T Nation

Someone Tried to Mug Me With a Knife


Hey guys I dont post here much but I thought I'd throw this one out.

My friend calls me up last night to go for a few quiet drinks in the town.I havent seen this guy for a few months as we go to different colleges the farside of the country so I say yes and drive over to meet him.

So we arrive in the town and park up in a side street just off the mainstreet and are walking towards the main street.So we are just casually walking up the street talking about money and popping bottles(my friend was just after hearing he got a summer internship in a bank so we were just shooting the shit).So about 30 yards before the side street led onto the mainstreet of the town a dude with his hood up came out from behind a van and was walking towards us.

He first asked us are we from the town and then did we want any ecstasy or snuff.So I said no were not from the town and then no thanks man to the drugs.

So we are now 10 yards from the mainstreet and a fat dude also with his hood up starts running towards myself and my friend mouthing off.I figure he is gonna take a swing at either on of us so Im concentrating on him and..

Then the drug guy that we walked past put the point of a folding knife into my back and told me to step back into the alleyway.

To put things into context I'm 6:2 and 205 pounds.Not really big and not small either.The friend thats with me is 6:5 and 240 pounds and plays rugby.

..So the guy tells me to get the fuck back into the alleyway and my friend is mouthing back to the fat dude about to put him to sleep.They look off their face on something.At this point I freezed.I didnt know what to do but I knew no fucking way was I going to walk backwards to get robbed so I walked briskly a few paces and was onto the mainstreet.My friend followed suit.

The dudes in hoods stayed where they were and were talking shit at us and my friend wanted to go back and beat the shit out of them.I told him about the knife and he went pale and that he didnt see it.

We went onto a club after and had a good night but I'd be lying if I said it didnt shake me up a bit.

Im glad nothing came to that and also that I still have all my money and dont have a slash on my face ha.

What got me more than anything was that I wouldnt have thought we would look like an easy mark.I wasnt in condition red with a hand on a sidearm but still neither of us were a small meek guys either.

What do you guys think of that?Did I do the right thing?I was never in a fight before and always thought I would be able to fuck someone up if it came to that but I kinda froze there and went into cruise control.

Well thats my long winded story..I have a small cut on my back where it went throught my sweater but it wasnt deep enough to draw blood.That motherfucker cut my best t shirt.

Long winded post over.


Yeah you did the right thing, forget about male pride or anything like that, there's no honour in standing your ground when they're drugged up and got a knife, that's just stupidity. Would you really want to risk getting stuck with a knife that some hiv-infected skaghead has used and end up catching it yourself?


Yes you did. Forget the ego thing, you got to go home without injury. Lesson learned is that weapons are the equalizer and some criminals have no fear. Could you take the guy 1-1 or even both? Probably if no weapon is involved. Unless you train a lot against weapons you should try to avoid a fight with a guy with a knife. even then you will more than likely be cut in the process. If you take on a guy with a weapon you should be prepared to kill him if needed.

Keep training and continue to be prepared. This event is only as big as you choose to make it. The fact that you got out alive is good self defense. Good self defense doesn't always mean you need to beat the shit out of somebody.


Regardless of your level of training or fight experience you should never fight over property or ego, period. Even if you feel sure you can destroy a guy, you do anything and everything you can to walk and talk your way out of the situation, visible weapon or not. You can't win anything in a street fight, you only survive and there are no guarantees. Even if you don't see a weapon you must always assume that there is one and act accordingly. Like you said, your friend never saw the knife and it wasn't exactly concealed. Anybody who fucks with you is likely carrying, fact of life. The element of multiple attackers plays in as well. You had already passed first guy and it sounds like you didn't necessary realize he was "with" the second guy. Say second guy starts lipping off and you decide to take him on. Maybe you're coming out on top until first guy creeps up and starts shanking you from behind. Bad day.

Or maybe you start drilling this guy in the face and you hit him in the teeth by accident and cut your knuckles a little and end up with AIDS, which you then give to your lady before you realize you've got it. Really bad day. Or say you one-punch the guy and he bounces his head off the pavement and he ends up dead and say the knife goes missing before the cops show up. You could very likely end up in prison. Lots of bad days. No matter how badass you are, never fight over anything that isn't worth killing or dying over, because that's the reality of where it might end up how ever it may look at the start. I cannot stress this enough, you can't "win" a street fight, you can only lose or break even and those odds suck. Keep the guy talking, hand over your cash or whatever you've got and get the hell out of there, in one piece. You did good dude. Ego doesn't count for shit.

