The Importance of Proper Training Equipment

Some things are so incredibly important that they cannot be stressed enough. If you are going to be involved in learning Edged Weapons Combatives, you must have proper and safe equipment.

Even though these training implements offer a much greater degree of safety than training with live blades, obviously, they can still cause severe injuries. Up to and including death if they are not used properly.

The pair of hard rubber Al Mar Applegate/Fairbairn Trainers, as innocuous as they may seem, if thrusted into the trachea, could cause death from blunt force trauma. Eyes and teeth may be damaged, etc.

In other pictures, you will see non-folding, aluminum training knives. These are even more realistic and with the added realism comes even more danger. These will put eyes out, crush the cartilage in the trachea, knock teeth out and fracture bone if not used properly.

The most realistic training knives are real knives that have either been produced by a Manufacturer for the purpose of training, or have been professionally altered for training. Real fixed blades or folders with working locks, pocket clips, etc.

In this picture, from left to right, you see an Emerson Commander Trainer made by Emerson Knives, Inc. Next is a right and left hand [dedicated, pocket clip change] pair of Spyderco Enduras. These were purchased from Northwest Safari when they were in business. The Spyderco Endura on the far right was one altered by me with a grinder and a whetstone.

If you are going to make your own trainer from a real folding knife, it is not as easy as it looks. You have to be very careful. The edge must be completely removed as well as the point. Not only that, once you have removed the edge and the point, the "flats" that are left must be polished on a whetstone until they are smooth to the touch.

These "flats" that are formed must be rounded. It takes some time to do it properly by hand.

The Emerson Commander Trainer is a bit too pointy for my tastes and I use extreme caution with that particular piece. I do not want to alter it as it was made a few years ago. [In other words, it is probably a Collectorís Item now.]

If you are going to have any degree of hard contact, best to stick with something like the medium-to-hard rubber training knives. The fixed, non-folding aluminum trainers are particularly good for flow drills and other exercises like that.

The real fixed blades and folders that have been dulled/rounded are a must for serious practitioners of blades. They allow for even more realistic training in certain, "real world" scenarios. Like Multiple Attackers swamping or "Wilding," as well as various Anti-Grappling movements.

It is one thing to be able to take a training knife and successfully "defend" yourself in a training scenario, it is quite another to have to access a folder, draw it, open it, and then use it in the fray. It is incredibly important.

With that added realism, there comes the possibility of more serious injuries and with that, more responsibility as well. If you get carried away, know that someone could very well get severely injured or killed. Calm down. If you are with a training partner that "gets radical," leave them be. There is a distinct difference between "realism" and "insanity" with some people.

Cutting is about pressure. Anyone can learn the angles and fancy blade forms and they look fluid, deadly and terrific cutting and thrusting air. It is quite another thing to actually cut or thrust with a real knife. What these trainers do is give you the ability to put some pressure on people, to literally learn how to cut them. You can learn or be damaged with this sort of training, that is up to you.

Sometimes you have to use the angles and freeform, other times you want to use a heavy bag, a tire dummy or some other device to get some impact. And then, sometimes, you want a live training partner that moves.

Don Rearic

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