Congratulations to Our Februrary 2015 Blog Contest Winners


The following entries have won.

First Place: Kershaw Emerson CQC 3K 

(TIE) Second Place: The Power of a Knife

(TIE) Second Place:  One Isn’t Enough: Your Second Knife 

Third Place: A Sword Apart

Congratulations to our winners.   Please contact us via email with your mailing address so I can send out your prize.

A Sword Apart, by W.P.

A few years back I began reading about the effectiveness of CPM3V steel on various forums. It seemed almost mythical in nature, like Wolverine’s adamantium, capable of performing amazing feats unheard of in other steels. As an avid knife collector, the CPM3V alloy appealed to me on many levels; its resilience, its incredible sharpness, it all fascinated me.

My interest hadn’t truly piqued, however, until I encountered Dan Keffeler’s work. Dan was already an accomplished maker whose quality of work was well known in the knife community. I was intrigued by his work from the start, particularly his Japanese-style blades made in CPM3V. I recall watching a video a while back of Dan testing one of his blades on various targets. As a longtime practitioner of the Japanese sword arts, I can attest how difficult it is perform proper tameshigiri, or test cutting with a live blade. There are a myriad of factors involved: grip, edge alignment, distance, all of which need to be taken into account when cutting. I was immediately enthralled by the CPM3V blade’s ability. It performed effortlessly, seeming to decimate anything in its path. I knew I had to have one. Thus began my journey to seek out a katana made from CPM3V.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dan Keffeler by a mutual friend a couple of years back. His work speaks for itself, but Dan is also a great guy and very pleasant to deal with. We spoke on the phone a few times and discussed the possibility of my commissioning a CPM3V blade, but as we were both incredibly busy, the project never really got off the ground unfortunately and we lost touch for a time. Still, I couldn’t get the idea of obtaining one of his CPM3V blades out of my head. It became like an obsession, as though some part of me would remain incomplete until I possessed one of his blades.

Nearly a year and a half passed until I took a shot in the dark and sent Dan an email to inquire about one of his CPM3V katana blades again. I was elated to hear that he happened to have one available. After seeing only a single photograph of it, I purchased the blade without another thought. I couldn’t have been more excited. Call it good fortune, an alignment of the planets, fate, whatever. I was finally going to fulfill my dream of owning a Keffeler blade.

While the blade itself was already made, a handle and scabbard still had to be crafted. Dan was also gracious enough to fabricate fittings out of titanium, which he anodized in a greyish tint and added a wood-like texture. Several months would pass before the sword was finally complete. The end result was nothing short of astonishing, the perfect amalgamation of an ancient craft and modern innovation.

It has often been said that to truly follow the way of the sword, it must become a part of one’s very soul. I can proudly declare that even in the short while it’s been in my possession, this sword has indeed become a part of me, and I am the better for it.

An Independent Man, by T.C.

I am an independent man and I am drawn to the things that real men are drawn-to. When my wife lets me…. (wink), I spend my time in the man zone; the high testosterone zone. Among the things found in the zone are edged weapons. Channeling Will Rogers, ‘I never met a knife I didn’t like’… well, Mr. Rogers was referring to men, but to be honest I have met more than a few of those with whom I didn’t care to associate. I bet if Will were here today, he might feel the same; about knives that is…. but I digress.
The edged weapon is the quintessential tool for man in every society in every age. Before firearms, man used knives to do his bidding. Whether to dispatch his enemy or feed his family, the blade was his tool of choice. What of the club you say? Yes, the club played it’s part in the submission of food and foe. But when it came time deal with, say the buffalo, the edged weapon proved of infinitely greater value than the club. Did you ever try to dress out a buffalo with a stick? When you watch a naked survival show on the tube, is it a stick they pull out of their goody bag? Heck no, they go for the knife or some other edged weapon every time. And next time I’m having surgery, I am keeping one eye open to make sure the doc is using a scalpel. You get the picture. It is clear that mankind cannot exist without the knife. It is the consummate tool of choice.
Well, gotta go. I would share more, but my wife says we have to take Fluffy, our Pomeranian to the beauty shop for a toenail job and a bath…. I need a stick now.

