By Lynn Thompson – Cold Steel ~ In my earlier article regarding “Mouse Knives” I urged my friends and customers to examine their knife carry choices with intellectual honesty, to look at the advantages and disadvantages of their knife choice and to study what is genuinely and realistically possible with those small knives in a true life or death encounter.
My EDC (every day carry) almost always includes a Mouse Knife. I understand their limitations as well as their merits and I believe they are a useful tool and valid last ditch self-defense option that everyone should carry. But, my personal EDC also always includes multiple large knives – and today I’d like to talk about why I choose to carry those big knives.
As a Martial Artist I have been training with knives since 1978 and I’ve been exploring the potential of the Bowie knife since 1983. The study of the big knife is one of my true passions. I try to keep my training as realistic and as honest as possible and I have the pleasure and privilege of training with some of the world’s top exponents of a wide range of Martial Arts and fighting disciplines.
I often train with blades that range from 3″ to 13″ in length (bigger than that is usually a sword or a machete). Over the years I have been cut, slashed, punched, kicked, choked, bruised and bloodied uncounted times and although I try to make my training as unpleasant and as genuinely stressful as possible – even under the most debilitating pressure – I always find some small comfort when I have a Bowie Knife in my hand.
Discussing large knives could easily turn into a very lengthy essay. Blade shape, edge geometry, handle design, folding or fixed blades – it all plays a part and it all adds to the character of the knife. The subtle nuances that make it move and make it fight. I will endeavor to talk about some of these variations as concisely as I can and hopefully give you some things to consider should you ever wonder about carrying a big knife.
I have explored this subject from a variety of different viewpoints over the years. As a Martial Artist I am fascinated with the movement of the blade, the economy of motion and the manipulation of edge and point. As a keen historian I am always studying the big knife and its application throughout the ages, from the American frontiersman whose Bowie was his closest and dearest tool to the Spanish Gypsy carrying his fighting Navaja. As a hunter I have a deep understanding of the knife’s cutting potential, ability to deliver a quick and humane death and to break down and process the carcass and harvest the meat. As a fighter and a practical no-nonsense believer in an individual’s right to defend themselves I have never shied away from the reality of a confrontation involving an edged weapon.
Sometimes this discussion may become quite graphic. After all we are discussing the blood and horror of using a knife for self-defense. It’s an unpleasant subject and something I hope you never have to experience but it is always something to learn about, absorb and consider. After all, knowledge is power and ignorance is never truly blissful.
Legality is of course a primary issue and I urge everyone to learn about their local state and country laws. Not everyone enjoys the freedom I possess to openly carry a big fixed blade knife, but if you do have that option, I heartily encourage it. As I’ve said before, the world would be a very different place if every hard working, God fearing soul had a Laredo Bowie on their belt!