How To Defend Against A Knife
There’s a few things to keep in mind when attempting to defend against a knife that include staying calm, staying aware of your surroundings, and keeping your distance. The range between you and the violent attacker with a knife is everything. It is the governing authority when it comes to decision making against a knife. Why? Because a knife is a ranged weapon. Meaning, unless you’re dealing with some sort of crazy knife throwing expert, a knife is only good for certain ranges. It is not very useful if the person is far away.
Medium range is exactly between the range that allows me to run away and the range where the person is so close they are in your personal space, maybe even holding you.
So, the question is, can I run?
At medium range, it is “iffy.” You never know who the attacker is, or what kind of shape they are in. Maybe the person is a jack rabbit and can catch you from medium range. So at this range, it is best to try and create for yourself a window of opportunity to run, rather than just run.
Either way, spending too much time trying to size up your attacker can leave you in danger when you could have been attempting your escape.
I personally compartmentalize this strategy into a 3 phase process.
2. Counter attack.
3. Run Away.
Each of these is equally important and not one is more important than the other.
Tips to successfully defend against a knife:
- Redirect without telegraphing – When you redirect it needs to be without telegraphing. It needs to be explosive and hard. You can try to distract or go immediately as you see the knife. If it was an attack you would know at this point. Since you have not been stabbed you can assume they want something. This allows you to go for the thing they want, perhaps your wallet, hand it out to them, and as they reach for it that would be a great time to explosively redirect the knife hand. Why? Because momentarily their focus shifted from the knife and attack itself, to the collecting of the object.
- Hard Counter – When you counter attack it needs to be a massive blow. The type of counter attack will depend on the angle the person has approached and the range they are standing from you. This could be a front kick, side kick, back kick, punches, etc. The location you counter attack is dependent on the outcome you’re wanting. If you aren’t a good runner then maybe stomping at their knee if possible is preferable. If you are good at running I recommend kicking to their core. Striking to the core moves their body back better and is a larger object to aim for. As they say in the shooting world, “aim for center mass.” Each one has its pros and cons. The one you choose will certainly depend on the outcome you’re wanting.
- Run Away – Notice I didn’t say back peddle, side shuffle, or even look and see if your defense had the perfect outcome. Just RUN. If you moved the knife away and had a hard counter attack you will have bought yourself a brief moment to escape. But, it is still only a moment. You don’t get to stand around and wait to see what is next. Just hightail it out of there. Redirect, counter attack, and run. All of this is done very fast, obviously. There should be less than a second between each step. See the video for reference.