6/13/12

Knife Defense Principles! / Boaz Aviram

Mastering Krav Maga Principles brings you to a desired state where you can better rely on your body and make a split second favorable decision and prevail in fighting scenarios.

The advantage of Krav Maga is that you need to master them quickly and not wait years for a high rank attainment. It is up to you to want to learn it all and it is up to you to find a “Krav Maga” instructor that would be willing and able to teach you it all.

You use the Krav Maga techniques using the principles of Krav Maga. While the techniques are built on the principles themselves, learning the principles will help you in more difficult scenarios, and also will ensure you learn the techniques correctly.

You should consider the following theories in planning your respective training and honing your instinctive response: It takes too long to move your body in a circular motion while the attacker is moving his whole body in a straight motion.

The attacker has the time to see you move and just move his hand in a circular motion instead which is still faster than moving the whole body in a circular motion.

Circular attacks however have a shorter range. The timing, of commencing your motion and being efficient in your sequential movement of your body limbs and torso to minimize loss of essential time is of the essence.

While it is important to be a step ahead of your opponent, considering that he has capabilities of defense and attack like you have, and he is the aggressor, you need to find the window of opportunity.

Note, that you have to do it while training to program your body in a chain reaction to be used after a quick decision.

When dealing with an opponent armed with a knife consider the following: In less than In 2 seconds someone can stab you twice.

This is about the time you have to block and counter attack, so when you block, you need to strategically prevent his second attempt to stab as you counter attack. If you do not do this, your system is worthless.

The best way is to stick to the following principles: Consider your opponent's capability to use straight attacks from a greater distance and circular attacks only from a shorter distance.

If the starting point for a circular attack where the knife is held with the back hand is from a distance, you have the time to move your whole body and meet him half way.

If a circular attack, Start with the middle of your forearm aimed to his wrist by throwing it toward his wrist and pulling the rest of your body in an evasive move and landing forward as you counter attack and then trying to grab his wrist for further control and safety.

At this point you are in the process of verifying his immobility by, just observation or continuous attack without having to worry about the sharp object poking or slashing you.

If however your opponent is attacking with a straight stab motion holding the knife in his front hand or even in a top town or bottom up hold but holding the knife with his front hand, it would be faster for him to lunge with the blade forward than for you to move your body out of the way and meet him half way.

If the hold is for a straight stab knife held in the front hand, stand still with your body and just deflect his wrist of the hand holding the blade with the inside of the middle of your forearm spinning it inward.

Twisting your thumb outward and your forearm inward when your forearm is aligned with the opponent's writs will deflect the stab. Your arm motion will pull your torso in a horizontal forty five degree pivot.

Immediately after you deflect your opponent's wrist, you fall forward as you can plan your landing position while in motion, close to your opponent so you can grab his retracting hand at its exiting point not letting him the freedom of movement of using this hand again.
Remember that at the same time you are looking to strike him with your free hand.
If during training mostly your opponent or training partner is expecting what you are doing and pulling his arm behind his back so you would not be able to grab his wrist, punching him to his face will foil any additional attempts to bring his arm back and try to poke you anywhere in your body.

Obviously if you hit lighter than what you should have you would have bought yourself a second or two and then would look to grab his arm or hit him lightly again until you got control over the knife.

If you got caught by surprise from a short distance as your vision and attention were directed to another person in a crowded or narrow area and you managed to see a motion of a hand speeding up to you where you might not even have the time to realize that the hand has a blade or not, your blocks would be instinctive directed to your opponent's wrists and seek to counter attack with your free hand immediately after.

Usually from a close distance it would be a circular attack since your opponent's hand was behind his back hiding the knife and since it is too close to redirect the blade in front and too much time consuming.

If you recognized that your opponent is holding a knife or might have it, you can use kicks to stop him before he stabbed.

For straight stab, you prefer to execute a roundhouse kick to the groin sneaking your back under the hand.

If he is lunging low he would have to stand low a second before and would not have much option to continue after the one lunge since his body will land low.

Still it would be a little more difficult to execute a roundhouse kick to his groin as your thigh will be subjected to a stab aimed at your abdomen.

You can use the same evasive body motion, skip the roundhouse kick and execute a side kick to his knee after he landed which is also the completion of the round house kick if he is stabbing to your throat.

If the attacker is doing a straight stab with the rear hand treat it like a circular stab and kick to the face.

This is because although it is a linear stab, he is first moving with the opposite foot and then drives the knife, so in this way he cannot move and stab at the same time.

