The 13 Misconceptions about knife attacks, what you don’t know can kill you… Below is a list of misconceptions people have about knife attackers. This article was written by retired police officer Kara Borshuk. Kara served on the OPP, Windsor and Detroit Police Forces.
You’re going to have time to draw your own weapon
In all the times I have been assaulted with knives, only once was I able to pull my own weapon. I had repeatedly practiced speed drawing. And I could, in a crisis, draw in just over one second. And yet, despite this incredible rate of speed, when attacked I didn’t have time to draw my gun.
That’s because by the time I realized there was a knife involved, I was already being attacked.
Most knife “fighting” training is predicated on the assumption that you have somehow managed to get a blade in your hand. If you are attacked by either a young punk, a total incompetent. Even someone who was brandishing the knife in order to get you to back off then there is a chance that you might have time to draw you own weapon.
However, if you are dealing with anyone with any experience, street savvy or cunning, you will not be able to draw your own weapon when you are attacked. Against such a person, there is just not enough time. He won’t show his weapon before he attacks. That’s because those who are foolish enough to brandish weapons in places where weapons are common don’t live long themselves.
It’s going to be a knife “fight”
Not to be the bearer of bad tidings. But the reason someone uses a weapon on another human being is to stack the deck in their favor. People don’t use weapons to fight, they use weapons to win. The absolute last thing any attacker wants to do is to fight you with equal weapons. If he was looking for a fight he wouldn’t have attacked you with a weapon in the first place. And if he knows you have a weapon he is going to attack you with a bigger and better weapon! This is to keep you from winning.
You pull a club and he pulls a gun. There is no fighting involved, you use the superior weapon to disable your opponent. And you do it before he does it to you. As far as your attacker is concerned this is not a fight, it is an assassination. He is not going to want to stand there with you and hack it out.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the fantasy that many so-called knife fighting instructors promote.
The absolute last thing you want to do is to try to “fight.” There is another reason that you need to chase the idea of “knife fighting” out of your head. In many states there is this attitude that “consensual fights” are best resolved by throwing both of the morons who participated in jail. Contrary to this belief, you have the right to defend yourself.
But what if I’m cornered?
Common sense tells us that knife fighting is dangerous. And yet, many people who train in knife fight have the same torn desires. One of the biggest issues goading these people is “Do they have what it takes?”.
Human beings have the ability for self-deception and rationalization. Such people strongly resist the idea that knife fighting is a bad place to go. It is literally as though they are seeking to find an excuse.
One of the strongest indicator of this fantasy mindset is the reaction when they are told to flee instead of fighting with a knife. literally the next words out of their mouths will be “But what if I am cornered and can’t run?” There are many such similar excuses that they can use. They all start with the word but: “but what if I am with old people or children and can’t run?“, “But what if I am out of shape (or in-firmed) and can’t run?” In all cases, of the millions of possible options available they always seem to focus on the one that requires them to engage in a knife fight.
The truth is, it is incredibly difficult to “corner” someone who is determined to leave. Basically because he will use your face as traction or squirt through the smallest of holes.
However, if the person’s desire to engage in physical violence is stronger than his desire to leave, it is very easy to corner someone. If you ask any experienced Law Enforcement Officer, or mental ward orderly which they would rather face. Ask them, a person who wants to fight them, or someone who will pull a weapon? They will tell you the former. Plus they know the latter will hurt them more. And therefore be harder to defeat. That’s because that person is fully committed to a course of action.
Whereas a person who has allowed themselves to be “cornered” will still be of a divided heart and therefore not able to fight at full capacity. And that is exactly what it will take in order to survive such a “no win” situation that they have put themselves into. That is the true danger of this kind of thinking. Because part of you does want to know if you have what it takes and “can do it,” you can unconsciously trick yourself into not taking appropriate precautions and ignoring danger signals. Your pride and ego will blind you about what you are doing until it is too late.
Don’t fantasize about being in a situation where you have to use your knife fighting skills, because you can end up tricking yourself into just such a situation by blinding yourself to possible escape routes.
