slashing knife attacks

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,151
Reaction score
823
Location
Kennewick, WA
One of my complaints about the kenpo system is the apparently incomplete curricullum for knife defense. The most glaring difference is the lack of official techniques against a slashing knife. I have heard from several instructors that the defenses against this type of attack are contained within the club curricullum, though modified. I would like to see examples of how the club techniques are modified against the different characteristics of the knife, particularly the ability for the attacker to shorten the arc of the attack.

Lamont
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
Blindside said:
One of my complaints about the kenpo system is the apparently incomplete curricullum for knife defense. The most glaring difference is the lack of official techniques against a slashing knife. I have heard from several instructors that the defenses against this type of attack are contained within the club curricullum, though modified. I would like to see examples of how the club techniques are modified against the different characteristics of the knife, particularly the ability for the attacker to shorten the arc of the attack.

Lamont

The answer is as simple or complex as you would like it to be. You can shorten the arc of any weapon as the weapon has to follow the path of travel of the arm holding it. Consider this. The BASICS effective strategy of disarming a weapon is as follows:

1) To divert from whatever path makes the weapon effective (example keeping the blade of a knife away from you, keeping a gun barrel pointed away from you, etc.)

2) Seize and control the weapon and/or limb holding the weapon depending on what the weapon is and how it's held (controlling a knife in reverse grip is different from regular grip)

3) Disarm the weapon

With this in mind

A) place a knife in the hand of the attacker and have them swing on any arc that the club techniques would be coming in on and practice the club technique but being mindful that the blade can still cut (mind you you should be worried about debilitating cuts, not minor cuts as it's a knife and a minor cut is acceptable to survival though not the desired outcome).

B) when the knife is in a reverse grip understand that that hand (the knife weilding hand) is now a "grabbing hand" that cannot be allowed to grab. Respond accordingly.

the answers to knife slashes are all over the place the different phases of the attack are covered in different places:

1) intial swing - club defenses, punch defenses

2) arm control - wrist grabs, hugs, and hand shake techniques

3) disarms - knife techniques, gun techniques, Form 6

The techniques are meant to teach concepts, ideas, principles and mechanics. You can't have techniques to address every single attack, so you must learn to adapt the concepts to attacks you meet.

While were on the subject of Kenpo's alleged deficiences think about these.

1) where are the defenses against low kicks?

2) where are the defenses against shoots lower than the waist

3) where is the ground work?

4) where are the defenses for bear hugs with one arm free and one arm pinned?

5) Where are the defenses for chest to the wall instead of back to the wall?

6) Where are he defenses for kicks from the rear?

7) Where are the defenses for tackles from the rear?

8) Where are the techniques where we strike first?

9) Where are the defenses for Punch THEN kick?

10) Where are the clinch fighting tactics?

11) etc.

There are many attacks that aren't "official" addressed in the book. So what are you waiting for? start training and thinking independantly, after all that's what Kenpo is suppossed to get you do...

salute.
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
18
Location
File Cabinet
I will agree with ya on the slashing blade. The club techniques can be slightly modified and may work, but I have found you have to be super quick and have good reactionary time to defend against a somewhat skilled knife wielder. I also train in Arnis and other knife combat concepts and find that having the abilty to go into more of a "freestyle mode" helps me compensate for changes in the attack. The Modern Arnis has greatly improved my kenpo. It is one thing miscalculate a hand or foot strike, but the slightest change in the arc can be deadly.

I try to keep all the basic principles in mind when defending a knife attack:
  • keep to the outside of the attacker
  • Keep (redirect) the blade away from vital organs/arteries
  • try to control the blade at its orgin or zenith point
  • disarm the the attacker when ever possible
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
HKphooey said:
I will agree with ya on the slashing blade. The club techniques can be slightly modified and may work, but I have found you have to be super quick and have good reactionary time to defend against a somewhat skilled knife wielder.

Yes, agreed, you do have to be able to read the attack to defend against it, that's true of any and every other attack however. If you don't recognize a punch coming you eat it, same as a knife.

HKphooey said:
I also train in Arnis and other knife combat concepts and find that having the abilty to go into more of a "freestyle mode" helps me compensate for changes in the attack. The Modern Arnis has greatly improved my kenpo. It is one thing miscalculate a hand or foot strike, but the slightest change in the arc can be deadly.

