Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ripping it, the Libre way!

Been awhile since I last tackled any of the topics that would refer to the “edge” part of this blogs title. One of the reasons is that I have never intended to go into any particular detail regarding the HOW TOs of knife use in combat. Another is that I was entertaining the thought of an epic parallel review of the shootout type to include several instructional DVDs on the subject, but as it seems there will never be enough time to do it properly, I have finally decided to do an individual review of each of those I had in mind. Now, on to the subject matter…

Some of you may remember a post I did earlier (in case you had read it in the first place), which discussed my favorable view of a particular knife grip and how it is used. Over the course of my research into the theme, there have been a few exponents whose work resounded with me and thus has affected my own interpretation(s). Today, I will discuss one of those… (NOTE: after pondering for a while about the order of these reviews, I finally opted to do it in line with the alphabetical order of authors’ last name).

Libre logo and motto...all the rights belonging to Scott Babb
So, the video portrayed today is the Street Edge 4 – Reaper Method, authored by Scott Babb. Mr. Babb is by now fairly well known as the founder of Libre Fighting, the system of combat that has gained some recognition around the world, particularly in relation to the use of knives in close quarters conflicts. It bears saying right away that the DVD is discontinued, as Babb offers a newer representation of his system in the later date set of videos, but the original may still be available, so you could contact Libre or check out Ebay and similar places.

One of the main points that I immediately likes about this video is that the author starts with saying what is the intent behind the approach taught, and does not hesitate to explain both the advantages and disadvantages of the reverse grip with edge in (scythe grip in his nomenclature) in comparison with the straightforward grip. Also, he notes that the material on the DVD is the civilian version of what he had originally designed to be a system aimed at various professional services in the military/law enforcement field.

After the introductory discussion of the grip itself and rationale behind the method, several modes of attacking with the knife are shown and explained. Some of those are obvious, but there are a few that are rather interesting and unique, at least from what I have seen so far. Since at issue is admittedly and offensive system, Babb starts the “force on force” segment of instruction with the four pack method of dealing with the opponent’s attempts to defend the initial attack. What we have at hand here is the practical use of trapping hands that some people may have encountered in various other fighting arts and systems.

Babb, going at it

Next in line is the string of several attacking methods (I told you it was all about attacking!), devised in order to solve problems and overcome obstacles that Libre practitioners have met in their training practice, but also during the real world applications of the material. Speaking training, it is great to see a methodology that espouses sparring as a regular part of their work, but does not end up looking like the mutual game of tags or the proverbial scene from the West Side Story.

Finally, the video offers the insights from a few other practitioners other than Babb, and being of differing builds and attributes (petite female, big and strong guys, smaller and more agile guys), it is also interesting to watch and hear what they have to say.

 The production of the DVD is excellent, and I especially liked that some of the footage was taken outdoors, in the environment that looks like some of the places where one might be forced to use the material learned. Also, when performed outside, the techniques have a different feel to those practiced only indoors, and it is nice to see such manner of training promoted.

Scott Babb is well articulated, goes into enough detail to make the viewer understand the material, but without going into excessive talking that would boggle the understanding and digress in such a way to make you reach for the fast forward button. That way, it is easier to reap the benefits of the instruction (I just couldn’t help it).

Finally, as the title suggests, this DVD used to be part of a series, so some of the topics are not discussed in detail (such as the carry options or the choice of knife), but the overall presentation is very honest and down to earth, hence providing a good insight into how they do it. 

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