  1. You look like a target. Either you're baby faced, or you look like a dopey ass college kid, or whatever, but those guys thought you were not a threat, or at least the least threatening person they'd seen. or maybe they were just desperate, who knows.

  2. Any time someone with a hood up comes and starts talking to you, back off and maintain your distance, keep fuckin moving, and DO NOT talk to them. They're setting you up for something, trying to get inside your personal space and disarm you.

  3. Criminals work in pairs. One distracts you, the other pulls the knife. Often they come in a pincer movement, or from behind you like what happened to you. You were smart in NOT following the guy or listening and GTFO of there as soon as you could.

You've got to realize amigo- this shit wasn't a fight, it was a criminal act, very nearly a straight up assassination if he'd pushed that knife further in.

Criminals don't want to fight you. they leave that for the frat boys. They want to take what they can, quick as they can, and get outta there. You guys are operating on different levels of thinking, in different world models.

I highly suggest you read "Meditations on Violence" by Rory Miller.


And hey, you lived. So you won. Don't second guess yourself and feel like you're a pussy and you should have done more. You did what you could and you lived. So take this experience and learn from that shit.


Good points Irish. Although my training encourages use of communication as a tool to distract and deescalate I see what you're saying as well. You don't want to get drawn into a conversation or worse a pissing contest with these people, but I still believe words are a good tool if used correctly. Good reading suggestion too, I've been meaning to get to that one.


There is NO reason to talk to anyone on the street who approaches you, ESPECAILY if they look shady.

Deescalation is one thing if you're in 'fight' mode, but if you're actually worried about becoming a victim of a robbery, you just get out.


Also read "The Little Black Book of Violence." It's pretty much the encyclopedia for these things


Irish, agreed, if you can walk right by without a word, absolutely do so. I think we're saying pretty much the same thing. I meant only that if you can't directly leave due to relative positioning or whatever, words can buy you time to reposition while keeping bad guy's mind on talking and off stabbing.

As far as using the term fight, I feel it applies but only if you determine bad guy isn't going to be satisfied with just your property.


people should follow your example, you did the right thing and i'm proud of you.


Thanks for the replies!I appreciate the analysis because this is really the first time something like this has ever happened to me.


An article I came across today that reminded me of this thread. Kelly McCann is the shit.

Freedom From Fear: Spotting Trouble Before it Happens

By Kelly McCann aka "Jim Grover"
From Guns and Ammo

One of the most-asked questions during my street survival training is, "What am I going to see right before an attack?" That's a good question. It tells me the student is concerned about avoiding the situation altogether, and wants as much time as possible to maximize his chances of survival.

Those things you are most likely to see before an attack are called "pre-incident indicators." They are peculiar things you will recognize if you know what to look for. Any one of them alone is probably not enough to call out the cavalry, but when two or more appear, there is need for concern. If you pick up two or more of these indicators, take immediate steps to get out of the situation, place or activity in which you're involved.

The first indicator is unnatural impediment to your movement. It doesn't matter whether this is while you are walking, in your car or on a bicycle. When something stops you or causes you to go well out of your line of travel...beware.

Next is correlation of someone's movement to your own. When you first notice someone is keeping pace with you, it should alarm you. You stop, they stop. You speed up but the distance doesn't increase between you. The slim chance of two strangers regulating their pace so precisely is minuscule. Cross the street or go into a store. If the person stays with you, there may be something wrong.

Any sudden changes in status of a person(s) near you should make you think twice. For example, if you are walking along a city street and pass by two young adults who are leaning against a wall and they suddenly stop loitering and become pedestrians behind you, ask yourself why. What was it that made them decide to fall into step behind you? Regulate your pace differently and see if they are correlating to your movement. If they are, that's two indicators and a strong possibility exists that they have something much more dubious in store for you.

If you have been stopped unnaturally in your movement, or if you are standing somewhere and you notice predatory movements, immediately take some kind of action to extricate yourself. Predatory movements include circling, two people moving in opposite directions around you, or one or more people moving around or away from you and another moving at you.

A verbal exchange initiated by a stranger is unique enough today to make you take pause. People are much less apt to ask a stranger anything anymore. Attacks can sometimes be predicated on things such as, "Got a dollar?," "Do you know where. . ." or "What time is it?" Obviously, don't be ready to launch into the offensive when this occurs. Simply take a step back away from the person addressing you and look to the sides quickly. It is doubtful the person talking is the attacker; usually the attack is coming from the side.

