"Someday, I'm a gonna larn me some of that fancy razor work. Anybody around here that can show me some of that". From the shadows a voice spoke up and said: "Sure, why not, the night is still young. I catch a freight eastbound at dawn tomorrow. Plenty of time for rest then". As the lean figure of old A #-1, (the luckiest Bo alive) came into the circle of light cast by the waning fire, the other bo's knew this was a chance to learn from the best. As A#-1 began to speak, no sound was to be heard.
Well, it could have went down some thing like that. While this may not be a bum-jungle, it'll have to do pilgrim.
Let us continue our study of the Straight Razor. Let it be remembered as a part of the shared Comtech history.
A part of America's history that we today can still learn from. Scroll down amigo and stay awhile !
~~RAZORFIGHTING PAGE ~~
1. Razors are made of very brittle, breakable steel. It is very "glass-like" and breaks like a wine glass if impacted on any hard surface at all.
2. Due to the reasons above, the razor fighters have developed specialized grips and methods to use the razor and not have it fracture in the course of said usage.
3. Cuts, strokes and attacks are also structured around the grip and the nature of the delicate steel.
4. A razor has no locking mechanism. It's all dexterity and know-how with a razor. scew up and break your weapon, ugh-oh! Allow the razor to accidentlly close upon your fingers and again... ugh-oh! So, grip-use-design-purpose must meld together or disaster looms on every turn of events.
5. Razors are best suited to snipe, wound, terrorize and disfigure (scar). Not good for heavy cutting, amputations, beheadings or other such fantasy Bowie knife-like applications.
6. Today, men do not own, carry or shave with these devices. So, they no longer have that carte blanche ability to be carried. They are an antique device. They would be seen as would any other edged weapon.
Ok, let's get to it! Like with any weapon, let's start with GRIPS. With certain weapons, grip is not a specific factor. But, with a straight razor the proper grip is all important.
(Hang on, I'll tell you why very soon).
<~~~~~~~ O ~~~~~~~>
First, let's look at the grip, we can learn much from just seeing how it's done.
What.. No razor? Just use a folding knife then !
Notice how the pinch grip is applied. Here is why. The razor having no lock what-so-ever to keep it in the open position must be held in this way to prevent closure. The grip also adds lends strength to the blade and frame. A proper pinch-grip eliminates most of the weaknesses of the razors design. The handle is not important, the blade is. Keep it intact and functional. When people show you "alternative grips" for the razor; I do not doubt that a razor could be held in such a way. What I doubt is that it would serve any functional purpose to hold a straight razor in such a fashion. There is really only one way to grasp the razor when using it as a weapon. And that is the way I am showing you.
Well, here we are again. In the bum-jungles, you know where we are, we're just outside of everywhere. Just beyond the city limits of that universal hometown, where Rod Serling is the Twilight-mayor of the place. Just sitting around the fire on logs and wooden boxes enjoying the moment. One young "Bo" speaks up, sez he saw a man get cut up down the road a piece. Sez it was over some gal and the fella that did it used a razor. The youngster said it was terrible to see, lots of blood. The older hobo's aren't surprised. This is an old tale, acted out all too often to the same bitter conclusion. The hobo's murmer their acknowledgements of this news with grunts, glances and pronounced puffs from homemade pipes.
The young "Bo" speaks up again, he sez
"I've never seen anything so fast, it was like watching two tigers fight, it was." From the shadows a voice speaks up "How'd you know anyway? When in tarnation have you ever seen two tigers go at it"? The youth replied, "it was in St. Louis, at a Circus, I saw two tigers begin fighting and it took a firehose to set'em straight again. And this fracas was like that, horrible wounds and blood all over"! There was silence for a long time in the bum-jungle that night. Men looked into the fire and beyond. The camp fire ya see, is the hobo's mirror to the soul.
The Pinch Grip
Do you see the small inset to the left? It shows the curved end of the razor blade. That part in the pinch grip photo is not visible. Look again at the photo above.
See how I've got that hook acting as a co-efficient to the grip and as further support and protection to the all too critical & delicate blade? Plus, edge alignment is more sure due this grip as is control ! And it keeps the handle in control also. Try it yourself. It's how a folding knife w/ no lock is used. Except a bit more point would be left exposed. Some call it a "foil grip".
Weapons change / The Theme remains.... ~
The nature of combat is born of fire. Tis always been thus...
The spirit of fire, no matter how small, is always fierce!
Carrying the Straight Razor as a weapon was not always an easy task either. Due to it being prone to breakage, ya didn't want to sit on it in your back pocket. Some of the celluloid handled razors were quite delicate instruments. Some of the heavier mexican straights w/ horn handles and heavy blades were better suited to mayhem than the gentleman's Denbar razor was.
