Repeating downward knife thrust defense?

joeygil

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Yeah I know I'd probably be dead unarmed against a knife (definately with a trained opponent), but just for academics sake...

Most of the limited knife training I've done (knife v. knife and knife v. empty hand) has been against diagonal or horizontal slashes / thrusts in a drill setting.

Any thoughts on going against an unskilled knife wielding attacker doing the classic quick up/down/up/down stab motion (ice pick grip)?


With a knife, you can try for the defang (or worse). But what about empty hand?

This type of motion seems a bit difficult to pass into a wrist-lock for a disarm or control, as it's downward (awkward to pass compared to diagonal/horizontal in my experience), and is essentially a retracting hit (witik).

One thing I recall learning was to side-step, and pass the knife on the outside, trying to guide it downward into their own leg, while you continue the side-step motion into a full on run to get away.
 

MJS

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Yeah I know I'd probably be dead unarmed against a knife (definately with a trained opponent), but just for academics sake...

Yes, many of us probably would be.

Most of the limited knife training I've done (knife v. knife and knife v. empty hand) has been against diagonal or horizontal slashes / thrusts in a drill setting.

Any thoughts on going against an unskilled knife wielding attacker doing the classic quick up/down/up/down stab motion (ice pick grip)?


With a knife, you can try for the defang (or worse). But what about empty hand?

This type of motion seems a bit difficult to pass into a wrist-lock for a disarm or control, as it's downward (awkward to pass compared to diagonal/horizontal in my experience), and is essentially a retracting hit (witik).

One thing I recall learning was to side-step, and pass the knife on the outside, trying to guide it downward into their own leg, while you continue the side-step motion into a full on run to get away.

One thing to keep in mind is to try to begin your defense before the attacker brings the blade down too far. In other words, he draws back, that is when you want to move, not when the arm is already halfway down.

As far as passing goes...it should be failry easy to redirect the blade into the leg or groin.

My suggestions would be...gain control ASAP. If possible, I'd also suggest a counter strike pretty quick as well.
 

arnisador

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Assuming unarmed physical defense is the only option available...offline if possible, control the arm.
 

redantstyle

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One thing to keep in mind is to try to begin your defense before the attacker brings the blade down too far. In other words, he draws back, that is when you want to move, not when the arm is already halfway down.

As far as passing goes...it should be failry easy to redirect the blade into the leg or groin.

My suggestions would be...gain control ASAP. If possible, I'd also suggest a counter strike pretty quick as well.

timing is everything.
 

geezer

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Assuming unarmed physical defense is the only option available...offline if possible, control the arm.

Assuming that, I assume I'll get cut up, because unlike what MJS said, when you go unarmed against a knife, nothing is easy! (Of course I understand that MJS was using the term in a comparative sense.)

As for myself: First option--run like hell. Second option: grab anything I could to use against my attacker: chair, briefcase, bottle, book, towel, anything. Third option: what you said.
 

harold

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Assuming that, I assume I'll get cut up, because unlike what MJS said, when you go unarmed against a knife, nothing is easy! (Of course I understand that MJS was using the term in a comparative sense.)

As for myself: First option--run like hell. Second option: grab anything I could to use against my attacker: chair, briefcase, bottle, book, towel, anything. Third option: what you said.

I cannot think of anything else that says it better.
 

Sandstorm

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All defence against knife attack is difficult. You should expect to at least recieve an injury in the skirmish. As to that specific attack, well, if you are late in seeing it coming chances are you will recieve a strike of some sort. I would think the natural reaction would be to raise your arms up to your face and head to protect that area. The blade will strike your forearms most likely, but what you should be thinking while defending this way, is to step into your attacker and 'rush' him/her.
One of the drills we perform is the 'steamroller'. This is where you are surprised by an attacker and you charge into them with a flurry of blows and grabs and headbutts, driving the attacker to the floor with your momentum. It works pretty well against most attacks, but I'm not sure it's ideal for knife 'defence'. I would use it as a last resort if I really felt my life was in danger. But then, who really knows how we will react in this kind of scenario. I can only base how I may react on my previous experiences.

