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Do You Underestimate Knife in Self Defense?

If you get attacked by someone with knife who is serious about taking you out,do you think you could defend yourself (in situation where running away is not an option)?

What would you do?

What are you doing to prepare for it?

What do you think your chances of survival are?

Realities of knife fight

Who brings a knife to a gun fight?

Well, it’s a shit situation but it is absolutely survivable. No point in thinking any other way if escape is not an option. My training in that situation is too create a physical barrier of some kind if possible (table, car etc), and find some kind of improvised weapon and/or shield if possible (chair, car antenna, luggage etc).

Failing all that, we train to close distance and attack the attack, ignoring the blade and going for the delivery system (arm/elbow, not hand wrist) seeking to wrap it up and immobilize it if possible, thus limiting the potential for multiple thrusts or meaningful cuts. Then/or we go for the computer (CNS), attacking with repeated vicious strikes with the intent of disrupting his will and/or ability to press the attack. “Disarming” takes place when he drops the knife to protect his head or loses consciousness.

I like to think I have few illusions about how easy this would be and I have worked to be mentally prepared for the possibility of being cut, possibly badly, and needing to fight through it. It is an undesirable situation to say the least but, like I said, if there’s no escape might as well begin with the assumption you can come out on top.

Knives are at least as dangerous as guns at close range. If a guy manages to get the drop on you with a knife it’s probably lights out. I’m pretty good and usually armed, but if the knife is between your ribs for the third time while you’re still processesing “he’s prison rushing me” it’s too late.

Assuming he waves it around first like a jackass, he’s getting shot until he stops moving. I’ve drilled pistol keep away on a rushing knife wielder before, with a decent draw and point shoot (and maybe leg kick) I’ve got him 8/10 times.

Unarmed against a knife? As above, and hope your insurance is paid up.

[quote]SKELAC wrote:
If you get attacked by someone with knife who is serious about taking you out,do you think you could defend yourself (in situation where running away is not an option)?

What would you do?

What are you doing to prepare for it?

What do you think your chances of survival are?
[/quote]
Could I defend myself? That question is depending on many factors I can not influence. So my answer is: maybe.

If you are out of the range of the knife (that’s 5 meters) run and dont look back.
The problem that occurs is that nobody who wants to hurt you steps up from 20 meters while pulling out his knife and walking towards you. Most knife attacks are an ambush. You are caught in the middle of a conflict, often not even with the person drawing his/her knife, then sh*t hits the fan and you are set up.

I think you should try to ask the question in a different way:
If the chance occurs that you have to fight against somebody armed with a knife with no way out and possibly the intention to kill or cripple you, what would you do?

If you have a knife yourself and there is no way out - draw it. But do it so your attacker does not know you have it. If I know I have to go through a bad part of the city at night I always keep a small blade (nothing illegal) in my right butt pocket. If I am outnumbered or just in a really bad situation I can approach a hostile individual while pretending to reach out with my hand to my purse while playing a helpless and crying victim.
Unfortunately I can not tell you how I would deal in a knife vs knife fight. I do not have enough experience with that. Maybe someone else can help?

If you are unarmed and HAVE to fight, get in an on guard stance turning the inside of your wrists towards your body protecting your internal organs. If someone cuts your forearms it definitely hurts like hell but you are not going to die. As a matter of fact: most individuals die from knifefights because they lose too much blood from vein injuries that could be prevented. An artery will clog up after a while and stop bleeding if you put a tourniquet on it. Tuck your chin in to protect your neck. Stay lose, dont tense up. if you see something arround that you might grab and throw to save you precious time or something that you could use to get away or distract the opponent so you can land a hopefully devastating blow-do it.
Dont kick, your hands are faster. Dont even thing about kicking. Even if you are the Tang So Do champion of south korea, dont freaking kick. If your oponent knows how to deal with a knife he is going to cut your leg as soon as your leg is in range. ever tried to fight against an arme doponent with a severe open wound injury on your leg?
Dont try to grab the knife. Most victims of knife attacks have completely destroyed hands. Their finger and hand ligaments are all cut and torn because their instinctive reaction was to grab the blade directly.
Try to control the arm if possible. Use softening techniques to make the attacker lose the weapon. If that is not an option intercept the attacks. In Kali you are told that each of your oponents limbs represents a weapon. Destroy those weapons and you defeat the opponent. So punch his wrist, try to hit the back of the hand while simutaniousley moving your feet arround the opponent trying to run away or at least winning higher ground. If you have a thick jacket you can wrap it arround your leading arm. This might protect you from some cuts, but will definitely not make it possible for you to withstand a thrust with full force. If you manage to bring the attacker down to the ground without getting slashed into pieces try to further engage him. Stomp on his head, dont make him get up. Dont worry about what the heck will happen in the court. He approached you with lethal force and you have the right to protect yourself with lethal force in a situation like that. I would rather live knowing that I might have serverely injured another human who tried to attack me with something as dangerous as a knife than to get paid money from the attacker(if I’m still alive) and having injuries that will last for my entire life.

