Bowie Knife Fighting Tactics

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Bowie Knife Fighting Tactics
There are a variety of fighting styles using a Bowie knife. (flying bowie knife image by Roy from

Learn Bowie knife fighting tactics for self defence as practised by experts from all over the world. This knife was invented in the early 1800s by Jim Bowie, a soldier who died defending The Alamo in Texas. The Bowie is a large knife with a blade between 8½ and 12½ inches long which is sharpened on both sides, known as a deadly short-range weapon for close-combat fighting.

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American Marine Bowie Tactics

The modern U.S. Marine Corps teaches its members fighting tactics using a slightly modified form of the Bowie knife. An L.A. Times article dated March 13th, 2008, "Persian Gulf: Knife fighting, prison style," describes how the Marines refined their Bowie knife fighting tactics. After an in-depth study of tactics around the world, instructors found tapes of prisoners fighting were the most instructive. This style of fighting is by nature swift and silent; the most efficient way to kill your enemy. The U.S. Marines call this tactic, "bulldogging," elsewhere it's known as the jailhouse or "prison-yard rush" style of knife fighting. The marine begins by rushing toward his enemy and delivering an underhand blow to his chest area, or face, backed up by two quick cuts on either side of the neck.

SAS Bowie Knife Tactics

Most modern fighting knives are shaped like the original Bowie knife, with variations and additions to suit each fighter and style. Knives used by the SAS retain the traditional Bowie shape and add a more comfortable and efficient grip and hand guard with a notch below it. This notch is used in close combat to catch and even snap the opponent's blade while executing a blocking stroke. The blocking stroke is made while standing with your left foot forward, left arm out and in a forward position to parry or block and right knife hand drawn back toward the body.

Latin Bowie Knife Tactics

Tactics of the Latin fighters stem from their differences in temperament and the goals they wish to achieve from a fight. Latin fishermen who carries smaller knives used for their work sought to inflict a less serious wound to quickly end the fight. Latin Bowie tactics derive from the earlier practice of sword fighting; the left arm, which originally was protected by a tightly wound cape, is drawn back and out. In modern times it is typically fortified for parrying by a jacket or coat, rather than a cape. The stance features an extended and advanced left foot and the knife is held low in front with the thumb extended flat on the blade.

Eastern European Bowie Tactics

Eastern European tactics for fighting with a Bowie knife are simple and inspired by duelling tactics of years gone by. Polish, Russian and Germans tactics involve getting inside an opponent's guard. First, a flying leap is executed, followed swiftly by repeated downward stabs to the chest or back areas.

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