Fancy moves and wrist locks etc are not viable options against a determined attacker. Ask one of your sparring/training partners to use full strength and speed when coming at you with a strike or knife and you will see just how hard it is to actually get a hold on an arm. Don't get me wrong, wrist locks can and do work, as do arm bars etc, just not the way they are often trained in the dojo. You need to wait for the weakest point of an attacking arms trajectory before you can get a substantial reliable hold.

Obviousyl, my post is based on having very last minute knowledge of the attack itself. If you have a little more time, then your options window widens slightly. The more time, the more options.

If you can't run, do what you must to survive.

Bottom line....... Expect to at least recieve an injury.
 
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OCman44

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All defence against knife attack is difficult. You should expect to at least recieve an injury in the skirmish. As to that specific attack, well, if you are late in seeing it coming chances are you will recieve a strike of some sort. I would think the natural reaction would be to raise your arms up to your face and head to protect that area. The blade will strike your forearms most likely, but what you should be thinking while defending this way, is to step into your attacker and 'rush' him/her.
One of the drills we perform is the 'steamroller'. This is where you are surprised by an attacker and you charge into them with a flurry of blows and grabs and headbutts, driving the attacker to the floor with your momentum. It works pretty well against most attacks, but I'm not sure it's ideal for knife 'defence'. I would use it as a last resort if I really felt my life was in danger. But then, who really knows how we will react in this kind of scenario. I can only base how I may react on my previous experiences.

Fancy moves and wrist locks etc are not viable options against a determined attacker. Ask one of your sparring/training partners to use full strength and speed when coming at you with a strike or knife and you will see just how hard it is to actually get a hold on an arm. Don't get me wrong, wrist locks can and do work, as do arm bars etc, just not the way they are often trained in the dojo. You need to wait for the weakest point of an attacking arms trajectory before you can get a substantial reliable hold.

Obviousyl, my post is based on having very last minute knowledge of the attack itself. If you have a little more time, then your options window widens slightly. The more time, the more options.

If you can't run, do what you must to survive.

Bottom line....... Expect to at least recieve an injury.

If someone with a knife were to attack a person who's been trained in Kali(Knife specifically), that knife defense wouldnt come in handy at all? With all the negative reponses, its sort of disheartening and making me wish otherwise to train in Kali. I've heard nothing but good things about Kali being "effective" in real life scenarios such as this and learning "Self defense" is something that Im VERY interested in learning from Kali.
 

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In my opinion, the FMAs are the best knife-defense systems in existence. That having been said...the point people are trying to make is that a person with a knife is very dangerous. I always say that when I teach...then I remind everyone that George Harrison survived a knife attack and overpowered (with help) and detained his attacker. He was 56 years old and already had the cancer that did kill him a couple of years later.

People, even people without training, survive knfie attackes all the time. Like George Harrison, they are often injured in the process. The point being made here is that no one should think "it's just a knife" (not a dedly weapon like a gun).

I've used the FMAs to defend myself against a mugger with a knife. I wasn't cut, but after blocking the thrust once and gaining distance I gave up my wallet (with all of $2 in it--I was a college student, 2 weeks before my black belt test and 4 monthes before graduation) and got out of there. A knife is too dangerous to mess with if it isn't absolutely necessary. So, stick with kali but keep a realistic perspective! It's great stuff but it's a serious situation of the other guy has a knife.
 

Sandstorm

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If someone with a knife were to attack a person who's been trained in Kali(Knife specifically), that knife defense wouldnt come in handy at all? With all the negative reponses, its sort of disheartening and making me wish otherwise to train in Kali. I've heard nothing but good things about Kali being "effective" in real life scenarios such as this and learning "Self defense" is something that Im VERY interested in learning from Kali.

hey, don't be disheartened:ultracool, Kali is a beautiful art, and one of my favourites. The knife fighting and defence techniques are superb, and there will obviously be something in what you learn that may help save your life one day. However, as my and Arnisador's post explains, please, please do not be complaicent about a knife attack. As I said, fancy moves will be extremely difficult to pull of, unless you are Ron Balicki or Ray Dionaldo. Even they would probably run as oposed to fight. Speed, timing, strength, response over surprise etc etc, all elements to consider when confronted with this scenario. I believe the Samurai used to embrace/accept death before they hit the battlefield. This made them the exceptional warriors they were.

