The Illusion of Control

Knife attacks are brutal! Many times, they involve multiple stab wounds and are always very up close and personal. Krav Maga offers solutions for these types of attacks. Typically defend, counter attack, and move. However, some martial arts instructors train their student to try and control the perpetrator’s hand that is holding the knife. Although this tactic is theoretically possible, it does not match up to reality and what it takes to actually stop the attack.

If you watch any knife-attack video, you will see the reality of how violent a knife-attack is. The victim is usually stabbed multiple times, attempting to push the attacker away all while losing lots of blood and often ends up losing the fight.

When formulating our defenses, we must take these scenarios into account. First and foremost, for the attacker to succeed, the knife must be within arm’s reach. If creating distance is possible, then do so! That may be the best defense of all.

Secondly, if there is no space, you must first address the attack - block or redirect. Although the initial block or redirection may PREVENT you from getting cut, it will NOT stop the attack. In fact, trying to control the hand of an attacker holding a knife is nearly impossible (unless your mother is Wonder Woman and your father is Superman - Shahar “Sean” Or).

Lastly, we know that the attacker will continue stabbing until they have succeeded, so we must break their OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, and act). How? With extremely aggressive counter-attacks, using everything at our disposal. In fact, during the recent wave of terrorist stabbing attacks in Israel, civilians used selfie-sticks, nunchucks, umbrellas, guitars, shopping carts, store shelves, and yes, the terrorist’s own knife to stop attacks and save their lives.

Although the attack may end, the effects of it will not. You will most likely be cut and/or stabbed. Knowing how to apply tourniquets, bandages, and using direct pressure can help you or the victim survive until professional medical help can arrive.

Your defensive training should not be based on what works in the gym but what happens in real life. Theorizing on control, fancy complicated moves, and disarms will put you or your practitioners in danger. Knife-attacks involve extreme violence with multiple stabs, close proximity and the aftermath of trauma to the body. But don’t take my word on it; take a look online for yourself and try to implement training for scenarios that will more closely match what results in reality.

Thank you for reading and look out for more on the topic of knives in the next few week. 

Ron Grobman


Tactical Fitness