Knife disarms a romantic notion?
Just finished watching Jason bourne, you have to love the way he dispatches the baddies, they have knifes, machetes, karambits but it’s no problem for Jason he takes them all on and still is able to sprint to the next encounter, I wonder what martial art he studied?
Are we able to disarm a mad knife man because we have been trained in the martial arts? If so at what cost to yourself and our families?
The first thing we learn in a knife encounter is you have to respect the seriousness of the situation, so no grabbing the blade as some schools of thought would suggest, I guess the instructors advocating this type of technique can’t wave goodbye to their students any more after lessons with just a stubby hand at least they can still nod.
Why do I say don’t grab the knife in an effort to control it? Well, it is a natural thing to move something away if someone tries to grab it and this applies to a knife and don’t forget this is how a knife cuts by a drawing back motion or a stabbing motion this is just physics and body mechanics. You would have better luck controlling the man as he makes the knife dangerous as long as in your effort to control him you have not given him an easy option or target to stab you. Having said that there are better ways to deal with a knife attack and we will look at these later.
The media at the moment is awash with knife attacks, maiming and deaths, so much so it has now reached fever pitch, terrorists plotting violent attacks are not helping. Knifes are relatively easy to acquire compared to guns and the increase in school children carrying knifes in London has doubled in the last five years. There is also a 26% increase in knife crime generally. Scary statistics and the trend is escalating, this does not give me a lot of hope for our future generations to come.
So given the possible likelihood of you being attacked with a knife or long blade on the street should we teach knife disarms in our martial arts training?
The first live knife encounter I participated in was at the tender age of 10, now I know what you are thinking that is not normal for a ten year old to be involved with knifes and I totally agree but I did not have what you call a normal childhood. It involved me fighting with knifes and that is all I am prepared to say at this point, now I don’t say this to seem big or clever just giving you some background information so you know where I am coming from. The knife altercations in my life did not stop there and happened a lot where I lived but I will save these stories for another time so far as to say we were not allowed to keep any knifes in our house, this was in part due to my mother not preparing food with them but having a panache of expressing herself to any unfortunate individuals who disagreed with her, family included. Enough said.
Now fast forward 45+ as a martial arts instructor we have a duty of care to teach our students or anyone crossing our dojo floor with knife awareness, does knife awareness include disarming?
The first thing you learn if someone wants to harm you with a knife is they will surprise you, distract you or attack you when you are not expecting it to ensure their success, it will be more like an execution, they will not come up to your face unless they are going to threaten you and want you to hand something over e.g. money, phone, watch, jewelry etc.
So how can we deal with a knife attack if disarming is not a sensible choice?
A general rule we use is you must put space/distance or an object e.g. chair, coat or anything between you and your attacker. This is of course takes into account that your attacker has not sneaked up behind you and you were not prepared but as trained martial artists this should not happen. 😉
Disarming a knife is not an option in our training as too much can go wrong, too many other factors can take over and need to be considered such as the adrenalin dump, protecting your family at the same time, your health and condition at the time, fear and you should be scared as this helps you work at premium levels as long as you can learn to harness its positive protective factors and not drown in freeze mode.
So our battle cry in Filipino Kyusho when dealing with a knife attack is use;
SPACE, DISTANCE OR AN OBJECT!!
Stay safe. Stay healthy