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Author Topic: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)  (Read 5365 times)

Nick Hughes

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Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« on: June 20, 2005, 09:11:14 PM »

Well, we're over on the stick thread discussing the benefits of the stick v the knife and the duel myth thingy raised it's head.

Now, this is another one of those small areas where the big fella and I disagree.  I don't disagree that it's unlikely to be involved in a stick v stick duel (even though I've been in one in a pool hall where everyone was wailing away with broken cue sticks) but I do disagree with the knife v knife duel being a myth.

Before I elaborate I do agree that in this country currently it still may be a statistical abnormality but, outside of this country?  I'm reminded of something Inosanto said at a seminar of his I attended in Atlanta and that was that 80 percent of the world's population fights with and carries knives.  Only countries that adhered to the Marquis of Queensbury's rules i.e. England, France and their counterparts i.e. Australia and the US believe in the fair fight, one on one, and gentleman's rules etc.

Am I to believe that in Tijuana Mexico on a Friday and Saturday night every fight isn't a knife v knife duel?  Or how about Manilla or the People's Republic of Vietnam, anywhere in Central and South America, Sth Africa and so on and so forth?  One of my student's fathers grew up in Central America on his father's huge banana plantation that at the time was one of the biggest exporters of bananas to the US.  He told my student that he and his sister would see hands, fingers and forearms on the railway tracks on a Saturday morning after the labourers had been paid Friday and got into their fights over women and cards.  The fights of course were fought with each individual wielding his parang.  A Philipino I met at classes in London had scars on him from knife fights in the school playground that were a regular part of growing up in the Philippines.

In Kennett Square, here in the good ol US of A, mexicans are hired to grow the mushrooms that the area is famous for.  Every Friday night the emergency rooms are full of stabbing victims as the Mexicans, fueled by booze get into their arguments and wield the knives they use to harvest the mushrooms.  The fight breaks out and everyone is grabbing their blades providing it's a "brewing" fight and the participants are forewarned and not a "flash" fight that occurs before the victim realizes he's in one.

Something else occured to me while talking this through with a recent visitor from the UK who'd heard the same argument.  If I practise my knife work against a partner who also wields a knife a la the "duel" and I confront someone who doesn't have one my job is relatively easy.  If, on the other hand, I don't practise duelling because it's so unlikely, and I end up against a car load of MS 13 gangbangers (prevalent in my city) armed with knives, machetes etc I am in a pile of the proverbial brown stuff.  I'd much rather have the dueling experience 'cause it covers me in either scenario i.e. unarmed opponent or not.

Let the fun begin ;)

Ninor
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Hock

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2005, 10:24:07 PM »

Fighting edged weapon vs. edged is not the "myth of the duel." The myth of the duel is about limiting yourself to dueling methods. Training to knife fight and using say-fencing as the model, is the definetion the myth of the duel. A course about knife dueling is unlikely to have gun options in it, because of the very name.

Of course, a good knife course covers so-called "dueling," because dueling may, has and does occur inside an over all fight. We duel/spar a bit at every knife level. We do the killshot to adequately cover the subject.

...are all those stabbings and slashings in Kennet Square, Manila and Mexico, a Zorro-like, face-off duel? Or, are they sudden, passionate charges (like football players with knives) that involve a sucker punch, a thrown ashtray. A knife in the back? A chair vs a knife. A struggle on the ground? Two bad guys cornering one guy. A very small knife vs. a machete? or worse, unarmed vs. the knife.

The very term duel, fancifies and misleads what is really a homicide or an ugly, vicious bloodletting. The training for knife fighting, as done by almost all martial systems, is a prissy game of tag.

Now if one lived in Fred Flinstone's city of Bedrock, I suggest you quickly learn how to fight with stone clubs first. Fighting first, systems second. And start with ideas to cheat with that stone club, not fence with it.

