Eskrimador… I was really confused by your post.
When the element of real danger is there, your whole mind-set changes.
We aren't crazy, we don't have scars we wear as badges of courage (in fact, no one has been hurt yet in many years of this training)
So is there an element of danger or not? People get hurt sparring every day, even with pads on. It might be a bloody nose or something as simple as a bruised ego. That is one of the factors that get a persons adrenaline pumping and heart rate going… If I know I’m going to participate in something where I know no one has been hurt whether it involves a live blade or not then where is the real element of danger?
we have found that without the live blade, the emotional and mental aspects that must be honed to effectively defend against the blade simply aren't being developed.
Now, we aren't stupidly hacking away at each other…
Unfortunately “stupidly hacking away” is what a real opponent who has the intent on hurting or killing you will do. Doing simple drills or preset attacks, or training against an opponent who has no intent on seriously hurting you with a live blade is doing nothing but teaching what I would call blade handling. Without intent you are missing one of the key mental and emotional aspects of a real situation. If you train intent and use a live blade, then someone will get hurt. If you don’t believe me I will gladly come to your school and play the part of the guy with the knife.
I have tried several types of blade training.
*** With a marker or a marking type of knife you can train intent but it lacks the danger of a live blade
*** With a live blade you can practice blade handling both offensive and defensive but there is no real intent if you are trying to be safe
*** Live blade with intent is just stupid unless you are a cutter and enjoy the pain.
What else is there?
*** We used to use a stun gun to train with. Fear of being shocked keeps the element of danger there, but because there is no cutting, bleeding or death involved the person attacking you can use all the intent a real attacker might use.
*** They now have a shock knife (wish we would have copyrighted this idea when we were first using the stun gun) http://www.shocknife.com/ of course these are pretty expensive…
What’s the real problem in all of this?
The real problem is that a knife is a weapon of assassination. You will never see it coming, you will only feel it. A person who really knows how to use a knife will come at you from a blind spot or from behind, or if you engage him (not knowing he is armed) he will wait until you are in a clinch or on the ground to retrieve it and bury it in you. If you see him coming he will not have his knife hand forward. He will have his free hand forward which will be defusing any attempts you have at blocking, and his knife hand will be pumping like a piston at any vital area he can get to. The Hollywood fantasy of the guy who presents the knife is a thing of the past if it ever existed at all, and people today are more prone to violence. Most bad guys realize it is much easier to take a wallet off of a dead guy than it is to ask for it.
You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.