Martial Arts and Self Defence

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Right. Fight from one's back in a controlled environment (like MMA or BJJ) is fine, but on the street? Not so much.
Even on the mats it's not good. You can beat someone who is MUCH worse than you at grappling from your back, but not someone about equal to your skill and strength levels. The winning from your back tricks are really just tricks. They can work, but they're low percentage except against maybe noobs, but even then...
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Craig Douglas (AKA "SouthNarc") runs a 2.5 day course called ECQC (Extreme Close Quarters Concepts). Students are taught shooting from retention (when the bad guy is at very close distance) but the highlight of the course is unscripted exercises (called 'evos' or evolutions) where the participants arm themselves with training knives and simutitions (marking rounds fired from pistols), put on helmets and fight force on force. The 'bad guy(s)' are not role players, so in other words they are free to do what they want and go 100%, rather than follow a script and go at slower speeds, which is usually how it goes with role players.

Most (but not all) of the participants come from a gun-centric background. The key takeaway for those guys is that that having a pistol or a knife isn't going to solve all your problems. If you find yourself on your back, with the opponent mounting you or even in your guard, there's a good probability you may lose your pistol when you draw it if you haven't controlled the limbs.

And of course, the "I'll just draw my gun and shoot him" crowd has their eyes open when they get taken down before they have a chance to draw, because you can't just brandish your weapon at every person that approaches you on the street. And you can't go through life yelling at people to 'back the f up'. So again, the takeaway is that just having a gun or knife doesn't mean you are prepared.

More than a few people have taken the class and then enrolled in a BJJ gym. You may not want to go to the ground in a fight (i wouldn't) but you might find yourself there against your will, at which point you'll wish you had at least the basics in BJJ.

It's on my very short list of classes to take. Here's a video that shows a bit of the course.
The BJJ won't solve your problem though without lots of training, and if that's the case, you're better off doing something more broadly applicable or more like wrestling, so you can avoid getting taken down, sat on, and punched out or worse.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
A few more random thoughts:
in Kali class about the only dedicated knife work we did was defensive, so from an offensive standpoint not a lot of active work, every now and then we'd go matched knives. One class, the instructor asked how many of us carried a knife that we could use for SD, two of us raised our hands. Paraphrase "unless you are the aggressor, you have to plan on surviving the first few seconds without it if not the entire encounter, you'll never get it out in time".

Outside of class, we did a lot of work on aggressive/defensive application. Particularly on misdirections - feint to the body and hit one of the hands on the retraction. Feint to the weapon hand and hit the alive hand as it attempts to make contact. In this context (and for all MA) a "feint" is a strike that will hit if not intercepted or evaded - the idea is to force the opponent to commit and be ready for their most likely response.

We also worked on deploying a knife while sprawling. Obviously this cannot be done with a deep shot, but if they miff it, a quick push off, sprawl, and out it comes. This is based on the assumption that anyone taking you down is intending to ruin a major joint, choke you out, or ground and pound. Whereas it is tougher to go right to a deadly response when a single individual is lobbing a punch.This is another strike against BJJ and similar in some respects - a naked choke and many other technique qualify as deadly force and an escalation of the encounter if your opponent is unarmed and not clearly of disparate skill or size. Bystanders might not sit by and trust you to make them tap out.


Another drill was to change all slashing attacks to stabbing ones in cases where it is a cold environment and a slash might not get through someones clothing. Lastly, working on expendable foam and PVC dummy arms with different textiles over the top, cuts that were executed with a trap of any kind with the alive hand cut many times deeper than cuts landed with just a slash. This principle also applies to punching even though it ties up both your hands. If done quickly it amplifies the impact and accuracy of your strikes, esp in a highly dynamic situation - get a grip on your man and hit with the other as fast and repeatedly as possible. Also makes it much easier to accurately land low kicks. That little bit of attachment allows you to target when your vision is impaired.

Non-stop footwork the moment you realize you're in trouble is an instinct that really pays to cultivate - even a little movement makes it harder for opponents to time kicks to the upper body and shoot for takedowns, esp if they are under the influence. It also makes it harder for multiples to zero in on your head.

