Category Archives: knife defence

Knife myths

An eye opening collection of footage that may change the way you view your self defence training.

Have a look at this video and tell me if you’re training prepares you for the kind of things you see here.

Our instructor, GM Danny Guba has been on the giving and receiving end of more than one knife attack, this is one of the reasons we learn from him and pass his methods onto you. But even the training and skills he passes on to you through us will merely raise your survivability, there are no guarantees against a blade.

My mistake, there is one – You will get cut, hopefully your training will allow you to minimise the damage and live to see tomorrow.


Wild Geese

Knives – Again…..

In the news again this week, another fatal stabbing.

The quiet country town of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, a woman stabbed to death receiving in the region of 40 wounds.

The weapon of choice…… A bread knife.

Thankfully our government saw fit to ban Samurai swords, otherwise the situation could have been a whole lot worse!

Apologies, I’m being facetious. I mean no disrespect to the victim or her family. I do however wish to take a look at the larger picture, one in which she has unfortunately become a detail in.

The picture is this, weapons are easily accessible to anyone who wish to cause harm. Right now, as I write this i have a steak knife left over from dinner beside the laptop, a glass bottle (yes, it’s a beer bottle) beside it, a steel pen on the other side.
All of these, if I so chose, could become offensive and potentially lethal weapons, and I haven’t even got u from the table.
Imagine if I took out the tool bag from under the stairs and grabbed any one of the screwdrivers, a chisel or stanley. A few extra steps has me in the kitchen, well enough said.

What is there to possible stop somebody like me in a such a weapon rich environment as the humble family home?

There is only your own training, your common sense, your awareness. The prevention beats cure mindset is always the best, but you must have a cure ready just in case.
A powerful, repetitive right hand pummelling into my skull may just slow me down enough that you might make your escape or a well timed disarm or “return to sender” could end my attack there and then.
We’ll never know, but it’s worth thinking about.

In your house, right now, as your reading this post, can you see your escape route if someone attacked you, what weapons are close to hand?
Even if you have a weapon, do you have the knowledge, training and confidence to use them?

Maybe that woman could have survived if she’d been able to put the man down or disarm him. Maybe.

Perhaps if she’d seen the event before it occurred she may have escaped. Maybe.

It’s easy to sit here an hypothesise, but put yourself in her shoes, how would you have coped with a lunatic coming at you with a blade, murder in his heart. No amount of harsh penalties or sword ban is going to stop a man like this only you can.

If you have the training.

Drop us a line now, we may be able to help you help yourself.

Don’t become a statistic, take a personal responsibility for your safety and the safety of those around you. Get down and do some training, your not too old or too weak, but without it you are too vulnerable.

I’d like you to come to us (or book us to come to you) but there are plenty of others teaching good stuff, there will be someone in your area, you just have to find them.

Get some training.

Stay safe

Wild Geese
every cause but our own
Kenpo / Eskrima / BJJ / Strength & Conditioning
+353 87 672 6090
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Knives Don’t Kill People, People Do

A few days ago I was asked to speak on Radio Kerry regarding my views on the ban on the sale of samurai swords.
In short, while I’m in favour of getting blades off the streets, I don’t think the ban is the right way to go.

While driving to and from Wild Geese HQ, I have time on my own in the car to spend thinking about various aspects of life. Since the phone call with Radio Kerry, I’ve been thinking about knives a lot. Then I thought, well it’s not the knife’s fault, it’s the person wielding it. Then I started to think back over the most recent incidents.

The phone call from Kerry was due to a clash between two rival feuding families. During this clash various weapons were seized by the Garda (Irish Police), these weapons included a few Samurai swords, several Slash hooks, hammers and various other weapons.
The most recent event leading to the sword ban was a chopping in Dublin, where a samurai sword and hammer were used in an attack which left a man missing a hand.
There was an incident in one of Dublin’s more affluent areas where a lad walked off, only to return with a kitchen knife which he used on several people before ending his own life. If I remember right, he actually walked around to a nearby shop to buy the knife before returning.
While we can successfully ban the outlandish, speciality knives, but slash hooks are a farming & gardening tool, kitchen knives are well, we know what they’re for, fancy living without them?

Then in the news there is talk of harsher penalties for those that are caught carrying a blade. Again fair enough. But still, I think they’re missing the point.

When asked about the ban and the various penalties I often compare knife attacks with shootings. In Ireland guns are illegal, they have never been legal and most likely never will be, yet there are still people getting shot in Dublin with alarming regularity.
If guns are banned, and the penalties for owning one, never mind carrying or using one are serious, what difference will it make for those who favour the blade?
In my mind, none.

