Not every knife attack comes from where you might expect it! Does the source of this knife attack surprise you or make you consider how your Active Self Protection would have helped you? This security guard might not be young, but he stayed in the fight!
Original video of the knife attack: https://get-asp.com/rt9m
Brief news story of the knife attack: https://get-asp.com/25q3
What does this security guard teach us about defending ourselves against a knife attack?
- The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, as in this knife attack, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something (which this knife attack also features). If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands!
- If your awareness is solid, you should get plenty of pre-attack cues from a robber or other attacker. If you’re paying attention to your surroundings and the people in your vicinity it becomes a lot easier to see who is out of place! Look for people lurking and not doing what everyone else is doing, or covering their face or head when that’s not necessary (like inside or when it’s warm out). Watch for furtive glances which are an indicator that they are looking for potential witnesses to their actions. Check hands as well to see if they have anything in them or are hiding unnaturally in pockets. If you see a pattern that makes you uncomfortable, move from condition yellow to condition orange and take action to investigate or move to safety. The news story on this knife attack said that it was a conflict that escalated to the knife attack, which means there were likely clues ahead of the actual stabbing.
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders. I am not blaming the elderly security guard for the knife attack at all; we must be aware of the fact that he might have been able to end it at the verbal phase if he knew how and was willing!
- To defend against a knife attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. To stay in the fight during a knife attack is not easy emotionally, so training is key!
- It is 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 and expect to be hurt defending yourself against a knife attack. 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- First aid skills are important, especially in the aftermath of a knife attack. If you’re going to train and prepare to take a life to defend yourself, you should also have skills, training, and equipment to save life should you need to. (I carry an individual first aid kit at a minimum: http://amzn.to/1Or4yVz ) Often that will not involve defensive encounters, and in a defensive encounter your primary responsibility is to yourself and your loved ones.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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