Terrifying Knife Attack Caught On Video

A real-life knife attack is a terrifying ordeal. This officer-involved confrontation out of the UK provides some interesting lessons in Active Self Protection for fighting off a knife attack. How would you have dealt with this attack?

Original video:

News report of the attack:

How do I protect myself against a knife attack?

1. You just don’t see a knife attack 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. In this instance the attacker was clearly not really intending to harm the officers because he easily could have.

2. You must know the range of your force multiplier and the range of various force multipliers that might be used against you. Knives are short-range, fast moving force multipliers. A baton is a medium-range, medium speed force multiplier. A pepper spray or CS gas canister is a long-range, medium speed force multiplier. To fight against an attack you want to have a force multiplier that is longer range, faster, or ideally both!

3. To defend against this kind of 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. The officers in this video both were emotionally fit and handled their business quite well!

4. 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. 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. In this instance the partners worked together well, and it paid off for sure.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of

Good Samaritan Bravely Stops Murderer

Does your Active Self Protection extend to the defense of others, or do you keep to yourself? I think each person has to make that determination on their own and live with their reasoning, but this Good Samaritan is to be commended in my book!

Original video:

News story (Google Translate required):

What do we learn from this Good Samaritan?

1. There are really two reactions to these kinds of scenarios: those who run TO danger and those who run AWAY from it. Neither is inherently wrong, because the man who ran away wasn’t required by any moral code to get involved. However, the man who risked himself to stop the gunman certainly deserves our admiration for looking out for people and for stopping murder. That’s commendable. We must all make these determinations in advance.

2. The woman in this video knew the murderer was problematic, and that her boyfriend had problems with the murderer before this. If you know that you have problems with someone, be aware and be careful in their presence!

3. Breaking the Bystander Effect takes one determined person. Once someone breaks through to help stop the threat, others often jump in to help as well. Once the hero stepped in, others stepped in to help him subdue the gunman and end the threat.

4. That said, you must be ready and willing to stop the threat on your own! Don’t assume others will help you. The hero here might have thought his friend who had the other end of the mattress would aid him in stopping the murderer, but that doesn’t appear to have happened. You’ve got to have the attitude, skills, and plan to do it on your own.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Off Duty Officer Murdered With His Own Gun

At Active Self Protection we talk a lot about knowing how to fight in close quarters with your firearm. Have you trained in this kind of scenario against having your firearm taken from you? I hate seeing any off duty officer murdered (or anyone murdered!), so let’s learn something from his senseless murder so that nothing similar happens to any of us.

Original video with some details and commentary (I do not speak Portuguese so I don’t know what the audio commentary is):

What do we learn here about deadly force encounters?

1. A firearm is not a magic talisman that wards away danger. Many people think that having a firearm with them keeps them safe, but this off duty officer murdered in cold blood shows us that there is more to it than that. A gunfight is a fight with a gun, and you have to be ready to win the fight in whatever form it comes at you. A firearm can be a very effective force multiplier but you’ve got to have the ability to fight.

2. As Skip Hancock has taught me, “The ground must be your friend and not your enemy.” If you choose to go to the ground, and you choose to fight off your back, you need to have the skills and plan to be effective from there. Spending time on the mat training is the only way to get it! This doesn’t mean you need to earn a brown belt in BJJ, but it does mean that you need to be comfortable fighting off your back and know how to win a fight in that situation.

3. Range is everything with force multipliers. A firearm is an extremely long range, fast moving force multiplier, so you need to either be completely out of range (behind cover or more than 25 yards away for handguns) or be inside its effective range. When the murderer got the gun away and a little bit of distance from the officer, he caught the officer in no-man’s land where the murderer was at perfect range to deliver killing blows, and the officer was out of contact range and unable to defend himself. That’s where murders happen.

4. We say it regularly, ASPers, but spiritual fitness is important. When we see an off duty officer murdered, or anyone murdered, it reminds us that life is short and there are no guarantees of tomorrow. Make sure you’re at peace with God as part of your attitude, skills, and plan. Tell your family that you love them regularly and live life in such a way that if today is your day, you don’t leave with regrets.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Two Police Officers Murdered In Cold Blood On Camera

Are you ready in the moment to fight like your life depends on it? Are you ready at the end of that fight, no matter how hard you tried, to meet your Maker? Of course, we never want to see police officers murdered, or anyone else for that matter. At Active Self Protection, both concepts are important, and these officers needed both in their moment of need.

News story:

Original videos: and

What do we learn from these police officers murdered?

1. Spiritual fitness is important, ASPers. There is nothing you can do apart from living on a deserted island to completely prevent an ambush from getting you, so you need to be at peace with God as a self-defender.

2. Situational awareness is critical to all self-defenders. These two police officers murdered both gave up their awareness at the same time, and that was a major factor in their deaths. If you have a partner (be it a fellow officer or a spouse or your BFF) with you, then you can at times give primary responsibility to one or the other to allow one to “check out” for a bit. The key is not to let both check out at once!

3. The first officer complied and died anyway. The second officer tried to fight back, and died as well. No strategy is fool-proof. At least the second officer went down fighting! Neither was an acceptable outcome, but the second one had a chance of succeeding at least.

4. The problem for the first officer was that when he felt the gun at his head, his reaction was to cower. There are plenty of solutions to this problem if you’ve got the Attitude, Skills, and Plan to execute them, but if you’re not practiced and drilled and competent you’ll hesitate like this man did, and unfortunately likely die.

5. The problem for the second officer was twofold: (1) he had two and at one point three guns on him, and (2) he tried to draw on a drawn gun. That’s a dying man’s game for sure, but he might have stood a chance had he moved IN on the gun and practiced the Five Ds, using the first murderer as a shield between him and the others. It is low probability, but he was a dead man anyway so some chance is better than none!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

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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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.

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