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Kainjones 03-27-2018 11:51 AM

SHTF dedicated “combat” knife?
 
Hello everyone. I have a random question for y’all. Say there’s a break down of society as we know it. Say it goes long term. You’ll be using blades frequently for a lot of the survival related tasks we practice now. Would you have a “dedicated” combat knife that you didn’t use for other tasks? Obviously, any blade can be pressed into any role and a lot of “tactical” knives have features that make it less then idea for bush related tasks. That’s besides the point. Would your daily carry fixed blade be a utility/combat knife? Would you have a different one you carried to leave the combat one as sharp as possible? I know most modern soldiers use their knives mostly for utility, anyway. Am I over thinking it? Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

wccountryboy 03-27-2018 12:15 PM

Knife fighting is a loosing proposition for all involved... even if you "win", its almost a forgone conclusion that you WILL get cut up yourself; its less a question of if and more 'how bad'...

As for having a knife dedicated to this task, nope...extra weight for a specialized tool that will rarely if ever be used isn't a brilliant idea.

If one wants a tool thats far more versatile, AND a far superior, almost intuitive weapon, I'd suggest looking into some of modern incarnations of the tomahawk. Chop, split, slice, dig... and a weapon, almost as intuitive as swinging a hammer.

chrysanthemum 03-27-2018 12:16 PM

I prefer simple solutions in such matters, and I'm inclined to follow a well-proven, time-tested solution, rather than re-inventing things.

So, I simply go with the good ole KaBar USMC knife. Have several. Not too expensive, and very effective.

I do own a few much more costly boutique knives ... these are beautiful, finely crafted and will absolutely perform as advertised.

But for all-purpose survival, I perceive the KaBar USMC knife as a solid, capable knife... and proven, over many decades, in some of the toughest conditions imagineable.

---

I agree with what good friend WCB writes above. But if one is talking about a knife specifically, and not something else, I still think the KaBar is a good selection.

Taxed2death 03-27-2018 12:41 PM

As CountryBoy said, knife fighting is almost always going to hurt. That said, I do FIRMLY believe that some training is valuable in reducing the degree to which you might get hurt. I have a close friend that is a Vietnam vet as well as a former (undefeated) unlimited martial arts fighter. He was with SOG when in Vietnam and somehow wormed his way into training with some of the ROK Special Forces in knife fighting (those guys were killing machines!). He, in turn, gave me some training as well, and although I am not anywhere NEAR his level, I can hold my own pretty well against a single assailant. What I did learn from him is that everything I learned before was wrong! But once explained, it was easy to see the logic in what he taught me, and now it is second nature. That said, I still prefer to have a gun when in a knife fight.

So far as the knife itself? I do happen to have a dedicated fighting knife on my kit, an OLD SOG Gov't Agent, but this is just my preference. The advice from CountryBoy and Chrysanthemum is excellent and probably a better answer than mine for most. I use what I use because I trained with it, but it is also only associated with a kit that I would carry in a situation where I felt that combat was likely. Otherwise, my advice would be more along the lines of a SwampRat Chopweiller or Ratweiller, a good KaBar, or even a good hatchet if the conditions warrant. Environment should play a role in your decision, so choose to fit whatever is most appropriate for what you anticipate while still retaining versatility to adapt to the unanticipated. And A blade, ANY blade, is better than no blade.

USMM guy 03-27-2018 01:27 PM

I am pretty much with country on the hawk idea.
 
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Easy to use, deadly, and utilitarian to boot. However it has to be a real hawk, meaning with a full length haft. I see these so called tactical hawks for sale with 14" handles. What are you going to do with that, chop vegetables maybe?

With that said, I have heard it said from creditable sources that most people are not really strong enough to be able to use anything more than about an eight inch blade efficiently for cutting. So this certainly gives weight to Chrys's recommendation of a K-Bar. I do not think that anyone would not agree that you could certainly do a lot worse.

