In a Fight to the Death, Do You Choose Bat or Knife?

In a Fight to the Death, Do You Choose Bat or Knife? post image

Happy new year! Tomorrow I’m heading to Singapore to explore the city for a week. If you are there, I’d love to meet you for lunch.

When meeting new people, I’ve found it’s useful and fun to have a small inventory of conversation topics that are fun for everyone to participate in. This week, I’ve stumbled on to an oddly captivating topic with my old friends and new acquaintances. It’s led to hour-long arguments, Youtube research, silly business ideas, and grown men pantomiming deadly fights on the streets of New York.

We are trying to answer the question: in a fight to the death with an equally matched opponent, would you choose a bat or a knife?

Your decision might say something about who you are. Or not. Either way, all of my friends will be reading your replies.

Here are the rules:

  • Your opponent will be randomly selected from your peer group (age, gender, weight, basic background) etc.
  • The bat is a wood standard Louisville Slugger.
  • The knife is 12-14″ bowie knife. The blade length is roughly 60% of that.
  • You will start 14 ft. away from each other.
  • The fight will take place on a dry, grassy field.
  • The fight is to the death.


Bat or knife? One word comments are cool! I’m looking for a tally. I’ve got a bunch of ideas on this, but I don’t want to influence the count.

Try this one out with your friends and let me know where it goes. Make sure you’ve got some time, and perhaps a wiffle ball bat and a paper towel roll, if you are the scientific type ;)

Cheers from the USA,


PS, you can download that Bruce Lee wallpaper here. 

Published on 01.02.12
  • Aaron

    Haha, yes! P.S. I’m in Bangkok right now for a consulting gig for a few weeks. Any chance you guys are coming through? 

  • Dan

    no i’ll be in Bali with Elisa in David for the next few weeks, probably won’t make it to BKK in Q1. Have a great time! 

  • Aaron

    a sniper rifle or grenade ?

  • Bat.

    You might cut somebody but not fully. if you get even a tip of that bat with a full swing its going to break something.

  • Dan


  • Chris Thomas

    The bat. Easier for a novice fighter to use.

    But if I had the training, I’d definitely go with the knife.

  • Owen

    I go with Bat… has the advantage of length to keep distance. NO I would not swing it wildy though, I circle in slowly using the bat in a jabbing motion to keep the distance. At this point I employ one of the other weapons I already have (legs) to take low kicks to my opponenet, aiming primarily for the nerve group on the thigh..the ones that give dead legs. From there its just a matter of time before they give way and after that, i can use the swing motion of the bat if I need. 
    Of course the knife fighter (again like someone else states) may well rush me…closing the distance is thier best weapon. However as was stated in the rules you start 14 feet awayy from each other so using the bat it is well within your reason to keep whatever disntace you need.

  • Dan

    agreed here! i’m thinking of pulling together a padded kit so i can test this stuff out with friends :)

  • Dan

    and throw it at their eye!?!

  • Booch Paradise

    Knife no question.  With the bat to do real damage you have to have some wind up which means only one good swing.  The guy with the bat would have to keep it wound up for his swing while playing a game of cat and mouse.  If he swings and misses then the knife guy can close the distance and on the back swing will be hit with the inside of the bat or even the knuckles of the bat guy.  Then its over.  Knife vs knife would suck, but I’d rather be cut up and alive than dead.  

  • I pick KNIFE.

    If my opponent has a bat, I’m pretty sure I can just run towards him, having my head covered by my arms and pray to God the receiving hit is on my arms and not on my ribs.

    If I’m able to survive that, I know 100% sure I’d get his throat in seconds.

    BUT, if my opponent has a knife I have no freaking clue what I’d do.

    I think I’d pick knife again but to be honest, I don’t think I’d survive a fight like that. I’m pretty positive I would be able to kill him but I’m pretty sure he’d stab me good as well.

    No happy ending on this one.

  • Dan

    haha oh man i’d take bat against you man! please, somebody start making kits so we can test this shit out. i will pre-order ! ! :D

  • Dan

    i have this over-inflated sense my my batting prowless which plays in to my thinking here. i think i can do 3/4 swings that do damage!!!

  • Johann

    Hi Dan, just read your post that you are going to be in Singapore. I’m from Germany and will be in Singapore from 26.01 – 16.02.12. But I suppose you might have left by then. It would be great if I could meet you to have a chat. I have quit my job last December to start my business. This is part of my reason going to Singapore. Any chance to meet you there another time or do you know anyone else who’ll be there? I’m always keen to meet other entrepreneurs to exchange thoughts.

