How Fast is Fast? (knife fighting related)

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Dr. Snubnose
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How Fast is Fast? (knife fighting related)

Postby Dr. Snubnose » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:48 pm

I would like to share a story with you as related to me by my Filipino Stick and Dagger Fighting Instructor about his teacher's teacher. Back around the early 1900's my teacher's teacher's teacher was walking through the streets of Cebu, a city in the Philippines. His name was Inato. While walking he was attacked by a gunman. A fight ensued, and Inato was forced to draw a single edge 4" blade Balisong, (weehawk blade shape design) after his assailant shot him in the thigh. Inato made quick work of his attacker defending himself, using only his Balisong. When the Police arrived they arrested Inato and held him for close to three weeks in jail. There they intensely interrogated him and also tortured him several times a day. The problem the Police were having was the fact that the deceased (attacker) had over 110 individual slash wounds on his face, neck and torso. The Police believed this was the work of at least two knife wielders maybe three. They wanted Inato to give them the names of his accomplices. Inato could not accommodate the Police because the fact was he was the only one there at the time of the attack. The Police did not believe his claim hence the incarceration and torture. According to Inato the fight lasted between 10 and 15 seconds from start to finish. When Inato was brought to court for trial his defense attorney exclaimed that Inato was the only victim in this situation and that he was also a Master of the FMA and the fact that he was so well versed in the art of knife fighting explains why the deceased assailant suffered so many knife wounds in such a short period of time. Not convinced, the Judge in the case wanted more proof. He allowed Inato to prove his skill level by ordering a wooden like object shaped like a dagger to his court (without any point) which they submerged in water and dipped into a red herb of some sort, coating the blade (Might have been paprika, but I don't know this for sure) They removed a juror from the jury box who was wearing a white toga and told Inato that they would give him 30 seconds on the clock to make as many slash marks as he could on the juror's white toga shirt. After 30 seconds the court was amazed that they were able to count over 200 individual slash marks on that toga. After a short meeting the jury acquitted Inato of all charges of crimes brought against him and he was told that he was free to leave. Let us assume for a moment that Inato's original confrontation with the gunman, lasted a full 15 seconds. According to my calculations over 110 slash wounds counted on the body of the deceased, (lets call it 111 for arguments sake) would average out to Inato being able to deliver 7.4 slashes per second. Now...I consider myself pretty quick with a blade in hand...I have never been able to duplicate the feat of Inato's blade work that day of the assault, or even the feat demonstrated for the court. (Though I keep on trying...LOL) Using a small single edged knife (lets call it a knife blade of less than three inches) I am able to come somewhat close. For example if I clock the 15 seconds, targeting the face, neck and torso of my test dummy and I'm holding a Spyderco Ronin, a Meyerco Wharning, or one of my favorites a Custom made Kiridashi, made for me by Eric Draven of Draven Industries (Picture of my Kiridashi shown below) I am able on a good day (when I'm feeling really fast) to consistently make between 82-87 slashes in the time frame. My very best being 91 slashes. As an average between my 82-87 slashes calculating to 5.63 slashes/sec. and my very best 91 slashes at 6.06 slashes per second. If I choose a knife blade larger than 4" my results start to decline rapidly. For instance attempting the same with a Spyderco Rock Salt, my score drops almost in half to 50 slashes or 3.3 slashes/seconds. If I happen to add three thrusts for every ten slashes the scores drop even further. Now everyone knows one could be quite effective in his defense with a few very well placed slashes and thrusts with any size knife. But I must admit that I find Inato's feat amazing. Mind you when I attempt to duplicate his results I am not under attack, I am calm, cool, relaxed and collected, nor has anyone shot me in the thigh with a handgun either, as was the case for Inato during his attack/counter-attack. My original post title is How Fast is Fast? Some food for thought....my Instructors have always told me that the more targets you can hit in the shortest period of time, putting the hurting so to say on your assailant, will short circuit his thinking and allow you an advantage. Seemed to work for Inato.....Doc :D (Two Custom Kiridashi's pictured, the one on the bottom is my KD-4K I call it my "91 slasher" 2 3/4" blade)
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Postby chuck_roxas45 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:23 pm

Hmm, that's really an amazing feat Doc. That's world class speed.