As for me, I have options also. First of all I have an old Swedish bayonet that I bought about a hundred years ago for ten bucks at a gun show complete with frog. It is not particularly sharp. However back in the day when I used to hunt alligators down in Bayou La Fourche LA. I actually learned how to throw it. I can land it pretty soundly into a tree out at about fifteen feet. The hollow handle helped considerably. I could see this being just the right thing to do in certain sets of circumstances. The drawback then being that you no longer have a knife in your hand.

Or I might consider my Raymond Thorpe Bowie. It's thirteen inch blade certainly gives you some reach. The drawback being that it weighs more than the hawk that I often carry in the woods now days.

But more likely if I was just going to carry one knife to do it all, fighting included it might very well be my Randal 9" Sportsman's Bowie.

kurusu 03-27-2018 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kainjones (Post 12080234)
Hello everyone. I have a random question for y’all. Say there’s a break down of society as we know it. Say it goes long term. You’ll be using blades frequently for a lot of the survival related tasks we practice now. Would you have a “dedicated” combat knife that you didn’t use for other tasks? Obviously, any blade can be pressed into any role and a lot of “tactical” knives have features that make it less then idea for bush related tasks. That’s besides the point. Would your daily carry fixed blade be a utility/combat knife? Would you have a different one you carried to leave the combat one as sharp as possible? I know most modern soldiers use their knives mostly for utility, anyway. Am I over thinking it? Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

S Has H T F already. Maybe not the scenario everybody thougt of.
Brace yourselves. A storm is coming.

wccountryboy 03-27-2018 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USMM guy (Post 12080890)
Easy to use, deadly, and utilitarian to boot. However it has to be a real hawk, meaning with a full length haft. I see these so called tactical hawks for sale with 14" handles. What are you going to do with that, chop vegetables maybe?

What is a "full length haft"...? My RMJ Forge Shrike has a 13" tang, and its more than adequate, and doesn't impede mobility. I think balance, weight, and design are far more important than handle length, though the latter is a factor that impacts the former...

Ive had mine for many years. I've opened ammo crates, punctured tires, broken locks, dug a firing port through mud clay brick, field dressed, skinned, and butcherd a deer... and fought with it. Its almost a natural extention of my arm. The balance and leverage provided by the handle length is perfectly suited to the size and mass of the head.

Taxed2death 03-27-2018 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wccountryboy (Post 12081274)
What is a "full length haft"...? My RMJ Forge Shrike has a 13" tang, and its more than adequate, and doesn't impede mobility. I think balance, weight, and design are far more important than handle length, though the latter is a factor that impacts the former...

Ive had mine for many years. I've opened ammo crates, punctured tires, broken locks, dug a firing port through mud clay brick, field dressed, skinned, and butcherd a deer... and fought with it. Its almost a natural extention of my arm. The balance and leverage provided by the handle length is perfectly suited to the size and mass of the head.

A lot to be said for the striking power of an axe, but you do sacrifice agility. It's just physics. Weight in motion and all that. Balance is important too, but you already pointed that out. And no question that an axe is a better chopping tool. But for close in fighting where I have to use a blade, then I want a quick, balanced and RAZOR sharp knife. The SOG that I have dedicated for the purpose is lightning quick, has excellent steel in it so I can achieve and maintain a wicked edge on it, and it has excellent slashing and stabbing characteristics. Also, the handle is of a material that won't get slick if it is wet or bloody...another important consideration. And some of it boils down to your preferred fighting style as well. My training relies on quick slashes followed by rapid thrusts to the neck and head area if possible. Most people use the knife in their strong hand, but that places your vitals closer to the attacker. My training has me with the knife in my weak hand, edge away from the body (although I also sharpen the swage on the trailing point). The reason for this is, I can defend both my upper and lower zones with rapid slashes and the attacker has to get past the knife to get within striking distance of my torso. My balance is on my strong foot (rear) like in a boxing stance. To get close enough to me to hit my torso, the attacker is exposed in the head/neck region, and to pass through my defensive zone, his arms are exposed to my blade where I can get at the muscles and tendons that control his grip. My strong hand is held in reserve for punching or grasping. Easier demonstrated than described, but highly effective when practiced.

wccountryboy 03-27-2018 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taxed2death (Post 12081594)
A lot to be said for the striking power of an axe, but you do sacrifice agility. It's just physics. Weight in motion and all that. Balance is important too, but you already pointed that out.