He’s going to attack you a certain way
It’s always better to presume that you will be fighting a trained “knifer.” The problem with that assumption is that not everyone attacks the way that someone trained will attack you. This is problematic because the counters maneuvers against how people trained “knifers” will attack you, with these kinds of attacks, the counters work don’t always work effectively.
The bottom line is, in the Western culture, someone who is attacking you with a knife is attempting to murder you. They are not going to be hanging back cautiously in fear of your weapon and your fighting skill. Instead they will usually attempt to overwhelm you and quickly kill you by whatever means necessary. Such an attack is totally different than the well balanced training. Understand it is totally different than how someone trained or a gang members will attack you with a knife.
Also consider training techniques from all over the world Asia, Germany, South Africa, China, Venezuela, Best to study different knife fighting systems and techniques.
Just because you know how to handle one, doesn’t mean you know how to handle the others. Each are different, and each are equally lethal. And those differences CAN kill you.
The Perpetrator is going to passively stand there while you attempt to disarm him.
What few people realize is that a wild perpetrators have intent He/she previously orchestrated the plan ahead of time, their intent is to rob or murder to get away. They want to commit the crime intended leaving no witnesses and leave as quickly as possible. Defensive flailing while holding a knife, is just as dangerous and damaging as an intentional strike. Even more dangerous because the attacker is unpredictable, his defensive moves can hurt you badly you will either get mauled, if not killed.
Fights are never static and his ability to move is his ability to hurt you. Your best defence first and foremost is distract by conversing with the perpetrator, and observing any window of opportunity to react effectively.
Trapping and stripping
Disarming is something that is commonly taught at higher levels. Subtle and complex moves are drilled into the advanced students so they can either knock the knife out of their attacker’s hands or carve the knife out of his hand. They have very little to do with actual knife defense and very much to do with keeping the student involved in the system and keeping up with changing times.
The thing is even the older masters tell you that these moves are purely opportunity and chance. In truth, unless an attacker is drunk or pathetically slow the odds of successfully catching his hand and doing all these marvelous joint locks or controlling moves are very, very slim. Furthermore you are not going to be able to effectively control a wildly struggling opponent’s arm with only one hand. Odds are that he will be able to wiggle free of it and cause you some degree of damage.
While there are things that you can do that will give you momentary advantage, what you can do is create an opening, enter and then prevent him from countering. If you are able to disarm an opponent whether by leverage or your own blade, a quick knockout or break will disable him.
Understanding the Laws of self-defence vs Weapons disbarment.
I have seen this idea seriously misinterpreted and bandied about by those ignorant of the laws, precedents and legal nuances regarding use of lethal force. And the only time you are justified in using lethal force in most states is when you are “in immediate threat of death or grievous bodily injury.”
In other words, if it is bad enough where you have to use a weapon on someone, ask yourself, is it bad enough to kill them. If you are at a point where you are just trying stay alive are you in enough danger to justify using a weapon. People would shoot an intruder and then tell the police that they were only trying to wound him. This left them open to all kinds of criminal charges and civil litigation from the person they had shot.
There is a natural hesitation to take another human life. However, when this manifests in seeking to “wound” someone in order to make them “go away” you end up in a very dangerous legal grey area. And the fact that you were even in a situation where a weapon was used is going to make that grey area more dangerous.
Stick-fighting means you know how to knife fight
“People claim that a stick is an average weapon. That it has similarities to all weapons. This is true, it does. But then they claim that if you know how to use a stick you can use all weapons. This is not true. What they don’t understand is that the differences are just as important as the similarities.”
Just because you are proficient with one type of tool doesn’t automatically mean you can translate that skill to another weapon. The simple truth is that different weapons handle differently. They have different weights, different sizes, different timing, different requirements and different uses. There are indeed certain similarities, but unless you want to end up kneeling in a dark parking lot trying to hold your guts in, you had better stop telling yourself about the similarities and start looking at the differences.
To begin with a stick doesn’t have an edge. A blade with a the point and the edge are critical components. Edge control is pretty much the indicator between someone who knows how to use a knife and a stick jock trying to tell you that he knows knife work. If you know what to look for you can spot the difference with just one move even if it is a fast one. In fact, the faster the move, the more obvious it is.