So although his hand with the extension of the knife facilitate a very fast motion, you have a chance to move your whole body forward for front kick to the opponent's chin.

If you happen to use your hands instead be careful from his free hand, as he can strike or try to grab you with it, and of course pay attention to the hand holding the knife whether you move to his dead side or to the live side.

Finally you should plan your action if you see him holding the knife and in a ready body position to lunge. He could be shifting his weight from leg to leg and tossing the knife from one hand to another to baffle you and not letting you know what he is doing until the last second, but if you attack him first, you will break his train of thought.

Since he might be in the middle of dancing around to baffle you and the blade might be positioned unfavorably too close to your striking or kicking limb, you might consider a face first attack to break his line of thought and a second block and counter attack where you are already close to him.

However never try this if he is standing still, since he is able to block your first wasted fake and counter attack you with his free hand. A better way of describing this is start your planned motion and stop as you move and decide to resort to instinctive defense and counter attack.

If you managed to see your opponent approaching from the side, you execute a side kick to his knee diving your torso underneath his extended arm. This is a good response to any kind of knife hold.
If He is holding top down for a circular attack, you execute a front kick to the groin, and if he is holding the knife bottom up to the side of his body you execute a jumping front kick to his chin.

Final consideration is to pay attention more to where his knife is positioned in relationship to his body. If it is more to the side it would be a circular attack, and if it is more in front of him it would be a straight attack first.

Although slashing is a circular motion, its advantage is the use of the tip of the blade giving and extended length of the point of cutting away from the attacker’s wrist. The wrist motion facilitates a loose fast motion rather that the regular circular stabbing motions.

If the blade is hidden behind the attacker’s back you just instinctively block his wrist if he swings his hand at you from close distance. You just have no time to know what he has in his hand when you start to initiate your reaction (his hand is behind his back) and you are trying to aim the middle of your outer forearm to the middle of his wrist, in the same fashion you would go for a circular top down hold attack.

If he is holding the knife loose in front expect a slash aimed at your throat and unlikely your body. You can lean your torso back away and retract your torso upon completion of the slash landing with your forearms on his arm with a butting impact. Moving to grab his arm with one hand, your other hand grabs his back shoulder puling your torso forward to facilitate re positioning your body for a knee kick to his tail bone.

This will drop him immediately and would not let him to continue and wrestle with you trying to poke you with the blade.

Direct kick to the arm holding the knife is possible in a certain scenarios, but generally not suggested. However never attempt a circular kick to the hand holding the knife, since you will never make it unless the attack is not of a challenging nature.

Remember that your opponent is using his hands to hold the knife. A hand is much faster than a leg, since the way it was built and used by your body.

But from the longer distance it is faster to reach with your leg, as you use the leaping time to cover the distance between you and your opponent to prepare your foot for an exact hit.

The total process is just faster than taking two leaps to reach with your hand. I recommend you test it for yourself.

What if the attacker is holding the knife top down in front: His initial instinctive stabbing angle is limited to an instinctive jab, and you should plan your block and counter attack accordingly avoiding exposing your body to that direction as you move to close the gap.

What is the attacker is changing directions as you move in or as he moves in. This is why it is important not to project your movement to the right timing to ensure he is in an attack mode and not in a ready to defend mode.

If he is planning to face and change direction if he attempts to reach your body with the first stab, you could block it and counter attack. However if he fakes the first stab, you blocked the air, but at the same time you did not get stabbed yet.

As your body follows your forearm trying to grab his wrist, you move to counter attack with a punch. Your body position for defense vs. straight stab would not give him much opportunity to change to a follow up circular stab.

If he starts with a fake circular stab to your clavicle, changing his aim to the side of your ribs, if you used a kick you got his balls at the initiation of the fake.

If you use your arm you went to the top of his shoulder following his wrist and sensing it is going down, you push it in front of your body to help him complete the motion in front of you and not inside your ribs.

If he is lunging with a bottom up hold from a distance and you go for the top of his wrist, and he is changing to a rib stab in the direction where your body again you should rely on timing and get him before his hand left the side of his body.

Never attempt to follow with using your arm to lock his arm from this position. If the attacker is trained, or just relaxes his hand and retracting it moving to the next thrust, you will never have the force to lift his arm to your shoulder area.

Many people resort to this technique demonstrating it with submissive student. This would not be the care in reality.

Last resort is to execute an instinctive defense vs knife to the rib. But if you see his hand moving to a circular horizontal bottom up hold, you execute an instinctive defense vs a rib stab.

