Thoughts on Carrying a Knife
For years when I taught in Fresno, California, I carried a knife to school everyday. I put a safety pin in my upper right pocket so that my Spiderco clipit knife would hang invisibly, rather than profiling at the bottom of my pocket. I had decided that if I were ever assaulted by a student I was not going to go out without a fight.
My uncle Jimmy almost always carried a knife. Once he was in a restaurant when his wife took offense at something a waiter had done. “Let him have it, Jimmy!” she urged him.
“I can’t, I’m not carrying,” Jimmy replied referring to his knife.
“You don’t have to carry anything, just him him,” was her reply.
Fortunately Jimmy had enough sense not to start trouble.
I was talking with a prospective student today who said that he didn’t want to carry a knife. He had studied with someone, and I’ve seen those styles, whose style is knife-based. Some of these guys look very impressive, but there are problems.
These are the problems of knife carrying for self-defense, as I see them:
Are you really prepared to cut someone? Knife fighting is not pretty. I like to think that if my life were on the line, I could get very very ugly with a knife, but I realize that’s a hard threshold to cross.
If you have a knife, and they have a knife, the conflict is knife vs. knife, which is not much better than empty hand vs. knife. I don’t like those odds.
It is harder to do a non-lethal, less violent response. In my post the other day, my friend stopped a drunk roommate with a pair of nunchaku by hitting him in the groin. What would the outcome have been if my friend had stabbed his roommate in the groin? The legal ramifications of using a knife on someone are very serious, indeed.
The knife is a very effective weapon. You definitely should learn how to defend against it if necessary. But you should think long and hard before relying on the knife as your primary means of self-defense.