Denver Bowie & Double Knife Seminar
Report By Keith Jennings
On the weekend of June 25th and 26th, a group of blade enthusiasts from all over the United States gathered in Denver, CO for two days of intensive knife training. This was the first time that the Alliance Bowie Knife method had been taught in Rocky Mountain region. While there were a number of "Alliance veterans" in attendance, most of the participants at the seminar had never trained with Alliance Martial Art’s Pete Kautz before. While the veterans knew what to expect, all of the participants were blown away at the quality and depth of instruction. Many of folks in attendance had a lot of experience traveling the knife seminar circuit, and more than one person declared that it was the best knife seminar they had ever attended.
The first day of training was dedicated to the American bowie knife. Pete started everyone off with some light calisthenics. Many have heard of combat condition, but this was more like combative conditioning. All of the exercises were done with a training knife in hand, and each one was done with the idea of mimicking and enhancing martial movements. After everyone was properly warmed up, Pete introduced the proper guard stance. He explained in detail the proper method of holding a bowie knife by allowing the guard of the knife to protect your hand. Next, Pete covered a few essential Western fencing concepts, such as footwork, timing, and distance. Focus was given to the thrust, with an emphasis on making sure the students moved using the True Times (Time of the Hand, Body, and Foot). Training consisted of various flow drills and battle sets using varied rhythm in order to avoid predictability. The day ended with some spirited rounds of sparring. There were a number of really nice exchanges in the sparring, which was a testament to both Pete’s ability as a teacher and the dedication of the students. After a while, the rubber trainers were discarded in favor for burning sticks of incense. The change in attitude and focus was quite evident as soon as the students began spar with the incense. Range immediately opened up, and each combatant gave their opponent much more respect.
The second day consisted of double-knife training. Practicing with duel weapons is an advanced skill, and while the training was challenging, everyone’s skill level dramatically increased by the end of the second day. Pete explained that when using two knifes (or swords) the real danger is in self-inflicted wounds. That is why weaving motions are dangerous for the novice. Instead, shoot one weapon out to block or defend, and then retract as you counter strike or check with the other weapon. A variety of tactics were covered, including stresso tempo (single time) and dui tempi (double time) defenses, intercepting attacks, and crossada (crossing) actions.
So ended two days of rigorous, but extremely rewarding, knife training. As is standard with any Alliance Martial Arts seminar, all of the students left with months and months of drills to practice with their training partners at home. Thanks to Pete for coming out to teach such an fantastic seminar, and thanks to all the students in attendance who made it happen.