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Knives In Self-defence: What Are Your Objectives?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Fosbery, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

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    Ok, so I know knives are generally not regarded as very effective self-defence tools, and I'm not actually interested in using them as such or anything like that. I am just curious:

    Suppose you were to give me a lecture on how to use a knife to defend myself, assuming there is no alternative, what would my objectives in the confrontation be? Am I aiming to destroy muscle tissue? Sever tendons? Pierce the heart? Cause bleeding? Trauma? You see where I'm going.
     
  2. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    My sincere advice is to do the same thing you would engage when trying to learn any skill set.

    Find an expert. In this case, James Keating, Jerry Vancook, Massad Ayoob. Contact them for classroom and field training. Many of these guys tour the country and offer seminars.

    (Perhaps Gunsite Raven and Thunder Ranch have classes. Best thing is to call them.)

    The best knife in the world is only good for slicing strawberries unless you know what you're doing with it. Many of my clients are actually more of a danger to themselves.
     
  3. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

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    As I said, I don't actually want to learn how to 'knife fight'. I'm just interested as to what you're trying to achieve when you employ a knife in self-defence (obviously, to neutralise the threat, but what are you aiming to do in order to achieve that?).
     
  4. Browning

    Browning Member

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    To my way of thinking you'd be looking to get away from a confrontation alive and unharmed.

    That being said though if for some reason you're in a confrontation that you can't flee from for whatever reason and the only thing that you have for a weapon is a knife then you have to convince your attacker that you're way more trouble than you're worth (by inflicting damage) or putting them out of the fight completely. I'm no expert on fighting with knives or anything, I've only ever taken a short Escrima course but the single best way to end to fight seems to be a stab wound to the lung.

    If they're having trouble breathing then they're going to have trouble attacking or chasing you.

    I've been an EMT for a number of years now and with most of the stabbings that I've been called the person that's been stabbed usually could still fight back unless they were stabbed multiple times in the torso with some of those multiple stab wounds hitting one or both of the lungs (so that they're being deprived of oxygen so that their fighting ability is greatly decreased). When that happens it's usually just a matter of a minute or so before the person (that's be stabbed in the lung) drops.

    After that in order or importance would be....

    The Eyes.

    The Throat.

    The Liver.

    The Kidneys.

    Slashing the tendons of their primary arm.

    If it sounds kind of gruesome that's because it is. Defending yourself with a firearm or a blunt object would be much easier psychologically for the average person than trying to defend yourself with a knife.
     
  5. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    You are aiming to sever tendons and disable the attacker. Severing tendons disconnects the muscle from the bone and halts movement right now. A stab wound may stop the attacker, but in maybe 15 to 30 seconds? Mm. Cut a tendon and they stop now. Killing is very low on the priority list, as is bloodshed. Stop the attacker post haste.

    A nice side-effect is that the muscle immediately balls up, which is excruciatingly painful. The pain can be very effective is making the attacker stop using the limbs that still do work to attack you with.

    My recent reading on the topic tells me that a 2" karambit is the most effective for expediently disabling an attacker in a knife fight.


    -T.
     
  6. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Oh, I understand. And I carry some of the best/sharpest knives ever made.

    But ask yourself this--if you cannot get away, you are in the very middle of a knife fight, aren't you?

    And that's the point. No THR member here seeks a fight. Gun, knife or club, the entire idea of the philosophy here is to get home safely.

    But it is a weapon, and weapons require teachers.

    We are dealing with very serious life and death issues (not to mention being maimed) when we talk about veins, arteries and tendons.

    Shun Kitchen Knives includes a bandage with each product. Funny or not, everyone--and that includes me, gets cut.

    Having said that, the best book I've ever read on this subject is called "Bloody Iron." No hype, just some solid truths. It's written by soldiers who served time in prison. Even a friend of mine who is a guard in a mental hospital (and has gotten shanked) told me the info was very real world.

    Find a good teacher.
     
  7. Boats

    Boats member

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    My belief is that karambits are more hat than cattle, and in any case, nothing you'd want to explain to a DA or a jury.

    They sure do look fancy in pics and vids against training mopes just standing there getting slashed in their t-shrts, and shorts or jeans though.:rolleyes:
     
  8. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Knives are, in general, more useful for offense than defense.

    I believe there are two strategies you can use.

