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December 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm #4370Anonymous
“What kind of blade is the best?”
“What kind of blade do you carry?”
“Do you always have a blade on you?”
These are pretty common questions in martial arts and preparedness circles. For Sayoc practitioners, these common questions (and the concomitant answers) reveal a lot of information, much of it meaningless outside a given context. For the moment, let’s look at the most likely scenario: EDC (Every Day Carry).
Sayoc Kali defines a blade as anything that can puncture or separate. From a sharp rock to a thousand dollar custom folder made of exotic steel, a blade is defined by its utility more than anything else. Once that is taken into consideration, the questions can really begin. For the moment, let us assume that we are discussing a blade as commonly defined: rigid, metallic, pointed with a relatively long edge, and a handle.
When discussing EDC, several very important factors should be taken into consideration. Two are:
By its very definition, an EDC blade is one that is carried all the time. A blade has diminished utility if it’s left in a drawer at home because it’s too big or heavy to carry comfortably. Other factors such a legality and security concerns also have a likewise effect.
1. The question of mission is simply the tasks that a person must complete. Depending on the mission, blades may need to have certain characteristics. In an EDC context, it is safe to say that there are multiple missions for a single blade. This usually results in people picking a blade that may be a compromise between different modes of utility and what can practically be carried. Of course another solution is to carry multiple blades that are suitable for different tasks.
We have to evaluate two main points: what is likely and what is possible. What are the likely situations in which a blade will be needed? An individual who works in a citrus grove will have some definite needs in terms of blade performance (hence the design and size). A police officer’s needs would be drastically different (backup weapon or weapon retention). Of course there is also the question of what possible situations an individual could find themselves in. For our purposes, let us presume that one of the missions of the blade is self protection.
2. When evaluating environment, we need to evaluate from two perspectives at the very least: physical conditions and permissiveness. WRT physical environment, what is the climate and prevailing weather going to be? What style and types of clothing will we be wearing? How much exposure to the elements will we be experiencing? In terms of permissiveness, will we be in an environment (like a courtroom or campus) that restricts the carry of blades? Do we have the authority to carry blades, and do others have the authority to carry weapons? Will our carry be open or concealed? For our purposes, let us presume an urban/suburban environment in a civilian context. Let us also assume that all people carry blades (“All Blade, All the Time”). The latter assumption may seem to some invalid, but our position is simple: blades are some of the most common weapons introduced into any violent conflict. If one trains with the notion that blades may be produced at any time, then ones tactics will address bladed as well as empty-hand modalities.
The previous factors go a long way towards helping us evaluate the size of an EDC. An Ingorot warrior’s EDC would look very different from an accountant’s. Taking into consideration that the vast majority of humans live in cities, we can safely assume that open carry of swords, machetes, axes and spears is frowned upon by the authorities. Moreover, they can lead to unwanted attention. The idea of appropriate weight and size are also affected by whether the blade will be carried openly or concealed. If concealability is a primary factor, then mode of dress and mode of carry will go a long way towards dictating the appropriate size.
As we consider EDC blades, we should begin looking at desirable traits and undesirable traits in blade design.
1. The EDC blade should have a secure handle. Slippery materials should be avoided. Likewise, very extreme texturing should be avoided as well, since it can hinder blade manipulation and cause issues with printing (visibility of a concealed blade) and smooth deployment. the handle should also be designed to prevent self-injury. This can be accomplished with sound ergonomic design or the use of a “stopper” like a finger guard.
2. The carry system is incredibly important. Whether the blade is a quick draw or deep carry is also an important consideration. A carry system doesn’t just protect us from the blade and the blade from us, but it is also the point from which we deploy our blade. Concerns about speed of deployment, concealment and retention have to be balanced against each other to find the best solution.
3. The blade’s length must be long enough to fulfill its primary missions. It should be made of a sturdy material that will not break easily if thrust into something hard like wood, sheet rock or bone.
4. The blade should not have a choil. Choils on smaller blades seem to have no utility other than catching lint, dust, and fabric. Ideally the transition from edge to hilt/handle should be smooth and without interruption.
