Knife Self Defense and Basic Knife Fighting Techniques


Avoid if possible any confrontation with an opponent who has a knife; no matter how good you think you are, you can and will be cut. There are ways to minimize the damage to yourself if you are confronted with a knife welding opponent and you have no weapon. First, try and get some distance between you and the opponent so they have to lunge to get to you, and look for a weapon or blocking tool of any kind to defend yourself. It could be a jacket, belt, seat cushion, chair, table, lamp, stick, dirt, or almost anything you can swing to block or strike with. I won’t go into to much detail on how to use these items against your opponent, you can figure this out on your own by practicing grabbing different items and see how they work.

If you are also armed with a knife, the first thing you need to do is get it in your hand in the proper grip. A proper knife grip should be a powerful one that you can stab and slice without a chance of losing your weapon. I prefer the knife pointing toward you opponent with your thumb over your fingers, like making a fist or a baseball bat grip. With this grip you can stab and slice with power and without loosing your grip on the knife.

Your stance is also very important; a solid stance that you can move from is best. If you have your feet shoulder width apart you can move forward, sideways, and backwards. This way you are not limited in your movement. You can dodge and strike your opponent when the opportunity arises. Your knife hand should be the front hand. This way your weapon is closer to your opponent, so you can use your knife to block and strike. Do you stand facing your opponent or turned sideways? This should depend on your distance from your opponent. If you are far enough away that they cannot reach you then the open stance is ok. If you are close, you will have to turn to the side to protect your vital organs and get in a better positon to thrust forward with your weapon.

You must practice your knife proficiency with a knife by using practice knives (plastic, wood, or metal dull knives) on dummies or a willing partner. Make sure you use eye protection and make some rules if you are using a partner. Practice blocking, stabbing and slicing. Your targets are neck, chest, and abdomen; these are the vital spots that can cause death. You should also practice targeting the inner arms and back of legs, these spots can incapacitate an opponent by cutting tendons and rendering the limb useless.

Knife use law is complicated, if you use a knife in a fight you must be justified in using a deadly weapon. In our great country we enjoy freedom with laws that protect the innocent, but it is your responsibility to know these laws and follow them. If you use your knife to protect yourself in a deadly confrontation you will have to justify this to the court, so be prepared by researching the laws in your area.

Your knife is a tool, and like any tool should be taken care of so it will work when needed. The old saying “A sharp knife is a safe knife” is so true. Here is a new saying “ A person that is prepared for the fight, will win”. This also rings true.

This article was written by Jeff Gaastra, a martial arts school owner and instructor since 1981. Jeff has a family owned knife store that you can purchase all major brands of quality knives. 800-867-7496 Article by Copyright © Jeff Gaastra, Reprint permission granted with this footer included.

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