The Knifehand Strike Is Part of Almost Every Martial Art Because It Works!

It's been called the edge-of-the-hand strike, the knifehand, the ax hand, the shuto, the thousand-hand strike and the judo chop. It can be found in virtually every martial art from karate to kung fu and in every kata from those practiced at the Kodokan to those done at Kukkiwon.

So how did this time-honored technique go from martial arts mainstream to martial arts punch line? How did the only strike found in almost every established martial art go from secret technique to something your grandfather did?

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In life, drawing corollaries between related subjects is interesting and often enlightening. In particular, corollaries between warfighting and personal combat can teach us much.

Just as any true martial artist should read Musashi's Book of Five Rings, any combatives practitioner should read the U.S. Marine Corps Field Manual 1 Warfighting. FM1 was written in the late 1980s at the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Center in Quantico, Virginia, while I was assigned there to the Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict office as the counterterrorism/counternarcotics officer. A young captain named John Sullivan was a contemporary of mine and a project officer on the development of the manual. The book was written with direct input from the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. A.M. Gray. Through John, I had the opportunity to review it as a work in progress, and it left a lasting impression. Below are some of the most interesting corollaries.

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Most violent crime occurs in the hours of darkness: muggings, bar fights, rapes, gang fights, cat burglars, et cetera.

Therefore, if you're the victim of a crime, the odds are that it will happen in a low light environment or at night, which means reduced vision during the most critical moment of your life. You may not be able to see a kick coming straight for your groin or a knife in the suspect's hand about to catch you under a rib. Therefore, to help you survive in this type of environment I'm going to teach you how to increase your low light vision capabilities, whether you're face to face with a direct threat or observing from a distance a suspicious person or activity in the dark.

Let's start off with a brief science lesson. Don't worry, it's brief, and it's stuff you need to know if you don't already.

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A government can make all the gun laws they'd like, but criminals will always be able to get their hands on a gun.

Hello! It's called the black market, and criminals are notorious for not obeying the laws of the land.

When I teach self-defense courses to Americans, and I ask the question, "How many of you own guns?" Just under half the hands go up. If it's my Women's Survival course that I'm teaching, then only a few hands are raised. If I am teaching in France, England, or other places in Europe, and I ask my students, "How many of you have shot a real gun before?" and forget asking any of them if they own one, virtually no hands are raised. It's not surprising, because these countries are not "gun cultures." Yet, gun culture or no gun culture, man or woman, Europe or America, there are still going to be crimes committed at gunpoint and shootings.

I'm bringing up this issue, because firearms training should be a part of your self-defense training, whether you like guns or not. Why? Here are the reasons:

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