A knife attack is potentially the scariest of all defensive encounters. Have you trained to do what you must in the moment against a knife attack? It’s an important part of Active Self Protection!
Original video of the knife attack: https://get-asp.com/1g64
News story with more details (Google Translate from Spanish required): https://get-asp.com/gn5a
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves from a knife attack?
- 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 a knife attack that begins at close distance, and have the empty-handed skills to defend ourselves.
- 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!
- A real knife attack does not happen like you’ve seen in Hollywood. A real knife attack is 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 root word of gunfight is “fight,” not “gun.” Whether you carry a firearm or not, recognize that you need to know how to fight and protect yourself against an attacker! Even if you do carry a firearm, you need empty-handed skills to be able to fight your way to your gun or defend yourself before you get the opportunity to draw. To think otherwise is madness. This bus driver was ambushed and couldn’t have drawn a firearm immediately; he had to deal with the knife attack first.
- 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 or as in this knife attack, just someone in the vicinity who will help you), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. 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.
- If you don’t have a force multiplier in the fight but the attacker does, to defend yourself you must know how to either close the distance to get your hands into the fight or stay out of range of their force multiplier. In this knife attack the bus driver chose to keep his distance by using his longest natural weapon, his leg. That was a very smart move!
- The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed attacker like this 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 a knife attack. 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.
- Fights are physically demanding. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill! This knife attack was about 45 seconds of actual fighting…and that’s a LOT.
- Many attackers use their support or guard side arm as a leveraging tool, holding their opponent with it either to guard their strong hand (with a force multiplier in it, often) or to put their intended victim at the preferred distance for their dominant hand to strike with maximum effect. It gives them leverage, which is why we call it a leveraging arm. You have to train repeatedly as a self-defender against the leveraging arm so that you can deal with it before the dominant arm comes into play. This knife attack shows how important the leveraging arm is to a defender!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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