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#92832 - 04/11/03 11:46 AM Being held up at knifepoint

I recently had a conversation relayed to me in which a group of women, who do not do martial arts, were discussing the best course of action if told by an attacker to accompany him at knifepoint.
One of them, a polcewoman said that, in her experience, it was better to be stabbed in a public place with some chance of rescue, however slim, than to be held captive and bsuffering unimaginable horrors for a long period before being killed anyway.
A second person said she would go with him and hope for a chance to escape whilst her captor was off guard.
A third said (unrealistically, IMO) that she would try to take the knife.
I have given this a lot of thought, and I think I would refuse to co-operate, accept that I will be cut, and try to make sure it is only on the backs of the hand rather than elsewhere, and hope I can hit him hard enough to either knock him out or distract him long enough to make my escape.
What do you think
(A) an untrained woman shoud do? and
(B) What do you think YOU realistically would do?
(C) What if it were a gun instead of a knife (unlikely in the UK, I know, but possible).

[This message has been edited by wadowoman (edited 04-11-2003).]

#92833 - 04/11/03 01:56 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
raccoon Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
I would advice any martially untrained women to use their brain, talk themselves out of it. Or at least use verbal tatic to try to get aggressor off guard.

For me... I would say, use my brain, and try to talk myself out of it. Or, my more likely tatic, especially with firearm, I will use verbal tatics to distract until I feel I have him distracted (by engaging in my mad talk) and until I am ready to commit - then just DO IT. Get my head/ upper body out of the way, at the same time push and twist the pistol out of his hand, preferrably break a few fingers on my way.
[woops, did I forgot to mention a sound atemi to the face, again at the same time?]
As it comes off aggressor's hand, slam the metal into his chin, then bring it downward onto his skull, then jam it into the nuts, then, as he bends over, whack him at the back of his head.

Sorry, not very aiki lately. It's all Cato's fault...

Do I have to repeat every time I have no experience on the street? Oh, and I hold no blackbelt in nothing, so you might as well consider me untrained.


[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-11-2003).]

#92834 - 04/11/03 02:05 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
CrimsonTiger Offline

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 346
Honestly? I agree with woman #1. Most people won't actually stab or shoot you. (Yes, I realize it does happen, but for every person that does get attacked, there are DOZENS AND DOZENS of people who wouldn't actually be able to take a life. They are thieves, not crazed killers. Even a rapist doesn't necessarily want to be caught in public.)

An untrained woman waiting for her opportunity to escape? How would she recognize it? When he leaves her in the car to use the restrooms?! LOL! Staying in public and staying in control are major keys.

As for myself...I really don't know. I doubt I'd actually fight a knife...MAYBE a gun, more because running from a gun isn't really a good idea. Knives scare the crap out of me...especially because of my size and the fact that I'm male, if someone draws a knife on me, they are likely actually attacking me with intent.


#92835 - 04/11/03 02:44 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Scholar Offline

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 472
Loc: Brockton
When I was, there were three robbers, knife to my left ribs and supposedly the one behind me had a gun, I talked my way out of it(Total loss 3 dollars). As far as fighting, I would rely on deadly and maiming techniques as this is a deadly force situation. To get out of the path of the weapon, seize contol of it and destroy the base of opponent followed immediately by a killing blow is a tall order to accomplish! Poking or driving the fingers through the eyes would be a priority because it could kill or allow you to get away as he can't hurt what he can't see.

#92836 - 04/11/03 04:41 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Easier said than done! I believe that thinking you can kill a knife weilding individual with "emtpy hand" techniques is only going to result in your own death.

You don't come out good in scenarios like that. You don't even the odds in this situation. Your best bet is to RUN LIKE HELL, or die fighting.


#92837 - 04/11/03 07:04 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Jamoni Offline

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Knife? Run. Unless your assailant traveled with a wild west show as a knife thrower, knives are useless at a distance. Run.
As for a gun? Run. You can zig zag a little to throw off his aim, but I wouldn't bother. Unless it's personal, he probably won't shoot. He'll be more concerned with putting distance between him and the inevitable police patrol which will follow.

#92838 - 04/11/03 08:46 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Scholar Offline

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 472
Loc: Brockton
I agree, when faced by overwhelming odds (knife-gun)..running/flight is best. As far as guns experience, keep in mind if the web of your hand is between the hammer and the bullet it won't fire if revolver, also immobilizing the cylinder,... with a semi-automatic to freeze the slide to the frame may allow a shot..these tactics are high risk.

