Metaphorically speaking, I’ve been wrestling with knife defense for a few months now. Most of this has to do with reading the following blogs:
Owing to the the prison days I have some strong opinions concerning taking a confrontation to the ground in a street fight. However, after considering and interacting with the above bloggers, something occurred to me: I was involved in about five use of force situations where 3-5 correctional officers had to wrestle with an inmate to get him to let go of an improvised weapon (i.e. pens, filed combs, etc.). To do so we’d rely on superior numbers and motor nerve strikes to get the inmate to release the weapon. Thankfully, in these examples we always won and nobody was injured.
What about the street? Going to the ground in this instance (credit Low Tech) led to one person being cut by a knife.
Police said Scott put the 27-year-old woman in a headlock and wrestled her to the ground, where the pair continued to grapple.
Friends broke the fight up and realized the 27-year-old was bleeding from a wound to her neck.
Just so I am clear: Going to the ground in a street setting is to be avoided. However, you should learn some ground basics because street fights often end up there.
That’s all good and fine but what about wrestling with someone who pulls a knife? It has happened, I’ve seen it happen (improvised knife anyhow), yet I failed to even make the connection here! In fact, I’m already NOT confident about my general knife defense skills, and I have no idea what I’d do if ever I had to wrestle one-on-one on the ground with a knife-wielder.
Readers of this blog know that, for the most part, I tend to think that most of the knife defense being taught today sucks. Much of what we do see has been handed down from an era where warriors wore lacquered armor. This in turn made it okay to execute a rising block against a knife because your forearm was protected by armor. Paul Vunak notes this problem in the beginning of this video.
So my question to all of you is this: Are any of you aware of a good knife defense system that is effective in stand-up and on the ground? As usual, I perused YouTuber to see what I could find. Here are the results:
The first is from Bussey Combatives. Overall I like what he’s talking about and I do realize it’s a demonstration. However, note at about 6:30 he takes the guy to the ground. Also note how close that knife gets to his femoral artery!
In the second video we see Sang H. Kim demonstrate a little ground grappling with the knife. But for a transitional second, Kim seems to do a good job of controlling the knife. However I do realize that this is an instructional video, too.
These videos come from the Karda Group. I know I’ve ran across their work before, however I can’t remember where! Anyhow it looks like they are drawing from numerous sport and combative arts to come up with their knife defense. They have seven videos in total an most of it I like. However, I’m not a big fan of placing the flat of a blade on your forearm to strip the weapon (see below video). For sure I like how they demonstrate a fluid stand-up grappling approach in this video:
The last video come from Krav Maga. I could not find any KM videos showing ground grappling with a knife-wielder. I did find quite a few that discuss Krav’s “bursting” philosophy:
I definitely have Krav Maga on the brain. The more I research it the more I like. Consequently it’s made the short list for my next big art. Up to their black belt equivalent most civilian versions of Krav Maga cover defense against knives, sticks, and guns. Contrast this to Tae Kwon Do where we did not see knife defense until the end of the 2nd dan material — usually 5-6 years in the system!
Here’s a little more about Krav Maga:
One of the key elements of Krav Maga knife defense against a committed attack is bursting. Your upper body, or torso, quickly is “released” from the lower part and bursts into the attacker’s knife arm and upper body.
Ground knife defense is a neglected area of training. In fact in all the countless martial arts academies I have been to I have hardly seen anyone deal with this.
I’ve probably created more questions than I did answers. Anyhow, consider the videos and also consider what you know about knife defense.
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