  • Jasonrasset

    Nothing, I like to put my back against the wall, it’s to the death, after all.  If I had to choose, I would take a bat, as a bat could be an effective defensive tool as well as offensive.  The knife is lethal, if you get a chance to use it properly, odds are in my favor with the bat, I presume, because I hope to never be in this situation. :)

  • Hey Dan,
    Years ago I studied kung fu for a couple of years and my teacher was – at the time – one of the leading combat martial artists in Europe. He reckoned that it was safer to take on a man with a gun than a man with a knife! I saw him take on someone with a knife once and it wasn’t pretty for either of them, though the guy with the knife fared much worse. The guy with the knife made the major league mistake of trying to actually use it. It turns out that even self controlled martial arts masters don’t like that much. Who knew…?

  • Dan

    damn. that sounds like something a kung fu guy would say! !! I’m assuming you haven’t watched this movie :P

  • Dan

    ah missed ya!! congrats on the biznass!! i don’t have a lot of contacts in SIN right now, hoping to be back to visit soon!

  • Knife.

  • Michael B

    Bat.  Jabs to the face.  Cant do much of anything after a bat jab to the face.  Plus, it’s surprisingly hard to get a knife to stick in someone.  Slashes work well, but it takes awhile for them to incapacitate someone.

  • Michael B

    On a related note, I sat next to a 10 year old boy on a flight back from Hawaii a few days ago.  We talked Zombies vs. Vampires for over an hour.

    I chose Zombies.

  • daz

    the bat without a doubt and u dont swing a bat you hold it half way down so u can go one way then strait back the other way, it can shield you like that too i have had fights against knifes with firsts and won in prison

  • Cosmin Atanasiu

    Actually, despite your assumptions, range has little to do with the winner of this fight. Everyone assumes that if you have a longer range, your opponent will stay away, but that’s never true in a real fight where both opponents choose to stay in the fight till the end. I did kung-fu earlier in my life and the most beginner martial arts practitioners can put their hands or shoulders in front of the baseball bat, while attacking you with the knife. The more advanced might be able to block the bat with their legs. This means that the baseball bat gets maybe one good hit before becoming useless. That one good hit is never enough to knock someone out unless the opponent is extremely slow and not at all experienced.

    The dynamics of a knife attack towards a baseball bat make it such that the only way the baseball bat can hit hard enough to WIN the fight is if the holder of the baseball bat risks 2 things:
    1) not running back from the knife attack
    2) baseball bat being grabbed and pulled for just a second by your opponent, while the knife counter-attacks

    In the end, what this means is that sure, both weapons have chances to win, but the bat has one, maybe to potentially winning shots, whereas the knife has countless. It’s a simple math problem from here on, so I’ll probably go with the knife.

  • KG

    Has to be the knife.

    A bowie is essentially a dagger, heavy enough to slash with and strong enough to drive straight though ribs and heavy clothing. For close in fighting, it is formidable.

    The bat is too heavy for this kind of a fight. If it was a piece of strong bamboo at the same length as the bat, I might go with it. But the bat itself is too slow for close fighting with someone who can cut you and then stand back . . .

  • mgelgota

    Knife. So my opponent doesn’t have to suffer.

    …my other weapon is trashtalk.

  • Dan


  • Chrondongo

    The bat wins against knife in my opinion, especially in an open area. Reach, large possibility of instant lethal skull fracture and or broken limbs. The knife is a good backup but unless you are utterly ruthless and know what you are doing you are just as likely to mangle yourself as you are your enemy. Just my opinion, but you are not going to get close enough to me with your knife to use it before I have crushed your skull with my bat. One good crack on the head with a slugger and you probably won’t be getting up ever again.

  • hypothetically

    If the end of the bat is thrust at the knife wielder then the reach of the knife might be able to awkwardly slash at the hands of the person wielding the bat, but I reckon the thrust to the neck/collarbone/face would be more debilitating. Using the bat like this can also be pretty damn quick.
    These thrusts wouldn’t be lethal, except possibly to the neck, but if you lead the knife wielder around for long enough to get in a few solid thrusts, they could become dazed enough to allow for something closer to a full swing.

  • Colvance

    The bat with two capable kicking feet wins every time, even against the Filipino style.