Please, do not be put off by my response/advice here. Take up Kali, it's a wonderful art. The chances of you ever having to use it in SD are less than minimal (depending on where you live of course). The average person will never even see a violent attack in their lifetime.
Hope this has reassured you :)

Kind regards
John
 

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When I teach our moving knife and knife defense tests I always tell my students to expect to get cut the key thing here being if you are going to get cut make to a non vital place of the body if you can help it. When we practice for the tests we come at the students as an attacker would, with full intention to cut them to ribbons (we chalk the edge of a rubber knife to show them where, why and how they got cut) which requires commitment and realness of attack.

Knives are very dangerous weapons and as said before never be taken lightly, however with practice you can become less intimidated by them and you have to learn to get control of the weapon AND it's motor for any technique to even begin to work effectively which means practice, practice, practice until you are tired of practicing and then practice some more. It may save your life one day.

Michael
 

MJS

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If someone with a knife were to attack a person who's been trained in Kali(Knife specifically), that knife defense wouldnt come in handy at all? With all the negative reponses, its sort of disheartening and making me wish otherwise to train in Kali. I've heard nothing but good things about Kali being "effective" in real life scenarios such as this and learning "Self defense" is something that Im VERY interested in learning from Kali.

Look at the OPs opening line...

Yeah I know I'd probably be dead unarmed against a knife (definately with a trained opponent), but just for academics sake...

take note of the bold part. I took that as a trained knife fighter, say someone like Leo Gaje. Yes, if someone with his skill were to attack me, I'd probably be dead, despite my number of years in Arnis. Now, against the average joe, the druggie, who is looking to mug someone for his next fix....in that case, yes, I'd probably stand a better chance of defending myself. :) I love the FMAs, and I've said many times that I put more value in the weapon defenses in those arts, than I do in many other arts.

However, there are a few defenses, one in particular from Arnis, for an over head stab, that I, for the life of me, would not do, unless I was at the level of Remy Presas himself. My teachers have told me that they've seen him pull off the same defense with success during seminars. Again, I'm far, far, far away from Remys skill, so in that case, I'd opt for another defense.

Make no mistake about it...the FMAs, as I said, have some fantastic weapons work. But like all arts, there may be a move or two that may not suit every person.
 

mook jong man

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When I trained in Floro Fighting Systems which is mainly Ilustrisimo with fencing footwork and a couple of other things added to it . We were taught to use what my teacher called the x block , which is the same whether we have a knife in our hand or not .

Its basically one forearm horizontal (holding knife or not) with the other forearm vertical and braced behind it , a very strong structure. But the main thing he impressed on me is that in order to stop that pumping action with knife you have to use extreme and aggressive forward pressure against the blokes arm , pretty much charging into them .

So as soon as the knife is raised and starts to come down you lunge into them with your head buried down into your arms and you ram the x block into their forearm , making sure that you are continuing to aggressively move forward.

You then capture the weapon arm and follow up with elbows ,hammerfists ,eye rakes etc . You can also use the same technique for a knife thrust to the abdomen , but it is crucial that you charge into them with aggressive forward momentum and stick to that forearm otherwise it is very difficult to stop them retracting the knife and stabbing again.
 

Sandstorm

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When I teach our moving knife and knife defense tests I always tell my students to expect to get cut the key thing here being if you are going to get cut make to a non vital place of the body if you can help it. When we practice for the tests we come at the students as an attacker would, with full intention to cut them to ribbons (we chalk the edge of a rubber knife to show them where, why and how they got cut) which requires commitment and realness of attack.

Knives are very dangerous weapons and as said before never be taken lightly, however with practice you can become less intimidated by them and you have to learn to get control of the weapon AND it's motor for any technique to even begin to work effectively which means practice, practice, practice until you are tired of practicing and then practice some more. It may save your life one day.

Michael

Absolutely. But make sure you practice properly. Don't drift off into a fantasy land of slow-mo strikes and unrealistic wrist grab/twists etc. The smaller the target area you want to control, the harder it will be to grab at full speed and power.

I've said many times that I put more value in the weapon defenses in those arts, than I do in many other arts.

Agreed. They are probably the most complete realistic self defence 'art' in existance IMO.

