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JKD UnderGround >> Back cut?


10/26/05 2:34 PM
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finnfighter
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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I have been reading alot about bowie-knife fighting on several sources. I´ve also practised knifefighting, even brushing on western concepts too.Still I´ve mainly dabbled in filipino styles. I keep reading about backcuts and how they´re some sort of a magic bullet. All I get is this so far:Somehow like abaniko, but not quite. Picture series have been sorry-ass quality.. And its done with the sharpened clip.And they¨´re so fast you cant block them. My experience with abaniko involves doing it headhigh to someones temples, and Ì´ve always felt that it was pretty much a fine-mechanics movement with little practical value or power behind it. How does it relate to knifefighting??????? If done against someones thrusting knifearm (like I read somewhere), wouldnt it mean you twist your hand to an unnatural angle ?? Why? Why not just use the primary edge and not risk dropping the knife f.ex.?I just cant picture it, please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
10/26/05 3:57 PM
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Edited: 26-Oct-05 04:08 PM
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Hey Finnfighter: Good question. I come from an FMA background, so when the backcut was first shown to me I thought "that's...just...an ugly looking abaniko for a big knife. BIG DEAL." The best written description of the backcut is by Bill Bagwell in his "Big Book of Battle Blades." There's one chapter solely dedicated to this, and reading it gives one a really good idea. The best visual instruction is James Keating's DVD titled "The Deadly Backcut." That one showed details that Bagwell's chapter didn't cover. I'll try to summarize it all in a nutshell. - The backcut is magical for just one reason: the time to complete the technique takes roughly 0.15 seconds. That's a magic number because, according to Bagwell, the human eye can only detect images at .223 seconds. Meaning, the movement itself as FASTER than the human eye is designed to detect images. - The other reason why it is invisible is because it is generally thrown at a 45 degree angle above your left eyebrow. Put your left hand above your head, then move it to 45 degrees above your left eyebrow, and your hand will simply be out of vision. The backcut technique takes advantage of this mechanical flaw of human vision, and uses it mercilessly. - An abaniko is generally thrown with a wrist twisting action, in order to create a fanning motion with the stick. Do this enough, and you'll have Popeye forearms, because the technique requires forearm action. The backcut, however, doesn't require forearm twisting, but rather for your elbow to pop up towards the sky, turning the clip of the bowie towards your opponent. This subtle movement is EXTREMELY fast and easy to throw. Imagine doing this technique, popping your elbow up, inverting the clip towards your opponent, so that the tip is right above his left eye so he can't see it (plus it is too fast for him to see)...and you can understand why it's a nearly unstoppable technique. - Lastly, the POWER of the technique comes from the design of the bowie itself. The bowie can create a lot of leverage because if its specific balance and weight. Its a powerful slasher. Let's say, for argument's sake, that you slash with your bowie at 200lbs. of force per square inch. If 3 inches of your edges hits flesh, that's 200lbs. of force DISPERSED over 3 inches. The backcut is a DIFFERENT STORY: the primary contact point of the backcut is the TIP of the clip point. So you're looking at 200lbs. of pressure...CONCENTRATED into a powerful tip that is about as pointy as a needle. It can penetrate the skull in less that 0.15 seconds. (cont'd)
10/26/05 4:04 PM
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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- The last detail that really makes the backcut so deadly is because of the design of the clip. When you slash with a knife, the edge touches the target first. As you pull the knife, the tip TRAILS the edge (comes into contact last). With the backcut, the POINT reaches the target first, and as the knife continues on its path to complete the cut, it actually DIGS FURTHER into the target, creating a CLAWING type of action. Imagine a kerambit attached to the bowie, and you'll understand the damage that it is capable of doing. Again, all of it done in less than a quart of a second. One extremely GRAPHIC example of the damage a backcut can do is in Lynn Thompson's Cold Steel "More Proof" DVD. It's a promotional DVD for his knife company, where the knives are put through tests, etc. Well, he hangs a very thick piece of beef for his Laredo Bowie to cut. He backcuts into it, and frankly it doesn't look impressive. It looks like he just did some lame, flicky type of cut into the meat. It isn't until the camera turns to the WOUND in the beef, that you can see that it has cut at least a 4 inch deep, 6 inch wide swath across and into the beef. My jaw dropped when I saw this. This is why I'm thoroughly convinced that the bowie, and the bowie combatives "system", is an edged weapons regimen that no weapons practitioner can avoid. It MUST be studied. Please feel free to keep asking questions, because this is one of my favorite subjects to discuss, and more than happy to help.
