03 February 2010

Knife Defense with Paul Vunak

Just saw this video. Some good stuff in there.

Watch at You Tube


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  1. You'll have to bypass the news but I've featured Paul before.

    Just go to my blog and search for "knife defense".

  2. he straight up contridicks himself ! well thats the way i seen it. saying if u block like this or that its useless because if they move or " pull away " you get cut then he goes on to talk about using a checking hand which is doing the same thing although different technique in hes case a wing chun pak sau or something lol then he comes into the fucking hubar for christ sake. are you telling me tony blauer would practice the hubar when training REAL knife defense ? he carries on saying get a 12 year old with a magic marker dada dada dar saying u carnt use this block or that block then goes on to say when a "number 1 " angle comes in u should " de fang the snake and check with the other hand " WTF ! i totally understand taking out ur enemies knife hand with slashes as they slash but hes trying to employ Wing Chun into knife defense it aint gunna work buddy ! if wing chun worked they wouldnt used it in UFC by now 10 years and still no kung fu. if u can death strike me and block my 3 punch combo then im sure u can be just so kind as to knock me out lol sorry man but hes a doosh

  3. correction WOULDA used it in the UFC

  4. Interesting points Glenn. The main thing I saw was that he argued against a type of unarmed block then offers an armed solution. The solution didn't match the problem. Offer an unarmed solution to the unarmed problem. Or offer an armed problem and an armed solution.

    I think using the "same" block with the knife is ok is this instance because he us using the knife at the same time. But that is what I mean, his solutions all used the knife and at the beginning he used bad unarmed examples. Not the same thing.

    And u r exactly right about the close range stuff. Useless I feel. At that range u need to control that knife arm. This is grappling range and grappling is required and I know many people say u don't grapple against a knife but u do need to control that arm.

    I am not too current on Mr Vunaks stuff and am only commenting on this one video. I think overall the context is good and it is good to highlight the dangers of even an untrained opponent with a knife. A couple little points further is that he looks a little too classical Filipino in the way he moves and uses Filipino terms to an English speaking audience which I find unnecessary. And the kick at long range? The leg will just get cut.

    Am I being too picky?

  5. Me again.

    Don't kick at a guy with a knife.

    "Die Less Often" by Marc Denny
    "STAB" by Karl Tanswell
    "RedZone" by Jerry Wetzel

    That is all.

    You are welcome.

  6. @Glen: you are an idiot and you make no sense at all. Do you really think you can correct one of Inosanto’s own, a guy who’s a martial arts legend and a master at one of the most effective weapon systems on the planet, himself taught by men who used these very same techniques to kill Japanese soldiers in the jungles of WW2? Paul Vunak has taught the Navy-Seals unarmed combat and knife fighting and these guys aren’t regular infantry who in all likelihood will never even see their enemies’ faces, they actually need to be able to kill quickly at close range or they won’t survive themselves. For you to even call him ‘buddy’ is an insult in itself, not to mention the rest of the filth you spewed here.

    The checking hand isn’t blocking, it’s guiding the attacking limb past (similar to the difference between a block and a parry in boxing) and during the initial contact (normally with the knife’s edge) it’s there as a safety: if you miss you’d rather take a cut on the outside of the arm then one that would sever your throat. He isn’t ‘contridicking himself’(sic), this stuff is just way too advanced for you to wrap your puny brain around. Just listen to what the man has to say for god’s sake! Btw: he isn’t ‘employing wing chung’, he’s using kali-escrima. Nowhere was the word WC mentioned, yet somehow you found it necessary to drag it into the discussion, trying in vain to lend yourself some credibility with the mention of a pac sao. I’m not even going to grace your stupid UFC-comment with a reply, if you haven’t made the distinction between fighting sports and reality or self defense based martial arts by now then you will never, ever get it. ...

  7. @Adam: I don’t know you but the fact you actually think this guy presented ‘interesting points’ doesn’t bode well for you. He’s done nothing but talk out of his ass (while ignorance may be bliss, it’s no excuse for talking trash) and I absolutely detest nobodies insulting great martial artists who actually earned their stripes instead of sitting around all day, commenting on things they haven’t even begun to comprehend. About the comment concerning hubud: it’s far from useless. Quite on the contrary even: kali is meant to counter highly trained fighters and if you would try to control the knifehand by grabbing or holding he will use that motion (too much energy) and cut you up, trust me on this one. In unarmed defense against the knife or against a fairly untrained or even semi-trained knife fighter what you’re saying makes sense but not on this level. The knife isn’t dangerous as long as you know where it is and if you guide it past and away from you (after cutting it first which will likely dislodge the weapon) he’ll have to catch his arm before he can attack you again. Guru Vunak hasn’t shown it here but the moment the knife hand is passed (panasut) your knife goes straight for the vitals and returns in one motion to cut the arm again should that be necessary. I’ve seen what these guys can do and it’s insane: the FMA weren’t meant for sports or even self defense, there were meant for killing and surviving confrontations with trained enemies, not thugs who happen to pick up a knife and think they can use it the way you would box. I would suggest you seek out a genuine master (if you go with one of the Inosanto-lineage you can’t go wrong), train with him and ask his opinion on this.

