Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Myths on knife fighting and knife attacks

Unfortunately there are many myths about knives in combat circling around. I intend on debunking some of them in this blog post. Being ignorant about how knives work is what's going to get you killed in the streets. That's why it's important to understand knives so you can better use it or defend against it.

* "A knife attacker is going to point the knife at you " - Alot of martial artists and self defense instructors do demonstrations where an attacker is pointing a knife at you like in this video. This is unrealistic. The reality is your attacker won't reveal the knife to you until the time of attack. Even if you are dealing with an armed robber, he or she will likely hold you at knife point. Some will stab you regardless of whether or not you have valuables. Some will just walk up from behind, put you in a chokehold, and slit your throat. Others might pull out a knife in a multiple attacker scenario. You don't really know 100% how someone will attack you a knife.  

* "A knifeman will lunge forward to stab you once " - Another unrealistic scenario that people teaching knife defense do is use the knife as a long range weapon like in this example. In most knife attacks, your attacker will land a barrage of quick uncommitted stabs and slashes. Plus, he or she will keep pushing forward until you fall over or back up against a wall. In many criminal cases involving knives, there are multiple stabbings.

* "You will be able to kick the knife out of an attacker's hand" - Some people teach that you'll be able to kick or shoot the knife out of someone's hand as shown in this video. The chances of this happening is very low if your attacker is moving quickly in and out of range.

* "Your going to be able to use pain compliance to disarm a knifeman" - Some schools namely Krav Maga like to have their students redirect the knife hand and strike the groin repeatedly until the knifeman drops his or her weapon. This might work but if your attacker is determined to kill you and is high off of adrenaline, pain compliance isn't going to work. Your knife attacker will get hit but that might not be enough to get him or her to release the knife. While your striking your knife-wielding attacker, he or she might be stabbing you in the process.

* "Your going to be able to apply a fancy disarming technique" - Alot of schools like to teach knife disarming techniques. Under high pressure where a knife attacker is stabbing and slashing away full speed, the chances of you applying a fancy technique is low.

* "One stab = one kill" - Some people believe that one stab is all it takes to kill someone in self defense. Not so. It depends on where you strike, how deep, how fast, and with how much power. Deaths from knife attacks result from blood loss, shock, and loss of a vital organ's functionality (see link below). It's going to take a while for your attacker to bleed out. In the meantime, you are going to be attacked at full force especially if your attacker is high on adrenaline due to the body's natural pain killers. Against an attacker moving around quickly, it's going to be difficult to land a fatal stab.

* "A knife attacker is going to be tactical" - Many schools teaching knife fighting take two people of the same skill level and have them spar such as in this example. The chances of you coming across a trained or tactical knife fighter is rare unless you consent to a fight. If you are attacked by a knife-wielding assailant, chances are he or she will strike at moderate to high speed (stabbing, slashing, cutting, etc.) It will probably happen so fast that you won't have time to draw your own weapon and will have to resort to alternative means of self defense.

If want to learn more, read my post "Ineffective knife training for self defense" (

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