Knife Defence Highlight #3

Note: I wrote an entire book on knife defence called “Watch Out For The Pointy End” so these are snippets and highlights only.

#3 Know what You want

If you have to decide in the moment of a brutal assault what it is you want to do then… It may be too late.

Making decisions ahead of time can put in place an idea of what it is you need to do and that gives you a framework to start with. I know I’m using some qualifies such as “start with” and that is because in the moment of chaos the hope of a plan going without an issue is just that – a hope. Everything will depend on the totality of circumstance and that brings in so many factors it is impossible to prepare for everything, but that doesn’t mean we do not prepare. The moment will depend on you, are you well, injured, tired, distracted, have you prepared properly etc. The moment will depend on the bad guy and if they are injured, high, size, strength, experience at assault etc. The moment will depend on location and terrain, do you have escape routes, are you close to a safe (or safer) location, is it dark, are their obstacles on the ground. And the moment may well depend on luck as well as other factors.

As much as there are things we cannot foresee and prepare for there are things we can prepare for. These are covered in my book and (with permission) make use of Rory Millers Goal – Strategy – Tactics – Techniques approach.

You want to be clear on your goal. I think for normal people the goal is to survive although I had discussion with a friend who thought that if faced with a knife assault I wouldn’t go for escape but would want to prove my approach worked. I explained if I escaped I survived, if I survived my approach worked I had nothing more to prove.

Once you decide on survive then you need to set the strategies that can make that happen. I set our four in the book: Escape, Distance and deploy or grab a weapon, Disable and Control. That is the order for citizens where there is no obligation to engage and works from the safest approach down to the least safe. For law enforcement it would look more like: Distance and Deploy a weapon, Control, Disable and Escape (call for backup).

You should decide which fits your personal circumstances more. A citizen shouldn’t go for control unless there is a reason for it because controlling a person who wants to knife you is exceptionally hard and much harder than disabling them. But control is a lot of fun to train so you can get caught up in training what is more fun rather than what you should do in a situation.

The book goes on to explain that to Escape or Distance and deploy (grab) a weapon you must distance yourself from the Aggressor, where to Disable or Control you have to be close to the Aggressor; therefore, when you move to tactics there has to be two sets: Distancing Tactics for Escape and Distance and Deploy (grab) a weapon and Closing Tactics for Disable and Control.

Once you set your goal you can set your strategy and then you can work out the tactics that get you there and from the tactics you can get to the nitty gritty details of the techniques to use. In the book I also go into great detail on the principles you need to use to make the techniques work.

Knowing what you want gives you a place to start and a focus for your training and preparation.

Highlight #3 Know what You want: means taking the time before the assault to determine what you want to do in that moment and what to train to accomplish that goal.