When unarmed, it is easiest to evade the knife and kick the leg, then scram if possible. Incidental cuts are almost a certainty even if you have heavy clothing. In a corner, a stop-hit to their upper arm is the only good way to slow down the rapid-fire prison shanking bent arm stabbing attack. This is very difficult to do in practice - I manged to execute this well enough in practice, to the point where even with a focus mit on their upper arm the knife would sometimes come out of their grip. I hope to never have this tested. In use, the stop-hit has to be with a lot of power, preferably dead on the head of the bicep or just inside the shoulder socket from the front, and followed up - everything is followed up with more strikes till they fall away or duck and run (assuming you have to get past them to run yourself or are with other parties and running is not an option - otherwise get outta there). This works mano a mano as well, but minus the weapon it is almost always easier to just hit them in the face or neck. It does work well in a sloppy tie-up, if you have their arm in one hand you can always find your other hand - drive a punch or elbow in there.
 
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dc

More than 300 posts
Some things I learnt from being stabbed, remember this is only my experience it may not work for others & im not a self defence instructor, highly trained special forces or anything like that. I'm just a guy who learnt from my own mistakes.
- unless you've got a decent distance between you & the attacker or you're Usain Bolt don't run. That's when he got me when I turned to run.
- if someone pulled a knife to rob you give him what he wants, & be polite.
- if you can, grab a weapon, something/anything. I've had a knife pulled on me 3 times excluding the back stabbing, the only time I didn't get injured was when I was carrying a club & the attacker backed down. If they don't back down use weapon on closest target, this is generally the hand/arm holding the knife. I found it more useful to hit with multiple short sharp wacks than try & hit a home run & miss. Hold the weapon out in front as far as you can while maintaining control/balance, you want to put as much distance between you & the knife as possible. If you hit the knife hand/arm & he drops it, hit him again before running, if he's not disabled he just pick it up again.
- no weapon available, then you're going to get hurt, mentally deal with it, all you can do is minimise the damage as much as possible, best to get it in the limbs than torso. Try to control the arm holding the knife, don't grab them anywhere else. Get a hold of the arm & don't let go, keep your arms as straight as you can to keep distance. If you're strong enough try pulling them off balance to the ground, use your body & legs to pull, don't pull with your arms. Make a lot of noise.
- I've noticed when someone pulls a knife they only think of using that one weapon. You've got multiple weapons, hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. Try using this to your advantage some how, yes theirs is far more dangerous, but it's the only one you've got to worry about. If your not closer enough to grab the knife arm flick out kicks towards their legs wave your arms around a bit, get them looking at something besides where they're going to stab you. You will be surprised how distracting a question can be, I asked this guy how his mum was, in that split second I hit him. I never met his mum, but your brain instinctively searches for an answer when unexpectantly asked a question.
- never ever confront or purposely get involved with someone wielding a knife. The above is only as extreme last resort. If they want something give it to them.
Again I'm no trained knife defence expert, & the people who pulled the knife on me were not trained knife fighters, they had experience in using them but no training. No amount of training should give you confidence to get involved in a knife fight. No matter how many times a knife gets pulled on you, you'll still s*** yourself & 99% of the time you'll get hurt. That's all I can think of off the top of my head
 

J Petersen

SFG1/SFB
Certified Instructor
Again I'm no trained knife defence expert, & the people who pulled the knife on me were not trained knife fighters...
"The world's greatest swordsman has nothing to worry about when it comes to the world's second greatest swordsman; the former knows exactly what the latter will do. It's the rank amateur he needs to be concerned with--the guy who will do the totally unexpected."

[paraphrased classic fencing maxim]
 

Harry Westgate

More than 500 posts
- no weapon available, then you're going to get hurt, mentally deal with it, all you can do is minimise the damage as much as possible,
Good way to put it. I was told at one point that there are few single stab wounds that can kill you (single stabs to main arteries will obviously do the trick), rather multiple stabs that cause one to bleed more.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Maybe if any of us are unfortunate enough (or fortunate enough, depending on how you look at it), to be stabbed in the future and have our assailant walk away after delivering only one knife wound, we might be able to take some comfort in the knowledge that it may not kill us...

I'd still probably be soiling myself though... :/

I'd be intrigued if anyone has more anatomical knowledge than me that may add to this idea though.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
@Harry Westgate
There are many instances of people being stabbed repeatedly and surviving. For a surgeon, this is the easiest type of life-threatening wound to close as all the pieces are there and (comparatively) blood loss is mild. As you say though, a single hit to an artery and you're cooked. I was at a party where a kid got stabbed, once, in the leg, mid calf. Soaked his sock in seconds, within a minute they had him sitting sideways on a toilet seat with his leg up across the tank to elevate it. Two girls were leaning on it with a towel to provide direct pressure w/ elevation. The instant they lifted the towel to inspect, a squirt of blood shot out about 2 feet. If this had happened somewhere without ready access to a phone (pre-cel phone days) and ambulance he'd probably have died.

