Knife Defense Training in the Self Defense Training System Part 2

This is a continuation of the following post on knife defense:

The popular thinking is that the more deadly the weapon, the more complicated the response. Typical self defense programs show simple reactions to empty hand assaults and then complex techniques for weapon attacks. This line of thinking is counter to what you are hard-wired to do. When faced with a weapon, you will be more stressed and more scared. The result being that you will think less clearly and your motor movements will become even MORE fundamental. To think that you can train this out of your DNA is egotistical, irresponsible and reckless. To think that everyday people who work regular jobs and never encounter violence on a regular basis are made to believe they can do this is a crime.

No one can say for sure exactly what’s going to happen when you’re under the gun, but experience tells us that you will do what the emphasis of your training has told you to do. If you spend more time manipulating and trying to control the weapon arm then that’s what you’ll do. Add to that your loss of finite motor skills and who knows if you’ll react at all!

The obvious choice between trying to control the weapon and the the man holding the weapon is to knock the man holding the weapon out as fast as possible.

Step into the attacker’s shoes. What would you do if someone smacked you in the face and grabbed your arm holding the weapon? You would probably retract your weapon arm and fight back by hitting him in the head as hard as you could.

The typical martial arts’ response is to hit him again! All I’m saying is let’s forgo the BS and just keep hitting him. Never give him a chance to react, don’t give him a second to rest. Attack and keep attacking.

This is what we know:

We know that in order to do maximum damage with the knife he needs to have his feet planted, have a firm grip on it and he must stab you over and over again.

We know that you will only be able act with one simple purpose under stress.

We know that you will only to be able to perform gross motor skills under stress.

Be warned: most experts will tell you will get cut defending against a knife but then they teach you a technique that trains you to do everything to not get cut! It’s counter intuitive. Train to get cut. Like SDC Instructor Dennis Daroczy said before he and his Seal Team went on a mission “Today is a good day to die”.

Facing a weapon is a nasty proposition and anything I do from this point forward is an improvement because I’m standing in a “dead man’s shoes”.

In the Self Defense Training System, we train to create openings and attack the man. You create an opening by asking a question, when he starts to speak you hit him as hard and as fast as you can, as often as you can while you take ground and drive him over what ever objects are in the way. You train to use your environment and try to get him to trip up. You use objects like table and chairs. The last thing you want to do is face a man with a knife with your bare hands.

Getting cut by an errant stab is 180 degrees different than getting stabbed by someone who is attacking you. Training just to attack will enable you to fight through being cut. In the majority of knife attacks, victims didn’t even realized they were stabbed until after the assault.

Here are some cold, hard facts:

  1. The vast majority of knife attacks don’t end in fatality.
  2. People have received multiple stab wounds, still fought and survived.
  3. People who survived either ran away or attacked their attacker.
  4. Getting touched or even sliced with a knife is not nearly a fatality.
  5. In order to cause damage with a knife you need to grip it and thrust it into the target with power.
  6. You will be only able to perform simple, gross motor movements under stress. Complicated joint moments and footwork are impossible.
  7. The faster you disable the man, the better your chances to survive.
  8. In the future, don’t forget to bring a gun to the knife fight.

Now that we’ve had some discussion on knife fighting, let’s look at some knife defense techniques from the Self Defense Training System:

Now for some fun. Let’s look at a bit of history.

The father of modern close combat fighting is William Ewart Fairbairn. He was a British soldier, police officer and exponent of the hand-to-hand combat method, the close combat, for the Shanghai Police between the world wars, and allied special forces in World War II. He developed his own fighting system known as Defendu, as well as other weapons tactics. Notably, this included innovative pistol shooting techniques and the development of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

He did some training films for the OSS in 1944. Two films survived. Here is an excerpt:

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