Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Defend Against a Knife Attack

How do you defend against a knife attack if your assailant has a knife, but you don't? Let me begin by saying that my opinions & conclusions do NOT come from personal experience, but are based on research. You may consider that a positive or a negative.

Knife attacks tend to be sudden and vicious. The orc does not stand at a respectful distance and announce, "En garde!" In most cases, he wants to get as close as possible before you even realize he has a knife.

Then without warning, he explodes into violent action with rapid, repeated stabbing strokes from less than a foot away. At that distance, you do not have sufficient time to react. Why did you let him get that close?

Last week on Monday was Memorial Day here in the States. I had to go to work, but the plant was closed, so I had a few precious quiet hours. I celebrated by re-reading W.E. Fairbairn's classic close quarters combat (CQC) manual, Get Tough! I paid particular attention to what he had to say about the use of the knife:

In close-quarters fighting there is no more deadly weapon than the knife. An entirely unarmed man has no certain defense against it . . . . (p. 41)

His best advice for defense against a knife is to snatch up a chair to serve as a combination shield/weapon (pp. 28-29). Considering Fairbairn's stature and place in the history of CQC, that's not very encouraging, is it?

Worse, police sergeant Dennis Tueller is famous for his demonstration that an orc armed with a knife can reach the typical police officer from 21 feet away and stab or slash him before the officer can draw and fire his sidearm. That puts a real damper on jokes about bringing a knife to a gunfight.

You may want to mull over these dismal facts. Meanwhile, I'll try to provide a glimmer of hope in the next post.

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