• User-uploading of files is now fully enabled!! Check out our full announcement for details.

    All accounts with 0 posts on them have been purged. If you are coming back to us after a long time and you find you can't log in, then that would probably be why.

"Knife Fighting": Getting Past the Idiocy

Arnox

Master
Staff member
Founder
Messages
5,441
I happily stumbled across a pretty old article again online that I thought was particularly well-written but I later forgot how to find.

Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20230819181807/http://nononsenseselfdefense.com/knifelies.html

Now, keep in mind this one caveat: I AM NOT FORMALLY TRAINED IN KNIVES OR MARTIAL ARTS AT ALL. I CANNOT GUARANTEE THE FULL VERACITY OF WHAT HE IS SAYING. Nevertheless, logically, the points that he makes (heh) logically check out. For those who want a TL;DR summary though,

1. You will very likely be attacked with a knife out of nowhere and you will not have time to pull out a single weapon of your own. A knife attack is a straight up murder attempt, not a joyful little scrap.

2. It's not going to be a formal sword duel. It will be extremely risky and nasty. You legally have the right to DEFEND yourself, not fight someone. You should be fully focused on escaping and evading, not fighting, for several very good reasons.

3. It is very unlikely that you will be cornered. "Don't fantasize about being in a situation where you have to use your knife fighting skills, because you can end up tricking yourself into just such a situation by blinding yourself to possible escape routes."

4. The attacker probably isn't going to attack you in your special snowflake way. The prison yard rush is still weirdly quite effective at getting hits with a knife in. Different countries have different knife fighting styles as well, and those differences can easily kill you.

5. Just because you might have succeeded at getting a strike or strikes in doesn't mean the fight is over. At all. "A wild defensive flailing while holding a knife is just as dangerous and damaging as an intentional strike. In fact, it is often more dangerous because of its unpredictable nature." Also, "his ability to move is his ability to hurt you."

6. Fighting systems that teach controlling or disarming moves or "defanging the snake" are 90% of the time ridiculous and may just get you killed. "Getting out alive is the best proof of skill, not how many subtle and complex moves you know." Also, "Once you disarm an opponent whether by leverage or your own blade, if you continue to use the knife on him, that isn't self-defense anymore."

7. "If you are at a point where you are just trying to wound someone, you are not in enough danger to justify using a knife [yourself]."

8. Knowing how to stick fight does not mean you know how to use every other melee weapon effectively. A stick often has similarities to other melee weapons, yes, but there are also key differences with many of those items as well.

9. Systems like Kali, Escrima, Arnis, and FMA are not going to turn you into John Wick. The founders of these systems weren't knife fighters, they were survivors who had both the raw experience and endurance taught to them by a ridiculously hellish life. Physical skill did help, but a huge piece of this pie as well was their sheer force of will and savagery. Knowing an art doesn't give you that.

Henri Ducard said:
Training is nothing. Will is everything. The will to act.
In this case, the will to kill and destroy no matter what.

10. "The myth of grappling is that it works everywhere. The fact that it proved so successful in the UFC ring has blinded many people to the fact that there are critical differences between fighting barehanded and fighting with weapons." It doesn't matter how big you are or how muscular you are. A knife will tear through your skin the same. The amount of force needed to cut with a sufficiently sharp implement is barely anything as well. Your adrenaline and super increased heart rate will rapidly speed up the loss of blood from a wound.

11. "The 'knife is an extension of your hand' [styles] encourage a lack of bodily movement, instead relying on the hand to do all your work for you. In these circumstances your not being cut relies on you speed and reflexes, rather than more reliable means."

12. There is no such thing as a master knife fighter. There are master survivalists. (See point #9.) There are expert soldiers. There are even experienced mercenaries, but there is no master or professional knife fighter. Such a title implies that victory is, at very least, incredibly probable. It is not. There is a very good reason why even the incredibly basic and primitive firearms of yesteryear absolutely trampled over swords, spears, and daggers.

13. "If you see a weapon deployed, run. If you stay, don't even think of fighting. It left that three counties back...someone is going to get seriously hurt if you stay. Now the question is, will it be him or you? Or both?"

14. It is not enough to expect to get cut. Expect to get absolutely gutted and take appropriate measures to try to prevent it as much as possible. "Trade a cut for a kill, but nothing else." Do not panic if it happens to you. Power through it. Eliminate the threat as fast as possible by any means possible. The game is not over yet.

15. There is no ultimate source for knife-fighting knowledge. There is no magical land of the knife where the art has been perfected. "There is no right way, one way or only way to use a knife."

16. It is NOT easy to disarm someone. At all. If someone is just brandishing a knife at you, it's usually easier, yes, but in that case, they're trying to scare you, not kill you, and remember, our first priority is to escape anyway.

17. "You cannot stand there and engage in a long, drawn out contest with an armed opponent. If you try to do so, you will lose. It is not a matter of if, but of when." There are no winners, only survivors here. Your moves must be fast, effective, and absolutely brutal.

