The Most Effective Way to Defend Against a Knife Attack
After a lot of inquiries I have finally given in to writing an article about defending against an opponent fighting with a knife. Before I get into the details, I have to emphasize that if you are ever confronted by a person threatening you with a knife and you have the opportunity to run away, do not even consider taking the person on. The biggest problem defending against a knife, is that it requires the defender to have faster reflexes than the attacker and even if you are trained to react in such a situation, the probability that you will be cut is quite big. The reason for this is because of the diversity of a knife attack. 90% of the time it won’t be a single attack, but a series of continuous attacks. It is very seldom that a person will only try to stab you once, especially if the attacker has some knowledge regarding knife mechanics. This could be in the in the form of slashes to either keep you away from him or stabs to try to kill you. Or a combination of the 2, making anticipation of the attacker’s next move difficult.
The most important thing when you find yourself in a situation, is to study your surroundings and then to make sure you are not forced into a corner. If you get caught against a wall, your space to move and defend the knife becomes extremely limited and will likely get you cut or even killed. Use your surroundings against the attacker.
The second most important thing when facing a knife attack is to protect your face, neck and organs, since a stab to one of these vital parts can neutralize you, giving complete control to the attacker or result in death. It will also prevent you from escaping when the opportunity presents itself. Defend with your forearms. The chance that you will be cut is still quite big, but the cuts will cause minimum damage and will not affect you main functions. The best solution is to dodge and weave, stay in motion and try to "pull" your body away from the attacker. If he tries to stab your stomach, pull your stomach in as you jump back, if he strikes towards the legs – move your legs back, if he strikes towards the head – bend your head back.
If you cannot escape and have to fight, do not rush into the situation. Keep a cool mind and block the attacks patiently. Counter attack with each attack if possible, with hits to the attacker’s face. For example block with left arm/hand and immediately deliver a punch with the right hand. Do not try to disarm him while he delivers a non-committed attack. since in my experience. you won’t be able to properly grab the knife and will expose yourself to stabs in vital areas and probably get your hands cut. Knife wielders with some experience will never deliver an all out committed killing blow, immediately exposing themselves to be disarmed. They will play with the knife and try to deliver slashes and non-committed attacks cutting, but not necessarily killing you. This will slowly but surely break down your defense. This is why counter attacks are so important. It will damage the opponent possibly forcing him to flee or anger him to deliver a proper committed attack which will enable you to disarm him.
If possible, keep a distance between yourself and the attacker at all times. If you do engage the attacker, but start to lose a proper grip of the situation, let go of the attacker and get distance again. Be patient. Distance is important for 2 reasons: Firstly it will enable you to study the attacker and read his next attack better. And secondly, it will buy you an extra second or two to defend yourself when he attacks. Although it may not sound like much it might just be the difference between life and death.
Defend with a plan, work your way to an escape or disarming the attacker. Don’t just defend and hope the attacker will get bored and leave. You will probably get killed. Always keep your attention on the knife even if the attacker tries to divert it. You have to understand the knife is the main threat to your life, not the attacker.
The best way to defend against a knife will be from Krav Maga especially if you are not so well versed in martial arts. The proper technique is shown below:
KNIFE DEFENCE AGAINST SLASHES
KNIFE DEFENCE AGAINST SLASHES P2
Study the defenses as shown and practice them till you understand the mechanics of the techniques. Work on your reflexes. I want to just repeat myself again by saying that if you have an opportunity to escape do not hesitate to take it. Just make sure that it is a proper opportunity though and not a chance for the attacker to stab you in the back.