Edged weapons such as knives, razors, screwdrivers, swords and machetes are featuring more and more in the news every day. There is no denying the rate of edged weapon use is increasing in some areas and demographics.
Rather than get all excited and jump to a conclusion or two, we should take a moment to examine the evidence and then assess this before we formulate some rational policy and procedures. Because of the prevalence of edged weapons in incidents of late I have given the topic its own page.
Samurai Swords and Killer Knives – Some Myths
Whenever the media gets hold of a story involving a sword they always call it a ‘Samurai sword’. This has created a lot of problems for those genuine, dedicated martial artists that study Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu and even Kendo, as well as numerous Ninjas and masterless Ronin. The fact is the media always get things wrong all the time. They call every weapon an AK47, even when it is an AKM, AK74 or some other modern derivative of that ubiquitous assault rifle. Any armoured fighting vehicle is immediately a ‘tank’, even if it is an armoured personnel carrier or an armoured ambulance! The same with edged weapons. The media is all about selling advertising, not accuracy.
Certain knives are prohibited items in this state and across the country. Push daggers are, butterfly or Balisong knives are and flick knives or switchblades are also. Why? Are they any sharper than your kitchen collection? It is a fact that the most commonly used knife in any assault, wounding or killing is a kitchen knife. The second most commonly used edged weapon is a screwdriver! Yet the hype and reputation surrounding these other articles mean they are prohibited. The fact that few if any were ever used in real crimes is irrelevant. Very often the government must be seen to be doing something, anything, if only to keep the media at bay so they can get re-elected because that is what they are about, staying in power.
While the prevalence of edged weapon use seems to be on the rise, it is really little worse and in some places quite less, than it was five or ten years ago. Australian Bureau of Statistics reports on crime and weapon use clearly show crime has remained stable or decreased in the past decade. But this doesn’t sell newspapers and keep in mind the old Editor’s saying; “If it bleeds, it leads”.
This is not to diminish the threat any of us face when confronted with a knife or other edged weapon. Your life is on the line, make no mistake. It is not a threat to take lightly. Contrary to recent media beat ups about martial arts schools teaching knife fighting, most edged weapon injuries are caused when only one person has the weapon, not in some Hollywood type duel. Anyone who would dedicate the time, energy and income to learning knife fighting is not the type to use it to commit a crime with. Those people are called criminals and have no need to pay for training: they just go out and learn on the job.
Many martial arts schools teach unrealistic techniques of surviving a knife attack. They rely on skill, speed, agility and athleticism that 94% of the population don’t have and the other 6% are often nowhere near as good as they might like to think they are. Keep in mind that more untrained people have successfully defended themselves than trained people have ever been attacked. This is not to say don’t take instruction in defending against a knife attack but it does suggest that no training might be safer than the wrong kind of training. Training that engenders unrealistic expectations and methods.
Keep in mind that many people don’t even realise they have been stabbed or slashed. The woman in the photo was stabbed on her way home from work. She fought off her attacker and continued on. When she arrived home 40 minutes later her parents were horrified to see this. She swears she only felt a punch and that is precisely what so many stabbing victims report.
So if knife victims regularly claim they were unaware they were stabbed, why carry a knife for self defence? The odds are you will be either ineffectual at the time or else become a murderer. Afterall, carrying the knife was a premeditated act. A Wodonga man was unaware he had been stabbed in the neck in a fight and that the blade broke off. When he got home and climbed into bed his wife noticed he was bleeding and not surprisingly… freaked out. He was very carefully transported to hospital and had the knife removed.