Sunday, January 17, 2010

A.I.M. Academy Master Class Knife Seminar

Martial arts instructor Rob Halaijian conducts the knife seminar at A.I.M. Academy

In the western world the knife has become the prominent weapon of choice for armed assailants and criminals, trained or untrained usually it’s easy to get a hold of a knife and inflict serious injury or death.

I think it pays for all martial artists to have some sort of insight into the principles of offensive and defensive techniques, strategy, tactics and methods that can be used with and against a knife.

Towards the end of 2010 martial arts instructors Rob Halaijian and Kacey Chong held a master class knife seminar which was open to black belts from all styles, this seminar was captured on DVD and is now available for anyone who may be interested in self defence and knife attack.

For a full version of the DVD or if you just want the highlights,

Rob and Kacey can be contacted here,

Below with the permission of Rob and Kacey I present a brief review of the 2010 Knife Master Class seminar series conducted over a 12 hour session at the A.I.M. Academy in Melbourne Australia.

The DVD is composed of six chapters as follows

Introducing the A.I.M Academy Master Class Knife Seminar Series DVD
Basic Knife Handling – Angles and types of attacks
Knife on Knife essentials – Basic counter attack drills
Basic Controlling & disarming – Locking, Controlling and Disarming Principles
Advanced training
Self defence Applications – Reality Based Scenario Replications

Review of A.I.M. Academy 2010 Knife Master Class Seminar Series - DVD

Basic Knife Handling – Angles and types of attacks

Martial Arts Instructor Kacey Chong introduces the basic x-pattern slashing techniques from the arts of Escrima, Arnis and Kali. Kacey stresses the importance of full body basic movement including footwork in all techniques.

This is so the class can understand and appreciate the mechanics involved in each individual movement and technique this principle is not unlike kihon techniques in karate-do.

Kacey covers downward, upward and horizontal slashing motions, she mixes all three movements in random order while merging the attack pattern from one technique to the next to form freestyle combinations.

Kacey then introduces thrusting techniques with the knife and incorporates these thrusting techniques in with the slashing techniques learnt previously.

Kacey then instructs the class to shorten the slashing and thrusting basic technique in order to prepare them for applications against an opponent.

Kacey also indicates vulnerable parts of the human anatomy to strike with a knife going low and high mixing different angles of attack with combinations of knife slashes and thrusts.

Knife on Knife essentials – Basic counter attack drills

Kacey then instructs the class on knife vs knife drills using all the techniques and footwork  from chapter-2 she then puts the class through partner drills in applying these techniques on each other.

Leading with the knife hand Kacey shows the use of high low attacks with a variety of different angles and targets for both the attacker and defender.

Rob then demonstrates strategy and tactics involving a knife and knife training/fighting/self defence some of the things Rob covers are,

a. Distance, Evasion, Footwork
b. Aliveness in training
c. Jamming, Trapping
....Locking & Parrying
d. Knife Vs Knife
e. Knife Vs Empty hand

Basic Controlling & disarming – Locking, Controlling and Disarming Principles

In this chapter Rob draws on forensic evidence of how knife attacks play out in the real world and the most common responses to knife attack.

Rob advocates in drawing a particular type of response in the attacker's psyche, in other words once an attack is imminent or in motion to reverse the roles of predator and prey as quickly as possible through your responses to his actions.

This doesn't always mean that you must go on the offensive straight away and initially it could be that you will be complaint to your assailant's demands.

This in turn could cause him to be more at ease with your response to his actions making him a more accessible target for a defensive manoeuvre and to disarming the knife.

Even though Rob stresses trying to reverse the roles of predator and prey as soon as possible he also says that each situation should be dealt with according to the circumstances at hand and the type of assailant one is dealing with.

In some cases if one were to go straight to an offensive guard or position this will heighten the assailants responses to your actions which is not desirable, in other cases you might not have an option.

Rob then goes on to demonstrate physical disarming principles through locking, trapping and controlling the knife wielding limb this also includes  footwork, evasion and distraction in achieving the desired outcome.

Many of the principles Rob demonstrates involving locking, trapping and controlling the knife hand elicit a desired response from the assailant again (this is not unlike the principles of oyo found within the kata of karate-do), I have always said that all good martial arts share common ground, this is another example.

At the end of this chapter Rob honestly addresses the fact that although all professional men and women are good at what they do, there is always the chance of having a bad day at the office.

Knife fighting is no different, therefore Rob condones avoiding such an encounter at all costs and only to engaging a knife wielding assailant as a last resort.

Advanced training

In this chapter Rob explores the variations in application if the initial technique and response didn't go quite according to plan (what karateka call henka), he goes over most of the physical techniques that were applied in previous chapters and shows the possible variations in application along  with the strategy and tactics.

Self defence Applications – Reality Based Scenario Replications

Rob incorporates all of the subjects covered in the previous chapters into this final chapter where he gets the class to apply the material from the previous chapters on self defence applications against a knife in a reality based scenario setting.

Rob also examines what is and what isn't worth fighting for when confronted with a knife wielding assailant, he addresses strategy tactics, techniques, and the psychology involved in facing an assailant with a knife along with a bit of good humor.


The A.I.M. Academy has once again produced a great seminar on the principles of knife attack and defence presented in a logical format that includes techniques, strategy, tactics and the psyche when dealing with the knife.

Rob and Kacey both mix their vast amount of experience in the traditional martial arts with their modern Reality Based Self Defence program to deliver a complete package, for anyone who is interested in self defence against a knife in my opinion this one is not to be missed. 

Below are some clips from the  A.I.M. Academy 2010 Knife Master Class Seminar Series - DVD


A.I.M Academy Seminars 2011 - Knife Disarming Basic Principles

Knife Defence "Training For Reality" - A.I.M. Academy