Defenses against Threats with an Edged Weapon
This section covers practical and proven techniques to effectively deal with an assailant who uses an edged weapon to pose an imminent threat to the life of the defender. An edged weapon, while typically a knife, could be any short instrument used to cut or stab, such as a broken bottle, scissors, box cutter, screwdriver, etc.
There are several key factors that should be considered when dealing with a threat as opposed to an attack. The behavior of the assailant is different from one who is actively stabbing or slashing at the defender. The assailant may want to gain information or property from the victim, take the victim hostage and/or move the victim to another location. Depending on the nature and context of the threat, a knife-wielding assailant has the ability to threaten the intended victim from close, intermediate and long-range distances, at various angles and heights, and by placing the edged weapon at different parts of the victim's body.
Our experiences have taught us that each passing second may allow the situation to escalate into a more dangerous and dynamic scenario, one where the assailant actively attacks with the edged weapon by stabbing and slashing repeatedly at the intended victim. Just like in basic handgun, the technical principles for addressing knife threats are Redirect, Control, Attack and Takeaway. The tactical responses generally recommended are: (1) escape, (2) use an improvised weapon or shield, and/or (3) engage with personal weapons. This section will address the least desirable but most problematic response - the use of personal weapons. In the cases presented here, the defender has no method of escape or weapons/shields of expedience.
It's also important to note that once an initial defense is made, there are four common responses from the assailant: switch knife hands, thrust the knife forward, pull the knife away, and/or strike. The techniques prescribed here are designed to address all of these concerns. Furthermore, this section will address all of the defensive principles that apply to threats with an edged weapon and will outline defensive techniques and tactics and how to perform them under varying degrees of stress.
An edged weapon may be a dedicated weapon, such as a knife carried on one's person, or a weapon of convenience, such as scissors or broken glass. While the actual attack range is limited, the edged weapon presents multiple problems for defenders.
Edged weapons are easily concealed and, quite often, victims are unaware of the presence of a knife (for example). Edged weapons are typically easy to wield and difficult to isolate for the defender. Such weapons are always "live", never run out of "ammo" and almost never fail. For these reasons, among others, edged weapons are often considered the hardest to deal with. In addition, according to police reports submitted annually to the FBI, a person in the U.S. who is stabbed by a knife is 20 percent more likely to die than one who suffers a gun shot.
The Use of Common Objects as Distractions
Common objects used as distractions are often small and, in most cases, easily thrown, such as keys, coins, a wallet, a drink, etc. It's possible that hot liquids or aerosols, when employed as distractions, may also induce pain or injury. Tactically, these objects should be used at the onset of a threat to help facilitate escape or to provide access to a more practical defensive weapon or the use of personal weapons.
A person willing to use such a weapon is characteristically of a different mindset than those preferring other, longer-range weapons. An assailant choosing to brandish and use an edged weapon is willing to go "hands on" - to get bloody, to feel metal against bone and tendon, and to feel the life leave the victim. A person with this capacity must be met with equal or greater ferocity if the defender is to have a chance of survival.
Basic Knife-Threat Defense Principles
Redirect: Move the edge away from your body.
Control: Get control of the weapon hand.
Attack: Send aggressive counterattacks to the assailant.
Takeaway: Disarm the assailant.
Defenses against Threats with an Edged Weapon courtesy of the book Black Belt Krav Maga.
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