The Suarez Method
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I have a question about some info from the book Contemporary Knife Targeting and this is towards anyone with medical info, not just Mike.

    in the updated time table of death, pages 35-38 it lists the carotid artery of having a fairly long time to death. My question being, this shows death due to blood loss, what about death/inability to fight due to the brain not receiving oxygen? It seems like a comma cut from one side to the other of the neck would greatly deprive the brain of oxygen, as when you see a blood choke being performed, it takes seconds. Therefore, wouldn't a clean severing of the carotids very quickly cause a stop due to the brain receiving no oxygen, not as long as shown on the timetable?

  2. #22
    There are additional arteries supplying the cranium.
    The trouble with fighting oppression is that most of one's time is spent defending the scoundrels for whom oppressive laws are first aimed. To win this fight, oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. H.L. Mencken

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John Meade View Post
    As BB said, you have multiple arterial blood supplies to the brain, as might be expected for such an important organ. Secondly, the "blood choke" occurs with not only cutting off carotid arterial supply, but also by reducing the venous outflow of the brain. You can't exactly compare cutting an artery with completely occluding venous and arterial vessels.
    Ahh. I thought that blood chokes were to the carotids only, thanks for clearing that up guys.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Janich View Post
    Since the medical community tends to be far more scientifically oriented than the martial arts and tactical communities, it helps to consider things like this study of physical activity following serious stabbing/knife injuries:

    Ultimately, do what you trust to stop your attacker quickly and reliably. That's what will keep you safe. That's also the difference between real stopping power and tactics that may ultimately prove lethal, but do not produce immediate stopping effect.
    And once you have a citation such as this one offered by MJ, you can go to Google Scholar (or other sources) and search for additional articles which were subsequently written and which cite the original:

    Karger: Physical activity following fatal injury from sharp pointed weapons

    Following citations both in these additional articles, and those cited by the original article can give you pretty much everything available scientifically on the subject.

    I too agree that it is pretty much 'obvious' that it works, but asking for actual evidence is still a good thing -- ideally we would get some hint or guidelines even for how often, or how reliably it works, and perhaps for common ways in which it might fail (or effect be delayed.)

    Some in this thread (not MJ) seem to want to dismiss the question as trivially obvious or on the other hand ultimately unanswerable, but that is precisely the opposite of what Michael Janich did in arriving at his current way of thinking:

    Instead, he looked at "obviously true" things such as "Cutting the carotid will clearly kill the attacker and stop the fight" and came to realize that even if the first part were true, the attacker COULD continue for some dangerous time and it might be fatal for us to assume a clean stop.

    Then he went further than just looking at other anecdotal reports (e.g., Fairbarn) when he discovered that the TIMES were screwed up.

    That was very important information resulting from honestly asking, "Is this really true? Does it really work?" and "What don't we know (yet)?"

    Non-scientists frequently confound anecdotal evidence with proof, or even with more rigorous "case studies" which seldom prove anything either. Even double blind trials seldom prove anything definitively, so it is very difficult (and dangerous) to assume that the "obvious" is true when lives are at risk.

    Personally I really like the idea of bio-mechanical cutting (as opposed to core attacks) since I am going to be the "good guy" -- I don't have to WIN the "knife fight" but rather will WIN by making the threat stop or go away (and really by going home safe). If a tiny little cut on his arm makes him re-think his victim selection all the better -- to do this, I don't need to be close enough to cut his core since that mean he is likely close enough to cut my core.

    Note to self: I am only going to be fighting because I have no viable choice.

    If I can disable the arm holding the knife, so much the better. If he drops the knife that may work too (of course, I must be prepared for him to produce additional weapons. After all, how many of us "good guys" only carry one weapon? It would be foolish to assume (all of) the bad guys have not figured this out as well-- or that they are unwilling to continue just because of minor damage.)

    On the other side, suppose I cut hard and true for the inner arm tendons (and more) at elbow or wrist, and my (very sharp, good size) knife just doesn't penetrate his heavy leather jacket or perhaps he is actually wearing kevlar greaves. (Quite a few bouncers and doorman wear greaves, and if they do then some bad guys might.)

    This encourages me not only to go for 'bio-mechanical' stops but actually for pure MECHANICAL stops as well -- being able to physically use force, leverage, movement etc to avoid his knife and preferably get his weapon out of his hand or put him into a state where he cannot use it (injurred, down or dead).

    It does me no good to "do it right" but end up dead or grievously injured.

    All of these ideas (including core cuts) CAN work, but asking "When do they work?" and "When do they fail?" is a good and useful method for guiding our training and practice....and looking deeper for scientifically rigorous answers is to be encouraged -- even if that work is not yet published it may encourage someone to do it.

    Think like a scientist -- fight like a warrior.

    Darn I feel like training after writing that.
    (any of you folks in Central Texas PM me.)
    Last edited by HerbM; 11-28-2010 at 08:48 PM.

  5. Dear Randy:

    Thank you very much for your post and your clarification. We can never have too many reminders that a fight "ain't over till it's over." Training to avoid "vapor lock" when a technique doesn't work also must be part of the plan. Again, thanks.

