Choosing A Knife

By JJ Simon
Published on Jun 15th, 2014

A knife is an aggressive weapon. It may cut whatever the blade touches.Making the choice to carry a knife for personal defense is not to be taken lightly.Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself prior to making that decision. The question of having the courage and emotional fitness to cut, and possibly kill, another human being will not be addressed. That is a topic for another article.

For instance, what are the state and local laws concerning carrying an edged weapon?How am I going to carry this weapon? Will I carry it openly, or conceal it? What is more important to me, easier concealment or safety in use?

Have I trained myself with the knife? Can I access it in a time of need? Is it sheathed or a folding knife?

All of these questions are significant and need to be answered by you, the individual carrying the knife, before you choose to step out on the street armed with a potentially deadly weapon.Unless you intend to go to a knife maker and have a weapon tailored for you, and designed specifically with your wants in mind, you will have to choose one of many mass produced knives available on the market today.

Let’s look at your choices. Knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The term form to function is expressed no more effectively than in the evolution of bladed weapons through human history. Knives can be fixed blades or designed to fold. A knife design may have a guard or no guard and can have one or two edges. With each design choice you make there are possible exceptions to standard designs, like the traditional Italian stilettos which had a triangular cross section terminating in a wicked point. This blade design is primarily a thrusting weapon.

What makes any one of these attributes better or worse for your needs has to be examined logically. For instance, folding knives are easy to carry inside a pocket. They are easy to conceal, whether clipped on your pocket, belt, or resting in the bottom of your pocket. Some folding knives can be carried in a sheath. Most folding knives do not have guards.

Why is this important? When stabbing a solid target with any edged weapon that does not have a guard, there is always a possibility of your hand sliding down on the edge and cutting yourself.If you train with an edged weapon in a slashing manner as your primary method of execution, then this consideration is minimized. If you prefer to use a stabbing style, you may want your knife to have a guard.

If you choose to carry a knife with a guard, it has to have a sheath. The sheath protects you from cutting yourself or someone or something else, unintentionally. How are you going to attach the sheath to your clothes? Again, will you conceal it, or carry it openly? Will it be a vertical, horizontal or diagonal carry? Will it be on your side, back, or front of your body? You can have your sheath made that has a belt loop that deals with those directional questions. You may decide to have your sheath built with a Tek Lok, a multidimensional clamping system designed to be able to lock to a belt or strap at any angle.

How long a knife can you legally carry? How long a knife can you comfortably carry? How long a knife do you need to use to defend yourself? Very few organs in a body are more than an inch or two from the skin. Arteries are even closer. Razor knives or box cutters are often used as a weapon. Their blades don't stick out more than an inch.Generally a fixed blade knife has a 4 to 5 inch handle and blades starting at about 3 inches. There are always exceptions and unique designs. An example, T handle knives called push knives, but those are illegal to carry in many states.

The handle of your knife should fit your hand. The Swell, or thickening of the handle, if your knife has one, should rest comfortably in your middle two fingers and act as a push or leverage point for your other fingers. This design will vary too, depending on whether you are push (cutting on the thrust, hammer, or whip) or pull (cutting on the reverse or returning motion) cutting. One knife maker told me a well-made knife should feel like a good hand shake. Like your handshake, choosing a knife involves determining your needs, desires, and the “impression” you want to make.

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: JJ Simon

JJ Simon has studied the Martial Arts for over a decade. In October of 2010, he tested for, and earned, his black belt at TheMALC's annual Residential . Mr. Simon has studied meditation since 1990 and has completed a number of Meditation retreats from 3 to 30 days under such noted teachers as Lama Surya Das, and in the Shambhala training tradition created by Chogyam

JJ has acted as a meditation coach for friends and martial arts associates since 1992. Mr. Simon is a tattoo artist of some renown with some 20 years of experience in the field. He owns Explosive Tattoo South in Salisbury, MD. JJ is also a painter, knife maker, and the Artistic Director for The Martial Arts Learning Community, Inc.

Other Articles by JJ Simon

Are you a martial artist and have advice or experiences you want to share? If so, contact our editorial team about becoming an author. Be part of our community, contribute an article.