People ask all the time about surviving a knife attack, and what strategies work best. I am not at all saying this is the FIRST strategy to use, but it DOES provide something of a general principle for our Active Self Protection against a knife attack!
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Original video of the knife attack is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this brave intended victim teach us about surviving a knife attack?
- A Knife attack does not often 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. THAT is the kind of knife attack you need to be prepared for. That kind of ferocity is not often seen in most combatives or martial arts training, but it is what is necessary.
- 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. That said, the first rule of a knife attack is “don’t get stabbed!” Just like we don’t want to get shot in a gunfight, we don’t want to get stabbed in 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 if you do get 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.
- Since criminals are looking for victims and not fights, they tend to look for vulnerable people to target. Think about a pride of lions chasing wildebeest in Africa and you get the picture. They target the elderly, the young, and the sick for easier attack and greater success. Likewise, criminals pick victims who they think will not effectively resist them, or that the criminal can quickly overwhelm. This includes the elderly, the young (kids and early teens), the sick, and the distracted. Men (the overwhelming majority of attackers) also target women because women tend to be physically weaker than men. If you’re in a vulnerable population take extra precaution and train! I don’t know why this knife attack happened, but these rules generally apply and always help!
- You must know the range of your force multiplier and the range of various force multipliers that might be used against you. Knives are short-range, fast moving force multipliers. Firearms are extremely long-range, fast moving force multipliers. Generally, your legs are longer range than a knife attack can overcome, so use that to your advantage.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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