I understand the basic physics... add 6" of handle, and you'll get more momentum out of the head, all else being equal... however, for the application we're looking at- a GP utility tool and CQB weapon- the additional momentum offers little practical advantage, at the cost of 50% more length... theres also something to be said for being ale to stop, alter, or control tha t momentum...

STORM2 03-27-2018 05:40 PM

Assuming a daily use smaller fixed/folding knife and staying out of gun fights with knives, I’ve always kept a KaBar in the truck.....but this is Texas and KaBars are no longer considered big. Remember, sometime smaller is better; but dull is seldom an advantage.
You can’t have too many knives or flashlights close. That’s what trucks are for.

USMM guy 03-27-2018 08:35 PM

A full length haft?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wccountryboy (Post 12081274)
What is a "full length haft"...? My RMJ Forge Shrike has a 13" tang, and its more than adequate, and doesn't impede mobility. I think balance, weight, and design are far more important than handle length, though the latter is a factor that impacts the former...

Ive had mine for many years. I've opened ammo crates, punctured tires, broken locks, dug a firing port through mud clay brick, field dressed, skinned, and butcherd a deer... and fought with it. Its almost a natural extention of my arm. The balance and leverage provided by the handle length is perfectly suited to the size and mass of the head.

"A handle; that part of an instrument or vessel taken into the hand, to hold or use it; usually, the hilt of a knife, sword, or dagger." (see heave) Webster's new international dictionary, second edition unabridged.

So I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that we are both referring to the handle of said Hawk. You using tang, myself haft. My preference is for a full twenty inches or more long haft, 24" is about optimum for me for my arms length. This thread being after all about fighting. Opening ammo crates, puncturing tires if one is so inclined can of course be accomplished with about anything sharp that additionally gives a bit of leverage. For fighting I want to be able to get the head of my hawk moving as fast as possible for a strike on an opponent. Far greater head velocity can be achieved with a longer haft than a shorter one. A hawk with a 13" tang really comes across to me as more like a long handled Ullu style knife than a fighting hawk. Sure they have utility for this and that. But I will stick with my hawk with the 24 inch haft for fighting. If more mundane tasks are required of it, you can always choke up on the haft of it. Additionally a tool with a longer length gives you two ends to fight with. There is a reason why you see a lot of old Hawks with a spike on the opposite end of the haft from the cleaving blade. Granted that the Shrikes look pretty impressive and they should for that price. But that non conductive over molded rubber handle does not look all that lethal to me. Years ago I used to practice Arnis De mano. And we used to practice with Rattan sticks. A pretty basic but useful move was that if and when an opponent could grab hold of the end of the stick that you were hitting them with. Then you could always gouge them in the face/eye with the other end if you played your cards right.

wccountryboy 03-28-2018 09:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USMM guy (Post 12083858)
So I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that we are both referring to the handle of said Hawk. You using tang, myself haft.

You are correct; differnent verbiage but the same meaning... I'm gussing our differnent choices of word reflects our differnent perspectives. In the context of this conversation, Im envisioning the "modern" hawk- very often a single piece forging- hence the term "tang". I'd guess that you're thinking more traditional, a steel head attatched to a wooden handle... so you use the term "haft"...

My preference is for a full twenty inches or more long haft, 24" is about optimum for me for my arms length. This thread being after all about fighting.

While this thread is focused on fighting, as I've already suggested, and edged tool, kept SOLEY as a weapon is foolish, and my preference for a tomahawk is based both on greater all around utility and more intuitive ease of use as a weapon.

Opening ammo crates, puncturing tires if one is so inclined can of course be accomplished with about anything sharp that additionally gives a bit of leverage. For fighting I want to be able to get the head of my hawk moving as fast as possible for a strike on an opponent. Far greater head velocity can be achieved with a longer haft than a shorter one.

