Knife Management

I’ve been lucky enough to sign up for Mick Coup‘s Knife Management seminar in September… I’m actually bricking it already, because I know it’s going to be the toughest seminar so far. Not just cardio and conditioning, but raw strength too.

I’ve been to three of his unarmed seminars so far, starting with his foundational course and progressing to the “third” level: although he doesn’t break things down into levels – you either know the stuff or you’re basically playing catch up. It’s not advisable to skip a level, since everything builds onto what you have already drilled. It’s the most “honest” full-on fight training I’ve been through. You WILL fight force-on-force with another person who is doing his/her utmost to put you on the floor. No hits/holds barred. Groin protection and sparring helmet only.

The  “third” level is basically training “in the hole” – any situation where you are at a disadvantage. This could be flat out on the floor, stuck in a diner booth, or trying to run with your kid under your arm… or worse; concussed with blurred vision, blood in your eyes and a flap of skin hanging in the way, blinded by a bright searchlight in the dark. There are no frills. This is as real as it gets, and I have never felt so much fear as when I have been pinned to the ground, knowing that two metres away is another guy doing his best to get out of a ground pin and start knocking the crap out of me. I can’t explain how hard it is to even see what is in front of you – you think you’ll be able to clock the guy attacking you, but your vision will probably have closed down to a very small window directly ahead of you. This is absolutely no use at all when you’re surrounded by a ring of people and the attacker is coming from your blind side. It took me three fights before I could even begin to locate my attacker. This shit is as real as it gets, and it fucking hurts. No punches pulled. Full force attacks. I managed to land a wild swing, but only knew it had made it when my fist swelled up after the bout was over.

As I said, this is as real as it gets. I am so glad to have been through the wringer on the second and third seminar. Now I feel like I can visually parse the chaos and spot my opponent quick enough to get some hits onto him. Nothing stops an attack better than a counter attack: Attack is the best defence.

What is worrying me is how bloody hard Knife Defence is going to be. It’s basically “Life Or Death” with no do-overs. In a candid moment, I managed to get a brief outline of what we are facing (from Mick’s Facebook group):

“To set the scene…the ‘murder drill’ reality check…

I use hard-plastic ‘Sharkee’ brand training knives – these are the true Shock-knives without the gimmick, without the pricetag, but with a real ‘shock’ and stress effect…don’t think so? Let’s see the difference comparing your emotional reaction to a sparkly blue ‘Buzzz’ with me trying to bust your ribs with a chunk of solid nylon like a maniac…

The Murder Drill is simple – it’s a component drill…so fairly abstract rather than a complex simulation scenario…and it’s a reality-check, and baseline, as previously mentioned. And…it’s a fucking good warm-up if nothing else, not mention an icebreaker of note…

Partner up, face off, with a single training knife on the ground between you. Establish who goes first. Wait…for a single blast on a whistle…and then ‘first’ grabs the knife and all out tries to murder his training partner…for about 4-5-6 seconds…then on the next whistle blast drops the training knife which is immediately grabbed by the previously ‘murdered’ partner who has his or her payback…until the next whistle blast…and so on.

Total time? Maybe 30-40secs…there’s really no need for any more…to claim that this drill serves it’s purpose is a huge understatement.

Safety rules… Below the neck…no striking other than with the knife…basic ‘don’t be stupid’ stuff…but…move at full speed, with malice, and above all, stab and cut HARD…

Plenty of people turn up with some ‘knife defence’ training under their belt…some dubious Krav stuff perhaps…and I’ve yet to see any of it make one iota of difference when faced with an actually-active assailant, even in this simple training exercise. Nothing. None. Nada. Nil.”

Right now my cardio is absolutely shit. I have less than six months to build up to a point where I can go 30-40 seconds all-out. I’m not kidding you, I’ve been through this before where the idea is just to keep landing full-force hits on a focus pad for thirty seconds… if you start to ease off, the whistle doesn’t happen and you have to keep hitting… 40-60 seconds. You quickly realise that you need to GLF (Go Like Fuck) and everything will be over that much sooner.

Push hard. Go past your limits. Believe it’s life or death and keep hitting as hard as you can. Nothing focusses the mind better than getting totally fucked on. Next time you are that much harder, that much more ready to hurt the c**t. Since starting the C2 method, I have to admit that I am completely ready to go from zero to full-on, that I have given up trying to talk an assailant down – if they are trying to hit or hurt me, I am going to put the fucker on the floor and be ready for his mates.

I wasn’t always like this. I have scars on my scalp and forehead from a hyped-up idiot repeatedly hitting me for no reason, and me repeatedly protesting that “I didn’t say anything” – trying to hold him back without hurting him, while he hit me in the face over and over. His hits were basically shit, landing randomly around my face and neck. He eventually grabbed a coin or something from his pocket and, gripping it between his knuckles, pounded it into my head – cutting me across the forehead and back of the scalp as I tried to get away. He legged it before the cops turned up.

Since then, I vowed to never give in. Never to take a beating just because I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I was lucky enough to meet Mick and his lovely wife, he even took the time to give me a gym day explaining how to get the most out of some very simple equipment – Kettlebells, battle ropes, olympic weights. I’m 100% serious when I say that my life changed that day.

I trained for half a decade in traditional Japanese martial arts, did another ten in taiji and qigong. Now, when watching my son train in aikido (an art I seriously trained in), I see how futile it is and how unprepared even the high grades are. Yes, centuries ago, when your opponent was fully clad in armour just like you, swinging a three foot blade, Aikido and Judo/Jiujutsu were absolutely the best methods of containing and subduing your opponent… these days, when some random “terrorrist” suddenly pulls a blade in a crowded shopping mall, you really need to be ready to “play your music loud”…

Because, when your music ends, his starts.

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One Response to “Knife Management”

  1. Get Fit QUICK! | mixmage Says:

    […] musings on magic, mysteries and mental health « Knife Management […]

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