Preparing for the Harsh Reality of a Knife Assault

At the bottom of this post is a link to an excellent article analysing videos of knife assaults and finding the commonalities in a true knife assault rather than what is often thought of as a knife attack.

The article points out the very real issue of the lack of expertise in defending against knife assaults. How many experiences does it take to be an expert? How many people have multiple experiences against a knife assault? How then can we deal with something when you cannot become an expert through experience? My approach was the same as I see this article took – study and figure out what a real knife assault would be and try your best to prepare for that.

A quick summary of what the article found, and I won’t go into the detail as the article does so very well, is:

• 71.1% of knife attacks are led with the empty hand
• Most knife attacks are ambushes, not duels
• 70.6% of knife attacks are launched within 3 feet of the victim
• Knife attacks are fast and furious
• Knife attacks don’t last long
• Knife attacks are more often performed with quick, short, repetitive stabs at different angles

Before I carry on let me point out this refers to the majority (70%+) of attacks, there are still 30% that can be from a distance and large movements etc., so there are no absolutes in how a knife will come at you but not only does this describe the majority of attacks but also that those are the hardest to deal with.

These attacks are exactly what my book “Watch Out For the Pointy End” hopes to help people train for.

My approach does not have you dealing with those attacks at the start. Those dangerous hard attacks are where the book goes; however, you do not learn to hit a baseball by swinging at 90 mph fast balls because you have to learn the skills and principles required before you give that a go. I take the same approach in the book beginning with attacks from a distance and in front of you. Then the distance shrinks and the attacks uses shorter movements and things get tougher.

In addition, you have to have the method and skills to deal with the “quick, short repetitive stabs” before you try and deal with them. Also, keep in mind the best ambushes come from behind or from the side. This is where the operant conditioning of the first response comes in for the book.

I have done my best to present a method to try and progressively prepare for this dangerous topic but I want to add that, as much as I think the book can give you, it isn’t magic, and you must put in the time and practice to get the skills and to condition the tactical habit to be able to survive the fury of a knife assault.

If you have the will and desire the book can give you a decent path to improve your odds of survival. Of course, survival is a result of the totality of circumstances and facing a real knife assault puts you in a bad place from the get go. All of which means, for me, you need to work hard, hence my focus on knife defence for the past few decades.

Watch Out for the Pointy End

Self-defence against knife attacks: a full review