This is where our opinions diverge... I think that "fast enough" for the purpose can be achieved with a much shorter handle, and that "as fast as possible" is both unnecessary AND a detriment to effective hand to hand fighting, where agility and maneuverability are as, or even more important, than sheet brute force. A lighter, shorter hawk is vastly more controllable...

Additionally a tool with a longer length gives you two ends to fight with. There is a reason why you see a lot of old Hawks with a spike on the opposite end of the haft from the cleaving blade. Granted that the Shrikes look pretty impressive and they should for that price. But that non conductive over molded rubber handle does not look all that lethal to me.

Its a pretty hard overmoulding, being struck with the handle would be quite unpleasant, its not a soft, thick, padded rubber... and there IS a small "skull crusher" spike on the end of the tang...

A 24" haft puts it well below the knee if carried at the waist on an average adult male... this is a huge incumberance to movement- unless one is about 6'7"...

Ultimately, whatever works for the user, works....

USMM guy 03-28-2018 10:08 AM

I did not say "solely as a weapon."
 
I would submit that a Hawk with a longer haft is every bit as utilitarian as one with a shorter "tang". As I stated earlier you can always choke up on it if you need more precise control. Additionally a longer handle will give you greater leverage for certain tasks such as opening ammo crates. As for intuitive use as a weapon. I will just say each to their own on this one. I prefer a longer lever.

As far as fast enough verses as fast as possible. Again we each have our own opinions. If I am trying to smash a guys skull in, cut off a limb, or even break a window or other barrier. Yes I want to go very fast, because quite frankly I am not really sure how much force it will take to accomplish any of these tasks in a given set of circumstances. I can control it just fine. It is not that heavy. If I was swinging a mace or battle axe, sure it is going to be harder to control, but a +/- 2lb hawk it is not that difficult. And I carry it on my back not hanging from a belt. It does not get in the way and is very easy to bring into play.

I did not see any "skull crusher spike" protruding from the end of the Shrike in the picture that I saw. But I believe you. Actually I like the head of it and would consider one if it had a 20"+ handle on it, even if it is a little pricey.

Quite frankly I will take my thirty dollar hand forged, wood handled hawk made by an old Vietnam war vet down the road before I will take the four hundred dollar Shrike into harms way any day of the week.

wccountryboy 03-28-2018 10:38 AM

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He's getting $400 for his hawks now....? Wow. I got mine for $225ish, albeit several years ago... at 4 bills, its very tough to justify...

I disagree about the degree of control. All else being equal, one will always, without exception, have superior control with a shorter handle... the greater head velocity and momentum takes longer to slow, stop, or alter direction with; its just physics. However, if a longer lever is preferable, why stop at 24"...? Why not 30, 36, 40, 48 inches...? You'll VASLTY increase momentum and head speed.... yes, I'm being a little absurd, to illustrate a point. There is such a thing as "too long" to be practical, and chocking up on a haft changes the dynamics of used... my own experiances have demonstrated- to me- that the velocity and momentum of the short handled hawk is more than adequate to split a skull or remove a limb with little effort...

... and of course a little eye candy...

USMM guy 03-28-2018 11:06 AM

I guess that we are just going to have to agree that we disagree.
 
Once you get past a certain length then you are now using a two handed weapon as opposed to a one handed weapon. An arms length plus a hand is about optimum. Additionally I would submit that if you have to God forbid slow or stop a strike, or even change direction with one. Then you did not plan it right the first time. Having had the crap beaten out of me with Rattan sticks over in the PI for over a year and having to fight back with same, broken fingers and all, (paying for this now with arthritis) sometimes against more than one assailant. I know a little bit about this.

Actually the Shrike ad that I pulled up had them listed for 455$. However they did go on to say that service people got a discount which would likely include yourself. I would love to have one albeit with a longer handle.

wccountryboy 03-28-2018 11:57 AM

Nothing wrong with a civil disagreement or holding differnent opinions. It keeps things interesting, and allows us to learn from differnent perspectives....

Id suggest that a hawk is NOT a stick... in addition to being a striking weapon, its a slasher and a raking one as well. The ability to smoothly transition from one type of stroke to another very rapidly is inherent in using it as a weapon.