The physics of a stick do not require this exactness of edge control. This is because a stick is an impact weapon, were as a blade is designed to cut, slice, stab and sometimes, hack. Therefore if you do not have your edge on target, then you create a totally different set of physics and reactions other than the one you want.
If you are learning stick fighting then accept that you are learning stick fighting, that is a legitimate pursuit. So if you are learning knife work, then you are learning knife work while there are similarities there are radical differences. The differences especially become manifest when your weapon encounters flesh. Do not buy into this misconceptions about Knife Attacks!
Misconceptions about knife attacks - Grappling with a knife.
The myth of grappling is that it works everywhere. The fact that it proved so successful in martial art Dojo has blinded many people to the fact that there are critical differences between fighting barehanded and fighting with weapons. While empty-hand fighting might easily turn into an endurance marathon, where size, strength, physical shape and ability to endure punishment significantly influence the outcome of an altercation, that is not applicable to weapons work.
What makes you think you can keep on fighting with that kind of damage being done to you? All a guy has to do is cut you a few times to seriously reduce your ability to move and then wait while you bleed out. Now the really bad news, being pumped up on adrenaline is going to make that happen faster, the higher your heart rate, the faster you bleed out and lose strength. All he has to do is out wait for your strength to fail before finishing the job.
Do not attempt to “grapple” with a knifer. Once on the ground, you are not guaranteed to be able to control his knife arm well enough to prevent him from carving you up. If it were a barehanded fight, then you can often prevent him from being able to generate enough power to effectively strike you, but a knife doesn’t need power, it just needs to touch you. And if you are attempting to control his arm while on the ground, he will wiggle free and repeatedly cut you until you can no longer continue to resist.
I know of a small knife being manufactured that is called the “clinch pick.” It’s a small concealable and easily accessible knife, that can be rammed into a grappler’s guts and chest three or four times before the grappler knows it is there. Where it is carried makes it nearly impossible for the grappler to prevent its deployment. When you realize he has it, it is too late.
The knife is an extension of your hand
This is a lie most often promoted by empty-handed stylists who insist that they can teach you how to either defend yourself against a knife or to use one. Unfortunately, many people who started out in such systems have transferred over to supposed blade arts and continued promoting this often misinterpreted saying.
Empty hand fighting is not the same as weapon fighting it requires different body mechanics, different ranges , different timing and most importantly an emphasis on movement that is not found in most kicking and punching arts.
The problem is that most empty handed fighters lack the understanding of how to generate force from a moving state, instead seeking to generate force from a stationary stance. While this works for barehanded fighting styles, it fails to address the needs of weapons fighting.
In these circumstances your not being cut relies on you speed and reflexes, rather than more reliable means. Basically, because you might not be fast enough to counter, parry or block what he is doing.
Misconceptions of this thought process of empty handed fighting into a field where it does not belong, or work. The only thing the knife is an extension of is your will, everything in between my will and my knife will be likely to move to achieve my ends. And that is far more effective for staying alive
Expect to get cut
A knife is going to do a shitload of damage, people can talk about the damage that a knife can do but unfortunately they know little about the real confrontation outcome. It’s a real ordeal “expect to get cut” they talk so casually as though getting cut were only a minor inconvenience.
Click the Button to reveal the REAL damage a knife can do to the body. Warning this is VERY Graphic! Taking DAMAGE is another Misconceptions about knife attacks!
You can’t fight an armed opponent in the same way that he would an unarmed opponent. An important point in the misconceptions about Knife Attacks.
If you are cut in a blade altercation you must not to panic! When it happens know that you must continue to the best of your abilities. This in order to increase your chances of survival.
Hanging back and trying to catch this fast moving blade so you can safely enter. This is one of the best ways to make getting cut minimal. Use distraction by continued communication all while exploring your surroundings for escape routes and possible resources to your disposal.
Drills teach you how to knife fight
These drills teach principles mostly used as a map, not the territory. One of the most unrealistic tendencies that drills teach is they do not teach you proper ranging. The object of an attack is to stab/slash your partner.