Yes you have to be able to move in a "freestyle mode". But again you have to be able to do that with any attack not just knife slashes. Yes the knife does remove some of the margin for error, that's why the guy with the weapon has the initial advantage. Agreed.


HKphooey said:
I try to keep all the basic principles in mind when defending a knife attack:

Yes principles are key, not just the order of the movements (which are only there to teach the principles anyway)
HKphooey said:
  • keep to the outside of the attacker
  • Keep (redirect) the blade away from vital organs/arteries
  • try to control the blade at its orgin or zenith point
  • disarm the the attacker when ever possible

Postioning, Divert, Seize, Control, Disarm Sounds familiar to me....:)
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
18
Location
File Cabinet
James great points in both posts...

There is a major difference between a knife and punch. Misreading a punch means you eat a puch, misreading a knife means you eat a knife. A knife is just as dangerous during the retraction as it was coming in - not sure if I would same the same for a punch.

But I hear wear you are coming from. :)

Like you said, That is what kenpo is all about.
 

Kenpodoc

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
734
Reaction score
19
Location
Ohio
HKphooey said:
James great points in both posts...

There is a major difference between a knife and punch. Misreading a punch means you eat a puch, misreading a knife means you eat a knife. A knife is just as dangerous during the retraction as it was coming in - not sure if I would same the same for a punch.

But I hear wear you are coming from. :)

Like you said, That is what kenpo is all about.
Good point but a minor correction. Knives are not just as dangerous during retraction unless their on your neck. elsewhere retraction causes messy, bloody painful wounds that are unlikely to be dangerous.

Jeff
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
Kenpodoc said:
Good point but a minor correction. Knives are not just as dangerous during retraction unless their on your neck. elsewhere retraction causes messy, bloody painful wounds that are unlikely to be dangerous.

Jeff

Whatever.....like a physician would know anything about this :)

Could you provide some more info as to why a retracting cut on the arms is unlikely to be dangerous?
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
18
Location
File Cabinet
Kenpodoc said:
Good point but a minor correction. Knives are not just as dangerous during retraction unless their on your neck. elsewhere retraction causes messy, bloody painful wounds that are unlikely to be dangerous.

Jeff

To me dangerous means getting hurt. (did not use the term deadly) :) I choose not to walk around with a limp or not have use of an arm because of tendon damage. But that is just me. :)

What about the femoral artery? Not to mention the kidneys.
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
HKphooey said:
To me dangerous means getting hurt. (did not use the term deadly) :) I choose not to walk around with a limp or not have use of an arm because of tendon damage. But that is just me. :)

What about the femoral artery? Not to mention the kidneys.

At what point do you block a knife with your inner thigh for there to be a retraction near your femoral artery (by the way the femoral artery is by the femur hence very deep inside the leg if I remember correctly) ? :)

Also you are aware that a cut to the femoral artery requires SIGNIFICANT PRESSURE and a VERY sharp blade to cut through that much tissue in one cut. You'd have to be fighting someone with a medical scapel while providing no resistance to their cutting limb all the while presenting the target and pressing yourself against the blade to help them cut you.

People seem to think that a knife cuts through flesh and muscle so easily just by grazing by. Having cut open cadavers and.....nevermind...having cut open a few cadavers i'll tell you it takes a DEEP cut to hit the areas you just mentioned as they are nowhere near the skin's surface.

Think about this...how much pressure did you use to cut through that last steak? And how many passes did it take to get that done? Now triple the thickness of the steak and try it...that's trying to get to that femoral artery or kidney.

Being hurt and being dangerously hurt (to the point of being maimed, incapacitated, or killed) are too VERY different things. If you blocked the knife hand in anyway and have contact with it, the targets you mentioned aren't getting cut anytime soon unless you aren't fighting back. A stab however is a different story....

People worry about getting cut instead of worrying about getting cut BADLY.
 

Kenpodoc

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
734
Reaction score
19
Location
Ohio
HKphooey said:
To me dangerous means getting hurt. (did not use the term deadly) :) I choose not to walk around with a limp or not have use of an arm because of tendon damage. But that is just me. :)

What about the femoral artery? Not to mention the kidneys.
the kidneys are deepl place behind ribs, near the spine and will not be cut by slicing withdrawal (perhaps with a katana, but not a knife. The Femoral artery likewise is deep, armored from behind and not readily available to a slicing withdrawing knife. exstensor tendon injuries are possible but if you are holding your arms in close as would be a natural human tendancy they are also well protected from all but cleaving sword attacks on withdrawal. I agree that the knife will hurt but it is important to differentiate between deadly, disabling and merely painful.

