Fairbairn-Sykes V. KA-BAR

An article on the different philosophies behind the two classic designs. It's from the HROARR site for Historical European Martial Arts. It turns out that there's a Marine Corps connection to nearly all of these blades, even the famous British one -- Fairbairn and Sykes worked with a USMC Lieutenant on the design in Shanghai, one Sylvester Yeaton.

Here's an old commando telling stories about the Fairbairn-Sykes blade.


Ymar Sakar said...

My trainers always did focus on the stab wounds as being more effective and immediate. Grim commented about slicing open the neck veins and arteries, but the FS user combines the stab with the cut through.

Compared to the stiletto, the use is similar, for punching through face plates and full plate gaps, when at grappling range in armored combat, lacking one's primary weapon or out of its optimum range.

The over hand dagger down thrust movement is seen a lot in modern day aikido attacks from the uke. People may not have enough experience to figure that one out, but it's because jujutsu was primarily concerned with bladed weapons and many users of the blade will do an over hand cut as it allows gravity to apply more power and speed. If you can close the gap to the opponent's blade hand, though, his range becomes sub optimal and grappling can counter melee attacks at that range.

Potentially, I can see the use why reverse handed grips might be useful in CQB situations, where the blade of the primary melee is too long. When closing the distance, the reverse blade grip can form a steel line shield on the forearm, allowing for certain grappling techniques to close the range, while using the steel as a biter, glue, or shield. The grip is not ideal for the forearm use though, hence tonfas.

Grim said...

Grim commented about slicing open the neck veins and arteries...

Are you remembering this post from 2006? I don't remember the conversation, but I'm sure it's not a subject I've treated very often. In that conversation, I was talking about choosing the right knife for defending yourself against a criminal attacker -- not techniques for removing a sentry who doesn't know you're there, but techniques for defending yourself against a larger attacker or a group of them.

Ymar Sakar said...

Wasn't a post, it was in the comments section where I mentioned that sentry killing as I thought of it, involved grabbing the mouth and chin up, then stabbing into the brain stem with the dagger from under the chin or throat. It was part of the series involving stab wounds vs exsanguination from cuts.

You, then said something to me about how I must have thought about the subject in great length, and then asked if I knew that slicing the arteries is also feasible. Presumably, it was because you believed the slice or cut was more effective in other ways.

In terms of time, it was probably before 2008 at least.

Reading your linked post from 2006, one comment I'll make is that internal stab wounds can reach the CNS, central nervous system, like a bullet's trajectory or shockwave can. Rotating the blade when inside the target, like a drill, can also enlarge the internal wound and create significantly more bleed out than external slices on such things as fat, fascia, the arm, etc.

In order for a cut to reach the internals like that, it must be applied using a short sword, something with a significant length so that swinging it can carve through. So when people are not using combat knives (the same kinds favored by Islamic Jihadists actually, with the serration and the broader cutting blade), the stab becomes more effective as a movement. It is also better on a target that is held down, grappled and locked in, rather than a person or number of persons that is staying at range, who you want to keep at range by slashing at them.

I don't remember what post the comments were originally directed against, but the subject would be pretty close to the one linked.

Grim said...

I don't recall the discussion, but you have a clearer memory of these talks than I. In the current case, the brachial plexus will also be severed, which will provide a neural shock directly to the spine near the brainstem.