Kershaw Emerson CQC 3K by M.H. for BladeOps Writing Contest Round 2

Kershaw CQC3K
Kershaw CQC3K

In my work with carry knives, the folder has always held a sort of sexy appeal. Never willing to spend over a hundred fifty dollars can be a serious impediment to this attraction however, so the Emerson line has always been just out of my reach. Certain standards concerning how a weapon deploys prevents me from buying folders that do not automatically deploy one way or the other. Recently, there have been karambits on the market with this wave feature that meet my price point; so I considered it a happy coincidence when I came into a knife with a price worth a severe test run with no regrets.

Speaking in terms of aesthetics, they really hit the mark. This is a beautiful knife. The handle is the classic Kershaw shape: fits the hand like your refrigerators handle; effective enough that you haven’t replaced it yet and hauntingly reminiscent of times long past (if you maintain the same fridge, or have a lot of early Kershaw memories). The blade is aggressive in appearance and yet not so large that it cannot be used casually in sensitive company: it even has a thumb stud should you decline the more surprising means of deployment.

In total, it is extremely compact but offers a lot of the same functions one would want in a standard size combat/utility knife, which I would say is four inches in the civilian world. What I mean by this, is that the frame of the knife is thick enough that one could comfortably press into or stab a target without feeling too much recoil. I consider this knife the minimum standard for carry and since most people carry basically toy knives, this is a serious improvement.

At First Sight

First and foremost: a round of applause for Kershaw31. They’ve finally realized which end the pocket clip belongs on! The thing that really sent me away from folders as a teenager was exactly that issue: the process was long enough before I knew about wave-type features; they insisted that I flip the thing around mid deployment on top of it.

I was also taken aback when I noticed how normal the screws were. I half expected–because it happens often–that my first knife inspired mission would be to find the requisite screwdrivers to operate the thing. After cycling through all my mini phillips, I finally realized I would have to find that clunky old normal screw driver I keep in the back of a something somewhere. After spending a minute confused, this grew into genuine appriciation.

I expected it to come out of the box with nothing forgiving in it: thought it might take some breaking in. The Kershaw operated smooth and clean from the first moment and continues on the same trend. Even better, if you don’t like smooth and clean: Kershaw has finally made a fully serviceable knife. Ive worked on many of their knives in the past and though I may be missing something, I don’t believe I’ve ever found one that could be opened with just one screwdriver and no vice grips.

The hand guard–if I can get away with calling it that–is perfectly suited to this tools mission. If you aren’t one of those people that trains with motor oil and slippery knives, this blade may ensure that you never need to. This is a pitch or pack issue for me and I didn’t expect a Kershaw to come through this well.


Before anything, let me state that I haven’t destroyed this knife: I’m actually enjoying carrying it quite a bit. As a result, I have in no way attempted to stress the locking mechanism beyond angles of attack into wood. It probably wont tolerate being thrown and I’m always a little wary of all liner lock knives to begin with. That said, this one inspires enough confidence that I am carrying it.

A thing one may not know if they are new to these style of knives, is that all of them are just a little too short at this size. Not enough handle protrudes from the pocket to actually deploy without a chance of snagging a finger as the blade comes out. If you never deploy under stress, you may think “just a little nip in the finger, wont even cut you. Whats the issue?” It definitely wont cut you. But it definitely will activate every nerve on your index finger while your supposed to be paying attention to your knife and your problems.

To remedy this, I’ve attached a bit of paracord. Its just enough that I can get my thumb down onto the handle and have cord running across my whole palm, thus ensuring that even though I wont have a master grip on my weapon, at least when I transition my grip, its not just my thumb and indexfinger on the tool.

Then I stumbled across a thing that initially I took to just be cheap manufacturing: the checkered grips are only on one side. I cursed them for a moment, knowing Emerson would never do such a thing, then I remembered something. When I wasn’t asked to use my brain very often in my work history, it usually meant my knife was coming out at least twenty times an hour. I had shredded pants like nobody that isn’t homeless. The handguard being what it is, this is a reasonable sacrifice.

The Emerson Wave feature exceeds my already incredibly high expectations. It is exactly perfect where Cold Steel falls short in its “Ambidextrous Thumb Plate.” Cold Steel has a solution that translates well into four inch or larger folders. In my own experience, the Mini Ak was unable to dependably deploy and leaned heavily on the type of pants one is wearing. In its larger version, the screw snapped that held the thumb plate in place. Ill grant that I voided the warranty and then some, but I had been wishing to find Emerson’s solution ever since.

