Posts Tagged ‘Knife Attack’

The guys at UF PRO have some great videos. Previous I looked at their gun disarm video and gun vs knife videos. A student sent me this and asked me to break it down.

Many of the techniques or concepts in this video are similar or close to what I teach regularly albeit with some differences.

One of the most important things they are doing in this video which I and many others 100% agree on is that once a bladed weapon is drawn if you cannot run (the best option) you must first get control of the weapon arm and then go after the person as a combative. Without control of the army and quick or rapid movement can be catastrophic to your self or others. Other than this I will break down my thoughts on each sequence.

0:22 – Upward stab (prison shank style)

There style with the grabs is the only thing I am not a fan of. Yes, it’s a natural reaction but if you have already identified enough any grabbing as an initial movement can be very risky especially under duress. We generally prefer gross motor movent over fine motor movement, especially for an initial movement. Inevitably as we are designed to grab you might have to but only in secondary or tertiary movements. Other than that the strategy of getting the knife arm and controlling it is great. What you do after that really depends on your style I suppose. In this sequence all attempts were succesful. Keep in mind he knew the knife was there and what attack was coming which could change the outcome if you were not expecting it.

1:11 – Slashing (We call “blender mode”)

In the first version, he inevitably takes cuts to the arms on multiple sides. This is to be expected in such a case especially if you stay in slashing range. I also am not a fan of putting palms and the soft tissue of the front of the arm towards the attack. While it is unlikely to be fatal it may limit your ability to deal with the attacker after. I would much rather take slashes to the sides or backs of the arms. In this case, as their strategy is to gram the arm then it does make some sense. Still getting get in the arms no matter where is far better than taking it to the face or neck.

At 1:41 the second version of this attack is launched. When they slow it down you can see why it is so hard to grab as an initial attack. Another reason why grabbing can be problematic. It also looks like he took a slash/stab to near the brachial artery which if severed can be a big problem.

If you take to long your attack can wise up and escalate there attack. If you are going to go in go in aggressively, with your hands up of course protecting your neck and face. Otherwise, you may be relying too much on the attacker making a mistake. Personally, I would much rather be out of range in the first place before I make a move. Yes, I know timing will still be a big factor.

At 2:05 they start the third attempt of this technique. Again you can see trying to grab trap or pass at speed is very difficult. There is a reason we call these attack blender type because if you try to follow the knife it can be very hard and if you look closely if the attacker or defender even tripped or misstepped the defender leaves their body quite open to a stab.

Don’t get me wrong, in the event you need to use this defense and it works with minimum damage then its great. It requires a great bit of skill, confidence and the right level of thinking at the moment to succeed. For beginners who encounter this kind of attack after you have identified it defend appropriately but create space and run. Use weapons of opportunity if you can. If not, attempt to attack disrupt, off balance or cause pain. A tool we use is the low line sidekick to get a pause in the attack so that we can gain control of the weapon arm. Again, waiting for the attacker to mess up may be too late, try to cause your own opening. The kick also requires skill but keeps your vitals well out of the way. I understand this option may not be preferred by many but personally, I wouldn’t stick my hand in a blender. Would you?

2:30 – Slashing & Stabbing (We call  the “Decepticon blender mode” or the “Game over man”)


In Israel real knife defense is to shoot them… just saying.

Let’s just say this is a worst case scenario, they start slashing rapidly realize they haven’t killed you yet and rapidly change to the stabbing.  This would be like if your blender unsatisfied you did not stick your hand in it, gave up its ruse changed into its true form a mother f**king Decepticon and started shooting lasers at you.


In the first attack series when the switch happens there is a slowdown or hesitation, which allows the defender to get the arm. This would be the best case scenario but is not always what will happen. This might have been a subconscious reaction or an on purpose to let them get control. Who knows. Also, the position of the knife right at the groin, once he does get control, makes me nervous. Some of my more vicious students would most likely remind you as they stab you while laughing hysterically in the groin multiple times…

3:08 round two. This time he gets stabbed which as I mentioned above is likely if they dont slow down. YAY DECEPTICON BLENDERS!

3:34 Round three. hmm, notice a pattern. This is the most likely scenario with this attack pattern if you are unsuccessful in getting the weapon arm immediately. Another reason why it is preferable to create a lot of space because your margin for error is slim to none otherwise. Also why we prefer that low line kick. A smart and aggressive attacker will vary their attacks to counter your defenses, your decision-making time to act is a very, very small window.

4:05 – Attacking from a drawn knife

My first comment is, always assume they have a weapon. If they are fidgeting or moving near their belt line this is a good indicator. If this is accompanied by aggressive behavior it’s better to act before they can draw a weapon. Don’t wait. Strike first and justify after. In these videos, you can clearly see a knife in which case if you are a civilian you should have run already and if you are LE or military if you did not already verbalize to get down on the ground then you may be engaging first. Of course, if they aren’t trying to stab you yet lethal force is not recommended. As soon as they go for that knife then it would be.

The first attack is easily defended, although thats because he knew the knife was coming at some point. Again outside of the demo, I would have engaged in takedown and control options prior to them being able to draw. The hesitation after the draw made the defense easier. In this case, the kind of hesitation is certainly a possibility.

Rounds 2-4 are all the same. Each scenario the aggression escalates but there is a relatively clear draw. Allowing the defender to get the weapon arm.

