Bram Frank was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2007 as Weapons Instructor of the Year in recognition of a career that’s spanned hung gar and wing chun kung fu, as well as jeet kune do, hapkido, jujitsu, shuri goju-ryu and aikido — not to mention exemplary proficiency in the practice and teaching of knife-fighting techniques.
A disciple of the late Remy Presas, Bram Frank has trained in numerous Filipino fighting arts and designed blades for Spyderco and other companies. Bram Frank has also created his own knife-fighting system, which has proved popular in, among other places, Israel, where they know a thing or two about close combat.
In this exclusive knife-fighting techniques video, Bram Frank demonstrates a variety of concepts and practices — including left-handed knife fighting!
ADVANCED KNIFE-COMBAT VIDEO
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Things to Remember
Bram Frank recommends keeping these concepts in mind as part of your training in knife-fighting techniques:
- One of the most important teachings of the Filipino martial arts is "defanging the snake." Also known as attacking your opponent’s weapon hand, it’s designed to destroy his ability to hold his knife.
- When you use knife-fighting techniques to attack your opponent’s weapon hand, you eliminate the threat posed by the weapon. It’s relatively simple to do — fingers are easily damaged.
- Often, the opponent’s hand is the easiest part of his body to reach during knife-fighting techniques. After all, when he’s holding a knife, chances are he’s extending it toward you.
- In a life-or-death struggle, it’s a perfectly valid strategy to cut the inside of the adversary’s arms. In fact, it’s the most effective cut you can do during knife-fighting techniques. Eliminate the flexors, and your opponent has no ability to hold anything — including a weapon.
- To guarantee the effectiveness of a cut to the outside of the arm, slice up to the biceps or down to the thumb.
- Adhesion makes cutting effective. Cut and stick to the cut. Steel seeks flesh.
- Lead with the edge of your weapon; thrust and rip with the tip. Keep the edge on the opponent.
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- Disengage by cutting through the enemy. Retreat with your body, not with your steel.
- Strive to eliminate your adversary’s mobility. If you hamper his ability to maneuver, you remove the danger.
- Aim once, cut twice. Now cut again. Cut one more time just to be safe.
- Shoulders, especially the deltoid muscles, make easy targets. No deltoid means no arm mobility.
- If the opponent’s blade is high, your blade is high. If his blade is low, your blade is low. In jeet kune do, it’s the intercepting fist; in knife fighting, it’s the intercepting blade.
- Stabbing is for screwdrivers, shanks and ice picks. Knives are for cutting and thrusting.
- Cutting takes no strength. Always cut with fluidity and intent. The longer the edge is in contact, the deeper the cut.
- If your body is out of reach for your opponent, his weapon hand may be in range for you. Cut it.
- Knife combat (or any form of edged-weapons combat, for that matter) is never the same twice. To maximize your chance of prevailing, hone your attributes (the skills you need for self-defense), your footwork (how you position and move your feet and legs), your timing (how you react within the motion of combat, using the full beat and half-beat), your concept of distance and range (gauging how far away your opponent is and determining which tools and techniques are best for that range) and defanging the snake.
- The preferred way to develop all those attributes and abilities is to spar. Sparring with training weapons is the best way to safely practice combat.
- Each sparring session should be 95-percent soft and 5-percent hard. If you go hard all the time, your attempts at attribute development will fade into chaos. Gross-motor skills will prevail, and fine-motor skills will be lost. In contrast, soft sparring locks in the fine-motor skills you need so they can be used in the 5 percent of your sparring that’s considered hard.
For more information about Bram Frank, visit cssdsc.com — home of Common Sense Self Defense / Street Combat Inc., where you'll find information about Bram Frank's training principles, instructors teaching/studying under Bram Frank, an informative blog and more!