Defence with a knife: To show, or not to show...

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Christian Soldier, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    If you see an attacker coming and pull a knife, don't pull it for show. You pull it to use it. Anything else is a waste of time. Now having said that, if you pull a knife, you better damn well be versed in its use and the ramifications of that use, including personal morals and legalities. Hopefully you will not have to use the knife, but never pull one without the express purpose of using it. Don't ever carry a weapon for ego, as that is the fastest and easiest way to either get yourself hurt and/or in trouble with the law.

    There are different ways to use a knife. Whichever ways you have trained and are comfortable with are the ways you should use it.
     
  2. Christian Soldier

    Christian Soldier Orange Belt

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    I couldn't agree more. If I draw my knife during any kind of dangerous confrontation, it would be to use it. The question is if I should keep it hidden from the attacker untill he closses the distance and then cut him, or to put the blade out in front of you to possibly convinve the other guy it's not worth it.

    MJS, there are very few, if any, fights that don't have any heavy legal ramifications. Bad things can happen, that's just the nature of the legal system and fights, even if they are clear self defence.
     
  3. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Closes the distance? You realise thats probably 1-3 steps, right?
     
  4. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Long time ago I wrote in detail in a thread relating to this topic. Long story short... I don't show you my blade. It'll flash out and cut you then go back into hiding. I've learned to switch hands quickly so you won't know which hand to watch for that has the knife.
    Years ago I was at a bus-stop (late night) in a not so friendly neighborhood but I was there on personal business, now going home. I observed two men walking towards me from several blocks away. Red flags and little hairs on my neck went up. I got my knife out and held it with the flat of the blade resting inside my jacket sleeve, against my wrist. When they attacked me, they were surprised that this little dog had teeth and nearly sliced one and stabbed the other in the first 10 seconds of the attack. Another slash from nowhere and they stepped back to reassess, at that opportunity I ran like hell.
    Turns out one of them had a gun and didn't pull it out until just moments before their attack. Had I exposed my blade I think I'd been shot by the guy from a safe distance. They closed their attack unknowingly to MY advantage not theirs because I chose to keep my blade hidden until the final moments. Their surprise and moving out of my (blade's) range gave me the opening I needed to escape and evade. Henceforth I always carry and it's always within easy reach and it will never be revealed until exactly when I need it.
    If it were one on one I don't think I'd use my blade but 2:1 or more, screw that buddy, I'm unsheathing my claws.
     
  5. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmm....seems we're talking about 2 different things here. Fights, IMO, are usually ego driven events; things that happen at a set time/place. SD, IMO, is when you've done everything you could, if possible, to defuse the situation, it failed, and now you must defend yourself; you're at the ATM and someone attempts to mug you. So, yes, fighting will most likely land both parties in hot water. SD not as much. The thing is....using common sense, is IMO, the best defense, however, many times, people dont use it. That is how alot of trouble happens...when they dont think. Know the laws, know what you're legally allowed/not allowed to do. As I said, using a knife, if the situation doesnt warrant it, well, chances are, you're going to find yourself in more trouble than you asked for. Just because you carry a knife, doesnt mean that is the green light to pull it out whenever you want.
     
  6. Master Dan

    Master Dan Master Black Belt

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    This is a serious subject suggesting that novices or even the general MA population kids women youth and majority of adults should attempt to defend against a knife is beyond cute demonstrations life threatening and should be avoided at all costs if possible. I worked with knives for 12 years and have many scars lost possibly 3 gallons of blood over time. Since I am right handed even though you try to be amadextrous my left side has most of the damage. My left hand to this day has poor circulation even though after micro surgery they can put tendons nerves and aloth of things back together this hand gets cold fast and gets infected faster than the other. The one wound that I could have died from happend in the dark so when the lights went on the spurting blood was a surpise and my face went numb and about to pass out also nauseated I went to floor bent over put head down and regained slapped direct presure and had help getting to hospital I knew if I passed out I would bleed out.

    There is no such thing as not getting cut in a knife fight period just assume that what you are trying to focus on not getting hit in a vital area and the other guy gets the mortal or dibilitating cut. Never telescope your intentions to an oponent strike by surprise never showing the blade walk away leave the impression if witnesses he cut himself maybe he is a bleeder? Worse thing anyone could do is yell I have a gun or a knife you just gave away an advantage and the Im a black belt maybe they were going to use thier hands now they pull a gun or weopons.

    Anything you carry has the potential to be used on you and if they are not armed you just helped them to be armed because you did not have the emotional mental and experience to use the weopon with out hesitation.

    I don't mind being cut and I have no fear of seeing my own blood when a person pulls a gun or knife it just give me attitude and releases me from any obligation to worry about hurting them unless they are in a state that make them defenseless and they need help more than being hurt for having a weopon? Quick judgments in how to walk away if you can is never a bad choice if you can the cost to your body your family the other person is going to be substantial and has odds that can go either way.

