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How to Use a Live Blade Without Losing a Finger

Live Blade KaliLive blade training: Are you ready? Maybe you have been thinking of making the jump and training with a live blade. How do you know you are really ready and how do you not take off a finger?

Are You Ready to Train with a Live Blade?

Making the move to live blade training can be scary. If you are scared about training with a live blade, you are not ready.  Continue training with the training blades that are not sharp.  Train, train, train and practice, practice, practice until you are comfortable with the movement and it is in your muscle memory.  Keep training until you can perform the more complicated patterns at speed with your training blade and make sure your training blade is not touching any part of your body.  You can use something like pool cue chalk on the “sharp” edges of your training blade.  Then do some flow drills with a partner and see if you end up with any chalk anywhere on your body. If you do, understand that if that was a live blade those represent cuts and you are not ready for live blade training.

How Not to Take Off a Finger with Live Blade Training

MacheteWork with the same training blade that matches your live blade.  If you are training with a small folding knife when you move to a live blade, make sure it is also a folder.  If you train with a folder, but then use live machete you are more likely to get cut.  The movements, while the same, require different eye-hand-body coordination.

All different fighting systems have a numbering system, whether its Escrima, Arnez, Silat, or Kali, what ever your style, master the number system.  That means understanding your angles, being able to hit the angle that you are suppose to. For example, angle 1 in Kali comes from the right side in a downward 45 degree angle. It is important to maintain that 45 degrees and not get lazy and swing the blade at 25 degrees.  Be precise with your training.  This means you will know where your hand and blade is and where your other hand should not be.  The numbering system should be automatic.

You can also practice pass and checking techniques.  A pass is when you move an object out of your way as you are cutting.  Checking is when you hold an object in place while you are cutting or thrusting.  Practice those techniques so you are able to do them with the proper timing. Pass and checking techniques have the highest percentage of injuring yourself, so if you are able to master them with a training blade and not get any blue chalk on your person, you may just be ready for live blade training.

Just remember, a real blade is a dangerous thing and you have to treat it with respect and have precision with it or you will get cut.  If you have any doubts about live blade training, you are not ready. Keep training with your training blades.

Image Credit (Machete)


Jeanne started her martial arts training later in life and has been training at SMAA for over 10 years. She likes all aspects of the martial arts from the physical challenges to the spiritual pursuits of martial etiquette and virtue. She has a master degree in marketing and is currently working on her MBA.

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