Defensive Knives And Stopping The Threat |
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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.

Defensive Knives And Stopping The Threat

Defensive Knives And Stopping The Threat

Defensive Knives And Stopping The Threat


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


It’s always better and advisable to avoid, escape or defuse any defensive situation. If time allows, verbal deescalation and physical boundary setting should be attempted prior to any use of force. Similar to the handgun, the defensive knife is a “reactive tool” called upon as a last resort to counter disparity of sex (man vs. woman), size, strength, weapons or greater numbers.


Here in the Northeast and many other jurisdictions a defensive knife is limited to a 2-4inch folding knife or fixed blade that can be carried in a pocket. In my experience most people who carry them don’t train consistently. They may have attended a course or two but don’t attend regular defensive knife training like a Filipino Martial Art. Considering these factors, how to stop someone with a knife can be very controversial.

Using the defensive knife to stop an aggressor is a matter of:

1) Maximizing organ or tissue damage resulting in blood loss and blood pressure drop.

2) Creating a strong psychological response.

The goal of presenting the defensive knife should only be to get the attacker away and keep them away; to STOP the threat. To achieve this goal the eyes, face, neck and between the legs are the simplest gross motor targets.

Knife applications fall into contact distance and within arms reach defense. Outside of those two distances escape should be the primary defense, if possible. During a contact distance assault, defensive point driven thrusts between the legs from front, back or sides targets blood and nerve rich areas causing tissue damage. This causes blood loss, elicits a strong psychological response and message to GET AWAY.

Mammals are very protective of the eyes. Without sight the ability to locate and attack is extremely diminished. Therefore, the face and neck, both blood and sensory rich areas comprised of major arteries and veins, make ideal targets. Straight, stiff jabbing applications to these areas are easy to learn, execute, cause retraction of an adversaries hands to protect and send a clear message to STAY AWAY.

If hands, arms or legs get in the way they can also be engaged in an effort to achieve the goal of stopping the threat. While the torso is a large target it often requires large amounts of damage to elicit a stop response with the exception of the heart.


Final Thoughts

Momentarily dispel martial dogma and “knife fighter” training. Dispel what you have seen in movies or on TV. If you had 5min to teach a loved one to use a defensive knife, what will produce the best results? What will be easiest for them to pick up quickly? What are you and they capable of? Practical self defense, Martial Art study or Tactical knife fighting, what is your goal in carrying a defensive knife?


MDTS Defensive Knife Skills


3 Responses

  1. I like what you said about Straight, stiff jabbing applications. I’m a big fan of that. Particularly when applied as you explained to simple gross motor targets. Simple to learn and execute under stress and highly effective in my humble opinion.

  2. […] See also Defensive Knives and Stopping The Threat […]

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