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Bowie Knife Training Event
September 18-19, 2010 In Ithaca, NY


Howdy all!  Today as I'm writing this (Tuesday morning) is the first day in a week that I haven't gotten up ready for a full day of training.  Since last Tuesday I have had people here for private training as well as the big Bowie Knife event we held over the weekend!

So how did it all go?  In a word - AWESOME.  Everyone who made the trek out went home with the skills they came here to gain with the Bowie knife and arts ranging from American Instinctive Rifle Shooting to Drawpoint, Trapping, Hellbows and more.

Every day brought with it new training and new miracles for the trainees.  Starting on Wednesday with the shooters they were effortlessly nailing stationary quarters at 15 feet before lunch, and by the end of the day they could hit tiny aerials or come damn close.  They got so good I even had them shoot at aerial BBs - yes, shooting a BB out of the air with a BB is quite possible and I did it for them a half-dozen times in a few minutes.

(And even when you miss a BB sized target, each time by only a quarter-inch or so, it's still a good shot in my book because there's no man or beast you'll ever need to hit that's the size or speed of a thrown BB in flight!)

Thursday saw us delve into the Bowie knife as a warm-up for the weekend.  Again, before lunch the guys were all doing full speed Passata Sottos and Inquartadas against someone that was really trying to hit them.  I asked if they had thought these moves were possible before the training and they both said no, but that now they were completely convinced of their effectiveness.

Friday we moved into the knife and pistol realm.  After learning to use the vision from the rifle training and the body mechanics of the Bowie for shooting pistols and tearing up the metal targets outside we moved into the school to continue with close-quarters drawing and shooting.  They learned how to fight in the clinch, both counter-grappling as well as using dirty fighting like eye-gouges and groin-rips to set up a position they could safely draw and shoot from while still in contact control of their opponent.

In the afternoon we split up with part of the group working on advanced Bowie sparring exercises while others learned to do aerial shooting with the pistol.  Interestingly, the exact pistol that one student thought would be the hardest to use (an all metal Walther PPK style with a blow-back action moving slide) turned out to be the easiest for him!  Even double-taps on aerials were no problem, using the principles we'd covered with the rifle and now working the same magic with the handgun.

Saturday morning was the start of the main event and we got right to work for a long day covering the basics of footwork, timing, measure, attack and defense with the Bowie knife long with some of the crucial and overlooked history.  Saturday night saw a one-of-a-kind presentation with Mark from Australia on the application of stage magic principles to the knife arts, something James Keating and I have long spoken of for a long time.

Many combative applications based on the 17 principles he shared were discussed, and I shared further concepts in frame shifting and psychological applications of these tactics through pattern interrupts and applied conversational hypnosis.  Lily took this one step further, showing how ingrained patterns of human behavior can even be used to put someone into complete trance in just a few seconds.  What had started as a 25 minute lecture turned into 90 minutes as one concept lead to another and everyone got hands-on practice in applying (and thereby internalizing) the principles.

Sunday started with the full speed evasion and counter exercises followed by hours of sparring drills and throughout the day I heard people comparing the winning actions of the fight to the principles they had gotten from the magic.  It was a long day of high energy work and everyone did a wonderful job of keeping up that pace!  I've been at seminars where people stand and talk but there was none of that here.  You all moved and grooved on the floor and won skill the only way possible - by doing it for real and paying in sweat.

On Monday things shifted back into private training mode and we dove into a rapid fire combination of Drawpoint, Trapping, and Hellbows.  We worked through a wide range of live drills and exercises, fighting against two people, "dirty boxing" with the Hellbows, work when restrained and so on.  Good times and good training!  A perfect end to the week.

Hat's off to everyone who was there - old friends and new!  I look forward to training with you again next time.

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz


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