However, there are a few defenses, one in particular from Arnis, for an over head stab, that I, for the life of me, would not do, unless I was at the level of Remy Presas himself. My teachers have told me that they've seen him pull off the same defense with success during seminars. Again, I'm far, far, far away from Remys skill, so in that case, I'd opt for another defense.

Again, agreed. If you're facing an experienced wielder, chances are slim you will come out ok. Even if you are against someone with none or little experience, chances are you will incur damage. As Aikicomp says, make sure that the area hit is a non-vital one.



When I trained in Floro Fighting Systems which is mainly Ilustrisimo with fencing footwork and a couple of other things added to it . We were taught to use what my teacher called the x block , which is the same whether we have a knife in our hand or not .

Its basically one forearm horizontal (holding knife or not) with the other forearm vertical and braced behind it , a very strong structure. But the main thing he impressed on me is that in order to stop that pumping action with knife you have to use extreme and aggressive forward pressure against the blokes arm , pretty much charging into them .

So as soon as the knife is raised and starts to come down you lunge into them with your head buried down into your arms and you ram the x block into their forearm , making sure that you are continuing to aggressively move forward.

You then capture the weapon arm and follow up with elbows ,hammerfists ,eye rakes etc . You can also use the same technique for a knife thrust to the abdomen , but it is crucial that you charge into them with aggressive forward momentum and stick to that forearm otherwise it is very difficult to stop them retracting the knife and stabbing again.

I'm indecicive about the X-block. We were taught it as defence against a club or baseball bat etc in Ken-Bu-Kan, and I really don't (personally) feel comfortable with it's effectiveness. I've never used it in SD or at work because of the many other options available that I found more suited (again, just a personal thing).
I do, however, absolutely agree with the charge. As I said in one of my earlier posts, we use the 'steamroller', which is the same thing really. Only difference is I'd be more inclined to focus on protecting my head from being struck by covering up on entry, then unleashing god only knows on the attacker, softening him up in fractions of seconds before going for the knife hand. Agreed, you need to remove the blade from the equasion asap, but not to the detriment of losing control of your intentions. As I said, you may get sliced or stabbed in the forearms, but it's preferable to the head and hands.

Just my personal opinion:)

Kind regards
John
 

MJS

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I've gone over the use of the X block a few times, and I too, am a bit cautious on its use. Here's why. IMO, during many knife defenses, the use of the attackers other hand is often over looked. Seems like many focus on just the weapon hand, and forget that the badguy could be striking with his free hand. So, it could be possible for the BG, to use his free hand to check our X block, and pull the blade back, cutting us in the process. We do a knife drill in class, where the person with the knife is executing various stabs on the other person. After the defender parries and/or blocks, depending on the strike, the attacker uses his free hand to check and pulls the knife.

However, this doesn't mean that I threw the X block out altogether. Its slightly altered, so that say for a straight thrust, we're moving off on an angle, doing a downward type block with one hand and once the blade is redirected, the other hand comes into play. So in a way, its still an X block, but the hands initially are not together.

For the over head stab, the X could still be used, and keeping the motion going, redirect the blade towards the attacker. Of course, while working various defenses, I've also used a single upward type block with one hand, while counter striking with the other. I do this in hopes to buy myself a little time and momentarily take the focus off of the knife, so I can continue my defense.
 

jks9199

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When I trained in Floro Fighting Systems which is mainly Ilustrisimo with fencing footwork and a couple of other things added to it . We were taught to use what my teacher called the x block , which is the same whether we have a knife in our hand or not .

Its basically one forearm horizontal (holding knife or not) with the other forearm vertical and braced behind it , a very strong structure. But the main thing he impressed on me is that in order to stop that pumping action with knife you have to use extreme and aggressive forward pressure against the blokes arm , pretty much charging into them .

So as soon as the knife is raised and starts to come down you lunge into them with your head buried down into your arms and you ram the x block into their forearm , making sure that you are continuing to aggressively move forward.

You then capture the weapon arm and follow up with elbows ,hammerfists ,eye rakes etc . You can also use the same technique for a knife thrust to the abdomen , but it is crucial that you charge into them with aggressive forward momentum and stick to that forearm otherwise it is very difficult to stop them retracting the knife and stabbing again.
May I suggest that you take the knives out of your hands, put on some good boxing headgear, and give this technique a try with just a hammer fist? You might not be very happy with the results, as you describe it. At the very least, you'll find out what you need to do to make it work.

