View Full Version : Blade Class in Nov '03

09-25-2003, 07:26 AM
I am signed up for the two day class that Gabe is hosting in L.A. Ca. (Angeles Range) with Michael Janich.

My knife skills, both defensive and offensive absolutly suck and I need to learn about this particular skill set from the ground up the same way I did (and still am after 20+ years) from the ground up.

Who else is attending?

Paul Trent

Gabriel Suarez
09-25-2003, 01:29 PM

I plan to be a humble student on the line with everyone else. I got an outline of the class from Mike. Below is Day One

Spyderco®/Michael Janich Martial Blade Craft Level 1

The following outline represents the general content of the Spyderco®/Michael Janich Martial Blade Craft (MBC) Level 1 curriculum. Although this basic instructional format is designed to follow a linear progression, to retain flexibility and remain responsive to the specific needs of the students in the course, some topics may be addressed out of sequence or receive additional emphasis to ensure thorough coverage.

I. Introduction
A. The purposes of Martial Bladecraft (MBC):
1. To develop martial skill with the knife in an ethical and
responsible manner
2. To develop the ability to protect and defend innocent
B. Safety is a primary concern in all our training. Train slowly and
carefully and use proper equipment.
C. Moral/ethical decisions must be made now, not on the street
D. You bear sole responsibility for the use or misuse of this
E. Ask questions. I’m here for you.

II. Knife grip – the standard grip, Filipino or saber style
A. You may use any grip you like, as long as it allows
1. Weapon retention
2. Effective application of knife
3. Impact shock management
B. The Filipino Grip – the preferred grip for most knife work since
it allows the knife to be applied almost instinctively as an
extension of the hand. Its key points are:
1. Focusing the grip on the last three fingers of the hand,
anchoring the handle to the palm.
2. Reinforcing the primary grip with the index finger without
shifting the focus of the grip forward.
3. Placing the thumb on the back of the blade, opposite the
“heel.” This becomes your guide for all application of the
III. Stance
A. Probably no choice – In n a defensive situation, you will
probably be reacting and will not have the luxury of assuming
a stance before you apply your hands or weapon.
B. The hand is quicker than the eye, and the foot – Upper-body
reactions are faster than lower-body reactions so learn to
move your hands regardless of the position of your feet.
C. Lead vs. rear-hand grip – In general, keep your knife in front
where it will do the most good. Keep it close to your body,
however, so it is not vulnerable.
D. If you have a choice, the stance you choose must:
1. Be balanced
2. Be mobile
3. Protect vital anatomical areas
4. Allow effective use of knife and natural body weapons
E. The basic MBC stance is similar to a boxer’s stance with the knife hand in the lead.

IV. Basic cutting and thrusting strokes –
The Five Angles of Attack
A. Cutting, angles 1-4 – Use the chamber positions (shoulders and hips) as a guide and remember that the angles are conceptual.
1. Angle 1 – Your right shoulder to your left hip
2. Angle 2 – Your left shoulder to your right hip
3. Angle 3 – Your right hip to your left hip
4. Angle 4 – Your left hip to your right hip
B. Thrusting - Angle 5 high and low and angles 1-4
C. Combining cuts and thrusts
1. Connecting chamber positions
2. Adjusting flow and targeting

V. Defensive zones – The recipient’s point of view of view of the angles of attack defines the four Zones of Defense.
A. Zone concept - Angles 1-4 define the four defensive zones
(use partner drill to illustrate recipient’s point of view). Each
zone covers a 90-degree quadrant.
B. Angle 5 – By moving inside and outside, high and low, angle
five attacks fall into the four zones
C. Defensive footwork and angling – Do what your body tells
you to do.
D. The Defensive Responses defined (Pass, Follow, Meet) –
The goal is to use the same defensive techniques for all
attacks to a particular zone. Four zones of defense x three
defensive responses = 12 basic techniques.