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Postby defenestrate » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:03 am

Wow, that is friggin' fast. I have pretty quick hands from practice both with knives/sticks and playing guitar (I used to play strictly speedmetal type stuff - those pick strokes translate fairly well to slashes with a shortish blade especially) but there's no way I could touch that. I could see maybe getting in the ballpark of where you were at, Doc, on a good day with similar conditions, but I can't even conceive of what could get me anywhere near Inato's speed even on a closed set with a static training dummy. Pretty amazing what some folks can do!
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Postby JimP » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:13 am

Thats scary fast.....have you got a video? I'm sure it would be an interesting watch.

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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:18 am

Sorry JimP...NO video, but if you ever make it to NY, just stop by my Kung Fu Studio and I'll be happy to show you first hand how it's done....or at least how I do it... ;) In video form it's quite the blur....Doc :D
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Postby chuck_roxas45 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:22 am

Dang you guys are good!

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Postby Nonprophet » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:09 am

I have a more in depth reply but for now all I wanna know is, where do I get one of those!?!?!?

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Speed

Postby KaliGman » Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:23 am

Several years ago, after much practice and discussion with some very good Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) practitioners, and some timed and measured cutting/striking drills, I came to the conclusion that what I consider a decent Kali fighter can cut or hit about 4 times in a second, a good fighter can do about 6 per second, and what I consider really good is anything 8 or higher. In my opinion, though, I only really count it as good if the cuts/strikes are delivered for at least three or more seconds continuously, if the live or empty hand is moving to be in a position to check an opponent's motion, you are moving your body into advantageous positions and are thus doing footwork while striking/cutting, and the strikes/cuts are targeted rather than random hack and slash. So, if you are fast and jerky, only move your weapon arm and flail away with random and awkward "hits" and your feet and body stay in place, then you are "gaming" the training and will not be able to do well against a resisting and even semi-trained opponent.

Look at a bit of the movement from about 1:59 in this clip to about 3:00:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usCgwme_q9k

There is some speed and some explanations of usages of the Rock Salt. Please note that this is not full speed.

Look at the end of this video on the Spyderco Barong for some speed:

http://www.albokalisilat.org/barong.html

This is also not at full speed and is done with my left hand. You need to be able to use both hands in this kind of movement. In case anyone is wondering, I don't usually go full speed on camera because, with my cheap camera, the motion blurs out a bit too much.

Interesting topic, Doc, and one that I recently discussed with a couple of students. I just recently did a live demonstration at the request of a local police chief and went full speed with a Spyderco Endura trainer against one of the chief's officers (who also is a member of my law enforcement task force), and it proved interesting to the observers. I think I may use some marking ink and a trainer against a white T-shirt in a demonstration video thanks to this thread.

I was wondering what my next video was going to be (aside from some interesting close range work with the Balance that Ed just sent me).
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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:19 am

[quote="KaliGman"]In my opinion, though, I only really count it as good if the cuts/strikes are delivered for at least three or more seconds continuously, if the live or empty hand is moving to be in a position to check an opponent's motion, you are moving your body into advantageous positions and are thus doing footwork while striking/cutting, and the strikes/cuts are targeted rather than random hack and slash. So, if you are fast and jerky, only move your weapon arm and flail away with random and awkward "hits" and you only move your weapon arm while your feet and body stay in place, then you are "gaming" the training and will not be able to do well against a resisting and even semi-trained opponent.

