Often when doing in knife fighting sparring, people tend to ignore that they've got cut. I've seen shock knives on the net, and they seem kind of interesting as they at least give feedback that you've been 'cut'. Does anyone have any experience with them? Do they make for a more realistic knife fighting situation?
I had the displeasure of training with a set a few years back when they were still restricted to LE and Military. Based on the ones I used, there are two things that you should be aware of:
The training quality can take one of two paths:
I've seen both, for me it was the former, but I have no desire to repeat the experiment.
A much less expensive solution that Kevin Secours taught was the scratch stick. He describes in a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaHVDSwk6Vs
I prefer this idea since it gives quality feedback, and is cheap enough to be replaced after each use. Pens are a distant second, since they tend to not feel like anything, and the slightest touch can leave a mark (making it difficult to tell what connected with flesh and what just connected with clothing).
Edit: The discussion in the comments for the original post left me thinking about the extremes to which some people want to go for realistic training. As someone who has trained with edged blades in the past, I can say without any hesitation that any form of training is a simulation; if you put two knives in two training partners hands, they will still lack the key component that takes training to reality: intent.
I've trained with guys who hated me; I have a grating personality that can test the patience of Buddha himself. Even with that, there was never the worry that my training partner was going to say, "You know, $%#^ it, I think I'll just kill him." Without that intent to actually cause harm and desire to kill you, there is still an ancient ocean between your training and reality; anyone attempting to sell you on the idea otherwise is out to make money off of your fear.
Shock Knives are a safer and easily as effective method of training as training with a real knife without the unnecessary danger of being involved in an accidental stabbing. I see no reason as an instructor, a husband, and a human being to endanger my students with a bladed knife in the attempt to show them the fear of being stabbed.
Again, I feel the scratch stick is still superior for the reasons expressed above, as well as one I neglected to mention; a shock knife carries all the same dangers as a violet wand or TENS unit. These should never be used on or brought into contact with a person with a pacemaker or other medical implant.
The best way to develop awareness of ANYTHING is to do it slowly. Take a training knife (can't be rubber, has to be solid) and slowly put the point on someone's chest and slowly press in. They'll be aware of it, I bet you, way before it touches them. Slowly get to their arm and slowly slice across it. Again, they'll be aware.
Do slow-motion sparring. Half-speed -- or slower. Because knives are inherently dangerous, people have a hard time staying slow. Have someone act as a referee and stop when someone speeds up. No need to say who - just stop, realign, start again. For the slow-motion sparring, you don't need a solid knife.
I once used an elastic pipe. It's extremely cheap, can be cut to the proper length and you can't accidentally hurt yourself with it, even without protective gear.
Another good option is a rubber or maybe wooden knife on which you put chalk along the edge. This way you will definitely notice a cut.