Here are some interesting links to other reference material:
Actual demos start around 4 minutes in. Ultimately that project wound up using a stop-hit type of defense on the attacking arm, and actually found moving into the attacking arm at the same time improved survival rates. Keeping in mind this is against a relatively untrained attacker who isn't liable to switch gears quickly.


The classic book by Don Pentecost, required reading for this topic. Some of it is useless, but much of it is quite applicable:
http://www.academyofselfdefence.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Put-Em-Down-Take-Em-Out-Knife-Fighting-Pentecost-Don.pdf

And from a fencing perspective:
The Dubious Quick Kill, part 1
 

conor78

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
If you can pick up it up on YouTube watch a programme by Reggie Yates in Moscow. It was crazy to see offensive knife classes being run by ex- military and delivering them to young impressionable men. Any KM class I attended was always about defensive actions. Thanfully there isn't a knife culture as such in Ireland but whos to say that won't change. I trained in KM for over 2 years to a decent level and I wouldn't consider a knife disarm unless ALL options had been extinguished. Pre-emptive striking on the street to my mind is the only approach that tips the scale in your favour. Even with that when dealing with multiple attackers the odds of coming out unscathed are slim. One of the best by products from training in martial arts is that by getting hit regularly you appreciate the damage a human fist, knee or boot can do...
 

Tirofijo

More than 500 posts
The BJJ won't solve your problem though without lots of training, and if that's the case, you're better off doing something more broadly applicable or more like wrestling, so you can avoid getting taken down, sat on, and punched out or worse.
1) it's very difficult for an adult to find a place to learn wrestling. The adult wrestling clubs, in the US at least, cater to competitors and may not take an adult as a beginner. And be prepared to be ragdolled for years and eventually hurt if you do find a wrestling club that throws you in with collegiate or ex-collegiate wrestlers, cause that's who's at those adult wrestling clubs..

Greco-Roman wrestling might be the ideal art, but good luck learning that as a adult male with no experience. Meanwhile, in the U.S., there are BJJ gyms sprouting up everywhere and they welcome adult beginners.

2) Actually, six months of BJJ a few times a week, and you are going to be able to defeat most untrained adults, even if they are athletic and stronger than you, in a sport BJJ match. (I don't include former wrestlers or Judokas in the 'untrained' category.) Now, we now a street fight isn't a sport BJJ match - so I'm not saying that six months of BJJ will prevent the other person from bouncing your head of the concrete if you find yourself in a real no-holds-barred fight to the death, but a little BJJ goes a long way. This is well documented.

3) Attempting to avoid being taken down is a worthy goal (as I mentioned) but it is easier said than done. Then what? Like I said, a little BJJ goes a long way. Especially in the context of the course I mentioned (ECQC), which is mostly geared to people that carry a pistol. You don't need to have a killer omoplata or deep half guard game. You need to be able to get positional control and limb control to access your weapon. You don't have to submit the other person, or even sweep him.

Its worth noting that ECQC spends a lot of time on the standing clinch and access weapons (knife or pistol) from the clinch. In fact, Douglas calls that 'vertical grappling'.
 

Tirofijo

More than 500 posts
The instant they lifted the towel to inspect, a squirt of blood shot out about 2 feet. If this had happened somewhere without ready access to a phone (pre-cel phone days) and ambulance he'd probably have died.
Yes and no. He just needed a tourniquet and he would have survived for a long time without higher care.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
Yes and no. He just needed a tourniquet and he would have survived for a long time without higher care.
If that had happened at an outdoor party with bonfire and drunk people using lighters to illuminate the injury, he'd have lost a ton of blood. At the time he didn't even feel it, so it would have taken more time to even realize how bad it was with him still walking around. Then possibly an eighth or quarter mile on foot back to where the vehicles were parked.

He had to have a tube installed for several days before it was all closed up and he was discharged, like I said it shot out of there in jets.

Yes a tourniquet would have helped, but this is in response to how much harm from a single stab is possible - in my personal observation that would be plenty enough to send you into shock very quickly, and that with no follow up damage and no additional cut on the way out - it was a fairly small puncture surface area wise, with a very sharp knife.

