Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wild Weasel by Chuck Pippen

Over the last few years, I have been very fortunate to have met some really good people, some of whom have become family to me. One of these people is Chuck Pippen, and if you look over in the links section, you will see a link to his school, Innovative Martial Arts, where he teaches a very effective, combative style, and where he hosts the annual Gathering of the Tribes. Right above that link, you will see one for something called Tribal Edge Knives, which is the name of Chucks knife making concern. A few years ago, Chuck took up knife making, and has really shined at it, and become one of the better custom knife makers I have known. He listens to your ideas, applies his knowledge of both knives and combatives to come up with a way to make your idea a steel reality. As I mentioned, Chuck hosts the annual Gathering of the Tribes for the KSMA. In 2007, I was asked to teach a class for the Gathering, and I taught a quick section on Reverse Grip Edge In knife work. For more info on this, I did a post titled "Pikal, or why I'm a backwards knifer", it's in the archives, if your interested. Based on this class, Chuck gifted me with a knife based on RGEI when I went to the Gathering this past spring. The name of the knife, as you may have guessed is the Wild Weasel, or Weasel for short. I'm sure even Bobbe can figure out why the name...
This knife is beautiful, hands down, one of the prettiest knives I have ever owned.
It has a rustic look, which I think really adds to the charm. Especially in a world where tactical still seems to mean black. It is also one of the few knives Chuck has used man made materials for the handle, specifically, a desert coyote Canvas Micarta.
For the user of a defensive knife, nothing is more important than the handle. As the late Bob Kasper stated, the knife is the user interface, and needs to be comfortable and secure. The pinky catch, and the choil on this knife lock it into your hand, no matter if you are performing in Pikal or Sac-Sac grip. The shape of the handle itself conforms to your hand, and does not roll, nor does it have any hot spots. You could use this knife for hours, and I doubt a blister would think of forming. It is smooth as a river rock, once again, one of the most comfortable knives I have had the honor of using. The edge is sharpened the opposite of a normal knife, to optimize it's use in the unorthodox manner I promote, but it has a little sharpened swedge to be able to rip, ease penetration, or perform startle cuts.
The angle and curvature of the blade align it directly with the knuckles, which provides excellent indexing for the thrust/jab, and instant knowledge of edge awareness.
In practice, this knife is quick out of the sheath, as needs be for a defensive knife, and points straight to the target. Hooking is a breeze due to the curvature of the blade, which is not excessive, but enough to get a good shearing cut.
All in all, this is my favorite RGEI knife I have ever handled, and am honored to have been the inspiration behind it, and to have received it.
Thanks Chuck! And BTW, pay attention to further knife news regarding Chuck and I in the upcoming months...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

How far down the rabbit hole

When I started studying and training, it was for a very simple reason. I wanted to not get my ass kicked, and, honestly, to kick the ass of those who I felt needed it.
Due to experience, and some helpful influence, I realized there was alot more to this stuff. Fist fighting was helpful, but all of the sudden, I was around people who were using knives, and other weapons. Well, I knew I needed to figure that one out, and thus began a new part of the journey. Well, along with this, I have always been a history buff, and interested in the odder side of things. So it can't be too much of a stretch to imagine I started drawing parallels between my situation, and earlier events and people, and started adding new skill sets. Seeing as the closest correlation I can see for self defense is covert work, such as the OSS in WWII, or the Home Guard type units, I started looking into those areas. A whole new world opened for me... E&E, tactical medicine, survival, urban survival(not the same, at all), all types of strangeness. Some things just started as interesting hobbies, like knot work, but they come in handy in other areas, also. This growing interest led to better tools, like the infamous LaGriffe, and other "covert, hide-out" implements.
Along the way, I met some very awesome people, who instructed me in better ways of moving, and integrating all of the skills into an organic whole, which has become a lifestyle, as Den Martin says, it is the "Tactical Lifestyle"
As you delve into this, you begin to see that it is as much a mental game,if not more so than a purely physical one. So the trail leads you to mindset, states of conciousness, NLP, etc... Then, you hear about OODA loops, Hicks law, decision trees, optimal states, and the learning continues.
How far do you want this path to take you? It can last a lifetime, and lead to some very cool things.