Principles of Blade Defense

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Don’t carry a knife for defense unless you are prepared to get stabbed by it. Only a fool carries an offensive weapon that an opponent might easily be able to use against you. 

But what if someone pulls a blade on you? 

Firstly of course, unless you fear for your life, just hand over the wallet, phone, or whatever they are after. 

Unlike bats, getting close will not help you here. In fact, quite the opposite. Establishing a good distance is essential in knife defense. Yes, we’ve seen the movies where someone can throw a knife and kill a man at 50 feet, but in reality, this skill is incredibly rare. Someone carrying a bladed weapon is unlikely to throw it away intentionally, and even a small mistake would give you the blade instead of them.

Blades are similar to guns in that if an attacker is flashing one around in front of you, it is usually as an intimidation tool – rather than an assault one. If an attacker really wanted to stab you, chances are you wouldn’t see or hear it until after the event. 

Don’t be scared by this prospect even though it sounds worrying. Unwarranted stabbings do happen, but they are rare. The only case where this becomes more likely is if you are involved in regular violence or gang culture, in which case you should probably reconsider your choices anyway. 

Visible attacks with a knife usually occur after either a botched defense attempt or when a situation has escalated and anger brings out weapons. This is why we advocate a “de-escalation and run” priority before any engagement! Cross-slashes and stabs are the danger in a knife encounter, and as such, so long as you remain out of arm’s length, you are relatively safe.

–       Stay out of range of the blade where possible and calm the situation down

–       If you do need to deflect a knife try to keep it as far away from your body and major organs as possible

–       If a scuffle occurs it’s likely, no matter how careful you are that both parties will get cut at some point. Try not to panic if this happens and seek medical assistance once you have escaped the scene –       Do NOT carry an offensive knife yourself. (Many people trip and fall on their own blades during an altercation) 

No Slashers 

It’s also worth pointing out that despite what you see in horror movies, attackers almost never hold a knife over their head and charge with a slashing downward motion. You can learn defenses against it if you wish, but it is unlikely you would ever see this on the street.


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