#92839 - 04/12/03 03:07 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Budoka Offline

Registered: 05/26/02
Posts: 120
Loc: Frankston Victoria Australia
I do not know what others would do in that situation, i guess most would **** their pants!
What i think the women should do is
1. Be aware of their surroundings and try not to ever put themselves in a position like that.
2. Try to Run and/or negotiate.
3. Try to hurt them the best they can with whatever they can use against them.

For myself, i know i will be cut (the stats show that 80% of people get cut and wounded in knife confrontations), so i will take them to hell with me.
Of course i will try and avoid it but if i can't i will endeavour to work these principles
1. Control- the weapon and joint holding it.
2. Break- the joint (or something they will feel).
3. Take- the weapon and get out of there.
I know it would be difficult to do these things but if i am going to get cut anyway i will do my best to take them out and cut them a new ****!
Against a gun i would go by these principles
1. Soil myself
2. Soil myself some more
3. Stick my finger down the barrel and close my eyes and start praying!
Im sorry but if they have the intent of shooting you then you are gone! No-one is faster than a bullet and i really doubt that anyone would have the knowledge or balls to try the Jet Li Leathal Weapon take the gun apart and stab them to death with it thing!

#92840 - 04/12/03 03:31 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
raccoon Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
here is a publication by Darren, an ex-cop who teaches self-defense and H2H combats in LEO in my town.

Enjoy... and don't tell Darren I posted it, or I might get in troubles [IMG][/IMG]

Edged weapons are amongst the most ancient of implements used by human adversaries engaged in interpersonal conflict.  Their use tends to culminate in the premature extinction of one and sometimes both parties.  Unfortunately the potential lethality of the blade is not always realized or taken into account when confronting a knife-wielding attacker.  There is a commonly held view that a person armed with a knife is less dangerous than a person armed with a firearm.  The truth is that within their practical ranges both weapons are capable of fatal life stopping wounds.  Some interesting facts include:
U.K. studies:
* Edged weapon assaults are the most commonly used weapon for killing people (7 in 20)
* In half the incidents of muggings on men the offender is armed with a sharp instrument

North America:
* One in three chance that if faced with a subject who had an edged weapon, you will be attacked and injured
* Attacks with edged weapons usually occur when you least expect them
* In Victoria BC Canada, our police department has found an increase of 35% in the number of calls that they deal with where an edged weapon was involved
* In 1994, out of the 7 murders in Victoria, 6 were committed with knives
* The majority of “street” type people carry some kind of edged weapon be it legal or illegal.

FBI Statistics:
* Edged weapon attackers are responsible for 3% of all armed attacks of police
* Firearm attacks account for 4%
* Both of the above stats represent fatalities
* Subject shot, 10% die from their wounds
* Subjects stabbed, 30% die from their wounds

Calibre Press:
* Since 1980 the number of people routinely carrying knives in North America has increased by 92%

I have personally gathered research form around the world on edged weapon assaults and the following facts emerged during my research:
* The most popular assault technique utilized by the attacker was found to be the hammer strike – either straight down or diagonally
* The victim tends to squat in an effort to take a path which offers perceived escape
* Many people seldom saw the edged weapon that penetrated their body. They failed to recognize the danger cues due to faulty perception
* Knife attacks were found to be exceptionally accurate, to penetrate deeper that some bullets, creating remarkable permanent cavities and rip through numerous organs in one stroke
* In reality, within their respective ranges, knives are superior to firearms as far as lethality is concerned

Within its range, a Knife:
* Never runs out of ammunition
* Never jams
* Never misfires
* Rarely misses target
* Cuts bone, tendon, muscles, arteries, veins with one thrust
* Can bring about sudden shock, pain, and extended wound channels
* It has better stopping capabilities
* Is psychological defeating
* Has superior concealment capabilities
* It occupies a permanent wound channel until extracted, at which time, if the blade is withdrawn from a lung, consciousness is rapidly lost

I have also attended several autopsies involving edged weapon deaths and in speaking with Forensic Pathologists have found the following medical facts:
* Typical death of a stab wound in homicide cases is 1 inch to 1.5 inches through the rib cage
* In most edged weapon attacks the victim received multiple knife wounds.  The usual cause of death are usually the last few wounds of the overall attack
* Even short bladed knives can penetrate the abdomen by 8-10cm
* 3cm allows penetration of the ribs
* 4cm allows penetration of the heart
* because of the small surface area of a knife, the amount of force per unit area is TONS per square inch