Respectfully,

Jeff
 

Kenpodoc

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
734
Reaction score
19
Location
Ohio
Kenpojujitsu3 said:
At what point do you block a knife with your inner thigh for there to be a retraction near your femoral artery (by the way the femoral artery is by the femur hence very deep inside the leg if I remember correctly) ? :)

Also you are aware that a cut to the femoral artery requires SIGNIFICANT PRESSURE and a VERY sharp blade to cut through that much tissue in one cut. You'd have to be fighting someone with a medical scapel while providing no resistance to their cutting limb all the while presenting the target and pressing yourself against the blade to help them cut you.

People seem to think that a knife cuts through flesh and muscle so easily just by grazing by. Having cut open cadavers and.....nevermind...having cut open a few cadavers i'll tell you it takes a DEEP cut to hit the areas you just mentioned as they are nowhere near the skin's surface.

Think about this...how much pressure did you use to cut through that last steak? And how many passes did it take to get that done? Now triple the thickness of the steak and try it...that's trying to get to that femoral artery or kidney.

Being hurt and being dangerously hurt (to the point of being maimed, incapacitated, or killed) are too VERY different things. If you blocked the knife hand in anyway and have contact with it, the targets you mentioned aren't getting cut anytime soon unless you aren't fighting back. A stab however is a different story....

People worry about getting cut instead of worrying about getting cut BADLY.
Good point.

Jeff
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
18
Location
File Cabinet
First question, (and I will clarify my statement, a retraction or opposite directional movement of the knife). The initial strike is a slash gone wrong:
  • And upper cut knife strike to the groin.
  • A downward diagonal slash across the body, then coming back with the point of the blade to the inside of the thigh.
As for the steak analogy:
  • Most steak knives are serrated, hence the cut is more of a tear.
  • Take a knife with a good point, and stab it (as you stated is a different story). Watch how easily you go through it. The initial strike is a slash, but the retraction or backup is a poke/stab.
  • Many of my knives (and knives sold in camping stores come standard with a very sharp blade)
And let me rephrase, "In my opinion", walking with a limp, having serious tendon damage, lose of eyesight, etc. That to me is bad, badly, dangerous, choose whatever word you like. Remember as an instructor, the majority of my students are not looking to be the next Ed Parker or Grandmaster, they do not have the benefit of training for 30 years before they are attacked for the first time.

I have the benefit of physicians in the family. I am always picking their brains on to what is feasible and what is not.

I will finish up by saying I see your side of it as a dedicated kenpo/martial artist. As always I respect your opinion. :asian:
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
18
Location
File Cabinet
Kenpodoc said:
the kidneys are deepl place behind ribs, near the spine and will not be cut by slicing withdrawal (perhaps with a katana, but not a knife. The Femoral artery likewise is deep, armored from behind and not readily available to a slicing withdrawing knife. exstensor tendon injuries are possible but if you are holding your arms in close as would be a natural human tendancy they are also well protected from all but cleaving sword attacks on withdrawal. I agree that the knife will hurt but it is important to differentiate between deadly, disabling and merely painful.

Respectfully,

Jeff

Sorry, to clarify again... the initial strike is a slash and if the technique does not work properly, the attacker as the benefit of coming back with a slash or a stab/poke.

Thanks for your input on the subject. :asian:
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
Kenpodoc said:
the kidneys are deepl place behind ribs, near the spine and will not be cut by slicing withdrawal (perhaps with a katana, but not a knife. The Femoral artery likewise is deep, armored from behind and not readily available to a slicing withdrawing knife. exstensor tendon injuries are possible but if you are holding your arms in close as would be a natural human tendancy they are also well protected from all but cleaving sword attacks on withdrawal. I agree that the knife will hurt but it is important to differentiate between deadly, disabling and merely painful.

Respectfully,

Jeff

Guess we gotta add swords to the "categories to be completed" list now :)
 

bujuts

Green Belt
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
140
Reaction score
1
Location
Phoenix, AZ.
HKphooey said:
  • keep to the outside of the attacker

As with the empty hands, there are no absolutes. There are a number of reasons I'd want to be on the inside of the bladed arm. Strategy should be paramount to technique. If you are dealing with a right handed slash, and you have a second person at 9:00, the outside could be a bad place to be unless the first person is properly dealt with.

