Self Defense

Action Steps For Successful Knife Defense

Written by Mary Woods

Of all, don’t get into knife fights. I don’t care how good you are, if you’re bare handed and in street clothes, and the other guy has a combat knife, you’re at a serious disadvantage.

In Western fencing, this would be called a riposte, and it teaches you that the block automatically breaks the line of the attack and lets you counterattack immediately. Use any techniques you can to A) disable your attacker, and B) run away. You aren’t fighting fair, you aren’t fighting for points, you’re fighting to put the other guy down as fast as possible while avoiding getting hurt.

I treat martial arts somewhat as a sport and as a workout routine, but I ‘d be lying to you if I didn’t think it also had some practical utility as a self-defense technique, and a lot of the classes I teach focus on self-defense, particularly in teaching classes to teenagers and women, in particular mugger defense and knife defense.

Recently, I’ve had to give some thought into teaching knife defense. Knife defense and martial arts techniques sort of mix, and sort of don’t. Knife defense has to take a different approach.

The basic knife attack is a thrust or a slash delivered with the forward hand, sort of like a punch. Most people aren’t particularly trained at knife fighting, so they use a natural punching motion. Just like you do an inside block or outside block on a punch, you do the same thing against a guy with a knife.

Recently, I’ve had to give some thought into teaching knife defense. Knife defense and martial arts techniques sort of mix, and sort of don’t.

Of all, don’t get into knife fights. Which leads to the first principle of knife defense: You’re going to get cut.

Which leads to the first principle of knife defense: You’re going to get cut. Repeat after me: You’re going to get cut. Be prepared for it, understand that it can happen, and that it will hurt (when you’re getting cut) and hurt a lot less immediately after.

About the author

Mary Woods