A fantastic aspect of the wave feature is its ability to catch clothing. In the event of a failure to deploy, its only a matter of swiping it against your jacket or theirs. I did have a complicated experience however: it doesn’t have much luck against light wool, which isn’t always easy to distinguish from heavy wool jackets. It seems like I wouldn’t want to count on my perception of my opponents outfit at this point. It could change with experience.

Now this issue may be a false one. There is no second pocket clip for a lefty. Maybe it was left out of my box–as there are holes where one could affix a clip–but insofar as first week of carry; that is not an option. This leaves us with two options: strong side standard or support side reverse. For the left handed, this means strong side reverse. The knife deploys well in reverse, with paracord attached. Again, without the cording, this isn’t a viable self defense option.

Before I attached the paracord, I did notice a severe and common defect: the checkered grips that are there, are so minimal that they are useless in the draw. Once deployed, they give you just enough but before hand, you will not dependably produce this knife. It is too small and too slippery to be carried out of the box. If you have a tool to cure this, fix immediately.

The pocket clip has a commonality with many on the market; too tight initially. If there were checkered grips on both sides, it would do quite a bit of damage to your pants just in the first day. Without addressing the grips with paracord or your favorite workbench sidekick, this thing will never come out of your pants when you want it to. I bend them all out just a little bit and address the presentation issues: this should retard future disasters by a lot.

In Conclusion

Legality is an aspect that is always worth paying attention to. If your like me, you want something you can confidently travel with. Though you wont be getting by in England with this knife, it should do well in the continental United States. This knife should pass the test anywhere: it is as innocuous looking as a clown in a circus compared to many civillian tactical options today.

I like this knife because I come from a poor background–pretty much still coming from it–and the self defense knife is my passion. In the martial arts I’ve taught, I often wound up taking the student down a very long rabbit trail of knife training. I can get them to love it, train constantly and come back for more. But I cannot for the life of me get them to commit to buying a decent knife.

For me, this is the first real solution I’ve seen. I see Kershaw in Walmart and while I don’t particularly enjoy the latter, I know that it represents what is really available to people that don’t care about the data the way I wish they would. If they have the tools they will know they need the tactics: this is that tool. Lets hope it pops up everywher

One Isn’t Enough: Your Second Knife by T.S. — BladeOps Writing Contest #2

Open the drawer that is closest to you right now… it’s ok, we’ll wait for you…. There’s some sort of knife in it, isn’t there? Yeahhh, we thought so.

Whether you think of yourself as a knife guy, knife girl, a blade addict or just someone who appreciates a good piece of sharpened steel for its utility, there is one big problem with every single knife on the planet… one just isn’t enough. That’s why we have drawers full of knives, but the drawer is definitely not the best place for them all.

Until the day comes when liquid metal transformation technology reaches Terminator 2 levels (which will give us a whole new set of problems), no single knife can work for every purpose. And as much as having a specialized tool for every job is part of the American Dream (well, at least part of someone’s dream), it’s even more important to have the right tool with you at the right time. After all, the perfect knife for your situation isn’t so perfect if it’s sitting in that drawer at home.

Like potato chips, you can’t have just one knife. Here are five reasons why you should consider carrying (at least) two knives with you as part of your everyday carry (EDC) setup:

1) If you carry a REALLY nice (or sentimental) knife… you probably should carry a second knife.

Chances are, if your knife a) came with a hand-signed certificate of authenticity, b) cost more than your first car or c) is specifically listed to be passed down to your next of kin, it falls into this category.

I don’t baby my knives… not even the really nice ones. If it’s not capable of cutting, it’s not a tool worth having. That said, I wouldn’t use a custom knife to cut up boxes or slice through tape, pointlessly subjecting the finely-tuned inner workings of a precision tool to sticky gunk. There’s a difference between proving (to yourself) that your fancy knife is just as much a tool as a disposable razor, but is it really the right tool for the job?

If you carry a really nice or sentimental knife, consider also carrying a rougher one for chore tasks. No one takes a Ferrari off-roading, even if they can afford it. I think it’s just fundamentally disrespectful to the craftsmanship that went into a blade that has the potential to be an heirloom piece that could still be admired 300 years from now.

2) If you carry a defensive knife, particularly a fixed blade… you probably should carry a second knife.

