Be Safe When Training Knife Drills

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As the training knife came at my face, I was glad that I performed the technique correctly and cleared the knife with the slap parry, followed by an eye jab to my attacker and a shove away to create distance to draw my own weapon or escape.
However, I did realize that training with lower belt enthusiastic students can be hazardous at times.
I remember one of the best groin kicks I ever took in training came from a yellow belt who didn't know much else other than raising his leg as hard as he absolutely could, and when I was lightly placing roundhouse kicks next to his head, it gave him a great target to lift me off the ground with that rising kick.
I remember that as the training knife flashed by my eyes.
I decided that was the perfect time to stop and provide the class with a couple of safety instructions.
Obviously, eye protection of some sort, complete safety goggles being the best, is the preferred and safest way to train.
However, I also realize that many people train without eye protection, as we were that night.
(This is one of those do as I say, not as I do instances.
) If you want to train at full speed with knives, training knives, other weapons, and eye jabs going at the face, you should wear eye protection! Don't end up with an eye injury in training.
But, if for some reason you don't have goggles, or you choose to train without them because it is more like you will have to do in real life, be safe.
This takes control.
You don't want to damage your training partner's eyes.
Unfortunately, beginning students and those at lower belt levels often don't have the control developed over years of training.
I learned this just minutes after I gave the safety warning to the class.
I was attacking one of my students, and he performed the technique correctly.
He stopped the knife from cutting him and drove his fingers into my eye.
I was focused on how he was doing and evaluating his performance more than I was focused on protecting my eyes at the moment.
My mistake! His comment immediately after was, "I'm sorry.
I felt the squishy part.
" Blinking a bit, I responded, "Yeah, I felt it too.
" I then reiterated that for safety, when we don't have eye protection, touch the eye brows, or just above them, rather than actually sticking your fingers in your partner's eyes.
Even this practice can be dangerous, because when you are going fast, moving, and not as accurate, you can hit the eyes when you are aiming for the eye brow.
But it is a bit safer than going right for the eyes and pulling short.
I don't want the habit of pulling short to develop, and if you consciously can hit the eye brow, and then also train with a training dummy like BOB hitting the eyes, I believe you will go for the eyes in a real situation.
This is something we always have to deal with during training.
We must perform techniques that will injure people to our partners without injuring them.
Utilize safety equipment and teach control with your training.
Even then, injuries do happen.
But we must do everything we can to minimize training injuries so we can continue to train and ensure it is not only a learning experience, but an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone training.
So train hard, but train safe!
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