Hitting a belt buckle or bone is likely, Janich stresses, so you must “manage impact shock” through an effective grip to avoid being cut with your own knife. He prefers the Pilipino grip, with the knife across the palm at the base of the fingers and fingers curled around the grip, with the thumb on the back of the handle or blade, for maximum grip strength. The thumb “guides the blade wherever I want it to go,” he illustrates.

Janich next identifies zones of defense, followed by three defensive responses to simplify the number of techniques learned and practiced. He illustrates and explains passes, follows and meets as applied to the various zones, focused on cutting the arm with which the attack is made. Most attackers bring a hand-held weapon to bear against you, so disabling the arm wielding it is a primary concern. These are the principles Janich outlined in greater detail in the lead interview to this journal.

The knife is a compliment to your natural body weapons, not a replacement, Janich urges, demonstrating checks and strikes with the hand not holding the knife. Indeed, knife flow drills provide a basis for empty hand defenses, he teaches. This is important, because if the assailant starts the attack with a weapon in hand–something that is likely–you’ll need techniques to buy time to draw out and open your knife. If your first response is to go after your knife, you’ll be injured before you can ever deploy it, he stresses.

Just as shooters practice delivering multiple shots, knife techniques emphasize flowing from one target to another. Elemental to this ability is the knife hand’s chamber position, introduced as Janich stresses, “We have to be prepared to follow up.” The chamber position sets up the next strike to an open target, essentially playing “connect the dots,” from one target to the next, he illustrates.

In follow up tactics, the live (non-knife) hand can open up targets and move the opponent’s limbs as needed, Janich demonstrates.

Progressing skills will create these natural combinations, he encourages. Avoid practicing with a partner who freezes at the point of the first strike, which won’t happen in real life, where the assailant will react to your cuts.

If he stops, you would not continue cutting, but if he does not withdraw you will need to flexibly adapt your response to “what he is doing at that time,” he explains. Practice making cuts flowing from one body target after another, adjusting with the training partner’s natural responses, he urges.

Several flow drills are offered for practice to develop distance, judgment, accuracy and timing in both practice partners, who switch from aggressor to defender, increasing speed and dynamic movement as skill grows. Flow drill benefits include perceiving attacks and responding with a conditioned reflex and ability to adapt responses to a wide variety of circumstances, he explains. As skill grows, learn to vary responses, practicing to make an instantaneous decision when the attack is underway. Still, “Don’t get lost in the drills,” Janich urges. Remain aware of the combat applications and the spontaneous responses the drills engrain. Dissect the drills to understand the reasons behind techniques. When practicing flow drills, “Look at the component pieces and use them to your advantage,” he encourages.

In closing, Janich explains that the skills demonstrated and analyzed in the video are intended to give an introduction to foundational skills to add to our existing self-defense techniques. He urges use of safe practice equipment including eye protection, wrist guards and blunted training knives, as well as starting practice slowly, to develop the techniques so they can become “a valuable addition to your self-defense repertoire.”

This training program on DVD flows smoothly through an introduction to the topic, into explanations and demonstrations of defensive skills, giving reasons justifying the use of the techniques shown, and outlining ways to practice to gain proficiency in the techniques. The instruction is seamlessly presented, and the 75 minutes of playing time races by in what seems like half an hour. The instruction is presented very professionally without the bellicose verbiage so common in self-defense video programs, so that every minute of viewing is teaching or reinforcing a lesson. The time spent watching the program as well as the cost of the DVD and its shipping is a valuable investment in personal safety.

[End of article.
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