If you carry a defensive knife, whether it’s a zombie-limb-remover, combat-tested dagger or a last-ditch neck knife, you probably don’t want to take it out or hand it over to a co-worker just to remove a loose thread. Unless you work somewhere really cool, HR departments tend to frown on battle-proven steel “brandished in the workplace.”

An unintimidating folder like grandpa had, or even a small-ish, conventional folder can be a great addition to your pockets for simple tasks when you’re in public.

If you carry a defensive blade, consider also carrying something non-threatening for chore tasks. They’re better suited to a larger variety of tasks anyway.

3) If you carry a multi-tool… you probably should carry a second knife.

Have you ever tried to open the blade of (almost any) multi-tool with just one hand quickly? If your life depended on your speed, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

If you need to pry, pinch, snip, file, twist or pop something open, a multi-tool is the tool of choice. But for accessing a cutting blade quickly, efficiently and with one hand, you probably need a second, dedicated knife. Multi-tools give flexibility for multi-tasking, but a knife is one unitasker you need.

If you carry a multi-tool, consider carrying a second knife that you can access and open with one hand quickly. It can literally be a lifesaver.

4) If you are defense-oriented… you probably should carry a second knife.

If you are a CCWer, an edged weapon combatives practitioner, or concerned with things like IFWA, ECQC and many other acronyms*, you may want to carry two defensive blades.

The specifics are up to your preferences and training, but you might carry a fixed blade and a concealable one, a blade accessible with your left hand and one for your right hand, a strong side folder and a weak side auto, a high-line neck knife and a low-line boot knife. As many preppers like to say, “two is one and one is none,” and the same holds true when it comes to defense.

If you carry one defensive blade, consider carrying a second knife to increase your range of accessibility and give you an edge in case “one” becomes none.

* In Fight Weapons Access and Extreme Close Quarters Combat for the curious.

5) If you like to keep an ace up your sleeve… you probably should carry a second knife.

In Japanese martial arts and culture there is a concept of ura and omote, or hidden and public… what is the inner truth and the outer appearance.

The Scottish sgian dubh translates to “black knife,” but it doesn’t really refer to the color. It uses the word “black” the way it is used today in “black ops” – something secret, hidden and nefariously effective… very similar to ura in the Japanese tradition.

When you apply these historical concepts to modern blades, consider that hidden knives aren’t just for “mall ninjas.” If you carry ANY knife every day, consider carrying a “backup to the backup” that lives in your wallet, waistband or bag. It’s a simple, time-tested way of making sure you’re prepared for a worst case scenario, and have something sharp to use when the chips are down.


No one needs to convince you that a knife is a useful tool, but there are a lot of reasons for carrying (at least) two blades. Shuffle through those drawers and see which secondary blade deserves a place in your pocket or belt, or pick up a new one to supplement the knife you already rely on every day. Depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing for the day, I may add to my EDC knife and tool loadout, but I always keep the same core blades… because they work.

Piece of History by B.A., BladeOps Writing Contest Round 2

Piece of History
Piece of History

The knife may be considered by some to be one of the first tools ever conceived. The dude carving the wheel probably had his flint knapped mammoth poker hanging from his waist. It has been an essential part of living since prehistoric times. Without it, food procurement wasn’t even an option. Even today, there would be no way to get food if we didn’t have a good set of cutlery. Think about it. We’d all be eating carrots for the rest of our lives. We’ve come a long way since then. In the medieval ages in Europe, the host wouldn’t even supply utensils to their house guest because they couldn’t afford extras. Everyone would carry around their own knife to use because forks hadn’t been invented yet. True story. In 1669, King Louis XIV decreed that any dinner knives had to be ground down to a nub because of the violent potential at the dinner table, and thus, the butter knife was born. Now you know.

In my opinion, the defining of the blade enabled the rise of empires and the changing of the world. It is how you can determine where a civilization is at technologically. Every culture that has existed has had to put it in to practice because, as I said, it is a necessary tool. The Native Americans were overrun because they had never been introduced to steel. The Romans dominated over everyone because their ingenuity was unmatched. The knife was the foundation from which everything else was born. In ancient times, it took a great amount of time to create an edge out of a solid rock. Owning a knife was an element of great pride for them. Often they would be decorated with ornaments and engravings, making them a real work of art. It was a part of them, and they respected it as a something that literally gave and took life.