Chances of survival? Even if you are very well prepared your chances are arround zero. In my opinion it depends on the determination of the attacker. If that guy or gal has been training with knifes for a good time and really wants to kill you, you are screwed.

You can prepare yourself with safety knives and protective gear in a simulated real world situation against one or multiple attackers. I doubt that this kind of training will make you invincible, though it might give you an advantage.
When i first joined a martial arts school at age 9 the instructors would run at us with drawn knives and we would have to run away. The entire thing was implemented in a game, so we as children could learn without fear that the best defense against a knife on sight is to run like the wind.

It goes without saying that you have to check yourself after a knife fight for injuries. Many people are so shocked that they forget to take care of their injuries or call 911. The adrenaline rush after a situation like that is high enough to make you ignore things like cuts or gashes, so always check yourself or others for wounds with lethal potential

I hope some of the things I added were useful.

I would run.

Who the fuck is stupid enough to try to wrestle a knife out of someone’s hands? you ARE going to get cut if not stabbed.

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
I would run.

Who the fuck is stupid enough to try to wrestle a knife out of someone’s hands? you ARE going to get cut if not stabbed.[/quote]

What if you just had leg day and you trained hard and can barely walk?

[quote]NikH wrote:

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
I would run.

Who the fuck is stupid enough to try to wrestle a knife out of someone’s hands? you ARE going to get cut if not stabbed.[/quote]

What if you just had leg day and you trained hard and can barely walk?[/quote]

Handstand walk out of there, obviously.

duh

[quote]NikH wrote:

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
I would run.

Who the fuck is stupid enough to try to wrestle a knife out of someone’s hands? you ARE going to get cut if not stabbed.[/quote]

What if you just had leg day and you trained hard and can barely walk?[/quote]

Then you suck. This is the reason why you should never train so hard you can’t move.

Seriously, underestimating a knife attack = best route to a shallow grave. If you can run or surrender, do it. If you can’t: Ideally tire him out with kicks if possible; in any case, grab the knife arm, twist it and knee kick the shit out of the guy. This is literally a life and death scenario and if you don’t end up in the ER it was a lucky night for you.

Yup,

RUN.

A lot depends on the distance of the attacker too. If he/she is further away (not likely) you have a better chance of getting away, or throwing things at them. This is why environmental awareness is a very important part of self defense. Are you alone? Are you near a public area? Are you near a door? What objects are close by that you can pick up and throw?

Someone pulls a knife real close to you, and you cant get away…well that is a very bad situation. That being said, control the arm of the attacker. Kick the shit out of their shins, leg, groin etc…but the longer the knife hand is free the more fucked you are.

Some great quality advice in this thread. Particularly great post by Quiet Warrior.

If someone who knows what they are doing gets the jump on you with a knife, chances are, you’re going to die whoever you are and whatever ninja art you know.

Your best, almost only defense against a knife, is your brain. Never walk down dark allies in bad areas at night, never walk close to shadows if you can avoid it, stay away from walls/solid opaque objects that could be hiding someone. Look around you constantly as you make your way down the street. This is most of what it takes to stay alive in bad areas. If you walk round these sorts of places with headphones in or anything valuable on display, well, frankly you deserve to get stabbed for your stupidity.

Being able to fight like hell can help, and the tips from Quiet Warrior and everyone else are definitely useful, if only to try and make sure you don’t die crying for your mother. Really though, if you let someone with a knife anywhere near you you are relying on their incompetence for your survival more than your mad skills.

