Dealing with Knife Attacks

Knife attacks are in the news--again. Primal and deadly. These attacks touch an inner fear. They are close, personal, and deadly--and in some cases, can last a long time in terms of violent encounters. Injury Dynamics teaches to go for an injury in contending with this type of attack. Easier said than done and it clearly requires some rewiring of our brains. Our instincts are to hold the attackers knife hand, but experience shows that this almost never works. A determined attacker will continue to alternate high and low and penetrate this type of defense. So without knowing any of the context of the video below we can learn some valuable lessons.

1. The attacker (the person with the knife) is able to get through the defensive postures of the two men. The attacker most likely could have pressed his attack to a fatal conclusion.

2. Holding something like the back pack in front of you did have a positive deterrent effect in this particular instance. But again, had the attacker pressed on, chances are he could have achieved a fatal outcome.

3. Slashing attacks produce terrible wounds but they are rarely fatal. Whereas stabbing attacks can penetrate and damage vital organs.

4. People can take a lot of trauma in such an attack and still have the ability to fight.

So how to contend? The best way to stop an attack is to be the more effective attacker. Shut off his brain and whatever is in his hand, be it a knife, gun, club or something else becomes a useless inanimate object. To achieve this we aim for injury until the other person becomes non-functional. Each one of our attacks should take something away from our antagonist. A finger to the eye takes his ability to see; a strike to the throat takes his ability to breathe; a kick to the groin achieves the same and sets up the next strike to lead him to non-functional.

The rewiring of our brains is necessary so we don't default to merely trying to stop the stabbing hand. We do this with visualization and through slow practice on the mats. Slow practice enables us to perfect our targeting. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Accurate targeting + knowing how to strike with maximum force = best chance of turning off his brain.