Around '97 a buddy of mine who
was a fellow Pekiti-Tirsia guy showed me a folder that I fell in love with made
by Kershaw called the Talon. It was small and lightweight with Titanium scales.
The knife had an interesting opening mechanism. In place of the usual thumb
stud, hole, or disc, it had a bottle opener. I thought this was pretty trick but
the main thing that attracted me to the knife was it's reverse S curvature that
put the edge on the inside when held point down. This was the Pakal folder. It
was oriented tip down. The model number on the knife was the 1421 ST modified.
Here is a picture of it in its original factory configuration.
I really didn't think about it
from any other standpoint than it fit the bill of an edge in folder so I set
about doing some research.
I found out that Kershaw made
the Talon in three different configurations. A Ti handle with a thumbstud, the
Ti handle with the bottle opener, and a G-10 handle with the thumbstud. I wanted
the bottle opener as I felt it offered a surer opening than the stud, but I
wanted the G-10 handle. So I called Kershaw and asked them if they could put the
bottle opener blade on the G-10 handle. They said that was no problem. I hung
up, my question answered, and kinda forgot about the whole thing as I had a
million irons and projects in the fire. I'd get around to ordering one sooner or
Well, low and behold, the
woman that I love was listening to my conversation and called the guy at Kershaw
back ten minutes later, after I had left for work, and ordered me that knife,
the way I wanted it. She gave it to me Christmas morning of '97. I was ecstatic;
especially that she had been so attentive about a piece of gear. Here is a pic
of that knife.
So here I was with my new toy,
a Pakal terror! One thing that puzzled me though was that my knife was oriented
tip up. Hmm….wonder why that was? Didn't see any holes on the opposite side of
the handle. Apparently, for whatever reason, Kershaw made the two Ti handled
knives tip down and the G-10 model with thumb stud tip up. Huh. I had a hybrid
that was the only one of its kind. That was kinda neat.
Anyway I began to carry it and
would be careful to kinda palm the bottle opener as I was withdrawing it from my
pocket, and then hit the opener with my thumb or little finger depending on
whether I drew it point up or down. I never thought about it any other way.
Then around the end of '98 I
started seeing all the hoopla about the Emerson Commander. I didn't think much
of it as it really wasn't to my tastes, but it looked like a solid albeit big
knife. The thing that intrigued me was the "Wave" that I kept hearing
people rave about and how fast it was. I finally saw some pics of how it opened
and realized that my knife could open on the pocket also. So I started playing
The more I worked with it the
more refined it became. One thing that I noticed was that all the Emerson pics
showed the knife being opened on the rear seam of the pocket, which required a
real radical rearward pull. My knife however, because it had a deeper and longer
cutout, only had to be pulled straight forward to open it, thus it was faster. I
had discovered a better mousetrap.
I called Kershaw around March
of '99 to discover that they had discontinued the Talon. It never was a real big
seller. I spoke to a gentleman there and told him what I had found out about the
bottle opener feature with my knife and that I felt that it was more efficient
than the Wave. He didn't seem to interested in the idea and felt like there was
too much liability in putting out a knife that might accidentally open in the
pocket. I hung up somewhat non-plussed.
I began to scour dealers
everywhere for the bottle opener Talon. Hardly any were to be found and now they
are just about impossible. I just bought four of them from a guy that had them
stuck back in a corner. He was more than happy to get rid of them because they
had sat on his shelf for years and had never moved. Just to unconventional.
Here's a pic of an unmodified
1421, my G-10 hybrid, and a 1421 that I reversed the clip on for tip up carry.
I have a drawer full of
folders. I haven't found anything faster to deploy than the tip up Talon, with
the bottle opener. I did an exercise with a PACT timer and balloons a while
back. I averaged about a quarter second draw to cut, starting with my hand on
the knife in my pocket and hold a personal best of .17. Here are some pics of a
point up draw sequence followed by a point down draw sequence. Notice that
unlike the Commander, all the draw mechanics are forward and into the strike.
I've modified my grip a bit in
the pics so you can see the bottle opener hooking the pocket. As long as you
maintain pressure on the scale with your thumb against the pocket, it's gonna
open. Way faster than the Wave. Even Ernie thinks so! Here is the draw and
opening into Pikal (reverse grip).
If you want the fastest
opening folder out there the Kershaw Talon model 1421 ST, modified for tip up
carry is it. I've dubbed it "The Southern Comfort.” If you can find one
buy it! If you find one and don't like the whole thing, then e-mail me and I
SouthNarc and I had
conversations months ago about this knife and I let two or three of them slip
through my grubby paws. That won’t happen again. This is a solid little knife.
Could the liner be thicker? Yeah, probably so, but there are more important
things to talk about that overshadow that as well as negate the fact that the
liner is not incredibly “beefy” and thick.
It simply does not matter
because of how we use the knife.
If you look at this knife in
full profile, it looks like someone at Kershaw heated the whole thing up and
then bent the blade in one direction and the body of the knife in the other
direction. Ever so slightly, that is. Then it looks like they bent the body on
itself again before it cooled off.