10/26/05 5:37 PM
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Stickgrappler
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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it's been a looooooong time since i've updated my site *saves thread for site archival* thank you :-)
10/26/05 6:00 PM
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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Cool SG! The 45 degree above the eyebrow trick is pretty nifty. Just put your hand above your head, but still keep it in your line of vision. Move it to your left at about 45 degrees, and voila, the hand is out of vision (even though the distance is the same). It's is right at that angle that the first backcut comes in. The other backcuts and thrusts make the bowie a VERY confusing and intimidate weapon to be on the other end of. When I spar with my old classmates, and one of them gets a backcut flow going, I feel like I'm up against a savateur...except he's cutting me LOL!
10/26/05 6:21 PM
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finnfighter
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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So basically, Im throwing a "ridgehand" or haito, but in a 45 degree angle down on his Eyebrow/temple, and with a knife. From his blindspot? And I do it with a snap, just popping the elbow up, closing the distance and cutting down in an angle? And you can get a rodondo type deal going, with backcuts again and again...? Aaahhh...... interesting.. Hows grip strength during the movement...its so damn unnatural.....:)
10/26/05 6:22 PM
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finnfighter
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Edited: 26-Oct-05
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And THANKS
10/27/05 9:10 AM
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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"So basically, Im throwing a "ridgehand" or haito, but in a 45 degree angle down on his Eyebrow/temple" Yes, yes. Also, once the tip makes contact, use your wrist (like a redondo) to pull the tip back. This creates the "clawing" action of the bowie, which makes it a very devastating blow. "From his blindspot?" Yes, but you can follow it up with a second backcut to his kidney. There's a whole backcut flow that, once you get it going, is really hard to stop. Keating's Deadly Backcut DVD has this. Also, anytime you do a backcut, you have to do "in quartata" footwork. Basically, if your right leg is forward, pivot on your right foot while your left leg sweeps to the right, about 45 degrees. This moves your center mass at an angle where he can't close on you, and closing on you would actually bring him CLOSER to the tip of your bowie...which is bad. "And you can get a rodondo type deal going, with backcuts again and again...?" Yes, yes, you're getting it. :) One of my favorite backcut combos is backcut to the blind spot, then another backcut to his right forearm, then angle #2 across his body (or face). Mind you, on the slash, your left leg has to angle HARD (90 degrees), to get away from a counter. "Hows grip strength during the movement...its so damn unnatural.....:)" Keep a natural grip (thumb secure around the handle). Some may argue that it won't facilitate thrusts as well (get Keating's "Crossada" tape on bowie thrusts also), but it's really secure. And PRACTICE. Get your practice in, and it'll feel more and more natural to you. Also, if you can, get a good production bowie that's well balanced for this type of practice, so that you can FEEL a backcut flow. Ontario Hell's Belle's are really good (I have 3 of these), and a Cold Steel Laredo is good also. Then PRACTICE. Something to shoot for: Rob Langford at comtech (according to bagwell), can do about 12 backcuts in a second.
10/27/05 9:42 AM
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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One more thing finn: The backcut is really designed for the bowie knife. It has to be carefully modified when using it for smaller knives, like folders or 6 inch fixed blades. But get your hands on an Ontario HB or CS Laredo, backcut away!
10/27/05 11:34 AM
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finnfighter
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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Thanks. 12 in a second??????? Christ.