18. Drills, while important, lack several critical components including effecting ranging and that oft-mentioned sheer force of will.

19. If you've (somehow) rendered the attacker defenseless or if the attacker attempts to run, you legally have a duty to retreat, not continue stabbing. The only singular exception to this is in flat out wartime.

Yes, that was the TL;DR summary by the way. I would also like to personally add that if you've survived ANY attempted assault, you should IMMEDIATELY call the police. Give them the address if they ask for it and just the basic details of what happened. Do not say anything more without an attorney present. If anything else, by immediately calling the police, you ensure that the attacker can't call the police themselves later on and lie, saying you attacked them.
 
Last edited:

RewmServive2101

Outlander
Messages
5
Specialization
Games People Play
This is one of the better inputs on knife "fighting" I have seen. I won't even bother to open the article. Your tl;dr probably makes for better reading material because this topic is a bit polarizing. In the developed world arrogance is a serious problem among tactical assholes, tough guys and aspiring heroes.

A knife is an instrument of death to be survived. Knife fights are messy and it should be assumed that nothing will go as planned no matter how "trained" you are, which is why the best advice by anyone with common sense is, if you see a knife get the hell out of there. Run, hide, then fighting as an absolute last resort is the order with which the threat should be engaged. In the event that you do have to face your attacker, there are tactics to employ, but all of them require practice, speed and strength. Being cornered by an overpowering skilled and trained attacker with a knife is among the worst imaginable scenarios, and you should assume that even if you do survive the engagement, you are going to need serious medical attention immediately.

The way I see it is facing any opponent with a knife, even some skinny moron in the street with his pants down to his ass, is the equivalent of preemptively accepting the loss of three fingers.

There are disarming and defensive techniques I prefer over others, and they all employ a highly aggressive mindset to isolate the limb holding the weapon from the rest of the body with the entirety of your body weight. This ensures that even a smaller defender has any hope against someone taller, or stronger. The quicker and more directly a person can position themselves at a leverageable angle, getting between the attacker and their weapon while controlling the attacker's body, the better.

However, this is paired with the reality that knives are wildly unpredictable weapons, and take very little skill to inflict damage. Defending against a knife requires an aggressive mindset that accepts this fact in order to protect your more vital areas in defusing the situation.

I'd discuss those counter-measures in more detail but I think that would be more irresponsible than helpful. My advice is if you see a knife, GTFO, or pull out a gun.
 

Arnox

Master
Staff member
Founder
Messages
5,441
This is one of the better inputs on knife "fighting" I have seen. I won't even bother to open the article. Your tl;dr probably makes for better reading material because this topic is a bit polarizing. In the developed world arrogance is a serious problem among tactical assholes, tough guys and aspiring heroes.

A knife is an instrument of death to be survived. Knife fights are messy and it should be assumed that nothing will go as planned no matter how "trained" you are, which is why the best advice by anyone with common sense is, if you see a knife get the hell out of there. Run, hide, then fighting as an absolute last resort is the order with which the threat should be engaged. In the event that you do have to face your attacker, there are tactics to employ, but all of them require practice, speed and strength. Being cornered by an overpowering skilled and trained attacker with a knife is among the worst imaginable scenarios, and you should assume that even if you do survive the engagement, you are going to need serious medical attention immediately.

The way I see it is facing any opponent with a knife, even some skinny moron in the street with his pants down to his ass, is the equivalent of preemptively accepting the loss of three fingers.

There are disarming and defensive techniques I prefer over others, and they all employ a highly aggressive mindset to isolate the limb holding the weapon from the rest of the body with the entirety of your body weight. This ensures that even a smaller defender has any hope against someone taller, or stronger. The quicker and more directly a person can position themselves at a leverageable angle, getting between the attacker and their weapon while controlling the attacker's body, the better.

However, this is paired with the reality that knives are wildly unpredictable weapons, and take very little skill to inflict damage. Defending against a knife requires an aggressive mindset that accepts this fact in order to protect your more vital areas in defusing the situation.

I'd discuss those counter-measures in more detail but I think that would be more irresponsible than helpful. My advice is if you see a knife, GTFO, or pull out a gun.
I'd say the even shorter TL;DR of it all is,

1. Escape any way you can.

2. If you can't escape, pull out your gun.

3. If you can't escape and you don't have a gun, create an opening to escape as soon as possible.

4. If even that's not possible, then don't just fight the attacker, absolutely destroy them before they destroy you.

5. Call the police as soon as you are out of danger.
 

Battousai

Brother Sharp
Sanctuary legend
Sanctuary contributor
Messages
574
Occupation
Cookmaster supreme
I'd say the even shorter TL;DR of it all is,

1. Escape any way you can.

2. If you can't escape, pull out your gun.

3. If you can't escape and you don't have a gun, create an opening to escape as soon as possible.

4. If even that's not possible, then don't just fight the attacker, absolutely destroy them before they destroy you.

5. Call the police as soon as you are out of danger.
6. Let things play out and the knife guy will troll himself.
 
Top