    With regard to neck cuts, chokes, and such, as correctly cited, there are other vessels that feed the cranium, so targeting the carotids only will not guarantee a faster stop. Also, chokes, in many cases, do not actually cut off the blood supply to the brain, they artificially stimulate it to react to extreme blood pressure. The area where pressure is applied during a choke (bilaterally, on each side of the trachea where you would feel for a carotid pulse) is home to the vagus nerve, the phrenic nerve, and baroreceptors--sensors that mointor the carotid blood pressure. Overstimulating this area convinces the brain that the blood pressure has gone critically high. It responds by telling the vagus nerve to expand the arterial walls and slow the heartbeat to drain blood from the head. The phrenic nerve slows the breathing. The result is that the body drains blood away from the head and causes unconsciousness.

    With regard to "Contemporary Knife Targeting," please remember that the formula used was admittedly simplistic and was designed to calculate the time to shock, unconsciousness, and death based on the premise of blood loss at a constant heart rate. It also references the fact that the body would naturally compensate for such blood loss and that it would be impossible to maintain a constant heart rate during profuse bleeding. Despite those shortcomings of the formula, when compared to Fairbairn's table, it's clear that his times were far too fast and such results were never probable.

    If you're still not convinced about the "instant-kill" capability of carotid cuts, get up on YouTube and search for "hockey player neck cut" and take a look at the incidents where hockey players have had their carotid arteries accidentally severed by skates. Obviously, they were in the middle of a game and had an elevated heart rate. Although medical help was certainly close at hand, it's not as if there was a vascular surgeon skating around on the ice. To my knowledge, this has happened numerous (I believe about 10) times and only one player has actually died.

    "Think like a scientist -- fight like a warrior." I love it! Thanks, Herb!

    Stay safe,


  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Janich View Post
    ...We can never have too many reminders that a fight "ain't over till it's over." Training to avoid "vapor lock" when a technique doesn't work also must be part of the plan. ...

    "Think like a scientist -- fight like a warrior."

    I love it! Thanks, Herb!
    Glad you like it Mike. Apropos of "it ain't over 'till it's over":

    Keep fighting -- God will tell you when you are dead.


  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    currently Germany
    Some great info here guys thanks!!

    My thoughts on the original question - Proof that this works?

    IMHO only the person using the technique against an attack can PROOVE that that technique works, at that time, against that attacker.
    In a violent confrontation we have very few constants, its pretty much all variables. In your individual FIGHT your only constant is likely to be your EDC weapon(s).
    Other than that the only factor over which you have some level of control is your preparation (training, awareness).
    So once the fight is on whatever "technique" we use is likely to be dependant on the dynamics of the fight, bearing in mind if we are using a knife we still have another hand, elbows, feet, knees, head and teeth, a 'combined arms' approach is always better .
    Back to the specific technique of Bio-Mechanical cutting, the human body is basically a computer operated mechanical-hydraulic system, so disrupting the system we have to damage/destroy one or more of those components - Bio-Mechanical cutting is of course an important part of that but as Randy excellently points out it cannot be the only part.
    And the technique itself has to be applied with sufficient violence to achieve its aim, as has already been mentioned it isnt easy to cut tendons and muscles especially through clothing in a dynamic situation, sure a whip cut to the inside of the wrist may be effective against some bare chested banger in LA, but what about Alaska in winter?
    No technique in isolation is going to work every time, even a 12ga slug to the chest, or a .44 mag to the head!
    So rather than expect proof that a technique works I would rather ask how do I train to increase my ability to perform that technique under pressure? and how do I combine that technique with others (armed and unarmed) to best prevail when it comes to my FIGHT.
    Stay safe
    ...If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"...
    If - Rudyard Kipling

    ECRG, June 2006
    Warrior Skills Camp, July 2009

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Two experiences from my paramedic days support what Mike is teaching. The first was a man who's bicep had been deeply sliced with a broken beer bottle. I promise you that his arm was useless. The other was a soft drink delivery man who dropped a case of cokes. One of the bottles "exploded" sending a shard of glass upward into the inside of the man's wrist, severing one of his flexor tendons. While it may have been theoretically possible to use the hand with only one of the tendons cut, he sure wasn't doing it.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Tampa, Florida
    This is by far one of the better discussions I've seen on Bio-Mechanical Cutting. Thanks to the OP for framing the question respectfully, and to everyone else who's shared info for not getting all caught up in positions.

    As an aside, if you frame a little anatomy knowledge with a look at some of the defensive things done by SE Asian Martial Arts it looks pretty plain that the guys who founded those systems thought there was something to Bio Mechanical Cutting...and I imagine they were in a position to know first hand.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr John Meade View Post

    I will throw in one more caveat. Tendons are harder to cut than some suppose. Good technique and a very sharp blade are required.
    They are not all that hard to cut when they are under tension. Sort of like a rope or rubber band. I agree they are robust, but no match for a sharp blade or glass.

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