Knife fighting is about surviving and defending yourself against an attack, not fighting. To learn how to defend yourself with a knife, you must have intelligence, balance, and precision. You can learn how to carry a knife legally and safely, as well as how to defend yourself against potential attacks.
Part 1 Carrying a Knife
1. Find out what the laws are in your area regarding the carrying of knives. Most knives are legal to carry in most places, both open and concealed, but if you want to start carrying a knife for self-defense, make sure you know the law of the land to protect yourself, legally and physically. In the United States, you can learn about state laws by clicking here.
Bowie knives, foldable knives, and other hunting-style knives are almost universally legal to own and carry in most places.
Switchblades, dirks, stilettos, balisongs, cane knives, and other “misleading” knife styles are all handled differently. It is legal in some areas to own these types of knives, but it is not legal to carry them.
2. Select a suitable knife for self-defense. Knife fighting and knife defence are typically performed with fixed blade knives, typically with blades 5-7 inches (12.7-17.78 cm) long, but it is critical to size your defence knife to your hand and fighting style. The techniques, on the other hand, are applicable to almost any type of knife, whether it is a fixed blade tactical knife, a foldable hunting knife, or another type of knife.
Grip a ruler and measure your grip from your pointer finger’s second knuckle to your pinkie finger’s second knuckle. You want the grip of a good defence knife to be as close to that size grip as possible.
In terms of knife defence, Crocodile Dundee’s words of wisdom ring somewhat true. A larger, more intimidating knife can keep you safer than a Swiss Army knife. Regardless of the blade you carry, you can learn to defend yourself.
3. Maintain the cleanliness and sharpness of your knife. A dull knife is a more dangerous knife, so keep all of your knives sharp, clean, and well-maintained, whether tactical, hunting, or kitchen. To keep your knives in good working order, learn to hone and sharpen them yourself.
To keep the action of folding knives as smooth as possible, they should be oiled on a regular basis.
4. Get self-defense training. If you bring a knife into a fight and don’t know how to defend yourself, you’re more likely to be the one who gets stuck. You should not carry a knife for self-defense if you do not know how to defend yourself. Take a general personal self-defense class to learn how to control your environment and maintain your composure in physical confrontations.
Knife and stick fighting lessons are widely available in major cities. Check out what’s available and get detailed, one-on-one training to learn how to properly and safely wield a knife.
In general, you should consider a knife to be an everyday tool that can be used for self-defense if someone provokes an altercation, rather than a fighting weapon. Only draw your knife if your opponent is also holding a knife. Additionally, only draw your knife if you intend to use it. The use of a weapon for intimidation will most likely induce a fight or flight response in the opponent, and the momentum will shift quickly in their favour. Draw and act, or take a different path. Intimidation attempts (while potentially successful) allow the opponent to react and control the situation.
Brandishing or drawing a knife in a threatening manner is a crime in most places, punishable by fines and possibly jail time.
5. Use markers to practise. Try a little experiment when you’re first learning about knife fighting. Give someone much weaker than you a permanent marker with the cap off, such as a smaller sparring partner, younger brother, or even your daughter. Take your shirt off and tell them to mark you as many times as they can while you try to stop them. Then, at the end, add up the marker lines. Assume that marker was a knife.
Even if you’re experienced in self-defense, MMA, or karate, you’ll quickly discover a harsh reality: it’s very easy for someone to get a blade on you in close quarters, and a knife can be a lethal attacker if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This is an excellent way to hone your knife fighting skills while remaining completely safe. Never practise knife fighting with a razor-sharpened blade. Make use of markers or practise knives.
Part 2 Defending Yourself with a Knife
1. Evaluate your adversary. If you’re going to carry a knife, make sure you don’t bring it into the fight. Knives should only be drawn if you are in a physical altercation and fear for your life because your opponent has also drawn a knife, gun, or other threatening weapon. Always use your knife to avoid an altercation first, then to defend yourself if necessary.
Never point a knife at an unarmed attacker. Avoid physical fights at all costs and learn to defend yourself without the use of a weapon.
Look at their hands and pockets if they approach you in a threatening manner. Draw your knife if you see a weapon.
2. Learn how to draw a knife safely. When drawing a fixed-blade knife, make sure the blade is always pointing away from your body. To assume a defensive posture, keep a firm grip on the handle and extend the knife firmly up, out, and away from you. For this purpose, most people carry the knife on the opposite side of the body as the dominant hand.
Foldable knives can also be carried in your pocket, though this can make drawing more difficult and time-consuming. After drawing, get a foldable knife with a quick-flip thumb stud to open it as quickly as possible.
There isn’t a single way to carry and draw. Much of this is a matter of personal preference. Experiment with different knives to find out what works best for you.
3. Grip your knife correctly. Depending on personal preference, there are several different grips for self-defense knife fighting. Draw and hold your knife in the most comfortable and secure manner possible, taking into account your fighting style, strength, and the weight of your blade. The forward hammer grip is probably the most basic and easiest to learn.