Hock
« Last Edit: June 21, 2005, 07:07:55 AM by HockHoch@aol.com »
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kayakpirate

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2005, 11:40:10 AM »

I have a copy of Biddles, "Cold steel". The techniques seem very much like what your refering to Hock. He dosent use his opposite hand for defence, but throws it out behind him. Also there seems to be a lot of over commitment to the moves that would seem to leave you really open. Am I wrong or was Biddles system influenced by fencing? The one on one battle to the death, rather then quick and dirty for the getaway?
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Hock

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2005, 12:41:39 PM »

Biddle was influenced by fencing. No doubt Trembula will be on shortly and is our resident Biddle expert. That "hand-behind-him-thing, is a real fencing move. This causes the torso to turn away from the enemy's long sword, or bayonet thrust. The shorter the enemy's edged weapon, the less of this torso turn is needed. Otherwise that support hand is really needed up front and ready to push, grab, strike, block, etc.

While teaching a police and military group in Georgia, an Army Ranger Captain in between trips to Afghanistan told me the troops needed more knife vs. knife dueling, because they would find themselves inside caves with fuel and explosives and could not shoot. But, this occurance was still a rarity.

The military knife vs knife fight occurs for three or four reasons?
>for silence (but, on both sides?)
>you have lost use of all other weapons and both happen to be "down to the knife?"
>certain explosives and fuels are nearby?
>friendly fire problems,
>and...I'd like to hear more reasons

In my old book Military Knife Combatives, I researched a huge knife fight in WW II Italy when US and German troops parachuted onto the same field by accident. Realizing in the pitch dark they were surrounding each other and couldn't shoot each other, the largest knife and bayonet-dueling match in history (so said one author) occurred until the group separated.

I think that military vets truly understand the mixed weapon world, and that military knife training has never really covered what it should, even in what little time they to train. They do the best they can.

(oh, I volunteered to go to Afghanistan to teach if that Captain could figure out a way to get me over there. He emailed me a month later and said they were too busy fighting to train. )
Hock

kamagong

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005, 10:37:40 AM »

I started my "formal" eskrima training under Edgar Sulite's system, Lameco.  Edgar used to talk about knifings in the Philippines, one way was to put a bottle in a paper bag, shape the bag to the bottle, take the bottle out, then put the knife in.  It looks like you are holding a bottle in a bag.  This was done, he said, when you moved through a crowd so you could get close to the person then stab him, the blade punches right through the bag.  Another instance he talked about was a local boxer who was messing around with a local guy's wife.  He said the guy knew of the boxers reputation so came after him with a knife, he said they ended up in the classic side headlock position with the boxer punching the guy in the face, and the guy stabbing the boxer in the gut.  He said the next morning the guy was in the hospital with his face hamburger, but the boxer was on the slab in the morgue.  (Then he said "which one won", but that is another point) 

I guess the point I am trying to make is, train for as many eventuallities as possible.  Have your guys do scenarios where someone walks up behind them, where someone walks by them going the other direction and may or may not stab, where someone walks up and asks the time then pulls a knife and wants their wallet, etc.  Re-create Noir's bar fight with padded sticks so students get a feel for chaos.  I agree with both Hock and Noir and I think they are comming at the same conclusion from different directions.  I have fights on tape where two people began duking it out, one guy started to lose, and pulled a knife, they were both in "athletic fighting stances" to begin with, now would you classify this as dueling?  It depends on your interpretation of what the word dueling means.
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Nick Hughes

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2005, 12:25:25 PM »

Kama,

Nope, I'm definitely on the same side as Hock.  I'm one of the most cynical martial artists out there and dislike most stuff that passes itself off as 'real world" effective because, having been a bouncer, bodyguard and MP I've been in enough fights to know it's not.  I am therefore always singing Hock's praises (and pinching his stuff ;))

I do like playing devil's advocate with the old man though...hence this post.  I also mentioned it because I think some people hear duelling is a myth and so forego any blade v blade training.  If I had to choose between blade v blade and blade v anythign else I'd do the former because I think it prepares you for everything else.

