GRAPHIC: Real-Life Knife Attacks Caught On Video


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.


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Video Lessons

How do I protect myself against a knife?

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

Student Bonuses

These are the Student Bonuses

Teaching Points

These are the Teaching Points

Disabled Does Not Mean Defenseless!

At Active Self Protection we talk about disabled self defense with some regularity. You’ve got to be your own self-defender, and this guy certainly was!


The interview with the good guy is awesome: What a stud!

More on the story here:

What does disabled self defense look like?

1. All self-defense starts with attitude. I love the interview with Larry, the Good Samaritan. I love that he says he is just doing what he was raised to do, which is help people. The baseline of all self-defense, let alone disabled self defense, is an attitude that says that you are worth protecting and that everyone has value, worth, and dignity. Attitude First!


2. I love that the defender did not consider his disability (which he got from an ATV accident a decade before) a detriment. He had the ability to protect himself and the clerk who was being assaulted by the robber, and he did. Self-defense is about what you CAN do, not about what you CAN’T do. So work with what you have! Paraplegic? Learn to use your arms effectively. Missing a hand? Use your other, your legs, and whatever you have. It’s all about what you have, not about what you might not.

3. The good guy had some skills here. Some might think that his skills were lacking because the guy got out of his holds, but any jiu jitsu practitioner can tell you that holds and locks are much tougher against a non-compliant opponent. He did what he needed to do to get the robber off the woman, and his skills were good! He had a rear naked and a guillotine in there at one point.


4. The other shoppers didn’t fall victim to the Bystander Effect, and that’s tremendous. Because the first person stepped in, the others were spurred to action. Frankly, if you see a guy in a wheelchair stepping in and you don’t help him, shame on you! These other people stepped in and lent a hand as well, which is fantastic. Perhaps they could use some work on their swarm tactics, but that’s forgivable at this point.

5. Convenience stores are transitional spaces. Be extra careful in transitional spaces because they are frequent places of danger. When you’re in transitional spaces, be careful!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.