That is part of the reason it
feels so good and has a lot of the power the way it is used…the way SouthNarc
and I use the knife.
I remember something he told
me the day I received it in the mail from him, “If they ask you why I call it
‘The Southern Comfort,’ tell them I said it’s because I’m Southern and
it gives me comfort!”
That explains it. It’s cold
comfort to have an excellent tool and this knife is rather special, as it seems
to be designed around a specific blade methodology even though it was never
intended to be! Totally by accident they created a great knife…
Cold comfort in knowing you
have a viable, lifesaving tool, but it feels very comfortable in the hand as
well…that’s very important especially when you consider how SouthNarc and I
tend to use edged weapons in reverse grip. Otherwise known as “icepick” or
“Pakal.” The spellings change, it remains the same.
That would be, reverse grip in
extreme close quarters and with the edge of the blade facing IN and not out.
I know some people vehemently
disagree with edge in reverse grip methods. That’s fine. If you do, keep
reading and maybe you will agree, if not and you think it is B.S., that’s cool
too. See ya in the next life friend.
If you have no opinion either
way, you can keep reading and see if this makes sense to you.
At one time, it made no sense
to me until I learned what to do…
I have heard people say that
this is a totally unnatural way to hold a knife and use it. To them I say…what
is “nature?” What is "natural?"
Is it “natural” to drive a
car? All of these things we learn to do in daily life…typing on this keyboard
too, all are by their very nature…unnatural acts for a human being to do. In
fighting, in my personal opinion, anything other than a clubbing hammerfist
coming vertical down onto another caveman is basically unnatural. Gross motor
movement is natural, but you can overcome that tendency to freeze up and I guess
some never will because they have convinced themselves they never will.
It has been stated as fact
that you cannot strike in a non-telegraphic manner with a knife in reverse grip,
meaning the thrust. This is absolute nonsense.
Added to that, the nature of
extreme close-quarters engagement negates a lot of the “controversy” over
that anyway. The blade does not have to travel very far at all…and it is sunk
in the target.
It’s a twitch…and it’s
over. And it can be non-telegraphic.
Illustration of a concept
Many people know that you can
jab [punch] in a non-telegraphic manner and this can set up the person being hit
with the other, more powerful punch/strike from the other hand.
How much power do you need to
sink a knife into someone? Even if the knife does not hit exactly straight on,
it won’t take much and it will be inside of the target.
I guarantee you, if you take
the simple drill Keating put forth in The Legacy of Steel tapes, that of
non-telegraphic hitting by using the palm of your training partner and your
And you have your partner
stand in front of you with his hand in the STOP position. You want to thrust his
hand with the tip of the trainer. You have to move the weapon first, before
anything else, so that by the time the partner perceives this, the knife is
already touching his palm and he cannot pull his palm back in time to stop the
knife from entering them.
A Pikal Jab, a modified Boxing
Jab done with a hammerfist…that’s the way this works…knife hand hovering
around the sternum, point down. Knife shoots out with the point directed at the
You try it and you will see
that once you understand that, a new door opens to you. Remember, we’re not
talking about this being superior in a long-range engagement with edged weapons,
it is a close-quarters engagement.
How do we arrive at this? Very
simple. People spar a lot with training knives and they then conclude that what
they are doing is going to be street effective because they are winning their
That is TRUE! It WILL work for
them on the street. With the caveat, then the engagement MUST then take place in
the MANNER in which the sparring match did. If it does NOT, then the data is
They use this as “fact”
and “proof” that what they are doing is “street effective” and that it
is “superior” to reverse grip. But it’s not because the sparring match
with training knives is an incredibly poor example of how knife assaults
Please, if you square off with
someone and you both have training knives, please tell me what this looks like.
Come up with a one-word descriptor for it and you tell me.
It begins with a “D.” Come
on…it resembles a Duel.
Now, there is nothing wrong
with playing Largo Mano, long range, with a knife. Nothing at all! If you have
the time and whatnot, it probably is safer in the long run. Especially for
Military folks who have access to machetes, if you have it, USE IT!
Knives are not Sniper Rifles,
as so many people want them to be, however. No, I’m not saying they literally
think they are going to hit someone hundreds of yards away, but they think the
knife in some way is not a close quarter tool. It is and there is no getting
around that fact. Knives are not remote controls; Andy Stanford placed that
little observation out there for everyone to see. You cannot turn your problems
For years now, Col. Jeff
Cooper has been preaching the Good Gospel of tactical awareness through the use
of his Color Code, modified from the USMC WW2 Color Code, this is solid.
However, so many people are using this as a crutch to play certain games, even
in the knife world. They believe fate or simple bad luck will never intercept
Added to that is the fact that
some predatory human beings are very talented at ambushing people. It’s really
that simple. I think a lot of people are fooling themselves that they will
always be able to see trouble coming and then head it off at the pass.
