I think with the stringent law on edged weapons that operates with the UK it is important to look at effective empty hand striking to include more emphasis on the knife defence element and the use of effective disarms, then use appropriate immobilisation of opponent. I feel the empty hands should be taught first along with knife defence, then weapons.
Within the 5×5 system we use western boxing as a catalyst learning jab, cross, hooks and uppercuts throwing in a variation hook from Muay Chaiya Nawarrat that gives us our base 5 techniques these are drilled in combinations using pads and then in sparring once competency is gained.
We can also use empty hand drills like Higot Hubud and Pakgang to gain sensitivity and variety.
For the knife defence we can use hubud again or themed sparring working up to doing blocks, disarms and counter techniques to near full speed and power to add realism.
Even though we are learning to deal with life threatening situations we should still train safe with regards to our partner and try to work with as many different shapes and sizes of opponent.
The last element is being prepared mentally to deal with the threat of injury and having the right mindset to go with the physical tools you have developed, recognising adrenalin dump how to avoid it, pressure testing what you learn regularly in a safe environment, environment awareness is also important and switching on the alert if you are in strange places, trust the instincts you have developed if you feel like running then run away don’t let ego rule your natural instincts, only fight when you have no choice.
Practicinga martial art is a fun and rewarding experience and so you should enjoy your practice but that does not mean you are not serious when it comes down to the wire.