The Shivworks Clinch Pick
A short while back, I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Shivworks Clinch Pick and trainer. I purchased the set from the good folks at Warrior Poet Society.
Before I give you my opinion on the knife and trainer, a little history is called for. The Clinch Pick is the brain child of Craig Douglas, aka SouthNarc. Let me pause to say, I’ve never met or trained with Mr. Douglas. We did correspond briefly back when his name was not common knowledge. I doubt he would remember me. It’s been a long time. He started life, if I recall correctly, as a US Army Ranger, after leaving the service he went into law enforcement and found himself working narcotics in a southern state. Mr. Douglas has a background in the Filipino/Indonesian martial arts including the P’kal method of blade work. When I first learned of him, I had been studying the DrawPoint method from James Keating of Comtech. DrawPoint is a descendant, if you will, of P’kal. One of the signature things about P’kal, and DrawPoint is that the knife is held either blade forward, edge up or reverse grip, edge in rather than the conventional blade forward edge down/reverse grip, edge out practice. Mr. Douglas stated in an interview that he found much of what he had learned and practiced in his training wasn’t applicable to the environment he found himself working in. Most of the time he was buying drugs he was doing so in a vehicle. No room for footwork, Hubud/Lubud or other skills. What he came to rely on was a hybrid of P’kal and grappling that would allow him to access a small blade carried at the 11 o’clock position. He designed the Cinch Pick around this method and that environment.
The knife and its trainer came individually packaged in boxes with the Shivworks logo on them. Each also came with its own sheath and belt loop. The recommended way to carry the knife, for a right hander, is the 11 o’clock position, horizontally on the belt, grip toward the right side and angled slightly downward. The belt loop and sheath, however, allow a variety of carry angles and positions using a Phillips screwdriver to make the needed adjustments. The knife itself appears smaller than I thought it would. It has an overall length of 5 ½ inches with a blade length of 2 5/8 inches. The blade steel is Sandvik 12C27 and G10 is used for the grip scales. The blade and grip are a single piece of steel with the G10 pinned solidly to the steel. The scales are curved and form a teardrop or egg shape that sets the grip solidly in the palm. either forward or reverse. The blade narrows toward the grip forming a choil or shelf to keep the user’s hand from running up on the blade. There is no guard, nothing to catch on clothing in close, desperate quarters when drawing the blade from concealment. The blade comes sharp, really sharp, I appreciated that. I’ve purchased enough knives that came from the factory ready to be sharpened. This one comes out ready to work. One important note, the edge itself is on, what most think of, as the spine of the blade. Shivworks and Warrior Poet both warn you of this. If you are used to placing your thumb on the spine of a smaller knife to help aim the point or use a thumb hook technique, you will cut yourself. Consider yourself warned, thrice. The blade is meant to be employed with a full or hammer grip, period. Overall, this is a compact, well designed knife meant to get someone off of you at extreme close quarters. It is also an attractive, even elegant looking piece of cutlery. That is unusual in this, the age of the common man. Too often a tool’s beauty is strictly in its function and durability. (Think of a Glock) The Clinch Pick has flowing lines that blend form and function.
Speaking of function, why, many ask, is the edge and spine reversed? In the P’kal/DrawPoint method, the primary tool is the point (in the way I was trained). The edge is held in so that if an adversary’s limb is hooked, as he tries to pull away, he cuts himself or is kept from escaping like a cat’s claws. This method uses the large pulling muscles of the back to make deeper, better cuts. It also works better in the tight confines of a vehicle.
So, is there anything I didn’t like about the Clinch Pick? The basic answer is no. It’s made from good steel that comes sharp and is easy to resharpen. It rides well on the belt. Fits nicely in the hand and is almost instinctual to use. The closest thing I have to a criticism is this; knives for me are both tool and weapon. I prefer designs that are for general use, opening bags of feed, pellets for the stove, dressing game or dealing with unpleasant people. Having said that, if I was going to choose a specialty knife strictly as a close quarters, get off me knife, I would choose the Clinch Pick.