Knife Attacks! Are You Ready?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer


The news has been full of knife attacks and even the TSA has been considering letting people fly with small pocket knives. It is even scarier to some so removed from fighting or using hand tools that in my estimation I think most people think that a knife attack is not survivable!


I would like to make the point that as in any other kind of attack (read club, gun, baseball bat, hand to hand or whatever) – they are all serious. You can get hurt if you are not a trained fighter. Heck even if you are a trained fighter – you can get hurt.


In this post I’ll evaluate the obvious (to me) about knife attacks (or really any attack – they are all the same from a self defense point of view). But first review this video for a realistic overview.


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Wow that first video with the cop shooting point blank at the guy with the knife and he missed? Most people would never think it would be possible to miss at that range – but as you saw it happens.

The rest of the videos should show you that your best defense is to lean how to fight. But say you learn how to fight – what are your chances?

First off a knife, gun, bat, rocks or whatever gives the attacker an advantage he thinks. And correctly most people that are not trained fighters have not ever come up against a weapon or multiple attackers – would not know how to fight back.

But say you are a trained fighter – are you going to give up because some guy is going to try and kill you? That would be a forgone conclusion that many that are attacked face every day. But that does not have to be the case.

If you like I did – immerse yourself in learning self-defense or fighting arts for several years – if you take to it you tend to learn how to overcome obstacles including ways to face weapon attacks. Really what do you have to lose?

For me a knife attack puts the attacker at a disadvantage. He does not know I’m a trained fighter as I’m not a braggart (I guess other than when I blog) – all he knows is I am a middle-aged man that does not look too intimidating.

So the guy does not want to rob me but wants to slash me – that means I have to defend myself… no other choice (letting the guy stab me is not a reasonable choice – he might kill me).

The first thing to realize – he is depending on his knife – whereas I have at the very least two hands, two elbows, two knees, two feet, teeth (I could go on). However you were trained to fight – it is time to kick in your defense… no rules (that attacker does not have any) but use whatever is at your disposal to mitigate the attack and use all of your tools against his one knife (weapon attackers tend to use the weapon – ignore the rest of their limbs).

So unbeknownst to the attacker – you have superior firepower if you don’t lose your cool. The big thing is to fight the way you train… if you like to fight inside – do it. If like me you like to fight on the outside – do that.

Remember the attacker is banking on his weapon scaring you so if you don’t lose your cool – you should do ok.

So what weapons have I defended against? Knives, clubs, pool cues, tall bar glasses projectiles, tree branches, and at least three of these times against more than one attacker at a time.

I’m nothing special – just a guy that has trained in my youth and enjoyed learning how to defend myself!

Please do not think that I am saying anything is easy – it is not but it is fun to learn how to do something you like… it does not matter if it is boxing, karate, judo, wrestling, or whatever – just so you enjoy it and train for that odd day with the rules of society breakdown.

So I hope many of you are like I have been – ready for whatever the world throws at you.

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7 Responses to “Knife Attacks! Are You Ready?”

  1. Dave Flaherty Says:

    Hi John,
    An interesting post, I’d like to share with our audience as you bring up key points about psychology and survival. It can be that in the unfortunate situation where you are stabbed that is not the fatal blow. It is the other 1 or more that happen after, because you possibly give up or succumb to the fear and your defence disappears.

    I would like to follow you on twitter but unsure what your twitter handle is, if you do use twitter. Could you send me a message ? @dave4safety
    All the best,
    David Flaherty

  2. Dr. J Says:

    Nice to see you writing again, John!

    I have never had to face a knife attack! I was on call in the ER one time when two men arrived, both in critical condition. One had shot the other, and the other had stabbed the first man. We divided our personal as best we could and went to work. The person with the gunshot lived and the person with the knife wound died!
    Dr. J recently posted..Lab Notes: Olive Oil Scent May Help Curb Appetites; Few Contact Lens Wearers Obey Safety RulesMy Profile

  3. JeanneD Says:

    Hi John, I can’t imagine how I would feel if confronted by a knife attack. My best possible solution is to practice over and over, both in my mind and in reality, what I need to do and, hopefully, my reaction will be automatic and I won’t have to think about it.


  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Dave – I don’t twitter, face book or most any other social networks – not that I don’t have anything to say – I just thing most is not interesting (and I know I’m not interested in others day to day thoughts. I did check out your site and enjoyed it.

    Hi Dr. J! I’m not a big fan of weapons but see them as needed sometimes for self defense. I hate facing a weapon but it is good to know even the “experts” don’t realizing an over dependence on the weapon – that actually give a smart karate person a hope of a good defense… with a bit of luck.

    Hi JeanneD! – No real advice but I will say a person tends to fight the way they train. If you view all attacks as the same with various defense strategies – I think you have a good shot. I know what works for me but other fighting methods are good too. Actually training gives you a good chance.

  5. Firecat Says:

    I agree with you john a persons best choice of self defense is to learn how to fight.

  6. Matt Klein Says:

    I am listening to Lunatic Fringe on the radio now….appropriate. The movie shows the reality of fighting a person with a knife–ambushes, unorthodox holding of weapon, missing with guns. Like you say John, if you are a trained fighter, the odds are better. I think many would panic, but the more you have been “in deep doo-doo” the better. It is possible to survive.

    Kali is one art that deals with the knife effectively, IMHO. Attacking the vital points while deflecting, and keeping the knife away by keeping constant contact are methods I have learned from it. The weapons translate to open hand techniques as well. And of course the streetfighting moves of Kenpo are effective. Vigilance is the key. Always be prepared for anything.
    Matt Klein recently posted..How Martial Arts Builds Self-Discipline in ChildrenMy Profile

  7. Self Defense City Says:

    Great post! I like your logic.
    I agree with JeanneD as well, muscle memory is a great way to avoid paralysis due to fear.