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Thread: AAR: Basic Knife for the Concealed Carry Operator

  1. #1
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    AAR: Basic Knife for the Concealed Carry Operator

    On Saturday, February 23rd I was able to attend the Basic Knife Course for the Concealed Carry Operator put on by Active Response Training. The course was instructed by Greg Ellifritz and took place in Harrison, OH.

    Greg is an active police officer who has served as his department’s training officer, teaches at the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy and is a lead instructor at the Tactical Defense Institute. He teaches ground fighting, knife fighting, active shooter, medical and CQB shooting classes. He is probably one of the most well rounded instructors I have ever trained with and brings a wealth of experience to the table.

    The course was hosted by the Tactical Intelligence Group and held at a local V.F.W. The venue was a large indoor pavilion and was perfect for the type of training. There were close to 20 students in attendance and they were a varied group with men and women of all age groups and experience levels.

    For equipment I used a Zero Tolerance folder in my strong side front pocket and a Kabar TDI in a PHLster sheath carried on an Ares Gear belt in appendix carry on my left side.

    The course started out with introductions and general housekeeping notes. Greg then covered topics such as knife selection, pros and cons of various knife designs, performance of different blade types and carry positions. He also spoke on the legalities of carrying a knife on your person.

    With that out of the way we immediately got into the hands on portion of the course. I learn better from doing instead of listening so this was greatly appreciated. We worked on various opening methods, ranging from simply using two hands, using thumb studs, holes or flippers, and finally various inertia opening methods. Once we got a feel for the multiple methods with our strong hand, we worked on the same skills with our support hand.

    This led into a discussion on forward and reverse grips, the pros and cons of each as well why we may choose to utilize one over the other.

    Now that we had a feel for what to do once we got the knife in our hand, it was time to learn how to most efficiently get it there. That meant working on our stances and how to deploy the knife different positions that we may find ourselves in during a fight. I quickly learned that the “cop pants” I generally wear with their deep cut pockets were less than ideal when I am trying to access my right pocket with my left hand while on my knees or on my stomach. Lesson learned….

    So now we know how to access the knife and get it into play, now what? It was time to work on some various slashes and stabs. We worked these with both hands as well. This wasn’t a martial art style class with flashy moves and I for one was very happy for that. What were taught was a small amount of very simply yet effective manipulations that we could pick up in a short amount of time.

    Greg then went on discuss a handful of methods to increase wound enhancement. I won’t go into detail but one include a technique similar to peeling into someone’s flesh as if filleting a fish! Simple techniques that were easily learned but would be devastatingly effective.

    It was at this point we teamed up with a training partner. It started out with a static partner so that we could get used to finding our target points and ranging our slashes and stabs. From there we proceeded to our partner actively “attacking” us with soft punches and things such as bear hugs, chokes, headlocks and other attacks. This was another learning point for me. It showed the upside of carrying a knife on both sides so I could secure a weapon no matter which arm was free.

    We also worked on weapon retention and how to defeat gun grabs from the front, side and behind no matter if the attacker had one hand or both hands on our holstered pistols. Greg had one core method of how to deal with all of these attacks.

    That was greatly appreciated by those of us that didn’t want to learn 25 different methods or techniques to utilize depending on exactly how we are being attacked. In the end that was what this class was all about. Most of us are not going to put forth 10-20 or more hours a week to perfect our edged weapon skills. This course served as a crash course to provide us with the essential skills we would need to create a gap in an overwhelming attack to either deploy a handgun or beat feet.

    The vast majority of gun owners don’t carry. Of those that carry, very few train. Of all of the guys walking around with a knife clipped to their pocket, how many have trained at all on how to actually fight with it?

    It has opened my eyes to a glaring deficiency in my own training regimen. It is one that I intend to keep working on. In light of the current ammunition situation this seems to be the perfect time to work on skills such as edged weapons, open hands and emergency medicine. Don’t simply stop training, look for another skillset to increase.