    I have gone against bats knive and guns in close physically but two times survived against guns only becuase of posturing and verbal usage that otherwise I would have been shot probably not surviviing. one example on a Thanksgiving day I am in a city of 300,000 people and as I pull into a gas station a man pull in behind me agitated gets out of his truck obviously holding a gun behind his back ready to gut shoot me becasue he thinks I have not signaled. I would not be able to get in close before he discharge the pistol so I posture non threating and tell him hey maybe the signals are not working he agrees to watch me test them and one side did not work he puts the gun back in his belly and gets in his truck screaming and driving erratically off other people pumping gas are white faced I get home call the Police to give a discription since he was high on drugs driving under the influence and armed the police dispatcher complained hey its Thanks Giving we are short handed and busy and hung up?

    Came out of no where you life flashes in front of you if a man has a gun and i can reach him before he pulls it I am not to worried but 10 to 15 feet away and no cover its not the movies your going to be shot. I hope none of you have to defend against a knife stay out of it avoid it if no choice get to cover or help if not stand your ground focus on the knife you have nothing to loose determine if there is any way you can talk them out of it do it unless you can take the pain and the blood.

    Combat? something else the Korean knife comandos that relayed thier stories about the atack from the North into the South said those who stood thier ground were wounded but survived and those who ran out of fear died?
     
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  7. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    I highlight this only because in my mind, there is a very real and very big difference between self defense against a knife and getting into a knife fight. A fight as MJS mentioned above implies some form of ego and relies on both parties having a knife in the equation. Self Defense with a knife or against a knife though is very different and yes you can expect to get cut every time you go up against a knife but what you do to your opponent needs to be appropriate to the situation.

    If someone is verbally abusing me from 10 feet away and I run up and shank them or cut them in any way - hell, even if I just run up and hit them - it's no longer self defense. If they are in my face and I honestly fear for my safety then yes I can respond but again how much force I use needs to be proportional. I do like your bit about not showing the knife to capture the element of surprise though. I don't know if "he stabbed himself repeatedly" would hold up too well but can definitely see it for something could truly be accidental like a slash. That said, if you have a knife and he has a knife, worry less about witnesses (they will see his knife as well as yours and know who attacked first if you draw attention to it straight away) so everything from that point is purely defensive.

    It sounds like you've had a bit of combat experience though, which allows you to retain your calm somewhat better than most civilians could? Would I be right?
     
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  8. Christian Soldier

    Christian Soldier Orange Belt

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    Master Dan, that may be one of the most impressive civilian expierience records I've read.

    From this thread I've gatherd that hiding the fact you are armed with a knife and the knowldge of how to use it from your enemy is the best option. Sure there are variables and probably situations that will require this strategy be modified, but I think that's a good general rule to follow.
     
  9. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    With respect sir. I survived a knife attack without getting cut. Your statement is factual in actuality, I think maybe God was just looking out for me.
     
  10. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Just out of curiosity, was it verbal de-escalation that worked or did things get physical and you managed to get out unscathed? Either way, congrats! That's an awesome result!
     
  11. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    I was attacked repeatedly by a knife wielding bi-polar person on the wrong meds. I utilized a child car seat as a barricade. The car seat was stabbed repeatedly. I couldn't simply run away because I had two small children to look after. Eventually I was able to dislodge the knife with the car seat. At that point I switched to Hapkido and executed a trapping arm bar takedown. I pinned the person and tied both hands behind their back with my leather belt. I asked one of the kids to call the 911 and we all waited there like that till the cops showed up.
     
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  12. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Again, awesome result and I can only imagine how scary that must have been especially with children there. Congrats on your presence of mind in using an object as a shield and using your training to subdue and restrain your opponent as opposed to letting ego come into play
     
  13. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    The part of my training that contributed the most is to simply react and not freeze up. I was more scared after it happened than during. Felt tired and shaky afterwords. I hate fighting.
     
  14. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I guess it depends on context. There's tactics, and there's the real world we all live in with the aftermath of law, witnesses, cameras, court, guilt etc.

    As for tactics - I ain't showing my hand until you call.

    As for the real world - I'm glad some of my students are practicing attorneys.
     
  15. Chrisoro

    Chrisoro Blue Belt

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    Instructor's experience with a knife attack mirrors my own experience being attacked with an improvised pointy weapon some years ago.

    At the time, I worked regular night shift as a milieu therapist at a locked door psychiatric ward(that is, the doors between the ward and the rest of the hospital were locked, not the individual doors to each patients room in the ward). This was a fairly high security ward for high risk patients with a history of violence, and the patient I was responsible for watching this night, had a complex history with many attempted suicides and pretty horrific episodes of self harm, and also many cases of attacking staff and attempting to attack other patients. He was also fiendishly strong for his size, usually requiring several staff to take him down whenever he freaked out.

