WARNING: GRAPHIC. Are you prepared for a real knife attack? Not a Hollywood scene, but a real life, honest-to-goodness knife attack? An awful lot of training I see out there is directed towards single attacks and telegraphed movement, but Active Self Protection exists to realities of attacks so that we can learn how to defend ourselves from what really happens.
How do I protect myself against a knife?
- It takes great emotional fitness to really survive a knife attack when you’re unarmed. Emotional fitness, the ability to present a situation to ourselves so as to strengthen our inner self to face and overcome the situation, can be trained and must be maximized. It is scary stuff to fight against a knife-wielding attacker, but doing it in training again and again can give us confidence and inner strength to do so successfully. So hit the mat!
- Recognize that real-life knife attacks are fast, brutal, repeated, and not telegraphed. I see a lot of “knife techniques” in martial arts and combative schools taught against a single thrust with the assumption that the defender will stop the attack and disarm the attacker on the first strike, but that is not really realistic in my opinion unless you’re a master who gets really lucky as well. The best you can probably hope for in real life is to deflect the first attack and buy a brief moment to weather the ambush and regain composure for the second strike that is coming immediately.
- The Five Ds are the larger general principle to work on when facing an armed opponent, and this holds true for knife attacks again and again. Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. If you practice them as principles to prioritize in self-defense they will certainly help you in a real fight.
- Empty-handed skills are crucial in surviving a knife attack. I carry a firearm every day and recommend that you do, too, but there is no way that you will be able to immediately draw a firearm in this kind of attack. You must have empty-handed skills to weather the ambush to get to your gun!
- Spiritual fitness is the foundational fitness and the foundation of covering your ASP. Several of these victims simply didn’t survive the ambush, and there is no guarantee any of us will either in a real ambush against a knife-wielding attacker. Make peace with God so that if today is your day to meet your Creator, you’re ready! And then train like you want that meeting to be a long ways down the road.
These are the Student Bonuses
These are the Teaching Points