So, back to knives. We’ve got two warring families using whatever’s at hand. We’ve got gangland choppings, most likely as a punishment or warning. We’ve got a disturbed young man on a suicidal rampage. All used blades in their attacks. Which of the three do you think was considering the possible penalties from their actions?

Most likely none of them. So what if the blades they used were unavailable, ie banned?
In my mind they’d simply find an alternative weapon. Hammers, screwdrivers, chisels, glass & bottles, baseball bats, hurls the list goes on. These things are merely tools, inanimate objects, without an operator to use them they are absolutely harmless. This was illustrated in Thursdays Independent newspaper there were two reports following the deaths of people beaten to death. Punched and kicked in the head so brutally as to cause death. Now we’re hardly going to ban shoes, or are we?

So if a ban isn’t going to stop people destroying other people, what is?
This is a whole other issue, one that I am far from qualified to talk about. There is however a comments button below this post, please use it and offer your opinions if you have them. Maybe we’ll come up with a few answers.

The final point I’d like to make, is that the majority of these attacks and their victims are targeted. Criminal gangs and families that are fighting and feuding for whatever reason. The reasons are unimportant to you and I, we merely have to make sure we don’t get caught up in the crossfire.
Many people are unlucky enough to get caught in these things, with a little bit of training in awareness and self defence, perhaps they’d be able to get out before things turned nasty.

Obviously there are attacks with purely vicious motives, thefts and even random attacks where the attackers don’t know their victims. These our the main types of attack we need to prepare ourselves for.
Your safety is your responsibility, keep yourself aware of your surroundings and undertake some form of training so that you can get yourself out of trouble.

Remember the bodyguard mantra:
Avoid – Stay away from the threat
Escape – Get away from threat
Confront – If all else fails, go on the attack and dissolve the threat.

If you choose to learn how to defend yourself against a knife, Wild Geese chief instructor Paul Cox is one of the few European Doce Pares blackbelts to be registered in the Philippines. It is commonly accepted by those in the know that the Filipino Martial Arts are at the top of the food chain for when it comes to weapon defence. Paul regularly travels over to Grandmaster Danny Guba, a man with, as he says, a record.
I myself learn from Paul, when I have opportunity, Danny Guba and also have put together self defence training programs that are now being implemented by our associates over at ESTS (

Dave Hedges

Wild Geese
every cause but our own
Kenpo / Eskrima / BJJ / Strength & Conditioning
+353 87 672 6090
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Knife Fighting Myths

This video was recently posted up by one of my facebook associates.

I feel it’s one of the most important videos I’ve sat and watched.

I’ll ask you to watch it now then carry on reading:

As you can see knives are extremely dangerous, two of the clips even show how a gun may not be enough to protect you from the blade. Others show how decisive responses may just save your life.
They may not save you from harm, but you just might survive.

The last few scenes from the video show images taken from old manuscripts, the type of training texts that medieval warriors would have studied. Needles to say, knives and bladed weapons were far more prominent than they are today, look at the illustrated techniques and you see things that many instructors say don’t work.

Most instructors wouldn’t have a clue.

Some do.

Wild Geese instructor Paul Cox is one of the few people in Europe to be registered as a Doce Pares eskrima black belt. Many hold black belts, but only a few are registered in the Philippines, Paul is one of these. He also has real experience of defending against armed attackers.
Paul is a direct student of Grandmaster Danny Guba. Danny is a man who has used blades and has had blades used on him. He knows what works. He learned from legendary blade fighters such as Vincent Carin and others in the Doce Pares fraternity.
The Philippines have a strong blade culture, if there’s going to be a fight, somebody is going to get cut.
These are the people we at Wild Geese learn from.

We don’t water down their information when we teach it, we know ho important it is and how it just may save your life.


Wild Geese
every cause but our own
+353 87 672 6090

Knives part 2

So last time we looked at the numbers of murders involving a knife or edged weapon in Ireland, and saw the percentage of deaths had pretty much doubled since the turn of the millennium.

Now I’m not interested in the reasons, all I care about is that it happens and what we can do to prevent it happening to us.

I don’t want to be a statistic, do you?

Oh, by the way, the last post was the stats for the reported murders. Add to that the deaths going unreported and then add on again for the assaults and injuries that were not fatal.

So what do we do about it? Do you cross the line and carry a blade yourself?

No that’s not the answer, you become one of them. And do you think that in the real world you could cut somebody up? Even if you are able to draw your weapon during a struggle, can you live with the knowledge that you used it on a person, scarring, deforming and potentially killing them?