The appearance of metallurgy brought a whole new age to knife work. The first metal knives were double edge daggers made from copper. Eventually these evolved into larger weapons like swords and then, in turn, our modern day versions. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that stainless steel was invented and the knife world was taken by storm. Literally countless years of perfection have gotten us to this point. It’s a good day to own a knife.

My Little Turtle by C.O.

My Little Turtle
My Little Turtle

Here’s a unique knife that I’ve been carrying for nearly four years now. I’ve carried it on my keys, clipped to my pocket, as a money clip, etc. The CRKT Ashworth Turtle has a sharp 1″ blade that is perfect for small utility tasks. It excels at sharpening pencils and I’ve used it to sharpen plenty of pencils in school and between classes. It’s non-threatening look makes it the perfect tool for small utility tasks where a large tactical folder might scare co-workers or people around you. This knife has trimmed its fair share of fraying cordage and unraveling clothing strings. Overall, I would recommend this useful little blade to anyone that lives in areas with restrictive knife laws or anyone looking for a neat, small tool for small cutting tasks.

The Power of a Knife by T.M

Knife Making
Knife Making

I’d like to tell you guys a true story about how knives have saved my life. Now I know what your thinking. “What did you single handedly take out an entire unit of taliban with just a knife and a ferro rod ?”. Or maybe its “Did you save a dashing blonde from the arms of a criminal, while you where being held hostage at gun point, with a knife throw from fifty feet?”. While that would make a good book/movie/ drunk guy at the bar war story, this isn’t one of those. My story is gonna start at the age of 21, when I deployed to Iraq as an infantryman. We arrived in the beginning of 2006 and Iraq was still a very dangerous place to be for US military personnel. In fact our first mission that my team ran, was just a simple escort our battalion commander from the main base where we landed, to the forward operating base from which we will be living and operating from for the next year. On the way to the base our Stryker vehicle( an armored tank like vehicle, that has 8 wheels instead of tracks, and carries a squad sized element inside) was hit by an EFP( explosively formed projectile) road side bomb. Luckily whoever placed the IED, aimed it slightly to high and nobody was killed, but a few us sustained some pretty bad injuries and our vehicle was out of commission. A terrible way to start your first mission in Iraq…Through the whole tour many things like that took place, since our job was to kill or capture high value targets. Of course the insurgents viewed my unit as a threat and did everything possible to kill as many of us as they could…Fast forward 7 years later to me getting out of the service and having many tours like that one in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now you have a guy that was use to combat and the military life and I had no idea what to do in the civilian world. I had trouble relating to my old friends and pretty much anyone else so I became a recluse. Soon I became very depressed, had horrible nightmares from what I seen and did and turned to drugs and alcohol. I had trouble keeping a steady relationship with my girlfriend and my life just got on this spiral downwards fast.I lost all my friends because of my behavior. I lost a relationship with my ex girlfriend and couldnt see my daughter because of it. Had no money left, and lost my job.I was alone and broke and addicted to drugs and had to move back in with my parents…One day I was watching a Youtube video from just searching around there and came across a guy that was talking about bushcrafting skills and the importance of the tools you need to survive in the outdoors. For some reason this really caught my interest and I started to look for these tools for myself to start practicing these skills. I started scrounging around the garage for old tools I could use. It really gave me something positive to start doing as a hobby and I soon after I quit doing the drugs and alcohol and became focused on that…. Now one of the most important tools to have doing that is a knife. This really peaked my interest and I wanted to learn all there was to know about knives. From the different knife makers, to the different types of steel, and all the variations of grinds, etc..I started to think about the knives I carried overseas like the Spyderco Tenacious, and CRKT Hissastsu and how they got used alot more then my machine gun did. So that let me see just how important knives really where. I now recently just started designing and making my own knives and want to start my own business with it…So to sum my story up I really can say that knives have saved my life. Here are some pictures of my first knife I ever tried to make. I took an old kitchen knife and turned it into a skinning knife/utility knife. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Fighting the Powell Doctrine by M.D.H.

Powell Doctrine
Powell Doctrine

Some things are invented, most things are discovered. The tactics of a modern battlefield will always predate that battlefield; in the mind of the successful criminal rests somewhere between one and all of the dynamics of educated combatants. If one thing can be assumed, it is that anyone who believes they are dangerous to you, is dangerous to you and there must be a reason why.