However, often in training you will see people standing back. They are ranging their attack against their partner’s stick or their training knife.
Plus they are falling at least a foot short of their partner. Furthermore they are not attacking with the same commitment and force level that a real knife assault will occur with. Therefore the training drill, while important is missing several critical components. And therefore becomes one of the important Misconceptions about Knife Attacks!
You can successfully fight an armed attacker
This is a lie.. you cannot “fight” an armed opponent. You can survive against one! Well you might even be able to successfully put him down before he causes you any major damage. However whatever you do, it must be fast, effective and brutal. If it isn’t, then you will not stop him before he causes you major damage. You cannot stand there and engage in a long, drawn out contest with an armed opponent. If you try to do so, you will lose. It is not a matter of if, but when.
And if confronted with an assailant! Or find yourself in situation know if the blade touches you. Know any knife he will cause serious damage. How can you hope to launch a long drawn out retaliation against him? an how can this happen when every time he touches you he causes damage? You are going to bleed out! Hence cease to function long before your strategy comes to any form of successful escape.
The problem that I have encountered with bullies is that they are very selective on who chose to bully. I have seen individuals who have savaged weaker opponents / victims. These individuals may have taken blades away from intimidated kids. But somehow they never seem to be around to try it against someone who is an experienced and able to handle themselves.
If you think that knife attacks look anything like those typically seen in martial arts classes or favorite movies you are dead wrong.
Real attacks, by people who are familiar with a knife’s properties and true potential. Their stabs and cuts that are practically impossible to stop.
An attacker, with any idea of what he or she is doing, will overwhelm you with a hail of cuts. These will start at the nearest body part and end in a vital target. Within a second you may lose your fingers! Have severed tendons of your arms, and be finished with a stab to your eye, or throat, or trunk.
Get as much knowledge as you can prepare yourself on techniques of weapons fighting is to your benefit. Observe prison inmates and knife experts practice knife fighting. See what really works and what doesn’t against a knife attack! Stay safe and use proper judgments when leaving yourself vulnerable in the streets.
Thank you for reading the 13 Misconceptions about knife attacks.
Kara Borshuk - Windsor Ontario Canada
Kara can be reached at this LINK
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There are some that believe that Kyusho Street Defense is a myth. That pressure points do not work, and never will. For them that is truth. I have no interest in convincing them otherwise. There is actually a “type” of person who believes this. Now I am not going to say they are narrow minded, but their life experience is often based on conflict. They do things a certain way, and to them that is the only way.
If you talk with some self defense, or combat experts. The ones who have seen real action. Things you or I, the average person will never see, they will tell you pressure points work. As long as you have been really trained in them and not just exposed.
I know several police and military in both the USA and Canada who will attest to this. These men have seen real action, beyond what we can imagine.
Kyusho Jitsu is a system, not a martial art. This is where some confusions lies. There are many who think otherwise, and so they denounce it. That is like the old saying goes, like “throwing the baby out with the bath water. ”
If you are training in a solid martial art, or combat / self defense system, supplementing it with Kyusho Jitsu will make it much more effective and give you a more predictable result. Kyusho Jitsu, the science of pressure point self defense is PART of the self defense solution, not the solution itself!
The more well rounded your training is, not to go to crazy however, the more effective it will be. Striking arts should add grappling to them. Grappling people need striking skills. Knife defense is important. I suggest if possible hand gun training. The more you learn the better! Kyusho Jitsu is a very important part of the entire picture of your training! Here is an IMPORTANT article on Knife Defense! Please read and share that post, it really is that important!
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What do I mean by "self defense surviving the threat?" Today self defense in our world becomes more and more important each day, so we must learn to surviving the threat. Life is hard, it is hard for everyone regardless of country of birth. Saying anything else is just political. The stresses of life can wear you down. Then adding the very real potential for physical threat to this. It can all become overwhelming. Therefore the martial art student must prepare.
One of 2 things will happen in an attack situation. You will FREEZE or you will fight back. The truth is most people FREEZE, even well trained martial artists. Why? Because they don’t train the mind properly for the potential attack. When the adrenaline hits the blood stream everything changes. This is not an ego battle street fight, this is life or death. The world changes forever when you see the “flash of the blade.”
