The White Shadow Dojo is a Martial Arts school run by Gwynne and David in western New York. This blog features information on our book "The Rhythm of One", our class offerings, a calendar of events, an edged weapons forum, articles on knife design, and a community space for the research and dissemination of Martial Arts. "Sometimes irreverant, often opinionated, always brutally honest."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Comments on the Book

Well I have nearly finished reading the Kirchner Bowie knife book. I wanted to say that it is good from front to back cover, all the more valuable as a reference since mr Kirchner points out where myth overshadows truth. Where fact rises its ugly head he still prints it even though it might go counter to established fables or flowery legend. One very importand point is that in those days a bowie knife was more than the equal of even a colt revolver, or the predominant double barreled muzzle-loading pistols. One story in particular, the attempted assassination of the Sect of State Seward, illustrates the difficulty of an unarmed man overcoming one armed with a knife. In this fracas several people are very seriously injured and the assassin still escapes. One final point. Many martial artists who teach knife defense as a sideline are fond of quipping: "expect to get cut." Well many of these characters in this book do get cut, some of them several times, many of them suffer permanent injuries, disfigurement, or deformities as a result. The good guys do not always win. So the next time your sensei says: :just grab his knife and do this, or that," you might want to rethink who you learn knife fighting/defense from.
This Southwest Style Bowie was hand forged by Matt Lamey


Jeff Snyder said...

Hmmm, I must confess I've never been intrigued by knife vs. knife fighting. I acknowledge that studying it will make one better prepared in general and better at using a knife as tool of self-defense vs. unarmed attcker(s). However, for whatever reason, so far, it's never had appeal though I feel I should study it. I'm still at the stage of your first book, Dave.
And I haven't yet caught "bowie fever," though I see and feel that they are beautiful and awe-inspiring knives. I can see even apart from their usefulness, the reach advantage and intimidation factor has got to be huge. Drawing a knife like that has to be the knife equivalent of racking the slide and loading a 12 guage round into the ole' Remington 870.

In contrasting self-defense with knife fighting, if it's just a criminal ripoff and not a heated passion attack, you're generally hoping that the display of the knife will be sufficient, the robber not generally looking for a real fight but some easy money. Both of my sons, who have lived in NYC, have stopped muggings like this before they began because they read the signs and simply pulled an EDC folder from their pockets before matters progressed, and that was that. If however you are at the point where someone initiates a knife attack on you and continues when you draw yours, or you pull your knife and the attacker pulls one too, well that is pretty serious stuff. You've got a determined attacker who is ready to rock with a knife. Not a good scene.

Must say, sounds like a good book to pick up and read, for general edification in all matters mortal.

knife-fighter said...

I am not arguing your point Jeff. According to "experts," knife on knife fights do not happen, or only 1% of the time or some other such statistic. This book provides 370 pages of actual knife on knife real documented fights. SO...I cannot say I relish the idea of a knife on knife conflict myself, but, I train for that possibility just as I practice with my handgun and other firearms in case I ever need to defend myself with one of them. Besides whether its a possibility or not, like fencing, the two person practice of these techniques improves both practitioner's skills. Thanks Jeff for the thoughtful post.

Royn-Ber Wendjaifa said...

I believe nothing can compare to the old Sheffield made blades for quality craftsmanship, and I believe you can still order hand made ones from specialist dealers in that city, if you know where to ask. Personally, I like to keep well away from the sort of people who might like to attack me with knives...someone involved there could so easily get himself seriously hurt if I didn't.

knife-fighter said...

Older Sheffield blades were exceptional. Today's are probably also excellent as long as you do not buy one with a stainless steel. Carbon steel blades will rust if not cared for but will definitely hold a better edge. My next post is going to show some test cutting with a big 12 inch bladed Matt Lamey bowie.