The above noted information shows the importance of training to deal with such encounters.  A person’s ability to deal with such situations will be based on his/her TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE.  Experience is something not easily acquired, proper training can save lives by preparing you both physically and psychologically. Remember that most edged weapon assaults take place unexpectedly and so quickly that it is not unusual for the defender not to have time to realize that an edged weapon is involved.  The attacker who possess an edged weapon usually does not want to convey in any way that he has one, and will usually conceal it until such time as he can deploy it quickly against you.  Although a reality, it is a rarity that the attacker will produce his weapon in full view prior to an assault.
As I continued to conduct me research into edged weapon assaults on both police officers and the general public I was also able to identify three common denominators that seem to be present in many edged weapon assaults:
* In most edged weapon attacks, the defender is already involved in the physical encounter way before he or she even has time to realize that a knife is being used
* Most defenders see a thrust or slice with a knife as just another punch or kick and not an edged weapon assault
* It was difficult if not impossible for the defender to differentiate between an attack with an edged weapon or an attack using hands of feet.  This was especially true when the defender was not aware from the start of the assault , that the attacker had a knife

I’m a big believer in, “don’t tell me, show me” so in early 1992 I conducted an empirical video research study.  I had 85 police officers participate in a scenario based training session where unknown to them, they would be attacked with a knife.  The attacker, who was dressed in a combatives suit, was told that during mid way of the contact, they were to pull a knife that they had been concealing, flash it directly at the officer saying “I’m going to kill you pig” and then engage the officer physically.  The results were remarkable:
·        3/85 saw the knife prior to contact
·        10/85 realized that they were being stabbed repeatedly during the scenario
·        72/85 did not realize that they were being assaulted with a knife until the scenario was over, and the officers were advised to look at their uniforms to see the simulated thrusts and slices left behind by the chalked training knives
When I reviewed the hours of video tape of the above noted scenarios, I also made several other interesting observations in how the majority of officers reacted to the attacks:
* most attempted to disengage from the attacker by backing away from the threat.  This usually resulted in the attacker closing quite quickly with their victim
* Those officers that did engage the threat immediately, proceeded to block the initial strike of the attacker and then immediately began to grapple with the attacker using elbows and knee strikes, but FAILED TO CONTROL THE DELIVERY SYSTEM RESULTING IN A LARGE NUMBER OF LETHAL BLOWS WITH THE KNIFE.
* Most of the scenarios ended up on the ground

