The Piper Knife System
I stumbled across an interesting knife system yesterday, the Piper System
The system originated in South Africa, and was designed as a counter to the gang violence there, typically involving knives.
The first thing that caught my attention was that the proponents of the Piper System don’t like knives. Yes, you read that right. The system was designed from the ground up to counter knife violence. Also, as people with firsthand experience of the grisly reality of knife assaults, all the swashbuckling romanticism of blades is forever gone.
“Knife fighting is a dangerous and unforgiving endeavor that no one in his or her right mind would ever engage in willingly. Even those who are adept in the use of the blade may emerge victorious and still sustain life-ending injuries in an actual knife fight. That being said, cultivating skill with the blade can greatly increase your odds for survival should you ever have to engage in knife combat.”
The system is also designed around a specific weapon, the okapi, which is a cheap folding knife common to African gangs. As I said before, the weapon dictates your technique. This style is a classic example of adapting one’s technique to suit the unique characteristics of the weapon in use.
1) The Okapi has a dull edge. To adjust to this fact, the style features thrusting motions, with the knife held in icepick grip.
2) The Okapi has a cheap locking mechanism. To adjust to this trait of the weapon, it is held edge inward, so that if the blades collapses out of the locked position, the wielder’s fingers are not trapped.
3) The Okapi is small and dull. Because it cannot cause the damage of a machete or larger sharper edge with just a single blow to say, the forearm, the style targets only vital areas.
4) The Okapi is wielded by gang members, attacking as a pack. Training against multiple opponents is a must.
From the Libre Fighting site:
1) Libre is about attacking. It’s not about countering or trying to move around an opponent’s defense — It is about tearing through the opponents defense.
2) Strategy in Libre involves reading an opponent’s stance, guard, and position and exploiting it. The practitioner also utilizes footwork, feints, and line-of-sight to break through the opponents defense.
3) Defense in Libre comes through utilizing footwork to control distance, evade, bait, and offset the opponent. Blocks and/or parries are rarely used.
4) Libre isn’t about “dueling”; it is about “fighting”. Libre doesn’t try to pick an opponent apart; it is intended to rip them apart in the fastest and most violent ways at the practitioner’s disposal. That is where the term “Libre Fighting” comes from. It isn’t a traditional martial art, it isn’t a “system” or “style”. It is, at its root, simply “fighting.”
5) Libre doesn’t limit itself to “techniques.” We study ways to use anything around to our advantage. This includes using ones clothing, or the opponent’s clothing, to blind, choke, or distract the opponent. Using whatever is within reach as a projectile. Spitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, and head butting. Smashing the opponent’s skull into a wall, curb, or table. Libre practitioners learn to improvise to prevail.
6) Libre is not geared towards the use of heavier agricultural blades. It is geared towards the use of a common folding knife that one might carry on the street. That is why heavy emphasis is placed on reinforced slashes and attacking ONLY vital or crippling areas. The smaller “street blade” simply is not capable of causing tremendous amounts of damage as easily as a heavy agricultural blade. That is why no superfluous cuts or stabs are used. Every strike with the “street blade” must do as much damage as possible.
7) Libre is meant to grow. It is meant to complement whatever style of fighting the user carries. Libre should ultimately mold to the individual, the individual should not mold to Libre. Practitioners are encouraged to make Libre their own, to use what they have in conjunction with Libre.