Knives and Stopping Power.

Discussion in 'Misc. Knife Arts' started by arnisador, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Interesting reading from Marc MacYoung on Eskrima Digest (see Topic #1, Logic vs. reality):

    He discusses the "I didn't even know I was cut" phenomenon in the context of stopping power, as the term is used with firearms.

    As an aside, I picked up his "Secrets" of Effective Offense this week but haven't had a chance to read it yet.
  2. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    I have seen a seriously stabbing and the guy did not know he was cut, and near to his heart either. Until he saw the blood creep around from the side of his shirt to the front. Then he walked 30 yards to a car, and got in and was driven to the hospital.

    Adrenalin and other drugs, and awareness. Some people do not react as they do on the table while dead or unconscious.
  3. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Good read. I didn't know that digest was still going...heh.

    Compadres have shared similar experiances with me. Being stabbed and they thought someone had bumped into them, didn't know anything had happened till much later.

    Wasn't there an incident with an MMA fighter who got in a fight in a club, was stabbed and thought it was a punch?
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I don't know that story in particular, but I have heard the "thought I was just punched" line before. It's amazing to me, yet I think that the comparison to a firearm's stopping power is apt. Stopping power is more than just the obvious carnage caused where the knife or bullet actually the case of a firearm, there's a larger and more general shockwave-like effect that a knife simply lacks.
  5. MMA fighter being stabbed

    i'm not sure if this is what you are referring to... but here is a link from's forum in regards to an ufc/mma fighter being stabbed one time, then getting stabbed again a different day!...

    the first reaction to the report:

    the interview from the ufc guy and lots of great and useful opinions/observations here:


  6. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I was thinking about this thread and by coincidence there appeared in Saturday's Santa Fe New Mexican a story along these lines (see Police notes, 03/18/2006  ):

    He thought he had only been pushed! In fact, he had been stabbed. Amazing.
  7. Cruentus

    Cruentus Tactician

    It is very common that the victim of a knife attack does not know for sometime that he was cut. This is important to keep in mind if you plan to carry a knife for self-defense. Your attacker will most likely not immediately stop attacking you after you cut him, and I think one has to be prepared for that.

  8. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Definately words of wisdom Paul. There is absolutely no
    guarantee that your cut/thrust will stop the attacker so you
    must be able to adapt to the situation.

    Brian R. VanCise
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I liked how the ED post contrasted it with a firearm. A knife is just as deadly...but, in a different way.
  10. Riddick29

    Riddick29 New Member

    I was cut a few times (only supperficial) ; I didn't feel those cuts (usually on both forearms) ; once, I had a blade to defend myself (in my house, here in Belgium, it's not legal to have a knife in the street) ; I hit in the shoulder with a thrust (with a "LaGriffe" Perrin) ; it seem un-effective through a leather jacket ; but I saw blood on my blade later in the night ; when thinking about what happened.
    It leads me to two conclusions ; firstly, if I have to fight, I will use a long double-edged dagger instead of a small blade. Secondly ; I will always look for the "quick-kill" or "disabling" (a bit like explained in the Bram Frank DVD's) ; because slashes and no-deep thrust are useless.
  11. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Howdy All,

    A knife has plenty of "stopping power" but tends to lethal once applied, a cut to the cervical vertabrae from a sharp knife has stopping power but will end in death or paraylisis at best.

    A knives stopping power needs to be specific in aplication whereas a firearms can be more generic in its targeting ie Centre of mass and still get a result.

    Another aspect to consider is the size of knives being carried today for self protection, small "tactical" folders are capable of causing immense damage but are small when compared to true fighting weapons like a khukri or ginunting or bowie , the lethality of these wepons far outstrips that of a 3inch folder but law and social constraints dictate what we edc today, a solid strike from a khukri would have "stopping power" in spades but whos carrying one down to the shops tonight to buy some milk and bread? I would wager not many if any outside of Nepal.

    History shows countless examples of the blades stopping power in mans early combative history, I think when talking about knives we need to be clear and understand that a knives stopping power is actually killing power and hence the probelm in todays world, the weapons being carried today in most western countries whilst capable are not really engeneered for real fighting, man sorted those designs out long ago , they work period but are out of place today.

    All the best,

  12. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Accuracy and weapon size are indeed important points here. Most people do seem to carry very small blades. We tend to train with 6-to-8 inch plastic trainers, then carry 3-to-4 inch folders. A khukri or bowie to the midsection can cut enough muscles to have a similar stopping effect.
  13. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Howdy all,

    If you want to talk about stopping power you need to clarify what you mean by stopped and what the situation involves, if you were to cut an attackers eyes with slash you would most likely stop his advance as combat effectiveness is diminished by lack of vision somewhat, but if you stab and slash away without focus you may well be injured whilst bloodloss and dropping bloodpressure take their toll on an attacker.