After making these observations, I began to ask myself why I was seeing the above noted reactions.  In my research I had the opportunity to read an article authored by Bruce Siddle and Dr. Hal Breedlove entitled “ Survival Stress Reaction” . In this article Siddle and Breedlove sated:
“ research by numerous studies provide two clear messages why people will place themselves in bad tactical situations.  The common phenomena of backing away under survival stress results from the visual systems deterioration of the peripheral field to attain more information regarding threat stimulus.  Since the brain is demanding more information to deal with the threat, he officer will invariably retreat from the threat to widen the peripheral field.  Secondly, the brains normal ability to process (analyze and evaluate) a wide range of information quickly is focused to specific items.  Therefore, additional cues, which would normally be processed, are lost.  This explains why people can not remember seeing or identifying specific facts which were relatively close to the threat.”
The above noted research by Siddle and Breedlove not only confirmed my findings but also answered why our officers were acting they were.  It also explains why one officer, who had actually caught the attackers knife hand with both of his hands and was looking directly at the knife, stated “I didn’t see any knife”  It was not until I showed the video that he believed there was a knife.
Based upon all the above noted observations, I began to research a number of edged weapon defensive tactics programs that were being offered to both police officers and citizen.  I attended several programs across  North America and in doing so, I found that many of the programs although practical in a training environment, were totally unrealistic for the reality of the street.  Many of these programs had several pitfalls:
·        Most assumed the defender knew that the attacker possessed an edged weapon. ( what good is this assumption when we know that the majority of attacks with knives the defender did not know the attacker had a knife)
·        Most techniques being taught were to complicated for people to remember ( to many fine complex motor skills which we know do not translate when survival stress clicks in no matter how well trained)
·        Most techniques neglected the not so frozen limbs which the attacker still possessed and would use if not neutralized.
·        Most techniques being taught concentrated on controlling the knife hand rather than the delivery system. ( the hand moves faster than the eye in a spontaneous attack.  As well if cut, blood is a very good lubricant and makes grabbing the knife hand, even with two hands, very difficult if not impossible.  To replicate this, use some baby oil during your next edged weapon defensive tactics class)
·        Most techniques being taught were designed to be used against a static (stemming) attack..  (Real knife assaults are not static but fluid and dynamic in nature)
·        Most techniques were designed to be used against what I call wide “Hollywood” motion attacks. ( most knife assaults are short and multiple in nature)
·        Most techniques were designed to be used under perfect conditions of the dojo or training studio.  ( most would not work if fighting/rolling around in the mud, the blood, and the beer of an “open” rather than “closed” environment
When looking for a Realistic Edged Weapon Tactics/ Counter tactics Program you should ensure that you pick one that teaches:
Awareness strategies start with the above noted information on stats and facts.
There are two types of attackers that you will have to deal with, Skilled and unskilled.  Although it is a nicety to know the difference between the two types of attacker, it is very important to remember that both are as equally as dangerous.  Remember it is not the skill level of the attacker but rather the desperation factor that makes him so dangerous. As well, in a dynamic spontaneous assault involving an edged weapon, you will probably not have the time to assess your attackers skill level.  This is why it is so important that any counter edged weapon program you use, it must work against both the unskilled and skilled attacker. I say:
The best defense against an edged weapon is to not get into one in the first place.  Watch for edged weapons, this means watching a person’s hands.  I have stated for years that the only assumption I make in a fight is that the person I an dealing with may have a concealed weapon that I don’t see. 
By being aware of the ways in which a person may deploy an edged weapon may give you the advantage to with the encounter.  This means, get to know the technology available.  Visit you local knife/ army surplus stores and see what is available.  Also look into how this technology is deployed:
* Listen for the unsnapping of a button on a knife case
* Listen for Velcro opening
* Listen for the click of a lock blade
* Movement behind the back
* Drawing motion of the arm/elbow
* The way in which a person may be packing a visible knife.  A buck knife case that is holstered with the snap opening down lets you know that this person had thought about using gravity to deploy the knife quickly.
* Palming

In my program I have over 50 slides of actual knife wounds that I also show to further bring to light the issue of awareness and respect for the blade.
There are as many gripes and strokes as there are people carrying knives.  Is it important to know and understand how an attacker may be holding an edged weapon when it comes to defense. NO !!!!! I believe that the only important thing for you to understand is that the attacker is attacking with a knife.  Again, in a dynamic and spontaneous knife attack you will likely not know how the weapon is being held. So if you have learned a system of edged weapon defense that is dependant upon how the knife is being held, good luck using it in the real word !!!!!
* Do not panic
* Consciously make yourself breath slower (autogenic breathing)
* Inspect yourself and look for injuries seen and more importantly not seen
* Apply direct pressure to wounds
* If injury are to limbs, elevate if possible
* If you have a chest wound, seal it and protect your airway in case you go unconscious, you don’t want to drown in your own blood
* If you have a punctured lung, exhale first and use an air tight article to cover and seal the wound
* Mental commitment “ I’m going to Live”

1) Respect the blade The person who attacks with an edged weapon has two incredible advantages.
* PSYCHOLOGICAL: has chosen to use the weapon ruthlessly
* PHYSICAL: usually has first strike advantage

