The Knife Defence Drills build the needed skills and conditioning

My knife defence book “Watch Out For The Pointy End” takes you through a learning process. It is not enough to simply hand you a technique to deal with the trauma of a knife assault you must also have the skills and principles to make that technique (or any technique) work.

The book contains two distinct types of drill:

1. Micro Moment Skill Set Drills
2. Operant Conditioning Drills

Micro Moment Skill Set Drill:

In the middle of chaos there are moments of opportunity and moments of necessity. Being able to take the right action in those moments requires skill. The way I approach that is to isolate those moments and focus on the skills needed. There are a number of these types of drills in the book each delivering a tool to work the skills. If those skills are not worked then you will struggle or fail later when testing against fast all out assaults.

The point of course is not to neglect those skill set drills and work them until you are very comfortable with them. Once you have them then you can leave them and only work them occasionally or when needed to sharpen those skills. The reason for this is that they are just a moment and while vital you don’t want to let the drill that drags that moment out in time to become thought of as defending against a knife. They aren’t, they are simply drills to gain a skill.

Operant conditioning Drills:

Once you have learned the technique and worked the skill set drills and begun to understand the principles required then you need to take them to the next level to build the tactical habits required to survive a knife assault. You must build responses to set cues. Habits work very simply there is a cue and you respond. This is different from the OODA loop (Observe, Orientate, Decide and Act).

The book also has a number of drills to condition certain factors: dealing with left or right-hand assaults, proper structure etc. but the main response is the first tactic in both the Distancing Tactic Set and the Closing Tactic Set: Avoid while intercepting the attack. If you are not stabbed in that first instance of the ambush, then you have the opportunity to fix things.

The book also gives you how to condition for that ambush when assault from behind, for either side and if take completely by surprise from the front.

This is the reason the book approaches knife defence the way it does, there is one initial response to an ambush which means there are no multitude of techniques to decide from. And, if you follow the book, you can build that one response for a grab and assault from any angle on you. It will not matter which hand they are grabbing you with or which has the weapon the moment you are touched either by a grab, or worse a stab, you will know how to respond with that one initial tactic. The simplicity of that singular response is what transfers to Operant Conditioning well.

The technique, the skills and the principles are the foundation, but the operant conditioning must be worked until it is habit.