Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surviving a Knife Attack

This post is not another Martial Arts post on how to flip-kick or wrist-lock the knife out of an attacker’s hand. This post is to share good resource information to help deal with the reality of a knife attack and how to hopefully come out of it in one piece.

I realize that some in the community will find the subject of knife fighting distasteful. I am not advocating running around stabbing people, I am advocating educating ourselves to deal with a common threat. The more we know about the mechanics and psychology behind such an attack, the better we can deal with it. It may be distasteful, but it is information we can learn from.

I have had some knife experience on the receiving end of the blade. It is frightening and not a fun adventure.

Knives are the most common weapon we are likely to face. They are cheap and easy to find. They are easy to hide and require little to no maintenance. They are far more common to encounter than even firearms. Anybody can get their hands on a steak knife or even sharpen a piece of metal to make a shiv. You can encounter them at any time. It could be a drunk on a patrol or breaking up a fight at a charity event.

Again, everyone should have at least some basic knowledge of the realities of a knife attack and how to properly defend against a knife wielding attacker. Knives are a tricky subject as there is quite a bit of misinformation and outright fantasy about their uses and the defenses against them. Knives are psychologically terrifying weapons. A not uncommon phrase is ‘I’d rather be shot than stabbed.’ This innate fear of cutting and stabbing adds to the mystique and misinformation surrounding knives.

Let’s start with some basics and get onto resources to help in understand how attackers will use a knife, how to properly use a knife, and how to defend against the knife.

A knife fight is not a duel. A duel involves two combatants, each with a weapon, and combatant on even and fair footing. A knife fight almost always involves one attacker with a knife and his opponent without one. The man with the knife is not looking for a fair fight: he is looking to kill or disable his enemy with the quickest and easiest means available to him.

There is no fairness involved in a knife fight. A real knife fighter will come in hard and fast and usually by surprise. Forget the myths and talk of ‘trapping the weapon arm to disarm’ or ‘kick the knife out of his hand.’ This is not likely to happen and it will most likely get you badly wounded. You will be lucky to see the blade coming let alone have the time to react to such an attack.

The following references will give us practical information to study and train to help us deal with a knife attack. Every tool we add to our arsenal of knowledge will be useful and might save our lives or the lives of those we are trying to help. They were written by serious no-nonsense men who had used a knife on other men, or had it used against them, and understand how these things work. They are experts and we should learn from their experience.

Good luck and stay safe.

Some of the information in these resources is redundant: read it anyway. You might find that they way one man wrote it sticks with you better than the other author’s words and descriptions.

Don Pentecost: Put ‘em Down, Take ‘em Out: Knife Fighting Techniques from Folsom Prison
Basic, simple, and to the point. This is a good one to check out for the photos and realistic, frank advice it gives.

Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung: Knife fighting lies (Webpage)http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Once again, great stuff by the Animal, dispelling myths including the Duel that I briefly touched upon above. Excellent information on the reality of knife defense.

Col. Rex Applegate: Kill or Get Killed
I’ve linked to this book a lot, but it’s so damn complete. Please read this thing. Book Pg. 67-97. Shows attack and defense, including the chair defense and low kick to shin.

I'll be expanding on this at a later date.

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