In fact the carry of the handy dandy straight of the past was done often via a cord about the neck. (perfect fer the shaving utillity-minded man ya know) This was one of the first neck-knives ever to be tactically and practically carried by almost all men at some point in their lives. The scoundrels who employed Straights as a weapon had no qualms about fashion in that era. It was all cut-throat minded!
The razor was light, it was there in daily use for shaving. Think about it for a moment. A hobo or neer do well has little place to carry anything. And being such, the neck was ideal for carry. And always ready it was for the viscious slash from the shadows or to wound the hand of another, more aggressive
vagabond who became too bold while seated about the fire in the bum-jungles of old.
The CARRY (explained)
For more on using blades in unusual ways try researching some data on Silat and Capoeria. Both arts use blades in the feet (toes) and Capoeria uses methods of with razors too.Remember, straight razors are the subject here. Not the use of the single and double edged, safety razor blades. These slim, flat squares of steel are also part of razor fighting lore. But, they are used differently. They are a modern thing in comparison to the straight razor. But, with some ingenuity as the Capoeria players use, these also are deadly in the fray. Producing sudden and devastatingly effective results from seemingly nowhere. Various methods from taping a blade between digits or toes to special pinch grips to add grip strength are taught. Master at Arms Fred Perrin has many unique uses for the razor blade in his deadly arsenal of tricks. Learn his deadly, street-savvy way and always surprise an opponent!
The straight razor is used to snipe at another man's limbs and torso. SNIPE being the key word. It refers to a fast, whip-like action of the arm that in the FMA is called a "witik". Hit and retract back into guard! Due to the proximity and nature of the fight, razor men employ the same tactics as did the knifemen of the depression era. They used a blae-up grip that we today would say looks like a backcut. The weapon hits first, the limb avoids damge. Ideal strategy for this type of fighting!
The empty hand was used to slap and deflect the opponent's steel in order to apply your edge to one of his "sensitive spots". It's a semi-sacrifical method of fighting. Everyone gets blooded. Due to the sharpness of the razor, the cuts often heal into thin, spider web type scars. Once ya see them, you'll always recognize a veteran of razor wars. They are not as horrific as a wound(s) produced by a knife. But, bloody they are and one can certainly "bleed-out" an opponent in order to kill them. Targeting is everything ya see. Make a bad hit and ye'll pay fer dearly amigo. Make each move count. Stay calm and be fast! Know how to staunch wounds, yer own too! ! Learn to know the art of "stitching" things back together (sometimes using a mirror). All part of the gloriously gory habit of razor fighting !
Think of a fast, angled "pecking" action with the edge. Now add a short "swipe" into the motion. Yes, a "pecking swipe" indeed ... ah, there ye be mates, hillbilly science in it's purest rendition! Exempleary!
Anyway ..... getting on with things..... Another thing to work on is wrist articulation. One delicate edge, held upward needs to do a lot. In order to accomplish these chores, you'll need a limber wrist. Be able to cut from a variety of angles, positions and positional-redirects aka"dad burrned trick cuts" in hill-speak.
(Them thar treeck cuts aint even farr (fair).
The dreaded "Zipper Cut", fast and very "slashy". Named as such because when done well the zipper cut "opened them up like dey wuz a zipper there". Done in as straight of line as possible. Setting up to use the straight razors most powerful asset LINEAR CUTTING is a skill also. Seek that aspect at every chance. To get a real nice, open line for a true zipper cut may take some time and manuevering. It's one of the most telling, debilitating cut-actions there is! Make your stroke clean, plan to slice cleanly, articulate the slightly bent arm from the shoulder. Press into the target and stroke, stay on the surface of the target. Move with the target to maintain contact through the course of the action. Follow that line, it's called "contouring". Kenpo knife fighting employs this principle. It is deadly. Ths is fastest and best for the gangsters ZIPPER CUT of the past. Remember, edge out, straight as ya can, ZIP! Make a line in yer mind to infinity and cut, chase that line, follow that line! Stay on'em! If ya ain't doing this, then ya outta be "sniping". Be brave! Be quick! It's timing, timing and tricks, you can do it ! Win!
No Point / all edge and tip of the blade support with fingers and thumb
The monkeys tail. Use it as a co-efficient to your grip. It's a "special" grip that takes time to get used to.
James A. Keating
It is an old capoeira belief that a razor could not cut through a silk scarf. Mestre Bimba(a famous capoeira teacher) said a razor wont cut your neck if you wear a silk scarf, it will just get stuck in the fabric, that is why instead of colored belts his students wore colored silk scarfs. Attached is a cartoon pic showing a capoeira move called lampada (oil lamp) or an upward strike to the artery on the neck.