Questions for Michael Janich...

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Marion David Poff
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Questions for Michael Janich...

Postby Marion David Poff » Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:04 am

Michael,

I had a couple questions, and I figure here would be a good place to ask.

Of course, if someone can point me to where these questions have been answered previously, please do so.

1. I believe I have heard that a PE is better for SD, over a SE. Why is this, in your opinion, and how important or or how much more advantageous is the better one?

2. What are you thoughts on the system taught for the P'kal, by SouthNarc/ShivWorks?

Thank you,
Marion
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Postby psychophipps » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:42 am

I remember reading how Mr. Janich specifically sought the opinion of SouthNarc on the viability of using the Kalista design with the Shivworks method, if that's any indicator for question #2.

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Postby Scottie3000 » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:05 am

for question #1, I remember reading that a PE is less likely to snag on clothing.

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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:14 am

Plain Edge is less likely to snag on clothing...in my testing only a few models of SE didn't...those were the Mas Ayoob, Merlin, and Matriarch. I'm not MJ of course, but in regards to Southnarc's methods, I beleive, MJ will say they are not defensive. If he doesn't I will say that it's not a defensive method, it is quite effective but the methods he uses is quite aggressive. My hunch...less easy to defend one's action by use of these methods in a court of law as opposed to Janich's Bio-Mechanical Cutting methods....Doc :D
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Postby ChapmanPreferred » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:25 am

I'm looking forward to MJ's reply.
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Postby Michael Janich » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:49 am

Thank you very much for the questions. I've actually answered the first one a number of times, but it's a good one and definitely worth revisiting.

My approach to edged-weapon tactics is based on the idea that, if you are forced to defend yourself with a knife, it will most likely be the knife in your pocket, not the Randall in your gun safe. As such, your tactics must be based on the actual capabilities of the knife you carry and must be capable of stopping your attacker by physically incapacitating him.

With that in mind, MBC takes a hard look at human anatomy to see what targets actually stop people reliably. When it comes to thrusting--especially with minimal penetration (say three inches for a Delica)--there are very few targets that will reliably incapacitate an attacker. In general, you're talking about the central nervous system and targets that are difficult to hit in a dynamic stand-up encounter.

The Filipinos have one of the most evolved edged-weapon cultures in the world and one that has historically made very good use of small knives. One of their primary tactics is "defanging the snake"--attacking the physiological structure of the attacking limb to take away its function and disarm the attacker. Since the attacker is extending that limb toward you when he attacks, it is also a highly logical tactic.

MBC takes that tactic to a higher level and applies it against other anatomical structures that, once debilitated, severely limit your attacker's ability to harm you and provide you with an opportunity to escape. Specifically, we target the bicep/triceps and the quadriceps.

These targets are great because a small knife can literally cut them to the bone and take away critical mechanical function in an instant. The down side, however, is that they are often covered with clothing. To get to them, you must cut through that clothing. This is where edge choice comes into play.

The hardest clothing to cut through is loose cloth that moves easily over the target. If you consider typical gangbanger fashion, you have oversized, loose-fitting clothing that moves easily and hides weapons very well. To determine what edge works best, I take a "pork man" target and cover it with various types of clothing. I then cut it and quantify the results. In general terms, I've found that a good, sharp, plain-edged blade with good edge geometry consistently cuts better. Serrations often tend to "grab" the cloth and spin it with the force of the cut, dissipating the force and producing shallow cuts. Combination edges do a little better, but can still grab the cloth.

Bear in mind that these are general observations. As we all know, blades vary greatly in edge geometry and all serrations are definitely not created equal. If I had the choice of Spyderco serrations or another brand's plain-edged blade with thick, clunky edge geometry, give me the serrations!

As for question 2, I have known Craig Douglas since my days with Paladin and greatly respect his knowledge and experience. Craig's system of knife work is a great example of taking traditional Filipino tactics and adapting them to modern tactical needs. However, with all that said, Craig's needs as an undercover narcotics officer are, in my opinion, very different from the generic self-defense needs of the average person. As such, I feel that the P'Kal method is more of a "knife fighting" system than a "self-defense" system.

