What do you FMA types say to this?


I have seen a number of FMA based styles who like to show/train various patterns of  slashing attacks in the belief that they are going to “spill intestines” or cut femorals. I have often wondered if many of them realized how hard of a slash you would have to make with a carry knife to even penetrate the average American clothing let alone through layers of muscle. This vid presents an interesting question.



16 thoughts on “What do you FMA types say to this?”

    1. No kidding. I do 99% of the cooking at home and most of that is from scratch. Even something as small as using a Santoku or standard Chef’s knife on a chicken is harder than people who don’t really cut things may imagine…. and both this video and butchering birds and game are examples of passive muscles and skin.

      Slashing a moving/live target is going to be even more of a pain considering he/she may be hitting back.

  1. LOL! I think at times ppl forget that heft/weight is a huge factor for cut penetration. The Japanese Katana and the European long swords weren’t the deadly weapons of their time and cultures because they were sharp, they were the deadly weapons because the edges allowed for a lot of heft/weight and power to be concentrated on a narrow surface area. For edged weapon evolution, the europeon rapier became the deadliest weapon as steel became stronger and lighter because it was engineered to stab primarily.

    This was a great ‘proof is in the puddin’ video.

  2. The guard was released from the hospital the same day after this. Looks vicious and terrifying but it does look like the slashing motions were not as penetrating or lethal… now if the guy had found a way to attack the arms/neck, it might have been a whole ‘nother story.

  3. “To stab with the gladius…” and all that.

    Unless the opponent is pinned up against something (ground/wall/etc), slashes won’t do anything significant. They’re great for creating reactions/openings – which shouldn’t be underestimated – but not much else.

    If you want to get things done, stabbing motions are the only way to go.

    1. I’m with you.

      Mechanically, they are faster, more powerful, and easier to fire off rapidly as well – just like punches. In FMA training, stick or knife thrusts/stabs are a pain to learn how to defend against for that very reason.

      Slashes are most effective against smaller/exposed targets such as limbs/neck/face and the like.

      I’m mainly self defense focused so I don’t really train to ‘fight’ with a knife, but knowing how these things work/why and so on is key for self defense as well.

    2. “Unless the opponent is pinned up against something (ground/wall/etc), slashes won’t do anything significant. They’re great for creating reactions/openings – which shouldn’t be underestimated – but not much else.”

      I don’t agree with this. In the context of the video, yes, the damage from slashes can be lessened or even avoided altogether if there is enough material or material of a sufficient quality between the edge and the flesh. However, against exposed or even lightly covered flesh (say a single layer of denim), a sharp edge which makes contact with tendons, large muscles (ie: bicep, tricep, quadriceps), or exposed blood vessels can effect a shutdown of the ability to hold a weapon, support weight, etc…

      Personally I think slashes shouldn’t be discounted as less dangerous than a stab based upon the idea that clothing can possibly make them less effective. For example, how much less devastating is a slash the eyeball than a stab in terms of ability to respond following the injury?

  4. Very interesting concept and closer to reality than some stuff I’ve seen from martial artists of all stripes.


  5. The Romans developed the Gladius as a stabbing weapon because they found that stabbing results in death much faster and more efficiently than slashing.

    I think that if someone ever has to employ a knife in a deadly force scenario, ending it quickly is a must. If during the event you are able to disable an attacking limb so much the better. I not “against slashing” by any means.

    1. What’s interesting/clever about the Roman Gladius is that they appropriated and then improved on a basic “Hispaniola” design that was being used against them. Beyond the issue of efficiency/stabbing/slashing/cutting, I’d say that the willingness to take what works best and absorb it is a lesson to remember too.

  6. An interesting Musashi quote. Submitted in the spirit of continuing conversation.

    “To cut and to slash are two different things. Cutting, whatever form of cutting it is, is decisive, with a resolute spirit. Slashing is nothing more than touching the enemy. Even if you slash strongly, and even if the enemy dies instantly, it is slashing. When you cut, your spirit is resolved. You must appreciate this. If you first slash the enemy’s hands or legs, you must then cut strongly. Slashing is in spirit the same as touching. When you realise this, they become indistinguishable. Learn this well.”

  7. Slashes are IMO Better for certain cuts, such as a gunting (crossada to some) but quite often, a stab and controlling the opponent, can set up follow up stabs to multiple targets

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