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This blog contains additional information about the bowie knife, as well as the fighting knives of other nations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bowie-Knife Fighter: David "Buckskin" Evans

The following excerpt is from John Speer's Bloody Kansas: Life of Gen. James H. Lane (1896), a chronicle of the violent period when settlers fought over whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state. It tells the tale of David "Buckskin" Evans, an anti-slavery fighter of the rough-and-tumble school:
In the troubles of 1855, Messrs. Wemple and William Ross, brother-in-law and brother of Ex-Senator Ross, brought to Lawrence, from Shelby county, Missouri, a free colored man, with all his certificates of freedom regularly certified and sealed by the officers of the proper court, and a white Missourian named David Evans, as farm hands. Evans was a Free-State man of very marked characteristics.

The Pro-Slavery men expressed doubts about the freedom of Jonas, the negro and wanted to investigate "the nigger-thieves." Dave took it up, and armed to the teeth with bowie-knives and revolvers, drove them off.

Lane heard of him and his prowess, and hired him for fifteen dollars a month "just to stand around and accommodate ruffians spoiling for a fight." He was known as Buckskin, because he wore a buckskin suit, and he was ready for a fight either "fist and skull, or with the cold steel and malleable iron."

His first job of "fist and skull" was on Luke Corlew, a noted bully, whom he pounded terribly, tore his clothes from him, and ran him, half-naked, out of the town. They gave Buckskin a wide berth after that -- shied away from him; and for a long time, he was a terror to all of them.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Soldier Survives Knife in Skull

This is an old ABC News item, dating from December 2007, but still of interest:

 Sgt. Dan Powers
Soldier Survives Knife in Skull
ABC News
Oct. 31, 2007
Of all the injuries in the war in Iraq, the one Sgt. Dan Powers sustained was among the most unusual.

Powers, a member of the Army's 118th MP Company Airborne, was in eastern Baghdad investigating an explosion when suddenly an Iraqi walked up to him and stabbed him in the right side of his head. He didn't know what hit him.

"It felt like someone kind of clothesline tackled me and a thump on the side of the head, like a bang," he said.

An Iraqi teenager had inched up behind Powers on a Baghdad street and plunged a 9-inch knife deep into his skull, penetrating his brain.
 Knife with which Power was stabbed.
Powers, who did not realize he had been stabbed, reacted quickly by throwing his attacker to the ground. Sgt. Michael Riley then tackled the man and turned him over to Iraqi security forces.

"He had no idea what had really happened," said Spc. Ryan Webb, a company medic. "I did have to fight afew people off that came by and were like, 'Whoa,you've got a knife sticking out of your head.'"

Amazingly, Powers remained conscious and alert as he was rushed to a combat hospital, when he finally noticed the knife and realized the gravity of his injury.

"They kept telling me to go sit down, they didn't tell me how bad I was hurt yet," Powers said.

Video report on knife in head
Miraculous Survival

Just a few hours later, doctors in Iraq prepared to take the daring but necessary action of pulling the knife out of Powers' skull -- a move they knew might kill him, and almost did.

Powers lost 2 liters of blood -- about 40 percent of the total in his body.

Back home now at Ft. Bragg, Powers and his wife Trudy are counting their blessings.

"All along I knew he would live because I know him and I know how strong a guy he is," Trudy said.

Amazingly, Powers' memory, speech and coordination are all intact.

"I have a little bit of a loss of sensation on my face due to all of it and I can't raise my right eyebrow. So I am kind of like Mr. Spock," Powers joked.

And Powers is forever grateful for the care he received from the military.

"Those are the heroes to me. They're my heroes," he said. "I am just glad to have made it when so many didn't."
Thanks to the doctors' skill and Sgt. Dan Powers' determination to get back into the service, he made a complete recovery within two years and is once again a fully-qualified paratrooper with the 118th MP Company out of Ft. Bragg.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Krav Maga Defense Against Knife to the Throat

When I see a technique like this demonstrated, I always wonder if it has ever actually worked in the real world or is just a confidence-building exercise.

Affray at Talbotton

From the Brooklyn Eagle, January 28, 1846:
AFFRAY AT TALBOTTON - We learn, says the Charleston Evening News of the 23d inst, by an extract of a letter received in this city from Talbotton, Georgia, that an affray occurred in that place on Thursday last, between two young men of the names of Chambers and Ceily, in the course of which Ceily cut Chambers nearly in two with a bowie knife. Chambers lived about a minute. Ceily was immediately arrested and imprisoned. A strong guard was placed around the gaol in consequence of an apprehension that an attempt would be made by Ceily's friends to rescue him. Ceily was confined last summer for ninety days in consequence of having made an attempt on the life of his uncle with a bowie knife.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Traditional Swedish Knife-Making

This is an interesting video on traditional knife-making technique, demonstrated by Julius Pettersson of Karlsborg, Sweden. The making of the handle is particularly interesting, as is the beautifully decorated knife shown at the video's end.