Please think before you post videos teaching knife attacks



Dear FMA, Silat and Edged Weapon Instructors,

I am writing to ask all my fellow edged weapon instructors who have knife videos on the internet, for them to remove any of their videos that teach knife attack techniques or strategies specifically against an unarmed opponent.

Such techniques and stratagem are one of the few things that bad guys can easily learn from watching a video and use effectively against their victims. An armed defense against an edged weapon is less likely to be misused in the same way, as criminals armed with knives or axes are unlikely to meet a victim similarly armed. However, do you really need to show on a public video how to attack an unarmed opponent with an edged weapon?

(I’m not talking about the videos that demonstrate why some old fashioned hand vs knife defenses won’t work on today’s bad guys. That’s a good wake up call to our fellow instructors to help convince them they should update their material.)

What I am talking about are the videos that show an armed instructor attacking an unarmed student with ambush or "Sucker Punch" techniques, or multiple finishing moves better suited for soldiers on the battlefield than for civilian students, who will face their local legal system after the fight and who therefore have very different "rules of engagement."

Do you really need to show this kind of material to impress potential students? Wouldn’t it be more impressive if you showed unarmed vs weapon techniques?

My request (and it is just that, a request) is NOT for my fellow instructors to stop teaching knife work, just that they stop showing the types of techniques on public video and social media sites that bad guys can most easily misuse.

So please consider the safety of your students, the general public and the reputation of the arts you love and remove any video that teach successful weapon attacks vs an unarmed opponent from your YouTube channel, Facebook page or any other public place where bad guys can see it.

Rather than being analogous to calls for total gun control, as some have commented when this essay first was published; (1) a far better analogy would be my views on open carry laws.

While I understand the need for open carry laws and supported their passage (2), I don’t recommend that my students “open carry.”

You can have a right to do something, but it may not be tactically wise to do so. Why give up your element of surprise to a potential attacker?

That is how I view posting certain knife videos on public forums. You may have an absolute right to do so, but is it wise to do so?

There is a big difference between a demand for total government control on something and a request, one free citizen to another, to show some self-control on an issue.

There is a big difference between “here’s what the bad guys are doing and you should be aware of it” and showing a more effective version of the same technique, with improvements in effectiveness that came from your knowledge of martial arts.

That’s the kind of video that I would like instructors to keep off of public sites and simply reserve for their own students.

Thank You,
Tuhon Bill McGrath
President, Pekiti-Tirsia International

P.S. I am well aware that the cat is long out of the bag on this. However, my views on the subject are based on 48 years in Filipino martial arts, with the last 30 of those years trying to find the right balance on this issue (plus 30 years in law enforcement to put that perspective on things).

1. *Some have commented on this essay, comparing it to a call for gun control, which is ironic if you knew my history on that subject: Life member NRA, written pro-2nd Amendment articles for national Law Enforcement magazines, spoke before the New York City Council in opposition to their proposed gun control law, gave a pro-2nd Amendment lecture at Columbia University.

2. Open Carry laws do a lot to protect those legally carrying concealed from having their permits revoked. if they accidentally let a bit of holster peak out from under a jacket (which has happened before the open carry laws were passed in those states).