Sunday, June 3, 2012

C.Q.C. Basics : Knife Defence - a Primal Response

(This 2-part series by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)

The assailant holding the knife in the photo above is Mark James, the Executive Director of Panther Protection Services in Atlanta, teaching defensive tactics at the Fulton County Police Training Academy.

To me, the photo highlights three very important points about unarmed knife defence.....

Firstly, most knife attacks on the street happen at close range - talking range - about two feet.  Secondly, it's a natural survival response to initially try to evade a blade.  And thirdly, it's just as natural to try and grab the knife hand. 

Why do people try to grab?  It's a primal psychological response... an attempt to control (stabilize) a situation that's suddenly out of control.

However it's just as natural for the person holding the knife to react when their control is suddenly taken away by you grabbing their wrist or arm. 

Keep in mind that your attacker's knife is their power... and when they suddenly loose control of that power they will desperately want it back

The most common counter-measure they'll respond with is to pull back on the knife hand... or they'll grab or push you with their other hand as they lean away (see photo below).  It's a primal response that I recommend be incorporated into everyone's knife defence training!

So now we've covered :
  • why it's natural to try and grab the knife hand
  • and that your attacker is going to violently react to your defensive grab.

Now it's time to consider what you're going to do in the next 1-2 seconds... because that's all you've got before you start experiencing that 'getting punched' feeling that is actually the sensation of being stabbed at close-quarters.

It's always a good idea to disrupt your opponent if you can - with one or two quick power strikes.  But if you don't, then you've got a struggle on your hands, and your only other option is to apply a takedown or a restraint of some kind.

In my next post in this series I'll offer some insight into the universal principles of restraint and control.  But in the meantime I'll like to leave you with a quote from Mark James :

"Remember most knife attacks are ambushes.  So don't think martial arts - think prison shanking. That's what you will most likely be defending against."

My thanks to Panther Protection Services for the photo :

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