Again remember, it is the desperation factor and not the technical skill alone that makes a person armed with an edged weapon so dangerous
2)      Expect to get cut.  You will likely get cut, bleed, may or may not feel pain. A program that teaches students not to expect this fact is NEGLIGENT.  Your goal is to “WIN” notice I use the word “WIN” and not  “SURVIVE”.  Words are very powerful.  The word SURVIVE is no different than the word “TRY”.   Both of these words to the subconscious mind mean “FAILURE”.  Our goal is to WIN, survival is a by-product of winning.
3)      Neutralize the line of attack.  In any kind of combatives it is important to get you body of the line of attack.. Remember in a knife fight you will get cut and stuck, the secret is to limit the amount/degree of this damage.  Unlike a fist fight, you can not stand there and take multiple blows with a knife
4)      Control the delivery system.  In the system of Pat Wrap and Attack we do not play the knife hand but rather the delivery system ( arm/elbow) In hockey do you play the puck or do you play the man.  You play the man why, the puck moves to quick.  In a knife fight don’t visually lock onto the knife hand it moves far to fast when compared to the arm/elbow.  We also do not attempt to grab the knife hand in a dynamic situation for the reasons that I mentioned earlier.  Small target, slippery when blood is present   Remember than most edged weapon deaths are associated with serious multiple blows.  Why, person failed to control the delivery system.  The delivery system is the arm (lever), if we can control the lever we control the blade. The only exception to this rule is in a static knife hold up where the knife hand is not moving and can easily be controlled with two hands.
5)      Attack the attack..  I believe that so long as the attacker has the opportunity to continue his attack, he has a strong tactical advantage, with a strong psychological advantage as well.  Both of these advantages must be neutralized as soon as possible by throwing the attacker on the defensive.
I have been involved in FOUR separate edged weapon attacks which I “won”, and I have had one person die in my arms from an edged weapon attack..  There are a lot of edged weapon defense programs out there that are designed to get you KILLED because they do not deal with reality. Do your homework.  I have attempted to summarize some of the reasons for the development of my 8 hr Pat. Wrap, and Attack system in this post.  This system is being used around the world and has saved many lives. Knowledge and the understanding of that knowledge is power.
Strength and Honor
Darren Laur
Integrated Street Combatives
Victoria, BC

#92841 - 04/12/03 08:48 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint

Great post Raccoon, it msut have taken you ages to type.
Does anybody know anybody teaching this in UK?

#92842 - 04/12/03 01:53 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
mark Offline
sword of magnamity

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 1284
Loc: uk
Thank you for your effort raccoon.

I have a copy of the FBI "surviving edged weapons video"

Kind of makes the traditional MA responses to an edged weapon attack seem totally stupid.

Does anyone remember the Bruce Tegnar books and all the 1960/70`s prescribed self defence techniques!?
So many clubs still teach that rubbish against knifes, I think traditional Ju-Jitsu is the worst……”knife defence no1” etc…….

i have done a great deal of real knife defence training, even managed to train with some SAS guys.

Strange but 1 thing that is different in the UK to the US is the use of the ice pick or hammer grip, it is less common in the UK, as knifes tend to be smaller due to the severe legal penalties on carry a blade in the UK


#92843 - 04/12/03 02:12 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint

Mark,. I would LOVE to look at that video if you didn't mind. Mike has seen it and thought it was great stuff.

#92844 - 04/12/03 03:57 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Oldwolf Offline

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 71
Loc: Scotland
Excellent post Racoon, confirms much of my own efforts and thoughts as mentioned in a previous post. Just a couple of minor points. The reasons for the 'victims' backing off to attain more peripheral vision is to my mind supposition, fitting the fact that the cortex of the brain creates tunnel vision to focus on the percieved threat, and could just as easily be explained as part of the flight syndrome, or just desire to distance oneself from the threat.

Only 3 out of 85 of the 'trained observers' saw the weapon, thats about 3.3%, yet I suspect that Darren doesn't teach 96.7% observation skills, and will be like the rest of us teaching what we are comfortable with unarmed combat.

I've got a terrible memory for names but I think the guys name is Massayad Ayooba, any work by him is well worth the effort.
But again excellent post.

[This message has been edited by Oldwolf (edited 04-12-2003).]

#92845 - 04/12/03 05:47 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
raccoon Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Thanx people. I am sure Darren will be happy to know his writing are well received by traditionalists. I was a little nervous about posting his essays; from what I saw in the general discussion forum, the traditionalists don't usually get along with the reality fighting people.

To address OldWolf...
Only 3 out of 85 of the 'trained observers' saw the weapon, thats about 3.3%, yet I suspect that Darren doesn't teach 96.7% observation skills, and will be like the rest of us teaching what we are comfortable with unarmed combat.[/QUOTE]

I think the studies was conducted on LEOs back when Darren was still in the police force, I don't know if he necessarily trained them.

No, he doesn't spend 97% of his class time teaching observation skills, if that's what you meant. His program (ISC) is about street combats, which isn't always about deadly force/ edged weapons defense.

But as Darren pointed out in his essay, knowledge is power; knowing the stat AND making the assumption that "in a fight, the person I an dealing with may have a concealed weapon that I don’t see. " is a good place to start.

Thanx for the inputs though, I will point that out to him when I see him next week.


