Recently there were several videos of South Korean Special Forces training with knives. Those are some impressive videos, but after all those “Ya! Woo! Ahh!”, we should discuss the reality of knife fighting and it’s military usage. For those who do not know me, I am a Krav Maga instructor certified under numerous organizations, a non-lethal weapon instructor with TASER International, a member of the Canadian Forces for 12 years and a student under the great Sword Master Braun McAsh (famed choreographer of the Highlander TV series).
receiving my ass whipping in knife combat with Mr. McAsh
Military Use of Knife:
- It is unlikely in any situation that a soldier, special ops or not, would draw his knife and do face to face dueling with enemy combatants who also have knives. Here I do not mean bayonet charge, sentry removal, or stabb an enemy when tangled up in close quarters combat.
- If you have to draw your knife on your enemy it means you have screwed up big time. All soldiers follow rules of engagement as all law enforcement follow the use of force circle. Generally speaking: a soldier can use non-deadly force (hand to hand) then deadly force (rifle). Like it or not, utilising a knife is deadly force. You cannot subdue an enemy combatant with a knife. It is meant to kill, so why are you using a knife face to face when you could just use your firearm. There are still occasions like sentry removal or a bayonet charge where cold steel weapons serve the modern military effectively, but going forward to have a face to face duel? That barely existed in ancient battles when most deaths are caused by arrows, spears and being trampled to death rather than “manly” individual blade vs blade battle.
The techniques in this footage are reasonable and proficient in dueling situation :
Overall, the techniques used in the video are pretty decent and universal in most dagger and knife fighting systems. All the cuts and stabs are within the “box“ and all the attacks are conducted within range effortlessly. That’s the key to using cold steel weapons: let the blade to do its work. The blade with a bit pressure will simply sink into the enemy’s flesh. I think it is a hard concept for non-blade martial artists to grasp, because we generally rely on impact. Even with a one inch punch the power needs to be generated from the hip, but with knife fighting a simple wrist movement will do the trick.
The disarm at 1:40 is not sufficient– simply push the attacker away then deal with the 2nd guy coming from the right. It is too much for show. The wise way would be strike, control the first attacker and use him as a shield against the 2nd attacker.
The counter attack ( 1:48 ) is done right. In a dueling situation, the enemy is not simply going to let you attack their vital parts at center of mass (main torso). It is wise to attack the limbs to cause loss of blood or cut the tender muscles so the enemy won’t be able to hold his or her weapon due to pain or loss of muscle control. The finish is not sufficient. The attack should continue after the first stab. You never know if you have stabbed or cut the right place and the human body can be really tough sometimes.
In conclusion: I wonder what’s the reason the Korean UDT/ SEAL conducts this type of training maybe it is an element of overall hand to hand combat training like hitting the sandbag in Boxing. This type of training might enhance the awareness of knife usage and attack then indirectly help defense against knives in close quarter ? I would argue this type of training by itself ” alone ” has no practical value in modern military.