Someone pushed me against a wall and held a knife against my throat when I was a kid. Instinct meant I kneed him instantly in the balls and smashed the point of my elbow on the back of his head repeatedly til he was on the floor, where he got fucked up some more. Why did I survive? Because I used extreme immediate violence, while he was just trying to intimidate me. If he’d been ready to do the deed I wouldn’t have got the chance to fight. I’d have been dead before I knew what was happening. Illustrates what I said above - if you’re in striking range of a knife, you better hope the guy using it is uninitiated, and more importantly doesn’t want to kill. Still, a 16 year old kid who just randomly stabs like crazy will probably take your life, however trained you are, if he needs a kill to get into a gang.

I think the scenario that is being painted here when we describe an attacker that is determined to stab or cut you is indicative of premeditation. The attacker formulated a plan BEFORE you arrived, or formed his plan and sought you out. With premeditation typically there co-exists motive. What is the attackers motive and how does it relate to your own decisions. Are you a specific target of the attacker for a specific reason? Or are you a a random victim of a crime that is not personal? Is it possible you did something dumb to provoke the attack?

When you ask Quiet Warrior’s question “What would I do?” also consider the question raised indirectly by London’s advice, “What could I have done to avoid the whole scenario?”

I believe that a decision you made, led you somehow into that attack and you really must be aware of dangerous routines or habits that place you in danger. Drilling for years to survive a knife attack is not dealing with your particular propensity for walking down dark alleys with your swag hanging out. As much as I hate to admit it, us strapping blokes should be taking the same personal safety advice we give or wives and girlfriends.

I’m speaking as someone who has been confronted by knife wielding attackers, and who in that instant realised I was outmatched in the confrontation. It’s a scary place to be, especially since my back was up against the wall. It was a random attack, it was indiscriminate in that the attacker was really only looking for a victim to fuck up and anyone would do. Naturally, the coward that he was he picked the unarmed guy half his size. If I hadn’t been able to talk him out his tree, I would be dead or dying in a shitty parking lot outside an even shittier nightclub in one of the shittiest towns in South Africa.

I much prefer the approach of avoidance.

[quote]devildog_jim wrote:
Knives are at least as dangerous as guns at close range. If a guy manages to get the drop on you with a knife it’s probably lights out. I’m pretty good and usually armed, but if the knife is between your ribs for the third time while you’re still processesing “he’s prison rushing me” it’s too late.

Assuming he waves it around first like a jackass, he’s getting shot until he stops moving. I’ve drilled pistol keep away on a rushing knife wielder before, with a decent draw and point shoot (and maybe leg kick) I’ve got him 8/10 times.

Unarmed against a knife? As above, and hope your insurance is paid up.[/quote]

Pretty much this, but I have much less confidence in my ability to draw quickly.

Still, my preferred “empty hands defense against a knife” is to get something into my hands so that they are no longer empty.

Regards,

Robert A

[quote]SKELAC wrote:
If you get attacked by someone with knife who is serious about taking you out,do you think you could defend yourself (in situation where running away is not an option)?

What would you do?
[/quote]
This is very, VERY situational. Accepting the conditions you set(my attacker is enthusiastic about killing me, and I am there for the duration) the short answer is “As much as I am able, as well as I am able, for as long as I am still able”. This is certainly a “run what you brung” affair so getting any dedicated or potential weapons into action for me is a priority. How that shakes out again depends on exactly what is going on.

As Jim pointed out if my first notice of the attack is serious, fight stopping damage than my problems are probably going to solve themselves. I recognize the story may well have a happy ending, but for someone else(movie refferance).

On the other hand I firmly believe that no intelligent man ever lost to a fella who anounced “I am gonna kick your ass.” So if I have warning, I am in it a bit more.

Actually a lot of what I train is predicated on not wanting to stand in front of threats, the notion that I do not know if anyone else is armed, and that not every weapon comes out at first.

I also tend to think everyone should carry at least a knife and a flashlight(and a clean handkerchief) and a pistol would be a great idea too.

Depends on the situation, and the ability of my attacker or attackers.

Given your premise things are already bleak.

Weapons where invented for a reason, so if it is anyone smart enough/lucky enough to pull off an ambush and they are competent I may be too far behind the power/initiative curve. If I am facing someone who would give me a rough time if we were both unarmed, but I am going against steel with finger nails and bad language than my chances are poor. If I can make enough time or opportunity to get something into my hands than I may not be the only one bleeding.