I am in agreement with KaliGman 100%....it is so so important that the live hand be in motion...there is a reason they call it the live hand...that's because it's the hand that keeps you alive and safe, without a system of checks and blocks, it is very hard to be effectively aggressive, and without targeted strikes and slashes, without footwork, tactically makes you nothing more than a sitting duck. Where it does indeed matter how fast you can move your knife, if you can't move your body and extremities just as fast, then it really doesn't matter much how fast you move your knife.....if you can't put it all together....not only would I consider you a sitting duck....but also a duck out of water....Doc :D
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Postby 2edgesword » Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:17 pm

With respect to the calculations keep in mind that more then one wound can be inflicted with a single slash. A diagonal angle one slash could produce two or more slash wounds depending on the position of the attackers hand, arm, torso and leg.

As far as inflicting that type of damage and justifying it in modern society, you would have to reasonable prove that the attacker continued to pose a threat of death or serious injury to you while you were inflicting most of those wounds even if you could demonstrate that all of the wounds were inflicted in 10 ~ 15 seconds. In court a good lawyer would make those 10 ~ 15 seconds seem like an eternity, dissecting every second while claim at some point (wound 55) the attacker ceased to be a threat to you.
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Postby Donut » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:39 pm

I will take some time later to read everything and watch the videos, but it appears that this story is a motivational story to help people train to be faster.

As its purpose is, wouldn't it be better to have a number that is not reachable?

A lot of times, the minor details of stories get lost as stories get told over and over.

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Postby c.joe » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:29 pm

Wow amazing story!! That was very interesting and motivational to read. I gotta take up knife fighting classes as a hobby now. (Just don't know where to start around my area..)

Thanks for sharing! You're pretty **** quick yourself!

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Postby 2edgesword » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:36 pm

Speed is secondary to control and effectiveness. Going fast without control and effectiveness is a useless expenditure of energy. I consistently have to remind students not to make speed the primary focus of their training. The primary focus should be proper mechanics and accurate targeting. Speed will take care of itself with practice and repetition.
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Postby chuck_roxas45 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:41 pm

Dr. Snubnose wrote:... They removed a juror from the jury box ...
I missed this yesterday Doc, but we have no jurors here. Just the one judge presiding over everything.

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Postby SolidState » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:09 pm

In the Inayan school of FMA we typically are considered reasonable at 4 moving strikes per second. My brother got certified as an instructor and can put out about 6 strikes/second while moving. I can maintain 3 to 4 per second for anything up to fifteen minutes. I've never tried super fast. I generally use a speed bag and a wooden trainer to do the exercise with circular and 45-degree footwork. Bare fist I can go way faster with far more striking options. It really is hard to get good video of that stuff though.

My instructor can put about 8 out. Oddly he will sometimes pause a strike well before throwing it just to let your eye catch what he is about to do to you. It is incredibly intimidating, I'd say even moreso than not seeing the strike coming.
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Postby Nonprophet » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:22 pm

Ok. I want to preface this with the fact that this is only my opinion and I mean no disrespect to anyone for it. Masters and instructors are to be respected and given the honor they have earned. Having said that a few things I know. First the down side: in the time frame you are speaking of, in the early 1900s there was an entirely different mindset. The martial arts world was far more macho and a "Mines better than yours" type of culture. As such people tended to fudge just a little so let's say that the over 110 slash marks were probably under 100 with some multiple marks being the result of a single cut, next let's assume that the compression of time in such a situation resulted in a slight inability to judge the time it took. It could have been 30 seconds instead of 15...but for the sake of argument let's say it was 20. It doesn't seem unreasonable to lose 5 seconds in a life/death encounter. Now you have somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 to 110 wounds, some possibly creating several wounds with one motion in around 20 seconds. By the fact that you can re-create this motion yourself we have what seems a do-able number. While your master's master was probably dedicated in all his lifetime to his art with not much else to take away his time, and the fact that those Filipino dudes seem to be so darn FAST, it would seem Inato would easily be able to duplicate this feat. Given the further inability to move around that being shot in the leg results in and it wouldn't be a surprise that his numbers on a live target were what they were. It also makes the test in court seem more feasible. I guess what I'm saying is that if the exact numbers aren't totally accurate then this isn't outside the realm of possibility. With some knowledge of economy of motion, draw cutting and multiple cuts to multiple targets in one motion it would be easy for a person who has dedicated his entire life to the art to be able to do this. Plus he was probably just FAST. Nothing that you yourself can't recreate but it would seem to be a demonstration of a VERY proficient knife fighter. Kudos to you for being a second generation student of someone who has such real life knowledge and experience. It makes what you learn more effective and credible on street!

