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#92132 - 01/11/03 10:08 AM Knife Fighting
judderman Offline

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 1400
Loc: UK
There have been posts on this and other forums about the use of weapons, especially knives.

The usual concensus is that training in knife fighting helps to learn knife defense.

The other is that many MAs and defense systems have diabolically dangerous ideas about how to defend against knives.

So HOW do you defend against a knife?

What are the most usual attacks employed by someone with a knife?

Any ideas or opinions??


#92133 - 01/11/03 12:38 PM Re: Knife Fighting
MrVigerous Offline
Former Administrator

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 2498
Loc: UK
IMHO and as i've suggested on every occasion that this topic has been covered. You will be cut unless you are very very lucky, therefore take those cuts on the backs of the hands and the forearms if at all possible. Keep the fingers and thumbs together and tight so as to avoid having less than 10 at the end of procedings. Wait for a weaker attack if one is forthcomming and then pound the attacker into a million pieces, with a skip load of noise, violence and aggression. On the topic of knife attacks that one might face, this rather depends on the level of skill of your opponent. The truly good knifeman will cut you to bits so its hardly worth discussing his attacking options. The complete idiot will just use it as a barrier between you to boost his confidence. Assuming a level of skill on the part of the attacker, you might expect feint lunges to trigger gaps in your defence, back and forehand cuts both parallel and diagonal. Increasing the level fo skill, one might face hand changes from lead to rear hand, shielding the blade with the back of the arm by changing the grip and mutiple grips for increased angles of attack. Any more than this and you're in very serious trouble anyway. Thankfully most people attacking you with a knife will do so in fairly repetetive swinging cuts whilst advancing or with exagerated downwards stabbing motions giving you the opportunity to give him the good news when you get the chance....if you get the chance.
mr V

#92134 - 01/19/03 11:09 AM Re: Knife Fighting
judderman Offline

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 1400
Loc: UK
I must say that I'm a little disappointed no one else has any ideas.

We can take it as red that you will get cut. We can also safely assume that against a "professional" attacker, the first you will know about the knife is when it is in contact with you.

So to the idiot will show the knife to increase their confidence and to reduce yours. It is also thought more likely that if the knife is brandished, the person is less likely to use it and is using it as descibed above.

So lets look at the straight stab. From those I have encountered after the event this ranges from one or two single, quite deep thrusts, to numerous shallow thrusts. The reason, I believe, is that it takes quite a lot of strength to withdraw a normal blade from flesh.


Would you block/parry and move until an opening presents itself, then, as Mr V says, then pound the attacker into a million pieces, with a skip load of noise, violence and aggression?

Would you block/parry to set up an arm or wrist lock or throw, before destroying your attacker?

When you block/parry would you use strikes to the arm to disable the attacking hand? If so where and when?

#92135 - 02/19/03 06:31 PM Re: Knife Fighting
Jamoni Offline

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Having been confronted with weapons, and having done so to others, I think the natural reaction to anyone brandishing a weapon is to look at it. Then, to look at their face. To judge their state of mind. If your gut tells you, "this guy is afraid to do this", cool. If your gut tells you "this guy is a hard mother fucker who will cut me like butter", you may want to take that into account. Even if he is "foolishly" brandishing his blade. Maybe he's just giving you a chance to reconsider things. Bottom line, if you pull it, you don't HAVE to use it, but you'd better be very willing to do so.
As far as defenses, RUN. Any other way, you get cut. The most you can do is minimize damage by taking it on the arms. If you are caught in close quarters, hand control is essential. Why bother punching him if his knife hand is still live? To distract him? His knife in your gut/arm/neck will be a far more effective distraction. Hand control won't keep him from cutting you, but will decrease the momentum he can get behind his strikes, thus turning "Ghastly mortal wound" into "Bad cut" Did I mention RUN?

[This message has been edited by Jamoni (edited 02-19-2003).]

#92136 - 02/21/03 10:35 AM Re: Knife Fighting
martial_life Offline

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 72
Loc: Elkton, SD, US
It actually doesn't take too much strength to withdraw a blade from your flesh, just more mental strength(because of pain, shock, fear of further hurting oneself) then most can brandish. I know this because i was stabbed with a thin bladed knife last year(think switchblade). There are some knives, however, that woudl be very hard to withdraw becaus eof their shape, size, serrations, et cetera. However, most people don't carry a knife of that caliber. Even combat knives are designed to be withdrawn from the body, other wise they would be inefficient after the first stab from the viewpoint of the person welding it.

