Updated: Sep 28
Using a Knife to Protect Yourself
In most self-defense scenarios, people are engaging an asymmetrical threat. The aspects that make it unequal in some respect may be due to physical size, strength, strategy, tactics, or number of opponents. These reasons and more using a knife for self-defense could be a great equalizer.
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If it is a life or death self-defense situation you may have to improve the odds. For a person to have some skill level in the use of a knife as a self-defense weapon there must be some basic level of training and regular practice.
As a person improves their experience, knife fighting skills that are taught in the beginning will merge with the other elements of fighting to produce a better-trained combatant.
There are many videos and methods for using a knife. The method described here has stood the test of time. We have tried many others and always come back to this method and its a great starting point if you choose to learn others.
In this video, we are going to illustrate a folding knife attack as it one of the most popular EDC in America.
How Dangerous Are Knives
In law enforcement, there is a controversial principle called the “21-Foot Rule”. It is a measure of distance that relates to the time it would take an officer to recognize a threat, draw a sidearm, and fire two rounds center mass against an attacker charging with a knife or other stabbing weapon. The controversy centers around the distance and time.
Too close - dont underestimate the knife
Putting the distance debate aside, one only has to appreciate the danger that a fully armed and bullet prove vested police officer has against such a primitive weapon. The concern that law enforcement has about edged weapons and the training they go through reveals how dangerous these weapons are.
3 Elements of Using a Knife In Self Defense
Draw The Knife
Table The Knife
Defend With The Knife
Training video: Start slow focus on getting the movement down the speed will come in time.
Basic Knife Draw, Table, and Movement
Knife Grips- How to Hold a Knife
The best way to hold the knife is either with the straight saber grip or the reverse grip.
1. Hybrid Saber Grip (below). Grip the knife in the strong hand by forming a "vee" and by allowing the knife to fit naturally, as in gripping for a handshake.
The handle should be positioned diagonally across the palm. Point the blade toward the enemy, usually with the cutting edge down.
The cutting edge can also be held vertically or horizontally to the ground. Use the straight grip when thrusting and slashing.
2. Reverse Grip or Icepick grip is when you hold the knife with the blade held parallel with the forearm, cutting edge facing outward.
This grip conceals the weapon from the attacker's view. This grip also affords the most power for insertion. Use this grip for slashing, stabbing, and tearing. Reverse Grip is the preferred method for close-quarters fighting in an automobile or narrow hallway.
Drawing The Knife Step By Step
Raise your free hand to protect your draw of foul opponents draw at the while driving your knife hands thumb deep into your pocket position thumb forefinger below the clip.
Pull straight up
Rolling blade over
Open in reverse guard to protect your draw from being followed and fouled.
Failed or Fouled Knife Draws
When you have a failed draw, work through them to the end. Do not just reset or call a do-over. Fouled knife draws are mini pressure tests and an opportunity to work through them to the end. We left many in the video as examples. Some are obvious some are less so because they worked through.
Self Defense Stabbing Angles of Knife Attack
The retraction of the knife is just as important as the strike.
Stright Up- targeting the neck, throat, or thoracic cavity
Hook Upper- 45 degrees targeting into neck, throat, thoracic cavity or heart
Awkard angle 45 degrees targeting pectoral
Upper- targeting rib cage pectoral muscle
Awkard Backhand Upper- targeting rib cage pectoral muscle
Straight forward thrust- targeting the abdomen or thoracic cavity
Self Defense Slashing Angles Of Knife Attack
Any attack, regardless of the type of weapon, can be directed along with one of nine angles of attack. The numbers represented below are the times on a clock. For Example, 2-7 is from the 2 o'clock position to the 7 o'clock position.
2-7 Angle of Attack. A downward diagonal slash, stab or strike toward the left side of the attacker's head, neck, or torso.
11-5 Angle of Attack. A downward diagonal slash, stab or strike toward the right side of the attacker's head, neck, or torso.
3-9 Angle of Attack. A horizontal attack to the left side of the attacker's torso in the ribs, side, or hip region.
9-3 Angle of Attack. The same as No.3 angle, but to the right side.
12-6 Angle of Attack. An attack directed straight down upon the attacker.
5-11 Angle of Attack. An upward diagonal attack toward the attacker's lower-left side.
7-1 Angle of Attack. An upward diagonal attack toward the attacker's lower-right side.
6-12 Angle of Attack. An attack directed straight up-for example, to the attacker's groin.
Self Defense Knife Attack Strategy
Create a circle of defense and let the attacker feed you a target. Attack his weapons if the enter the circle, hands, arms as well as body.
Basic Types of Self Defense Knives
Folding Knife on Right in Photo- More compact and has a utilitarian look making it more socially acceptable in most places of US however it has more moving parts that require more training.
Fixed Blades on Left in Photo- Easier and faster to draw, harder to conceal and may raise some eyebrows if seen.
It's important to note you do not need a $200 knife. Try a couple of styles and pick one that fits your lifestyle
Blade length- Smaller is preferred for carrying in everyday life. Plus 2.5 - 3.5 inches blade length won't raise eyebrows.
Overall the best knife for you is the one that is balanced to your weight and strength.
Practice handling knives during downtime.
Knife Fighter's Stance.
In this stance, the fighter stands with his feet about shoulder-width apart, lead foot toward the rear. About 70 percent of your weight is on the front foot and 30 percent on the rear foot.
You stand on the balls of both feet and holds the knife with a straight saber grip. The other hand is in a high ready position held close to his body where it is ready to use but protected.
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