I'd also suggest a 24" handle is at the far extreme of a 1 handed weapon, and entering the realm of the 2 handed... look at other similar tools and weapons A framing hammer has about a 15" handle, a 1# sledge is about the same... swords designed for one handed use have similar length handles... those that are longer are inevitably designed as 2 handed weapons. Another way to skin the cat- what other, primarily one handed, tools or weapons have 24" of handle...?

For you 24" may be "optimum", based on what you're used to and have experianced- however, I wouldn't dismiss shorter options out of hand...


$455 is crazy. As high a quality piece as it is, there's other options of adequate quality for a fraction of the price... I did get mine at a discount, about $50-60 if I recollect, which is why it was in the $225ish range. It was also the reason I sprung for it- I wouldn't have at a $300ish+ point.

sambob 03-28-2018 12:59 PM

Well my daddy always told me " Always be the one that brings a gun to a knife fight".

US1911 03-28-2018 01:17 PM

Although void of a compass, built in GPS or map/fishing line storage within the handle, I find the Ontario M9 a perfect companion for such a scenario. Itís versatile enough as is, rugged and wonít break the bank. Plus, I donít need to hunt down itís location, I always know where itís at.

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/...psoxtpt4fq.jpg

557 03-28-2018 03:23 PM

Good stuff guys. I’m no knife fighter so I’m glad I can run pretty fast. Still interesting hearing from people educated on the subject.

That said as far as going one tool or two (or more) in a SHTF scenario I guess it depends on if you are on the run or just defending premises. If on the run I’m firmly in the one knife camp. And it’s design would favor utility use.

If you are security for a fixed location, not carrying everything you own on your back, and have the skills to take out night intruders with a blade then a dedicated fighting knife makes sense to me.

RogueTS1 03-28-2018 03:30 PM

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For strictly combat something along the lines of my Hisshou. It is very capable when used by someone with sabre fencing skills. Light, strong, relatively long and razor sharp.

USMM guy 03-28-2018 07:18 PM

Agreed that a hawk is not a stick.
 
3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by wccountryboy (Post 12086914)
Nothing wrong with a civil disagreement or holding differnent opinions. It keeps things interesting, and allows us to learn from differnent perspectives....

Id suggest that a hawk is NOT a stick... in addition to being a striking weapon, its a slasher and a raking one as well. The ability to smoothly transition from one type of stroke to another very rapidly is inherent in using it as a weapon.

I'd also suggest a 24" handle is at the far extreme of a 1 handed weapon, and entering the realm of the 2 handed... look at other similar tools and weapons A framing hammer has about a 15" handle, a 1# sledge is about the same... swords designed for one handed use have similar length handles... those that are longer are inevitably designed as 2 handed weapons. Another way to skin the cat- what other, primarily one handed, tools or weapons have 24" of handle...?

For you 24" may be "optimum", based on what you're used to and have experianced- however, I wouldn't dismiss shorter options out of hand...


$455 is crazy. As high a quality piece as it is, there's other options of adequate quality for a fraction of the price... I did get mine at a discount, about $50-60 if I recollect, which is why it was in the $225ish range. It was also the reason I sprung for it- I wouldn't have at a $300ish+ point.

I never said it was. However a lot of the discipline crosses over from one to the other. Additionally transitioning from one type of stroke to another is something that is done with individual and separate strokes. To try to transition from one to another midstroke invites a less than satisfactory result.

You suggest that 24" inches is at the extreme of length for a one handed weapon. You mention looking at similar tools. Just for grins as they were readily available. I measured the two machetes hanging by the door of my shop. Thye are 28" and 29.5" respectively and handle quite well with excellent utility at approximately the same weight as my hawk. Additionally I measured an antique Chinese sword that I picked up from my long time friend and antiques dealer Catherine Lee on Orchard road in Singapore some years ago. It measures 31" Now the somewhat elongated gripping portion of it would lead one to believe that two handed use was the preferred method for a nineteenth century Chinese man, all of five feet if he is lucky. However I have no issue using it effectively in certain drills with one hand.