    Greg discussing the locking methods of various knives:


    Students working through inertia opening their folders:


    Defending against a choke from the rear:


    Greg covering what to do with our knives once we get a firearm involved:


    Students had plenty of hands on practice with their training partners:


    Going unarmed against Greg with a knife is not my idea of a good time:


    You can find more information on all of Greg’s class as well as one of the best blogs around at his website below.
    Active Response Training
    T.I.G. - Training Division

  2. #2
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    Great writeup! I had always wondered if there were classes that covered this range of self-defense.

  3. #3
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    Very good AAR, and thank you for taking the time to post it. I completely agree with what you said here:

    "The vast majority of gun owners don’t carry. Of those that carry, very few train. Of all of the guys walking around with a knife clipped to their pocket, how many have trained at all on how to actually fight with it? "

    I was in a edged weapons defense class with Steve Tarani of Hardwired Tactical Shooting this weekend, and had almost exactly the same thought.

    Wasn't it Col. Cooper that pointed out owning a piano did not make you a musician? Owning a knife does not make you skilled in it's defensive use.

    Like you, I have also made changes to my gear based on learning that occurred.

  4. #4
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    I saw you post over on LF.net, that looked like a great class.

    This was my first knife class but just like the firearms and various tactics courses I have attended, the big take away was how much I didn't know.

    It has opened my eyes to a whole new skillset I can begin working on.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, it really was excellent.

    It also really drove home how risky the Tueller drill is for me. In fact, Mr. Tarani said that a lot of folks are now adjusting that distance out to 35 feet. I believe it.

    I found a good quality training blade tonight, and am going to order a pikal and trainer from Ban Tang when he has them ready. I'm going to experiment with a fixed and folding pikal, and a fixed and folding karambit.

    I do love the speed of a fixed blade, but often work where carrying any visible weapon would lead to instant dismissal or legal penalties.

    And I need a job to buy bacon for my dog.

    Do you have a chance to do regular practice sessions with some of the other folks? That's what I am working on here. Several friends may be able to help out, I'd love to spend a few hours each week on drills.

    Have you also done any unarmed classes, stuff like BJJ or anything else? BJJ seems to be very popular down here.

    I bet we had a lot of the same lightbulb moments. "Holy poop, that would have been hideous to be on the receiving end. I need to work on this stuff!"

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    The Tueller drill is a real eye opener. I work as an adjunct instructor for Pat Goodale at Practical Firearms Training and we run a drill based off of it.

    We have a moving target system that charges the student. It carries a 3D target that is held up by a balloon in the chest or head. The student has to react to the movement of the target, draw and fire until hitting the balloon and dropping the target. If the target reaches them first, they are "cut" with a 9000V shock knife.



    We do the same drill in our force on force classes with the student armed with an airsoft pistol and we "attack" them with the shock knife from across a room. It generally changes the way people look at a threat armed with a knife.

    I am looking to attend some local knife training and hope to find some regular training partners there. I figure with the current ammo crunch, it is a great time to work on edged weapons, impact weapons, open hand stuff and medical courses.

  7. #7
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    Nice! Nothing says "You chose poorly" like electricity or lead.

    I have made the same choices on training. I'm doing a shotgun class in March, a Southnarc AMIS class in April, a HiTS pistol class in May, and a protective services class after that.

    I'm no Walter Mitty bodygaurd. But threat assessment and avoidance skills are crucial, and do not require ammo to learn.

    A Glock armorer class and hopefully an AR armorer class in the summer, so I can sit in the A/C. And no ammo to buy.

    That saves my ammo for the Ken Hackathorn, LAV and Pat McNamara classes in the fall. Maybe, just maybe I can squeeze in a Paul Howe class as well.

    That is an awesome moving target drill - thanks for the tip! I have been working on something like that with some old RC cars, dowels and balloons. A pair of movers - you have to shoot both balloons on two different dowels on two cars, operated by two people. The point is to track and engage multiple attackers. Popping a balloon means you made a CNS hit.

    Profanity, hilarity, and much fun should ensue.

    Thanks again, these are really helpful.

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