Tactical World - - Contents - By Mike Sear­son

CQB train­ing in­cludes skill work with edged weapons.

In mod­ern so­ci­ety, many peo­ple carry a pock­etknife. The largest grow­ing seg­ment of the cut­lery in­dus­try over the past 20 years has been the development of the tac­ti­cal knife. While the pri­mary us­age of such a knife is ba­sic cut­ting chores such as open­ing boxes and cut­ting rope, most users of these knives choose them as a last-ditch self-de­fense tool if needed.

Edged weapons have al­ways been the pri­mary arms used in close-quar­ters com­bat. The ba­sic fun­da­men­tals of edged weapon com­bat have re­mained un­changed for thou­sands of years. The in­tro­duc­tion of firearms for self-de­fense and the rise and pop­u­lar­ity of un­armed mar­tial arts for sport and self-de­fense, how­ever, has made many of these prin­ci­ples drop from com­mon us­age.

Ernest Emer­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Har­bor City, Calif.-based Emer­son Knives, is an ac­com­plished mar­tial artist and one of the pi­o­neers of the tac­ti­cal fold­ing knife. He is a stu­dent of his­tor­i­cal hand-to-hand com­bat and sums up the re­al­ity of edged weapons fight­ing: "The clos­est thing to an ab­so­lute that I can draw from my study of his­tor­i­cal in­di­vid­ual com­bat with edged weapons is that every time one man lived, an­other man had to die."

He of­fers close-quar­ter com­bat cour­ses sev­eral times a year at his fa­cil­ity in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia as well as other venues on the East Coast and in the Mid­west.

The “gym” in­side the knife fac­tory func­tions as a full time jiu-jitsu train­ing gym seven days a week for Gracie Jiu-jitsu, and Royce Gracie him­self used it as his train­ing fa­cil­ity for his last re­match with Ken Sham­rock in a Bel­la­tor Match in 2015.

Train for So­ciopaths

Emer­son’s train­ing is more than just ba­sic fight­ing. It is about de­vel­op­ing a mind­set. He drives this point home by in­form­ing his stu­dents to train for fac­ing a so­ciopath.

A so­ciopath may be a gang mem­ber whose crew is mov­ing into po­si­tion to am­bush a vic­tim, or he may be a pris­oner at­tempt­ing an escape on a trans­port de­tail, but he is out there and sooner or later you will have to face him. When it be­comes ap­par­ent that your at­tacker does not have one iota of re­spect for you, Emer­son teaches the best way to com­bat this threat is to, “be­come a so­ciopath your­self.”

What he means by that can be summed up in four words: “Re­spond with bad in­tent.” It is more than just a logo used for Emer­son’s Knife Com­pany, but a mantra used by fight­ers from Mike Tyson to the UFC’S Shane Car­win. “You must throw all of your punches with bad in­tent and be fully com­mit­ted to de­feat­ing your en­emy.”

Re­spond­ing with bad in­tent means be­ing fully com­mit­ted to de­feat­ing the at­tacker, and the most ef­fec­tive way to do that is to know which area of the body to at­tack.

“Knife spar­ring or back-and-forth du­el­ing is a sure way to get killed,” Emer­son said. “Don’t cross no-man's lands more than once. Knife fight­ing is con­fus­ing to most. It’s not knife fight­ing; it’s fight­ing with knives. Never for­get that you still pos­sess all of your other weapons – fists feet, knees, el­bows, head butts and teeth. Don’t use the knife as your only weapon."

An­gles of At­tack

Emer­son points out that all knife

fight­ing is based on an­gles of at­tack and knowl­edge of how the hu­man body re­sponds to those at­tacks. "De­fend against the an­gle of at­tack, not the tech­nique,” he said. “You can­not re­act faster than the at­tacker can act. In or­der to in­ca­pac­i­tate an­other hu­man be­ing, you have to know how the phys­i­cal body func­tions. And the key word is in­ca­pac­i­tate, be­cause just caus­ing pain may in­con­ve­nience but it will not in­ca­pac­i­tate. You have far more to fear from a deadly man than from a deadly weapon. De­stroy the man: that is your only goal. You must be will­ing to do any­thing needed when a deadly weapon comes into play. You can­not move fast enough to track the weapon. No one can.”

