Non-Locking Folding Knives (Slipjoints)
About the Videos
I have had several people ask me about the use of a folding knife for self-defense. I have also had some criticize the carrying of a folding knife, stating that fixed blade knives are superior to folding knives in strength and for use in combat. Of course, I agree that a fixed blade is in many ways superior to a folding knife. However, most fixed blades are more difficult to carry around in an urban environment, especially without raising a few eyebrows and perhaps attracting some unwanted attention. This whole situation can also be seen as very similar to the case with handguns. While few would argue that a Glock 21 .45 ACP handgun equipped with a Surefire X200 weaponlight was not superior in most real combat situations to a little Smith & Wesson 638 Airweight .38 Special revolver, the fact is that most people will find the little revolver a lot easier to carry around on a daily basis than they would the big .45. I happen to be one of those who often carry the big Glock with the attached weaponlight on a routine basis, and I usually have a fixed blade knife with me. However, I also carry folding knives, having one on my person pretty much constantly and to the point that “do you have a knife?” is more a joke to those who know me than a legitimate question. Of course I have a knife, or two, or three…
A good modern folding knife is very good indeed. I have to say that, in my opinion, many of the folding knives being produced today by Spyderco, Emerson, and another company or two are the best “martial” folders ever produced in a factory. Albo Kali Silat requires students to train with folding knives and is known as an art that specializes in the use of relatively small blades in combat. In fact, Albo Kali Silat students train in the use of empty hands, sticks/impact weapons, karambits, and other methodologies as well as the use of small folding knives. We do, however, practice sparring with folding training knives in order to get used to accessing a folding knife and deploying its blade while under pressure and in the midst of an altercation. We also focus on the use of folding knives due to the fact that many people routinely carry a folder daily, including Albo Kali Silat students. It does little good to train in the use of a short sword and then, when attacked, try to respond by drawing and using a 3-inch bladed pocketknife that you have never practiced drawing and using while under stress.
Laws regarding self-defense vary throughout the world, as do the legalities concerning the carry of knives. In some jurisdictions, only knives with a blade below a certain length can be carried. Some jurisdictions, with one example being the United Kingdom, have banned the general populace from carrying a knife that has a locking blade. Now, if you happen to have to carry a non-locking folding knife if you wish to carry a knife at all and remain on the good side of the local police officers, it is not the end of the world. After all, the “tactical folder” which has been touted for combative use is actually a fairly modern phenomenon. The slipjoint pocketknife, a folding knife with a strong spring to help it resist closing on your fingers, has been around for a long time. With correct technique and a well-designed slipjoint, many utility and defensive uses of a knife can still be accomplished.
This video depicts the Spyderco UK Penknife, a knife specifically designed for the UK and other jurisdictions where folding knives with a locking blade are prohibited. The UK Penknife is designed with a choil which will help ensure that the knife cannot close on your hand. If you cannot, or choose not, to have the added safety feature of a locking blade on your folding knife, the Spyderco UK Penknife is a great slipjoint to carry. It is the only slipjoint that I have tested with which I would have attempted some of the motions depicted on this video. If you decide to carry a slipjoint, I highly recommend the UK Penknife. Please note, that, as usual, I do not recommend training at speed with live bladed knives unless you have a lot of experience with knife combatives, and if you attempt to duplicate the motions depicted in the video with a live blade knife, you do so at your own peril. Thank you for your interest in Albo Kali Silat and for watching this video.
Tuhan Jon Holloway, July 2009