Some people live that Code and
I try to as well, I try to stay alert all the time, but let’s face it, we’re
human beings and sometimes we are going to find ourselves behind the curve.
Something has already happened and we have to play catch up and we must do it
quickly or all is lost.
People that speak in absolutes
that they will never be caught off guard are simply involving themselves in a
game and hopefully, they will never be proven wrong. You would be a fool to not
have “Tactical Awareness” just as you would be a fool to think your Tactical
Awareness might fail you.
To base your draw and your
knife skills on the opinion, because that is what it is, it is far from fact,
that you are always going to be able to engage at long range, in your favorite
grip and that engagement will be the norm and what you are doing is superior, is
I could continue on with this
but I honestly think that if you have not received the message by now, it is not
likely you will at all. If someone gives you a shove into your vehicle and you
are stuck in the fatal funnel with one or more people and they then move to
draw, it makes no difference, the supposed “superiority” of forward grip is
nonsense. It makes no difference. Forward grip WILL work; it’s just not
superior to reverse grip in such a confined area.
I’m not saying reverse grip
is superior in this instance, I’m saying there are others like myself who
prefer to engage that way because we fight a certain way and we base that on
real world engagements instead of sparring matches. That’s all.
If that offends you or shakes
your view of things, I’m sorry for that. I’m sure some people will sit and
read this and think to themselves, “Don is a damned fool for discounting
results from sparring…”
I’m not discounting the
results, I’m saying that once you set parameters for the altercation, in this
case squaring off, your results are “proof” only in engagements that have
those parameters. Since the street is unpredictable, I find little value in
sparring except for developing attributes of speed, timing and other important
things. That is ALL it is good for and it proves nothing unless the engagement
on the street closely resembles it and in many cases experience has shown that
the street does NOT resemble that.
There has been a boatload of
controversy lately about thrusting versus slashing. Things have become heated
but the basic thing is, in this method, there is alot of thrusting and ripping
cuts. Thrusts with a knife, a knife, are cuts on the inside of the body. They
are deadly. Anyone that discounts multiple thrusts with a knife simply needs to
go back and think some more.
Some more on the method
Hopefully this will spark some
meaningful debate on the knife, the drawing of it and the method.
Actually, if you go back to
the first Drawpoint Tape by Keating/Comtech, where was the edge oriented on the
Gryphon knife James carried?
It was oriented edge in. He
also showed edge out, but the basic method was edge in.
Why edge in?
Why, why, why? Eh...
Understand that a good single
edge knife can thrust as good as a dagger, a double-edged knife.
So, what makes a double-edged
knife so deadly when it comes to FMAs?
It is basically in reverse
grip, it is the ability to cut on the pull as well as the push.
Pekiti and similar methods
simply make a choice.
Which is more effective in
extreme close quarters? Pushing someone away so they can get a parting shot or
so you can start all over because they are wearing some sort of improvised
armor, they're chemically fueled or just enraged and pissed?
If someone slashes at you, you
can fade back. Just like you can hollow out the midsection if they thrust,
If they fade back with this
method, which is a natural, instinctual reaction, they just peeled themselves
and opened themselves up far worse than if I, theoretically, had been in reverse
grip edge facing out.
If it is going to be a close
quarters engagement, it is best in our view to get it over with as quickly as
possible, that dictates ripping/peeling cuts and multiple thrusts that become a
reality from the ripping and peeling cuts. The multiple thrusts are ripping cuts
themselves as the person jerks back or you jerk your hand back.
There are alot of people out
there that think they need a double-edged dagger to get ease of penetration on
the thrust. People die from screwdrivers; it's a non-issue in many ways.
Some people promote the
double-edged knife as being "easier" to use because they can slash
both ways... What is THAT about? They apparently do not understand the concept
of wrist rotation. You don't need a dagger to cut "both ways." I can
cut fast both ways with a single-edged knife…it is a non-issue.
So, this method makes a
choice, and the choice is what I wrote above.
If you have to have a single
edged knife and you are using it in reverse grip, which is better?
The interception can be
palasut. Understand regardless of edge in or edge out, or if you have a single
or double-edged knife, when you intercept there is the very real possibility
that you will impale the limb with the point. In most cases, you want to do
When you are in reverse grip
edge facing out, the only way you can cut on first contact, which is incredibly
important because you injure the person on the first beat of the encounter on
your response to them, is to impale their arm and go from there.
In edge in, this is also a
reality, but if the point does not go in their arm in edge in, they still get
Imagine the power of edge in,
you try to impale the limb and you end up with a pass, but the edge is against
them and you then check their arm with your live hand as you pull out.
Now apply that to all of the
basic cutting and thrusting angles of the incoming attacker and you begin to see
what we are talking about.
It is a vicious style of cutting.
by “SouthNarc” & Don Rearic
Photographs by “SouthNarc” and protected under ãDonRearic.Com
by Don Rearic
(“SouthNarc” is a Police Officer in the Southern United States assigned to a Narcotics Task Force. – D. Rearic)
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