We love a good action flick as much as anyone, but they’re rarely a good representation of reality. Hollywood loves to exaggerate details for dramatic effect, and often spreads outright falsehoods such as the myth that barrel cacti are a great source of water for survival situations. Their representation of weapons is often especially silly, with guns that blast bad guys across the room and never need to be reloaded. However, there are still a few movies that put in the effort to get details right. In a recent video on the Zac in the Wild YouTube channel, edged weapon combatives instructor Adam Boyce of Spartan Mode reacts to a few famous (and infamous) movie knife fights.
About the Expert
Adam Boyce spent 7 years as an assaulter and sniper on a Special Response Team (SRT), and he currently works in the training department for a government agency. He also travels throughout the United States to teach defensive tactics classes to the general public, specializing in edged-weapon combatives. Adam is a certified instructor for Martial Blade Concepts, the training organization founded by Offgrid contributor Michael Janich. On top of all this, he’s also a knife designer.
Action Movie Knife Fights
Above: “I can beat you! I don’t need no gun!” cries Bennett before challenging Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character to a knife duel in Commando. You can probably guess the outcome.
Adam and Zac sat down to watch clips from eight movies, including over-the-top ’80s action flicks like Commando, modern movies like John Wick 2, and timeless classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Between the predictable critiques of inaccuracies, Adam pointed out a few realistic elements that showed the production teams did some homework.
Above: This fight from The Long Riders includes a knife fighting technique that appears to be historically accurate — wielding a Bowie knife in a reverse grip for defense. This allowed the defender to parry incoming strikes with his Bowie’s spine (often protected by a brass strip) and guard, without damaging the cutting edge of the knife. The partial secondary edge could still be used for counterattacks.
Check out the video below from Zac in the Wild:
For more information on Adam Boyce’s training courses, go to SpartanMode.com.
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