The reality of defending yourself against a knife attack

The reality of defending yourself against a knife attack

This is a common subject that comes up often and there are many different opinions. The question is…

What do I do when someone attacks me with a knife?

Let’s have a look at a class showing us the brutality of a knife attack. The instructor, Deane Lawler, states the situation very plainly and clearly shows the difference between “mythical” techniques and hard, ugly reality. An excellent piece of teaching.

So where does one start when it comes to knife defence?

In general, the starting place is trying to start well before there is an actual weapon. By the use of situational awareness. Which means that you have put yourself in a good position to see if the aggressor has a knife or may have a knife. Both aspects are just as important as sometimes it isn’t obvious that someone has a weapon and this can be more dangerous than if someone shows you the weapon.

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The 6 ranges of combat and their use in defending yourself against a violent attack: Part two

Understanding The 6 Ranges Of Combat and their use in Self-Defense

This is the second part of the article as there was a lot of information to get through. To resume.

We discussed that in general terms, there are 6 ranges or distances in a combat situation or violent confrontation. Learning what they are is another important piece of the Self-Defense puzzle. Part one you can find here. Now we look at using any knowledge of the ranges.

Using knowledge of the 6 ranges

Understanding what is happening is one of the key elements of Self-Defense. If you have clarity in reading a situation, you can then be clearer in how you deal with it. Some form of order in the chaos, so to speak. A clear understanding of the 6 ranges helps you plan how to deal with something and act according to each different problem.

So, for example, you are having problems with someone being aggressive in the street, but they are at least 5 metres from you.

With knowledge of the ranges of combat you can..

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The 6 ranges of combat and their use in defending yourself against a violent attack: Part one

Understanding The 6 Ranges Of Combat and their use in Self-Defense

This article goes on a bit as there is a lot to get through, so I have split into two parts. Here we go.

In general terms, there are 6 ranges or distances in a combat situation or violent confrontation. Learning what they are is another important piece of the Self-Defense puzzle.

Why is it so important I hear you ask?

Because knowledge is power and knowing what you are actually dealing with can help you prepare for and deal with what is to come. By understanding how a range can work for you or against you, you can pick the right response to any form of aggression.

The 6 ranges of combat can be roughly defined as (starting with the furthest away)…

  1. Missiles
  2. Hand weapons
  3. Kicking
  4. Punching
  5. Trapping
  6. Grappling

Breaking down the different ranges:

Missiles

Missiles are essentially anything that can come from a distance. From a rifle bullet to a spear or even some drunk in a bar throwing a beer glass at you. Being situationally aware is the key to avoiding a long-range missile hitting you.

A potential assailant could be some distance away but if they look a bit conspicuous and have their hands where you can’t see them, they could be armed and dangerous. Follow your instinct to move away from them as quickly as possible as they could be carrying a pistol or knife.

You could also be having an argument in a bar, for example, and you aren’t very close to the other person. You may feel safe, but don’t switch off to the possibility that they could pick up a bottle or glass and throw it. It can happen very quickly, so staying alert to any sudden move could be a lifesaver.

I remember years ago, a New Zealander I knew, telling me a story of a bar fight which started with an argument. One person left it alone and the other didn’t, so to speak. The next thing that happened is a beer crate flying through the air and hitting the bloke in the side of the head nearly knocking him out, before he was jumped on. It happens!

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Awareness, the main way of staying safe on the streets

Without good situational awareness, you could be vulnerable to various types of criminals that tend to prey on people that appear “switched off”.

When it comes to training in Self Defense, one of the first things that should be taught, is “Situational Awareness”
Situational awareness is an essential part of staying safe on the streets

Awareness, one of the main ways of staying safe on the streets


When it comes to training in Self Defense, one of the first things that should be taught, is “Situational Awareness”. This is part of Personal Safety and involves developing good habits that keep you out of trouble when out or in unfamiliar surroundings.

Types of attack, armed or unarmed

Without good situational awareness, you could be vulnerable to various types of criminals that tend to prey on people that appear “switched off”. Or those simply unaware of what is happening around them.

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to wander around in a constant state of paranoia, but neither would you want to walk around totally blinkered and vulnerable. Situational awareness is a learnable process. It’s the learning of good personal safety habits that help you to avoid violence or robbery before it happens.

If you look at muggings, for example, which are often seen as a random attack. They are actually planned well in advance and use various tactics to “ambush” the victim.

Geoff Thompson, Self -Defense expert states,

“Most muggings are not random acts; there is usually a ritual that precedes an attack. The attacker will select his victim, usually someone that is daydreaming or isolated. Often the victim will be stalked seconds, even minutes before the attack. Many professional muggers approach their victims before the attack and ask a distracting/disarming question such as ‘Have you got the time please’ or ‘I’m lost, can you give me directions’. This is done to engage your brain before the attack. It’s a primer. Once engaged the mugger goes to work.”

Geoff Thompson
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