Knife Defence

Whenever you see in a movie a guy fighting one or more attackers armed with knives don’t believe what you are seeing: most of the times it’s rubbish.  I have seen lots of knife defence that simply won’t work when, in the street, a random guy (or girl) pulls out a knife and try stabbing your guts or slashing your throat.   I am sorry to say but too many teachers out there give to their students a false illusion about how easy it may be disarming an attacker carrying knife and bad intentions toward you.

At the same time there are a few styles that seem more realistic about how to deal with armed attackers.  In fact I am inclined to follow the logic that a style that trains weapons to start with, like most styles from Indonesia and the Philippines, and move toward bare handed fighting at a later stage (e.g. when you loose your weapon you should/must carry on fighting).

I am personally terrified of edged weapons because of my relatively short experience and lack of continuous practice.  Although I probably have the knowledge and skill to fight and defeat a random attacker from the street in a life or death situation I am always hoping that day will never come.  I have been following Maul Mornie for some time and he never fails to impress me with his very logical, essential and wise defence techniques.  Please have a look at this video and let me have your comments:

11 thoughts on “Knife Defence

  1. Hey I’m with you: knives are scary and most knife training is rubbish. (X-block… who buys that?!)

    The video lacks an attacker with, what I figure would be, a normal, jabby, you’re-not-gonna-steal-my-knife kind of attitude.

    That would be hard to beat.

  2. @s.smith thanks for the comment: this video is just an example of many and I have have seen Maul defending against all sorts of attacks. Have a look at his channel on YouTube and you’ll be amazed. Happy New Year!

  3. Yeah…I like his work. He has some nice, clean video shots and effective work.

    And the problem of the ineffective attack is common throughout martial arts, not isolated here. It’s just hard to act like a real, nasty guy-with-a-knife, and it’s therefore hard to create realistic scenarios.

    But, again…I like his stuff. He gets pretty real.

  4. In (flippant) contrast, I never cease to be amazed by how crappy Steven Seagal’s knife-wielding looks in movies, and yet he’s supposed to Know Stuff.

    Could it be that techniques which look good on film (to the untrained eye) are usually not the ones most effective in practice? :O

  5. @Wez movies are mostly seen by people that neither are trained in martial arts or have experience of street fighting involving knives. I believe Seagal is good at Aikido but, because this art was nearly unknown when he started acting and Hollywood needs action movies, he added other martial arts techniques and an increasing number of gun fighting. Personally if I think about a typical Seagal’s knife fight like the one vs. Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege, I just think how impossible for two guys to carry on fighting for minutes receiving just minor cuts while holding a sharp knife each… Knife fighting is about killing in a short time, less then 3 seconds, rather than carrying on for ages.

  6. I agree. Most knife defence instruction is complete crap. There is a very poor understanding of just how lethal a knife can be. To me, the most dangerous knife wielder is the 14yr old male. No understanding of the consequences, he looks at everyone else in a very disassociated manner which enables him to easily dehuminse his victim. And he attacks in a very sewing machine fashion. Very quick, in out in out over and over. Unpredictable.

    May I direct you to a YouTube video which demonstrates what an edged weapon can do to flesh.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9xJejkInvE

  7. @Adam thanks for your very useful comment: I already saw the video you suggested and you are right it’s a very eye opener for the amount of damage that an apparently unoffensive object like a credit card or a pen can do.

  8. An interesting current subject with the rise in knife related crime its something we should consider I think and learn more about.

    Ive seen and practiced a few different ways of basic knife defence..(saw it being taught to 8yr olds in a TKD class once and was appalled!)..I have been taught some methods during my time serving in the Royal Marines and with Filipino arts during seminars (Jude Tucker and Pat o Malley)and also with a previous Sifu Kevin Chan of Kamon Martial Arts..the overall ideas with all ive studied have been the same..it is IMPERATIVE you try to fully control the knife hand at all times should you HAVE to face the armed attacker…deflections and arm wraps are totally ineffective as the attacker will be tearing their arm out, knife in hand to use their main weapon..in the above clip it looks great but the attacker is stepping in half heartedly and keeping their arm extended nicely for the technique to be practiced…get students to wear old t shirts and arm them wuth marker pens and try this stuff..they will all be dead or cut to ribbons.

    With the filipino drills i saw i was blown away by the speed and co-ordination in dealing with a knife but impressed that these knife fighting masters ended the seminar by saying the chance of any of their stuff working at street level after 25 years of practice was about zero..but the awareness the drills provide may enable you to escape an armed attcker

  9. @Paul Blissett, thanks, great comment. Fighting a knife is clearly a non-exact science with lots of variables, impossible to predict. By no means anybody should feel safe in any of these situations but as it happens, having practiced some of these drills may give you an advantage on the situation.

  10. I have zero training in any kind of defense but as great as this looks it just looks too easy, if you know what I mean. In real life I think an attacker wouldn’t just extend his knife arm in an attempt to stab. It seems, at least in prison, that most are guys rushing up in your safe zone and stabbing over and over frantically. No, “I will now attempt a upper diagonal slash from the left…” kinda stuff where there is a particular technique to use to stop it. I saw some other guy who said just use both hands and get control of the weapon or arm attached long enough to get outta there. That seemed most realistic in an attack.

  11. @lumberjake thanks for your comment; having trained with Moul in a seminar I can assure that what he shows it can be done. However much you train you can never be sure the techniques will work 100%, that’s why best defence is always to avoid fights. Training is possibly helping to minimise damage and could help but things could always go wrong.

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