Interesting about the brown bag.  The one I always showed my body guard classes was the knife held in the t-shirt.  Works exactly the same way.  I prefer mine actually..cops here might stop you walking down the road with a brown paper bag in hand.

N
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Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
--Ferdinand Foch-- at the Battle of the Marne

tlouis

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2005, 03:29:33 PM »

i knew a guy about 15 years ago who carried a knife in a bag. Big butcher knife. he would ride public trans late at night with his brown bag hiding this huge blade. He was held up by a guy wiith a knife. After rufusing to give up his money this guy was attacked and stabbed.( He was a pure psycho, a frightening guy to even be around and probably not only refused to give the money but had a few choice words for his assailant.) Anyway the butchcer knife ended up sticking out the other side of the robbers body. The guy was never charged. Everytime I see a guy with a paper bag i always am aware of what might be in there. About duels- my fatnher was in the phillipines in WW2 use to say how many knife fights he saw among the philipinos. Almost always in bars and almost always about a girl. He said they would cut themselves to ribbons.
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Trembula

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2005, 04:49:04 PM »

Oh Lawdy... here are some somewhat scattered thoughts loosely coupled with the quotes from posts that may or may not have caused me to think on the topic...

The very term duel, fancifies and misleads what is really a homicide or an ugly, vicious bloodletting. The training for knife fighting, as done by almost all martial systems, is a prissy game of tag.

For some info on knife fights of the old West and the realities therof, please consult the research paper I posted in a previous thread regarding frontier knife fights. Maybe a duel could be somewhat "polite", "neat" and "tidy" with smallswords and the like, which eventually de-evolved into modern fencing, but not bowie's and the like which make for a much messier affair. Dueling for gentlemen involved all manner of intricate rules and was very different from a one on one fight where both participants happen to have knives. Even the lower classes of poor whites had their version of the duel  - see Gorn's excellent article for a look at the vicious unarmed aspect of that.

I have a copy of Biddles, "Cold steel". The techniques seem very much like what your refering to Hock. He dosent use his opposite hand for defence, but throws it out behind him. Also there seems to be a lot of over commitment to the moves that would seem to leave you really open. Am I wrong or was Biddles system influenced by fencing? The one on one battle to the death, rather then quick and dirty for the getaway?

Au contraire amigo. John Styers wrote Cold Steel which in my opinion is the "Biddle Method" equivalent of JKD concepts compared with the "pre-'73" Jun Fan / Jeet Kune Do. Biddle was very big on the use of the empty hand even back in the more "classical" portion of the Biddle Method, referring to it as the "grab hand", something I first became aware of in an old Congressional Edge article Hock wrote. As Hock mentioned, the "pie serving" hand helps to narrow the torso profile. It is a holdover from Biddle's classical fencing background. You will also see outstretched hands as part of some of the Savate kicks in the Biddle Method. For a more combat viable (in my opinion) option for the "grab hand", take a gander at Dwight's Bowie video and observe the chambered empty hand he utilizes. In Cold Steel observe the much squarer stance that Styers uses compared to the classical fencing stance (also pictured in the book) or the stance that Biddle used. Stephen Stavers was the one who adapted Biddle's knife work to the new USMC Combat/Utility Knife ("Ka-Bar") circa 1943 and that is probably where Styer's squarer stance appeared because the "grab hand" has to be much more involved with a puny little blade like the Ka-Bar has.

And now for a unique historical tidbit that may or may not be of interest...

Those of you who have been in the Navy or Marine Corps are no doubt familiar with the so-called "Filipino Mafia" that seems to have a stranglehold on the chow halls and messes to this day. Well, back in the 1950s (and no doubt long before), the workers in the Mess Hall (later renamed King Hall) at the Naval Academy were Filipino (as are a good number to this day) and at that time (no longer the case today) they were billetted in Ricketts Hall and according to one old grad, there used to be a fair number of knife fights out back of that building - something which apparently led to the replacement of most of the Filipino's for a good while with Black and Latino workers because the powers that be were tired of the violence. And now to make a grandiouse statement I now have proof of FMA being practiced at the Naval Academy for over half a century!  ;) ;D ;) ;D Just kidding about that conclusion folks - that would be rather irresponsible to make.

