AAR Progressive Knife Skills Seminar - Mike Janich - Los Angeles July 23-24
After Action Report
Progressive Knife Skills Seminar with Mike Janich
July 23-24 - Los Angeles, CA
We started day one discussing the approach that Martial Blade Concepts takes to make the knife an efficient tool of self-defense. Mike Janich explained how wounds inflicted by an edged weapon will influence the function of the human body and that blood loss, even through a severed major artery will not lead to an immediate shutdown. This discussion lead to the approach of inflicting structural damage by cutting muscles and tendons critical to the attacker to wield and control his weapon and to facilitate his stance and motion.
Next point was the actual defensive knife itself: Characteristics that are important such as a solid locking mechanism, suitable blade geometry and effective opening features. Also important is a grip design that allows for a strong and secure grip and allows powerful pressure cuts without slipping.
At this point we removed all live blades from the training environment, broke out the trainers and looked at the five different angles that an attack can come from.
We first learned how to attack ourselves from those angles and then Mike Janich build step-by-step the defenses against these attacks.
What I personally appreciate about Martial Blade Concepts is its simplicity. The majority of initial responses, regardless which angle of attack comes in lead to the same final technique, which will take the assailants ability to support his weight. This “mobility kill” allows the person who is defending himself to get to safety.
Sequences of 2-3 cuts aimed at critical muscles and tendons were practiced in partner drills with lots and lots of repetitions. Mike went from team to team to giving each student individual feedback on how to improve his technique.
At this point I want to give my respect to our students who worked very hard over the course of these two days. Each of them put a lot of effort and dedication into the drills and we saw each of them become confident and swift in their reactions.
Throughout the day many of them approached Mike with questions specific to their defensive situation and background, and Mike made sure that all these questions were covered in-depth. Some of these answers already went into the topic of unarmed defense, which was covered in more detail during the second day.
At the end of day one, we had ten students with a solid defensive knife foundation. I believe all of us were a bit exhausted from working the drills on a rather toasty day.
Sunday morning everyone was back, well rested and eager to learn more. Several students had spent a good deal of the previous evening practicing. There was a visible improvement in their techniques and the way they let them flow into each other.
However, before we proceeded with the drills, it was time for a show-and-tell on how well a knife actually performs.
Mike Janich introduced the group to “Porkman” – a pork roast attached to a PVC pipe and rigged with twine and ceran wrap to provide a model of bone, muscle, tendons and skin. Porkman received the full treatment of various cuts that we had practiced the day before. Mike used different models of the Spyderco Delica for the demonstration. This benign looking 3” blade left cuts that went down to the simulated bone and would have left an attacker with an altered perspective of his initial plan. All in all, this was an impressive demonstration of how capable even a small carry knife can be.
After Porkman, we picked up where we left off the previous evening. Mike walked us through the various counters to attacks from the five angles one more time and made sure that everyone had these basics ingrained.
The next step was a flow drill. Both partners get to attack and defend without having to stop and reset. It is an excellent way to get many repetitions and to make the reaction to a specific type of attack second nature.
Again, Mike build the drill up step-by-step until we had a full sequence of four attacks and four defenses alternating back and forth. It took the students a bit to get into it, but after a while all of them were going back and forth fluidly.
What I noticed a lot at this point was that our students may have missed a spot in the sequence on occasion, but all of them began reacting very instinctively. Once they recognized an angle of attack they reacted without thinking which technique they needed to choose. They placed blocks, deflected and placed their cuts swiftly and accurately.
After this, we worked briefly on reverse-grip techniques. They allow for extremely powerful pressure-cuts. On the downside they are not quite as versatile as the standard grip techniques. However, reverse-grip cuts are an asset in the ‘tactical toolbox, especially if one observes a potential attack, has no option to evade and decides to prepare for a confrontation by staging the open knife.
Reverse-grip knife techniques and empty-hand responses have a lot of commonality. We spend the last part of day two integrating flashlights, tactical pens and other implements into the response matrix. Key with these tools is not to rely solely on their effect, but to make sure that a follow up is in place. This can be either a more powerful weapon such as a knife or handgun or by using kicks or stomps that will kill the mobility of the attacker and allow for a safe escape.
When Mike Janich concluded the course, we had ten students who had worked very hard over two hot days and who are now quite a bit more dangerous to a potential attacker. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mike Janich for this excellent seminar and I want to thank our students for their dedication to this training. We went through a lot of material and each and everyone kept the head in the game and worked with respect and consideration for the training partner. This is the mindset that facilitates successful training. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into this course.
Lastly I want to give my respect to the parents who brought their teenage son and daughter to the seminar and trained with them. We need more parents who are this proactive in giving their kids defensive skills that will help keeping them safe.
I will start an MBC training group in the next couple of weeks. It will be open to all students with comparable prior MBC-based training. I’m already looking forward to continue working with you.
Pictures will follow soon.
Running Drills, setting up for the mobility Kill...
Mike Janich made sure that all questions and concerns were addressed.
...and an outlook on how well they would work
Flow drill on day 2 - building reflexive responses.
Our Group at the end of day 2