Izula II–Bullet Ant Knife: A Fixed Blade EDC that Might Be for You

The Izula II from ESEE has become my new favorite EDC (every day carry), and I think it might become yours too, depending on your needs and the laws and regulations of where you live. There are many dangers of carrying a knife for self-defense, which is one of the reasons I’m referring to this knife as an EDC blade as opposed to a self-defense weapon. For self-defense purposes, I prefer a palm stick, like those I describe in my Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide. In my experience, true self-defense situations rarely provide sufficient time actually to pull a weapon to use as a defensive instrument, which is one reason improvised weapons at hand are sometimes more useful than weapons you carry [for more on such improvised weapons, see my A Cup of Coffee: And Other Improvised Weapons of Self-Defense].

Knives are tools, and often come in handy throughout the day for the sort of things they are designed for, namely, cutting, like: cutting rope, opening packages, preparing food, cutting cloth, cutting wood, opening letters, etc. They also can be used to cut people in defensive situations—-they can also be used to cut and scare people in illegal offensive situations, in robberies, assaults, rape, and murder, hence there are sometimes strict laws (depending on country and state) regulating their sale and use.

One of the beauties of the Izula II is that it is NOT designed as a fighting or self-defense knife, but could serve that purpose better than many blades that I see pitched as self-defense or fighting knives. The Izula II is primarily a knife that is intended for ordinary, legal, everyday purposes. WIth that in mind, it is very small. The blade is under three inches, which means that it is large enough to be useful for the sort of everyday tasks an EDC knife is needed for, and yet it is small enough that it is legal to carry in most states in the U.S. (though check your local state and city laws). It’s a fixed blade and actually is legal to carry in some parts of the U.S. where larger folders are not permitted. But, it has all the strengths that come with fixed blade knives, and many of the strengths of EDC folders–even though it is not a folder (and thus it does not have the weaknesses that many folders have).

The Izula II has all the great qualities as its predecessor, the Izula (named after the fire ant), but has a larger handle, and is all around superior. This blade can take a beating, and would be great in the outdoors. I imagine that it would rust, so you’ll have to take care of it, but it is fairly easy and simple to sharpen. In well-trained hands this could serve as a fine instrument of self-defense, but I would only recommend that (or any knife for that matter) for those who are skilled with blades. I’ll write more (both on this blog and in the form of a forthcoming book) on knife fighting and knife self-defense, since this is such a popular but dangerously misunderstood topic. If you’re looking for a compact fixed blade knife that will last you for generations (your kids could inherit this knife), and be useful for just about any task you’d put a small bladed knife to—and even some you’d put a larger bladed knife to—then the Izula II might just be for you. ESEE specializes in knives made for the rough jungles of Central and South America, but the Izula II, unlike it’s larger (but heftier and superior, for their tasks) ESEE counterparts, would work very well in the urban, rural, and suburban jungles we may tread (just make sure to check your local laws).

Stay tuned for more to come on this topic……

Izula II–Bullet Ant Knife: A Fixed Blade EDC that Might Be for You

Real Knife Self-Defense

Since Knife self-defense is such a popular topic these days–and for good reason–I plan on doing more posts on this. Most training in knife self-defense is very poor and actually quite dangerous. Most of the videos you’ll find online are a joke, and will very likely get you killed if you attempted any of that nonsense in a real self-defense situation. I’ve been trained in knife self-defense (both unarmed against a knife, knife against a knife, knife against other weapons and against multiple assailants, stick versus knife, etc.) from masters in northern and southern Kung Fu styles (including Wing Chun), from masters in Aikido and Aikijujutsu, from Filipino stylists, as well as from my synthetic American karate instructor who has taught knife self-defense (and knife techniques) to members of elite and special forces across the world (Germany, France, Israel, UK, U.S., etc.).

There are two very good videos, however, I’d like to share with you that I think will helpfully bring some realism to your training, or at least to your expectations. The first is a clip of the famous Filipino (and other) stylist Jeff Imada, showing Aikido stylists the real dangers of a knife. No one gets hurt, but you see how a well-trained knife fighter is a force to be reckoned with: Check out the clip here.

