Our Systema class tonight placed the focus on the neutralization of bladed weapons. From the outset it was apparent that defending yourself against an assailant with a knife brings up completely different issues from what you are likely to experience when just going head to head with no weapons. Even though the knives we used are made out of wood and cannot inflict real harm my nervous system went into overdrive and brought up all the old fears associated with any kind of weapon. The drills during the class were expertly planned to make not only your body but more importantly your psyche comfortable with the idea of going up against an armed assailant. At the end of the class I had a chat with Vadim and he told me that even the Russian special operations soldiers consider a knife to be a pretty special weapon. The knife just seems so up close and personal and I guess we all have some pretty primal responses to being cut. They key thing that made an impact on me tonight is that all attacks are just attack…don’t let yourself get too involved with the knife, the gun or, for that matter, the punch…just maintain a state of relaxed attention and you will notice many options for breaking down the structural integrity of the opponent. In the meantime…don’t be cut…too much!