    My respects to guru Vunak, a true warrior and a great teacher.


    PS: about the kick; if you look closely guru Vunak stepped off the line of the thrust and then delivered his stopkick, there was no danger whatsoever and that thrust would gone straight in the guy’s throat or face. In general it’s better not to kick when confronted with a knife but when he commits low kicks when stepping off the line or moving the upper body away from the strike are entirely viable (krav maga does the same with their long range unarmed vs knife defenses). Btw: the age-uke is taught a lot, both in unarmed defense against the knife and knife vs knife… Guru Vunak is entirely correct in stating a) this is suicidal (he actually sugarcoated it) and b) these people know very little about weapons and they’re irresponsible fools who are going to get their students killed some day. The Filipino terminology is a way to show respect to the art itself, the history of the land and the masters that came before, it’s entirely appropriate.

  8. Hi "Zara",

    Thanks for your input. I think anything that gets people discussing the merits of a very real threat, being knife attacks, is a good thing. I thought the video raised some points worth discussing and you have contributed your say to the subject and I thank you for it. That was the point of the article.

    Thank you for your suggestion of seeking out a genuine master as you put it. I found one some time ago now and your emotional response and attitude does not merit mentioning who that is here.

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but please, discuss the topic matter and ideas, but I see no reason to target the individual. I would hapily tak face to face with Mr Vunak and discuss his techniques in person such as those I mentioned above. I would be interested in hearing his responses. But when I discuss what I would consider questionably techniques, I discuss those, not Mr Vunak himself. I guess I just expect readers to do the same. And fortunately, the vast majority of the readers of Low tech Combat do the same. That is what this site is about, sharing ideas and the methodology behind technique and tactics, not people...

    And I am unsure what happened to the first part of your response, technical gremlins it seems.

  9. "if u can death strike me and block my 3 punch combo then im sure u can be just so kind as to knock me out lol sorry man but hes a doosh" (Glenn)

    How is that not a personal insult directed at mr. Vunak or a baseless accusation of incompetence? Not to mention the fact mr. Vunak can block any three punch combo, can kill a man with his bare hands and can knock people out easily, most likely at their first strike. If you use double standards you lose all credibility, no matter how much you stress you want fair and open discussion. How can you reasonably expect to be taken seriously as a blogger if you allow your readers to talk trash and insult an internationally renowned martial artist and expert in close combat as Paul Vunak? Not to mention allowing people to rant completely off topic (UFC good, all the rest bad, blablaba…), using weak sophisms and a profound lack of knowledge to ‘discredit’ very sound and proven theories of combat and training methods. That Glenn guy didn’t make any sense: it should be obvious to anyone with some experience who’s actually willing to listen and watch closely Vunak didn’t contradict himself: the checking hand is a parry guiding the knife hand away from the body after the cut to the limb has been made, only in case you completely miss does it become a block, saving yourself from certain death by accepting a minor cut to the outside of the arm instead of a major one to the throat. What is shown here is kali-escrima, not WC… Nobody mentioned WC (including Vunak himself) yet this guy (I’m trying to stay polite here), showing complete ignorance as to the nature of either WC or kali, just had to drag it into it and concluded (erroneously) ‘it aint gunna work buddy!’ (actual proof, reasons, past experience, the word of genuine authorities?)

    I’m sorry but I’d rather take the word of the US Navy-Seals over some fool who clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about and they clearly had faith in the credentials and expertise of mr. Vunak otherwise they wouldn’t have hired him to teach them close combat and knife work. I didn’t get ‘emotional’ (feeling strongly about something does not preclude sound knowledge and valid reasoning) nor did I attack someone personally: what I did here was show why you why you were wrong and I maintain it’s hard to take someone seriously who applauds ignorance, twisted thinking and downright vulgarity (not to mention total gang-rape of the English language). ...

  10. It’s telling you didn’t at any time in your reply to me argued the point and actually showed me why I was wrong saying what I said so obviously I must have made some sense. Too bad my first message got erased or lost or you would have seen I discussed the actual methods and techniques, like I did here.

    I meant no disrespect towards you or your teacher (it’s not hard to find out who that is when you advertise him on your blog) and I don’t know what his background is exactly (I’ll check with my teacher) but please show this video to him and ask his opinion and I’m sure he’ll agree with me.