The basic P'Kal system comes from the Filipino art of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. Although P'Kal/Pikal actually describes reverse or "ice-pick" grip with either edge orientation, many believe it to be exclusively an edge-in or reverse edge system. If we assume that we're taling about reverse grip, edge in, the basic "tactic" is to stab your opponent using the mechanical efficiency offered by this grip and the gross-motor-skill mechanics that support it. If he doesn't block, he gets stabbed. If he does, pull back to cut his arm with the inward-facing edge, clear the limb, and go back to stabbing.

When expressed in simple terms like this, you can see that there is very little about this that supports the concept of self-defense. More importantly, despite "sewing machine" repetitions and the other aspects of this method, much of it still relies on the idea of stabbing an attacker multiple times in the torso to stop him. If you actually analyze stabbing incidents (a big part of MBC training) and talk to people who have been stabbed, you'll find that in most cases they don't know that they have been stabbed at the time and very rarely do they stop fighting. You also need to consider that a 3-inch blade will have significantly less effect on a 300-pound biker than on a "normal" sized person.

Where P'Kal really shines is the "P'Kal Jab," which is most effective when it targets the eyes. This tactic can produce reliable, predictable stops. However, thrusting other places on the body is a very slow and inefficient way to stop an attacker. It is much more likely to result in a "long, bloody rodeo" while you hang on and wait for your attacker to succumb to the cumulative effect of the repeated thrusts. You then get to explain to the jury how you "defended" yourself by stabbing your attacker 50+ times.

I hope this helps.

Stay safe,

Mike
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Postby Monkeywrangler » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:24 am

Mr Janich, do I understand you correctly then to essentially be advising the defender to attack such body parts as the back of the knee, inside upper arm/bicep, or inside wrist? These points make sense to me, though I have no MBC training, as biologically they are fairly vulnerable to cutting--brachial artery, tendons and bicep muscle. And for this purpose, what are your opinions of a hawkbill blade versus a leaf shape or drop point?
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Postby Blerv » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:06 am

Thanks for that Mike.

It makes perfect sense that the "defensive" civilian would typically find a conventional grip and blade more useful.

The general motions (that I have seen) from Shivworks are small arcs and short-range stabs/jabs. While bio-mechanical targeting seems possible the angles are more limiting. My training is close to nil for the time being but my mental protractor can compare the motions/angles and see this.

Perhaps with years of FMA training I would see this differently. I still think the P'Kal is an interesting/useful tool but don't think it's a Superman cape for an untrained person.
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Postby Michael Janich » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:57 pm

Monkeywrangler wrote:Mr Janich, do I understand you correctly then to essentially be advising the defender to attack such body parts as the back of the knee, inside upper arm/bicep, or inside wrist? These points make sense to me, though I have no MBC training, as biologically they are fairly vulnerable to cutting--brachial artery, tendons and bicep muscle. And for this purpose, what are your opinions of a hawkbill blade versus a leaf shape or drop point?
I like the ability to thrust to get through clothing into the targets that respond well to cutting. As long as the hawkbill isn't so radically curved that the utility of the point is lost, it's a viable option.

BTW, the back of the knee is not a biomechanical "stopper." The structures of the back of the leg bend the knee. The front of the leg extends it and supports weight. Destroying the back of the leg--"hamstringing"--does not guarantee that you'll drop someone. You'll definitely compromise their mobility and cause them to drag that foot, but it's not as reliable a mobility kill as the quad.

Stay safe,

Mike
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Postby edge-e » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:47 pm

Michael Janich wrote:I like the ability to thrust to get through clothing into the targets that respond well to cutting. As long as the hawkbill isn't so radically curved that the utility of the point is lost, it's a viable option.

BTW, the back of the knee is not a biomechanical "stopper." The structures of the back of the leg bend the knee. The front of the leg extends it and supports weight. Destroying the back of the leg--"hamstringing"--does not guarantee that you'll drop someone. You'll definitely compromise their mobility and cause them to drag that foot, but it's not as reliable a mobility kill as the quad.

