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Martial Matters, Issue #003 -- Knife defences
June 21, 2003

Knife Defences

Welcome to the June edition of Martial Matters.

In this edition we'll talk about defending yourself against a knife attack:

A colleague of mine has recently returned from what he described as the hardest week of his life, where he qualified with IBSSA (International Bodyguard and Security Services Association).

He dealt with scenarios such as Personal protection of another, Anti Terrorism activities, Weapons handling and restraint, moving vehicle security etc. etc. etc. A lot of which he will be going through on the course on July 13th at Bolton Arena.

See Events Page. Events
Anyway back to the plot,

Defences against Knife attacks, Firstly if at all possible get yourself and anyone else out of the potential danger area.....RUN AWAY.

Yes you heard right, run away. This is not a cowards way out, this is sensible. After all your potential assailant could be on drugs or just plain crazy. Nobody needs a dead hero.

However if you can't get away or you are cornered, try to talk your way out of the situation, tell the guy what he wants to hear or give him what he wants, if it's a mugging, but only if you think this will pacify him...

Let me explain. If it is apparent that your assailant is going to stab you whether you give him all your money or not then you must do something about the situation before this happens, either way you may get stabbed. Thats why this is a last resort and only attempted if YOU are certain he is going to attack you no matter what.

It's a judgement call that only you can make and if you ever do end up in that situation it won't be easy.

So, you're in that nightmare situation. How do you tackle him ?

Do you use the knife defences you learned in your martial arts classes ? I hope not because you'll very soon be bleeding to death if your assailant has any idea how to use the knife.

I tried an experiment about 5 years ago now with my training partner who is very fast with his hands and can handle a knife. We used a dummy knife (Thankfully) with some red ink on the end of it and I wore a white Gi.

I had at this time been training in the martial arts for about 16 years and had learned many many knife defences from many different styles so I was sure that whatever he came at me with I would be able to handle it.

He moved the knife very quickly from hand to hand and attacked from a variety of angles, slashing, lunging and really going for it. I successfully disarmed him several times, but each time he had also stabbed me several times (This is why the Police and Prison service use riot shields and several officers when dealing with knife attackers).

We worked this scenario using all the knife defences we had both learned from many different styles over the years but the one factor that kept coming up was the fact that this was simulating a real situation, so the attacker wasn't in stance and didn't come with a single attack in a straight line, he'd attack several times from any angle very fast.

What we were looking for was something that kept your vital organs as far away from the knife as possible whilst allowing you to attack the assailant.

Here's what we came up with: (This is just my opinion, based on over 20 years martial arts experience, and this one worked time after time. But remember only use as a last resort)

First you must take your attackers mind off what he's thinking about (I.e. stabbing you !) .........Spit in his face, not nice but remember this guy wants to stab you !

This gives you a fraction of a second to move.

Next, drop to your side, fast ! (Side breakfall) As you do this hook one of your feet round the back of his front foot and with your other foot, stamp hard onto the front of his knee. This will either snap or dislocate it (Again not nice but this guys going to stab you !) It also doesn't matter too much if you miss with the hook as you can still get the stamp in on the knee.

Either disarm him while he's on the floor and wait for the Police or just get out of there, he won't chase you.

The fall and hook take some practice to get fast but it's worth it as this is one well worth having in your arsenal.

Any comments or feedback would be welcomed and any suggestions for next month's newsletter will be considered.

Stay well and prosper.

Don't forget:

Above the clouds the sun always shines.


Paul Swift.


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Paul Swift.

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