Would you have been able to protect yourself after the initial attack here? I don’t think that every attack is preventable, and even practicing Active Self Protection isn’t proof against being ambushed. But this stabbing shows us that our response to the ambush is important, and even life-saving.
Original video of the stabbing: https://get-asp.com/1z33
News story of the stabbing: https://get-asp.com/7usu
What does this video teach us about protecting ourselves from a stabbing?
- 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.
- Knife attacks do 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.
- As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!
- If you don’t have a force multiplier in the fight but the attacker does, to defend yourself you must know how to close the distance to get your hands into the fight. A firearm has significant distance advantage, and a smart attacker will keep it out of range from your hands. If you do choose to fight back, you MUST close the distance to get the gun out of the fight before he can use it against you. That usually will involve feigned compliance and redirection as well as waiting for the right opportunity to move.
- First aid skills are important. 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) 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.