    1). If you're already in close, you have to stay in until the threat can't hurt you. There are three ways to stop any machine: electrical, hydraulic, and structural failure. With a small knife, the only one you can count on is inflicting hydraulic damage (bleeding). You cut until their machine don't work.

    2). If you're already outside and can't disengage/run, you can cut their weapons. Cut arms, hands, and feet/legs, should they kick.

    John
     
  9. Wolfman_556

    Wolfman_556 Member

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    In the age of HIV, knives should be a very last resort.

    JMO.
     
  10. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    No, you're absolutely right. This is just one of many reasons I often tell people to not plan on using a knife if they have any choice.

    I bitched a good friend of mine out last week. He carries at least one firearm if he's wearing clothes, carries knives, and this year has begun carrying an automatic knife in addition to his Kershaws and Spydercos.

    Basically, I told him as "tacticaled out" as he is, there's no excuse for a 50-ish man with some balance issues (stroke in 04) not carrying a useful cane, aka a 3 foot whomping stick. :banghead:

    John
     
  11. jahwarrior

    jahwarrior Member

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    i carry a spyderco chinook for utility reasons. if the need arises, it can be used for self defense. the worst advise anyone can give anyone else is how to kill with a knife, because the advice is nothing like the reality. most knife wounds that can be inflicted in a fight (not an ambush) are non-lethal. any reputable knife defense trainer will teach you how to disable an opponent, to leave room for escape. in my own experiences, i've aimed for the face and hands, not because i was trained to, but because those were the most obvious targets. nowadays, my knife would be used to to my gun, while my gun is used to get to my shotgun.
     
  12. sm

    sm member

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    My objectives as passed forward to me being one born to be a target for criminals (such as kidnapping) , a hi risk industry, mentored by mentors and elders with real life experience in the work I was raised into:

    Not knife fights.

    Instead small sharp knives, and other "edges" to allow me to cut rope if tied up.
    Concealed means concealed, and having such items accessible if hands were tied in front, or in back, or other positions.

    My like kind and partners did the same, so for example if my lady pard and I were tied together, practiced plans and the ability to access edged tools, hand cuff keys, and other tools.

    Another "tool" everyone carried when I was a kid, was a cut or masonry nail. Some carried just a "regular old nail".

    Why? Because the cut nail works to wedge a door shut, to run a shotgun like a 1100 that has lost its bolt handle, to undo a trunk lock, as one has been locked into a trunk of a car, to undo knots...etc.

    Yes, I have used a pocket knife to defend, and one was a Case Barehead Slimline Trapper CV blades, another was a Hen & Rooster small [2 3/4" closed] pen knife and one was a Case Peanut.

    Stick beats knife, and a screwdriver is society acceptable, and it will wedge a door shut, or pry a window open.
    Rolled up magazines, bandanna's, coffee cup, bottle of water...

    I do not do , nor suggest knife fights.
     
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmph.

    I have deliberately not carried a firearm at times, just to remind myself that my brain was the real defensive tool, not the weapon.

    At the same time, none of y'all need to emulate sm and his rusty razor blade just for the hell of it. (And I'd suggest a wrench before a razor anyway.)

    Just sayin'.

    John
     
  14. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    Yep. Best everyday SD weapon you can have short of a gun. Unoffensive to the "P.C." crowd, and has the length to keep an attacker at a distance. If I weren't so young I'd probably carry one. Just don't want to get confused for a pimp :D (anyone see that episode of Seinfeld?). If I were in my fifties or better, I'd have one. I'd still carry a practical knife for utilitarian purposes, but not for SD. Some of those knotty shillelaghs (spelling?) are very nice.

    Jason
     
  15. Wolfman_556

    Wolfman_556 Member

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    I'm 37 and I often take a nice piece of irish blackthorn on my walks with the pups.

    A good stick has the advantage of being lethal or nonlethal, depending on how you use it.

    Plus it's very good for defensive warding.
     
  16. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Peter Egan, the great motorcycle writer once wrote an article about "Some place you should not be" his point was being in a ditch after taking a turn too fast is some place you should not be but your there because decision you made prior to that were wrong. I guess my point is situational awareness, analysis of your surroundings can keep you out of trouble a good portion of the time. As for knife fighting- not for me- got lucky once, cut the face - dont ever want to do it again. but i was able to stop the threat and get to a better weapon. Gun, impact weapon (my cane), keys on a chain, some thing that will get me disengaged quickly is my goal
    just my .02
     
  17. vicdotcom

    vicdotcom Member

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    I do agree that the arteries, lungs, major organs and the tendons are the primary attack points with a knife. BUT they are also a lot harder to get to when you are not training properly and not looking for a knife "fight". These spots tend to be well protected and small targets where you will need to A)parry an attack b) create an opening to attack and c) effectively damage that area. All of this takes training.

