As you might know from reading this website I tend to focus on self-defense over martial arts (MA). Martial arts are interesting to me in the various forms such as studio sparring, tournment fighting (back in the days of the legal groin kicks), sport (boxing, mma, kick boxing) and what I started karate lessons for – self-defense so many years ago.
So while sport MA are fun to watch – they have no basis in reality as they have rules. I hear some of you yelling to the screen that (insert sport here) works in the street (insert expletive here)! I want you to know that I think any top fighter in any sport will do ok on the street. I don’t disagree.
But – with rules you leave out targets that I as a self-defense practitioner can take advantage of – for instance the groin, eyes, throat, knees and such. I also know some of you have iron nuts and not man (or even a woman) can harm you… sure they are… I’ve stopped listening to fairy tails when I was a boy. So lets agree to disagree on this point and get to the point of this post.
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) daggar training is one type of improvised martial arts training we are starting to use. Here is a video of some basic HEMA dagger sparring for your perusal and then I’ll speak how Kenpo Karate initial movement can blend effectively to make the dagger an effective improvised weapon.
Fun video to watch a couple of guys with the medieval daggers (longer then modern daggers) geared up and going at it. You can see the difference in grips such as the common reverse grip (so one can stab down easily) and forward grip (so one can stab forward easily). I cannot tell how experienced these guys are since I don’t train in HEMA daggers but they seem to have the basic moves down.
So how does Kenpo Karate initial movement fit in with HEMA dagger training you might ask? Well if you understand initial movement as Bruce Lee taught Joe Lewis (he did a lot of seminars) then you will notice that is not being used in this dagger fight. For example the few times you see one of the fighters attempt to lunch in and stab the other – the whole body moves at the same time.
I would like to point out that Bruce Lee seems to get part of his initial movement ideas from watching his brother train in modern fencing. So I absolutely would not dismiss a modern or HEMA MA as not understanding initial moment. It is just I’ve not seen in a lot in youtube examples so far.
So can a Kenpo Karate fighter pick up a dagger and know how to knife fight? I’ve made the point NO in previous posts but using a dagger as an improvised weapon should not deter one from throwing a jab or back knuckle with a dagger effectively.
As well rounded martial artists in any style that has had instructors understand initial moment (the difference between hitting someone or not in an initial attack), if you have the motion down – you can easily adapt it with a knife, club, cane or whatever in a street fight.
So for our training at San Diego Kenpo Karate Dojo – we have started to incorporate some weapons into our sparring drills. To get deeper into it I am going to get some three weapon masks (better padding for the face) so we can start using limited contact in our practices.
As my Kenpo Karate instructor Dick Willett (R.I.P.) used to tell me, “You cannot practice flag football and expect to win pro football” and, “the proof is in the pudding!”
I hope you have enjoyed my opinion regarding incorporating HEMA Dagger training into your improvised weapon training!