Knife Fighting & Defence Workshop Cork 13 Feb 2016
Around thirty dedicated students took part in the Institute of Krav Maga Ireland’s first Knife Fighting Workshop, conducted by expert knife-fighter and winner of the 2010 International Knife Fighting competition, Krav Maga/Global Knife Fighting Institute Head Instructor Artur Dziadkowiec, accompanied by Krav Maga/Global Knife Fighting instructors Mariusz Strehlau, James Walsh and Miroslaw Stankiewicz. Beginning at 11.30 a.m., over the course of the next three hours the seminar focused on realistic solutions to some of the most potentially life-threatening situations an individual might be faced with on today’s streets.
After a quick warm-up period, students paired off with one another to shadow-box for a few minutes, readying themselves for the hours ahead. After some time at this, practise-knives were brought out for the students, and they practised the fundamentals of knife fighting: defending oneself against stabs to the neck, chest or abdomen, straight stabs, wider-arcing slashing motions, concealing the knife from the opponent, unsheathing the weapon and going straight to attack. One student would attack, and the other would defend, three times in total before changing roles. This was the correct way to do it, as it precluded the danger of the scenario degenerating into an unfocused free-for-all. The focused free-for-all would come later.
After practicing the different methods of blocking a number of attacks, the student taking on the role of the aggressor would be free to choose from a range of attacks that had been studied, and the defender would have to respond instantaneously (and just as aggressively) or he would lose, and the students would then switch roles. On the street, of course, one might not have the opportunity to recover from a slow or sloppy defence – a point that Mr Dziadkowiec would reiterate throughout the course of the seminar.
Performing individual techniques is a part of training, but developing the ability to chain each move to the one that precedes it is necessary in a fight. When your opponent has a knife, it is literally a matter of life and death. And potential attackers can come in all shapes and sizes. At the seminar, students changed partners frequently, enabling them to learn to defend themselves against many different types of person, and also to ensure that things remained intense and “new”. There was no room for complacency in this seminar, as there is none for the person trying to fight for his life.
At the end of the seminar, which lasted for three intense hours, there was a chance for participants to try out their newly-acquired skills in contests of strength, stamina, technique and determination. Any or all of these qualities might be called upon if one is prevail in a fight, so students were given the opportunity to practise against others relatively close to their weight. Over three two-minute rounds of sparring, grappling and knife fighting, ably refereed by Krav Maga/MMA instructor Mariusz Strehlau, the combatants fought hard. In both the sparring and the grappling, it was often determination that led to victory, and sometimes, it was down to the superior skill of one fighter. The outcome of the knife fight, on the other hand, was usually determined by the speed of the first attack. Most of the knife fights ended in less than five seconds, as a result of a stab to the protective headgear the practitioners wore for this part of their contest – a point that was not lost on any of the participants in the seminar. It was an effective and thought-provoking way to end this excellent seminar on Knife: Fighting and Defence