  • Mr. Sadist

    This is a really old poll…but I’m sure if you had a bat to the head, you’d be dead…

  • exposey

    I had to respond even though it’s been a long time..first and foremost physical conditioning..I make big blades for a living 21 inches and 3/8 thick tool steel. R ally thick and tough and can split a ash bat easily and cut through. Now I have a great Friend who played baseball in high school. He made a ash bat that is beefy life a softball bat but build like a old school baseball bat.. The dog can swing it and if he hit you your done. Your arms broken or your body is broken..God help you if he connects on your head..that said strong arms training in bando and being seasoned in may have a direct impact with his bat your gonna shatter it. Don’t let him get a direct hit on you with the glancing blow will hurt but take it..close the distance. Even if you don’t hit him with th blade smash him with the spine in the face..extremities..and finish him with a direct chop to the neck can in if you don’t hesitate and are all in brother!

  • Jan

    I trained karate, so my opponend would have been too. I would choose knife and step in close range, sacrifising broken arm for a knife in his lung.

  • Having your strongest hand annihilated by a Single Bat hit would end the fight pretty quick.

  • And if he is aiming his Bat at your Knife Hand?

  • If your slower moving forward than he is back stepping while he is swinging than you may be doomed with the dismal knife range. Going threw shock from a smashed arm may also take a toll on your overall energy and will too fight on. Bat would Shatter Bones, not just break Bones. If you put your best foot forward too take a stab and they go for your knee cap.

  • 14corbinh

    If you ran at me with a knife when i have a bat i would take one horizontal swing and hit you in the lower jaw. Now you are possible knocked out if not then definetly dazed and you have a shattered jaw, either way you are in excruciating pain and i would smash your head multiple times until you die

  • 14corbinh

    How are you going to throw a bowie knife

  • 14corbinh

    Yes because you are going to throw a bowie knife

  • Todd Mosely

    I would choose the bat honestly if you can keep the knife out of range than its useless

  • Bat of course.

  • TheMonolith

    I’d pick the wooden bat, light it on fire and rush towards my opponent.

  • Taeveon Taplin

    Bat when knife is swong catch in bat then you have both

  • Jinori

    I’m willing to bet that none of the people here, including myself, have ever been in a knife fight or had any experience using knives for martial purposes, but would jump at the chance to use a knife in a fight to the death because of how cool it sounds.

    Although I agree that knives could potentially be a more lethal weapon, it’s probably more likely that more people in the polls would have experience wielding a bat (baseball) compared to those who’ve actually used a knife in combat.

    And let’s not forget that a bat swing, especially from the right person, would be so much harder to dodge than one fantasizes.

    Actually, I wouldn’t even focus on using a knife or a bat at all, since I could better overpower an opponent who’s trying to look cool with a knife without trying to do the same thing.

    No one here has any fighting experience, and a knife would be so much more effective in the hands of someone who could actually use it compared to someone who once watched an anime involving knives.

  • Clifford Ishii

    Hey it works for Negan on TWD, it works for me

  • Actually experienced this.

    Actually done it. Bat wins, hit him 3 times the knocked him out with the 4th hit cold, while he tried swinging and failing to close distance with his big ass knife. What a cute bunch of kids fantasizing about how they would do it.

  • Kyle Heideman

    Being hit in the face full swing with a baseball bat could easily kill you

  • Lawrence Ku

    Baseball bats are about 2-3 inches diameter. Wider diameter, less pressure per square inch, force is spread out, less damage.

    Swing: For bat, the only critical area you can hit is the head, easy to miss. Direct hit might cause death. To the ribs, ruptured organs and hemorrhage, might die. Anywhere else, just fractured bones if you don’t deflect properly. For knife, a swinging motion results in a slash, which can slice through tendons and render a limb useless.

    Jab: For bat, to the ribs will hurt, to the chest maybe organ rupture. Best target is face, will probably break nose or fracture orbital bone. For knife, even as an untrained fighter, if you jab the face or neck with it, the chances of slicing open an artery is pretty high. Anywhere else, torso, groin, high risk of bleeding out.

    If my opponent had a bat and I had a knife, I would defend my face and head and get in close for a stab. But if he had a knife, I would make my peace with God.

  • Nahhhh brooo you have no idea what you can do with a bat Lmfaoo
    – you can use a bat to slam a poke in like a spear
    – you can half swing just to land a hit so you can swing again faster
    – you can fake a swing step in and break bones
    – you can throw a swing like a uppercut with a bat
    – you can swing and hit the knife out their hand (you think people are gonna try to grab the bat that’s only if they take hella dmg already and they have no choice they’ve never been in a life or death fight before to realize “hey maybe I should grab this 95 mph baseball bat”)

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