P.S.> No Sharon, I didn't type it up, I just copy and pasted it [IMG][/IMG]

#92846 - 04/22/03 07:15 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
judderman Offline

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 1400
Loc: UK
Thanks OldWolf.

I found the guys name Massaad Ayoob.

A search on the net has produced some very interesting lines of enquiry.


#92847 - 04/22/03 11:13 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Jamoni Offline

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Massad Ayoob. He writes for several gun magazines. Listen to this guy.

#92848 - 04/22/03 11:16 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
Thought he was the Arab looking dude who teaches the FBI MA and LEO techs, such as gunnery and gun use.

Same guy, as in you should listen to what he says?

#92849 - 04/23/03 04:12 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I'm sorry, I had promised myself I wouldn't post here any more, but I just can't leave this alone.

First, can I say, what a load of bull. We all know statistics can be made to show more or less anything, we all know you wont remember them in a fight (even if you did -they would, we all have some idea of what to look for in a potential attacker already and we all know knives are dangerous.

Take that away and what are we left with...control the delivery system. Well there's a scoop. Hadn't thought of that one myself, I thought best bet would be a kick to the shin and hope for the best. [IMG][/IMG]

Forgive me, I'm a cynic. Stating the obvious has never really been enough to convince me of much.


#92850 - 04/23/03 10:48 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint

Are you saying that what is written is of no value to any of us or just no value to you because you have so much more experienc?

Also, I would be interested in your answers to the questions in the original post.

Glad to see you back here
Sharon [IMG][/IMG]

#92851 - 04/23/03 11:34 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I'm a firm believer that too much information is a bad thing in relation to these kind of topics, Sharon. I think we are in danger of analysing every little detail without ever reaching any definate conclusions. For every study that says one thing, there is another that contradicts at least some of that theory. It is up to you which one you buy into (often quite literally).

Usually these type of systems claim to be "evoloving" all the time, in reality what that means is they teach one thing today and then in 12 months time they tell you "actually, we don't do that anymore, we've (this) works better". What use is that? If a technique/theory works, then it works. It wont become outdated.

Each year I am obliged by my work to undertake just this sort of "reality" training, with the whole "psychology" package thrown in. I've yet to do two years the same.

When you bring it down to actual fighting skills, you will find that what you are doing is a Westernised version of an Eastern martial art. There isn't anything new on offer.

I'm also very wary of the idea that you can overcome your natural physiological responses to fear through learning about them. In my experience, people have to habituate a certain level of violence before they can even hope to have any self control. Anyone who isn't used to violent behaviour will react adversely when confronted by it. No amount of training can prepare you for a sudden violent attack, especially if you are unfamiliar with violence.

Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.


#92852 - 04/23/03 12:25 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint

Cato, I agree, that someone unused to violence will not react as well or as quickly when they need to. We see it to a lesser extent in the dojo, the first time a relative beginner gets hit and completely over react, not because of pain, but because being hit the first time is a shock. The next time they get hit, it is not so bad, and eventually, we hardly mind at all (except we want to learn to not let it happen again).

Obviously, I am not saying that sparring in the dojo prepares us for dealing with an attack, but surely training in MA gives us a bit of an edge. If we can make our training as realistic as possible that must give us a bit more of an edge. (I know it can never be totally realistic because (a) we are not taken totally by suprise and (b) most of us feel secure in the dojo because we know our instructors and opponents do not want to kill us).

None of us really know how we would react in a situation that we have not been in before but do you really think there is nothing we can do to prepare ourself in case the worse happens? I like to think that the right sort of training would give us an above average chance of at least escaping alive if not unhurt (I accept that if a knife were involved, most of us would be cut).

Also, do you agree with the policewoman who said it is better to be stabbed in a public place than it is to go with an attacker?

#92853 - 04/23/03 04:12 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I don't know that there is a better place to be stabbed, I suspect it'll hurt just the same either way, but I understand what you are getting at and I agree 100 per cent that if confronted you should stay as public as possible and draw attention to yourself as best you can.

As for whether training can help, of course it can. Martial artists are obviously far more likely to survive a fight than someone who never had a fight in their life. The danger, as I see it, is false confidence. We all like to think are MA's training will see of allcomers, or at least make them think twice, but will it really? I've said this many times before but fighting is fighting. No matter how much style you do it with, it comes down to very basic inherent characteristics.

