Knife Defense

Knife defense is often a taboo subject among traditional martial arts schools. In fact, most schools require their students to earn a black belt before they even consider teaching knife tactics.  This is in part due to the violent unforgiving nature of a knife.  No matter how skilled you are no one walks away “clean” or unscathed from a knife fight.  However, knife defense is becoming more and more of a reality for our world especially with so many countries having strict gun laws.  With that in mind I do practice and teach a form of knife defense at my school.

During one of my classes I was asked a scenario question.  The scenario was if you needed to approach a suspicious group of men and as a safety precaution you draw your belt clip knife but don’t unfold it….

The problem with carrying a knife or any self defense tool is our instincts go first to that tool.  We are intelligent creatures we make tools.  Our tools are what put us at the top of the food chain.  No one is going to painstakingly hand drill a screw into a piece of wood if there is a power drill near by.   Except for re-en-actors and hobbyists, we be crazy like that.  We are going to use our tools.  Self defense is the same way.  Weapons are equalizers and give you an advantage in a fight its the entire reason why the human race created them in the first place.

Without a knife you are forced to think of other solutions to your problem.  Can you talk your way out of it?  Are there other objects in the area you could use?  Do you practice and have faith in your self defense skills?  For the average person drawing a knife, gun, or any other weapon should be your absolute last resort.  There are too many things that can go wrong, or if they go right you have law enforcement and court to face.  We are not living in a dueling society anymore.

However, if you are a member of law enforcement or military and it is part of your job to go into dangerous situations then chances are you are carrying a knife among many other things.  I would still question the scenario mentioned before.  If you pull a knife in preparation of a possible threat then you are going to be thinking about how you can use your knife.  In short you are setting yourself up to escalate the situation.  If you have any desire to deescalate the situation I would not draw my weapon prematurely.  Instead learn to master range, situational awareness, body language, and other skills as part of martial arts.  If you keep yourself out of range you will have a fraction of an extra reaction time.  Anyone who has ever been in a fight knows things can escalate quickly.  If you have situational awareness keep the group in front of you.  Don’t let someone circle behind you.  If you can read body language watch their hands, are they hiding something?  There are so many elements that go into a fight why limit yourself on your options?

Be safe, be smart, and train hard.  Good training will never fail you.

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