Tuesday, May 12, 2009

joint them like a chicken -- a self-defense post, sort of

If you're squeamish, don't read this post.

While we were cooking on Sunday for a Mother's Day dinner (waves at K's mum, Sharon), I had enormous fun showing Kelley how to use a knife to kill someone. I was chopping mushrooms, and really enjoying the feel of the knife (a very, very sharp gift from K's dad, Larry--more waving--a year or two ago) and it occurred to me that what most people know about cutting people up they learn from bad horror films, or bad fifties films about gypsies with the obligatory knife fight over a woman.*

So I put the knife down (even I'm not stupid enough to use a real knife for show and tell), rolled up a piece of newspaper, and demonstrated the edge-out slash-slash-slash thing that, in my opinion, is most useful mode against an attacker. (Or harmless bystander who pisses you off.)

I've just spent ten minutes looking for something illustrative on YouTube--and I couldn't find anything.** But it strikes me as useful knowledge, so I thought I'd describe it--though I don't know how effective words alone will be.

First of all, for me knife fighting isn't about the horror movie leap-from-the closet overhead stab; it's not about the tip of the blade. It's about the edge.

Pick up a knife so that the:

  • tip points to your elbow
  • blade runs along the outside of your forearm
  • edge faces out

You may need to practise this so you can do it easily. Crouch, so that your torso is curved away from your attacker (you will look a bit like a boxer). Move in to your target, slashing in a general upward path, in diagonal curves. Imagine a single snaking path. (The brain has a much harder time calculating endpoints when an object doesn't travel in a line--so if you use arcs your opponent finds it harder to block.) I'm right-handed so my first cut would be from lower right to upper left--across, say, the femoral artery--second cut, from left to right, across the brachial, the third, right to left again, across the carotid.

It takes about 1.5 seconds. Flick flick flick. Then you step back and watch them bleed to death. Or, if you missed the arteries, they writhe helplessly--because you probably at least got the tendons.

Oh, and if you were wondering what we cooked for Mother's Day, it's a pork-and-beans-and-red-pepper thing I invented a few years ago***. Served with two kinds of rice (I only eat whole grains, but K and her family like the white stuff with lots o' butter and pepper) and steamed broccoli. Followed by lingonberry pie and ice cream.

And, no, I didn't joint my mother-in-law or her husband, Art, like chickens. We had a perfectly civilised dinner with lively conversation and a lovely bottle of Washington chardonnay. And a white Bordeaux. With a delicious Nebbiolo standing by. (But I stuck to beer--don't want to be drinking wine when I'm already feeling hot blooded and kind of fey.)

* Just in case anyone is wondering if I'd fight for possession of Kelley: no one possesses Kelley; she chooses for herself. Duh. And if she couldn't speak up and/or defend herself for some reason I'd nominate Aud as her champion. If Aud were busy then, yeah, I'd do it. I'd win, too (as long as I could, y'know, fight sitting down).

** Huh. I've no idea what style it is I use, no idea where I learnt it. I'd always had a vague notion that it was some kind of kali (though I never studied kali). It's all a bit of a mystery.

*** At some point I'll write out the recipe if anyone is interested.
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