HKphooey said:
Keep (redirect) the blade away from vital organs/arteries

Keep it away from you period. A cut is a cut. Dominate the attack ASAP, it doesn't matter if its your neck vs. your belly.

HKphooey said:
Try to control the blade at its orgin or zenith point

Agreed, this is the ideal if you attack in time.


HKphooey said:
disarm the the attacker when ever possible

Again, this is not an axiom to go by, but a matter of choice at the time of the engagement. Disarming is a matter of restraint on based on your intent, which should be platformed on your pre-determined moral, ethical, and personal code. Its a moral question, not a kenpo principle. Personally, for a deadly threat, my own thoughts will be on killing, not on restraining, submitting, knocking out, or disarming, unless the circumstances warrant otherwise. The old adage "don't bring a knife to a gun fight" applies - don't bring a fighting mentality (winning) to a killing scenario.

Great topic all.

Steven Brown
UKF
 

Kenpodoc

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
734
Reaction score
19
Location
Ohio
Kenpojujitsu3 said:
Whatever.....like a physician would know anything about this :)

Could you provide some more info as to why a retracting cut on the arms is unlikely to be dangerous?
Place your arm on your side and rub your hand across the exposed lateral surface. The first thing you'll notice is that the skin moves with you making penetration more difficult. Then notice that what you feel is skin slipping over bone. This bone will limit knife slicing penetration. The more important nerves and vessels are buried deeper in the tissues and unlikley to be reached with a back to front motion. I'm no expert on this but the only slicing death I've seen was to the throat. The other knife deaths I've seen all involved stabbing. This would be different if we were discussing swords which can cleave much more deeply. Don't get me wrong, the arm slice will hurt badly but it will also make you slippery and a more difficult target.

Jeff
 
OP
Blindside

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,151
Reaction score
823
Location
Kennewick, WA
So lets talk about dealing with the initial swing, Mr. Hawkins points to punch defenses and club defenses for dealing with these.

In particular lets take a look at the roundhouse swings. The club defenses against these attacks take the centerline and Calming, Defying, and Securing the Storm all use left extended outward or handsword blocks to deal with the incoming weapon. Is this acceptable or should another set of techniques be be adapted to deal with this situation? If so which ones?

Lamont
 

Kenpojujitsu3

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
9
Blindside said:
So lets talk about dealing with the initial swing, Mr. Hawkins points to punch defenses and club defenses for dealing with these.

In particular lets take a look at the roundhouse swings. The club defenses against these attacks take the centerline and Calming, Defying, and Securing the Storm all use left extended outward or handsword blocks to deal with the incoming weapon. Is this acceptable or should another set of techniques be be adapted to deal with this situation? If so which ones?

Lamont

1) Calming is viable as in the event of a mistep the attacker has a long way to circle to get to the outside of your body. and the intial shock hit curtails a re-assault

2) Defying is a better bet as two hands can ensnare the arm and the body is zoned off to minimize the effectiveness of the far hand.

3) Securing is liability as you give the attacker an easier line to go to the outside and behind you.

4) Returining is the best bet as it does not take the centerline but instead takes the outside.

5) Five swords is a good bet and easily modified.

7)Triggered Salute could be adapted easily (and is infact used as aknife defense by many self defense programs outside of Kenpo, it's also called Calming the Storm anyway)

8) Detour from Doom also works well against an arm/knife assault, of course it's just Calming the Storm with a kick first but you get the point by now.
 
OP
Blindside

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,151
Reaction score
823
Location
Kennewick, WA
Kenpojujitsu3 said:
1) Calming is viable as in the event of a mistep the attacker has a long way to circle to get to the outside of your body. and the intial shock hit curtails a re-assault

2) Defying is a better bet as two hands can ensnare the arm and the body is zoned off to minimize the effectiveness of the far hand.

3) Securing is liability as you give the attacker an easier line to go to the outside and behind you.

4) Returining is the best bet as it does not take the centerline but instead takes the outside.

5) Five swords is a good bet and easily modified.

My problem with the Calming/Defying/Securing group is that if the arc is shortened by the attacker it leaves the blocking arm open for a nasty full power slash. In addition the angle of the extended outward block is not terrible effective at keeping the attacker from slipping under the gaurd and bringing their point online with the abdomen.

Returning is great and would be my preferred alternative, but if we must enter centerline I would prefer to deal with the initial slash with an inward block/deflection.

Lamont
 
Top