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Tuhon Gaje

 Interview with Tuhon Gaje 2004

Knife related assaults in the news


21 Foot Rule - The 21 foot rule states that the average person with a knife or sword can get to and cut a person in about the same time that the average person can draw and fire a handgun.

In the time it takes the average officer to recognize a threat, draw his sidearm and fire 2 rounds at center mass, an average subject charging at the officer with a knife or other cutting or stabbing weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet.


Tueller Drill - The drill whereby you practice the idea of the 21 foot rule with soft training weapons and plastic handguns( ideally)

So even if the person with a gun could shoot the person with the sword or knife before they get cut, the question remains whether or not the bullet would stop the person from cutting them.

This was a tactic used in the Philippines when the USA had control of that country. It is said that the Army switched to the .45 since people under attack by people with swords were shooting them but not stopping them.

During the American occupation of the Philippines in the early 1900s, Moros, marked by tiger-eyes and red headbands - signifying a resolve to kill until killed - strode singly down the streets blading everything in their path, embracing the belief that every slain Christian assured their places in heaven. So tenacious was the Moros’ rampage that hundreds of reports by American soldiers surfaced, stating that the slugs of .38-caliber pistols failed to stop the advancing Moros. As a result of those reports, the .45-caliber pistol was designed and issued to American servicemen.
-- from this web site


Any modern martial art should cover this as a very basic drill and concept in their self defense training. Most martial arts do not even incorporate the knife, sword and gun into their training or drills. This speaks volumes about why rational people say, "martial arts don't work"

This drill demonstrates that the old gun guy saying "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" is actually quite naive.
A gun is a long range close quarter combat weapon, a knife or a sword is a close range close quarter combat weapon. A gun in contact range is a liability, it can be disabled, jammed, made  to go out of battery, lose the magazine, the hammer can be stopped, etc depending on the weapon. On the other hand, grabbing a knife is not a very successful strategy.

Many times at 21 feet the gun guy will dominate...but 21 feet is the FURTHEREST point where the sword guy started to be an IMMEDIATE danger. As the start distance gets less than 21 feet the person with the knife or sword starts to gain an advantage. And the news is that the knife guy will get closer before he attacks.

If you shoot someone as they charge with a sword, many times they won't be stopped. If however your arm or head is chopped off, that is the end of your ability to shoot a gun.  Are you willing to trade two center mass hits on the bad guy to take a knife in your liver?

When you do this drill, keep in mind as the gun guy that you already know what is going to happen. On the street in real life you could very likely be surprised and not expecting this at all, which will slow reaction time and increase "fumble time."

The knife guy was the idea man and host of the DVD Combatant: Extreme Self Defense where Pekiti Tirsia Kali is compared side by side to wing chun, combat survival krav maga and Fast Defense. more info

From the DVD, here is an interview with Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr., who appeared in a law enforcement only video called "Surviving Edged Weapons" where they talked about the 21 foot rule.

Here is a Pekiti Tirsia Kali demo starting live blades, blade to blade. Mandala Guro Tim Waid is in this video, he also appears in the Combatant: Extreme Self Defense DVD. The video goes from live blade to empty hand. A complete overview of Pekiti Tirsia Kali.


     Facts about the 21 foot rule:

  • Also called the Tueller Drill.. originated from Dennis Tueller.

  • Featured in law enforcement only video "Surviving Edged Weapons" both Tuho Leo Gaje Jr. and Dan Inosanto appear in the video.

  • Gun guys get too casual about knives, they just think "I'll just shoot him."

  • Knife people think, if I get close, you are mine.

  • The "average" time to draw and shoot a firearm is 1.5 seconds which is equal to the time the "average" time it takes to cover 21 feet.


Video of more knife vs. gun Tueller drill type action



21 foot rule tshirt21 foot rule tshirt

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Jason Baird