The second clip is of self-defense expert Dean Lawler teaching knife self-defense. You can see that clip here. Watch carefully. Contrast 0.20 to 0.42 with the segment from 0.50 to 1.20. What you’ll notice is that 0.20 to 0.42 is very much like what we find in training, and is very unrealistic. 0.50 to 1.20 is far more realistic, and terrifying. No one gets injured, but this shows you what a real serious knife attack can look like. This is for real, even though it’s not real.

For safe realistic knife self-defense training I highly recommend purchasing the eva foam training knives, like the one pictured at the top of this post. They are a little more expensive than your run of the mill rubber knives, but will do less damage to your body. Anyone going full contact with rubber or plastic knives knows the bruising your body can get. These are excellent training knives and much safer to use.

Real Knife Self-Defense

W.E. Fairbairn and Self Defense

William E. Fairbairn (1885-1960) was a self-defense expert whose popular works in self-defense remain important classics in the field. He wrote  his popular Get Tough, which remains a classic. He also wrote a manual on knife fighting. These are great works, true classics. There’s an excellent blogpost on Fairbairn’s life, in the context of the history of self defense, here. He studied Judo and Jujutsu, among other styles (including Chinese styles), and had boatloads of actual self-defense experience on the street, working as a police officer in Shanghai’s mean streets before the Communist take over of China. He also helped create a popular fighting knife, the Fairbairn-Sykes Knife, which is still available for sale. The more effective, in my opinion, Applegate-Fairbairn Knife is modeled on that earlier version. My favorite version of this is Boker’s black model, which I think is one of the best combat knives available on the market. He has a number of other books, including Shooting to Live with the One Hand Gun, and Scientific Self Defense. His works are seriously neglected nowadays, but you would do well to review them. They may not be much help for someone with no background in martial arts or self-defense, but they include easy to learn moves, that are extremely effective. Students of Jujutsu and Judo will recognize many of these moves. No nonsense, street smart moves. Very effective. Also check out some of my own works on self-defense, including my popular Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, my Essential Self-Defense Tips, and my brand new A Cup of Coffee and Other Improvised Weapons of Self Defense.

W.E. Fairbairn and Self Defense

Kung Fu’s Little Secret: Double Daggers

I’ve written a lot of self-defense, and I’ve written on Aikido, and related martial arts. But the styles with which I’m most familiar (most years training), are styles of Chinese Kung Fu. I’ve even written a highly popular book on the topic, Secrets of Kung Fu Mastery: The Fundamentals, which is available both in electronic format from Kindle, and also in paperback. I’ve also been writing posts on self-defense knives, including my most recent post on what to know about carrying knives for self-defense. In this brief post, I want to combine these themes and discuss the little known Kung Fu weapon, known as the double daggers, or twin daggers, or double ring daggers, or some combination.

Double ring daggers, like those pictured to the left, are a little-known Kung Fu weapon that were ideal for deadly use in life-threatening self-defense situations, or close-quarters combat, where it was essential to have a concealed weapon. The ring at the bottom could be used as a blunt object. These daggers could even be used like kubotans. If you check out my most popular book, Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, which is available both in electronic format from Kindle, and also in paperback, you’ll discover that many different objects could function like kubotans. The blunt ring end of these knives can function like kubotans for lethal (but not messy) and non-lethal strikes as well as pressure points. Traditionally, the blades were not sharpened (with the exception of the sharp tip)–since these were primarily stabbing knives (like ice picks) and not slashing knives (with some exceptions), and thus they could even be used for chin na grappling techniques, and could be employed like kubotans for joint manipulation and come along techniques.

One benefit of these traditional blades for practice, is that they are non-sharpened, and metal, so you are not likely to cut yourself in solo practice….although I have seen people get cut when stabbed by accident in training sessions…even though unsharpened, the tips are still pretty pointy.

Cold Steel has come out with a variety of self-defense options, which are ideal for law enforcement, military special operators, etc. Less ideal for average citizens, but if your laws permit them to be carried (especially concealed), at this length, and you train regularly with unsharpened ones, then they might be a good option for you.

