We don’t see a knife attack like they show in Hollywood very often, but this type of attack is much more typical. Jerusalem is a scary place right now, and we’re hoping the people there are practicing Active Self Protection! These kinds of attacks happen anywhere, so the lessons apply to us all.
This video is sponsored by CCWSafe, who I use to help me win the fight after the fight: https://get-asp.com/ccwsafe. I am a member and I recommend them highly; please go check them out and thank them for being a sponsor of our daily lessons!
Original video of the knife attack here: https://get-asp.com/g9vk
News story with details on the knife attack here: https://get-asp.com/qrae
How do I protect myself from a knife attack?
- If you know there might be danger around (and with the prevalence in Israel of this kind of knife attack, any soldier is in danger), you cannot stand there flat-footed with your hands at your side. That’s a great way to die. Instead, if you think danger might be coming but not imminent, get your hands up protecting your head, neck, and chest. I do this by tucking one hand under the other elbow, and the free hand on my chin as if I were in deep contemplation. Others do it using the “interview position” with both hands as if they’re holding a pad and pen; this is taught in many LEO academies. Getting your hands up shaves split seconds off of your reaction time, but that might make the difference between life and death in a knife attack.
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself from a knife attack or any other kind of attack.
- The concept of a reactionary gap is important to consider as self-defenders. This is normally taught as something like the “21-foot rule” against a knife attack, though that’s a principle and not a rule. As a self-defender if you’re in a situation where an attack is a possibility, leaving yourself some distance to allow for additional time to respond to an attack from ambush is very smart. Even 2 or 3 feet of additional space allows the reactionary gap to successfully defend the ambush and get into the fight.
- To defend against this kind of 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. Even after being stabbed you need to be able to stay in the fight, and training gives you the emotional fitness to do so.
- Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. This soldier had to use his empty-handed skills to protect himself from the knife attack before any of the other soldiers could possibly get their gun in the fight.
- A real knife attack does not happen like you’ve seen in Hollywood. Knife attacks 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, whether overhand like this or underhand.
- You must be able to fight and defend yourself from all different stages of action. One of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, likes to say that we must be able to fight wherever the fight happens to be! So whether we are at contact stage (just able to come in physical contact with our attacker), penetration stage (where attacks can contact and penetrate significantly), or manipulation stage (a clinch or similar where joint and body manipulations are possible), we must be able to use effective technique to protect ourselves. If you’re paying attention to this knife attack, the attacker grabbed the soldier by the neck, putting this fight at manipulation stage.
- If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. This knife attack shows the importance of teamwork! Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)