Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knife defense scenario training

Great find by, a great aggregator of interesting martial arts video. This may shock some of you, but it's a pretty good example of the speed and surprise of a serious knife attack.

Teachable moments?

  • There was no squaring off, and little, if any verbal exchange before the attacks. These were the armed equivalent of sucker punches, but deadlier.
  • In every single scenario, the attacker had the advantage: surprise, weapon versus unarmed, action is faster than reaction, superior numbers, you name it. My point is that you are at a serious disadvantage in a surprise attack of any type.
  • Cut or stabbed? In every one of these, again, I believe the defender was cut or stabbed to some degree.
  • In a few of the situations the defender reacted quickly, but stayed engaged (didn't break off and try to run) and risked everything to "win."
  • In almost all of these cases, where the attacker didn't telegraph the attack, he "scored." If the intent were to kill or seriously injure, the attack would nearly always be successful due to the advantage of surprise.
  • The knife could have been a stick or gun, or just a fist, and have a great deal of success. Knives have actually a higher lethality than guns, statistically (See If an attacker pulls a knife...), but even an unarmed attacker could, with the benefit of surprise, knock out or stun a trained fighter or martial artist and then...
  • In these scenarios, how beneficial would it be to have a weapon as the defender? Would it have made a difference to have a gun? Probably not. Once you're in that range, you'd better deal with the knife or get killed while trying to draw. Having your own knife may be marginally better, but, again, you're already at the range where removing a hand to pull out a knife may mean death.
  • Finally, in every case, not resisting the knife attack would have meant near-instant death.

I remember watching footage of a robbery attempt where a single, armed mugger accosted three men in an apartment Knife Attack on Cab Driverdoorway with a drawn handgun. One of the three men made a grab for the knife, and at least two of the victims was shot, with the attacker running away after the shots were fired. He didn't want to shoot them, he wanted their money, and they would've been wise to give it to him. I believe that your life isn't worth the money in your wallet or my wallet, and so, where possible, give it up. If someone wants your life, thought, that's a different story, and you need to resist with everything you've got.

One critique of the video: These are realistic murderous knife attack scenarios, but not realistic armed robbery role-plays - there's a difference. A robber would want the money, and would brandish the weapon, not try to use it. In other words, the threat is more important because he wants to get away quickly and without a lot of trouble. These scenes are scripted as surprise murder attempts, and are thus more difficult to handle. A robber may use the knife if you resist, but you've got more of a chance there.

The first part of this next video is the best. The defense techniques here aren't necessarily the best, but the instructor's talk at the beginning and the scenario at the end are worth watching.

Regardless, however, if you plan on resisting a knife wielding attacker, even an untrained one, you'd better plan on getting cut or stabbed because of the nature of the weapon. The shock from a cut or stab may incapacitate you quickly, and a stab in a critical area may induce immediate shock or death. Serious stuff. In other words, only fight versus a knife attacker if you believe you life is in imminent danger.

For more information:

TDA Bringing a gun to a knife fight?
TDA It could happen anytime - real knife attack
TDA Rush a gun; Run from a knife
TDA Unarmed Knife Defense Video
TDA Reexamining Modern Knife Instruction - WR Mann
TDA If an attacker pulls a knife...
Defend University Disengage Safely from the Fight
Defend University The Most Dangerous Opponent: Dealing with the Sudden Attack

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Anonymous said...

This is what I like about this type of video. It shows near enough the exact reality of knife attacks, from the element of suprise to the method of attack. Not many schools train in this way and it is very unfortunate. Without this type of training people will never be ready(as much as possible) for the real thing.

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Very true. I lamented a few months, perhaps a year ago, that almost no schools do scenario training. It means getting the shoes on, going outside (or in a different environment), and going hard (meaning: intense). I think what's more important than anything else is the mental preparation that it provides. You're not as stunned by something actually happening to you, and your mind opens to possibilities and you mentally rehearse more accurately.
Thanks for the comment.

student 1 said...

No offense but the way the knife hand was blocked is weak and dangerous. Look closely, you have two fingers (thumbs) against the striking force of an arm. You could end up with a broken fingers even during intense practice attact. Chances of knife hand slipping is so high. Why not block an arm with an arm, even better two arms against one arm then deliver a technique.

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Student1, which video are you referencing? BTW, these are not my videos, but I am using them for commentary and clarity on the discussion. Thanks!