VI. Stopping power of the knife
A. Goal of any self-defense method is to stop the attacker.
B. Knives stop by:
1. Pain
2. Blood loss
3. Psychological effects
4. Damage to the nervous system
5. Structural damage

C. For self-defense purposes only options 4 and 5 produce immediate or near-immediate stops. Option 4 may not be justified, so option 5 is preferred.

VII. “Defanging the snake” – Your primary target is the attacker’s weapon-bearing limb.
A. Why target the hand/wrist?
1. Easiest target – the attacker “gives” it to you
2. Structural damage can cripple and disarm
3. Striking a “minor” target shows restraint and is legally defensible
4. Use as a bridge to more vital targets
B. Evasive advantages – Staying at largo mano (long hand) range keeps you safest. At this range, you can touch your opponent’s weapon hand but he can’t touch you.

VIII. Passes – Intercepting the weapon hand with a cut while letting it pass.
A. Isolated movements, zones 1-4
B. Largo mano flow drill (Angles 1,2,3,4)
C. Largo mano responses to random attacks (note final chamber positions)

IX. Follows – Cutting on the backhand side of the attacker’s strike, following it.
A. Isolated movements, zones 1-4
B. Largo mano flow drill (Angles 1,2,3,4)
C. Largo mano responses to random attacks (note final chamber positions)

X. Meets – intercepting cuts followed by “live hand” (free hand) checks. Note that the back of the hand is used most to protect the targets on the inside of the wrist.
A. Isolated movements, angles 1-4
B. Meet drill, angles 1-4
C. Meets against random attacks (note final chamber positions)

XI. Defenses against the thrust (Angle 5)
A. High thrusts – Sidestep and treat as angle 1 or 2
B. Low thrusts – Sidestep and treat as angle 3 or 4

XII. Defensive knife selection, carry, and deployment
A. Defensive knife criteria. A defensive knife must be:
1. Strong.
2. An effective cutting and thrusting weapon.
3. Conveniently carried and immediately accessible.
B. Fixed blade vs. folder
C. Fixed blade carry and deployment
D. Folder carry and deployment
1. Pocket carry, waistband carry, pouch carry, and “other” carries.
2. Clothing clip positions – Tip up usually requires less manipulation than tip down.
3. Thumb opening.
4. Ring finger opening.
5. Blade grip/Handle swing opening.
6. Standard grip inertia opening.
7. Reverse-grip inertia opening.

XIII. The Six-Count flow drill (participatory)
A. Drill – “A” attacks with angle 1, “B” responds with a meet and an angle 4 counter. “A” responds to the angle 4 with a meet and counters with an overhead angle 1. “B” responds to the overhead angle 1 with a closed-to-open crossada and counters with an angle 1. At this point, the roles of “A” and “B” are reversed and the flow continues. The result is a six-count drill.
B. Applications – Dissect the individual steps of the flow drill to discover its applications.

XIV. Targets
A. Types of anatomical targets
1. Structural (tendons, muscles, nerves)
2. Bleeding (arteries, veins, blood-filled organs)
3. Major life-supporting organs (heart, lungs, brain, spinal cord)
B. Target selection – All angles of attack are conceptual. By adjusting your knife orientation and target, you can instantly control the level of force applied.
1. Deterrence/non-lethal force – Blunt striking with the butt, superficial cuts and thrusts to hard targets.
2. Lethal force – Cuts to vital targets and thrusts to vital and/or deep soft-tissue targets.
3. Front of body
4. Rear of body
C. Clothing/armor considerations – Be aware that climate and clothing will impact or perhaps determine the targets available to you.

XV. Review and practice of sample defensive applications – Respond to attacks with passes, follows, and meets, note your chamber position, and counterattack to an appropriate target. As you practice, vary your targets and the intensity of your counter.

XVI. Final question and answer period

Contact Information for Michael Janich

Michael Janich is a popular seminar instructor and has presented instructional programs for James Keating’s Riddle of Steel and Datu Kelly S. Worden’s Water and Steel training camps. Janich offers custom-tailored programs in defensive edged weapons tactics, advanced knife fighting, stick fighting, empty-hand self-defense (including counter-knife tactics), knife throwing, point shooting and tactical awareness. All programs are designed to be easily adapted to meet the specific needs of the student group and private instruction in these disciplines, as well as other specialized skills, is also available.