10/27/05 11:45 AM
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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finn: some ridiculous number like that. It's in Bagwell's book.
10/27/05 12:43 PM
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Ausgepicht
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Edited: 27-Oct-05 01:12 PM
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I'm not getting it completely. Isn't the Back of a Bowie unsharpened? Once initial Contact is made with the Tip is there an immediate Twist/Flick of the Wrist or you are just letting the Speed and Force rip through?
10/27/05 12:54 PM
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Scott Elliott
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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OMG!!!! AUS SIGHTING!!!! LOL! It's good to see that SOMETHING has brought you out of hiding, bro!
10/27/05 1:01 PM
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Edited: 27-Oct-05 01:04 PM
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Hey Aus: good to have you back here man! One of the distinguishing features of the bowie is that the clip point (sometimes referred to as the false edge) IS sharpened. Modern bowies don't necessarily have this anymore, because they may not sell because they can be interepreted as "double-edged" knives, which are illegal. However, bowies like the Ontario Helle's Belle, the Cold Steel Laredo, and the Randall Bear Bowie ALL have sharpened clip points. As for the backcut several things are happening. 1) RIGHT BEFORE CONTACT - you pivot on both the balls of your feet, so that your hips and torso turn TOWARD the target. This allows your bodyweight to transfer INTO the backcut. It's bad enough just using the motion of the knife, and the weight of the knife to create damage. With your BODY behind it...YEESH, I hate to think of it. 2) IMMEDIATELY AFTER CONTACT - you ARE letting speed and force complete the motion for you, but you may stab yourself in the process, as the knife is on a circular arc, and will return to the origin...with the tip pointed at you. To complete the backcut (and not stab yourself), twist your wrist (slightly) and pull the tip of the knife toward you so that it can recover. Quickly, as the knife is heading towards you (not as dangerous as it sounds), drop your elbow so the knife immediately points up. As you're doing this, swing your left leg to your right (behind you at a 45 degree angle), changing your body angle so you can deliver what is called a "punta reversa" - a thrust to your opponent's neck, with the elbow in toward the centreline. The sudden dropping of your elbow also creates a natural momentum for this thrust. VERY tricky thrust, because your body is angled in a way where the opponent cannot adjust to launch an attack, while you are delivering a very deadly strike to his throat. I catch a lot of people with this in sparring. I hope this clarifies it for you. The reason why these techniques are so deadly is because of the nature of the tool it's designed for: it's a HUGE knife. Not a 4 incher. More like an 11" blade. It's hard to appreciate these techniques without handling the tool.
10/27/05 1:19 PM
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Ausgepicht
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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Yeah, I have been lurking WAAAY too much. So it's a Slice made in the opposite Direction than most Cuts are typically made with? How far is the Spine alive? JUSt the Tip or along the Hump?
10/27/05 1:32 PM
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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Aus: Same direction, reversing the lead. If you do an angle #1 slash, your hand will actually be in line before the knife is. This is why "defanging the snake" works: your hand is in line before the knife gets there. It's "flesh leading steel." With the backcut, the POINT is actually in the lead. VERY hard to defang, because it's "steel leading flesh." As for the the clip point, from what I've read, 19th century bowie users only wanted the last 2 inches sharpened. For the models I mentioned, 4 inches is sharpened from the tip.
10/27/05 7:09 PM
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Stickgrappler
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Edited: 27-Oct-05
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Ontario Helle's Belle Cold Steel Laredo - fast googling turn this up, but not sure if this is the model to that has sharpened clip point Randall Bear Bowie - e is 11" blade, and g is 13" blade ----------- opens new - from alliance martial arts opens new - from alliance martial arts opens new - from james keating's site i gotta go check my mclemore book and read up on the backcut there too. i thought i got it, but then i googled for pix and now maybe i found wrong pix or maybe i'm not getting it. i think from the sound of it, the WCK baat jom do/butterfly swords may work too?