I hope the answer is no. Unless you’re in downtown Baghdad that is.

So instead we have to fortify ourselves in other ways.

First and foremost is to stay out of trouble. Duh, obviously!

But we have to accept that sometimes we may have to fight back. Regardless of whether or not you see a blade, always assume there is one and fight accordingly. The Filipino martial arts have been fighting this way for ever and have developed skills for checking and trapping as they strike.
The boxing style of punching does leave one open to the knife and the old “take one and give two back” philosophy is no longer valid. You must learn to strike while covering your openings or checking his weapons.

But ultimately you need to end the fight as soon as is possible. That means full on aggression and commitment, drop him and get out of there, no hanging around, no follow ups, just do a 4 minute mile to the nearest safe area.

Please don’t be a hero, always try to avoid trouble, failing that escape, confronting it should always be a last option. If you take on a blade, you will get cut, even if you win you may still end up badly or even fatally injured.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Knives, the scumbag weapon of choice

I was having a look over the National Crime Council website. This is the page I stopped at:

What caught my eye was the following:

In 2007 there were 84 total homicides, of these 20 involved firearms and 38 involved sharp implements or knives.

In 2000 there were 56 homicides with 12 using firearms and only 9 knife attacks.

These are only the reported figures, I believe that the actual numbers are probably a touch higher.

But lets have a better look:

28 more people were murdered in 2007 than in 2000, that’s a 50% increase in the murder rate (the report files manslaughter and murder together for the purpose of the lists).

In 2000, the amount of people killed by a firearm was 21.4%, Sharp implements and knives were responsible for 16% of all reported murders.

Come 2007 and the firearm now claims 23.8% of victims while the knife is now responsible for 45.2%.

Guns may be easy to get and yes more people are getting killed by them, but the total percentage of people dying is just less than 3%.

Knife (and sharp implement) related deaths are up by 29%.

That’s a little worrying. I’ve spoken to many people over the years including Police officers and Garda, military and special forces operators, doormen and average Joe’s, and the majority of people seem to agree, knives are the most dangerous weapon available today.

Part of the reason is the availability, any hardware or home store sells kitchen or utility knives.
Knives are extremely concealable, silent, never run out of ammo and have 2 to 3 killing angles (point and 1 or 2 edges), whereas guns can be concealed, but it’s that bit harder, they jam, they run out of ammo and shoot only in a straight line.
Once you get out of that line you are technically out of danger, not so with a blade.

Is knife defence a good idea?
Go back over the figures, make up your own mind.

Wild Geese Martial Arts teach knife defence and blade awareness based on techniques and tactics taught to us by some of the best in the field, not just guys with “black belts” but guys who’ve been there and done it, in many cases with the scars to prove why certain techniques are less effective than others.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Self Defence, Blade Awareness & Security Tactics

This is the last call for anybody interested in the escrima concepts seminar this weekend at Dublin’s Martial Arts Academy, Magennis Place, Pearse St.
Right opposite the DART station.

We are starting at 11am sharp on Sat morning and will be covering weapon and knife defence, blade awareness and self defence/self protection tactics for both civilian and the security industry.

The seminar runs Sat 1100 – 1700 and Sunday 1100 – 1500.
€50/day, or €80 for both days.

We will also be asking all the Irish FMA instructors to sit down over a pint and discuss the formation of the Irish Council of Eskrima, Kali, Arnis Instructors.

See you there.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Garda Stabbed in the execution of his Duty

Read this:

Reading things like this annoy the crap out of me. I know the papers only tell you half the story, but lets take the report as being 100% accurate.

1) Where was the training,
Even though the guy was armed with a knife and had caused injury to the first garda, the second garda should have had the training to wade in and disable the attacker quickly, if i make the assumption that Garda no 1 and the attacker were in the bath as garda no 2 arrived, no 2 would have had valuable seconds to make a decision. Anybody that has been involved in any confict situation knows full well that training takes over at this point.
I know that the Irish Police force (Gardai) receive no such training (or very little) so time was wasted, meaning that Garda no 1 was stabbed repeatedly.

2) The knife man was held down put not prevented from wielding his blade,
Again training, knife disarms are difficult and risky, however there are times and place when attempting a disarm is necessary. Watching your mate getting punctured is one of them.
Failing a disarm (and in order to secure a disarm) some form of restraint should be applied, ideally to the knife wielding arm, thee are too many joint locks and holds to list here, however it doesn’t take long to show, teach and practice the methods to attack a wrist, elbow or shoulder.
There of course is the option of just going for a knock out either by striking or Choke, the Garda, according to the article only held the guy down with one hand.

