Review of Master Ed Martin’s
“Knife Defense”
Emphasis on Hostage Type Situations

By: Master John Enger


Delayed processing! The brain is slow to process information from the eyes. So, what does that have to do with knife defense? Actually, quite a lot and is a fact you need to know if you desire to stay alive.

Master Martin’s lesson of the “Dollar Bill” at the outset of this DVD is very good. Yep, “another tactical gem” that I won’t reveal to the reader of this review (you need to purchase the DVD for this one). But, let me toss my own observation in for you to ponder.  

“We see objects as an image imprinted in the retina of our eye. It is carried by the light that enters the eye. Our eye is provided with a lens just like that of a camera. And the retina is like the photographic film, at the backside of the eye, facing the lens. When the image is flashed, the sensory nerves pick up the message and flash signals to the brain for it to interpret.”  

This processing takes little time.
 Oh, but time enough!

In this DVD you will find Master Martin emphasizing hostage type situations involving a knife you may very well find yourself in --- however, you are not left wanting for other tactics he discusses and demonstrates. He makes it very clear from the outset that if you can avoid a fight with a knife, do so! If you cannot, then you are left with no other choice but to defend yourself.

Master Martin emphatically states that you can defeat these hostage situations “if you know how to move.”  This may seem obvious to anyone with common sense right? Right! However, there are countless people seriously cut or stabbed to death every year because they thought they knew how to move. I believe you will find the discussion in this section of the DVD to be quite interesting and most realistic. You will learn how to
move “off the line” in order to keep from being stabbed, slashed or cut.

Awareness is a police officer’s friend! As a former police officer I know the value of either “learning” this skill or “possessing” the inborn/innate “gift” of awareness. So yes, I believe you can teach it. I believe we all have the ability to some degree of knowing when something just doesn’t “feel right” and with proper instruction it can be enhanced significantly. But I also know that there are those (I include myself in this category) that for some unknown reason “feel it” very strongly – there is no way to explain it and I have always termed it my “internal antenna”. It kept me safe many times and continues to do so.

Master Martin touches on this in his training and states that awareness becomes extremely important in dealing with weapons of any kind. He illustrates awareness and the value of awareness in the “Story of Billy.”

He emphasizes that “when your body feels something, senses something…. Pay attention to it! Your body wants to live. It’s trying to tell you what to do. If you ignore it, you ignore it to your peril.”   

So what about the techniques? Master Martin is a believer that tension slows responses and you must relax! If not, you will telegraph movement. It was quite obvious that he was very relaxed in demonstrating each technique, not only noticeable in his physical demeanor, but in his voice. You have heard it said that “the eyes are the window of the soul” – that’s a lie! It’s the VOICE! Listen to the voice.

The purchaser of this DVD will find many knife defenses that are often overlooked or left out in other similar training material. What I like is Master Martin’s demonstration and explanation of each of the techniques several times. There is a step-by-step process that will enhance the serious student’s learning curve I believe. Another great addition is the lessons given periodically cover the anatomy and physiology of the human body and what the knife will do to the particular part of the body that is cut. There are only a few in martial arts that take the time to teach this aspect to knife defense (Master Peter Brusso is the other).

Master Martin clearly teaches that you are to never attempt to match a person’s strength which is a tactical error. Every person has weakness and those are to be exploited in the self defense technique.

You will learn the following defenses:

Knife to the neck from the front and rear as well as how to defend against the knife from the rear “over the top” (shoulder area), knife in the armpit from the rear (blade deep and not deep), knife to the groin from the rear, knife to the abdomen from front, knife to the middle of the back and knife to the rib cage area.

Also the student is going to find instruction in how to deal with various attacks with a knife other than the “static hostage type” situations. Scenarios include defending against a stab towards the middle front of the torso – you will learn how to “get off the line”, and things such as overhead knife attacks and slashes.

Master Martin does not fail you in his instruction and covers scenarios involving multiple attackers with demonstration and discussion. Very interesting techniques that I had never been trained in prior to viewing this DVD.

A great addition to this DVD was Master Martin discussing the “Equalizers”. Keep an attacker at a distance by using such things as a pant belt (use a piece of rope for practicing this technique!), purse, fanny-pack. He urges each person to teach themselves on how to use these items beforehand -- know how they can be deployed and how they will work on the attacker. 

Master Martin tells you the way it truly is. It is impossible to show all of the types of hostage situations you can run into with a knife. I found this refreshing as so many self-dense DVDs being marketed will make one believe it’s the final word and piece of work on that particular subject that will ever be needed. You won’t find that nonsense being instructed in Master Martin’s Knife Defense DVD.

Then just as I though the training was finished Master Martin adds this comment to the equation: 

“What do you do when you are the one with the skills and your companion is held hostage by someone with a knife?”

He then covers and demonstrates several likely scenarios. This I felt was a bonus to the training already received.

I don’t let any DVD review go without practicing the techniques that are demonstrated. I brought together a group of six people – three experienced martial artists and three with little to no self-defense experience. We spent a good eight hours in practice and discussion. Some techniques were very simple to master and others took more time and practice to get more proficient in – more specifically multiple attackers with the students with little to no self-defense training skills.

The consensus from all was this – we all learned some very dynamic knife defense skills that are realistic, effective and will work on the street. I  personally felt that I had learned knew skills and was forced to conclude or perhaps better word to use would be to concede that I needed to change a few of my own techniques that were not nearly as effective as those instructed by Master Martin. Thank you Master Martin for some knew skills!

Well worth your time and effort. The DVD is under priced for the wealth of information presented from a true Master.

Master Martin in his conclusion states:

“Make sure your injuries are minimized and theirs maximized. Let them experience the pain they seek to give you”

With that I conclude with a standing ovation from the audience!