Knife Attacks

Knife Attacks


We looked at Muto Dori (Unarmed defence against a blade) in the dojo yesterday and moved away from the kata to look at real world application. Theirs a number of factors to take into consideration.

The first being that you need to be aware of some important aspects before engaging an assailant armed with a knife:

1. If you can escape! RUN! Call the Police!
2. If you can’t escape, can you negotiate? It’s better to lose you wallet than you life. What do they want?
3. If its unaviodable can you arm yourself? What may assist you in defending yourself? Have the Police been called?
4. Stuff you’ve seen in a movie will NOT work! It WILL get you killed!
5. NEVER allow the opponent to grab you! The WORST situation you can be in is with the assailant holding your shirt with the left hand whilst stabbing with the right hand!
6. You WILL be terrified! Its 100% natural! Its called fight or flight!
These are just the basic precursory aspects you need to understand but the most important is rule number 1, Run and call the Police!

The second factor is the legal ramifications or what could potentially happen and the impact it will have on your life moving forwards. I can’t stress this point enough its NOT a good idea to confront anyone who is armed EVER!

If however its completely unavoidable then all rules go out the window, their is no room for reasonable force as the slightest hesitation could have devastating consequences. Make sure that your actions are 100% justified as you will have to explain yourself and will likely be arrested for further questioning and with good reason.

Its difficult to comprehensively define reasonable force in a life threatening situation but the legal definition is that your justified to use reasonable force to disarm and restrain the assailant if they pose a significant threat to you of others around you.

In short reasonable force for them trying to stab you with a fixed blade knife would be somewhere in between disarming them, hitting them with a table, to a firearms officer shooting them in the leg. Its kind of broad ?

On a serious note though the situation could also go VERY BADLY! If you don’t know what your doing and i mean REALLY know with continuous training you could easily end up becoming the victim of a knife attack. It really doesn’t matter what martial art you have studied or how many kata involving knife disarms you’ve practiced because all that will go out the window. Don’t be a hero!

The third factor is knife attacks happen fast! The opponent will not leave their arm extended for you to perform a fancy technique like Kote Gaeshi unlike your partner in the dojo. The most common attack is the sewing machine, the assailant latches on with the left hand and repeatedly stabs to the victims abdomen with the right hand. This happens VERY quickly, don’t be under any miscinception a knife is every bit as deadly as a firearm! The key is not to allow the opponent to latch on in the first place! If the assailant grabs you its highly likely you are going to be stabbed so this is VITALLY important! DO NOT LET THEM GRAB YOU!

This grab is often also how you get clear of the knife by using effective Taisabaki and barring off the grabbing arm to restrain the opponent but thats impossible to explain in this post. If you can position yourself out of reach of the stabbing arm behind the shoulder of the grabbing arm whilst in Ura Gyaku for example then it provides the split seconds needed to drag the opponent to the ground to pin the shoulder of the grabbing arm using the knee to then disarm them.

This brings me back to factor 2 the law, Theirs no room for reasonable force as such, you need to dominate the assailant with controlled aggression or you legitimately risk being stabbed. This doesn’t mean using the knife either should you disarm them! Definitely not! Thats murder/manslaughter no matter what way you look at it! You need to do whatever you need to do to neutralise the situation without doing significant lasting damage to anyone! However a broken arm only lasts 6 weeks.

This subject is extremely extensive so i will continue it in a later post but don’t be stupid when it comes to an assailant armed with a knife, It’s a very real and significant threat in modern society and that knife doesn’t care how hard you THINK you are! Steel is harder than flesh no matter how you look at it and it only takes one mistake for the consequences to be devastating. If you can run, THEN RUN! Call the Police! Don’t ever train with live blades either, training should always be done with wooden, rubber or foam knives under the supervision of a fully qualifed and insured instructors.