    Knives can stop someone dead in their tracks but without the realisation that a knife is a lethal force tool for the most serious of times and a proper understanding of the bodies weak points, a semi committed or less than 100% justified application of an edged weapon may fail to stop someone as there is no "half way" or warning shot with a knife, if you use it you better be sure you have to and know how to use it ,then stopping power is there to be had.

    All the best,

  14. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    Firearms use hydrostatic shock as a force multiplier (beyond the actual wound channel and destruction of vital organs). They have a definite psychological advantage as well - the noise, muzzle flash and bullet impact all contribute to the target being aware of deadly danger. Blades are quiet, sometimes hard to see, and if they are sharp enough, hard to recognize as a deadly impact.

    A knife has to sever something critical to get the same shock value as a firearm, or strike a nerve junction, overloading the target's pain centers. This is why they used to tell us "stabs kill, slashes wound" in the Army. Your opponent may eventually bleed out, but the 'sudden stop' or 'instant kill' is rarely achieved without a deep penetration to a vital area. (Come to think of it, they also said "Anyone worth stabbing is worth stabbing several times"....)

    Incidentally, 'stopping power' as applied to handguns is a very debated topic, ranging from 'certain calibers have great stopping power' to 'there is no such thing as stopping power'. I'm of the group that believes accuracy (shot placement to a vital area) is the most important factor, period. I think of all weapons the same way, actually. Anything can be effective, if accurately placed.
  15. KaliGman

    KaliGman Professional Man at Arms

    I am in the "there is no such thing as stopping power" group and have seen the wound ballistics studies that debunk a lot of the hydrostatic shock theories in regards to handgun projectiles. Now the following is completely non-scientific as it does not relate to any scientically controlled study and only personal observations. Personally, as a law enforcement officer, I have seen a man shot twice in the chest with a .45 ACP handgun and run 100 yards. He was out of the hospital within a few days after this incident. I have seen a man in a drug induced state of rage shatter a plate glass window and then proceed to cut his arms and legs with broken class, severing muscle tissue. He still moved and tried to attack police officers, even though moving was shredding the already cut and torn muscle fibers. The only "instant rag doll" or "stopped right there" you get in the real world involves a hit to the central nervous system. Even if you cut the tendons that move the arm, the opponent can continue fighting with other limbs, and, if you don't quite sever the tendons, then he may continue to fight with the injured arm. This is one of the reasons that I love the speed and flow of kali. A flowing multiple hit pattern on an assailant is much more likely to cause enough damage to keep a determined aggressor from continuing a fight in the real world than is a single devastating hit, unless that single hit happens to hit just the right spot. In the twisting, turning, nasty infighting world of street altercations, it is often very hard to hit just the right spot. That is one reason that we in law enforcement are taught to "shoot to stop." It doesn't matter if you hit the guy in the chest three times with an MP-5 submachine gun--if he hasn't stopped trying to bury that shovel in your forehead you shoot him again.
  16. Raul

    Raul Mananandata

    I've seen guys who dropped at the first hit of the knife and also seen guys who have been shredded and still kept going.
  17. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    The WASP--Gas Injection Knife.

    Seen on MT:

    WASP Injector Knife

    There are video clip at the site, including one of a watermelon being blown up by the knife. Reminds me a bit of sword revolvers!

    Attached Files:

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  18. Companyman

    Companyman New Member

    When using a blade, always try to cut the tissue (ligaments, tendons & muscle) of the offending limb. A right hand with it's flexors cut, can't hold a knife, gun, or stick... Likewise, the flexors on the back of the knee when cut will leave an opponent with only a weak ground game. None of these are usually fatal. Making arterial cuts; femoral, brachial or carotoid, can often be fatal.

    I'm sure this is nothing new to experienced arts here... just my two cents.

    Larry Sloan
  19. slider

    slider New Member

    As several have already stated, stopping power when dealing with relatively small weapons has more to do with targeting than with anything else.

    Bullets and blades are for killing with. Any superficial wounds are only superficial by accident.

    LEOs: is there ever a circumstance where it's justifiable for you to shoot-to-wound? If you're trying to incapacitate someone, aren't there other tools you would use?

    "Defanging the snake" is all well and good, but if the reason you deploy a blade is to eliminate a threat to your life, then why shouldn't your response have the finality of the action you're faced with?
  20. tellner

    tellner New Member

    Sometimes people notice. Sometimes they don't. And sometimes it takes a while for cuts or stabs to slow them down. But it sure beats trying to beat a group of deadly attackers into submission with your fists.

    And if you cut the great vessels, interrupt the connection between the brain and the motor nerves, sever tendons or destroy enough muscle fibers the body will stop working right. Drugs and attitude don't mean squat if the signals aren't getting to the muscles or the parts that need to pull don't have anything to pull against or there isn't enough blood pressure to support cellular respiration. If any of those happen they beef won't do him any more good than it did the cow.

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