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Postby Nonprophet » Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:25 pm

Something else, I read an article at shivworks.com that talked about the incredible toughness and courage of people who fought and lived by the blade. The fact that they battled in life/death situations with something as up close and personal as a knife or sword and were committed to killing the enemy even if it cost them their lives is something rarely seem in the world of today. It was an outstanding article and it sounds like Mr. Inato was one of those sort. To me, to stand among those men as one of them is to be honored and to be a student of his student is an honorable thing.

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Postby stonyman » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:21 am

You know I do not preach speed to my guys either, but intent in every moment continuously. You will always have some faster than others........it is amazing how much faster I have become by knowing what the heck I am trying to get done! Doc, kalig are abnormal folks........maybe from another world......sorry could not resist!I asked to take up residence. ;)

Now me' and my above normal size can according to kalig's chart can hit the 6 to 7 mark. I hate saying this because folks this is after many years of conditioning and still not the primary focus of my training. In Doc's story, many get different things from it. I am more enarmored by the fact that he fought through a potentially immobilizing wound to deliver the goods!

Thanks for the thread now if I can just hit.......man you kalig
Doc and some of you other guys here really raise the bar and worthy of respect! No I am not a Grand anything, just work hard! Take care and God Bless!

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Postby Nonprophet » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:53 am

Coincidentally, my instructor stopped by the house today and I brought this subject up to him. He spent some time in the Filippines in the military and it was his opinion that if Inato was arrested for that then the number was most likely exaggerated for police purposes as well. Not because so many cuts is not possible but mostly because in such a situation most of the Filippino martial artist would not have spent so much time slashing a guy up. In a life/death situation, especially wounded, a person who live by the blade and was part of a warrior knife culture, which the Filippines were at that time,would have made a far more deadly attack. Most likely "defanging the snake" and destroying the weapon arm and possible making a few debilitating cuts to the other arm or legs but then moving directly into attack of the centerline for removal of the fight. Now, the only other thing to consider is that the Kali, Escrima and Silat guys were known for cutting dudes up long after they had destroyed them by virtue of the holds and movements they made which were specifically tailored so that once you entered the storm, you couldn't get away from it and as such a person may be trying to drop from a lethal cut and not be allowed to. He also reiterated my idea of multiple cuts on one movement. He told me he saw some of those Fillipino guys make as many as four or five cuts on one motion. An example being cutting the hand, forearm and bicep, travelling through to cut the ribs or chest area and then with the other hand moving the body, head or neck into the blade for a slash or even into the tip of the blade for a stab. All made in one actual motion of the blade. I can't recreate it quite to that scale and I think that speaks to the amazing skill of Mr. Inato. You're lucky to have such a long history of reality based skill to draw from!

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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:18 pm

chuck_roxas45 wrote:I missed this yesterday Doc, but we have no jurors here. Just the one judge presiding over everything.
Chuck you know you are 100% correct. The story I posted was told to me back in 1960's and the older I get the more I forget. In typing the story I knew I was off in remembering something but couldn't put my finger on it. I did remember that the Judge was not satisfied with the info presented. Now I remember it was him who ordered the knife and toga to the courtroom and it was the Judge who decided the case and told Inato he was free to leave...Yes there was no Jury...I guess I Americanized the story a bit while trying to remember the details.....Thanks...Doc :D
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