UTKM edged weapon training
An edged weapon training for our advance students is a project that we have been planning to develop for a long time, but due to lack resources and knowledge on the subject, We were never able to start. Lately, with guidance from one of the most influential sword master’s, Braun McAsh, we were able to get some basic ideas on developing our potential edged weapon system. The UTKM edged weapon system has to be relevant to today’s world and practical for current threats requiring self defense. Some might argue that defending yourself with knives, axes or swords is just asking for legal troubles, but in some situations an edged weapon should be used. For example, a single defender versus many attackers; a defender against an attacker with weapons; or simply SHTF situation. In addition, how can one claims to know defense against a knife when one does not know how to use a knife.
Six years ago, I spent about a year with Academie Duello, a well known Vancouver sword school and received rapier and Italian long sword training. At the time, I was already a qualified Krav Maga instructor under International Krav Maga Federation, but aside from dealing with attacks of passion (big, obvious, aggressive attacks) with an edged weapon, I had very little knowledge about the subject. I did not know how to use edged weapons proficiently or more complex attacks. I do not fancy myself a Krav Maga instructor if I do not know how to use an edged weapon properly. At AD I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Braun McAsh and attended most of his seminars. With his guidance and that of other instructors from AD, I came up with three conclusions:
First of all, normal MMA fighters or Krav Maga instructors do not know anything about edged weapons, including knowing how to use them effectively. Edged weapon fighting is a world of its own. Although it is an extension of hand to hand combat, edged weapon fighting is significantly different from hand to hand combat.
- If you screw up in edged weapon encounters you are dead.
- Both sides most likely will be dead or injured: there is simply no guarantee of survival for even the winner unless the winner outclasses the loser by many levels.
- Against people without weapons, people with weapons will most likely win.
- Other than a shotgun, an edged weapon is probably the most deadly thing within 21 feet.
Secondly, most edged weapons can be separated into dueling weapons and battle weapons. These edged weapons are made differently and for completely different purposes. Western dueling weapon are more thin and agile and rely heavily on thrust. Whereas, battle weapons are made more robustly and rely on slash and hack rather than thrust.
During my stay with Academie Duello, I find that most of weapons the academy teaches such as rapier, small sword, and long sword belong to an era when people actually carry these weapons on a daily basis and the law of the time permits open carry. This is surely not the case in today’s world. It seems pretty far-fetched for a person today to be walking around with a long sword in a city. Police would show up within minutes.
With these three points in mind, I concluded one of the primary edged weapons we are going to indoctrinate to the UTKM school system should be the Tomahawk. Here are the few reasons I think Tomahawk would benefit students of UTKM.
- You can carry a tomahawk alone with a backpack and some campaign gear. It is most likely the police will not be alarmed nor will you cause panic. It is also much easier to pack away a tomahawk in a bag than a German long sword.
- Other than combat situations, you can use tomahawks for many purposes such as chopping wood, clearing debris and the like. During my survival course with the Canadian Army, my survival partner and I used a small hatchet and knife to build our survival shelter.
- It is a devastating weapon. Mankind has been using axes for war long before the sword. Stone axe is one of the weapons made by our caveman ancestors. Throughout the centuries, due to the limitation of metallurgy and financial reasons, most people cannot afford swords, but an axe is a lot cheaper to forge and therefore more accessible to the majority.
- A Tomahawk is easy to carry. Imagine running in the woods or through city streets with a giant long sword for an extensive period of time. It’s just not going to happen.
- The fighting style of Tomahawk is close and dirty. It is very similar to Krav Maga and there should be no problem combining the two.
There are many systems such as Silat and Escrima that incorporate axes or tomahawk in their fighting. For the mean-time we will plan to follow Mr. Braun McAsh’s guidance as the base line for our Tomahawk fighting program. We will seek other channels in the future and add the things we like and find practical. Next article we will talk about knife fighting.
Written by: Borki Yony
Edited by: Josh Hensman