Regards,

Robert A

[quote]LondonBoxer123 wrote:
I’d have been dead before I knew what was happening. [/quote]

I do not disagree with anything you said, save for the wording of this.

The vast majority of single cuts, stab wounds, or gunshot wounds are neither fatal nor incapacitating. People tend to stop fighting for psychological reasons. Barring damage to the central nervous system, that is brain or spinal chord, hypovolemic shock due to blood loss is the physiological reason for becoming unable to fight. This takes time. That may be measured in seconds, minutes, or hours. The biggest thing you have to fear from the first injury, is that it may make you more vulnerable to the next one.

If you are truly rendered unable to fight because of physiological issues, your situation will take care of itself. Until then, assume that any and all wounds are survivable and fight like the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark.

Your story indicates that you did just that.

To put it more strongly:

We all came into this world covered in someone else’s blood and screaming our head off. If we are to leave it the same way, than so be it.

Regards,

Robert A

A personal experience on being cut:

This little incident happened while I was a street LEO. By no means am I stating “I did the best thing”. Like all situations concerning violence, it happened very fast and unexpected. Another officer had received a domestic call to an apartment complex known for violent crime. When I heard his back up was several miles away, I cancelled him and went myself. I arrived on location about 2 minutes after him and found the apartment, front door was open. I stated “police!” and entered the small foyer and walked into the cramped living room. The first officer was standing to the right and talking to the two females, one standing and the other sitting on the couch. Since he was on the right, I took the left about 2 feet from him, and a little to the rear, which placed me about 4 feet from the female sitting on the couch. The room was very stuffed with small pillows, cushions, and crap. No where to move. As I was listening to the officer trying to calm the females down, especially the one standing, I scanned the females and room for weapons. I noticed that the female sitting on the couch, had her left hand on her knee and her right hand in between the couch cushions. When there was a slight break in the yelling, I pointed at the female on the couch and said, " Miss, would you put your right hand on your knee, where I can see it? “It sure would make me feel better about our safety” She looked at me and said “What are you scared of me?” I stated, No, I am not scared of you, but, I am scared if you have gun in your hand" She just looked at me and said, “I aint got no gun” and then she jumped off that couch like a bat from hell and I caught a glimpse of the knife in her right hand. She lunged straight at me, holding the knife in a point first position. Now, the reaction I had was pure instinct, based on my previous training and being one the departments “defensive tactics” instructors. I “bladed my body” to the right, just as her blade took the underside of my left arm. Fortunately, it was winter and I was wearing a jacket, because the blade cut a nice path down on the inside of my left elbow, resulting in about 40 stitches. I wish I could say that I used a super ninja move, but, no, I was so jacked up that I automatically trapped her knife arm againist my body and slammed her into the wall. I was lucky she was small, non trained, and weighed about 115 pounds. That close quarters with a knife expert, and no time to draw a handgun, would have been death for either me or my partner. lessons learned: The only thing that saved me from serious injury was my training, not because it was a superior style, but, because I was ALWAYS training when not working, and even with that, I still got cut, have a nice 6 in. scar and lost three weeks of work. I made mistakes, I never made them again in the same manner.

Whatever you do: train and train hard, use mental visualization to “practice” your responses to various knife and weapons attacks. Develop a “combat awareness” to your everyday life, so, that you may have a chance to see trouble coming. Never, Never, Ever, not scan a persons’ hands, because that is what will kill you.

Haven’t had knives pulled on me. Had screw drivers and battery jumper cables and bats pulled out.
Not a situation I look back on and think I was intelligent, just lucky. All situations I rushed them stepping off to their off sides and dropped em hard.

[quote]humble wrote:
Haven’t had knives pulled on me. Had screw drivers and battery jumper cables and bats pulled out.
Not a situation I look back on and thing I was intelligent, just lucky. All situations I rushed them stepping off to their off sides and dropped em hard. [/quote]

Screw drivers = shivs = knives, from a biomechanics POV. Congrats, you’re literally a survivor.

[quote]humble wrote:
Haven’t had knives pulled on me. Had screw drivers and battery jumper cables and bats pulled out.
Not a situation I look back on and think I was intelligent, just lucky. All situations I rushed them stepping off to their off sides and dropped em hard. [/quote]

Good job! Did you gave them a hell of a kicking later? ;))