3) The Garda felt the need to use his PHONE to call for assistance,
Now come on! Is that just bollocks or what? In a serious encounter like this one Time is an enemy, every second counts. So what should take longer, pressing a button on the radio handset or fishing around for your phone, unlocking the keypad and dialling(even speed dialling). Enough said, except for why do the Irish Gadai (it’s not the first time I’ve heard this) feel that they are better of phoning the station on their mobiles rather than using their radio?

Now, while I admit I wasn’t there so I’m in no position to say whether the lads actions were right or wrong. They both survived a knife attack, and I hope they have fully recovered and continue with their lives with no ill effects.

I want to make it quite clear it is the system that is meant to support them has in fact let them down. I heard a comment from a trainee gard recently, he said “Unfortunately there are alot of people that are still very relaxed about their own personal safety”. This was about his fellow students and presumably instructors when he contacted me about training.

Why does the state feel justified putting officers on the streets in a world of increasing levels of violence and not properly preparing them for it.

i would like to hear some of your opinions. Let me know.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

The Wrong End Of the Stick

I often find that peoples view of the Filipino Martial Arts is somewhat inaccurate. I hope here to put it right.

FMA otherwise known as Eskrima, Kali or Arnis are the fighting arts native to the Philippines, and are a complete combat method. Unfortunately the popular view of these arts is that it’s just “Stick Fighting”.

This was illustrated most clearly by the owner of the Martial Arts Academy when he offered to make up posters to advertise our class. Guess what we got.

Yep, you guessed it. “Learn Stick Fighting”

Now while we do train with sticks, no argument there, we also fight with sticks. This is the start point for any new FMAer, learn to swing a stick. But that’s just the beginning.

As I said it’s a complete fighting system used throughout the ages to fight off rival tribes and invasions (including Magellan and the Spanish and later the Japanese in world war 2), would stick fighting cover this.

No. Most people fail to see the unarmed combat, the knife/machete use and defence. The Filipino method is to teach you to instinctively use any weapon that comes to hand to fight against any weapon that comes at you. Be it a punch, kick, blade or blunt instrument. It is this versatility that attracted notable martial artists like Ed Parker, Bruce Lee and Dan Innosanto to add elements taken from Kali/Arnis and add it into their respective styles.

Within FMA there are many areas to cover and masters do specialise, Momoy Canete specialised in longer range Espada y Daga, Cacoy Canete specialised in close range stick fighting. Antonio Illustrisimo specialised in the blade, Joe Borces uses “eskrido” a combination of traditional FMA and Aikido/Judo methods.
But these are the masters. Any student must be able to defend themselves against unarmed and armed attacks while they themselves may or may not be armed.

I have my students fighting 1 on 1, 2 on 1, 2 on 2, every man for themselves and many other combo’s.
I have an unarmed guy fighting against a knife man, or a single stick fighting against double stick. We allow disarms but expect the fight to continue so a fight er becomes used to loosing a weapon but carrying on unarmed, or to suddenly find a weapon and instantly use it.

The competitions may be about “stick fighting” but FMA is about surviving by using whatever comes to hand. It’s about assuming the other guy is armed. It’s about adapting to any scenario.

We are lucky to have had coverage on the recent TV shows. Our own Doce Pares HQ in Cebu was visited in the BBC’s Mind, Body & Kick ass Moves and the History Channels Human Weapon. While Fight Quest remained in Manila showing Pekiti Tirsia and Modern Arnis. Where different aspects of our arts are being shown. But for more info come and visit us, look on you tube (Rapid Arnis have some good clips).

We are also hosting FMA master and Security Expert Steve Tappin in May. Expect to see how FMA is truly effective on the streets of Europe as Steve regularly travel to the worst spots in Europe to train their respective police and security forces.
I almost feel sorry for the criminals, almost.

Come to Steve’s seminar and see how your own training can be enhanced by the Filipino martial arts.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Self Defence Course At 1st Active/Ulster Bank, Sandyford

Wild Geese Martial Arts in association with will be holding an 8 week self defence course at 1st Active/Ulster Bank in Sandyford.

The course will cover:

Avoid / Escape / Confront
Striking with hands/elbows/knees & feet
Generating power in your strikes
Preemptive striking
Escapes from common holds
Blade Awareness & Knife Defence
and much more….

The poster is below but you’ll get a PDF version here.

any cause but our own