I know the "reality" instructors will tell me how wrong I am, but that is my honest opinion based on my own experiences and those of the people I work with. Some of the best fighters I have ever seen have never trained a day in their life and certainly never set foot on a dojo, whilst some of the ex-military guys couldn't fight their way out of the proverbial paper bag.

If you're serious about self defence then you shouldn't be starting with ways to disarm a knife wielding idiot. You should
keep it much more simple than that: How to avoid a knife wielding idiot would be a good place to start, I think.


#92854 - 04/23/03 05:13 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
raccoon Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
Some of the best fighters I have ever seen have never trained a day in their life and certainly never set foot on a dojo, whilst some of the ex-military guys couldn't fight their way out of the proverbial paper bag.[/QUOTE]

And your point is? Given the technology nowadays, war fare isn't a matter of H2H combats anymore. Why then, would we expect military professional to be any better than the rest of us?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
If you're serious about self defence then you shouldn't be starting with ways to disarm a knife wielding idiot. You should
keep it much more simple than that: How to avoid a knife wielding idiot would be a good place to start, I think.

Hmm, you've argued in another thread that MA is about fighting, not running away. Have you changed your mind? Are you agreeing now that ways to avoid confrontation should be a part of MA training? Or do you maintain your previous argument that MA isn't the place to teach it? If your answer is the later case, are you implying MA does not encompass self defense?

-yours sincerely

[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-23-2003).]

#92855 - 04/24/03 01:43 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint

Cato, I thought that was what you meant, but I wanted to make sure.
I totally agree about the false confidence. I think a good instructor would make sure that their students know the difference between what is martially effective and what is "art". Unfortunately this is not always the case (often because the instructor himself/herself knows no better).
I know an instructor in his early twenties, he is 3rd dan wado and 1st dan jujitsu who looks great on the mat, whether fighting or performing kata. Because he is very young, fit and flexible, and so were most of the people that he trained with, his training focus has always been on beautiful acrobatic jujitsu and very high karate kicks. He has only ever done point sparring and has not done much bag work.
He was attacked on holiday by three louts and his first thought was to perform a high axe kick. It was probably beautifully executed from an "art" point of view, but he ended up in quite a bad way without getting a single shot in.
The sad thing is that when we talked about it afterwards he said he was "just unlucky" and does not want to change the way he trains.

#92856 - 04/24/03 04:01 AM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
mark Offline
sword of magnamity

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 1284
Loc: uk
wow what a statement:-

"No amount of training can prepare you for a sudden violent attack,"

I thought that was the whole point of training in a "combat" system!!!

IM really suprised at your point of view Cato. still it is yours and as such I respect it.


#92857 - 05/10/03 09:56 PM Re: Being held up at knifepoint
Shadowfax Offline

Registered: 10/08/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Mason City, IA
}}}}}(A) an untrained woman should do?

Scream until he tells her to stop. Try to do what he wants until she sees an opportunity to escape. Untrained empty hand against a knife is a VERY bad spot to be in!

}}}}}}(B) What do you think YOU realistically would do?

Trap the weapon as soon as possible, soften him up with rapid strikes to vital areas, and disarm the knife. It ALL depends, of course, on how he's attacking you. If he's dumb enough to stand behind me while holding the knife to my throat, he's getting stabbed in the neck (grab knife hand, hold firmly against your body, drop your weight down as you twist into his body. The knife goes right into the neck). If he sticks the knife in my side, he's getting the knife taken away from him. If he's standing in front of me waving the knife, then out comes my knife and we'll see if he wants to continue at that point. If he does, we'll both get cut, but hopefully my training will see to it that he gets cut a lot worse than I do!

here are my rules for any situation in which I am faced with a non-ranged weapon.

1) Run
2) If for some reason I can't run, hide.
3) If I can't run and I can't hide, find an equalizer.
4) If there's no running, no hiding, and there's absolutely nothing to pick up to use, that's when things are incredibly bad, and I fight empty handed until:
5) As soon as possible, run!

}}}}}(C) What if it were a gun instead of a knife (unlikely in the UK, I know, but possible).

Well I live across the pond in the States, so it's a lot more likely here. If it's a gun and he's standing 15 feet away, I'm pretty much screwed. I'll toss him my wallet if he wants that but if he just wants to kill me, I start running away toward the nearest cover, taking a zigzag path to make it harder to hit me. If he pulls it and sticks it right up to my body (close, in other words) I go for the disarm.

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