Some of the key ar­eas to tar­get are the eyes, the legs, the throat, armpits and but­tocks. If a fighter can­not see he will find it hard to fight. The neck and throat make prime tar­gets as they can cut off oxy­gen and blood to the brain. The legs and the but­tocks pro­vide sta­bil­ity. At­tack these ar­eas and the op­po­nent should go to the ground.

These con­cepts are fur­ther ex­plored by bridg­ing the gap with your as­sailant.

In­side the Kill Zone

Bridg­ing the gap means clos­ing with your at­tacker and get­ting “in­side the kill zone,” as Emer­son calls it. The ideal way to do this in what would never be an ideal sit­u­a­tion is to throw your hands up to pro­tect your face and thrust your arms forward and up along with your hips as the at­tacker moves in. The ad­van­tage is that you have just stepped in­side his area of ef­fec­tive­ness, mak­ing him less ef­fec­tive.

As your hands go up and to­ward the at­tacker and you move in, do not think of it as a block­ing tech­nique. The outer sides of the arms may of­fer more pro­tec­tion should the blade strike, but if you are struck, you will be cut. The idea is to get in as close as pos­si­ble to take the at­tacker’s ad­van­tage of reach away from him.

If the bad guy is armed with a pool cue, stick, pipe or a blunt trauma weapon, there may be less risk associated with grab­bing it or at­tempt­ing a dis­arm. How­ever, do not ever at­tempt to di­rectly dis­arm a charg­ing at­tacker armed with a blade.

“Any dis­arms that are suc­cess­ful are op­por­tu­nity mo­ments,” Emer­son said. “Never ‘go for a dis­arm.’ A dis­arm hap­pens by chance, only when it presents it­self in the mid­dle of com­bat. If it is there, you take it but never au­to­mat­i­cally go for it.”

Some in­struc­tors claim to teach their stu­dents how to take a knife or a pis­tol away from an at­tacker in mid at­tack. It can be done in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment such as a gym. How­ever, un­less you are a mar­tial artist who prac­tices that move con­stantly for hours a day, for days on end, for many years, with op­po­nents of all sizes and lev­els of abil­ity, it will not work on the street against some­one de­ter­mined to end your life.


Fi­nal Bat­tle

The end­cap to every Emer­son course is to fight Emer­son him­self or one of his in­struc­tors, all of whom are highly trained fight­ers and mar­tial artists. As a par­tic­i­pant of sev­eral of these cour­ses, the au­thor has wit­nessed a trans­for­ma­tion among many of the stu­dents from their first step on the mat to the “fi­nal bat­tle” seg­ment.

Of course that is not al­ways an easy jour­ney, as some stu­dents do not complete the course due to sus­tained in­juries, fam­ily emer­gen­cies and the like. It is not like the washout rate at BUDS train­ing, but Emer­son said he has seen peo­ple drop from the class for various rea­sons, usu­ally one or two stu­dents on each day, but it is enough to re­mind you that this course is not an easy one.

In Con­clu­sion

Nine­teenth cen­tury fron­tier law­man Wy­att Earp is of­ten cred­ited with giv­ing the fol­low­ing pearl of wis­dom when it comes to sur­viv­ing a gun­fight: “Don’t show up for one.” Emer­son agrees when it comes to be­ing con­fronted by a vi­o­lent at­tacker.

“Do not stay and fight,” he said. “At the ear­li­est mo­ment, you must escape. To stay and fight is to greatly in­crease the odds that you will die.”

More than just a mar­tial arts class or tac­ti­cal train­ing course, a spir­i­tual trans­for­ma­tion takes place in the form of mind­set. You may not un­lock the se­crets to the uni­verse or answer man’s search for faith, but you will never look at a self-de­fense sce­nario the same way again, be it hand-to-hand, with edged weapons or even us­ing a firearm. TW

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