Address: Michael Janich
PMB #154
2255 North Main Street, Suite 108
Longmont, CO 80501-1417
Phone: 303-443-7250, ext. 250
E-mail: modtempest@aol.com


See you there.


09-25-2003, 03:20 PM

I am looking forward to this class... Any plans on the next two classes?

I think this is an area that is begging to be explored in the same manner as Jeff did with the Modern Techneque during the early 70's.

Thanks for hosting it.



Gabriel Suarez
09-25-2003, 04:44 PM
Spyderco®/Michael Janich Martial Blade Craft Level 2

The following outline represents the general content of the Spyderco®/Michael Janich Martial Blade Craft (MBC) Level 2 curriculum. Although this basic instructional format is designed to follow a linear progression, to retain flexibility and remain responsive to the specific needs of the students in the course, some topics may be addressed out of sequence or receive additional emphasis to ensure thorough coverage.

I. Introduction
II. Brief review of Level 1 skills and drills
A. Angles of attack
B. Zones of defense
C. Defensive responses
D. Largo mano pass drill
E. Six-count drill
III. Advanced flow drills
A. Four-count crossada drill – adding the live hand to the pass
B. Six-count crossada drill – note the two different hand positions on the angle 2 crossada movements
C. Sumbrada drill – adding angles 2, 3, and 5 to the Six-count drill
IV. Advanced flow drill concepts
A. Entering the drills at different points to prompt spontaneous responses
B. Varying your range
1. Largo mano to crossada progression by closing gap
2. Crossada to sumbrada drill progression by further closing gap
3. Sumbrada to largo mano progression by opening gap
C. Making the defensive responses part of the drills
1. Analysis of 6-count drill
a. Standard – meet, meet, crossada
b. Variation 1 – meet, follow, crossada
c. Variation 2 – meet, crossada, crossada
d. Variation 3 – crossada, meet, crossada
e. Variation 4 – crossada, crossada, crossada
2. Analysis of the sumbrada drill
a. Standard Filipino version (demonstration)
b. Preferred version – meet against angle 2 and angle 3 attack
c. Variation 1 – cite above variations for angles 1 and 4
d. Variation 3 – crossada against angle 3 attack
V. Knife-to-knife disarms during the flow – The Speed Strip
A. Angle 1 – punyo crossada
B. Angle 2 – two-hand meet then crossada
C. Angle 3 – punyo crossada
D. Angle 4 – punyo crossada or two-hand meet then crossada
E. Angle 5 – punyo crossada
VI. Analysis of defensive responses and their combat applications
A. Inside versus outside and the advantages and disadvantages of each
B. Importance of live-hand checking and the reduction of mobility to one joint
C. Pass/follow on angles 1 and 3, meet on 2 and 4
D. Meet then pass on angles 1 and 3 to get to the outside
VII. Speed stops – Immediate follow ups from conditioned defenses
A. Angle 1
1. Meet – #4 thigh cut, #4 tricep cut, or #4 forearm cut and #2 bicep cut
2. Pass – #2 forearm or tricep cut
3. Follow – #1 bicep cut
4. Crossada - #2 tricep cut
B. Angle 2
1. Meet - #1 bicep cut or #3 thigh cut
2. Pass - #1 bicep cut
3. Follow - #2 bicep cut
4. Crossada - #1 bicep cut
C. Angle 3
1. Meet - #2 bicep cut
2. Pass - #2 tricep cut
3. Follow - #1 bicep cut
4. Crossada - #2 tricep cut
D. Angle 4
1. Meet - #1 bicep cut
2. Pass - #1 bicep cut
3. Follow - #2 bicep cut
4. Crossada - #1 bicep cut
E. Angle 5
1. Inside meet - #2 or #4 bicep cut
2. Outside meet - #1 bicep cut or #3 tricep cut
3. Inside pass - #2 bicep cut
4. Outside pass - #1 bicep cut
5. Crossada - #2 bicep or tricep cut
VIII. Connecting the dots – Combination cutting and the concept of cutting on retraction
A. Review of chamber positions and projection of chambers in front of body
B. Combination cutting and thrusting with target adjustment
C. Cutting on retraction – The Safe Exit and the armpit as a target
X. Review and final question-and-answer period