6:05 round five. The attacker is charging ineffectively off balancing and overwhelming the defender, who then misreads the situations and goes for the wrong arm allowing the attacker to succeed. This is a likely scenario with an aggressive attacker. It can be hard to get the weapon hand especially if you were not expecting a knife at all. You can deal with the opponent on the nonweapon hand but requires getting behind them which is very hard against aggressive attackers.

This is why the advice will always control them before they can draw. Attackers will usually but not always indicate via body language that they have a weapon if the situation starts from a static scenario. If it is not static is can be very difficult so you must be sharp with your movements and your decision making.

Bottom line is regardless of what scenario its really best not to go empty hand against enough.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown.

PS. If you are local I will be doing a seminar on April 20th in Surrey where I will be looking at a few of these scenarios as well as some basic gun disarms.





My name is Josh Garvin. I’ve been a student at Urban Tactics Krav Maga for about a year now and I love every minute of it. Besides it being an enjoyable experience training with everyone at Urban Tactics, the exercises we do have provided me with valuable, life-saving skills.

I live in the West End with my partner and run my own poster advertising business called Silverfox Postering.  Besides training in Krav Maga, I practice Xing-yi Quan kung fu, sword fighting, wrestling and parkour and have been training (through Urban Tactics) to use firearms. I plan on taking stunt courses and further developing my skills with using firearms.

I’ve been in some dangerous situations in my life… I‘ve been in several street fights… been mugged twice and ended up chasing away my attackers… been beaten up by a gang of about a dozen people… been attacked by a person with a knife and disarmed that person unscathed… seen and disrupted fights on many occasions, including several group fights… and have thrown numerous people out of bars while working event and bar security. Basically, I’ve been threatened in all sorts of crazy ways and with all sorts of crazy things. All of these incidents are good reasons to train in Krav Maga.

On Sunday, November 17th, there was a stabbing on Granville street. I was there, and this is my account of what happened.

I was on Granville putting up posters when I heard the sounds of something similiar to a smack or a punch, followed by a woman crying out. Looking across the street, I saw a man throw a punch at another man outside of a nightclub. Within seconds, the fight had moved through a sectioned seating area, across the sidewalk and into the street where it went to the ground. As we learn in class at Urban Tactics, the ground is a terrible place to be in a street fight. The guy in the bottom position had a large commando-style knife (similar to what Rambo uses in the movies) and was stabbing the guy holding top position in the buttocks and around the kidneys. While calling the police, I ran across the street to assist. The entire time, I had clear awareness of everything around me, all of my thoughts accounting for my surroundings.

“Do these guys have friends? If so, are those friends also carrying knives? Who is close by? Where is the knife right now? What’s on the ground? Where am I putting my bike? Is my guard up?”

The man in top position managed to pin the assailant’s knife hand. Someone grabbed the knife, and I lost track of it in the fray. More questions: my training was engaged the entire time. The guy who got stabbed ran Southbound on Granville Street. The other man returned to the sectioned patio of the nightclub from which they had previously emerged, seating himself at one of the patio tables. All of this happened in less than a minute. Then, the police arrived.

Two officers arrived on the scene first. One of the witnesses was standing close to the knife and the first officer grabbed the witness, apparently mistaking him for the assailant. Noticing this, I called out to the police,

“That’s not him!”

I then pointed out the attacker, directing the second officer to the seated man who, on sight of the approaching officer, yelled out,

“I have been assaulted!”

At this point, as the officer approached the suspect, I had a concern that he was putting himself in an unsafe position. The officer had his hand on his firearm, but the firearm was still holstered and strapped in when he came to about six feet away from the suspect, while the knife in question had not actually been secured at this time. There is a 21-foot rule which stipulates that if the suspect had still carried a knife, he could have reached the officer before the officer would have had time to draw his own weapon. Furthermore, the suspect, at that time, had his hands concealed on his lap under the table at which he was seated.

Intent on locating the knife, I began repeatedly calling out,

“Where’s the knife?”

Raising his hands, one of the witnesses informed me that the knife was on the ground, kicking it toward me. An officer spotted the knife and the police were able to secure it. (During the fight, the knife had been taken away and held by one of the good samaritans from Saudi Arabia.)

Once the knife was secure, I became aware of the man who had been stabbed in his Southbound retreat down Granville Street, and directed another officer towards him so he could be provided with medical aid.

I then noticed an officer who had his hands down while questioning a witness and I had a concern for his safety. The witness, who appeared to be hostile, had one of his hands behind his back, and it’s possible he could have been reaching for something.

In Krav Maga we learn situational awareness and combat psychology. Combined with rigorous training, these practices condition us to respond safely and effectively to real life combat situations. When the incident with the stabbing occurred, I found myself naturally present and aware: I didn’t let my guard down for a second. I could see the entire situation objectively, allowing me to clearly distinguish and act on actions to keep myself and others out of danger. That experience has made me truly appreciative of everything we are learning and practicing in class. I am constantly encouraging people to come and train with Urban Tactics. Anyone can end up in a life threatening situation and the training we do could make a difference in saving your life, or the life of someone else.

Please remember that this story is my own account of what happened. I encourage anybody who is interested in further exploring the details of this event to do their own research and hear other accounts and points of view. Here’s a link to another article about the event:

Written by: Josh Garvin / Edited by: Borhan J

 Josh Garvin is a Vancouver based musician, writer and artist. He runs his own advertising / poster disturbing business with his girlfriend Kristl.

Josh can be reached by his email: