Michael Janich is the developer of Martial Blade Concepts, a self-defense regimen that incorporates Filipino martial arts to efficiently stop attackers with a knife.
Michael says that what is important with using a knife for self-defense is not killing the attacker, as many people believe, but quickly hurting the attacker so that they cannot attack back.
If you’re using a knife for self-defense, it means you fear for your life and you can legally justify why you brought the knife into play. In that type of situation you could be up close and personal with the assailant and they too could have a weapon.
Movies make it seem like all you have to do is go for the neck and sever the carotid artery, and BAM, the bad guy is dead. However, a person has to lose 30% of their blood volume to bleed unconscious. The average person can take about a minute and fifteen seconds to reach that point. That may not seem like much time, but if someone is beating you with a bat, it’s too much.
In Filipino martial arts, they consider the hand that holds the weapon to be like the snake and the weapon in the hand to be like the fang of the snake. For self-defense all you need to do is defang the snake—get rid of the attacker’s weapon.
If your attacker has a weapon in hand, Michael doesn’t suggest going for a hard to reach organ like the heart, instead cut tendons in the arm. If you cut away at the muscles and tendons in someone’s arm or leg they can’t hold the weapon or standup so you have a chance to escape the situation.
Check out the transcript below to hear it from Michael Janich himself.
Michael: Exactly. Also, when you look at realistic self defense, for example, in the shooting community, they always talk about stopping power, stopping power with the firearm side. That is the accepted goal in responsible ethical use of self defense.
When you shoot somebody, you’re not trying to kill. You’re certainly applying lethal force but your goal is to make the attacker stop. It makes perfect sense but if you look at how people purport to teach as far as knife stuff goes, what they’re trying to do is kill the other person. In many cases, they’re doing that in an inefficient way that leaves them exposed to danger for a very long period of time.
There are tremendous misconceptions about the stopping power of a knife when it comes to using the knife to bleed out another person. Actually, a coworker wrote a book called Contemporary Knife Targeting and it disproves a lot of the myths that surround [18:15 inaudible] knife use as far as how long it takes somebody to bleed unconscious or bleed to death, even when a major artery is severed.
The bottom line is if you’re fighting with a knife, first of all, look at the legal requirements for that. The reason you’re using a knife is because you can testify [18:32 inaudible] lethal force given that situation. That means if you’re in fear for your life or you’re in fear of bodily injury, you have to have that justification to bring the knife to play.
What that means is you’re now at contact distance with somebody else with a deadly contact weapon. Somebody is trying to beat your head in with a hammer or stick, brick, bottle, a board, whatever it is. You’re now fighting at arm’s length with legal weapons. If you say one of the typical things is you’re going to cut the neck because you’re going to target the carotid artery.
If you cut the carotid artery, the person has to lose 30% of their total blood volume to bleed to unconsciousness. The carotid artery, the common carotid carries seven and a half percent of your blood flow. If you severed the carotid artery, you would have a maximum heart rate of about 240 beats per minute. The average person can take about a minute and 15 seconds to bleed to unconsciousness. That’s a long time when you’ve done somebody’s swinging a tire iron at you.
Dan: Yeah, especially when there’s adrenaline involved and everything else. It’s not like you make that slice and then the guy drops hypothetically. Although this is gruesome but I suppose very important to consider, somebody can be bleeding but still bludgeoning the heck out of you as they’re bleeding out because they’ve still got gas in the tank so to speak.
Michael: Exactly, there’s enough oxygen in their brain, enough blood volume still left in their system to carry oxygen to the brain to allow them to basically stay conscious over a prolonged period of time. If you look at the traditional Filipino martial arts, one of the things you’ll hear reference to is what they call defanging the snake.
They consider the hand that holds the weapon to be like the snake, and the weapon in the hand to be like the fang of the snake. If you can take the fang out of the snake, the snake is still there, but it’s no longer deadly. That’s a metaphor they use.
What’s interesting is in Filipino martial arts, because they are combative arts, it’s basically a battlefield for tribal arts, what happens is they’ll defang the snake, disarm the other person, and then they’ll follow up with killing strikes. If you do that in self defense, again, looking at what systems you want to train in, you may have something that is extremely efficient and effective in traditional system of martial arts that will also send you to prison because as soon as you disable that person, as soon as they drop their weapon, they’re going to walk or leave the threat.
The requirements that you need to have next to be able use some against them disappear. At that point, you’ve legally justifiable self defense.
Dan: Because this is going to be my natural transition, maybe you can speak to how Martial Blade Concepts varies a little bit in how people might realistically take a bit of that perspective in terms of less of an emphasis on battlefield arts and more of an application on specific self defense, not in any respect to anybody listening in to disrespect any traditional martial arts but just to think about the realistic ramifications of what’s going on and what we can actually have in our hands and what we can actually do.
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