You mention somewhat emphatically that a hawk is "NOT" a stick. Certainly this is the case. But the framing hammer that you mentioned is NEITHER a stick or a hawk. Certainly one would expect a framing hammer to have a relatively short handle. First of all it is generally not used as a weapon. Secondly a nail head is a pretty small target, your blow needs to be much more precise than say a blow to an assailants head. Third is that you do not need as much force to drive a nail as you do to cleave someone's skull. Additionally you generally have all the time in the world to drive said nail home, relatively speaking of course. Other tools require a shorter handle as well for any number of reasons. But I think that this is more weight driven then anything else.

At any rate I know that you always like to have the last word in these discussions. So have at it as I am done at least for now in debating the finer points of weapon handle lengths.

earlwb 03-28-2018 09:48 PM

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I bought my Bowie Survival knife more than 30 years ago. I use it for all sorts of utilitarian purposes. But it is razor sharp and one could shave with it if they wanted to. Heck I have accidentally cut myself with the razor sharp saw teeth on it too. It would work as a last ditch self defense kind of knife as well. But I didn't really plan for using it for knife fighting. I keep some matches and stuff in the handle, and it has a compass in the handle head too.

John Joseph 03-28-2018 10:05 PM

A machete is a particularly nasty thing on which to contemplate.
I can testify to this as I was on the wrong side of one, once.
Then again if your idea of combat is deploying a pig sticker on the sly, well just about anything with a long enough blade will work.
If they were legal in my state, a good quality sword cane would be my choice.

AndyC 03-28-2018 10:09 PM

Good all-rounder - hmm, probably Cold Steel SRK.

https://www.gpknives.com/media/catal...1/3/8/38CK.jpg

Amos Iron Wolf 03-28-2018 10:28 PM

Well, when I was in security I carried a KA BAR TDI behind my mag pouches that was specifically for weapon retention. Never for anything else.

I'm in the not big on a dedicated combat knife for SHTF. I carry a few knives EDC and each have their uses. When I was in the Army I had a basic pocket knife and at one point either a folding locker or a fixed blade on my LBE. Later I carried a SAK Champ in a belt sheath and a fixed blade on the LBE.

There is a reason many of the field type knives have sheaths with the little sharpening stone in a front pocket on it. Keep your knives sharpened in the field. A good, fixed blade field knife that is kept sharp will handle tasks from cutting 550 cord, cutting sticks, and cutting flesh.

You will have limited space and weight on your gear. Especially in SHTF. So use the valuable real estate and weight to carry a quality field knife that you can sharpen in the field without having to take a bulky sharpening system along with you.

The issue with having a dedicated fighting knife on your SHTF gear is the same as a lot of the stuff people put on their gear, only more so. They haven't trained and practiced with it. Pulling a knife as a last ditch, try to save me butt because everything else just went south is one thing. Knife fighting and really running a knife as a full on combat implement means you better be putting in hours, weeks, months, and years, of getting real instruction and doing real practice. Then actually practicing drawing that blade from your gear, while wearing your gear, and sparring in full kit and in realistic simulations. Otherwise, use the real estate or something you can and will use to survive.

Btw, my best friend at Ft Bragg had been nine years in SF back in the late 60s and early 70s. The most I got out of him regarding those years was that he was in Thailand, that the reason they wore gold link chains was they could break off links in the boonies and use them as currency, and he carried a Randall Model 14 knife that he used for all kinds of things.

When he came back in the Army after 9 years out, when I met him, he still carried that same Randall Model 14 knife. He carried it during mountain training at Ft. Greely, AK, when he was part of the 82ND restarting LRSD, and later as a Ranger Instructor after he left Ft. Bragg. (He also went through Ranger School back when you had to be in the top two thirds of the class to wear the tab.)

So this fellow who was both SF (with substantial experience) and Ranger tabbed carried a fairly heavy knife, but one that he got the most and varied use out of in a variety of combat operations and situations. I'll take his example as an answer to the question. I have a Randall Model 14 because a person I really respected and admired thought it was a hell of a knife to carry in real world situations.


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