Stay safe,

Mike
Good point mike,The superhawk is a prime example of this, Great sd knife.

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Postby defenestrate » Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:35 pm

Mike J,

2 thoughts:

1. I understand the reasons behind suggesting PE blades in general for cutting - dispersion of force and minimizing such, etc. but how about for trapping? I would think that if one had, say, a Pikal-style Icepick edge in with an SE hawkbill in the weak hand, and a more conventional PE in the strong/lead/jabbing hand, that the SE would do a superior job of "hanging on" to limbs that you would be trapping and keeping out of the way for impact or stabbing attacks. Your thoughts? I'm keenly interested in feedback i this area as I will likely be choosing either an SE or a PE at first for my next hawk, and I am wanting it to be very SD effective. (I'd like to point out that my Scorpius feels pretty good in a Pikal icepick edge in grip with my pinky through the spyderhole. sure, i might tweak my pinky, but the control in that grip feels both intuitive and precise.. anyway I digress. now onto the second part.

2. I certainly agree that a more aggressive hawkbill can hinder various kinds of stabbing attacks, *when* performed straight on with the knife aligned butt-to-tip toward a target.. However, I noticed while "playing" with my Spyderhawk that when held more or less in a fairly natural grip a la the Swick, or one of the negative blade angle designs from Ed/Eric/Fred Perrin, the point nearly *perfectly* aligns for a forward thrusting stabbing motion. Just push the tip straight in and the curve of the blade would guide the rest of the stabbing motion. Am I completely off base here? Or is this method of thinking and holding the blade simply not one that is commonly espoused? I'm talking about a hammer or filipino-style forward grip with the wrist rotated in such a way that the hand is toward the center of motion and the axis of the item gripped is NOT vertical, but pointing downward into the use and upward out toward the target.. I hope that is an adequate explanation.. Anyway, that's what I'm wondering, also relevant to type of hawkbill I will get to replace my SE Spyderhawk.

Thanks in advance for your time and insight, Mike. I hope you are doing well!
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Pakal Edge In

Postby KaliGman » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:27 pm

Well, I'm not Mike Janich, but I did once stay at a Holiday Inn Express...or was it the Hilton in Bucharest? :p .

For what it is worth, I am not a fan of pakal edge in tactics as a primary methodology. I use and teach this style of grip, among others, simply because it is useful in certain situations and sometimes you have little choice in how you grasp a weapon if you are going to put it into immediate action.

In any case, I did a video over on the Albo Kali Silat website quite some time ago to address some of the problems I had with those persons in the martial arts and self-defense world who were hyping the reverse grip edge in methodology as a "natural" methodology or grouping of techniques and an easily acquired skill set for beginners. Here is the video, and its attached "article" for those interested:

http://www.albokalisilat.org/pakal_critique.html
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Postby defenestrate » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:07 pm

Thanks for the response, KaliGMan, will check it out post-haste!
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Postby SouthNarc » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:27 pm

Hi guys. I’m not a regular here but I felt compelled to address some of these issues since I was specifically mentioned.

First off let me say that Mike Janich has been very supportive of ShivWorks and me specifically. I consider him a friend and a peer whose contributions to the cutlery and training communities have stood the test of time. Though we may not agree and may seem even diametrically opposed, that’s okay. I believe that debate is healthy and the community should read both "sides". Don't take my words as saying Michael Janich is "wrong". Knife training is very "subjective" and the only true "experts" are in prison.

As a trainer of empty hand, knife, firearms, and tactics my curriculum is of course shaped by my experiences.

I believe that a knife is probably the least effective of any tool that can be used to “stop” someone. There's not a data base anywhere that indicates a single method of using a knife is more effective than any other. I don't care what it is and who teaches it. Me included. I assert that the vast majority of knife "stoppages" are psychological. That being said I cannot in good faith predicate a life saving methodology on an adversary’s willingness to quit. So the debate of whether we disable someone structurally or through blood loss is a moot point IMO. I don’t believe that there is anything you can do with a short bladed knife where one can predict the outcome reliably, like we can say with a handgun utilized for shooting center mass. If I have my druthers, I’ll take a fourteen ounce blackjack.