    As a long time drug addict, he had responded poorly to a wide range of the usual antipsychotics, and constantly switched between full out psychosis and relatively clearity of mind in a quite unpredictable fashion. Because of this, at the time he were to be confined to his room (which had it's own separate bathroom), unless there were good reasons for letting him out of it, and then only with two staff accompanying him at all times.

    Usually we were also two people watching him at all times in his room, or sitting in a small room between his room and the corridor outside, which served as a small buffer between him and the rest of the ward (which we also used for temporary storage of garbage and dirty laundry from the patient), in case he decided he would make another attempt at escape or attacking someone.

    However, as we had some staffing capacity problems, we were only three people on watch that night, with a responsibility to watch in total five patients. We did however have alarms in our belts, that if deployed would give us fast backup from nearby colleagues, and from colleagues in the other nearby wards in usually less than a minute. As the other four patients were asleep, and one of my colleagues had to write reports in the office at the end of the corridor, we decided that my other colleague should sit in a chair just out in the corridor, next to the door to the small room where I was sitting, while the patient slept in the innermost room. We thought that this would give my colleague good time to enter the smaller room where I was sitting, in case I needed backup.

    Usually, the patients on this ward used a dedicated smoking room, but as this particular patient posed a threat to the other patients in his current condition, he was allowed to smoke in his own room. Because of this, the door between his room and the small room I was sitting in, was closed most of the time, to let staff (which primarily consisted of non-smokers) avoid breathe in the smoke from his constant use of cigarettes. As every patient and his belongings are searched thoroughly whenever entering the facility, and his room were searched every day for objects he could use to hurt us or himself, we thought that this was a safe setup.

    Well, as I sat there reading a book and listening for activity in his room, around four in the morning he suddently opened the door and came at me with something that to me looked like a knife. As I sat in the chair with my back to a wall, I didn't have time or space to get up quickly enough, and the only thing I could do was to push him back into his room with my leg. This pushed him about two meters backwards. As I got up from the chair, he went at me again, and I figured that I didn't have time to turn around and pick up the chair I had been sitting in, so instead I picked up a partially full laundry basket(looking a bit like this) that was placed next to the wall a bit in front of me and to the side, and used this as a shield between him and me. By pushing myself forward with one leg against either the wall or the chair, I managed to push him backwards again with the laundry basket in front of me, and back into his room, and the momentum let me continue to push him until I reached the other wall. This gave me the opportunity to lean into the basket, and let go of it with one of my hands so that I could use it to trigger the alarm in my belt. The colleague in the corridor immediately entered the room, we got a hold of his arm, and continued to wrestle a bit with him until further backup arrived a short wile later, and we managed to take him down and pin him to the floor.

    It turned out that what he had tried to stab me with, was a plastic toothbrush that he had partially melted with his lighter, and formed into a pointy triangular shank by melting and pressing the handle towards the table in his room. It may not have presented much danger of cutting me, but as a stabbing weapon, it would definitely have been effective enough to severely hurt me had he managed to stab me with it.

    After nearly 20 years of martial arts training at the time, and with all my hours of training knife defenses in several different systems, what I ended up using for defense when attacked with a pointy weapon was a laundry basket. But it worked, so I'm not complaining.
    :)
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
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  16. BMhadoken

    BMhadoken Yellow Belt

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    Fun night, Chrisoro. Apparently there's basically nothing that can't be turned into a shiv with some misapplied ingenuity.

    My own (untested) take on the subject: First of all, you'd better be damned certain your life is in real danger before you even put that knife in your hand, because anything you do with it after that is a felony waiting to be unleashed. Would I show it to them? Hell no. First of all, it tells them exactly what to expect, and if you're actually mentally preparing yourself and choosing targets for the moment they step in, that intent is gonna leak in your stance, body language, facial expression, etc. That intent is what might dissuade them, not waving the knife around like a cross before a vampire. That's just another raise in the monkey escalato game.

    If you want advice on the legal issues of carrying and using a knife (or gun) for self defense, consult an actual attorney.
     
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  17. RTKDCMB

    RTKDCMB Senior Master

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    Unless you happen to be the one facing the pointy end.
     
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  18. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Yellow Belt

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    Straight up, if some jabroni pulls a blade on me I'm taking it from him and shoving it up his *** guaranteed.
     
  19. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    pretty sure in many places that's illegal (funny) and maybe the person deserves it but realistically there should be more control. self defense might be take the knife away harming them with it would probably be retaliation.
     
  20. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Yellow Belt

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    Whether it be legal or illegal, there's right and there's wrong. If a man pulls a knife on me, he's doing wrong and you better believe it's going to be addressed, think the pencil trick the Joker did in the Dark Knight. In fact, imagine that knife as Alice, and his rectal cavity the rabbit hole, if you catch my drift.
     

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