Tim C
09-25-2003, 07:29 PM
Darn, wish I could be there! Any chance Spyderco/Janich will come a bit further east? I too have less than a thimble full of bladecraft skills, so am glad to see this being addressed in a coherent fashion.

Liberty or Death
09-25-2003, 09:30 PM

Just purchased a Cold Steel Voyager with the 7" blade and am carrying it in front of my beltline like you had shown us during the Sacramento class. I barely notice it's presence. I can see why the Voyager is your folder of choice ;) .

I am looking forward to the November class. In the meantime, I'd better spend some more time reviewing and fine tuning the stuff I learned back in July :rolleyes:


09-27-2003, 08:54 AM
Wow!! What an awesome curriculm! If this seminar ever comes close to Tennessee, I am definitely going.

Gabe, from reading the posts, it appears that the Cold Steel Voyager is your knife of choice. Can you please elaborate on why this is your favorite? I have carried the Voyager's in the past and really like them, but have always had trouble with the clip becoming snagged on something, like a steering wheel, etc. and breaking off. Consequently, I carry a Spyderco Native now that has a steel clip and love it. At other times, I carry my Benchmade AFCK, which also has a steel clip. Your opinions and observations would be much appreciated.

Gabriel Suarez
09-27-2003, 06:34 PM
Give Mike a call and see if he'll go out to your area.

As far as the Voyager

1). Sharp as anything I've seen
2). Cheap to replace (important..believe me)
3). 5" makes the liability of a small folder a moot point
4). AUS8 steel has high carbon and easy to sharpen
5). Lynn Thompson is a friend.

But I also carry Spyderco Chinook for similar reasons. This one was designed by friend James Keating.

Gabriel Suarez
09-28-2003, 09:04 AM

I'll forward your contact info to Mike.

09-29-2003, 07:02 PM
I just enrolled today. Gabe told me that a Spyderco trainer comes with the class, and that he will be in line like the rest of us sweating as a student and listening to Mike Janich. Cool.

Mike Sastre
10-01-2003, 07:20 AM
I can definitely recommend Michael Janich's MBC program!! I've been through the four levels and content is logical, easily assimilated, and works. The different drills have intersecting points of commonality that allow your training partner to switch you into another of the drills by slightly altering his response to your feed. This helps to build spontaneous reactions to whatever is comng at you, and you wind up learning a lot more than you realize. For those that can't make it to the West Coast or Golden, CO for the MBC classes, Mike takes the show on the road and comes to Columbus, OH twice a year (Mar & Aug). Check www.martialbladecraft.net for his class schedule and locations.

Paul Gomez
10-01-2003, 07:43 AM
Good to 'see' you here, Mike. For those that don't know Mike is a kydex guru who makes some of the best kydex for blades that I've ever used. Mike has done up a couple of sheaths for my CRKT Polkowski/Kasper fixed blades that are, not only superior to the CRKT sheath, but a definite improvement, in my opinion, on the origional Polkowski sheaths that come with the handmade blades.


Gabriel Suarez
10-01-2003, 07:45 AM


For those who may not know him, Mike is a gentleman and one of the best sheath makers in the country. His site is at

Mike Sastre
10-02-2003, 06:57 AM
Gabe and Paul,

Thanks for the votes of confidence. Appreciation from pros such as yourselves is its own reward. Don't get to spend much time on the different forums, but will definitely stop back here as time allows. Unlike at lot of places, I see that everyone here is willing to trade information in an adult manor, as evidenced by the discussion on Point/Sighted Fire. Outstanding!!

10-02-2003, 12:06 PM
If time permits, I'd like to be there.