Regarding my own self defense issues when working undercover I guess we’re all victims of our own experiences, but my needs really weren’t different than anyone else’s. When I was buying drugs I was alone and usually out numbered. My own tactics were always centered around escape. Custody issues were for top side narcs.

On the legal side, I’ve been unfortunate enough to spend a lot of time in courtrooms in my own defense and the defense of others whom I’ve trained in an academy environment. As of yet I don’t believe there is any palatable way to explain using a knife on another human being. Every court I know of recognizes a knife as a lethal weapon. It would be unfortunate IMO if the courts ever recognized using a knife a certain way as somehow “less-lethal” than another way. I believe that if that day ever comes, then thirty years of educating the public about how knives are lethal weapons that warrant a lethal response will be utterly wasted. If a precedent can be created, then it can be used by anyone. Bad guys included.

So why do I teach what I do?

I believe that a reverse grip knife jab is time efficient and powerful. If someone has a good reverse grip knife jab and they can get at range, it’s extremely difficult to close on them. If I had an hour to give a woman with a knife a fighting chance against a large male, who outweighed her by a hundred pounds, I would drill her relentlessly on footwork and a reverse grip knife jab targeted towards the face and neck.

I believe that life or death struggles are essentially won by the person who is the most aggressive. That has been my experience with people who were willing to kill me under conditions that heavily favored them. You have to punch through the ambush. Violence of action is one of the drivers that underscores everything I teach. Especially a knife. It has been my experience that any less emotional resolve than the willingness to take another's life will lead to losing your own. Any situation that doesn't require that kind of psychological steel, probably doesn't rate pulling a knife in the first place. A knife, just like any other tool is nothing more than an expression of my will.

While what I teach may not be a “complete” blade taxonomy it works as a nice compliment to every thing else that one has to train like empty hand and firearms. To many, with less and less time to go watch their kid’s baseball game, it seems to make sense.

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Postby Blerv » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:18 pm

Very interesting and solid perspective. Paraphrasing Sal "all good; just different".

You and Spyderco put together a very cool knife. Maybe not the most generic but it's not their specialty anyways.
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Postby Monkeywrangler » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:51 am

Sounds to me like I need a course from both fine gentlemen! Mr Janich and Mr SouthNarc!

MW

PS: Thank you both for your replies too.
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Postby markg » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:50 am

Monkeywrangler wrote:Sounds to me like I need a course from both fine gentlemen! Mr Janich and Mr SouthNarc!

MW

PS: Thank you both for your replies too.
That's an affirmative...

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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:34 pm

Simple fact of the matter is all methodology is good and can be effective...the bottom line is really determined by what you choose to carry for SD. If I have a short blade folder, wharnie or hawkbill then it makes sense to use MJ's techniques, if I'm carrying an Urban Dart, P'kal, etc It make sense to use Southnarc's methods...If I have a double edge dagger or a Bowie, Rock Salt, etc etc etc. I might choose to use a different methodology...So what I'm saying is the knife you are carrying just might dictate what is the best fighting methods based on blade design, lenght of blade etc... I like Pikal grip Blade facing outwards for my defensive knife fighting methods...it doesn't work great with certain types of knives that I own..If I want to carry that knife...I'll change the methods I use...There is no one right perfect solution to every problem...Between A and Z there is a lot of letters....Doc :D
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Postby Marion David Poff » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:04 pm

WOW.

Thank you to both Michael and SouthNarc for their contributions.

And thank you to the other posters for your thoughts.

I will read this a few more times, before I attempt to have any thoughts on it.

Best,
Marion
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Postby chuck_roxas45 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:21 pm

Both gentlemen are not just fine martial artists but excellent writers as well, and it's an honor to be a member of the same forum as these guys.


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