Sunday, January 8, 2017

Knife disarming tips

If you've read my posts on "self defense against a knifeman" (  and gun disarming then you'll notice that the same principles apply to knife disarming (ex. redirecting the line of attack, understanding distance, timing, etc.) When training, here are several tips on dealing with a knifeman along with some helpful videos.

Understand the warning signs of a potential attack - A person planning to use a knife will give away several cues through body language. Keep at a distance from a suspicious person. Be aware of your surroundings. You will find in several instances where a seemingly normal person suddenly draws a knife and starts stabbing away at his or her victim.

Use a long range weapon - If you have a bat or stick, use it against your knife wielding attacker to keep the distance while attacking. You could continue attacking or perform a disarm. This video demonstrates how this works.

Practice simple and effective techniques - The reason why many knife techniques don't work against a fully committed knife attacker is because they are too complex and work only against a cooperative partner. If the techniques don't address the possibility that the knifeman may disrupt your technique by moving or fighting back then they are ineffective. It's about quality over quantity techniques. The techniques you learn must address as well as include the line of attack, possible resistance, distance, isolation, timing, and be done with no wasted movement. Ideally, you will want to A) Stop the knifeman's attacking motion B) control the knife wielding arm with both hands C) Move to the side of the knifeman and isolate the arm from the body. D) Disarm. Why would i want to control the knife wielding arm with both hands? If i simply grab the wrist but not the elbow, the knifeman could pull back and stab me. Why would i want to move to the side of the knifeman or behind him or her as i control the arm? If i stay in front of my attacker, he/she could attack me with his or her free limbs (punches, kicks, headbutts, etc.)  

Learn how to deal with a knife from behind -  If someone holds you at knifepoint from behind, you distract the knifeman before you redirect the knife arm away from your body as you control it with both hands then go for a disarm. Let's suppose that someone grabs you with a rear naked choke from behind and puts a knife to your throat. You must trap the hand without the knifeman seeing, redirect the line of attack away from your body, turn the weapon arm, reposition it, and attack or disarm.

Learn how to deal with a knife on the ground - If you are in a position where the knifeman is ontop of you and is about to strike, you control the knifehand with both hands then buck over as you disarm. If the knife is at your throat, you trap the knife hand as you redirect it then buck and disarm. It's very important that you get out of the bottom position when on the ground because it's very dangerous for you to stay there.

Learn how to deal with slashing - Let's suppose that a knifeman comes charging in on you with fast aggressive slashes. Create distance via kicking legs and practice perfect timing. If the slashes are moving in a predictable pattern (left to right and vice versa) then you intercept the knife hand before or after the knife passes your centerline. If the knifeman is a bit more methodical in his or her approach, you drop down and explosively go for the leg at a reasonable close distance. The knifeman won't expect your movement and will thus not be able to change the direction of the knife attack in time to strike you.

Learn how to deal with ice pick grip attacks - Let's suppose the knifeman comes at you with an ice pick grip and stabs downwards. You could cross your arms into an "X" shape above your head to stop the arm then quickly grab the elbow, turn it, and control the arm as you move to the outside. You could also move to the outside as you redirect the arm away from you then grab the knifeman's elbow and wrist.

Practice stop hits - If someone came in stabbing you at full speed, you could perform a stop hit to briefly stop the knifeman's forward thrusting motion and allow you a split second to control the attacker's arm. A stop hit could be a double palm strike, a hammerfist,a chop, etc. You could also grab the knifeman's elbow and knock the knife out of the wielder's hand.

Avoid the leveraging hand - Some knife attackers will grab your shirt or put you in a rear naked choke that is half applied to use as leverage so they can better strike you with the other hand. Don't get so focused on the knife that you forget about this hand. Why is the leveraging hand dangerous? Because your attacker can control where you move and has a better position to strike you at full speed. It also makes it difficult for you to disarm the weapon. As soon as someone grabs your shirt or wraps his or her arm around your throat, you know it's bad news so you must act quickly. As soon as someone tries to grab you, move to the outside (behind the knifeman or to the side) and attack. If someone manages to grab your shirt, break the grip, and attack from the outside. If someone tries to apply a chokehold, start attacking with elbow strikes, headbutts, punches, etc. You could probably apply a Judo or Jiu Jitsu throw and attack your opponent from there. In this video, you will observe how knife attackers grab ahold of their victims with the free hand while attacking them with the knife.

Attack the knife wielder, not the weapon - Sometimes it's better if you attacked the person holding the knife rather than the knife itself. If someone charges in trying to stab you, move to the side and perform a side kick or trip your attacker over. Knock your attacker off balance before you perform a disarm.

Disrupt the knifeman's balance - By knocking your attacker off balance be it a sweep kick or otherwise and trapping him or her on the ground, you are in a better position to perform a disarm.

Distractions - Use verbal and non-verbal communication to distract your attacker. If you could throw something to block the attacker's vision (a shirt, a bag, keys, etc.), you give yourself a brief moment to go for an attack and a disarm.

Practice timing and controlling the distance - It doesn't matter how fast your knife attacker is, you can still disarm a knifeman with timing and distance control. It's much more efficient to time a stop hit against one out of a thousand quick thrusts than to try and grab the knife hand. Distance is also important but don't keep a distance for too long or your knife attacker will eventually hit you.

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  1. Interesting blog. This is one of my favorite blog about hunting and I also want you to update more post like this. Thanks for sharing this article.

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  2. No problem. I'll be posting similar articles like this in the future.