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Martial Arts: Self Defense

Defeating A Knife Hold Up - A True Story

By Gene Roos

It was totally unexpected. Mike, was at a gas station inside a glass enclosure waiting to pay for his gas when a man approached him from the right. Mike thought he was just getting in line to pay too.

Instead the man whipped out a knife, pointed it at Mike in a threatening manner and demanded his money. But Mike had practiced defending against this type of attack (many times being a black belt) before in jujutsu class. He knew what to do and kept his wits.

Attacker's right hand points a knife at the defender. Attacker is on the right isde of the deffender

As the defender starts to wave his hands, he starts rotating his body to face the attacker.

As the defender's left foot steps and then right one (rotating manner - taisabaki)* to the attacker's right side, his left hand graps the attacker's right wrist.

As the defender's right foot steps in between the attacker's feet, his right hand also grabs the attacker's right wrist and starts to apply a wrist lock while moving his left foot to his rear.

* Prof Gene Roos' Aiki Jujitsu Book 1, Page 7

He applies a wrist lock on the attacker's right wrist, which throws him to the ground.

Defender continues applying the wrist lock maintaining control of the attacker.

Mike raised his hands (close to his shoulder level), started waving them (distraction) while turning to face the attacker. At the same time he said, “anything you want.“  This statement signals compliance while also acting as a distraction since the attacker's mind is momentarily focused on hearing what has been said. This provided an opportunity for quick action.

From this front facing position Mike then quickly stepped to his left while rotating his body to the outside of the knife (his right foot moving backward with his body) ending up at the attacker's right side. As he did this, Mike's left hand grabbed the attacker’s right wrist.

Having secured the wrist of the hand holding the knife, Mike turned the wrist to a vertical position. At the same time he rotated his body in the opposite direction, his right foot first stepping between the attacker’s feet, his body continuing the rotation as his left foot moved to the rear.

As he moved, Mike's right hand also grabbed the same wrist, forcing it backward (a painful wrist lock known in jujutsu, aikido and other arts as kote gaeshi) and forcing the attacker off balance and to fall backward to one side. As the attacker was falling, Mike heard a loud snap of the attacker’s wrist.  Once the attacker was on the ground he continued applying the wrist lock in order to maintain control of the attacker even though the attacker appeared to be unconscious.

The cashier, who witnessed everything, called 911 and the police arrived 30 minutes later. Upon arrival, the attacker was placed in custody, and statements were taken.   

The whole incident was captured on video tape.

The only injury to Mike was a small cut to the top of one finger. I always instruct my students that there is a chance you are going to get cut in a knife defense technique.
If an injury occurs, at least he will be prepared and hopefully not go into shock or lose consciousness.

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About The Author:

Prof. Gene Roos, 10th dan Ju Jitsu, and 4th dan in judo, is a member of the Board of Directors for the America Ju Jitsu Association. He is a frequent contributor to In 1958 was awarded Shodan (Judo) and won the Regional Judo Champion. In 1958 & 1959 was Judo State Champion. His instructors include: Harold Brosious (Ketsugo), Dennis Palumbo (Hakko Ryu Ju Jitsu, 8th Dan), George Kirby, & Shizuya Sato (Ju Jitsu), Wally Jay (Small Circle Ju Jitsu), Dr. Sacharnoski (Hard Style Ju Jitsu & Ki) and Master Mochizuki (a student of Funakoshi, Kano, & Ueshiba). He is also the author of a series of upcoming books on Aiki jujitsu as well as a number of videos including: "Aiki Jujitsu" (a three video tapes series with manuals); "Deadly Attacks" (defense against 30 knife, gun, stick and empty hand attacks); "Deadly Attacks- part II" (defense against an additional 30 knife, gun and empty hand attacks); "Deadly Attacks III" and "Devastating Throws and Other Deadly Attacks " (defense against 30 advanced combat throws, knife attacks, stick, and a rear shotgun attack), For more information see:

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

self defense, jujutsu, jujitsu,aikido, self defense, martial arts self defense, knife hold up, knife defense

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