Thanks for your post.
The trick to holding on to a knife during thrusting is not a guard, but a proper grip. The one I prefer (as well as generations of Filipino and Japanese bladesmen) is what I call a Filipino grip. It focuses the gripping force on the last three (middle, ring, and pinky) fingers of the hand, anchoring the handle to the meaty portion of the palm and allowing the wrist to remain at a strong angle. Done properly, it will easily support full-power thrusts.
As for combat openings, I prefer single flip movements in both standard and reverse grip. With these, there are no multiple turns or complicated manipulations, just simple single flips. This keeps them fast and positive -- just what you need in a fight.
Although a Spyderco balisong is still in the works, while we're waiting, Benchmade has a new balisong with a three-inch blade and a pocket clip. It is very similar to their old Model 68 (and Model 10) and very nicely made.
I'm glad you enjoy the MBC columns and appreciate your kind words. The next one will address defensive knife selection and will be posted within the next few days.