Kali martial arts use weapons like the rattan stick, sword, knife, bare hands and other accessory weapons for a combative and sportive self-defence system. Among these weapons-based training, Filipino knife fighting is highly respected and feared because of its speed, power, and elusiveness. Some consider it to be the best knife fighting martial art in the world.
When you feel pain, you know that you are still alive.
– Bruce Lee
It this section, we will explore Filipino Knife Fighting as a deadly Weapon-based self-defence system. And while the blade is deadly, it is only an extension of the martial arts practitioner's hand; the same as the stick. The bare hands can be just as deadly as the knife – thus the phrase “the bladed hand“.
For a Survival Defensive System such as Filipino Knife Fighting, the Most Excellent Defense is Offense
In the catastrophic Mamasapano clash, where the Philippine Special Action Force (SAF) police officers targeted two Indonesian terrorists for extraction, a sole survivor of the tragedy was able to survive from terrorists attempting to overpower him by stealing his gun. He used a much renowned Filipino fighting style.
With a survival knife, the policeman subdued nine bandit assailants who believed they could defeat the struggling law enforcer and handle him with superior numbers. The Filipino butterfly knife became a formidable substitute for the gun and saved the policeman's life.
The Self-defence Technique Against Knife Attack that Saved My Life!
Be ready for a knife attack with this life-saving self-defence technique. Learn the technique here.
A unique survival martial arts known as Kali knife fighting is exclusively instructed to various special forces groups and law enforcement in the Philippines and around the world. It is a form of fighting technique that works around this system.
The system of Filipino Knife Fighting
The philosophy behind the blade fighting system is that disable or damage the threat by inflicting a deadly wound that will inhibit the attacker who intends to harm you. You cannot play with knives because a small mistake can lead to injury or death.
Special forces units and soldiers do not draw a blade or weapon to disable an attacker because this would provide the attacker with an opportunity to counterattack and harm them. If you pull a blade in a fight for any reason, it will be utilized to kill the assailant with each move.
And any other way is going to waste time and energy if you were in a deadly situation where saving a life is dangerous. You have to keep your techniques simple and effective.
Blade Fighting Systems are Offensive in Nature
Blade systems always teach martial artists to take the offense. They fix their mindset in training where they seek lethal force of their enemy. A blade system doesn’t only train you how to defend yourself against an armed assailant, but to finish off that assailant as fast as you can.
Systems of the Different Kali Fighting Schools
A few Kali fighting schools claim that if the defence is the primary focus of a specific blade, then it’s a massive waste of energy and training. Several Filipino Martial Arts Kali system in the list of Filipino martial arts teaches immobilization techniques by cutting tendons to disable the attacker’s arm as well as even wrist locks in a potentially deadly confrontation.
This may not entirely neutralize a deadly threat and might even be unsuccessful if you disable or lock your opponent’s limbs. If the target is to be captured alive, these techniques may be taught.
Kali knife fighting methods teach defence via performing the offensive. When utilizing a knife for defending yourself, the attacking aspect of blade fights is taught: hand switches, non-linear angles, half-beat attacks, lines of cutting; these all so that assailant himself would identify parry methods and counter attacks to protect himself.
An assailant carrying a bladed weapon will never hesitate to use a knife for a deadly fight to kill his enemy the quickest way without getting harmed.
Filipino Knife Fighting on the Streets – Defending Yourself as a Civilian
For defending yourself as a civilian, you cannot initiate similar mindset as the law penalizes a killer unless there are certain circumstances where you do not have other recourse but to kill the assailant using your weapon to save the lives of others or your own.
This is the reason Filipino Martial Arts schools permit parrying methods for civilian-trained Kali practitioners. However, for military special forces, offensive kali martial arts techniques are the methods trained.
Stick Fighting against Filipino Knife Fighting Systems
The attack angles are different for sticks and blades. Stick fighters always aim for hard parts to inflict the most injurious damage: hand knuckles, the jaw, elbows, shoulders, and the temple sides. Kali blade fighters continuously aim for important targets that’ll make the opponent bleed to death: the thigh area with the femoral arteries, the neck area with the carotid arteries, the space above the stomach where the heart is with the abdominal aorta.
Stick and Blade Slashes
Sticks are wielded in a slashing manner, and the powerful strike is essential. Blade attacks don’t require as much powerful effort, but pinpoint and accurate targeting speed is the focus. Blade slashes don’t stop an enemy cold except for several key targets in the body.
Wounds inflicted by blade slash may look horrific but are mainly superficial, and cutting attacks should just be part of such system and not its main attack component.
Blade thrusts and excellent knowledge of human anatomy allow Kali trained forces to defend themselves better in empty hands combat, even when outnumbered by bullish enemies.
Kali System Slash Attacks
Slash attacks are just part of the Kali system. Using your understanding and knowledge of human anatomy, soldiers and law enforcement know where a slash will work against a thrust. Targets more superficial on the human body like the carotid artery would be improper to slash for deadly entry.
Fighting using a blade isn’t trained as movement patterns like traditional martial arts. Knife fighters are thinking fighters, looking at the weak points of their opponent in real time for a killing blow. Knife fighters don’t even take or lock down an opponent manually before attacking with the blade.
A person trained in this blade system constantly leads with the blade to kill.
Off Grid Self Defense
It is likely for a civilian to learn blade fighting. Because getting a gun is quite difficult for an average citizen, learning how to fight traditionally with Filipino knife fighting martial arts can undoubtedly provide someone with an edge in knife-to-knife conflict when protecting his home against numerous assailants.
Somebody training in a blade system should probably just utilize a blade in extreme cases.
Burglars breaking into a house, or looters attempting to steal household food supply, for instance; these scenarios may happen when the law or order breaks down or when the power supply is cut off indefinitely.
We have seen the dreadful side of desperation and hunger when a storm surge hit coastal communities in Leyte in 2013, and food supplies weren’t fast available to the affected families. There were looting and riots, robbery and rapes in urban zones.
People who were smart enough to prepare for these disasters should have a modest supply of rations and should protect their families if that terrible situation ever happened again. Even the police become helpless to stop angry and hungry, impatient people from breaking the law.
Training with blades is essential to you as it can be a survival self-defense option. There’s actual need for individuals in life and death situations, to defend themselves proficiently, whether you live in the city or the countryside.
Get a closer look at Kali Knife Fighting in this video by Fight Quest: