I was more trying to get people thinking and start a discussion.


But bottom line...
* Who here has ever even once been in a fight on the streets against aggressors, and NOT as in a class/course against people who'll have lunch with you, and been stabbed or slashed?
I've been stabbed. My experience is what led me to the opinions I hold. It's why I think stabbing with the type of knife most of us carry on a daily basis might not be the best option. A 3/4" wide, 2" deep wound did not affect my ability to function in the slightest. In fact, I did not even know that I had been stabbed until several minutes after I had sustained the wound.

I've been slashed. That hurt more, and I saw it coming. A 3" long, 1/4 inch deep wound that, again, didn't really affect me.

As I said in my OP, I've seen that people who've spent a lot time training to stab, don't when pressed. That's just in force on force training. What does everyone think they might do when faced with a real knife?
 

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I've been stabbed. My experience is what led me to the opinions I hold. It's why I think stabbing with the type of knife most of us carry on a daily basis might not be the best option. A 3/4" wide, 2" deep wound did not affect my ability to function in the slightest. In fact, I did not even know that I had been stabbed until several minutes after I had sustained the wound.

I've been slashed. That hurt more, and I saw it coming. A 3" long, 1/4 inch deep wound that, again, didn't really affect me.

As I said in my OP, I've seen that people who've spent a lot time training to stab, don't when pressed. That's just in force on force training. What does everyone think they might do when faced with a real knife?
I've had a knife pulled on me once, but he was a complete idiot and I simply kicked it out of his hand before he could do anything with it. Think of the movie cliche of, "Ha ha! Who's a tough guy now, *insert random dis here*?" quickly followed by getting schooled by his opponent. It was so sad that my adrenaline didn't even fire up during the incident.

I have no issue at all believing your anecdote about your knife wounds. That sort of stuff happens with gunshots, even from the much vaunted .45 ACP, all of the time.

When forced to retreat, people will resort to slashing irregardless of their training for the instinctive reactions mentioned above. Stabbing while retreating is an exercise in futility. However, that is largely a training issue, IMO, rather than a lack of stabbing being an effective tool.
Typical knife force on force scenarios, if mercop's excellent training example videos are any indicator, start with the defender backpedalling from an armed or unarmed assailant while attempting to ready their weapon and it goes from there. Good to go. However, I don't typically see the defender passing a slash or thrust and JUMPING ON THAT MOTHER-BLANKER, TAKING HIM DOWN AS YOU STAB HIS NECK, DOING A DOUBLE KNEE DROP ONTO HIS HEAD AND FLOATERS WHILE PINNING HIS ARM TO HIS SIDE AS YOU MACHINEGUN YOUR KNIFE INTO HIS ARMPIT/HUMERAL ARTERY AREA AND NECK WHILE DELIBERATELY DOING EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO KEEP HIM FROM FIGHTING BACK.

Aggression. Speed. Absolute Brutality.

So yeah, if you're just trying to get away from the guy with nothing else in mind then a stab isn't your best bet. This is exactly why Shivworks teaches their grab-n-stab techniques and leaves the legal stuff on your head with what is probably a pretty insane non-fault waiver. You can't expect a defensive-type encounter to be resolved effectively while backpedalling and using point-based techniques. You need to jump that guy, or grapple them close if you're already engaged, while you basically Lesnar vs Couture them with a knife if you want the most bang for your buck with point-driven techniques.
 

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This has been an interesting thread. As has been mentioned, there's a difference between attacking & defending.

Stabbing, as has been mentioned, particularly in our Penal institutions, stabbing is an attacking motion usually designed to end that persons life. It tends to be more accurate & the wound is generally deeper than with a slashing attack. Plus, it usually used for more pinpoint attack of an organ, which is why they're typically fatal.

I think when one's asking about stabbing vs slashing, I'm assuming they're talking about being at the receiving end of an attack. If that's the case, slashing is "usually" the response by most people despite their training. The reason being that if you're behind the "8-ball" (The attack has come & your only response is realistically to not get stabbed/cut), then your fine motor skills are most likely going to go out the window. If you're fortunate enough to not be disabled by the attack & you're fortunate/quick enough to be able to get your knife, your natural response is most likely going to be to slash. That's mainly because you're probably going to be retreating, not attacking.

There's a big difference between a planned attack & a sudden defense. I'm not even talking about a planned defense, but a OH Shiite! I'm being attacked.

Also, everyone's different, but it also depends on the situation. I've been stabbed & personally been in several situations along with being witness to (Being part of) attacks (Firearms & knife, BTW) & it really depends on your perception at the time.

I found one is able to possibly stab (Or do some form of a fine motor skill attack) when they weren't the 1st one responding to an attack (Where it's not as imminent). If you're the 1st person being attacked (Or 1 of several, but there's no time to do anything bu react), you're most likely going to do what comes naturally to you & that is most likely to get out of the way & flail (Slashing, moving, etc). Now, maybe the dynamics might change enough that one doesn't feel as imminently in danger, then they might be able to change their tactic & actually stab.

Again, as has been said, there's no clear cut answer. Stabbing is usually more accurate, devastating, & debilitating...usually. But with stabbing, comes opening yourself to a possible counterattack, but again, if that person is now finding themselves on the receiving end, their most likely response will be to slash, not stab.

Just do an excercise with a friend/partner. Try to stab effectively while retreating.
 

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I tend to agree that stabbing doesn't seem very defensive in nature. Nevertheless I'm going to add an experience an instructor of mine had in his instructor class with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

They brought out a pig carcass and had all the students slash and stab at it, then they put a cammie blouse on it and let them slash away. These are generally some pretty big guys in this class, my instructor included, and he said the wounds through the blouse amounted to not much more than scratches. I'm not sure but I'd bet they were using the big ol' m9 bayonet that is easy to come by in Quantico, and if that isnt going to slash through a shirt effectively, I doubt an average folder will fair much better.

Just a thought.
 
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