Clinton A. Love

Writer, Musician, Mortician

Clint's Author Blog

Your Bowie Knife is Fake

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (58)

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are a lot of stories and ideas about James Bowie's famous knife that are complete nonsense, Texas tall tales, if you will.

One legend is that the Bowie knife was made from a meteor. There is no evidence anywhere to support that. Now it's not impossible as meteorite contains a lot of iron and nickel and they have been used to make tools and weapons, but if this were the case for Bowie's knife, no one ever mentioned it.

Like a lot of men, story tellers tended to exaggerate its size as well. I've read stories of the knife having a fourteen inch (ha. you wish) blade or having been similar in size to a short sword (that's what she said). In fact, the blade of the original Bowie was nine and one fourths inches. Hell, that's pretty substantial, but definitely not a sword.

Here's one you may not know about. It's probably the biggest fuck up of them all and damn near every knife maker who has made a "Bowie" is guilty of this inaccuracy.

Most people think a Bowie has a big guard and a clip point like this...

Well, most people are wrong as hell. It actually looked nothing like this. So what did it look like?

How 'bout this, Tex?

No I'm not kidding. Bowie's original knife was a hunting knife designed by his brother, Rezin Bowie, that resembled a large butcher knife with a straight, single edged blade, almost no guard and definitely no pronounced clip point. It was designed, according to Rezin Bowie, as a hunting knife and was used as such for quite some time before James Bowie took it to the infamous duel on the sandbar. It had no fancy silver bolsters or brass guard. It was just a basic big knife for butchering and skinning game. It wasn't until James Bowie butchered the fuck out of two guys on the sand bar that it began to change.


After that fight, Bowie and his big ass knife became famous and everyone wanted one.

And that's how things got all screwed up.

You see, every blacksmith and cutler on the planet was besieged by people wanting a "knife like Bowie's", and they would make you one...for a price. The problem is, almost none of them had actually seen Bowie's knife. All they had heard were peoples' bullshit stories about a seventeen inch super blade, made from meteors with a brass spine and huge guard to help parry attackers' blades and perfectly balanced so that you could throw it at a buffalo and kill it. No shit. People actually thought that.

So a bunch of enterprising blacksmiths and cutlers made a bunch of ridiculous nonsense and called them "Bowies" and a bunch of suckers paid for them.

OK so now you are getting all red-faced and angry cause granpappy bought his *cough* Bowie off'n Jim Bowie himself who certified it is real and now he has passed it down to you. "An granpappy ain't no liar!"

Well granpappy may not be a liar, but he is a sucker.

The good news is, there are actual real Bowie knives out there, that were commissioned by the brothers Bowie and given as gifts to different people. They retained the basic butcher knife design, but added some silver hardware, ebony handles and fancier sheaths. You will probably never stumble upon an antique outside a museum, but you could have a historically accurate Bowie made for yourself that in terms of steel and construction, could be better than the original.

This is the Shively Bowie. One of the earliest existing commissions by Rezin Bowie.

The Searles-Fowler Bowie was another Rezin Bowie design that looked pretty cool. There are a few modern companies out there today that make reproductions of this one.

There was also the Stafford-Searles Bowie, which looked a lot like the one above.

There are other pieces claimed to be "original Bowie knives" or "Bowie's Alamo knife" but for those I will leave you with this quote by Rezin Bowie himself.

"The improvements in its fabrication and state of perfection it has acquired from experienced cutlers, was not brought about through my agency."-Rezin P. Bowie


Why "Tactical Knife" Training is Hogwash

Posted on June 29, 2014 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (8)

June 29, 2014 at 7:54pm

"Fuck yeah, I know how to use it. What's to understand about swish, swish, stab? It's... Not a fighter jet".- Pfc. Tucker Red v. Blue


The first bullshit knife technique I ever learned was in Tae Kwon Do when I was about 11. Basically how it worked was when someone stabbed at you really slowly in a way that only a training partner in a Tae Kwon Do class would try to stab you, you were to intercept the blade and torque around on their arms in some fashion. All the while they cooperate while you drive their own knife into their chest. Super. Now if my Tae Kwon Do partner ever takes a bunch of Xanax and tries to knife me I got his ass!


The next one I learned was in a Gung Fu class when I was about 16. It was called knife tapping. Again, someone tries to stab you in the fashion of a martial arts student. This time it was a little more advanced in that it wasn't slow and he could stab from any direction, because the instructor had noted that the guy trying to kill us may actually be an expert and know how to stab from more than one direction.