There are many tactics and tools that one could assume the enemy has. So many in fact that a person could become bogged down trying to understand what is common and what is rare. Understanding certain overarching laws can save you that trouble and keep you in class and the gym; sharpening your skills instead of getting lost in rabbit holes.

In essence, the Powell Doctrine (named by General Powell) is an attitude that tactics and tools are filtered through. It is the philosophy of hitting as hard as you can, as early as you can. Surprise is its primary asset, like hearing the whip and only having that data to react to; in such a case, you are already struck. This piece wont be long, but I am hopeful that it will be long enough to show you how you can maybe see that whip and the man holding it long before its deployment. This will be a treatise on thinking, not action. For those who think they can survive without study, may this show you how wrong you are.

Trinity of Force-Numbers, Weapons and Power

Robbery, rape and murder are all confidence games. What I mean by this, is that without confidence these crimes would not occur. The violator must believe they are superior. This exists on a sliding scale but is universal. The highjacking’s that lead to 9/11 are an example of this: sure they’re only coming with box cutters, but you say “only” because you may have a shotgun in your closet or a four inch folder on your person. With only empty hands to offer, a box cutter is a severe life threat. If you aren’t aware of these factors, you will become your enemies “slam dunk” and life will never be the same.

Tackling the issues in order: it is a serious risk to engage one target by yourself. Should you find yourself against a lone combatant, I would advise being skeptical of your eyes; odds are good that wherever your weak point is, another combatant is waiting for you there. We don’t point rearward: the only thing that can fire backward with any effect are the elbows and still, it will not be a fight ender if you cant face and engage that threat immediately after.

A solution to this that doesn’t involve hyper awareness or installing eyes in the back of your head is to exit behind your opponent. If someone is in fact attempting to box you in, you must neutralize them and circle toward their back. Not only is your safest exit behind them, so is the safest point to engage from. It is also an opportunity to use your first opponent as a human shield if the need arises.

Weapons are an issue so serious that martial artists who consider themselves competent will seek knowledge and training in these tools, knowing that at some point the enemies hand enhancer–whatever it may be–could enhance them well beyond the skills of any unarmed combatant. Ive heard odd numbers now and again: the idea that comes to mind first is that a martialist of a year takes on the ability of one of five or more years just by picking up a knife. Attaching any number is silly, but the point is hard to miss: hand enhancers increase lethality. All the man needs is luck after that and you will drift into the past tense.

Taking on weapons is always ill advised if you came to the party empty handed, but you must do what is easiest even if it is terrifying. When confronted with fight or flight conditions, you must be able to discern which option is safest and easiest. Assuming you engage, there is little I can impart to you from here, save to remind you to cover your head and neck first and engage viciously. Leave your opponent on the ground and unable to follow as you flee the scene.

Concerning how you engage as an armed citizen: remember that it isn’t your job to match his weapon, but to exceed it. Fair fights are butchery. You may be incredibly well versed with your stick or knife, but all they have to do is want victory more. You may think to yourself, “how could a man want my wallet more than I want to live?” My only answer is that poverty is a lifestyle. You will only be under attack for a billionth of the time that a person can live paycheck to paycheck or suffer crippling anxiety wondering where the resources for life will come from. This may be the person standing in front of you. Don’t assume anything except that they will do anything and do it like they mean it.

Finally, we come to power: part illusion, part reality. Muscle and size aren’t a power per say, but they are a layer that will interfere with power transfer in striking as well as your ability to kick effectively or defend. When someone like that has the mount on you, the only thing thats going to get you home is a weapon or a friend. When someone thinks they can kill you single handed: don’t challenge them on it. Keep your weapons and friends close because no man can kill many unarmed and none can fight effectively with half a magazine worth of bullets in them.

Protecting the S.O.I.-Drawing a Line in the Sand

In the case of combat, we need space to live. Actually we don’t, we need space to think. We need time to respond effectively to what appears and that can only be done with space. If you reach your hand out, you are touching the limits of your Sphere of Influence. This is the place someone has to be to negate all of your skill and ability. You can stop one thing at that distance, but only something you’ve stopped a million times before; something you’ve trained for.

