Self Defense/Knife Grips


Where do you stand on forward vs. reverse grip for knife use? What about "edge-in" styles like pikal from FMA?

Let's start with the fact that a knife is a tool.

Second and historic fact, the side the could kill more effectively at a greater distance tended to win the day (a'la Anjincourt). Or as an old Marine Gunnie told me "A knife is a ruler. If you pull it out and the son of a bitch is close enough to use it, he's too damned close."

Let's add something that I can't remember the name of the Roman General who said it, but "You wound with the edge, you kill with the point."  Digging up old battlefields they found that most bodies showed signs of multiple old slash wounds, but what killed the dude was usually a thrust (including arrows -- see above -- or bullets).

Now raw truth is if you want to take someone out with a knife you gotta get close and keep them from getting away. Usually the dirty deed is done with stabs, which reach the vital organs -- lots of stabs.

Thing about reverse grip -- except when it is done as a downward thrust to get to the heart and lungs through the top of the rib cage -- is mostly slashing with a specific hooked blade. Now personally I don't like kerambits except as box openers, rope cutters and emergency exits for seat belts. For those jobs, I love 'em.

Basically I'm not real fond of reverse because it's pretty much sentry removal, murder or torturing/punishing the dude.  It will jack him up if you use the slashing aspect, but it takes going weedwhacker on the dude to stop someone who is coming at you hard enough so you are legally justified to use lethal force. Thing is going weedwhacker is going to seriously undermine your 'self-defense defense.' (No I did not stutter.)

Add to that most of the training you get where reverse grips are used is NOT -- in any way shape or form -- self-defense. It works beautifully to mutilate an unarmed guy. It's also very much from a dueling culture... which ain't self-defense either  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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