What Martial Arts Use Knives?

What Martial Arts Use Knives?

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A knife fight is a deadly fight that might leave either of the fighters dead, or seriously injured. It is also used as a form of defense mechanism by some people in life-threatening situations. But, there are also some martial arts that teach the using of the knives, so let us tell you which they are, and everything else you need to know about them.

Most known Martial arts that use knives are:

  • Filipino Martial Arts ( also known as Kali, Eskrima or Arnis)
  • Marine Corps Martial Art Programme (MCMAP)
  • Paranza Corta
  • Pencak Silat
  • Systema Spetsnaz
  • Tantojutsu

Before making up your mind to engage in knife fighting, you should have an in-depth knowledge of what fighting entails, follow the necessary instructions, and get serious training. The best way to learn fast is by getting a mentor, reading books, and lots of practice.

What is The Art of Knife Fighting Called?

The art of knife fighting is known as blade combat or knife combat.

Most knife fighting arts are learned by constant practice, using sparring encounters between two or more opponents in order to hone a practitioner’s physical skills and mental concentration

In knife fighting, combat knives are used. Combat knives are designed explicitly for knife fighting and provide the user with a strong grip and comfort.

Knife fighting also involves different types of grips, including hammer grip, Filipino knife grip, ice pick grip, saber grip e.t.c. Of all these grips, hammer grip and ice grip are very important, and it has to be effectively learned for a fighter to excel in knife combat.

Hammer grip is often used in both long and mid-range combat, and it involves thrusting and slashing movements.

The ice pick grip, on the other hand, is used in tight areas whereby the fighters have limited space to fight. Angular stabbing movements and tight slashing can be used in this form of knife combat.

Knife combat also involves different ranges of engagement such as long-range, mid-range, and close quarter (CQC) knife combat which is usually determined by the place and condition.

What is The Best Knife for Martial Art

Before choosing the best knife for martial art, you need to consider a few things like:

  • Ensuring the knife is easy to grip
  • Choosing a knife that can be used for slashing and stabbing
  • Avoiding all knives with finger grooves
  • Choosing a stainless steel knife

Avoid standard folding knives as the knife blade might fold when you need to use it. Also, avoid knives with spring blades as the internal spring may have a problem when you need it most. The structural make-up of a spring blade is also quite poor and might not work during a knife fight.

Fighting knives come in different types, and you need to familiarize yourself with them before you begin your knife fighting journey.

The different types of fighting knives are classified as ballistic blade knives, gravity knives, makeshift knives, folding blade, fixed blade, lock blade, and spring blade knives.

Some of the best knives for martial arts are:

Smith and Wesson M&P – comes with a strong lock-back design, concealable fixed blade, special purpose tactical folder, and self-defense tool. It comes with ergonomic design and safety lock, thumb knobs, and assisted opening. The knife is made from high-quality materials that help it withstand rugged usage and remain durable for years. You can check it out on Amazon.

Moon boat butterfly training knife – very thick but designed to reduce weight. It is light and will not slip easily. A long-lasting tail latch comes oh the knife to help you keep it open or securely locked when closed. It is designed to fit the hands of many users, and it’s great for outdoor activities too. You can check it out on Amazon.

Perfect Point Knife – Perfect Point comes in a different collection of throwing knives and throwing stars of different sizes and shapes. Master Cutlery makes the product, and is one of the largest knife manufacturers in the U.S. It features steel blades and black or silver handle. It provides the user with a balanced throw each time, and the laser cut out in each handle allows the user to tie a ribbon at the end. These knives are made more for throwing, so if you are looking for those kinds of knives, you can check them out on Amazon.

There are many other types of knives used for knife combat, and we have tried a lot of them, but we find these three to be the best for martial arts training.

How easy is it to learn knife fighting in martial arts?

Just like in every potentially deadly art form, knife fighting isn’t something you’d learn over a few YouTube videos and Bruce Lee movies. It’s a very dangerous proposition and you need to be sure that’s a path you’d wish to take before you get to the real business.

To master knife fighting you need to first of all work on your physical conditioning, hand to eye coordination, and most importantly your reflexes. Following this, you will enroll at a proper dojo which has a registered knife based martial arts instructor.

Once you’ve trained for a while, come out victorious in a couple of sparring matches, and gained the trust of your sensei it’s only then that you’ll be certified ready for a real knife fight.

Are the movie depictions of knife fights real?

Yes, and No. In a few cases they are, but you’ll have to get some proper Asian movies as those are the purists and real masters of the majority of knife based martial arts fighting techniques. In most cases, however, the movie’s depictions of knife fighting are made belief and filled with extra effects to capture the viewers’ imagination as well as attention. If you want to see the pros at it you should visit a dojo, take permission from the sensei and feast your eyes on real poetry in motion.

Martial Arts That Use Knives

Many martial arts use a knives, but the six significant ones are:

  • Filipino Martial Arts ( also known as Kali, Eskrima or Arnis)
  • Marine Corps Martial Art Programme (MCMAP)
  • Paranza Corta
  • Pencak Silat
  • Systema Spetsnaz
  • Tantojutsu

Filipino Martial Arts

Also known as kali, eskrima or arnis, Filipino martial art is a fight that involves the use of a knife and other weapons like sticks.

In the Filipino martial arts, the focus of the fighter is to disarm or trap the opponent by using the hand without a weapon. 

The art is traced to the Philippine-American war where the Moros (soldiers with weapons) decapitated and slashed many American soldiers. Filipinos also used the Kali Eskrima to fight the Japanese in WWII.

MCMAP Knife Fighting

This martial art uses knives, as well as other weapons, including the hands as fighting instruments. The program also involves a combination of martial arts like boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and others.

Paranza Corta

This is an Italian fighting system, also known as Schema Di Siciliano. The stiletto blade is used in this knife fight. This knife combat style is often associated with assassins, and it is more of a secretive fighting system.

Pencak Silat

Silat is a general term for Southeast Asia’s martial arts that are indigenous to the Malay Archipelago. It is one of the most effective and famous fighting systems, especially after the production of the movie ‘The Raid 2’. It involves the use of different fighting styles and requires specific postures. Silat is one of the deadliest martial arts in the world, and you can check others on our list.

Systema Spetsnaz

This form of fighting involves hand-to-hand combat systems, arms training, and knife fighting. It is a comprehensive fighting system that was developed in the 10th century to address realistic threats on battlefields in Russian Special Forces. This combat system involves the use of a knife and the ability to hit their target three consecutive times from a six-feet distance.


The Japanese Samurai warriors are well-known for their tanto blades or short daggers and katana blades, but they weren’t very effective in the battlefield. This led to the creation of the Tantojutsu fighting system. The system involves a mix of knife strikes and footwork and the ability to throw accurately.


As you can see, there are a lot of martial arts that use knives, and we have told you about the most famous ones. Even though they can be dangerous, they also train you how to defend yourself with a knife, as well as against knives attacks.

It is now all on you, are you ready to learn martial arts that use knives, and to choose the one that suits you best, or the one that you have somewhere near your place.

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