WE are a great believer in the fighting knife.If it were up to us every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman who deployed to a combat zone would be armed there at all times with a handgun and a razor sharp fighting knife. And, we would add, he would have had very adequate training in their proper combat employment prior to being sent in harm’s way.

Individual close combat is not a primary or even a moderately serious secondary concern for war planners and military leaders. Hand-to-hand combat and close range interpersonal confrontations with handguns do not decide the outcome of a war, and hence don’t matter much to those who run the armed services’ war fghting activities. But these activities matter a great deal to the individual fighting man who finds himself in a predicament that demands he kill or be killed in a close quarters affray!

Personal hand-held weapons that may be worn on the person 24/7 and that give the individual marked superiority in a close range encounter impart a boost to the fighting man’s morale that can prove invaluable in any war effort –––– great, small, or “limited” (as those who see nothing wrong with playing with the lives of the finest young men our Country has been blessed with, refer to them).  The well-trained soldier who is never without a reliable, loaded handgun and a fighting knife automatically possesses great confidence and an enhanced fighting spirit. This last alone justifies the fighting man being so armed whenever he is sent to any hot zone on earth. But we know what gives; we won’t hold our breath.

While our British cousins have apparently made fighting knives and lockblade folders that are suitable for self-defense just about impossible for the law abiding private citizen to own and to carry, we here in the U.S. have no such problem (yet, anyway). And while Mr. and Mrs. Private Citizen in the U.S. cannot carry a full-sized combat knife on his person, purchasing and owning such knives is legal (to the best of our knowledge, everywhere in America), and having such weapons available in one’s home or apartment can prove to be life-saving . . . especially in places like New York City, where the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms is shamelessly infringed, and only dangerous criminals and the police are armed with guns. (It is of course “possible” to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in New York City; but unless you have the financial means to afford the legal counsel and political red tape, forget it.) Unfortunately, this atrociousstate of affairs exists throughout the Stateof New York today!

So learn knifework and unarmed combat. We’d recommend strongly that you master the stick, too. With a quality folding knife that does not exceed the legal size allowance for wherever your live on your person, and the skill to use it well, you’re better off i the street than being unarmed. And having a few fighting knives placed throughout your dwelling is certainly better than having nothing but your bare hands to repel a home invading intruder. Even if you do carry a handgun legally, there’s nothing wrong with also carrying a good knife.

The knife has certain advantages over the stick. Consider . . . 

  • A knife has tremendous psychological effect on an attacker. Many individuals are not intimidated by a stick, but will draw back instantly when confronting a sharp blade.

  • A knife is readily concealable, very light and easy to carry, and is infinitely combinable with unarmed combat skills (the learning of which should always preceed learning knifework).

  • The sheer shock of having an intended “victim” turn warrior and not merely draw a knife but attack with it fiercly, stabbing and slashing like lightning, can turn the toughest troublemaking predator to jelly!

  • With proper training you can learn to inflict a terrifying (fatal, if your life is at stake) wound to anyone. Nobody wants to bleed profusely and feel his flesh ripped apart! It spoils the attacker’s whole game.

  • Proper knifework can be taught to almost anyone who has a firm grasp and working knowledge of the basics of unarmed combat within a few hours.

  • The fact that there is a Wstern prejudice against knives (i.e. they are thought of widely as “the bad guy’s weapon”) actually helps if you use a knife for self-defense! The scumbag may easily and quickly conclude that he has picked a far “badder dude” than himself to mess with. 

Recommended Knives

THERE are today literally dozens of different, high quality folding knives that are speedy to open and that are well-designed for anti-personnel use. Just check online or go to any well-stocked knife shop. You want a lockblade folder with a facility for one-hand opening.

We love the Applegate Folder, and if we were going to carry a folding knife that would be our choice. But you will find many other top-quality lockblade folders that constitute a fine choice.

As for fixed-blade fighting knives, we recommend:

  • The Randall-Made Model #1, #2, #14, and #15.

  • The Ek combat knives (made prior to the close of the Ek Commando Knife Company. They are available and well worth the cost.

  • The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Fighting Knife. The old Sheffield models are around, and there are other well-made versions of this proven knife available. Don’t opt for a “cheapie imitation”. Spend the asking price for a quality model.

  • The USMC Ka-Bar knife

  • The original design Gerber Mark II Combat Knife

There are other excellent choices, and we urge you to remember that, finally, it is the man behind the knife, and not the knife per se that matters most. The legendary Jim Bowie made his reputation as a fierce and unbeatable knife fighter long before the “Bowie Knife” was forged! It was at the Vidalia Sandbar . . . and Bowie used a kitchen knife!

One final thing. We would be less than honest if we did not recognize and point out that your mindset and attitude matter a great deal whenever weapons training is considered. Are you, in your heart of hearts, ready and willing to use a knife against a human adversary? Not everyone is, and no one who isn’t, or who suspects that he isn’t or may not be, should carry or equip himself at home with a knife for self-defense.

Forget the stupid knife “seminars” and martial arts fanticisers who have their charges use rubber or wooden knives in simulated dojo combat. In reality you must expect to get blood and perhaps pieces of flesh on your hands, clothing and face. Using a knife on an enemy is a close-in, personal, hands-on, bloody affair. It is one thing to simulate slashing someone’s throat. It is quite another to actually slash someone’s throat. Some people who would shoot someone in a crisis, or strike him repeatedly with a walking stick across the neck, head, and face just could not get face-to-face with another individual and stab and slash him to death. And, like how it sounds or not, that is exactly what you must be prepared to do ––– and to do without a tremor of hesitation ––– when you employ a knife in self-defense. While some street garbage may turn tail and run after they sustain a slight wound or just see the knife, some will not. And when training in any aspect of self-defense it is the worst not the best that must be assumed and prepared for.

So think about it. If the knife is for you, then you definitely want to learn knifework. As the late master knifemaker John Ek would put it: The knife is “your silent partner”; and if you become adept with its combat use it will not let you down!