Target glancing or avenue-of-escape glancing is a fairly reliable indicator that something is about to happen. This furtive glancing indicates the criminal is sizing you up, identifying escape routes, confirming there are no police in the area and so forth. This is noticeable when you see a person glancing in your direction several times, then glancing away.

If a person is approaching on an oblique path that will intersect with your own, you should beware. This is commonly used as an access route to the target because it keeps the attacker in a blind spot the longest.

Whenever an approaching person has his hand hidden, causing unnatural movement, keep an eye on him until either the hand comes clear of the cover or the person passes. Felons typically have their gun, knife or club already out when they approach their victim. To conceal it as long as possible on their approach, they hold it discreetly behind their arm or leg or inside their coat.

Any bump, shove or push should alarm you. It may be a pick-pocket attempt, it may be a setup, it may be just an impatient person. Whatever the case, if this occurs you need to be alert.

The relative absence of other people and authorities provides the criminal an excellent time to attack. Singularly, this indicator is not necessarily a big deal. When coupled with one or two other indicators it has enormous implications. Remember, an attacker strikes when it is least advantageous for you.

As you walk along there is another indicator of which you should be aware. Since the advent of drive-by shootings, most people notice cars that pull alongside them in traffic. As you're walking along, any automobile stopping alongside, slightly to the front or to the rear of you serves as ample warning to keep your eyes open. Any second pass of the same vehicle should likewise cause some concern.

You should also be wary of any obviously intoxicated person or group.

Have you ever noticed glances between strangers as they approach, impede, hail or otherwise interact with you? This occurs when criminals are just shy of launching their attack. They're looking at each other to ensure each is ready, taking one last quick look for cops, and glancing at the escape route to make sure it is clear. If the criminal is alone, it will look the same.

Any time you are confronted by more than one person and the first is in your face, keep your eyes not only on him but on the calmest appearing individual in a verbal altercation. Keep looking at the whole picture until you have to strike, then pick one target and strike.

Obvious attempts at baiting you are conducted only to cause a confrontation. Don't take the bait. Stay calm, keep your hands up and ready to strike or block, and keep moving. If there are other people in the area, move toward them and gain their attention.

Well, there you have it--some views of that picture seconds before something bad happens. As I said, any one of these things alone is probably not cause for concern; two or three of them should make you twinge with anticipation. If you wait any longer to act you'll be down to split seconds, and the chances of avoiding or surviving are exponentially decreased.


Unnatural impediment to your movement

Correlation of someone's movement to your own.

Any sudden change in a person's status as you get near or pass them.

Predatory movements (circling, two or more people moving in opposite directions, etc.)

Any verbal exchange initiated by a stranger

Target glancing

Persons closing on you from an oblique angle that intersects with your path.

A hand hidden that causes unnatural movement by someone as they walk toward you.

Bumps, shoves, pushes or grabs

Relative absence of other people or authorities

Automobiles stopping alongside you or slightly to the front or rear as you walk along

Any obvious intoxicated person

Any second pass of a vehicle

Obvious attempts at baiting you

Glances between strangers as they approach, impede, hail or otherwise interact with you

The calmest-appearing individual in a verbal altercation; not always the guy in your face

(Kelly McCann has a series of DVDs called "Combatives for Street Survival" )


Great read!thanks Irish.There was some definite 'doh' moments with me reading that.


If anything law8, you should feel good. Those 2 punks walked out of there the losers and should be embarrassed, not you.



You made it out of there brother and did the right thing. Just remember the above and start training for situations like this. I don't care how good anyone's Chicken lo-mein-jitsu is, if you come at violence thinking, "Fight" instead of "Violence of action & Whatever it takes", than you are showing up to a gun fight with a knife.

Great reading suggestion btw.


That's the best you can do in situations like this. Good work.


I agree with what has been said except for 1 thing. Here it's deemed ok to ignore someone if they want to talk to you on a quiet street. In alot of other culture such a thing would piss off someone more than anything. In that case the thing to do would tell someone you are not interested with some "tact" in whatever way is appropriate.

Otherwise you are telling them that they are scum, bandit,worthless of your attention and they just might say to themselve "think I am a thief? Well look at me go". Also Dont stop and walk like you own the place.

But what do I know the odds are with me as I look as a psycho.


You should've tried hamboning


You did the right thing, but I would have grabbed his knife hand and pushed it to his heart.