I suppose anyone that’s been around the martial arts game for long enough eventually starts to develop specialties. Sure, you try to focus on developing a well rounded skill set, but the combination of your level of interest and natural inclinations eventually conspire to make you better (or at least more practiced) with certain aspects of fighting than others. For me, those aspects are ground and knife fighting.
I’m a ground fighting guy, first and foremost, but over the years, knives have continued to peak my interest. Early in my Marine Corps career, I saw knives as field tools, but not particularly as offensive weapons – until I had the opportunity to participate in some joint training with the LAPD Swat team. The Corps and LAPD brought in a cadre of combatives experts, each tasked with introducing us to some new techniques that might make us better, more capable war fighters or law enforcement officers… each of them with a long list of credentials and the physique and posture one might expect from a dude that makes his living teaching Marines to fight.
Except the knife guy. He was overweight, had poor communication skills, and generally seemed more like the guy you’d peg for stolen valor than the law enforcement and special operations veteran he claimed to be. I already thought knives were unnecessary when I would be carrying two firearms, and from the looks of the guy they’d brought in to teach me how to knife fight – the Marine Corps didn’t seem all that concerned either, I thought.
Then I saw him in action. With demonstrator training blades (I’ve always called them “shark teeth” because of the carved holes in them) covered in red lipstick, he took on multiple opponents, and in a flash of swaying belly fat and black plastic, all three of them were covered in red lipstick, and I was a changed man.