About Me

I am a full-time law enforcement officer with experience in the Patrol, Tactical, and Gang Divisions and a part-time martial artist. I believe that law abiding citizens should learn to defend themselves with whatever tools they may legally carry. I am currently in the process of starting the "5 Rings Tactical" training school where I hope to encourage good people to become protectors of their own lives and the lives of their families. This blog will contain reviews of defensive and tactical products, all of which I have purchased with my own funds. I will try my best to give my honest and unbiased opinion of all the products featured. I hope to eventually make the items that prove to be of quality available to customers of 5 Rings Tactical. Before distributing any of these items, they will be purchased privately by me and evaluated. I do not pretend to be any type of expert or master. I'm just a guy trying to share my experiences with others. I am always looking for more training and good people to learn from.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ShivWorks: Reverse Edge Methods DVD Volume I

I believe that if you are a law abiding citizen and can handle the responsibility, you should obtain a concealed handgun license, and discreetly tote around your hand-cannon whenever legal. Bad guys don't follow the rules and you never know when you or your loved ones will fall victim to a mugger, hijacker, rapist, murderer, psycho-path, hired assassin, gun wielding gang-banger, or a violent samurai that fell into a time portal and ended up in your neighborhood and century. That being said, I realize that some areas will not allow civilians to carry. Also, a lot of us are too lazy to go out and get the proper training and licensing for a gun, or we just don't want to lug the iron around. Whatever our excuse, we need to have SOME way of protecting ourselves. A knife is almost always legal to carry, and when used correctly, can be even more advantageous than a gun in certain situations. A knife is small, easily carried, and comes in handy for all sorts of chores as well as self-defense. There are not a lot of good excuses for not having a blade. I almost always have a knife on me, even when I'm carrying my gun.

I can hear the questions from some people now:

"What kind of knife should I buy?"

"Can I carry a sword?"

"Does it need to have blood grooves in the blade for efficient killing?"

"Who farted?"

At ease ladies and gentlemen. Before getting into the "hardware", it's important to look at the "software". Using a knife is not as simple as grab and stab. Well... actually it is... But using a knife efficiently and effectively for self-defense requires some actual training. You have to practice with your knife, just like with a gun or nunchuks. There are plenty of knife fighting systems out there, but the problem is that many of them are based on fancy, flashy moves, and are centered around "knife dueling". The ShivWorks system is direct and practical. It will not take years of meditating on mountains or waxing cars to learn.

I won't spend a lot of time talking about ShivWorks themselves. You can learn all you want by going to their website at www.shivworks.com. All I'll say is I have plenty of respect for the head guy "South Narc" and his methods. I carry a ShivWorks P'Kal knife, have watched and learned from most of their DVDs, and am enrolled in one of their upcoming Extreme Close Quarters Combat courses later this year. Compared to several other blade systems I've been exposed to, this method is simple and devastating, which is how defending your life with a knife should be.

The production quality of the DVD itself is nothing to write home about. It is simple and consists primarily of one stationary camera angle depicting the instructor, South Narc. I don't know if it is just a flaw with my personal copy, but there is a section near the end where the audio goes slightly out of sync. It makes South Narc look like he is teaching knife fighting to Shaolin monks in a Shaw Brothers movie. There is also no real DVD menu. It is only broken up into 4 sections. It would have been nice if the DVD had been broken up into techniques in case you wanted to review a certain move or section.

Those are all very minor flaws that I am only bringing up to give a fair assessment of the product. The information is presented in a concise and easy to understand way. South Narc knows what he is talking about and it shows in his instruction and demonstration. Here is what each section of the DVD gives you:

1. Reverse Edge Method
In this section, South Narc gives a brief bio about himself so you know he isn't some "mall ninja" that is going to teach you to rip out hearts and catch bullets. He also spends time going over the basic concepts of the Reverse Edge Method. This particular system utilizes a grip that those unfamiliar with Filipino martial arts would consider unconventional. The knife is held with either the tip up or tip down, but the sharp edge of the knife faces inwards. This means the sharp part of the blade is actually facing you and not your opponent.

2. Pikal Point Down Edge In
In this chapter, South Narc goes over techniques and applications specifically from the point down grip. He covers grip mechanics for the drawing of the knife and shares defensive and offensive strikes with the knife. You will learn how to deploy the blade from close quarters as well as use the knife to cut your attacker even when he/she is blocking your strikes. South Narc demonstrates strikes and combinations on his assistant who is wearing a giant helmet. Watching him get smacked around is informative and amusing.

3. Forward Grip Edge Up

Like the title demonstrates, this section is about techniques from the point up grip. South Narc wears his knives along his belt in different orientations, each one lends itself to a quick draw in either the tip up or tip down grip. Learning the movements from both grips will let you take complete advantage of the system. South Narc also covers engaging your attacker with your knife when your assailant is already on top of you or clinching you. Oh, and more giant helmet punching.

4. ShivWorks Tools
This section covers some of the tools that ShivWorks has put out and made available to the public. South Narc shows off some of the ShivWorks custom knives like the Disciple and the Clinch Pick. All of the ShivWork knives are are ergonomically designed for the reverse edge grip, are razor sharp, and easily carried.
(Pictures are from ShivWorks website http://shivworks.com/products.asp)

Overall I really liked this DVD and the ShivWorks system. You don't have to be Jet Li to learn and use the techniques taught on this video. I have drilled many of these moves over and over with friends and co-workers interested in learning. We all feel confident that we would be able to use our blades more effectively now based on this training. Even those of us that are small, weak, or fat and out of shape. South Narc is a great instructor and gets all his points across in the video. It would have been nice for the DVD to include specific drills. The information is mostly given in a lecture format, but you will absorb what you are supposed to learn. The focus of the system is on the extreme close quarters distance. You will learn to get your knife into play even while you are defending yourself from your opponent's strikes already. Many knife fighting systems show two guys squaring off with knives in hand. There is a lot of dancing around and complicated footwork. It looks good, but that isn't realistic. Most of the time, the bad guy is going to be on you before you have a weapon in your hand. South Narc realizes this and addresses the problem accordingly.

Defending oneself with a knife is something that is incredibly violent. In today's society, most of us are distanced from this level of violence and it is no longer natural. You don't want to suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have to protect your family with nothing but a sharp piece of metal and you haven't taken any steps to prepare yourself. Mentally prepare yourself for bad situations and tough decisions, then get this DVD or enroll in a class.

I have to throw in a few warnings here. DO NOT PRACTICE WITH A LIVE BLADE! There are plenty of training knives out there. In fact, every knife that ShivWorks has put out also comes in a "trainer". It is bad enough that there are bad guys out there trying to cut us up and take our wallets. Let us not do it to each other please. Also, no video or book is ever going to replace real instruction from a qualified teacher. I know. I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I'm still just moderately effective. Having a martial arts and defensive tactics background, I was able to take a lot from watching this video, however I am still seeking training from certified ShivWorks instructors.

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