Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Working the shiv!

Like promised earlier, here is the second installment in my series of reviews on the instructional video material related to the use of reverse edge knife grip. This time we’re dealing with a DVD put together by one of my favorite fighting/combative instructors out there, even though (unfortunately) I have not had the opportunity to be exposed to his teaching in person…yet. The man at issue is Craig Douglas, also known under his former professional nickname of Southnarc, and the video at hand is his Shivworks Reverse Edge Method.

Actually, and this is an interesting case, Douglas published two DVDs dealing with the same subject, and while titled as volumes 1 and 2, I don’t think they are not necessarily meant to be used in the sequential order. Now, it is entirely possible to get a lot of useful information (and there is some overlap between the two) from getting either one of those, they do work best in conjunction.

The first DVD focuses mostly on the technical aspects of the combative use of knives with the inverted edge hold (both forward and reverse grip), and particularly in the extreme close quarters situations, as those tend to be prevailing sort of situation in the real life. In that regard, Southnarc addresses the carry options and deployment of the weapon as critical considerations if one decides to actually settle on a knife as their weapon choice for the everyday carry option. Once deployed, the knife can be employed, and this is where the author discusses the advantages of using the knife in the suggested manner, in either of the two grips. He also demonstrates a number of situations that could emerge and demand the deployment in the first place. Especially valuable is the fact that he spends most time in the clinch situation, in order to show just how close and dirty is the entire knife fighting affair. Douglas does not go into a whole bunch of technical maneuvers, but opts instead to focus on a couple of fundamental and most effective techniques, but then goes into detail about the mechanical and tactical aspects of those. What he accomplishes in doing this, the way I see it, is stressing the importance of some serious hands-on drilling and training, instead of trying things for a few times just for the fun of it.

The second volume is my favorite of the two because it addresses one of my favorite aspects of any work – the context. While he does revisit the material from volume one, and adds some more insight, the main quality of this DVD is the emphasis and thorough analysis of the criminal mindset and the conflict situation from the initial contact, through the interview phase, to actual assault. He does it in a brilliant manner and brings the point(s) across clearly and convincingly. Directly related to that context is the author’s stress on the need to develop some empty handed defensive skills and their integration with your knife tactics.

Clinch Pick - edge is on the concave side

The only possible downside of the presentation is that everything is shown/demonstrated with fixed blade knives. Douglas had developed two designs to optimize the application of the taught material – Clinch Pick and Disciple – as well as the training facsimiles, in order to optimize the training as well. However, probably understanding that the dominant inclination for civilian EDC knives is the folder option, he later also designed the P’kal model with Spyderco.

P'kal folder
As a former LEO with years of undercover work (hence the Southnarc moniker), Douglas has developed great insights in the dynamics of interpersonal conflict situations, as well as the ways of dealing with them all across the continuum. It is this deep understanding of the wider and deeper context of violence and personal protection/preservation that ranks him among the top echelon of instructors I aim to train with as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Should you be interested to learn more about Craig Douglas and his work, make sure to check out his company’s website.

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