Knife Fighting 101: Weak Hand Deployment Part 2

In part two of our weak-hand series, rather than ask why, I examine what are we dealing with. We are dealing with angling and the element of surprise. We must deal with the fact that our opponent is likely right-hand dominant and has only trained or practiced against other right-hand dominant people. From there, the rest is easy.

Understand, when confronted with an attacker you play a statistical equation. But it’s still part of the scenario. I mean, everyone breaks it Rob is experienced in many different martial arts, but spends his time learning and understanding the knife. Knives can be our best friend when we need them most, but our worst enemy if we don't know how to use them properly.down into x amount of people are right-handed and X amount of people are left-handed. Those are just facts. So, when we are looking at that side of the equation now, what is angling, the element of surprise, ranging and footwork.

We’ll start with the footwork because it's the most obvious. If you are right-hand dominant, you are in what we call a traditional lead. If you switch around, it's called southpaw. If you are a boxer dealing with somebody who is a southpaw, talk to people who have pitched. You know when they deal with a guy who is a switch hitter because that causes chaos at the pitcher’s mound and in the bullpen. However, if you have a guy that just bats from the left life gets easier for pitchers and the bullpen. The entire scenario changes when a hitter can choose either side of the plate. This is why guys that can attack with either hand are so dangerous, no matter which weapon they choose.

Back onto footwork. So, what is footwork? Everything is about footwork. Nobody's got their footwork down. If you look at it specifically from a weak-side deployment, how you position yourself and blade your body, especially when you have got a firearm on you, is critical for success.

Now, you get involved in a situation where you should either shield the weapon or attempt to retain the weapon. How you position your body gives you both advantages. If your footwork is optimized you are able to draw your attacker off balance and get your primary weapon further away. In the meantime, you have access to your most-immediate weapon, the blade in your non-dominant hand. 

If you trained weak-side deployment that's going to make the job a whole lot easier and your ability to get that weapon out and get it out in speed is going to be the difference between life and death.

In the knife-wielding world, in the world of Filipino martial arts you come up to disarm a knife person, the ideal scenario would be a good-hand versus bad-hand scenario. So, what we have is, me wielding the blade on my strong side and me attacking you on the weak side. What makes that weak is your inability to flow with my movements using your left hand. It’s very difficult to do.

Let's assume you've received the training and have the footwork down. An attack comes and you moved into a positive position that blades your primary weapon away from the armed attacker. The attacker lunges for my gun and I pin the gun, retain it, and attempt to break range. Before my assailant deploys their blade I must deploy mine, which immediately changed the tenure of flow. My attacker's game plan is now changed. At one time, the attacker focused all the energy on being able to get me to disarm from my primary weapon to them to either kill me or whatever. However, now they must deal with another scenario. So, all things become equal I don't even have to be 100% proficient to be a distraction to this attacker. This is the element of surprise, a surprise that I maintain proficiency with a blade in my non-dominant hand. 

Now, let's look at the positive side of this. Let’s assume you’ve received the warning and keep a blade on your non-dominant side, received some training and possess 30- to 40-percent proficiency of both hands. That's better than nothing.

So now, you have the capability of putting on a fight and waging some sort of difference. What's it all about? This isn't about you looking good, this isn't about you looking good on camera. This is about you going home to your family. That’s what this is about.

This idea that we are even having this conversation. The idea that we are having this conversation, of the necessity of having a strong- or weak-side carry or let’s just go ahead and say stronger non-dominant hand. The fact that we have to have this conversation is asinine, to say the least.

In part three, we discuss keeping these skills sharp and developing them and keeping them sharp. ~ Filo

To learn more from Filo about knives and the intricacies that come with handling a knife click the links below.

Blade School Prep: What and How to Carry:
Blade School Prep: Drawing and Attacking with Your Knife:
Blade School Prep: Avoiding Common Mistakes when Carrying a Knife:
Blade School Prep: Anatomy of a Knife Attack:


Rob “Filo” Cabrera
Long time martial artist and practitioner, Rob began his journey in the arts at a young age. In his youth, Rob found himself putting a lot of what he learned to the test on the streets. After being given a “fresh start,” Rob began to focus on giving back to society and gaining more knowledge in different martial art systems. He’s had the honor and opportunity to give back to his community and nation by training military, law enforcement, and citizens. He’s trained in Wing Tsun, Aiki-jūjutsu, MuayThai, Kung Fu, and Western Boxing; however, over the past 20 years, Rob has set his focus on the Southeast Asian Martial Arts, Kali, and Silat. His primary focus is armed and unarmed combat and self-defense preservation.