You can see one of the popular versions of these Cold Steel knives to the left. I highly recommend them. The danger is that these blades are razor sharp, all the way around, so in many of the traditional Kung Fu techniques, you are in serious danger of injuring yourself in very bloodly ways. You must exercise extreme caution. Furthermore, traditional ring daggers are smaller in size, so I’d recommend constructing something yourself to help practice with these, or using a larger practice blade first. Even though it’s not ideal for this (since it’s not the same model), you might want to try Cold Steel’s rubber Black Bear training knife, because of its length, you might be able to modify it and add a ring. Not ideal.

Cold Steel has come out with a number of models of these, but they’re sold individually, so you’ll either want to order two, or just use a single. There’s the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow Knife with Secure-Ex Sheath for $29.99, which is a steal! This is the model I would get myself. There’s also the Cold Steel Shanghai Warrior Fixed Blade for $29.88. There’s the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow Knife for $34.28. There’s also the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow with new guard and S.E. sheath for $43.46. All of these are fine options.

If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to take a look at my two most popular resources, Secrets of Kung Fu Mastery, and Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide! And stay tuned for more martial arts and self-defense posts, as well as knife reviews!

Kung Fu’s Little Secret: Double Daggers

Carrying a Knife for Self-Defense? What You Need to Know

Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knife with Straight Edge, Black, Large

So you want to carry a knife for self-defense? What’s the best one to choose, you ask? First, there are a number of things to consider before deciding to carry a knife for self-defense. First, there are the practical realities of self-defense situations and of using a knife in those situations. Second, there are legal considerations. Finally, there are the finer points (pun intended) of knife selection.

First: The practical realities of of self-defense situations and of using a knife in those situations. No one, especially those interested in selling you knives and making money off of you, wants to tell you the truth that the fact of the matter is, in most true self-defense situations, where you have no way of escape, there’s no time to pull out a knife. If you’re attacked by surprise, or there are multiple people attacking you at the same time, or someone else has already pulled a weapon on you…there usually is not enough time to pull a weapon yourself. I’ve been in many, many, many situations like this, and have always been armed with something (usually multiple somethings) that could be used as a weapon or defensive tool (I almost always have a knife on my person, as well as a kubotan-like instrument, not to mention a pen). I’ve never had sufficient time to pull one of these tools out and use them to defend myself.

That being said, there’s always the danger of the weapon being taken from you and used against you. That should be a major concern; it leads to the death of many police officers every year. You must be aware of this if you plan on carrying any instrument you intend to use to defend yourself.

Beyond that, you must train with whatever instrument you hope to use to defend yourself with.

There are a number of dull rubber training knives out there, like this inexpensive Cold Steel Rubber Training Peace Keeper Knife (only $11.17). If you’re going to carry a knife with the potential of self-defense on your person, you must train (and never with a live, that is sharp, blade!). It’s always best to train with a fake blade that resembles the blade you intend to carry the best.

Finally, for self-defense purposes, know that, depending on the situation, you may fare better unarmed (if you’re well-trained) than armed. For example, if you attack a knife attacker with another knife, what you’ve got on your hands has become a knife fight. Knife fighters don’t live very long. It’s easy to kill someone with a knife–and let’s be clear, a knife or a gun in a physical confrontation is a deadly weapon (that is, don’t pull either if you are not prepared to kill, and if the situation does not require a potential death). That being said, unlike a gun, a knife does not take a life very quickly. It may take a while to bleed to death, during which time, the assailant may strike you with a fatal wound as well, in which case, you will both likely bleed to death. That’s how knife fights usually end; both knife fighters usually crawl away to some corner to bleed to death, or they die on their way to the ER. If they make it to the ER, they have some chance, perhaps. But you’d be much better off using both hands to stop the knife wielding arm and control their blade while striking them in the eyes, throat, ear, knee…repeatedly…until you can get free and run away to safety.

Beyond these concerns, there are the many legal issues. Most states in the U.S., at least (and some countries are even more restrictive) have laws governing the carrying of knives they consider to be weapons. Sometimes specific cities (like NYC) have their own laws which may even be more restrictive than their respective states. You need to be aware of the laws where you are, or you risk imprisonment. And you know what happens in prison.

Such laws concern what type of knives you can and cannot carry (involving their size, their manner of opening, etc.), how you carry the knives (completely hidden, completely open, partially hidden but visible), etc.

