You are walking to your car from a downtown club late at night, after downing a couple of brewskis (hopefully not too many beers as you are about to drive)… and all of a sudden you notice a guy coming at you with knife!!! What can you do?
First off if you are a trained fighter – you are lucky. You have noticed the guy before he is on you! If you are not a fighter I guess it is time for lets make a deal! Ok all kidding aside, you are in one tough predicament even if everything goes right.
In this post I will go though your options in this scenario and what your options are if the guy is already on you. I’d like you to also review this excellent post by Mathew over at ikigaiway.com in his post entitled, “Knife Self Defense – It ain’t gonna be pretty.” Here is a quick video I found on youtube that seems reasonable to me.
Did you get a chance to review Mathew’s post? In it he does a fairly comprehensive review of a bunch of different scenarios that one might face. The common thread in these attacks were the distance – all were inside the critical distance. As a fighter that does not even like blocking – I am not really going to rate one defense over the others as I did not really like any of them. I do not like to fight so close to my opponent because the first person that uses initial movement – wins.
Now the video example seemed like a reasonable way to defend against a knife attack because the attacker was not too close and the defender was able to use an initial movement to slap the knife back. He then was able to do a quick counter kick and run.
Here is what I think about weapon or non-weapon attacks – if you can, pick your distance. I like to fight outside of the critical distance. I even box that way… I’ll throw fast jabs with the occasional cross and only follow up if I sense an advantage.
If you are young enough and fast – consider running! Yes running is an excellent defense! Assuming the goal is self-defense and not proving one’s manliness… yes run if you think you can get away!
If you get caught inside the critical distance – you have to strike or move. Yes just like sport karate or boxing… it is not wise to wait with your hands up in the air – waiting for the move or opening. With initial movement – the first one to move on the inside, correctly wins! This is the same for boxing, karate, self-defense – whatever!
Now here is the controversial notion that I have – If you don’t have a knife and the other guy does, you probably have an advantage! This is assuming you know how to use critical distance and initial movement. Why? Because the other guy most likely will depend on the knife – to the exclusion of kicks, punches, elbows, and any other strike! That mean that you have a 4 to 1 weapon advantage!
Now here is the downside of a weapon attack. If you let the guy get inside and either do not instantly defend yourself or move to the side/back to keep the critical distance – you most probably have lost!!! What you might be thinking?
Well here is what is up… initial movement inside the critical distance from a trained fighter will almost always win. If your attacker understands this and moves first – isolating the rest of his body, you cannot not block or get out of the way.
Here is an example, do you remember driving school? I had to follow 10 feet for every 10 miles per hour. I think now they teach 1 second for every 10 miles per hour. Why? It is called reaction time. Unless you are a mind reader or the bad guy telegraphs the move – you cannot block a punch in time, let alone a knife if it is thrown properly from inside your critical distance.
I know what you are thinking (if you agree with my premise), the bad guy is probably not a trained fighter. Huh? I don’t know about you but when I train, I assume the other guy knows as much as I do…. I don’t assume he is a sloth! I will gladly look the gift horse in the mouth and take an easy win – I just do not want to depend on it.
Ok – last issue – what do I think of Mathew’s statement about knowing the close self-defense techniques against knife attacks just in case? I totally agree – one cannot depend on anything in a real fight! While I don’t like my chances fighting a knife on the inside – I think I have as good a chance as anyone!
So in review – if you are faced with a knife attacker – run if you can. If you cannot – fight from the outside – kicking and whatever (just like you might fight an unarmed attacker) but do not commit unless you are sure of an advantage. Remember that you probably have the advantage in a knife fight (even if the bad guy does not know it) and keep your head.
Most importantly remember that if the attacker gets inside your distance - you have to stick (pun intended) or move – waiting to get poked is not a great option!
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