26 February 2013

Stumbling points of using a knife for self-defense

The stumbling points of using a knife for self-defense

If I was attacked with a knife and for some crazy reason already had a knife in my hand and managed to cut the triceps of the attacker thus ending the fight and said "I meant to do that" would be about the same as shooting an arrow and then drawing a bulls eye around it.

You just have to think about what scenario you would ; 1) Pre-deploy a knife  2) Have the time and opportunity to deploy a knife during the altercation
Any knife that you draw into your hand has now become your primary deadly force option.  This means that it is only used for defending against deadly force on the part of another.  So, say you are walking through a parking garage that is sketchy, but you do not see anyone, are you going to draw your knife into your hand?  Why not draw a gun if you had one?  Silly....right?  Would you not be better served with a less lethal option like a flashlight?  You could use it to see in the shadows, as well as an impact weapon, that would allow you the time an opportunity to get away or draw your knife or pistol.  Open hand combatives and impact weapons give you options...going right to a deadly force option only can leave you overly committed.

Access after/during contact- so you did not have time to deploy your knife before contact.  Back to the knife as a primary deadly force option, for what reason are you drawing your knife?  Here are the qualifiers I apply to all scenarios to see if any level of force is justified force is justified.

Weapon employed
Male vs. Female
Able vs. Disabled
Multiple Attackers


Capable of immediately employing force

Let’s take them one by one in reference to using your own knife for self-defense-

Weapon employed- they have a weapon, is it a knife, impact weapon, or a gun?  Let’s rule out the gun since they will likely be outside your striking distance.  If they have a knife and are not attacking you with it, instead of worrying about deploying your own knife in an attempt to close the distance and "defang" them, you need to be putting space and object between you as you look for something to hit them with.  In the case of them having an impact weapon, using deadly force in many situations will be a hard sell.

Male vs. Female- kind of self-explanatory.  Women are able to use a higher level of force against a male attacker.  A knife against an open hand attack is going to be a hard sell.

Able vs. Disabled- This is the one that I concentrate on.  As soon as your head is smashed against a wall or you are knocked to the ground and the attacker stops you from getting up, even if they are unarmed, a knife might be your best option for cutting them off of you.  At this point you will likely be within arms reach, which will seriously reduce the room you have to move your blade.  This may remove much of your ability to use traditional grips, intentional targeting and angles of attack.

Multiple Attackers- There are only really two scenarios, one guy comes at you, do you cut/stab him even if he is unarmed because he is not alone?  If more than one person comes at you at a time, who do you stab first?  How soon will your movement be diminished before you can no longer move the knife at all?

Just as I think that many gun folks rely way too much on training in which an audio or visual cue prompts them to shoot stationary targets at known distance really fast, I believe that too many knife people focus on having a knife in their hand trading cuts or stabs with another person armed with a knife.  They are also probably using the same "dance" or style where there is a back and forth.  In my experience training and reviewing edged weapon attacks of police, corrections, and citizens, there is no back and forth.  What you have a flurry of cyclic, violent activity, that mentally overwhelms the victim way before they physically shut down.  In most cases for you have your knife, or any weapon out for that matter,  out ahead of time would only be possible if you could see the future.  These attacks often come from the flanks which results in your entire body being involved in evasive movement…not drawing a weapon.

I try to be honest with people.  If you want to pursue edged weapon use or "knife fighting" as an art, my program is not for you.  If you want to train honestly and realistically for attacks that may involve edged weapons, I may have something for you.  It comes down to people be honest with themselves about what they want to spend their time and money training for vs. likelihood of time an opportunity to use those skills.

You will hear guys talking about how so and so is good with a knife.  WTF does that mean?  If I am in a dojo and a guy comes running at me from across the room with a training knife I will run back out the door I came in and slam it closed, or grab anything I can to hit him in the head with....not try to grab my own knife.

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