Forward grips require you to hold the knife by the grip, your fingers completely wrapped around it, and the blade facing out from you, pointing straight up at the sky. The hammer grip, in which you wrap your thumb around the grip, is the most basic variation on this grip.
Reverse grips are held in the same way as normal grips, but with the blade pointing down toward the ground. A reverse grip with the blade edge pointing back at you is possible, but it is not recommended for beginners.
4. Maintain your body behind your knife. It is critical that you use your knife as a defensive tool, protecting your face, neck, and torso from an attacker at all costs. Bring your shoulders in and duck your head, extending your knife-holding arm in front of you, flexed at a 45-degree angle.
Don’t extend your knife arm all the way, as this will expose it to attack.
As you hide behind your knife, use your other arm to protect your chest, neck, and stomach. You don’t want to use your unarmed hand as a shield or guard. Always put your knife forward.
5. Move all the time. If you both draw knives, take a large step backward while keeping your knife between your body and your opponent at all times. As if a magnet were pointing your knife at your opponent’s knife.
In general, you can move in one of four directions: forward, backward, and right or left circling. To protect yourself and make it more difficult to be struck, you should always be moving in some direction. Never stand on one foot.
6. Use your knife to distract yourself. Most attackers will be uninterested in attacking you, especially if you just pulled out a knife that you appear to know how to use. Nobody wants to engage in a knife fight. If you’ve pulled a knife on someone and they’ve pulled a knife on you, that should be the end of it. Pulling your knife and distracting your opponent should, in theory, be the end of the fight.
Draw your knife and issue a warning, something along the lines of: “This is a buck knife that my tactical knife instructor, who works for Blackwater, gave me. Every night, I sharpen it. You don’t want to get any closer, believe me. Let’s just call it quits for the night.”
Keith Richards, a well-known knife enthusiast, once stated that the only purpose of pulling a knife was to distract someone before kicking them between the legs to end the fight. It’s not the worst idea.
7. Dodging and controlling your opponent’s striking arm allows you to parry. Knife fighting is nothing like sword fighting. In a knife fight, you won’t be banging blades or doing much parrying, but it’s still important to deflect what could be a devastating blow by sidestepping blows, turning 90 degrees to the outside of your opponent’s striking arm, then gripping your opponent’s elbow and attempting to disarm them.
It is always preferable to strike or block at your opponent’s arm rather than attempting to grab them.
If you have no other choice, you must block with your other arm to protect your vital organs. A cut on your arm, no matter how severe, is preferable to a stab wound in your solar plexus.
More information on defensive striking to disarm your opponent can be found in the following section.
8. If at all possible, avoid fights. Pulling and using your knife should only be done as a last resort, and only if your life is in danger. If you can avoid the confrontation entirely, or if you can flee, do so to avoid a potentially fatal situation.
If you sustain a serious cut or stab wound, apply pressure to the wound right away to try to stop the bleeding and seek medical attention. Continue to apply consistent pressure to the wound until you can get professional help.
Part 3 Striking With a Knife
1. Back away from the strike zone. It’s not about getting close in a knife fight; it’s about staying out of the way. The majority of the fight will consist of you ducking and dodging, waiting for your opportunity to strike with quick little disarming strikes that will end the fight for good. Take a full step backward if it appears that you are about to be attacked with a knife.
Take a moment to assess your surroundings before moving to a more open area. You must be able to easily move backward. It will be difficult to defend yourself if you are in a confined space.
2. Make an attempt to disarm your assailant. When most inexperienced goons make this mistake, they will take a wild slash somewhere close to your face, giving you the first opportunity to stop the fight quickly. When your opponent strikes, your counter-strike should be quick and accurate, and it should put an end to the fight right away.
If they slash low, toward your stomach, follow them with a large step back and to the side. Bring your knife over their forearm, point down, and slash down at the wrist with your blade, attempting to get them to drop the knife.
If they slash high, follow them by taking a large step back and to the side, then slash with your blade pointing up at the underside of their forearm. In order to get them to drop the knife, aim for the forearm and wrist area.
3. Never use the opposite arm as a “shield.” It’s a common misconception that you should block with your other arm, clearing your opponent’s knife, before moving in close for a strike. It appears to make sense, but one or two slashes with an attacker’s knife at your “blocking” arm will have you losing blood and close to being incapacitated very quickly, making your “moving in” an unlikely proposition. Instead, you must learn to use your knife to both block and strike in a single motion.
If you see an opportunity to grab your opponent’s wrist with your opposite hand, you should take it.
Obviously, if the situation is extremely dire, you may need to offer up a sacrifice arm to protect your head and throat, but as your marker exercises indicate, things will get ugly fast. You must be quick with your disarming strikes and avoid getting into anything with more contact.
4. Never, ever throw your knife. In a one-on-one knife fight, the last thing you want to do is lose your knife. As your marker exercise should have indicated, defending yourself against an attacker with a knife when you don’t have one is extremely difficult. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll actually strike someone with a thrown knife, and you’re more likely to lose your knife and end up in trouble. Always keep your knife in your hand.
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