Beginning Knife Defence (diary entry)

We began with a complete revision of striking off the fence, transitioning from different postures, flash pad drills for different angles and blitzing (moving forwards and backwards with strikes off both hands). Then we focused on the subject of the day: knife defence.


I largely base my coaching on a bespoke approach, but certain aspects are fairly constant. After a discussion on the nature of knife crime and the types of edged weapon that can be used, we worked on identifying an attempt to draw a blade.


Students should learn to respond as soon as they suspect the presence of a weapon. Here they shout “Drop the weapon!” and raise the alarm or run. Few courses train fleaing for exit points, but that is certainly what I would want my loved ones to do if they saw someone with clear intent going for a weapon. If the exits are blocked then, rather than engaging the attacker as many courses teach, the defender should look for incidental shields, obsticals and weapons. Only when these options have been exhausted or are unavailable, should the defender consider tackling a knifeman unarmed. The fence concept applies, except that you tackle the weapon hand if the aggressor does more than just go for a reassurance tap.


I teach to intercept the shoulder first before the wrist. Reactions have to be decisive and fast as they would be with a strike. The defender needs to control the weapon hand and inflict enough blunt trauma to get the attacker to release it. The head is the preferred target so long as the weapon hand is being controlled. However, as the struggle continues we look to take strong positions to dominate the attacker. These positions are at all possible stages of transition.


After putting these positions under pressure, we went to the ground and addressed means to get back to your feet. We looked at the knee drop and stamps.

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