I recently had a conversation with a constable during the Winter Olympics, and things naturally got around to knives. After going through the aspects of form versus function, the black and white of certain grey areas, we got around to the idea of the knife as a defensive tool. This chiefly revolved around the idea of the knife being used for Self-Defence, which I contended was a misnomer, and that what people "really" meant was Personal-Protection. Now I'll admit that most will simply say that it's nothing but semantics and irrelevant as to whether you're Defending or Protecting yourself, as long as it results in the same ending - good guy winning over bad guy. But lest we forget, the legal profession is built upon such hair-splitting, and to be in ignorance of such things is to be enslaved by those things.

So, what do I see as being the difference between Self-Defence (SD) and Personal-Protection (PP.) Well from a practical and professional perspective, the crux between the two comes down to how each aspect deals with a threat, whether that threat be real.or potential. In an SD situation, the goal is to Neutralize the threat, In a PP situation, the goal is to Negate the threat. We might need to look into these two words a little bit more in order to see the subtleties of differences between the two....

1. To make neutral.
2. To counterbalance or counteract the effect of; render ineffective.


1. To make ineffective or invalid; nullify.
2. To rule out; deny.

Now then, it might still seem to be different shades of grey, rather than black and white, even with knowing the definitions of those two words, but as they say "the proof of the pudding.is in the eating." So let's see how this could translate towards the Knife Community? If a Zombie is coming (threatening) at me, do I want to Neutralize or Negate the threat? I could defend myself by running away, hiding, or maybe try to trip up the zombie, thereby neutralizing the threat, but that zombie could come around again and re-threaten me. Or I could protect myself by pulling out my patented iKC-JT Zombie Killer-Aloha-MoFo- Blade and cut off its head, thereby negating any further threat from that particular zombie. Personally, I don't like to have to repeat myself, so I might lean towards Negate over Neutralize as the option of choice in that scenario. But what about real life? If somebody were to come at me in a menacing and threatening manner, could I neutralize that threat, or could I negate that threat with a knife? The answer is of course Yes and No to both. I could defend myself with the knife (either as an impact device or deployed at strategic non-vital body-target points) in such a manner that it would in effect neutralize the threat. Or I could protect myself with the knife (deployed to vital body-target points) in such a manner so as to negate any further threat. From both scenarios, one might come away with the notion that Personal-Protection is more offensive rather than defensive in nature, and more proactive rather than reactive. While Self-Defence is more, well, defensive rather than offensive in nature, and more reactive than proactive (and here's where the veils of subtly waft gently in the debate breeze, in that within any reactive measure there is a proactive awareness involved, and any proactive measure requires a reactive force, et al.) Well, if my bodkin were laid bare,(a knife unsheathed or deployed,) could I protect myself with it - yes, could I defend myself with it - yes. Well then, If my bodkin were housed (sheathed, or folded) could I protect myself with it - not necessarily, could I defend myself with it - definitely yes. The key to this conundrum from my perspective is how the knife was handled (body posturing and movements) and where the knife was targeted (bodily points non-vital or vital,) bearing in mind that something is not necessarily a weapon, but anything can become a weapon, depending on the user's intent and actions. And as always, there is the myriad of legalities and legalese that is slightly different from place to place, that one must take into account with an acceptance as to the repercussions of actions taken, that might have to be balanced with regards to the adage of "being carried by 6, or being judged by 12."

The purpose of this post, is not to tell anyone what is what, but hopefully to merely provide some food for thought on how they might look at one particular aspect of the use for their knife, as opposed to how they might have previously thought or not thought about that dark side of their beloved sharp-edged friend.

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Tags: Defence, Knife, Ponderings, Protection

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