Knife Defence Highlight #3

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Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Rick Wilson » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:24 pm

Knife Defence Highlight #3

Note: I wrote an entire book on knife defence called “Watch Out For The Pointy End” so these are snippets and highlights only.


#3 Know what You want

If you have to decide in the moment of a brutal assault what it is you want to do then… It may be too late.

Making decisions ahead of time can put in place an idea of what it is you need to do and that gives you a framework to start with. I know I’m using some qualifies such as “start with” and that is because in the moment of chaos the hope of a plan going without an issue is just that – a hope. Everything will depend on the totality of circumstance and that brings in so many factors it is impossible to prepare for everything, but that doesn’t mean we do not prepare. The moment will depend on you, are you well, injured, tired, distracted, have you prepared properly etc. The moment will depend on the bad guy and if they are injured, high, size, strength, experience at assault etc. The moment will depend on location and terrain, do you have escape routes, are you close to a safe (or safer) location, is it dark, are their obstacles on the ground. And the moment may well depend on luck as well as other factors.

As much as there are things we cannot foresee and prepare for there are things we can prepare for. These are covered in my book and (with permission) make use of Rory Millers Goal – Strategy – Tactics – Techniques approach.

You want to be clear on your goal. I think for normal people the goal is to survive although I had discussion with a friend who thought that if faced with a knife assault I wouldn’t go for escape but would want to prove my approach worked. I explained if I escaped I survived, if I survived my approach worked I had nothing more to prove.

Once you decide on survive then you need to set the strategies that can make that happen. I set our four in the book: Escape, Distance and deploy or grab a weapon, Disable and Control. That is the order for citizens where there is no obligation to engage and works from the safest approach down to the least safe. For law enforcement it would look more like: Distance and Deploy a weapon, Control, Disable and Escape (call for backup).

You should decide which fits your personal circumstances more. A citizen shouldn’t go for control unless there is a reason for it because controlling a person who wants to knife you is exceptionally hard and much harder than disabling them. But control is a lot of fun to train so you can get caught up in training what is more fun rather than what you should do in a situation.

The book goes on to explain that to Escape or Distance and deploy (grab) a weapon you must distance yourself from the Aggressor, where to Disable or Control you have to be close to the Aggressor; therefore, when you move to tactics there has to be two sets: Distancing Tactics for Escape and Distance and Deploy (grab) a weapon and Closing Tactics for Disable and Control.

Once you set your goal you can set your strategy and then you can work out the tactics that get you there and from the tactics you can get to the nitty gritty details of the techniques to use. In the book I also go into great detail on the principles you need to use to make the techniques work.

Knowing what you want gives you a place to start and a focus for your training and preparation.

Highlight #3 Know what You want: means taking the time before the assault to determine what you want to do in that moment and what to train to accomplish that goal.

[Watch Out For The Pointy End]

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Re: Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:39 am

This is one great post Rick.

One of the things I keep harking back on in class is the deadly mistake of 'closing on an opponent' where distance and evasion is the safer approach.

And distance and evasion are hard wired survival instincts.

There are of course times when 'closing' is either forced upon you or it just happens...so to train to be effective at close range is paramount....but NOT to actively seek the 'close' as it is then the nasty surprises pop up...like a sudden blade/ bodily fluids/superior crushing strength and the other human response actions under adrenaline.

Disabling even a small person in an excited delirium state we won't become aware of, despite our fantasies, is an iffy proposition...and you might end up with something unexpected like serious bites...like the case I had with a Brockton police officer who had his nose bitten off.

Not too many teachers bring up the 'biting potential' of infected opponents/ and the human mouth is nothing but a repository of natural infections.
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Re: Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:44 pm

Working with biting, especially while groundfighting, I found I wasn't thinking that way. I was either brawling or fighting. I would transition my partner into position without even thinking about it and then drop out of the mindset, think about biting (all the while not truly in the zone of brawling anymore), bite, and then watch the effects and transition back to fighting again.
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Re: Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Rick Wilson » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:34 pm

Excellent comments, Van and dead on.

Survival is the goal. We shouldn't need to prove our dominance nor should we inflict "what they deserved."

Getting home safe is more important.

When I was running my school one thing I changed came from reading Rory Miller and that was the "nothing happened" scenario.

Most of the time we talk about disengaging or talking our way out or simply walking away, most schools cover this from a minimal amount to a substantial level (going into Conflict Communication - another Rory Miller book I recommend); however, exceptionally few actually train it.

Let's face it in training the bashing around with our training partners is fun. It also trains when things go very sideways and we have to psychically protect ourselves.

BUT how many training drills do you have where there is no fight? Where the student actually trains to walk away or deescalate the situation?

I know before I read Rory's stuff I talked about it but we never trained it. We never actually did it.

So what are we training if every situation we train ends in that closing and none in distancing and escaping?

It was one of those times I had to look at what I was saying and what I was actually teaching them to do, and I had to make changes to balance my teaching.
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Re: Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:28 pm

The main problem is, of course, the machismo BS of most of us who want to be tough guys, in some style, and be perceived as 'tough guys' even on the forums...you have seen it all in previous years...

For example in Uechi, you hear 'well this is a phone booth style' where you are brainwashing yourself to believe this crap...until you end up, like Rory says, in the morgue somewhere because you expected a fight to go down a certain way.

This is what sealed the fate of that tournament champion black belt that night in the stairwell.

As I have said before, I think this happens because mother nature needs to cull the human herd...and this business of 'looking to close' with an unknown street opponent is one of her way to get rid of the chaff.
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Re: Knife Defence Highlight #3

Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:38 am

until you end up, like Rory says, in the morgue somewhere because you expected a fight to go down a certain way.


The very reason Knife Defence Highlight #1 was all about there were no absolutes and if you expect an assault has to go down in one way because you believe what you've been told as absolutes, then when it doesn't it can kick in a freeze and loop you into denial. A very deadly loop.
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