Stay Sharp – Toby Cowern

I’ll be honest, It’s a bit of a shock to me to write this article… However, we here in the CRGI have frequent conversations about never assuming what people do or don’t ‘know’.

Over my last few courses (both teaching and attending) a similar issue kept being raised, to the point I wanted to address it here.

I feel fairly confident that all readers have some familiarity with the Every Day Carry (EDC) concept and most of you have daily carry. For those that do, most likely some sort of weapon is included, be it edged tool, firearm, flashlight, or similar. (Some of you will carry all these and more)

Having these excellent tools at your immediate disposal is an excellent concept, and we are all, most likely, aware of the need for good and continuous training in the effective use of these tools. The issue that has kept surfacing, for me, as of late is the complete lack of understanding and discipline in maintaining these tools.

As dry, boring as this topic is, it is however absolutely essential to include in your regular routines, especially if you are using your tools with any degree of frequency.

Regular and routine inspection, cleaning and maintenance of your tools, will not only help identify early indicators of problems or defects, but will also ensure smooth function and operation in use.

I am seeing, on a frighteningly regular basis, people carrying knives with no means or knowledge on how to sharpen them, or if they have the means, only sharpening their knives ‘when they get blunt’…!!! For me, this mindset is exceptionally concerning and one I am now addressing more thoroughly during training.

In terms of my personal routine, I inspect and clean EDC edged tools each evening (when washing the other cutlery from dinner) sharpen as necessary, but with specific time set aside on Sundays (when I do my regular house maintenance chores) for regular or scheduled maintenance/repair.

I use rechargeable batteries wherever possible for flashlights and rotate batteries weekly (Sundays), as well as ensuring I have at least one spare set of batteries available as well.

If you are an instructor, maybe set aside 5 minutes at the end of your next class to ask your students if they are regular servicing their tools and if not take a few minutes to show them how it’s done.

If you are a student, I highly recommend you try to incorporate regular inspection and maintenance into your routines.

I feel the crux of this problem is far more lack of awareness than any sort of ‘bloody minded refusal’ on the part of the individual, so with this brief article today I hope to take one step forward in raising awareness of the potential problem and how easy it is too solve.

Regular inspection and maintenance will range from a few seconds to just a few minutes, is easy to learn and easy to execute.

I’ve included a link here to one of my favorite knife manufacturers and it highlights how simple sharpening of edged tools can be.

https://www.fallkniven.com/en/product-information/knife-sharpening/

With all the time, effort and money we spend on being proficient tool users, it would be a terrible shame to ‘fall at the last hurdle’ by not keeping our tools in the best condition possible…

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