The Knife – Ancient but Still Deadly ( Graphic Image Warning )

Posted: February 20, 2013 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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The knife- is a simple yet deadly weapon that has been around since the dawn of time and comes in many forms. The switch blade, Gravity blades, Fixed blades, Double sided blades, Shivs (home made), Single sided blades and Butterfly knives just to name a few. The reality is a blade could be anything with a sharpened edge and can be made from metal, plastic, glass, rock etc… The ever changing nature of this weapon does not take away from its ability to injure and kill, and it is arguably more deadly than the gun due to how easy to acquire and procure a knife. In fact, the blade is the number one cause for homicide deaths in Canada. ( reference: 1 & 2 )

Throughout your life you may hear many different thoughts on blade techniques and defenses but your greatest weapon when dealing with blades is simply, YOUR COMMON SENSE.

If someone with a blade approaches you the simplest and most logical defenses are:

  1. Do as they say
  2. Run!Β  ( fast ! and don’t fall )
  3. Use objects such as a bag, chair, stool etc.. to block the knife and hopefully disarm the individual

When it comes to blades there is one thing to remember, if you choose to engage the individual wielding the blade, – EXPECT TO GET CUT! Due to the simplicity, fluidity and speed of bladed attacks even the most proficient knife fighter & self defense expert will still get cut.

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There are two main categories of Knife attacks:

  1. The Simple/Static attacks
  2. The Complex/Fluid attacks

The Simple/Static attacks

The first category ( Simple/ Static Attacks ) is the one that is most dealt with in Krav Maga. The reason for this is that these are the most common types of attacks. These attacks occur when a person stabs straight down like an ice pick, straight up in a thrust, or straight forward to the head, midsection or groin area. These are all Stabbing motions. In these attacks the attackers arm is usually locked in a particular state. These attacks are usually crimes of passion, such as attacks of rage and are usually the first attack of an untrained individual. Statistically women are more likely to thrust downward and males are more likely to thrust upward.

Here are some examples:

  1. One prisoner is talking to another; one had a blade in his pocket. The conversation goes badly and the one with the knife puts his hand in his pocket pulls it out at waist level and thrusts it upwards into the gut of the other.
  2. You are waiting at a bus stop. A drug addict approaches you and pulls a knife out and asks you for money. You make a sudden movement that spooks him. In his questionable state he panics and thrusts forward into your chest.
  3. A woman walks into the kitchen only to find her husband cheating on her with another woman. In a fit of rage she grabs a knife, charging at the adulterous pair and thrusts downwards.

Because they are direct stabbing motions they can be instantly fatal should they pierce a vital organ or artery. The Roman historian Tacitus commented over 2000 years that only require “two inches of steel to kill a man.” Though tough to deal with, due to the untrained nature of these attacks, they can be managed. In Krav Maga system this is why the 360 degree defense was developed. It uses natural reactions and gross motor function as well as sweeping motions to deal with the straight attacks.

Examples of the 360 defense below:

These defenses are designed from natural human flinching reactions to defend against an initial straight attack. However, the defense is only one part. If it is not followed immediately by an attack to stun the knife wielder then they can simply strike again. The point is, if you don’t know how to defend properly, you are going to get cut or stabbed. This brings me back to my first point, If in doubt:

  1. Do as they say
  2. Run! ( fast ! and don’t fall )
  3. Use objects such as a bag, chair, stool etc.. to block the knife and hopefully disarm the individual

The Complex/Fluid attacks

The second type of attack is in some ways less dangerous and in some ways more dangerous. These types of attacks involve much more slashing and means either the person is just waving the blade trying to hit something or the blade is being wielded by a trained individual. While initially a slash is less deadly than a stab, a slash causing a cut anywhere can cause your heart rate to spike initiating your fight or flight reaction or cause your body to enter shock. In an untrained individual this response can cause panic resulting in further cuts or stab wounds from the attacker. The slashing attacks are also much more difficult to stop. They can be quick and short or wide and erratic. Either way the likelihood of being injured from these attacks is great if someone chooses to engage in it. The best way to deal with these attacks is simple:

  1. Run!
  2. Use objects such as a bag, chair, stool etc.. to block the knife and hopefully disarm the individual

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Choosing to engage someone who is slashing in a controlled or wild fashion is usually a losing battle for any individual. Simply put, if you do not have the speed and timing to deal with these quick attacks you have then gotten yourself in a lot of trouble.

The Knife Fighter

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Movie: The Hunted. One of the best & realistic Knife fighting scene in movie history.

A knife fight is fundamentally different than a random attack and making the mistake of thinking they are the same will result poorly for you. These days, it is all too common for young people or those from other cultures to regularly carry a knife on them at all times. Example: Punjab youth may carry their ceremony dagger (reference:3). The scenario of two individuals pulling out a knife and engaging in combat is all to real in other parts of the world. (reference: 4) For example – Pilipino Kali ( Escrima & Arnis )Β  sect feud in the 70s. North America might not have its blade culture in modern society but many recent immigrants still keep theirs. A knife fight is knowingly entered and with conscious thought as one can always choose to run away from such a situation. Fighting a trained knife fighter with weapon or empty hand is a very scary and stupid thing and personally I would be more afraid of being attacked by a trained knife expert than someone putting a gun to my head. A systematic knife fighting attacks involved both types of attacks, the more fluid slashing attacks and the more static stabbing attacks. Often a slash is a set up for a stab.

Knife Fighting Ranges:

1. Far – At this range the opposing fighter is too far to directly stab you. Your best bet is to parry their attack by striking/slashing their wrist with your blade causing a cut. Hopefully this one parry will cause them to drop their knife and thus winning you the fight.

2. Close – At this range they are close enough to strike your face or body. At this range, you not only are going to have to strike with your knife but also defend with your free hand. If you do not also use your free hand to defend yourself, then even if you strike them they will also strike you. This causes a lose, lose situation.

3. Clinch – At this range if you do not already have some control of their knife hand you will most likely be stabbed MULTIPLE times. If you have managed to control their knife hand, then even if they have controlled your knife hand as well, you can use attacks such as kicks, elbows and head butts to do damage to your opponent.

Types of knife

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As mentioned previously, knives can come in many shapes and designs, and can have different functions depending on their intended use. All designs can be equally deadly.

Closing Notes

I hope this article provides you with some principals of the knife defense. When dealing with knives as I stated many times the best action is to simply not engage the attacker, run ! The moment you decide to close the distance you are now putting yourself at risk of being cut or stabbed ( Noted: There are still moments closing the distance might be the better option ). Remember, when it comes to dealing with knives, ASSUME you will get cut if you engage. With this mentality you will not be surprised if and when you do. Also, you will be aware that if you think you are going to get cut you can attempt to minimize the damage by controlling where you do get cut. For example: blocking so that you get cut on the outside or bladed side of the forearm rather than the soft inner portion that has all the veins and arteries. There are many school of thoughts when comes to knife defense. This articles is base upon my own trainings and actual experience in operation in West Bank.There might be points you disagree; nevertheless, No matter what you hear and who you hear it from, the fact remains the same, Knives are dangerous and very deadly.

Written By: Jonathan Fader

Edited By: Warren C & Borhan J

Reference

  1. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/12/04/homicides-statistics-canada-2011.html
  2. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/10/26/15834021.html
  3. http://swns.com/news/sikh-students-allowed-to-wear-ceremonial-dagger-to-school-10141/
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vez6y08rB8

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