Knives terrify people who aren’t prepared to deal with the realities of being attacked with a blade. That’s why knives can give criminals a great sense of power. And that’s the primary reason why thugs employ them to commit crimes.
Furthermore, knives are easy to acquire. They are available at every turn; just look in your kitchen and you will likely find something with an edge.
For all those reasons, you should consider carrying your own knife so you can better protect yourself. Today, I want to show you the right way to fight with a knife as part of our series on Tactical Operations or TACOP.
For this TACOP, it’s important to note that even though criminals use knives, they rarely know how to use the edged weapons properly in combat. This is why it is especially critical for you, as a concerned citizen operator (CCO), to learn blade-combat skills so you can have a tactical advantage when things go south.
And if you need additional incentive to learn how to protect yourself with a knife, how about this: Lone actors – such as hostile active killers and terrorists who want to kill and maim innocent people – require far less planning with a knife. Knives are more difficult to detect, and can be used to execute attacks with little skill. For these reasons, law enforcement is unlikely to prevent these types attacks, which will probably increase in regularity around the globe.
By understanding the possibility of being targeted by a knife-wielding maniac, you will hopefully adopt a serious level of 360-degree situational awareness so that you can more rapidly recognize an imminent attack. In my world, we call this attack recognition. The faster you identify that an attack is coming, the more rapidly you can respond.
Let me make this point clear so that all my gun-toting friends out there don’t kick back comments such as: “Why use a knife when I have my firearm?” This article is about using a knife as an effective weapon in personal defense. One of the things I learned long ago is that you must train in all types of weapons. And when it comes to a knife attack, you cannot always assume you will have the time to get out your firearm.
If you have never experienced the violent nature and more importantly the proximity of a knife attack, I can tell you it is unlike anything you have ever experienced.
A knife is a point-of-contact weapon, which means the attacker must get close enough to slash or stab you. To do this, the thug must usually surprise you.
However, once an attacker gets inside the “sterile zone” – an invisible five-foot radius that surrounds you – it’s nearly impossible for even seasoned gunfighters to draw their weapon before the attacker has that knife in them. As a matter of fact, most times, you will need to resort to empty-handed skills and then transition to your weapon once you have created time and space.
And then there are the folks who, for whatever reason, do not want to carry a firearm. A blade is a decisive alternative, and with some training, it can give you a fantastic advantage. My purpose here is not to give you a course in edged-weapon combat, something that took me a lifetime to learn. However, what I can do is offer you some basics on how to win a knife fight.
One last thing before we get into the mechanics and tactical operation of the knife. This is in no way meant to be any complete guide to knife fighting.
I am not making any distinction here as to whether you are using a tactical folding knife, a fixed blade or the claw-shaped karambit, which is popular in Southeast Asia.
And I’m not going to discuss presentation methods because there are so many inherent differences that exist between each of these weapons and because all their applications are far too complex to cover in this article. Today’s lesson is only meant as an introduction to employing your knife as a tool to stop violence.
When the K Wave crashes into the American economy … You’ll either be one of the lucky few who are rich and secure; or one of the millions who are hungry, desperate, and afraid. Now you might be tempted to say, “Dow 31,000 sounds pretty good to me, Larry, I’ll just hold onto my U.S. stocks and watch them double in value.” In other words, you might be tempted to sit tight and do nothing. But sitting tight is the worst thing you could do, for three reasons … to find out what those reasons are click here before it’s too late!
Combative Blade Handling
Combative blade handling refers to how you grasp the handle of the knife in relationship to its point while you employ your tactics.
Preferably, you will want to point the blade tip toward the threat. This direction of the blade tip increases efficiency relative to your application, tactics, and posturing during the engagement. The restrictions or limitations in blade handling can only be gauged by the experience of the combatant, and the allowances of the specific weapons being utilized.
For our conversation, we will review two different grips. The first is the ”Forward Grip” or “Saber Grip,” sometimes referred to as the “Underhand Grip.” The Forward Grip is as simple as shaking someone’s hand.
Start by taking a firm grip on the hilt, wrap your fingers tightly around the underside and seal the grip by covering the top finger with your thumb. Always keep the blade point in the same path as your first target objective. This can increase your response interval should there be a counterstrike from the primary target.
|The Forward Grip is as simple as shaking someone’s hand.|
This grip has a variety of functional capabilities, including thrusting and stabbing motions, as well as cutting and slashing.
The forward grip also allows great flexibility in redirecting your thrust and slashes, without losing accuracy. If you let the butt end of the handle protrude from your grip, you can utilize the knife handle as a striking or impact weapon as well.
