Defending Yourself With A Knife |
Modern Defensive Training Systems

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MDTS is a New York based firearms training and personal protection consulting company. We specialize in pistol, concealed carry, shotgun, carbine, defensive knife, less lethal, physical defense and threat awareness training courses. Mobile training courses are available in N.Y. and abroad. Contact us to host a training course at your range or location. Click logo below to see schedule of classes near you.

Practical Small Knife Skills 1 & 2

Defending Yourself With A Knife

Defending Yourself With A Knife


*Please note, it is YOUR responsibility to know and understand the laws regarding carrying a knife. This post is for information purposes only.


How To Defend Yourself With A Knife? First, it’s important to identify priorities and understand mechanisms of stopping a human aggressor. What is your goal? This needs to be defined if you choose to carry any “defensive weapon”. By defining your goal you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and money seeking out gear and proper training. For the purposes of this post how about: “to stop someone(s) from harming me or someone I am responsible for”. When I say harm I mean someone trying to cause you death or serious bodily injury. Name calling, insults, even minor physical harm won’t justify you pulling a knife out to defend yourself.



Mechanisms for Stopping

A knife is a penetration and cutting tool creating both physical and psychological trauma. Improvised tools fall into penetrating and impact applications creating blood loss, like with knives, and or blunt force trauma or force delivered into the opponent. Where we penetrate or impact the attacker is important in regards to rapid cessation of attack or incapacitation of an attacker.

When in contact with the attacker the face, eyes and neck should be the primary targets providing a strong psychological response and desire on the part of the attacker to disengage. If the head cannot be reached the “fork” or between the legs offers a target rich environment. Penetration and impact also providing strong psychological response when striking to this area.

If distance or range is present then applications to the incoming limbs (hands/arms) in an attempt to dissuade the attacker and then the head region, body and legs as range allows. Remember, the torso is muscled, has bone protecting vital organs. Penetration has to be deep in order to cause sufficient fight stopping damage.  Stick to “surface targets” like the face and fork.

If forced to defend yourself, be willing, demonstrate aggressive intent and remember multiple strikes may be required. Don’t stop until they have gotten off of you and are staying away from you. Once they have done that escape or seek help immediately. Contact authorities (911) as soon as you are safe and check yourself for injuries.


Final Thoughts

Finally, understand the laws wherever you carry that knife. Despite what some may tell you a knife is not a “less lethal” weapon. You can’t just cut someone a little. If you use it to defend yourself you will likely go to jail and have to justify your actions. If you are preparing by deciding to carry a knife then know when you can and can’t use it to defend yourself.

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