Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Edged Weapons and Tools

Steve Tarani Edged Weapons Defense course AAR


I'm a training junkie.  I believe that having knowledge and skills is very important and a man with thousands of dollars worth of equipment that he doesn't know how to use is less effective than a trained man with marginal equipment.

Every year I try to take at least two or three classes as a student.  The modest monies I make teaching civilians the basics are how I pay for the training, so it works out nicely.  This spring, among others, I took two defensive knife classes.

Here's a review of my class with Steve Tarani that was held a couple of months ago at the Boone County Sheriff's Office just outside of Indianapolis, IN.  It was published in the May 2010 issue of GunNews Magazine, the monthly journal of Guns Save

Before this year, I'd carried a folding knife for years and didn't have a CLUE about how to use it defensively or to counter a knife attack.  I didn't even know what I didn't know.  Today, I'm much better prepared.  Especially here in IL where civilians like me can't carry a loaded gun.

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Thanks in advance and hope you enjoy.


Tarani says you can always reserve the right to "take it like a man".  Not a good option if you're the good guy.

Steve Tarani
Edged Weapons Defense
After-Action Report

Story by John Boch
Photos by Vince
Boone County, IN (GunNews) - Sheriff Ken Campbell sponsored Steve Tarani to teach his Edged Weapons Defense course at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department headquarters Mar 20-21.

Steve Tarani taught the 24 students in the 2-day, $250 course.  A little over half of the students were cops, the balance civilians like myself.

Tarani introduced himself as working for Uncle Sam.  He’s got over 31 years studying and teaching martial arts and in his current role with Uncle, teaches lots of gun and knife classes to high-speed, low-drag types when he’s not working “in the field” himself.  On a few weekends, he teaches civilians and local LEOs various defense-oriented courses, of which this was one.

His skills and speed were phenomenal. If you’re his demonstration “partner” playing the aggressor, you might blink and then think to yourself “what the hell just happened to the knife that was just in my hand and how did it get stuck in my back?”

We spent about an hour in the classroom introducing ourselves, describing what we wanted out of the class and Tarani talking about the basics of defensive knife.

We covered “Scale of Injury” - make sure your injuries are less than the bad guy’s. Soft vs. hard targets (flesh vs. bone) and lethal vs. generally less-lethal targets. He covered KISS (keep it simple), gross motor skills and pain compliance (or lack thereof in some individuals under the influence of intoxicants). He stressed mechanical compliance - cutting control mechanisms and/or eliminating hydraulics.

If you want the long form of what we covered, buy Steve Tarani’s book, “Masters of the Blade”.

From there, we adjourned to the basement training area.  After stretches and warmups we proceeded to some basic techniques of protecting your vital areas, one- and two-step “get off the x” type moves.  Soon after we broke out the  training knives and proceeded to do some basic “push away and get out” type drills, partnering off after each demonstration to run the drill with a new classmate, taking turns playing aggressor and good guy.

After lunch, we broke out the folding knives and drilled on all aspects of draw and presentation.   After about three hours, students were going from hands above the belt in front to presenting a folder in about 1.2 seconds (.9ish was fastest).

That’s right, in less time than most people can draw their pistola, much less get two good shots off. 

When you’re within 6’ of a bad guy with a knife, you must usually deal with that knife threat before you present your own weapon system, be it knife, club or projectile.  And by “dealing” with it, I mean going hands on in some fashion, be it tap and get out of the danger zone or closing in to disarm, wrest control of the blade or take care of business to make sure a renewed attack doesn’t come.

Moving “in” drills took the balance of day one with techniques for countering the major thrusts and plunging attacks discussed.

Day two was devoted to curved utility blades and I must admit I was very skeptical about the utility of curved blades walking in, but was sold by the first break.  My skepticism was just my ignorance talking.

Some folks refer to these curved blade knives as “karambits.”  Think:  Velociraptor claw. 

The curved nature of the blade makes it extremely effective at slicing through flesh and it’s very versatile to employ.  It’s handy retention ring makes it difficult to defend against, unless you have an opportunity to mechanically disable the delivery mechanism on a bad guy or can out-run your attacker (never a bad option!).

Basically, we spent the entire day learning how to block, slash and hook with the sharp edge(s) of the karambit. And we spent a fair amount of time learning how to use it to disarm a conventional knife-wielding adversary. We learned “nice” ways involving a minimal loss of blood and tissue if the opportunity presents itself. Failing that, we learned less polite ways, which usually involve major tissue and / or blood loss.

In short, this edged weapon class instilled still more respect in me for what a blade can do in the hands of someone intent on hurting people.

At the same time, Tarani’s course provided me the knowledge and tools I need to defeat a knife-wielding attacker.  After all, in Illinois, we can’t carry the most useful tool to keep armed bad guys at bay. 

Up until recently I never heard of a karambit.  Someone at work who came from the Philippines showed ma a youtube video and it didn't take long for me to see how effective it was when you know how to use one.  I watched quite a few videos of people showing how to use them with no illusions that they in any way would make me able to use one effectively.  I did buy one just to get the feel of it, and after this virus thing quiets down I hope to find a good school to learn from.

Here in NY a knife has to be under 4 inches and must be concealed to carry legally.  One thing I found was that the all American made jeans I was wearing for some time made by Diamond Gussett was a perfect way to carry the karambit.  I've always ordered the ones with an extra small pocket on the right leg.  It is right about at hand level, just deep enough so the karambit can be dropped in with nothing exposed, and narrow enough to keep it upright.  Eventually I just removed the retaining clip from the knife and keep it in the pocket. 

Those pants may be worth looking into, if nothing else they fit quite well, are comfortable, and are made in the USA.  While still untrained in it's use, that small pocket opens the karambit like a charm using the Emerson wave. 


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