You need to know and obey the laws where you are. Obviously it’s better to survive an attack on the streets and end up in prison (with risk of being raped, being stabbed to death, losing job, transmitting AIDS, wrecking family life, etc., in prison), but there are usually other options. One major danger of carrying a knife for the express purpose of self-defense, is that you’re more likely to use it. Why is this a danger? Because, you may use it (especially if you train with it, which you must do) when there’s no need. You might kill someone (and let’s be clear, that’s what’s likely to happen if you defend yourself with a knife) when you could have talked your way out of it, you could have avoided the situation, you could have run away, you could have gotten police intervention, or you could have defended yourself with much less force. Think very carefully, before you put yourself in this situation. It may very well have life-changing consequences.

But if you do carry a knife, what should it be? Very tricky. In general, as the online experts will tell you, correctly, the larger fixed blade (full tang) options, are superior to anything else.

 Something like your $76.60 Ontario Ranger Ready Detachment Knife (above), Or even better, something like your $169.95 ESEE Junglas Knife.

Of course, unless you’re living in a wilderness, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to legally carry such blades. And of course, there are better straight-bladed knives out there, but this gives you some sense of what we’re talking about. Again, you’re not likely to be able to pull one of these in a self-defense situation, and if you are able, you probably can run away.

The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knives are also excellent, like the one pictured at the top of this post. They are a bit more limited, but they’re darn effective, and most can be purchased for less than $50. But these are only really cutting and ripping knives.

In general, again, the online experts are right, folders are not as fast or as effective (or as strong) as the full tang straight blades. That being said, the Fox Dart Knife might be an exception. If you get this, although pricey, be sure to get it with the trainer (for $274.95…..retails at $348.90).

Many others can be helpful. If you want a knife you can hold with a gun (especially important for law enforcement and military personnel), you might want to try one of the SOCP Knives, like the $97.75 model below.

Or, you might prefer the more robust Australian version, the Hardcore Hardware Australia Special Operations Tool Tactical Personal Protection Knife, pictured below, coming in at a whopping $219.00, but worth the price.

 Be aware, however, that these knives are made for stabbing. You can do a limited amount of slashing, perhaps more with the pricier Australian model, but they’re really made for stabbing.

Personally, I don’t carry any such blades on my person anymore. I prefer more regular duty knives, smaller folders (which tend to be legal most of the places I travel…except when I’m in NYC, or travelling through an airport…no blades at all there, and so I don’t bring any blades there). But I’ve never used a blade in a self-defense situation, whereas I do use an EDC blade (which could be used for self-defense) everyday for a host of cutting tasks. Depending on the day I carry a variety of knives. Sometimes I carry my trusted Para-Military 2, $117.25 version featured below.

Or, I might pack the less-conspicuous, and less expensive, Tenacious model, $41.33 edition pictured below.

Or else, quite frequently (perhaps in addition to one of these blades), the really useful and incredibly inexpensive ($9.04) Gerber EAB Pocket Knife, really more of a box-cutter, pictured below.

This is not a defensive knife, but it certainly can slash and make a fairly serious gash in the forehead (temporarily blinding an opponent), or neck. But of course, I use it almost everyday, and not for defensive purposes. Unlike the Spyderco models above (which open fairly quickly one-handed), the Gerber box cutter above does not open quickly, and is difficult to open safely with one hand.

But let’s be clear. In a self-defense situation where you have a blade at your disposal, you don’t need a fancy knife, or even a very sharp knife (unless you are slashing). A dull knife with a tip (even with a box cutter) can cut and make someone bleed in the right places. Even a dull screwdriver can do that. I have seen more than one person hit in the face while training with a blunt wooden staff, and let me tell you they bled profusely: hands, feet, face, and head, bleed a lot, even when no serious damage is done to those body parts. In a self-defense confrontation, you don’t need to kill your assailant (30 minutes or an hour after the event…as can be the case with a knife wound). You need to get away safely. A blade, or a stick, or a car key, or your own body, can do this. Check out my Essential Self-Defense Tips ($0.99 on Kindle or $3.99 in paperback) for more advice on self-defense.

So, in general I don’t think your average untrained person should select a knife as a main self-defense weapon. That being said, for someone who is interested in using a blade, who has some skills and training, I will be posting more on this topic, since it seems to be such a popular topic with so many deadly misconceptions.

Carrying a Knife for Self-Defense? What You Need to Know