    In the specific conditions you are refering to though, I would certainly go with a straight, deep, and quick stab into the face then abdomen. The face to stun and the abdomen to damage. Stay away from the slashing unless you get some training. Untrained slashes wont do much damage other than superficial wounds for the most part. Even a perfectly placed weak slash to the neck may not be fatal.

    Again, this is only for the situation you are describing for someone who doesnt want to knife fight. But someone who has a knife as a last resort who has 0 training and must defend themselves.

    Vic
     
  18. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

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    Thanks for the helpful responses.

    As I said, I was just curious. When I say I'm not looking to learn how to knife fight, I do actually mean it. I don't even carry a lock knife! It may be hard to believe but yes, I am actually just curious :rolleyes:
     
  19. TAB

    TAB Member

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    generally speaking you need to get the hell out of there asap... if you do need to make a cut or two to do that. the arm that has the knife is generally the best target... any of the arms major muscle/ tendon areas are perfect. a Good cut will disable an arm to the point where it can no longer attack.

    There are 3 things that can happen in a knife fight, 2 of them are bad.
     
  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Two major popular schools of thought are to destroy the limbs or cause the attacker to collapse due to loss of blood pressure. Both of these schools of thought use close in cutting/slashing/ripping. These are base heavily on Indonesian/Philippines knife techniques from Silat, Kali and other styles.

    A third school based on western blade combat focuses on the thrust.

    All require training and skill.

    A fourth "school" is the prison knife style. Simple rush in and pump your opponent with the blade making as many holes as possible as fast as possible. Focus on pumping the blade up under the ribs to reach the heart, lungs, liver and major arteries, into the throat and eyes and into the kidneys. No finesse there.
     
  21. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, I listed both of those first two, but I saw the limb attack used in a longer distance style...
     
  22. jparham

    jparham Member

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    Pointy end goes into other man.

    That's about the extent of my knife training- I don't carry a knife as a weapon. I would use one in self-defense, only if need be, and with that simple philosophy in mind.
     
  23. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Sorry, I don't believe that for a second. I've never had any formal training in knives, and I know the difference between stabbing myself and stabbing my attacker. You slice, dice and stab for the vitals of the mongrel intent on hurting you, if need be. It's not rocket surgery.

    Well said; thank you! :)
     
  24. The Highlander

    The Highlander Member

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    The way you fight to defend yourself varies greatly depending on the kind of weapon(s) your threat(s) are using.

    Your stance and grip may also vary depending on the weapon you are carrying. If you have a small folder you aren't going to be stabbing as much as slashing. Because of this you will probably want to go for a clenched fist with the thumb running down the tang. However if you have a decent guard/grip with a longer blade, you may want to go for a hit grip, with your fist completely wrapped around the blade. (blade up, not down) This will assist in stabbing.

    The main thing really is to keep cool and think. Be sure to use both hands.

    As for targets, the jugular and carotid in the neck are both solid choices. The rib cage guards the heart, so try to hit a different area. The solar plexus (base of the rib cage) is a solid target to aim for with an upward thrust. Also as previously stated the tendons make for great targets as well.
     
  25. sm

    sm member

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    This is how I was mentored as wee brat to use a screwdriver and continued to be as I became older.
    Yes, the tool was a screwdriver, though adaptable to scissors and other tools.
    Mentors included Cops, Ex Cons, Military and some other interesting folks.
    Folks that had been on other countries with very strict regulations about folks having guns, knives and the like.

    'Offensive' lessons these were called though they were "defensive lessons".
    i.e. a young girl has had advances made by a dad, stepdad or uncle, especially when drunk and beating up on mom.

    Some of these males took away knives from ladies, and only let them have a knife when it was time to cook them something to eat.
    Just like the ladies had no money, except to get beer, liquor and groceries.

    I am going w-a-y back with this, keep in mind I am over age 50.

    So in order to be defensive, one had to think like a criminal and be "offensive"

    Don't look like prey - think like a criminal.

