We'll all agree that in order to adopt realistic methods of defence against knife attacks, we first need to understand how an attacker is most likely going to use his weapon. Yes? Too many times I have heard this particularly from 'Krav Maga' Although very popular as a self defence system and claiming tried and tested methods on the battlefield their methods are at times raised many questions. I say who cares how he uses his weapon. Its not the weapon that the danger its the attacker. If you take him out of the equation the 'Weapons is harmless' Remove him from the fight from the threat and the weapon is neutralise. We have also heard that the weapons is an extension of the opponents arm, however the thought of the 'knife hand ' removes all thought of an attacker simply with an 'extended arm ' .
Knife defence is the one of the most important aspect of modern martial arts self defence training. It is a weapon that is easily available and can be improvised as well as (screwdriver, ice pick, etc).
It is concealable and induced great fear even from the smallest of attackers. Unlike a gun, you need no technical skills to kill with it, it just need pure bad intent. Martial Arts are plagued with methods of self defence against a knife attacks. Instructors simply teach what was taught to them not knowing whether it would work or believing it would work. I have research many systems of self defence and evaluate whether their knife defences concepts and approaches are realistic. The truth is few teach the mental and the survival instinct, the training concept of relaxation and sharp focus and preparedness when facing what could be a fight for ones life. In 45 years of martial arts study I have been attacked with a knife. (A common occurrence in the Streets of London). At the moment of the attack all my training was forgotten and fear engulf my mind where the body followed by freezing. Slight human instinct kicked in where I removed my jacket and wrapped it around my forearm. Believing it could be used as a shield against either a 'slash' or a 'stab'. Nothing more came of that attack as the shout and threat of arriving police sent the individual running. From that confrontation I never forgot the fear that took over me and how do I deal with that? Why did I freeze? (After 6 years of Lau Gar Kung Fu at the time of the attack) I thought I would be adequately prepared. Wrong! The Truth? No amount of physical training alone cannot prepare you for the threat of a knife attack. To defend oneself effectively requires a trained physical and mental self. The ability to remain calm is harder than the physical sense but if the mind is frozen through fear the body will follow. Sure we need to train in the techniques, this requires physical action but simply systematically running through weapons defence routines will not give you the 'edge' if the situation were to arise. The Japanese 'Samurai Warriors' faced death duels as if making a cup of tea' Few understand this meaning. There is a proverb in the martial arts 'You learn techniques until all techniques are forgotten' So why train emphasising mental training and then asking to forget it all? This question is asked from numerous of my students and I have replied "ask me again in 1 years time and I will give you the answer". In classes I drill students on understanding not that not just the physical but the mental approach to martial arts training is important. Physical training alone would not work unless the mind is drill in training and believing that every training session may be their last. I have seen so many videos and read books some on experts on the topic knife defence and quite frankly I believe 80% of those methods would actually get the defendant killed. Its not the methods or the technique, its the way they are being taught. One time at a martial arts demonstration exhibition I attended where I performed a 20 minute demo a Police officer approach me after and asked.., 'How would you defend yourself from a knife attack like this?' While adopting a stance and using a rubber demo knife to simulate the attack. The astonishment surprised look he gave me when I replied 'I have no idea' He replied "How long have you been doing martial arts?' I replied "37 years" (at the time) Eager to listen in on our conversation other officers came and shortly I was surrounded with an audience along with 5 curious officers. "Why after 37 years of training and giving a fantastic demo would you not know how to defend yourself against this form of attack? " came the reply from another Police Constable. No sooner did he finish his words I pulled from my bag and threw at him a rubber knife which he caught. "No I don't want you to attack me I do want however to know why did you caught the weapon that way?". I said "It was natural reaction. I caught it because it was instinctive". He replied. "You could of caught it this way or this way and that way" I replied. "Why this particular way?" "I do not know why this particular way " He further more replied " Sir" as I faced the first officer who raised the question, "What was your question again?" I was met with smiles from all 6 officers and a slight bow from the first curios officer as I raised my hand goodbye and left the gathering There are those who maybe confuse. In martial arts training particularly with Self Defence weapons I've seen countless of instructors teach courses, seminars, and hold regular classes on what they believe works. They teach techniques based on Section 1 Paragraph 2 Verse 3 The students try and absorb all these various techniques but forgetting the main important aspect. Themselves If a video or instructor on knife defence self defence indicate that when faced with a knife you should do this then this and then that and some more of this, however helpful it may prove Question yourself as to how much the instructor knows? Any instructor can teach you his/her attitude or his/her mannerism or his/her behaviour but they absolutely CANNOT teach you yours. Each individual is different and we all learn differently. The greatest teaching a Sensei can give a student is how to know him/herself for he can teach you his attitude but he cannot teach you yours. In dealing with a knife threat your training should be based on instinct based, drilling, testing, techniques. However without the mental approach non of the practice would work. These method are taught to students in ShinKen Ju Jutsu. A few students who have been attacked with knife wielding craze individuals and have successfully defended themselves. Its down to not just training in whatever system, it is not hard hard you train or how long you train. It is training 'smart' it is training 'the right way' through forging ones physical, mental and spiritual self that one can be fully prepared against a knife attack To conclude nothing beats practice and you CAN NEVER PRACTICE TOO MUCH. You can practice hard or you can practice smart. In true martial arts training You practice and drill techniques until they are forgotten. You confront a knife wielding assailant with calm and ease You practice until you empty your mind of all thoughts and allow instinct to deal with the situation at hand. If you practice only to think of what to do then you loose. You simply react. Osu!