This month I am demonstrating a self-defence technique against a knife attack. There are many books and videos on this subject, and there is some good information out there, but also myths and lots of misinformation. It can be hard to tell what is real and what is not. Before I describe the technique I have chosen; I would like to discuss a few key points about a knife attack.
It is not like the movies! The attacker does not often brandish the knife giving you time to prepare. Their strikes can be many and so swift they will seem like a blur and their movements will not be telegraphed. Instead they can be small and even understated making them hard to react to.
You will be cut. YUCK! What a terrible thing to say. But it is so often true. If you put this in your brain right away, it comes as less of a shock. Hopefully you can defend and deflect the attack successfully enough so that your cuts are minor and not life threatening.
In the hands of a trained knife fighter, a knife is very dangerous. In the hands of an inexperienced person, a knife is very dangerous. Even a person with little or no skill, can seriously hurt you. If you are ever accosted by someone with a knife, RUN!
If someone pulls a knife on you and asks for your purse, jewellery, clothes whatever, GIVE IT TO THEM!!!!! Do not try to be the hero. It will not end like the movies. Give them what they want and perhaps they will be satisfied and leave. The best thing to do if you are held up at knife point is to comply. The attacker wants your purse, then give it to them. Nothing in your purse is worth your life. Everything can be replaced, but not you.
Throw your purse at the attacker and run in the other direction. Throw your jewellery one way and escape another way. Use your possessions as a distraction for your escape. This is your safest course of action. If you cannot run, you can use your purse or other things as a makeshift shield to help avoid serious injury.
The technique I am demonstrating this month has the attacker in front of me, holding the knife in front of them ready to do a straight thrust. The attacker is right-handed and is attacking with his right hand. Everything can be executed with the left as the dominant hand. However for purposes of demonstrating and teaching I am showing the self-defence with my right hand as it is my dominant hand.
• The attacker confronts me holding a knife. Perhaps asking for my valuables
• My hands are up and open ready to comply
• I am already moving backwards trying to put more distance between me and my attacker
• The attacker steps in with a straight thrust to my mid-section
• Immediately shoot your hips backwards extending the distance between you and the attacker
• See how bent over I am here. I am attempting to put as much distance as I can from the knife and its target.
• Both of your hands make an X to block the knife from stabbing your stomach
• Right hand over left hand
• As soon as I make contact with the attackers arm I am parrying his knife hand to the outside of my body
• In this picture I am parrying to the left
Circle And Step Back
• I continue the parrying action to a circular motion until I can safely grab the attackers wrist and control the knife
• Notice I have stepped back with my right leg to a strong upright posture
• Notice the attacker is bent over with his arm fully extended
• I am bending the attackers wrist
• Watch that knife! Remember you could get cut. Hopefully only surface wounds.
• Kick your attacker! Use your legs!
• I am using a front kick to his mid-section
• Keep a tight hold of the attackers wrist with both of your hands and keep it bent
• It is hard to tell from photographs, but the wrist with the knife is outside my body to the left
• You can kick more than once.
Prepare To Strike
• Keeping a tight hold of the attackers knife hand, raise your right hand to strike
• Your right hand is open
• Strike the wrist/hand of the attacker that is holding the knife
• I am using a palm-heel strike
• This strike is done as hard and as fast as you can keeping the attacker bent over
• Strike again if needed
• An effective palm-heel strike to the bent wrist of the attacker will result in them releasing the knife
• You do this by continuing your palm-heel strike forward and through so you can safely grab the handle and take control of the knife
• Remember, there is always a possibility of being cut. Don’t let that surprise you, but always aim for safety
• Step forwards close to your attacker
• Raise your right arm up
• This is the arm that should be holding the knife
• With all of your force, strike down with your right arm on the elbow of the attacker
• You can maximize your force by using the butt end of the knife
• You are wanting to bring the attacker to his knees
• Step back with your right leg
• Look how I have lowered myself to the ground
• Keep a tight hold of the knife
• Keep strong contact with the attackers arm, just above the elbow
• As you step back, pull the attacker forwards on to their face
• I am down on one knee, but still in an upright, strong position
• My right hand is still holding the knife and is still in contact with the attackers arm
Hold The Knife
• Holding the knife high above your head, use your voice to tell the attacker to stay down or leave you alone
• You are in a strong position and could easily use the butt end of the knife to strike the attackers arm, back or head
• Stand up and step away from the attacker
• Keep the knife with you
• Don’t take your eyes off the attacker until you are free and clear to RUN!!!!!
• Then run to safety
A couple of key points to remember; your goal here is to run and escape to safety. Do not try to stab your attacker, taunt them or brandish the knife in any way towards them. It can easily be turned against you again.
If you can disarm your attacker, keep the knife under control and call the police so they can collect the knife. If you are cut, seek help immediately. Stop the flow of blood and call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room immediately.
If during the struggle, you lose the knife, drop it or it falls out of reach, don’t worry. Continue your movements to put the attacker down. You can always step on the knife so it can’t be picked up and used against you again. You could kick it out of the way and out of the reach of the attacker. Report the incident to the police and let them search for the knife.
My dearest wish is that no person ever experiences this, but if you do, hopefully you can escape successfully. By now, I’m sure all my readers are enrolled in a good karate school or are taking self-defence classes. Please encourage everyone you know to do the same! Stay safe everyone.