    Mods cut me a bit of slack if you will, as I know there are some abused and battered folks lurking here for answers on THR.

    Here are some "offensive" lessons, proven, that assist in being "defensive".

    -Look at the human anatomy and physiology.
    Caratoid artery, femoral artery, and other arteries and veins.
    Muscle, tendons and the like too.

    -To save "liquor money" at the grocery store cutting out coupons help.
    Drunk/stoned abusive males do not always think about anything but themselves and one does a nice pair of scissors. Even a kid's pair to help mom cut coupons has one pointy blade.
    It is "normal" to have such scissors "handy"

    -Sewing at home means the drunk has control over you, and again scissors are needed.
    A kid assists and learns sewing and can stay busy cutting patches for that quilt they can sell for "more liquor and dope money".

    -Getting some more "liquor money" by going over to deliver some dresses made , or to get a fitting and bring back the work, means carrying scissors, and of course the kid goes along as the male does not want them around -
    but these gals do have to be back home by a certain time or get the crap beat out of them.

    -The broom stick in the window sill to keep someone from breaking in, like a drunk buddy wanting to hurt the male , or even cops or anyone else coming to get them, is a "stick", stick beats knife, and is a normal item.

    -Irons.
    One has to iron clothes and everyone knows a abusive drunk never misses a day of work.
    They arrive dressed nice in ironed clothes.
    Those dresses and all being made have to be ironed too.

    So the offensive tip, is it is normal for a ironing board to be out, with a iron.

    Abuse starts, toss that hot iron, and it is a normal reaction to catch something and being drunk and/or high, means reaction and judgment is impaired.
    Burned hands do not make good fists to beat a lady and the urges of a fella toward that younger daughter, are no longer a first priority.
    Then use the ironing board to keep distance and evade.

    Just some of the offensive lessons, for defensive uses that were passed onto folks , including kids.

    Still knives were not suggested or promoted as defensive tools.
    That said, pocket knives and The Christy [tm] knife was shown how to use properly.

    Ex Cons taught Cops, Military, and the Cops and Military had lessons to pass on as well.
    Dead serious when I share a Ex Con would show a kid and mom how to wait for a bus, get on on, ride and exit and travel to destination and not look like prey.
    I mean the Ex Con, or one of the others, would access someone and then point out the times they could have been shived, and purse snatched or worse.
    Flip roles and the lady , kid, whomever, would pretend to be the criminal and how and when they could take down the Ex Con or whomever was assisting in lessons.

    Keep in mind, some of these folks I call Mentors worked in restrictive countries, and Police /Military might shoot you at a check point.
    The small caliber , small handgun , or J frame, one got in a dead drop, and dead dropped off before crossing a checkpoint or if Police/Military were coming around to roust folks.
    Very small pen knives were valued.
    The real tools were the brain and reading signals, and other things.
    Along with too many "improvised" and "expedient" tools. These improvised and expedient tools differ.

    Internet was not around back then, nor was 911 or known gun schools, and other things.
    Evil has always been around, folks survived, and knives for fighting, were not encouraged.
    We did not know it by ADEE, but essentially that is what was taught.
    Problem 2 has always existed, so one offensively thought before hand, about consequences when evil, such as that male came into a little girls room in the middle of the night.

    Cops saw the coupons and patches for a quilt, along with the blood, and the scissors with blood.

    Judge said, the little girl did what any prudent little girl would do when a bigger male, did what he did, and she had to fight to keep from happening that was happening.

    19 cent pair of scissors to the attacker, that was her stepdad.

    The mom could not help, she had been beaten unconscious, and left in the workshop outside.


    Evil comes in all flavors.

    There is former Bond Daddy that does not wish me good health or a long life.
    He is sporting a Rolex President, paid cash for the Benz and the BMW.
    He was from good stock, as was his wife.
    Just he got a bit caught up with bling bling and Cocaine.
    I mean he got in deep.
    No big deal, he has a good looking wife, so let her pay off the dudes with being a sex toy.
    Hey, he has "blow" and them young gals are easy to take to a hotel with coke, and flashing bling.

    There she was, never suspecting a thing, and "company" is going to drop by about some Bond business.
    She was doing a nice dinner, as clients meant money!

    She committed suicide some years later, she fought, just outnumbered.

    Go buy those Fantasy knives to fight Zombies one on one if you want.

    Reality is Real.
     
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