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American Bowie Combatives
Seminar (4 DVDs)
Modern Knives DVD #5: The American Bowie Knife
The Bowie Knife & Revolver Method (James A. Keating)
The Bowie Knife & Saber Connection (Pete Kautz)
Defending The Snap Cut To The Hand (Dwight McLemore)
Forging The Fighting Bowie (Bill Bagwell)
Wearing The Bowie Knife Concealed (Mike Sastre)
Learn More About MK#5: The American Bowie Knife HERE
In August of 2011 we held the first of two connected Bowie Knife seminars here in the Swamp. We covered Mobility, Attack & Fighting Theory using the big knife to give everyone a solid foundation of skill so that in September we could delve into the Defense & Fighting Drills using all these elements.
Like all of our training events this year we got it on video so you can work out along with us from wherever you live! These event videos are all edited down to just the PURE INSTRUCTION and are just like our other productions in terms of teaching quality. You're never stuck watching half a guys ass standing in front of the camera or boring footage of the students practicing like on some seminar tapes I've seen. The only difference you might notice between any of these and my regular videos is that I'm more excited because I'm teaching a group of people and we're all having a good time!
For the first part of the day we worked on the essential elements of mobility and footwork that we'd need. This is an often neglected area of training because some guys think it's not as "macho" as hitting the heavy bag or whatever, but without it they are like a tank with no treads. All the "firepower" in the world doesn't matter if you can't get into position to deliver it!
Furthermore, after delivering an attack the fighter must be able to get away safely! While the "take one to give one" strategy may work in the open-hand realm, in the world of blades it is a loser's game.
This is a major difference I've seen at seminars around the world when having people spar - fencers tend to hit and go back out so there are more clean kills where one man hits the other and gets away unscathed. Conversely the kick-boxers & grapplers often will attack and stay in rage too long and end up with a "double kill" (you die, he dies, everybody dies - Not what we want!).
This is why I took Mr. Keating's advice and started to use lit incense sticks in place of training knives for the sparring sessions at my seminars - it was the only thing that would bring out the kinds of evasive reactions I wanted folks to develop!
After all this work on the mobility, we went into attack mode and covered the offense with the big steel. Our focus was on the "Big Three" attacks of the Bowie knife; the thrust, the snap cut, and the back cut. We looked at many aspects of applying them with speed, power, accuracy, timing, deception and motion.
We also covered a lot of troubleshooting points where I see people doing these wrong; or at least "misidentifying" what they are doing if we want to sidestep the concept of "right and wrong". There is a world of difference, for example, between a HACK and a SNAP CUT. They may look similar but they travel on completely different arcs and with completely different dynamic energies!
The same can be said for the back cut, which has caused so much confusion among the easily confused out there. I've seriously had more than one person who thought Mr. Keating was suggesting we're supposed to whip the blade around like a helicopter and nearly decapitate ourselves when back cutting! Yet nothing could be further from the truth; in reality the back cut is often delivered in such a small "cone" as to make it difficult to tell from a thrust when viewed from head on until it's too late.
From here we went into the "36 Attacks" Series which teaches us to use our basics in combination, all the while developing footwork and accuracy as well as grip strength. This is a vital element of the knife that again gets overlooked. It's not enough to train grip in isolation with a crush-gripper or whatever, you absolutely need the practice of using it in the context of striking with a powerful attack that's meeting resistance while you're on the move. Without this skill you can literally disarm yourself on an attack - very un-cool.
After this came the essential Move & Attack Drills to further refine the connection between hand and foot, merging the attack and the evasion in flow. Finally we covered basic exercises to develop the Interception, starting the bridge from this month's seminar to the next where we will cover the Defensive side of the art as well as the Fighting Drills. The Interception is of course a central concept to both fencing and JKD, literally the "Jeet" in Jeet Kune Do.
In September of 2011 we held part two of our Bowie Knife Combatives series and spent the day covering various Defense & Fighting Drills with the Bowie Knife, working knife against knife, knife against stick or bat, and knife against rifle or bayonet.
In training against longer weapons you learn to have even better mobility because you have to cover more ground when you fly in or fly out. For several years I fenced in a Medieval-themed organization using just a short flexi-dagger against people with full-sized epees to develop this skill. By working against different weapons you're able to explore various strategies and approaches that are made possible when wielding the big steel.
We devoted much of our time to the art of evasion, learning to Disengage when attacked and to be as elusive as possible. This is an essential element in the Bowie method the way we teach it, and if you just follow the progressions on the DVD at home in a few weeks you'll be amazed at how much skill you can develop.
Of course there are many other advantages that you gain combatively when you have a large knife, such as the ability to Parry or deliver a Beat to clear the opponent's weapon out of the way. We covered these elements along with the Riposte and the use of the Trapping Guard in short order.
After we finished up our training for the day it was time for some chow and Lily volunteered to go on a beer run. Since we had a while until she got back I suggested we do some shooting just for fun.
It seemed only fitting as I'd told them on break about Don Jose "Pepe" Llulla, the dueling master of old New Orleans. He was said to be "the South's greatest expert in the use of the saber, equally skilled with the broad-sword, practically invulnerable when armed with a rapier or small sword, and a genius with a bowie knife".
His skill with firearms was said to be no less remarkable. Reports state that he could hit a silver dollar held by a friend or knock a pipe out of their teeth, that he could balance an egg on the head of his small son and crack the shell with a ball at thirty paces, and with a rifle he could hit any coin or cork tossed into the air (yes, just like we still do today).
I started throwing and shooting on a quarter and hitting it just about every shot...I was on a roll! This inspired Kurt to get in on the game and then David. While Kurt started on coins a few months back, David is new to instinctive rifle shooting as of this year. In fact he's new to shooting the rifle right handed as of this year...let me explain.
Like many people he's cross-eye dominant, meaning he's right handed but with a left master eye. Because of this while he was in the service they taught him to shoot left handed, and told him he had to learn that way because of his left master eye. So, he was surprised when I told him that with the way we teach Instinctive Rifle it doesn't matter what your eye dominance is, you can shoot either side (and in fact we force everyone to learn both sides as part of our training progressions).
He was amazed to learn that not only could he shoot right handed, but he could hit aerials from the very beginning and he's gotten quite good on hitting the various sized cans thrown into the air. But, he'd never tried shooting a quarter before so I was eager to see how he'd do.
Once he got the hang of throwing the coin he suddenly said "I saw it! I saw the BB just go by the bottom edge, maybe a quarter-inch off!" The sun was right behind us, and this caused the silver BBs to shine. "That's why they call it the poor-man's tracer round!" I told him, "Now keep going and you're gonna' get it!"
Sure enough, just a minute later I heard him whoop "Got it!" and he fetched his coin with a big grin. "Now do it again!" I encouraged, and sure enough he did - again and again and again! By the time Lily got back and we stopped he'd nailed it 7 times.
It just shows what the right training and a little practice can do. As I told him, "Now the hardest part won't be the shooting, but simply getting people to believe you when you say you can do it!"
All my very best to you,