The Spyderco Rock Salt Fixed Blade
About the Videos
I have had a request or three to do some work with a large fixed blade. I recently acquired a Spyderco Rock Salt with a six and three-quarter-inch blade. The knife is nearly eleven inches in overall length. In modern America, that qualifies as quite a large knife. In fact, in many urban environments, a knife of this size, if carried around and seen by the everyday citizen, is liable to induce a few squeaks of fear or a call to the local police. I think that, in the environment in which I live and work, it qualifies as a large knife. The last several large blades I have tested or played with have been very blade heavy. A blade heavy knife can have some advantages in chopping motions, but, in general, I prefer neutral balanced (balanced about midpoint of the knife) very lively handling knives. I find that such knives fit my style of combative use much better than the blade heavy choppers and are much more versatile. Can I use a chopper to good effect? Of course. Do I prefer such knives? No. Please note in passing that certain aspects of handle design can serve to redistribute the load of a blade heavy knife and make it livelier during play.
This video proceeds almost like a commercial for the Spyderco Rock Salt, because I praise it so highly. The reason that I praise it to the skies is that it really is that good. I am a very picky, particular, knife user. If I do not like a knife, or a particular feature of a knife, I will criticize it and give reasons as to why I have formed my opinions and how I feel the knife could be improved for combative use. If a knife is just plain junk or bad design, I will and have said so. This knife has great balance, is very lively, and moves with incredible speed and precision. Ed Schempp obsesses over his designs and it shows. He has told me that he matches the tool to the hand so that the hand does not have to adapt to the tool. If you think ergonomic design on steroids crafted by a master mad scientist who uses a touch of sorcery you might get a general idea of what this knife feels like. I have to say that I have never held an Ed Schempp design that I have not liked. In addition, let me add that if I knew I was going into a survival situation, be it deep in the wilderness or having to use a knife to defend my life (maybe trying to survive an attack by a few score hyperactive mall Ninjas), I would want the Rock Salt with me. This is an expensive knife. For the price, though, you get a big hunk of H-1 steel that is specially formulated so that it does not rust, ever, even if you left it soaking in seawater, and a knife that handles like a dream when in your hand.
During the video you will see that a large blade with neutral balance is very quick into action indeed. In addition, a larger blade which is sharpened only on one edge allows for some use of the unsharpened edge as a striking tool. With the Rock Salt, the notch or ramp also can be a striking surface or used in pressing, controlling, and locking motions. Such motions, though done in an attempt to be less than lethal, can be very dangerous if done when the blade is unsheathed, due to the fact that inadvertent contact with the edge of the knife can still cause serious injury. In certain situations, however, such use of a large knife can be warranted. Larger blades require broader motions than small blades in order to be utilized effectively and they, of course, give a reach advantage. As shown in the video, however, larger blades are not necessarily slow. For those interested, the other two knives shown on this video are the Spyderco Small Fly (small balisong training knife) and the Ed Schempp designed Spyderco Kris (the official knife of Albo Kali Silat).
As usual, the standard caveats in a video of this type apply. This is a sharp knife. In typical Spyderco fashion, it shaved hair off my arm when taken straight out of its shipping container. Do not try any of the techniques shown on this video at home. With this knife, you could easily loose body parts if you made a mistake. I have had years of training in the use of knives for combative purposes. Please do not try any live blade (sharpened) knife work without significant training. If you choose to ignore my advice, your injuries are your own fault. Also, for those who are wondering, I do not receive any payment from Spyderco or from Ed Schempp when I endorse a product or use it in a video. I use or endorse a product because it is an excellent product. This knife is superb. Period.
In hope you enjoyed the video. Thanks for your time and attention.
Tuhan Holloway, August 2008