The second grip, called the “Reverse Grip,” or “Ice Pick Grip,” allows the individual to generate tremendous penetrating power by shifting his body weight to the front leg, and driving the entire weight of his body through the target.
|Use the powerful Reverse Grip for stabbing, thrusting, ripping and tearing.|
Simply place the handle of the blade in the palm of your hand with the point facing downward, and the edge facing in toward your arm.
Make sure your fingers and thumb are wrapped tightly around the handle for better control and retention.
The Reverse Grip is used mainly in stabbing, and thrusting, as well as ripping- or tearing-type attacks.
Guarding and Protective Measures
By using your non-knife hand – aka your “support hand” or “live hand” – in a very compressed posture and by positioning it vertically on either side of your head or behind your eyes (so you can maintain peripheral vision), you will be better prepared to use the hand and arm to protect some of your vitals.
Always use a compressed and guarded stance so that you keep the knife tight to your body for retention and keep your live hand ready to protect or clear.
In addition, consider blading your stance (turning 45 degrees to the threat) toward the attacker to minimize your profile. You will however have to decide whether you want to keep your weapon side back to further assist you with weapon retention or want to lead with your strong or knife side.
Leading with the knife can both extend your reach with the weapon and dictate a more aggressive posture toward the attacker to show that you are prepared to fight. The desired outcome of “leading” is to make them re-think if they want to continue to attack. Technically, you are interrupting the attacker’s OODA loop, the decision cycle that goes Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Fittingly, this cycle was first identified by the military.
Lastly, make sure you rotate your knife hand so that your inside forearm is close to your rib cage and so that the palm of your knife hand is facing the deck. This keeps the flexor surface of the forearm that contains major vessels and nerves away from the attacker.
When your life is on the line, you must have a very clear picture of exactly what you want to target. So, knowing a little anatomy goes a long way.
|Don’t stab or slash blindly – aim for these major blood vessels.|
By zeroing-in on major blood vessels you are much more likely to stop the threat faster in a life-or-death confrontation than say by slashing their forearm. One of the most vulnerable targets is the femoral artery located along the inside of the thigh. Though set fairly deeply in the thigh, it’s often left unguarded in the heat of combat.
However, if you are seeking to change the attacker’s level of commitment, then employing the “one piece at a time” concept may be applicable. What I am referring to here is targeting the limbs, disabling them one at a time until the attacker is convinced to stop.
Additionally, by being able to specifically, and methodically target a specific anatomical area, you have greater flexibility and control over the level of force required to defuse and survive the conflict.
Angles of Attack
If you are going to survive and win against a violent attacker, then you must adopt a combat mindset. Having the combat mindset means you are going to execute offensive tactics. There can be no “politically correct” mumbo-jumbo when your life is literally on the line.
The only way to deal with violence is to become the tip of the spear. The concept of “self-defense” has been drilled into your head. It has been repeated over and over again in the media until it seems to make perfect sense. But, the “self-defense” mindset leads exactly to the actions that will get you killed.
No, self-defense is neither what I do nor what I teach. I teach winning, because if you or your loved ones are being viciously attacked and you think you will get away with “defending yourself,” the outcome will be bleak at best.
|You can stand in front of a mirror and practice making these slashes and thrusts.|
The Six Angles of Attack paint a very clear methodology for employing your blade in a manner that you decide is congruent with the threat. They map out your strikes and they can be rehearsed!
The Six Angles of Attack
No. 1. From the 12 o’clock down to the 6 o’clock.
No. 2. From the left side of the neck – carotid artery and shoulder down and out the right biceps or forearm.
No. 3. From the right side of the neck – carotid artery and shoulder down and out the left biceps or forearm.
No. 4. From the left abdominal wall to the right; these slashes will “blue worm” or “gut” the attacker. They are executed horizontally and directed above the belt line but below the ribs.
No. 5. From the right abdominal wall to the left and cuts through the abdomen in a horizontal plane that mirrors No. 4. Again, below the rib line and above the belt line.
No. 6. In an exception to all the other five angles, this strike is actually a thrust. It is directed to the left chest wall and heart. Depending upon the circumstances, you can also elect to thrust to the throat or face and call it a “high six” or to thrust to lower abdomen and call it a “low six.”
Key Points to Remember
A. Change the attacker’s level of commitment by “taking one piece at a time” whenever possible rather than simply going for the kill.
B. Remember this is not a fistfight where there is some margin for error. In a knife fight, there is no margin for error.
C. Be certain of your actions, but be adaptable to the dynamics of the situation.
D. Be prepared with the combat mindset to execute offensive tactics when necessary.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!