Monday, September 27, 2010

Piper Knife Fighting System

While scouring the internet, I came across an article and several videos regarding the Piper Knife Fighting System.

The Piper System is a study of Cape Town and South African knife combatives assembled and organized into a structure, much like a Martial Art, over a period of years.

The following are excerpts from an article I found regarding the Piper Knife Fighting System.

1"The name Piper System and the unique method of blade combat that uses the name are the creations of Nigel February. Nigel, his students and his designated representatives are the only Piper System exponents. The Piper System is a study of Cape Town and South African knife combatives assembled and organized into a structure, much like a Martial Art, over a period of years. Lloyd De Jongh added extensive additional research and created
a learning format for the material in conjunction with Erik Petermann and Jason Williams.

Piper was created to save lives... our own. We were afraid of the skills that our violent criminal element possessed - which we had extreme difficulty coping with utilizing the numerous Western and Asian approaches to Martial Arts we had collectively learned. This fear was widely prevalent, and we found that many were very interested in learning what we knew. Many individuals have since added useful contributions to the pool of knowledge.

Before collecting all the various gang and street methods into the organized system called Piper, it was just called Cape Town knife fighting. Different areas and different gangs had various styles and only a few techniques - but nothing as complete as Piper existed. A typical knifer had a couple of techniques and no conception that there was a discernible underlying method involved. This wasn’t a Martial Art with a syllabus. Gangs therefore had a group of individuals each with one or two of their own and some general, borrowed techniques - their method having a particular regional style and an overall African ‘flavor’. Piper was about painstakingly collecting all of those individual techniques and styles of movement into categories that we Martial Artists could relate to, then compiling a complete system for the edged, blunt, improvised weapons and the empty hand method called Form Style. The blade is a primary weapon, empty hand methods can be considered an adjunct.

N.B. Before we continue, in the interests of clearing up some common misunderstandings, we want to make it clear that:

  • Piper is NOT a Zulu system. It is not ‘Zulu knife fighting’ - there is no such thing. Zulus are not indigenous to and live far from the Western Cape, the Xhosa-dominated province in which Nigel and Lloyd grew up
  • Gangsters and convicts in Cape Town do not acknowledge a preexisting system of knife combat - in all our interviews they are unaware of such a thing, and they will have no knowledge of a Piper System because it is our creation."

What is the Piper Knife Fighting System? "It begins with a group of martial artists training in a garage one night. I had been doing a lengthy study of criminal psychology and strategy, however I lacked a cohesive understanding of the physical tactics and weapons (knives, clubs and machetes) involved. A chance question to Nigel elicited a response which has caused something of a controversy around the world. We have studied the way criminals in our country have used knives in the commission of crimes (to mug, murder, rape and intimidate). This is the opposite side of the coin to what and why martial artists study knives. What we learned about how criminals use knives conflicted with the way martial artists view, utilize and are taught knife skills.

Many have searched for the holy grail in the blade arts, for that elusive ‘truth’ in edged weapons combat. Some feel they have found it in the training hall, they call themselves ‘knife fighters’. Others have found their truth - and are grateful to merely label themselves survivors. Then there are those who have found a deeper truth in blade combat - we call them murderers, thugs, muggers, rapists, gangsters and convicts.

We’ve codified the various seemingly unrelated, random methods that our proficient criminal elements employ into a system, a system which Nigel named Piper. For a description of the origin behind the name, please see his blog post “Piper - the origin of a name”, or view his video interview.

The method that we call Piper sends people to morgues and emergency wards as we speak - it teaches the truth of edged weapons combat as we experience it in our corner of the globe, a place where knives are a daily threat, where communities have lived with fear for years. The system with a style of movement, deceptiveness, viciousness and an application that is radically different to anything in “Martial Arts” - its origin is not based on stylistic imperatives, but on criminal requirements."

Regarding the Piper Knife Fighting System, some say, it is "not a martial art, nor is it even a fighting system. It is murder, plain and simple. It's effectiveness is by and large dependent on shock and surprise. You ambush the guy and then proceed to torture him with a barrage of "woodpecker" attacks from countless different -- and unpredictable -- angles. I would also like to point out that it relies on the shock and awe response that someone, who unexpectedly finds themselves assaulted by a knife, will commonly exhibit -- namely stepping backwards. Attempting to "fight" such an attack will only result in the person -- well let's say that it would be like trying to fight a swarm of bees armed with razors. This is why people with experience with unhappy times looked at it and shifted gears into "just kill him" mode as their tactical response."

In my opinion, whether a person is being attacked " with a barrage of 'woodpecker' attacks from countless different and unpredictable angles" or a flurry of swift, sharp attacks with a kerambit, your survival instinct will immediately kick in and you would try to kill, or at the very least, maim the attacker.

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All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


1 comment:

  1. I'd like to thank you for sharing this information. I always like seeing what other people's perspective is with regard to knife training. I would have to disagree though with regard to somebody's "survival instinct". I would argue that unfortunately, not everybody has this instinct. I have witnessed through heavy sparring session(s) people's inability to protect themselves when the threat presented itself. Perhaps this is because the students were not subjected to a real life attack? I am not sure. What I do know though is that it seems that you either have that instinct to survive or you have the instinct to protect and therefore potentially be the victim. I feel that it is individuals responsibility to train themselves and be able to deal with high stress and threat levels through intense training.