Friday, November 18, 2016

Self defense against a swordsman

Self defense against a swordsman:

If you've read my other blog post on self defense against a knifeman (  then you should have a general idea of how to disarm a swordsman. Like self defense instructors teaching impractical fancy knife disarms, self defense instructors also teach fancy impractical sword disarms as well. I've taken some courses in sword fighting and had some experience in disarming during sparring sessions. Therefore, i will use what i know to help you defend yourself against a swordsman. While it is highly unlikely that you will come across situations such as these, there are several criminals who have used swords to murder innocent people and cops. In the case that it does happen, you should note several differences between swords and knives.

Knives are short range weapons, move quicker than swords, don't require committed attacks, used more for lightweight, etc.

Swords are long range weapons, move slower than knives, require committed attacks and blocks, heavier than knives, have longer handguards than knives, etc.

1) Be Vigilant - Pay close attention to your surroundings. Keep a safe distance from strangers. Recognize that it's much harder to conceal a sword than it is to conceal a knife. Your primary goal should be to avoid conflict and run.

2) Strike first - If you can't run away and your at a close distance then don't wait until the swordsman draws his/her weapon. It takes only a few seconds for a swordsman to get into a fighting stance, grab his sheath with one hand, grab the hilt of the sword with the other, pull it out, and point it directly towards you. That's plenty of time for you to close the distance and grab the handguard then do whatever attacks you want before you disarm the swordsman. Don't waste a single second.

3) Use a weapon - If the swordsman has already had his/her weapon drawn then it's time to improvise and get a weapon of your own if you are unarmed. Look for an object that the sword cannot cut apart and that would either serve as cover or an offensive weapon.

4) Move outside the line of attack - There are around 9 angles from which a swordsman can strike. Regardless, the same principle applies for any angle of attack. This video demonstrates the general idea of how to prepare for attacking a swordsman.

5) Control the blade - From a relatively safe position, you can briefly struck at the swordsman vision as a distraction as your other hand grabs the hilt then perform a disarm. You can redirect the blade several ways 1) Using a palm strike or slapping perhaps grabbing at the safe parts of the blade (sides, top, etc.) as you strike. 2) If the situation calls for it - you could grab the entire blade with one hand and the hilt with the other then disarm your attacker. Historical accounts actually affirm that with proper hand techniques, you could grip a stationary blade and not get cut. This is very risky so use with extreme caution. Do not use this on a moving sword as you are likely to get your hands cut off in the process. This would only work on a still blade. Do not grab the sharp edges of the blade with both hands and wrestle it out of the swordsman's hands as you will also get cut. Grabbing the sword would probably work best against a two handed swordsman as the previous video demonstrated. 3) You could alternatively push the attacker's arms away to redirect a strike before you control and disarm.  

6) Disarm - For a one handed sword, it'd be best to throw your opponent off balance or immobilize via break his arm to render his attacking ability useless and make it easy to retrieve the weapon. For a two handed sword, you could tilt the blade until the attacker's grip is lost under pressure.  Run away an dispose of the weapon where the attacker cannot reach it.

Several important key things that may save your life:

* Timing - As i've mentioned before, a swordsman has to commit to an attack or block. By that, i mean that the swordsman must use his/her body namely footwork in coordination with the arm and wrist to attack or defend. A swordsman cannot kill you unless he/she lunges forward or moves his/her arm to a certain degree before retreating to a defensive position. When is the perfect time to intercept? Before or after an attack is completed.

* Footwork - A swordfighter's stance is very essential in attacking and defending. By knocking the swordfighter off balance, you greatly reduce his/her attacking power and gain a grand opportunity to disarm him/her.

* Use your environment - Pay close attention to your surroundings. If you can get a sword stuck in a tree or car roof, a wall, that would be a great opportunity to strike at the swordsman and disarm him.

* Vision - A Swordsman's vision is vital in attacking and defending. Obstructing his vision with bright lights, sand, dirt, toxic substances, and other objects will briefly distract him/her thus giving you enough time to make your attack or retreat.

* Control - Grabbing hold of the swordsman's wrist and arm like you would a knife or the hilt is key to a successful disarm. Once you've gained control, you could drive the sword into the swordsman or take it away.

* Distance - It only takes some distance for the blade to reach you. A swordsman especially one with one-handed swords would have to extend his/her arm in order to strike, briefly leaving it vulnerable. This allows for you to control and isolate the offending arm (wrist + elbow).

* Accept pain - You will get cut mildly or severely but it's entirely possible for you to survive.

Mistakes to avoid:

* Don't try to "catch" the blade - I did an experiment with a friend where i'd kneel down then attempt to catch a downward sword strike. As soon as i got in position, he simply redirected his practice sword to a different angle and i was hit to the side instead. It doesn't take much for a swordsman to redirect a sword with just the flick of a wrist. It'd take a miracle for you to perform this move correctly.

* Don't move back too much - The more you move back, the more opportunities you give the swordsman to strike you. If you back up into a wall trying to avoid the sword, you will most likely get killed. You will want to be just close enough to avoid getting struck by the blade. Move around the swordsman to get into a position where you can strike and disarm.

I'd encourage you to spend some time practicing these techniques and principles with a partner using a fake sword. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my blog for updates, more advice, and exclusive content in the near future. I'm proud and excited to offer a FREE sample chapter of my E-book "Jeet Kune Do: How to build your own fighting system for self defense!" It's essentially a step-by-step guide on how to make your own self defense system suited to fit your own needs using Jeet Kune Do. If you would love to receive your FREE chapter of my e-book, click on the link below and share a post via. social media then it's yours for FREE! Be sure to also fill out the survey on the right and provide feedback on my blog. Leave questions, comments, and suggestions below.

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