The Untrained Knife Attacker
Do you understand the use of a knife from both the defensive and offensive side. Have you had an honest look at knives and how the are used against you in an attack.
A Better Understanding
There are many martial arts and specitilities within the edged weapon field. I’ve been fortunate and honored to have worked with many of them. Some to a simple familiarization and others to a more intimate understanding. The most valuable take away I can offer for all of them falls into two categories. How to implement the sharp edge of the blade in the most effective way and the human body’s vital anatomy relative to slashes and stabs. This mere knowledge has provided me with the means to select the best tool, the best method of carry and the best method of use to fit my needs. I enjoy carrying a knife, have since I was a young kid. I have been intrigued by them and their use, but it wasn’t until I was an adult I better understood them.
Safety Starts With You
Here is a major take away from all that knowledge, someone is going to get cut. If you play with knives enough you will probably get cut on accident or worse intentionally. It’s important you have a healthy respect for their damage the same you would with a firearm. Statistically, more people are injured or killed with an edged weapon of some sort than firearms. Some are accidents, others are not. Like firearms, safety begins with you. Don’t draw your knife unless you intend to use and don’t use a knife when another item will do a better job. Be mindful of your surroundings and familair with the knife, how it opens and closes or is sheathed.
The Typical Path Of The Blade
In a self-defense setting we will more than likely be in a reactionary mode. Meaning, we will be responding to our attacker and thus be behind the power curve. A drawn blade is going to be faster than trying to draw a blade or any other tool. You have to recognize the danger of this situation. What and how do you need to prepare. Simple things like how is your attacker holding the knife? Is it point up or point down? This can go a long way towards understanding how they will attack. The vast majority of knife attacks are stabs or thrusts, generally to the midsection. This is very valuable information since it tells us the general direction the pointy end will be traveling. No matter how much knowledge you have with knife training if you try to exchange stabs for parries or blocks, you will eventually get cut or worse stabbed. Many stabs are quickly recocked and perfomed in rapid succession multiple times. Your best option is to be outside the range of the contact weapon or at the very least place an object between you and the attacker.
Signal Of Impending Attack
Another conern you must be aware of for the previous tactic to be valuable is a high percentage of attacks occur where the attacker will acquire a grip on you with their free hand. This grip, whether your arm, hair or clothing makes it hard to break contact, but it also gives us a heads up on their intentions. While the knife may be drawn, it is the grasping with the free hand that can signal the impending attack. All the more reason to stay out of range. An honest look at knives means not letting them grab you. It will go a long way to not getting stabbed. At some point you begin to apprecaite footwork and quick footwork at that. Moving is critical to your surviaval.
One And Done
What if you cannot move, what if you are channalized or in a confined space. Don’t let them grab you for one. Block all those attempts first and foremost. Eventualy, you will need to confront the live blade. It is by no means simple or easy. Any thrust or stab will come at you fast and if you cannot move your feet, then at the very least try to move your torso. At the same time consider the same side hand defenses. If they are using their right hand, then your left hand would be same hand. Inward parries combined with outboard movement of the torso can create empty space in the knife’s path. But, here is the kicker or small print. You will probably only get one attempt.
Incapacitation Is The Goal
All of those words to say this. An honest look at knives would be produce two options. Don’t be there, so if you can escape it would be your go to move. If not, then moving your vitals away from the blades path would be your next. So, how do you end the attack if you are not attacking, what is your secret weapon? Incapacitation. You have to get it in your mind you have to deliver rapid and accurate blows to soft targets. Injury is good, but incapacitation is the goal. If you parry with your left, then a cross with your right might be all you got. Where do you aim? The chin, the jaw, the throat? What will genearte the most likely outcome you are looking for – incapacitation?
It is going to be ugly, watch any of the hundreds of CCTv videos if you need convincing. Once you get past some of the first obstacles you quickly realize your best defense is not to be in that situation in the first place, but if you are then a few simple tips might make the difference.