Be careful in the follow up and avoid grabbing his whole arm, unless you managed to strike him good first. His retracting hand might cut the inner side of your elbow.

What if your opponent has two knives? First you have to think whatever options he has. Both of you can strike or kick with your hands and legs, but he has a not only one blade, but two.

This makes it easy on him to poke you and cut you in the short range. However n the long range to gain maximum reach he would need to extend an arm and a shoulder to facilitate maximum reach leaving his second hand behind and out of reach.

If you use kicks, for the long range, you need to consider just his front hand stab. If you use your arms, you need to consider a follow up stab with your opponent’s back hand that might be needed to be blocked if you did not manage to counter strike him quick enough.

But your opponent who might be trained in using two knives would prefer to progress slowly and rather wait for your kick or punch so he can respond with cutting your hand or leg. You need to try to catch him in a reasonable distance where it is not too early and definitely not too late.

If he is flailing his arms it works for your advantage taking into account the reaction time principles you have learned. But at the end it is all about the timing and the block or deflection of the first strike.

You need to stress more to break his train of thought immediately, not letting him execute another stab with his second hand by striking one of his major pressure points preferably in his face or head.

Combine the initiation of a fight with a kick if you are In a two step range and follow up with a knife stab, straight or circular in the closer range, and a follow up punch with your free hand and you have a challenging training method for your training partner to practice his kick defenses and knife defenses.

In reality the minute someone pulls a knife in front of you and does not proceed to immediately stab you, he made his first mistake by projecting an attack never made.

If he is standing few feet away from you and drawing a knife or you notice him holding a knife then if he attacks you and you wait for him he made his second mistake. If he is expecting you to attack him, he has a better chance.

But there is the element of surprise that is distinguished with every second that passes.

If your opponent suspect that you might be trained at least as well as he is trained, then unless that he is really curious who will live and who will die, he would probably look for an easier way to kill you.

Yes having a knife has some physical advantage of not having it. But at the same time, it gives an excuse to a defender to kill you first, and having a knife in a ready mode when needed is easy for an attacker but not for a defender, and at any time there could be a reversal of fortunes.

Anyway there in the optimal distance that facilitates a quick poke, if you wait for your opponent to reach this distance or you find yourself in that distance without have started anything before you closed that distance, it might be too late.

But let’s say hypothetically you are in this optimal distance to poke, your opponent will need an additional split second to realize you are poking, and then try and block it. Usually it would be too late for him. If you increase that distance it is less difficult.

Now let’s say you build your attack on closing the gap, but waiting for his blocking attempt to try and stab his hand, it would be too late for you if he is not projecting his defenses.

If you assume his most efficient form of possible defense and build it into your planned attack, the defender might be blocking the air initially but moving to counter attack you at the same time, so it should slow your train of thought at least.

In Applying the principles it is more important to consider if the attacker is holding the knife with his front hand or rear hand while considering his capability to lunge at you. This will dictate if you have the time to stop him with a kick, to meet him half way in a tactical maneuver of deflection and counter attack, or to stand still realizing that you have to rely on timing using the most efficient small motion with your hand only to start before the blade is about to be thrust in your body.

In reality the minute someone pulls a knife in front of you and does not proceed to immediately stab you, he made his first mistake by projecting an attack never made.

If he is standing few feet away from you and drawing a knife or you notice him holding a knife then if he attacks you and you wait for him he made his second mistake.

If he is expecting you to attack him, he has a better chance. But there is the element of surprise that is being distinguished with every second that passes.

If your opponent suspect that you might be trained at least as well as he is trained, then unless he is really curious who will live and who will die, he would probably look for an easier way to kill you.

Yes having a knife has some physical advantage of not having it. But at the same time, it gives an excuse to a defender to kill you first, and having a knife in a ready mode when needed is easy for an attacker but not for a defender, and at any time there could be a reversal of fortunes.

Anyway there in the optimal distance that facilitates a quick poke, if you wait for your opponent to reach this distance or you find yourself in that distance without have started anything before you closed that distance, it might be too late.

But let’s say hypothetically you are in this optimal distance to poke, your opponent will need an additional split second to realize you are poking, and then try and block it.

Usually it would be too late for him. If you increase that distance it is less difficult. Now let’s say you build your attack on closing the gap, but waiting for his blocking attempt to try and stab his hand, it would be too late for you if he is not projecting his defenses.

If you assume his most efficient form of possible defense and build it into your planned attack, the defender might be blocking the air initially but moving to counter attack you at the same time, so it should slow your train of thought at least.
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