Thinking you can prevail at this range is half a fallacy: only half because it may well be true; it becomes a full-fledged fallacy if you actually put yourself in that position. The space you want is several miles, the space you may have to settle for is one full step away from your S.O.I. this is traditionally thought of as the minimum measurement of the Line in the Sand.

It’s just enough time for the brain to say “incoming” and for the body to respond effectively. The Tooler Drill paints an even graver picture: showing that a person can close from twenty feet before a pistol can be produced and actuated. You train to be comfortable up close, but don’t ever think that means you should be.

Know the Ground-Tricks, Traps and Exits

In many ways, the ground is as great a factor in a fight as the person you face. When you fall, it never misses. When ignored, it takes on the intention of whoever is paying attention to it and can use it. A fire hydrant is stronger than any sidekick, a bench is a takedown that cannot be countered and a wall is the one way to punch someone everywhere all at once.

Gentle grades in a sidewalk will disrupt balance: its not often that a fighter will lift their feet to move forward and even less common while moving backward. Carl Cestari was an advocate of only stomping to move: the moving Jong of Wing Chun was something I initially distrusted on account of that. The truth of the matter is that you must fight two battles; one with a human, the other with the ground. Both must be watched and both demand different approaches.

As for exits, there are two kinds; exits in known areas and exits in unknown areas. In a place you know you have choices: you can weigh them out in a split second and be through the door immediately. In a place you don’t know there is only one safe exit; once the engagement has begun and you can no longer look around, it is only behind your opponent.

Properly Equipped-The Law, Friends and Planning

Everything done well requires forethought. If I really don’t feel well about a thing, ill bring a friend or two; preferably someone who’s already been where I’m about to go. It changes your unknowns into knowns all in a sudden. In this way, humans can be even more valuable than weapons though their presence doesn’t invalidate them. The ability to avoid a fight–to practice discernment–is by far the best way to carry.

I live in Pennsylvania, but I work in New Jersey. Initially, this threw my system of carry into chaos. Suddenly, most of my knives were no good and my gun was out of the question: in a few years they may be as restrictive as a jumbo jet. Eventually, I stumbled across an HK Plan D. Shaped like a Kabar TDI, but with a thinner, more useful profile. I carry it tucked into my wallet on my strong side. It can be drawn just like my gun and the angle is nearly identical. Its location on my body also allows me to skip a step in production: I no longer have to clear my cover garment as the pocket itself serves to conceal the weapon.

In this instance, I’ve managed to carry without changing anything jerastically and I’m still in harmony with the police agencies I pass through en route to and from work. Ive had to sacrifice, but I still run efficiently. There are situations where I’ll pay a little more to avoid “unfree” areas, but when it cannot be avoided, I will adjust. Thinking flexibly, being proactive and staying optimistic are sometimes your only assets; never leave them at home.

Round 2 BladeOps Writing Contest

You Can Win Great Prizes!

BladeOps has an ongoing non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the top three contributed article in the next 45 days will receive prize packages valued at more than $500.00.

First Prize:

1. Hogue Knives EX01 Auto Knife, Model 34128

Second Prize:

1. H&K Plan D Fixed Blade Knife

Third Prize:

Schrade 4BGS Assist Knife

Contest Rules:

To be eligible, your submission must be an original piece of work. Detail is encouraged. You can write on any knife topic or subject that would be of interest to readers of the BladeOps blog. Please proofread your entry. Every entry must be completely original and upon submission the copyright becomes the property of BladeOps, LLC.

Once you have submitted your article on the BladeOps Blog, you may not submit it anywhere else. Along those same lines, do not submit articles that you have submitted to other places already. Every entry must be completely original. Upon submission, the copyright belongs to BladeOps, LLC. We reserve the right to edit articles for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and length as well as for any other reason we deem necessary.

Plagarism is completely unacceptable. This must be your own original work. It may include brief quotes that are properly enclosed in quotation marks and where full attribution is given to the original author of the quote material. Any instance of plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from this contest.

Winners must have a legal US address. Contest not valid where prohibited by law. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and you must be eligible to legally own the prizes.

Submit as many articles as you would like. Pictures are encouraged, please include them if possible.

Contest ends December 27th, 2014. Winners will be announced by December 31st, 2014.

Thanks and good luck.

Trevor Darby

Post your contest entry below.