10/28/05 9:00 AM
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Edited: 28-Oct-05
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Thanks for posting the pics SG! Yes, the clip point of the Laredo is sharpened. That's a very good piece. I've handled it, and it handles well. The best handling bowie I've ever handled is the Camillus Fisk OVB. Looks like a MONSTER, but handles really really light and quickly. The only problem is that you have to send it in for a custom maker to sharper the clip point. They're hard to find, as they were a limited run. But you can still find them on ebay. Do you have a picture of the WCK butterfly knife you're talking about? IF it's the wing chun butterfly knife you're talking about, I've always wondered if those were inspired by the texas D-guard bowies.
10/28/05 10:50 AM
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Scott Elliott
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Edited: 28-Oct-05
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I think the Bot Jaam Do lacks the curve of the Bowie that makes the effect similar to the Karambit. From your description, it would seem that it needs that curve to have the plowing and digging effect that the karambit has.
10/28/05 11:05 AM
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Edited: 28-Oct-05
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Scott: yeah, if he's talking about those, then they won't be able to backcut, because there's no sharpened clip point on them. The clip point is the distinguishing feature of a bowie knife. Another interesting thing to point out about the bowie is that it's the only knife that can manage all the tasks of any edged weapon. A khukri can chop, but can't thrust or back cut. A dagger can thrust, but can't chop or back cut. A kerambit can claw (similar to back cut), but can't thrust or chop. The bowie is the only one that can chop, thrust, slash, AND backcut. All in one. In this aspect, I consider the bowie the JKD of knives. It can do it all. :)
10/28/05 11:58 AM
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Scott Elliott
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Edited: 28-Oct-05
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"Another interesting thing to point out about the bowie is that it's the only knife that can manage all the tasks of any edged weapon." Pretty cool.
10/30/05 3:11 AM
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Burton
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Edited: 30-Oct-05
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I didn't have time to read all the posts, but a couple things. (That may have been mentioned.) First, get out the protective gear and spar this move to see what happens. You have to be pretty close to do it, but works great as a counter to the straight thrust to the face. Second, there is writing about Bowie (I believe by his wife) that recounted him going off to "play with knives" with her uncles. She is said to have been of Filipino descent. (There was a large population in New Orleans, due to shipping routes.) If you look at it, the Bowie knife looks much like the Bolo. Aloha!
10/31/05 9:11 AM
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Edited: 31-Oct-05
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Hey Burton: great to see you on this thread! One thing that I got from Armando was to spar. A LOT. In fact, Armando didn't have soft stx bowies. He had wooden replicas made, and he had us use fencing masks and hockey gloves for protective gear. GEEZ the welts those would leave! LOL!! I once did a backcut to the front of my partner's mask, and he said that he actually smelled the wood as it scraped hard into his mask. Bagwell, in his early 60's, STILL spars on a regular basis. All the techniques in the bowie curriculum are "live" techniques that can be learned fairly easily, and easily applied in a sparring session. Much like boxing, there are only about 5 offensive techniques (thrust, snap cut, backcut, punta mandritta, punta reversa). The rest is TNT: technique and timing, which is developed through sparring. That said, much like bjj, you can't really apply a lot of them if the details are not in place. When to pivot on the balls of your feet, when to extend the arm, etc. are all details that not only make your timing impeccable, but your techniques seem "invisible." As for Bowie...oooh boy, you'd get a lot of flack from the WMA peeps about the FMA comment! LOL!! Much of these techniques are actually from scottish saber and renaissance fencing (which was prevalent in Europe and New Orleans). So it's more likely that that is the background Bowie (and many of the duellists of the time) used while using the bowie knife. Frankly, for me, I have a Bruce Lee approach to it: this is how I would use it, I don't care what you call it or where it comes from. :)
10/31/05 10:24 PM
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Burton
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Edited: 31-Oct-05
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Glad to hear that you are testing everything in sparring. That is so much fun. Edged weapon sparring can be done to a very late age. There is a man here at the Salle Honolulu fencing academy who competes against teenagers, even though he is 90! Aloha!

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