A major question also arises when deciding on the format of an EDC blade: fixed or folder? Tuhon Tom Kier has said that a folder is just a broken fixed blade that someone tried to repair, poorly. Small fixed blades have been a part of EDC since the first neolithic tribes discovered flint knapping. If possible, carry blades should be fixed. No matter what the claims or technology might be, a folder’s pivot and/or locking mechanism will fail under enough force, often unexpectedly. This is not to say that there are serviceable
Is there any one solution to this question? There may be; experience shows that asking the question is often far more important than any specific answers. It should also be noted that while blades are a part of EDC, there are by no means the only element. We’ll explore other factors in future articles.March 13, 2017 at 9:02 am #8203Anonymous
A dated article but a great one.
Because I always carry, I get the above questions frequently – as well as the question “why do you carry knives versus a firearm?”
The simple answer to the latter is because I train with the blades several times a week (as we all do), as opposed to the occasional trip to the firing range. I don’t get to the range enough to be comfortable with my ability to use the firearm under duress. Also, because it’s an indoor range, shooters cannot practice from the draw which is critical in personal protection training. Also, with a blade I don’t have to worry about over-penetration and who’s standing behind the attacker. Being in the motorcycling community, I frequent multiple events each year in crowded, close quarters venues and wherein most of the other attendees are also carrying knives (some of whom have no qualms about using them). I also live in a neighborhood that becomes rather dangerous after the sun goes down, and strong-arm robberies are not uncommon and usually involve edged weapons.
My tool choices depend almost entirely on ease of deployment. My rule of thumb is that if I have to dig in my pocket and manipulate it or have to unsnap something to deploy the blade, it’s a utility knife. That’s not to say I won’t carry a folder – I do. But it’s a Fox DART straight-blade kerambit. It’s clipped to my pocket and deploys when drawn, which makes for fluid motion. Size is of little consequence, as I’ve explained to a few people, as most of the vital targets are close enough to the skin’s surface that my little 2 3/4″ blade can reach them.
I also get the question as to why I carry two blades. My second is a fixed blade belt knife, in a leather & kydex sheath, which is behind my back (scout carry) in a left-hand draw. Which one is primary/backup depends on which hand is free and/or closest to the target. The military axiom “two is one, one is none” applies here – if my first blade should get jammed, I may need the second one to end the altercation.
The fact knives are more permissive than firearms in my state (Maryland) also factors into my decision of what to carry. Fixed blades can be carried so long as they are not concealed, and folders are considered penknives here thus any size is legal. Demeanor is normally the deciding factor as to whether law enforcement questions someone about a knife – so long as you are not acting in any threatening or overly assertive manner local LEOs in my area normally don’t bother, unless you’re already engaged in conversation with them and they’re just curious. Even then it’s usually “what” you have as opposed to “why,” as they may be considering one for backup purposes; and if you can articulate specific uses other than defense (hunting or other regular outdoors activities) it’s really no issue.
All that being said, the level of responsibility when carrying a blade for personal defense is the same as with a firearm – as is the burden of proof for justified lethal force. This is where a thorough study of the local laws and, just as importantly, of legal precedent in cases involving a deadly force response to an attack is absolutely necessary. It is all too easy to go from victim to attacker in the eyes of a jury once you address the threat. If the attacker’s weapon comes out of his hand, your counterattack must stop or you will be seen as the aggressor (I imagine this is the case in most, if not all states). As such, the Sayoc principle of fear for one’s life must be adhered to before your blade comes out; and in MD you should be able to demonstrate that avoidance of the threat was not an option, as it is not a Stand-Your-Ground state. That means everything you do and say will be scrutinized closely through witness testimony and any security camera footage that may be available. The homework cannot be skipped.
Another part of my EDC is a flashlight – it serves the same utility with a blade as with a firearm. I keep one in my pocket at all times. A full trauma kit stays in my vehicle, and I keep a hefty first aid kit (with an Israeli bandage and SWAT-T tourniquet) in the backpack that also goes where I do.
EDC is not something that should be done on a whim – research, planning and practice are critical.
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