    If you ever have the honour of attending his seminars I wouldn’t ‘sit down and discuss his ideas with mr. Vunak’ (that implies equality of expertise and rank), I’d listen to what the man has to say and pay very close attention to what he does. Vunak has been trained by guru Dan Inosanto (one of the leading authorities in the FMA in the US) who was himself trained by men who used these concepts, techniques and methods in real combat, killing real people who tried to do the same to them. Not shooting their mouth off on an internet blog with no consequences whatsoever.

    I’m sorry but it’s pure hubris to think experts and top level martial artists make fundamental mistakes and to think you can somehow ‘correct them’: this is aking to correcting a math professor at Cambridge or M.I.T concerning a ten line mathematical equation. If you’re a genius and a highly educated expert yourself, maybe but you or I clearly don’t fall into that category, let alone Glenn. I always try to listen and learn whenever I encounter someone who knows more than I do or who has experience I don’t. Guru Vunak is such a person and I’m looking forward to the day I can attend one of his seminars and learn from him in person.



    PS: if you want to discuss this further I’ll be happy to send you my emailadress but I don’t post it in publicly accessible places since I don’t want to drown in spam or experience an operation overlord on my computer.

  11. Zara, all is fixed. Googles automatic comment moderation to stop spam got yours and my responses it seems. All are published above and thank you for your email.

  12. Thanks, I hope you understand I wasn't trying to be rude or a smartass but I just had to reply to this since there were such blatant errors in the comments and I thought I could contribute to the discussion. Maybe I shouldn't have called that Glenn guy an idiot but he was so very wrong and vulgar I just couldn't keep my temper. Besides it's not really an insult since 'idiot' is derived from the Greek 'idiotes' meaning someone without skill who's ignorant on a certain matter and I think I've shown this conclusively. I don't claim great expertise in the FMA but if I, with my limited skill and exposure to the art, can see this it must clearer than day to anyone who's really knowledgeable and years of training behind his belt.

    Have a good day,


  13. To all concerned: when I was referring to the dreadful use of language (bad grammer & spelling) I was obviously referring to Glenn and not Adam. He writes well and I appreciate the concept he's developping in his blog.


  14. Firstly, apologies for commenting on an old post, but I couldn't hold my tongue.

    Mr Vunak is without doubt an accomplished martial artist, and was an early pioneer of free thinking martial arts. This is to be applauded. I like some of his material, and he makes some interesting points, but in general I find he dramatically over-complicates matters. That's my opinion, based on my training, and my experimentation with various methods under pressure and in real life.

    I have to admit, I find it amusing that so many people that profess to be "huge fans" of the likes of Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto and Paul Vunak are so closed minded and blinkered in their hero worship. This is exactly what these men started off preaching against!

    "Do not follow in the footsteps of the masters. Instead, seek what they sought."

    The rantings of Zara in the above comments are not unlike the Kool-Aide-esque worship dolled out to the local community club Sensei before the free thinking martial ars era. Ironic.

    Just because Vunak is accomplished and has an impressive resume does not make him above question. I've had the privilege to train with some of the world's absolute best in self defence and martial arts, and not one of them has had a problem explaining why they do something or justifying what they are teaching. In fact, the majority of them openly look for better alternatives and acknowledge that they have added to their curriculum from discussions during seminars.

    To say that someone like Adam has no right to question and should just sit and listen is rude, egotistical, patronising, and absolutely reeks of 17th century Japan.

    Move on. Open your eyes. Question everything.

  15. Joe, well said. I especially like this bit:

    "I have to admit, I find it amusing that so many people that profess to be "huge fans" of the likes of Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto and Paul Vunak are so closed minded and blinkered in their hero worship. This is exactly what these men started off preaching against!"

  16. I just surfed by randomly and came across this.

    A bit of discernment is in order.

    It is right to question, imho.

    I would not suffer people like Glenn who are arrogant on my weblog however, and would put them in their place.

    His questions (answers do seem fairly obvious to be honest) were genuine maybe but his post was distasteful to say the least.

  17. I understand anon what you are saying. I have thought long and hard about where to draw to the line with comments on this site. In the end I have decided to only delete obvious spam comments. I will not censor other peoples comments, I do not believe in censorship on the web.

    Glen's comments are a reflection on him. He wrote those words. He can put up with the consequences of peoples opinions of him. But he is still entitled to his opinion, regardless of what that is and how other people react to them. I personally have had issues with others far more than with Glenn's comments...

    Its a free world and I will follow the principles of freedom of speech on this site as well. Hopefully you will understand this.

  18. Watch the knife attack myths video, a lot of myths here.

  19. Thanks for teaching us the basics of self defense using gerber knives. This is very useful stuff.


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