Knife Attack! What Can You Do?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
25 Feb 2009

13 Responses to “Knife Attack! What Can You Do?”

  1. stabbed Says:

    About a decade ago somebody stabbed me with the intention of killing me. The attacker ambushed me and was trained and quick- I didn’t see it coming at all, and had a commando knife embedded in my chest before I knew that I was being attacked.
    I think if you’re being attacked with a knife by somebody whose intent is to kill, you are going to die unless you are very lucky.
    That having been said, the nicest move people taught me later- because everybody “knows better” and thinks they know the ultimate antidote to a knife attack- was an aikido wrist-slap. I didn’t see it in any of the posted videos, but it’s fast if done properly, and surprising. You slap the inside of the wrist and the back of the hand, and the knife goes flying. It wouldn’t have helped me, but I was convinced that it was a practical combat move, more so than anything I saw on these videos.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Yep – you bring up a good point! If you get ambushed – you don’t stand much of a chance. My only comment is you still should try and give yourself some distance if you can but if someone is inside your distance (arms reach) before you realize it – he can stab you if that is his intention – before you can react!!!
    I remember reading in Black Belt mag. when I was growing up about this karate instructor that was bragging that he defend against any knife attack. The news story went on to say he was stabbed in the back at a night club and later died.
    Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you made it.

  3. robb hamic Says:

    I teach the Israeli Martial art, Haganah. I am a tactical knife fighting instructor. Check out this site:

  4. Matt Klein Says:

    If you can see the weapon (and that’s a big if) the tools of Kali might give you a fighting chance. You stay offline, not staying in front of them, give them the outside of your wrists instead of the inside where the crucial veins are, and target eyes and throat with your strikes. This is a last resort if you are not able to pick up something or improvise a weapon, or run. You will get cut, there is no gettting around it.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Thanks for the link Robb – I check your site out and it looks like information.
    Hi Matt, I checked out Kali and yes – lots of hand to hand and knife fighting info. I am more of an optimist. If I can keep the attacker on the outside – he will not get a chance as I would take out his legs or such as fast as possible.
    On the inside – I would agree that getting cut during a defense is a real possibility. That’s why I like the hundreds of self-defense techniques we learned in Kenpo… I’m just hoping to avoid a close-in knife fight!
    Toby Massell at the re-union on Saturday told me about having to fight off a guy with an Ax handle. He took a downward glancing blow with his right forearm cover, was able to grab the Ax handle and chase the guy off. He sustained injuries but just bruises… he was lucky his training kicked in.
    Thanks for you insight Matt.

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  7. clint Says:

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  9. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Clint,
    I like site such as yours because not everyone will take the time to learn a martial art. Additionally having a layered defensive strategy is a good thing… who knows what will work in a real attack. I personally depend on staff’s and clubs in my home as I work out with them. On the street my wife carries pepper spray, we have large dogs in the back yard and I am proficient at karate… again a layer defense is what I believe will work best.

  10. Ash Says:

    correct me if im wrong but in most cases wouldnt it be advised that if you can run you would just take that often and try and exit the situation as fast as possible and seek help or find a weapon to use against that person?

  11. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Ash,
    Yes if you can exit safely, you have somewhere to go and you are fast enough, then I would say run.
    You might not have the opportunity or be middle aged like me (slow) so avoidance would not be a great strategy. Also if you are with family – flight is probably out so you will have to bargain or fight.
    I am in the situation where any young person could out run me but most could not fight there way out of a paper bag… When I got to about 35 years old – I made that decision.
    Thanks for drawing this issue out some – there are a lot of variables to consider.

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