Luck of the draw really, that stab could have easily missed everything important and would have been quick to heal up, no worse than surgery.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
1) it's very difficult for an adult to find a place to learn wrestling. The adult wrestling clubs, in the US at least, cater to competitors and may not take an adult as a beginner. And be prepared to be ragdolled for years and eventually hurt if you do find a wrestling club that throws you in with collegiate or ex-collegiate wrestlers, cause that's who's at those adult wrestling clubs..

Greco-Roman wrestling might be the ideal art, but good luck learning that as a adult male with no experience. Meanwhile, in the U.S., there are BJJ gyms sprouting up everywhere and they welcome adult beginners.

2) Actually, six months of BJJ a few times a week, and you are going to be able to defeat most untrained adults, even if they are athletic and stronger than you, in a sport BJJ match. (I don't include former wrestlers or Judokas in the 'untrained' category.) Now, we now a street fight isn't a sport BJJ match - so I'm not saying that six months of BJJ will prevent the other person from bouncing your head of the concrete if you find yourself in a real no-holds-barred fight to the death, but a little BJJ goes a long way. This is well documented.

3) Attempting to avoid being taken down is a worthy goal (as I mentioned) but it is easier said than done. Then what? Like I said, a little BJJ goes a long way. Especially in the context of the course I mentioned (ECQC), which is mostly geared to people that carry a pistol. You don't need to have a killer omoplata or deep half guard game. You need to be able to get positional control and limb control to access your weapon. You don't have to submit the other person, or even sweep him.

Its worth noting that ECQC spends a lot of time on the standing clinch and access weapons (knife or pistol) from the clinch. In fact, Douglas calls that 'vertical grappling'.
Yes, the nice thing with the BJJ folks is that they see the art as a lifelong hobby and not something to do for a few years as a student the way wrestling is seen. A benefit of BJJ over judo (since judo I am sure is available in the USA) is that it's not scary to learn nor dangerous at all - it's MUCH safer than 'normal' sports like soccer, or even RUNNING! If I were to ever run a BJJ gym, and that is not going to happen ever of course, I would promote the 'top game' and try not to force everyone to go to their back as the key part of the pedagogy. But in the 'rolling' you get to do what you want anyhow, and that's surely going to give you some very good skills for a real encounter if you happen to go to the ground.

I had formally started studying BJJ a while back (I'm a white belt 4 stripes, right before Blue now) but I guess having 30 years of judo behind me (and I have not stopped judo of course) maybe spoiled me a bit. That kind of experience in judo is equivalent to a strong BJJ top game - even when rolling with black belts my own size. The BJJ tricks are very interesting and useful to know, and I'll always be thankful for learning them, still...

Anyhow, I don't comprehend the choice for BJJ clubs to NOT practice standing grappling more than in a very cursory fashion (in general). Anyhow, I just could never conscience switching over from judo to BJJ, but I do notice that a lot of BJJ clubs also have some kind of Muay Thai stuff or something like that available in other time slots. Heck, that combination is good enough!
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Some things I learnt from being stabbed, remember this is only my experience it may not work for others & im not a self defence instructor, highly trained special forces or anything like that. I'm just a guy who learnt from my own mistakes.
- unless you've got a decent distance between you & the attacker or you're Usain Bolt don't run. That's when he got me when I turned to run.
- if someone pulled a knife to rob you give him what he wants, & be polite.
- if you can, grab a weapon, something/anything. I've had a knife pulled on me 3 times excluding the back stabbing, the only time I didn't get injured was when I was carrying a club & the attacker backed down. If they don't back down use weapon on closest target, this is generally the hand/arm holding the knife. I found it more useful to hit with multiple short sharp wacks than try & hit a home run & miss. Hold the weapon out in front as far as you can while maintaining control/balance, you want to put as much distance between you & the knife as possible. If you hit the knife hand/arm & he drops it, hit him again before running, if he's not disabled he just pick it up again.
- no weapon available, then you're going to get hurt, mentally deal with it, all you can do is minimise the damage as much as possible, best to get it in the limbs than torso. Try to control the arm holding the knife, don't grab them anywhere else. Get a hold of the arm & don't let go, keep your arms as straight as you can to keep distance. If you're strong enough try pulling them off balance to the ground, use your body & legs to pull, don't pull with your arms. Make a lot of noise.
- I've noticed when someone pulls a knife they only think of using that one weapon. You've got multiple weapons, hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. Try using this to your advantage some how, yes theirs is far more dangerous, but it's the only one you've got to worry about. If your not closer enough to grab the knife arm flick out kicks towards their legs wave your arms around a bit, get them looking at something besides where they're going to stab you. You will be surprised how distracting a question can be, I asked this guy how his mum was, in that split second I hit him. I never met his mum, but your brain instinctively searches for an answer when unexpectantly asked a question.
- never ever confront or purposely get involved with someone wielding a knife. The above is only as extreme last resort. If they want something give it to them.
Again I'm no trained knife defence expert, & the people who pulled the knife on me were not trained knife fighters, they had experience in using them but no training. No amount of training should give you confidence to get involved in a knife fight. No matter how many times a knife gets pulled on you, you'll still s*** yourself & 99% of the time you'll get hurt. That's all I can think of off the top of my head
This is all remarkably similar to dagger and knife fighting manuals (sections of 'fencing' manuals) from the 16th and 17th Centuries I've read.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
"The world's greatest swordsman has nothing to worry about when it comes to the world's second greatest swordsman; the former knows exactly what the latter will do. It's the rank amateur he needs to be concerned with--the guy who will do the totally unexpected."

