Self Defense Against a Knife Attack

Knife Defense techniques has been around since the early centuries. With the use of firearms for self defense, defending against a knife has taken a back seat. We have covered some knife defense basics here. However, in some countries like the United Kingdom their stats of knife attacks happens every 4 seconds back in 2008 ( this is more knife attacks per capita than U.S. gun attacks at the time.

Regardless, knife attacks do exist and here we will introduce functional knife defense that was design to be taught to the mass, learned in a few minutes, but needs to be honed. The more you practice the better you get. Sorry that’s the facts of life, just like shooting your guns.

There are many cases where a knife attack occurs, it can be from a distance (21 feet) where they come running madly at you with a blood curling cry. Or, you’re in a fist fight and the next you know you feel sharp pains on your body or arms. Another scenario as a law enforcement officer conducting a field interview, and the subject surprisingly lunges at you from 6 feet.
Commons sense states get your gun out and defend yourself, but timing is not about fairness. Attacks happens within a blink of an eye and you must respond.

Defensive Mindset
First rule of thumb is to always be alert and mindful of your environment. Your awareness is your number 1 defense mechanism, and it is a lifestyle to have this train of mind. Especially when you engage with people and have the sense to back off from an altercation. Use that verbal “judo” skill, not “karate” action verbs. Always de-escelate the conversation and seek your exit. (Run!)

Distances is important to be aware of, if you’re in close quarters (within 6 feet) your reaction time will be slower than the person initiating an attack. Or maybe you’re already in the scuffle but do not know that the assailant has drawn their knife. Best defense is distance, increase your distance between you and the assailant.

So the following guidelines is what’s called the 1% technique, this is the percent where the shit hits the fan. Its fight or flight syndrome, we can harness this feeling through training to know how to deal with it and use it to empower us to survive.

The video below highlights a two on one positioning for control, featuring Sal Mascoli video by GN Funkertactical.

You’ll noticed its all about crashing in (closing the gap quickly) and taking control of the knife arm.

Control – Intercept – Baseball Grip
Most reports of the knife attack are multiple stabbing to the lower portion of the torso. Though other attacks like slashes that you see in the movies exist, but not likely. Man when at their primal stage of fighting, especially with a knife, 90% of the time will stab, its emotional rage. So at this close quarter range you must intercept the knife hand.

  • Get closer to the attacker to minimize their knife hand movement
  • Form a cup with both hands and catch their knife hand
  • Once caught imagine holding a “Baseball Bat” and pull/maintain a downward pressure

Keynotes – the Control & Positioning
Already at close range use that to nullify the knife attacker movement. Making harder for them to get a good swing at you. Once you have the control position be sure that your arm is semi bent with a push/pull downward position. In this leverage position it will be hard for them to pull their hand out. While in this control position you commence with knee strikes and headbutts. So the name of the game is “positioning”, its highly paramount that you establish your positioning during this struggle. Target area for the strikes are:

  • Knee strikes – go for the thigh (front, side sciatic nerve), groin, lower abdomen
  • Head butts – go for the bridge of nose, below the nose, side of head (jaw), head ram to underneath the jaw if they’re acutely taller

Once you have applied these strikes be sure to look for that exit.(Run!) If you’re a law enforcement officer the principles still applies, once clear create (Run!) that distance between you and the attacker to draw your firearm.

From another outlook and approach to this deadly encounter if you’re with your loved one, have a look at Youtuber Master Wong. Be warned its serious chair quarterbacking and humorous.

Article by J Hines

Sources: Burton Richardson, Paulo “GN” Rubio of Funker Tactical Youtube, Sal Mascoli USMC, Master Wong