#92137 - 02/21/03 05:52 PM Re: Knife Fighting
Jamoni Offline

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
The problem with a lot of MA disarms is that they are designed to be used against swords, not knives. A knife is incredibly more agile than a sword, and it is effective in infighting where a sword is difficult to use. Also, a 3 inch blade does not offer the same leverage that a 3 foot blade would. Thus, in using a disarm on the sword, you are likely to get cut on the arm and the sword is likely to go flying away. Using the same disarm on a knife, you get cut on the arm, and the opponent still has the knife!

#92138 - 03/17/03 06:34 PM Re: Knife Fighting
judderman Offline

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 1400
Loc: UK
Has anyone got any simplistic drills to help out with knives?

#92139 - 03/19/03 12:49 AM Re: Knife Fighting
mark Offline
sword of magnamity

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 1284
Loc: uk
damn it!

get some rubber knifes, wear a white "t" shirt.

1 man has the knife and tries to chop the other up, go for big slashing movements, really try to "slice and dice" him.

look at the t shirt...might have few black lines on it, 3 lines over 6 inches would mean you would have been dead, through blood loss!!!

Oh! and any limb that is put in the
a kick or punch, give that a black line as well....



#92140 - 03/19/03 03:13 AM Re: Knife Fighting
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
A couple of plastic training knives (some of which can be found at and some "sharpie" magic markers fastended onto them with tape do really well! You don't always have to use the markers if you don't want to -- just respect the blade and don't lie when you're hit in practice. The weight of those training blades leaves a tell-tale impression when they hit you (not that it hurts, but you CAN feel it so you know when you get slashed).

After you get the knives, get a hold of some hold hockey gloves (boxing gloves will suffice) and eye goggles. (This drill comes from the Filipino martial arts where people are living blade masters).

The first target is the HAND. It's closest and, if hit with the blade "can" result in a disarm. This is the best disarm that one should really concern himself with. Playing with more technical disarms can result in one getting cut badly.

Just move around (keeping your hand in constant motion) and try to slash your partners hand. If you get hit, you should respect that hit as much as you would the real thing. With the super sharp blades on the market these days, it doesn't take a lot of pressure to cause a lot of damage.

After the hand hit, move in close and slash at the body or face as your next move - using a reverse swing of the angle that you used to hit the hand. Also, you can try trapping the hand that got hit with your free hand as you move inside. Slash him up once you've scored a hit and moved in.

When the drill begins, stay just outide of range and up on the balls of your feet, moving around. This will develop greater footwork and perceptual speed (speed of seeing movement). Guys, after you've worked this drill for a while, "empty hands" seem to be in SLOW MOTION!

I know it sounds really simple. It is, and SHOULD be. People have a tendency to get overly complex with knife training. Simple works better.

Try that drill and when your timing gets better, you'll see your skill improve tremendously in dealing with blades, giving you some "functional" ability at knife fighting.

That's just one of many ways of training from the Filipino martial arts, but that's the only one we do anymore with knives. This is knife sparring and is just way more realistic than are the many DRILLS found in the FMA.


#92141 - 03/19/03 05:15 AM Re: Knife Fighting
Budoka Offline

Registered: 05/26/02
Posts: 120
Loc: Frankston Victoria Australia
I have faced edged weapons on a couple of occasions. I have been really lucky to not been slashed or stabbed but have seen people lose an eye and even die. Pretty scary stuff.
What i would do now faced with a knife is
1. try to run
2. if running fails, thr to comply, if they want your wallet give it to them, if they want your phone give it to them, if they want your girlfriend....You can always get a new girlfriend!
3. if complience fails Control, Break, Take.
Control the hand holding the weapon- Wait for commitment of their attack and then advance, if the weapon is close to them they will have more control over it.
Break that joint or something that they will feel. I like wrist but Kote geshe is not an easy technique to perform when you are scared and are literally facing death (unless practiced through serious repartition). Eyes, ears, throat and groin are all good.
Take their weapon and either keep it to defend against his friends or cut them a new arse!

I do understand though that if someone is on speed or a drug similar, they will be very hard to stop and will seem to have a higher pain threshold, that is when to use maximum force. Be prepared to kill or be killed!
Jail is sometimes a better thing to face than someone stabbing and killing your family!

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