[paraphrased classic fencing maxim]
Fencing definitely helps with knife skills.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
If you can pick up it up on YouTube watch a programme by Reggie Yates in Moscow. It was crazy to see offensive knife classes being run by ex- military and delivering them to young impressionable men. Any KM class I attended was always about defensive actions. Thanfully there isn't a knife culture as such in Ireland but whos to say that won't change. I trained in KM for over 2 years to a decent level and I wouldn't consider a knife disarm unless ALL options had been extinguished. Pre-emptive striking on the street to my mind is the only approach that tips the scale in your favour. Even with that when dealing with multiple attackers the odds of coming out unscathed are slim. One of the best by products from training in martial arts is that by getting hit regularly you appreciate the damage a human fist, knee or boot can do...
I agree. Martial arts has taught me to respect and fear violence a lot more than I otherwise would have.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
If that had happened at an outdoor party with bonfire and drunk people using lighters to illuminate the injury, he'd have lost a ton of blood. At the time he didn't even feel it, so it would have taken more time to even realize how bad it was with him still walking around. Then possibly an eighth or quarter mile on foot back to where the vehicles were parked.

He had to have a tube installed for several days before it was all closed up and he was discharged, like I said it shot out of there in jets.

Yes a tourniquet would have helped, but this is in response to how much harm from a single stab is possible - in my personal observation that would be plenty enough to send you into shock very quickly, and that with no follow up damage and no additional cut on the way out - it was a fairly small puncture surface area wise, with a very sharp knife.

Luck of the draw really, that stab could have easily missed everything important and would have been quick to heal up, no worse than surgery.
Here's a good self-defence plan - avoid young people's parties!
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
You got me, I'm actually the highlander waiting to be the one.
Well, to give you a more concrete explanation, for instance, George Silver in his 'Bref Instructions Upon His Paradoxes of Defence' says that in a knife fight you keep moving around to give the opponent no easy target, and to hit whatever part of his body is closest to you and then get jump back again, of course the closest part of his is likely to be his knife hand.
 

dc

More than 300 posts
At the time he didn't even feel it, so it would have taken more time to even realize how bad it was with him still walking around.
Getting stabbed actually doesn't hurt that much, it's not pleasant of course, but surprisingly not that painful when it happens. It hurts a lot the day after, for a good week actually. Being stabbed feels like getting punched hard, but not necessarily forceful, if that makes sense. When I got it in the back I didn't realise at first I'd been stabbed, I thought I just got punched or hit with something, wasn't until we stopped running & my friend said "mate you got a f'ing knife in your back". Strange thing is it only started to ache after I knew it was there. It didn't bleed much until my friend pulled it out, then it bleed a lot. But I wasn't about to ask him to put it back in again.
 

dc

More than 300 posts
Well, to give you a more concrete explanation, for instance, George Silver in his 'Bref Instructions Upon His Paradoxes of Defence' says that in a knife fight you keep moving around to give the opponent no easy target, and to hit whatever part of his body is closest to you and then get jump back again, of course the closest part of his is likely to be his knife hand.
I'm just pulling your leg mate. I'm Australian, s*** stirring is in our DNA.
 
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