My job as a young grasshopper was to intercept his arm Jeet Kune Do style and simultaneously redirect his attack while battering his hand and arm in an attempt to either knock the knife out of his hand or draw him in to where I could "defang the snake", which was another bullshit martial arts move that sounds like some kind of S&M hand job you'd get at one of Lady Gaga's private parties.


We also learned how to "fight" using the traditional "military" grip and reverse grip, using wooden practice knives.


Since at 16 I'd only had someone try to stab me one time and I'd ever only stabbed one person, my limited stabbing experience didn't give me any reason to doubt that somehow this crap would someday prove useful. But over the years, the more times people had tried to stab me or threaten me with a knife and the more people I knew that got stabbed up, the more I realized how utterly stupid and pointless all of that crap really is.


So before you waste your money on some "Fighting With Tactical Folders Training Camp" horse shit, read this.


1. There's no such thing as a "Tactical Folder". That's a marketing term. It's called a pocket knife. It's a knife that you put in your pocket. It may be black or camouflage and it may have a clip to hang on your pocket, but it's still a pocket knife. You may be able to deploy it really fast because of some kind of assist. BFD. I can do that with a Buck 110 with no pocket clip. There is such a thing as a combat knife. If you are in combat and you are stabbing someone, you now have a combat knife. Before that it was just a knife.


2. You taking a special class will not help you stab someone up with a knife any better. What martial arts classes train you for is (the fact that it never happens aside) dueling with knives. Remember the knife fight from the movie version of Dune? This is what martial arts instructors and so-called "knife masters" are training you for.


Unless you live on Planet Dune or unless you are Captain Kirk, you're not going to have a fight like this. Why?


3. Because if you can see the knife, it's probably a threat display and not a knife attack. The guy who attacks you in your house is going to get a steak knife out of your kitchen drawer and you are going to wake up to being stabbed. The guy who stabs you in a "real fight" is either going to hit you from behind or you're going to wonder why a couple of his "punches" that connected are making you bleed so much. Or, like me, you'll go home and find a random hole in your pants and one of your socks full of blood because someone shivved you in the leg while you were wailing on someone else. I still don't know who did that.


The guy who pulls a knife and goes "AARGH!" is warning you that you need to do something- like leave, give him your money, shut up, get away from his girlfriend....Something that you should just go ahead and do RIGHT NOW and GTFO. That's basic being streetwise stuff. If a guy threatens you with a deadly weapon and you don't have a dog in the fight, GO THE FUCK AWAY NOW. The reason for this is because if he's giving you a threat display it means that he DOESN'T want to stab you right now! If you don't take the easy out, you are risking dying for something stupid, like a few dollars. Worse yet, if you take Captain Knife Master's advice and go into knife duel mode, you stand a real good chance of going down for Murder 2 if you "win". You weren't "defending yourself" stupid. He GAVE you an out. YOU chose to have a fight with deadly weapons. It was at the least MUTUAL COMBAT in the eyes of the law.


4. If you buy all sorts of deadly combat knives and spend thousands of dollars training how to kill people with them, what do you think the prosecutor's going to say to the jury when you go all fruit ninja on somebody and you're on trial for "defending yourself" against a guy who now looks like he walked into a sausage grinder?


Am I saying you shouldn't carry a knife? No. Am I saying that it's impossible to use one to defend yourself? No. What I'm saying is know the law and use some damned common sense. Study how knife attacks actually work. Once you've done that, you will find out that there are people who are cut out for stabbing and people who aren't. I go inside dead peoples' bodies and get covered in their blood piss and shit for a living. I've put a bear hug around a naked 250 lb body, picked it up off the floor and forced it onto a gurney, while all of that vileness just went everywhere and he belched and drooled on my shoulder. If the thought of that makes you ill, you probably won't like stabbing people either, because basically the same thing happens.


This is my pal Marc again, he likes stabbing. Maybe a little too much. Imagine what I just wrote above happening while this is going on.


Captain Knife Master probably won't like his technique. Probably won't fight him either.


If you want to spend money and train for something that will never happen, buy a fast motorcycle and some race gear and go to track days. You can fly around the track at 150 mph and pretend you are in the GP Moto race. It's a hell of a lot more fun and probably cheaper than spending years in pursuit of some knife master training bullshit. And you REALLY get to go 150 mph and NOT get a ticket!