There's a place for x-blocks and reinforced blocks; I'm not saying there's not, but the ice-pick/classic stalker movie attack is probably not the best one. You're trying to match force on force...
 

mook jong man

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Yeah , I didn't explain myself very well , he calls it the x- frame not x-block but it is not like a classical martial arts x- block and as you move in and block the knife arm , the arm that you block with can then convert straight into an elbow strike which is rammed into their sternum.

It sort of happens all in one motion , and your head is protected on entry because it is buried inside your forearms , this is to stop the point of the knife hitting your skull as you intercept the arm.

There is a couple of small pictures of him doing it on his website
http://www.florofightingsystems.com/
 

mook jong man

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May I suggest that you take the knives out of your hands, put on some good boxing headgear, and give this technique a try with just a hammer fist? You might not be very happy with the results, as you describe it. At the very least, you'll find out what you need to do to make it work.

There's a place for x-blocks and reinforced blocks; I'm not saying there's not, but the ice-pick/classic stalker movie attack is probably not the best one. You're trying to match force on force...

Maybe I didn't explain It properly and we used to spar with hockey helmets on , against force that would nearly knock you out .

Anyway I think my teacher Raymond Floro knows what he is doing , he is a very practical thinking man and his techniques are pressure tested . I don't have to defend his techniques his reputation speaks for itself .
 

Rich Parsons

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If someone with a knife were to attack a person who's been trained in Kali(Knife specifically), that knife defense wouldnt come in handy at all? With all the negative reponses, its sort of disheartening and making me wish otherwise to train in Kali. I've heard nothing but good things about Kali being "effective" in real life scenarios such as this and learning "Self defense" is something that Im VERY interested in learning from Kali.

OCman et al,

It would be negligent of those of us to reply that if you do X then you are safe. If a person walks away with the idea that they have seen it once or talked about it on the internet and or practiced it once or twice that it will always work, then that is bad. As that person walking from this would be in a bad situation thinking that had something.

If a person trains for blade work they soon realize that hands move and blades shift and people clash and the more realistic people say if the blade touches them then they are cut or injured. This is to amke people think and realize they need to practice and even if they do not to expect a magic bullet, golden egg, brass ring, what have you to save them.

It takes work.
 

Rich Parsons

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I've gone over the use of the X block a few times, and I too, am a bit cautious on its use. Here's why. IMO, during many knife defenses, the use of the attackers other hand is often over looked. Seems like many focus on just the weapon hand, and forget that the badguy could be striking with his free hand. So, it could be possible for the BG, to use his free hand to check our X block, and pull the blade back, cutting us in the process. We do a knife drill in class, where the person with the knife is executing various stabs on the other person. After the defender parries and/or blocks, depending on the strike, the attacker uses his free hand to check and pulls the knife.

However, this doesn't mean that I threw the X block out altogether. Its slightly altered, so that say for a straight thrust, we're moving off on an angle, doing a downward type block with one hand and once the blade is redirected, the other hand comes into play. So in a way, its still an X block, but the hands initially are not together.

For the over head stab, the X could still be used, and keeping the motion going, redirect the blade towards the attacker. Of course, while working various defenses, I've also used a single upward type block with one hand, while counter striking with the other. I do this in hopes to buy myself a little time and momentarily take the focus off of the knife, so I can continue my defense.


While the "X" block can be a force to force motion it also can be a softer version. (* Which I know you already know. *) The software version gets people moving both hands at the same time and also moving their feet and this gives people attributes from their training that can help them in the long run for an encounter.

The off hand or feet are real threats. But in training many times people break things down to teach a concept or skill or attribute. This then gets applied later to other concepts and skills to move the student/instructor forward in their training and possible self defense.

So, placing two hands on a person and having your body being on the outside (* techniques and concepts maybe learned later *) gives people a fighting chance to take glancing blows versus direct blows.

As mentioned timing is also a key player, but people first need to learn technique and movement and balance and then the timing slowly so they can practice.
 
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