In 1989, while serving with the Federal Fugitive Task Force of the Special Projects Group, Michael Kaplan was assisting the FBI in the apprehension of a wanted Jamaican fugitive in Brooklyn, New York. The operation was well executed, and Kaplan was about to apprehend the fugitive, hiding in a back bedroom, when the Jamaican attacked Kaplan with a backhanded slicing maneuver at approximately chest level. From his martial arts experience, Kaplan knew exactly what to do: soft block, redirect, wristlock, arm bar, takedown, and disarm. As the knife sliced by his chest, he executed exactly as he had been trained . . . and all his techniques failed.
After that fateful day in New York earned him 40 stitches, Kaplan dedicated himself to finding more realistic training strategies for knife defense. He tried every technique he could find. Regardless of the style or the art, the techniques seemed valid—until he asked his training partner to forego the choreographed routine and improvise, which resulted in multiple cuts for Kaplan. Each failure steeled his resolve to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge (what's learned in the dojo) and applied art (what works in the street).
Edge of Freedom was born out of both frustration and fascination with knife defense. In his book, Kaplan offers a new conceptual framework, from which readers can adequately structure effective defenses against knives and other edged weapons. Drawing on his experience in law enforcement and personal security, as well as his extensive research, Kaplan outlines areas of training that are often overlooked yet are critical to the success of any knife defense technique, including how to determine whether or not the aggressor is really committed, the physics of a knife attack, the importance of developing a survival mindset, the myth of firearm supremacy as a primary knife defense strategy, and the legal consequences of self-defense.
Stressing that there is no "one size fits all" solution to any aspect of self-defense, Kaplan advises you to be dedicated and realistic in your training regimen (he includes step-by-step training exercises to help you ensure realism), be creative in your approach to solutions, and use the knowledge and experience provided herein to develop your own knife defense strategy.
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About the Author
Michael Kaplan served in the U.S. Army for five years. He later served for seven years as an agent on the Federal Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshals Service, where his areas of operation were New York, the Caribbean, and Latin America. He was an executive protection specialist for 15 years, with his areas of operation being Russia, Israel, and the Caribbean.
Kaplan received training at the Executive Protection Institute, Blackwater Training Center, BSR Tactical Driving School, and SIG Arms Academy. He is certified as an emergency medical technician, trauma medic, and dive medic. His 30 years of experience in martial arts includes Krav Maga (Israel) and Systema (Russia).
Kaplan currently lives in Savannah, Georgia, where he works as an author, instructor, and consultant.