Contained here is Martha's knife fighting philosophy.
You don’t fight with an Elven Blade like you might do with a sword, pike or crossbow. In reality there is no such thing as a knife fight where two like armed opponents circle about seeking to kill one another. While you will be taught the forms which various cultures use in bladed close combat, the very idea of “Knife Fighting” is long on theory and short on practice. Trained with a pike you can hold off from your enemy, with a crossbow kill from a distance, and a sword use leverage and training to gain advantage. With a short blade there is no such recourse. The proximity of two opponents, “dueling” with a knife is too close for either to avoid serious injury, especially when it comes time to grapple. If either tries to avoid the clutch then each will be cut to pieces. Thus, it is only a matter of time (short time) before there comes a rush where opponents will try exchanging an injurious slash for a killing thrust.
Thus there are three things to understand about the Elven Blade. These are the rush, the clutch and the stick. Quite simply, you don’t fight with the blade, you kill with it. A practitioner must keep his steel in a continuous state of readiness, knowing where it will do the most good. Hand in glove is the importance of a callous mind and unyielding will to escape your enemy or kill them without remorse. To do any less is to become an obituary.
The most dangerous opponent you will encounter is an assassin. This workshop is not designed to protect against would be assassins however I will often refer to their techniques as a worst case scenario. If a trained assassin marks you for death the chances are they will succeed. You will be dealing with an unseen killer with the element of surprise, looking for a safe opportunity to close, grapple and stick. Done properly, the outcome is all but certain.
The good news is that all your "Toothpick" wielding attackers will not be trained assassins. More likely those you'll encounter, will be thugs, thieves, bullies, drunks or fools. They will use a blade for intimidation, rape, to steal your money, to promote their self esteem or carry out some form of grudge. Against these you have a better chance however, they are still extremely dangerous and will probably impose their will. This is because seeing the blade suddenly will bring its own element of surprise and the shock can be paralyzing. Taken by fear and the unaccustomed surge of adrenaline, you will make it easy for an adversary to close, clutch and stick. Here too, while you'll have more time, the proximity of your enemy is such that by the time you realize the nature of the threat, you'll likely be dead. Thus, a blade is not a weapon well suited for defense. It is an offensive weapon that used to greatest effect, is not seen but encountered and then only when too late to do anything about it.
So why, (you might ask) do we even bother to teach the Elven Blade and the various forms of knife killing that have evolved throughout history. We teach these because there is an outside chance that you might anticipate your opponent’s intent and evade the consequences. With some space and your attackers loss of surprise, there is a slight opportunity to elude. This is the purpose of our workshop. But first and foremost, keep in mind, that knowing an attack is imminent is crucial to finding space and thereby escaping the intent of your assailant.
This is the key to surviving a knife attack. Keeping a space between yourself and your enemy. You do this by not venturing into situations where those who would stab you find it easy to carry out their murderous intent. If, in the nature of your work or out on a mission, you sense a foreboding that could herald an impending attack, the best defense is to scream, move evasively and create space, limiting the opportunity for a knife wielding assailant to close and stick.
Each of you will carry the tools of your trade. Some blades are intended to be seen and others concealed. If you can anticipate a short blade attack, your immediate response is to cry out, move decisively to avoid the rush and keep moving, never stopping, doing everything in your power to maintain separation. Whenever possible take advantage of opportunities to flee and don’t stop until well clear of the danger. If the grapple cannot be avoided, twist and squirm and focus on doing first to your assailant, what he intends for you. In this class we will stress using your blade to maximum effect and taking full advantage of its shock power.
In summary always keep your steel hidden, close at hand and in the readiness. But even more importantly, keep your will ruthlessly honed and focused on escaping or killing your enemy.