This officer had to act fast to protect himself from this knife attack! I don’t know the back story to this one, but we say again and again at Active Self Protection that a knife attack (or in this case, technically, it’s a cleaver attack)
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Original video of the attack on the officer is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
News story with more on the officer and attacker: https://get-asp.com/atcl
What does this officer teach us about defending ourselves against a knife attack?
- A knife attacks does not happen like you’ve seen in Hollywood. They are brutal, fast, and mean. Stabbing attacks do not generally come from slashes or from any notice whatsoever, but tend to come from concealment and repeatedly stab at a rate of 2-3 stabs per second. The only difference in this attack is because it was a cleaver and not a pointed blade, it was used to hack from the overhand rather than stab from the underhand. That hacking motion could as easily have been an icepick stab from a pointed knife as well, so knowing how to successfully defend that attack is important!
- It’s important to be trained and ready to protect yourself against a knife attack as it is against an attack with a firearm. FBI homicide data says that about 4 times the number of people are killed with handguns as with knives, but since gunshots are about four times more fatal than knife wounds, it means the number of attacks are probably similar! (if you look at the FBI data, hands and feet kill a lot of people, too!) This leads us to the principle that we must be ready for knife attacks that begin at close distance, and have the empty-handed skills to defend ourselves.
- It may be unrealistic to think that you can escape a knife attack unscathed; the old adage says that the loser of a knife fight dies at the scene while the winner dies on the way to the hospital. Rather, you should expect to be cut in the beginning of the attack and expect to be hurt defending yourself against a knife attack. This isn’t the goal of course (no one WANTS to be stabbed in a knife attack!), but gives you emotional fitness if you are attacked. If you get to the hospital with a pulse there’s over a 92% chance you’ll live through the encounter, so keep fighting even when you’re hurt!
- The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against a knife attack when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker.
- We must learn that our environment is everything in us, on us, and around us. When we get into a fight, we must use not only what is on US, but what is on our attacker as well! If we have to go hands on with an armed robber or mugger or other attacker, using what they bring to the fight is a wise strategy many times. That could be their clothing, a motorcycle helmet (whether on us or on them!), long hair, etc. Use everything at your disposal to win the fight!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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