Dan
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kayakpirate

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2005, 11:24:42 AM »

HA! I didnt even notice  that I misnamed the Cold steel book, Gotta stop drinking all that cough syrup...My copy was sitting right in front of me when I had my little brain storm... got too excited I guess. Thanks.
My overall thought was just that the fencing influence, while giving an evasive movement might be throwing a little too much caution to the wind. In some of these photos he really is hanging out of that old combat window. Have these concepts changed in the Biddle system to any degree?
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Hock

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 11:36:05 AM »

Please excuse me if I have said this on the forum before, I just can't remember. But, on this subject, I think fencing is good for just...fencing.

Folks go on and on about fencing and repost and so on, and didn't a llittle guy named Bruce Lee think a lot of it...but I don't.

It has no side-to-side movement, severely limited the inert freedom to travel in a fight, edged or otherwise. It commits to suicidual moves to touch the opponent first and get the buzzer, completely ignoring the return stab because it doesn't count after the wining touch.

I think that the good things you can get from fencing, can be better gotten from other systems. I'd rather see people box than fence, or just doing smart things from no systems.

Hock

Trembula

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2005, 02:24:52 PM »

I personally consider modern fencing to be playing tag with coat hangers that have handles - and almost useless. The classical/historical fencing and Western swordsmanship that Pete Kautz and Dwight McLemore study, now that's some good stuff. Colonel Biddle sure as hell didn't learn the hand cut from playing pokey-tag with olympic fencing gear - his study of "fencing" was done learning from folks who had actually duelled...

The problem with a lot of blade arts today, particularly the sword arts, is that nobody has faced off on a regular basis with Katana, Rapiers, or Military Sabres on a regular basis for well over a hundred years. So little things start getting lost, like making sure the blade is angled so it can actually cut instead of just whack the opponent. And big things get lost like GETTING YOUR HAND CHOPPED OFF REALLY SUCKS!

The machete/parang/bolo folks out there can still go places where folks still fight with those... pretty much any third world jungle or savanna covered nation will suffice.

Yes please, go box, wrestle, or even play raquetball...
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kayakpirate

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2005, 06:16:22 PM »

Yet another good example of this is the dfference between Kendo and Kenjitsu.
To watch Kendo you'd think nobody ever survived a sword fight. And as far as Kendo goes, they'd be correct.
Try to find a real Kenjitsu dojo. They're rare to say the least. But the use of the boken, the solid wooden sword, is so much more... logical... then the bashing away that the Kendo people do with the Shiniai. Its like the difference between a pillow fight and a knife fight.
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D. McLemore

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2005, 02:47:43 PM »

 Dueling is simply just another technique to add to your 'bag'. I'm one of those that get accused of teaching dueling or "fighting at medium range'.  Reality is that it is only about 10% of my program of instruction.  My experience is that this range of work is very perishable in terms of skill retention and is probably worth learning just to make sure some 'bastard' stick you before you can close.  I think this is about balance and learning to work at all the ranges, especially 'in the clutches' and on-the-ground. All of this is important and if one is just training in one area, your selling yourself short.  As far as historical fencing is concerned, that is more about killing people than scoring points.  Lots of folks think that the Spanish System of Fence is accomplished at range when in reality your point is in proximity of your opponent's guard. Those guys trapped and pinned with the opposite hand and you do see some reference to kicks to the legs.  Sometimes I think there is really nothing new.

Best
Dwight
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Hock

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Re: Myth of the duel (especially for Hock)
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2005, 03:18:48 PM »

...and I am slowly building a Dwight McClemore shopsite page at:

http://www.hockscqc.com/shop/knife_combat_training.html

Right now we are just beginning it and I still have other knife videos below Mac's. But eventually it will be his and we will have a complete Dwight page. He deserves it.

We're working on it.

Hock

 
 

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