Here is a link to learn more about Fight or Flight. It will open in a new tab so you can keep reading here.
Many years back you read a lot about in Dojo stress training for students. This is was one of the greatest disservices we as teachers every did. It is like taking a untrained soldier and dropping them into a war zone. But us old dogs in the martial arts believe in trial by fire. All we accomplished was to destroy the confidence of students and get them to quit. It was and still is the WRONG approach. Students need to be prepared FIRST!
The students MIND must be trained properly. They must be prepared for being attacked from a physiological point of view, then you can begin to ramp up “stress training.” This idea of only the strong survive is egotistical bullshit on the part of the teacher, and my guess is he or she has never had a gun in their face. Our job is to make the weak STRONG, so they survive the threat! The strong don’t need us!
When you accomplish that, you are a true teacher and leader!
For me self defense is a passion! It is the reason I became involved in the science of pressure point self defense. Kyusho Jitsu is a real game changer. But it all requires training. Nothing in life that is good comes without dedication! I have released an eBook called the Psychology of Self Defense. This book is based on years of study as to what makes one person able to defense themselves and another NOT. You can checkout it from this link.
The face of self defense has changed so much since I began my formal martial arts training 35 years ago. What differences have you seen in your country or region? Are you actively updating your knowledge and training? Please tell us about it here.
No matter who you are, no matter how well trained you are, when it comes to self defense surviving the threat no one is guaranteed to be save! Time needs to be spent, and people must be proactive about their personal safety!
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Are you familiar with Kyusho Destructive Sounds? This is the 9th Principle in the 15 Principles of Kyusho Jitsu and one of the most interesting. In my eBook on the 15 Principles Plus One of Kyusho Jitsu I did go into a lot of details about sound. However there are some things that are hard to explain via print, therefore difficult making it clear.
There are 6 basic destructive sounds in Kyusho Jitsu. Each sound attacks a specific element of the body, and therefore 2 different meridians. There sounds themselves are really no secret. Here is a listing for you below.
That is the basic breakdown, with the words more or less spelling phonetically. But there is a lot more to using sound that just saying words and striking. Yes you will get a result if you make the sound while striking a corresponding pressure point. However as a result of missing intention, and understanding the “how and why” you won’t get the full reaction you seek.
Kyusho Destructive Sounds are one of my favorite principles. For me sound is very easy to use, but I do have a deep understand of what happens to the body. This has come from years of research using as many Uki as possible.
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One of the most effective self defense tools available today is what I sometimes call the Art of the Kyusho Knockout. What I am referring to is Neurological Pressure Point Knockouts. Do you know that their are pressure points on the body, all over the body, that when hit correctly result in unconsciousness? This is not sometimes either, but on everyone.
Aside from the many different Kyusho Jitsu Principles at play during a knockout there are also medical reasons it happens. Understanding these reasons, along with the Kyusho Principles that are part of the Kyusho defense systems, gives you a great boost in understanding and building confidence in your self defense currently.
As you see in the picture about the points GB-20 and BL-10 involve the Occipital Nerve which controls and monitors the muscles that control the integrity of the skull to the head. A solid and correctly executed strike here will result in unconsciousness. Adding Kyusho principles to the equations allows to a softer strike, which is better because power cannot always be generated due to body position. (eg. laying on your back)
Are you curious now? Well there is MUCH more to tell you, teach you and show you! There are pressure points like these 2 all over the body, including the arms and the legs that will, when hit correctly result in a knockout. Yes even on the legs, and their are medical reasons why this happens!
Imagine being able to add this knowledge to you current self defense system? This is a game changer! Plus the things I will tell you, if you are interested, you can verify with the medical world. Another example of a great pressure point to use in self defense is ST-05 [Stomach 5]. You can read about ST-05 here.
I have spent the last 16 years of my 33 year martial arts career studying the art and science of pressure point self defense, and have literally spent thousands of dollars learning from the best. But it is not going to cost you anywhere near that!
My first suggestion is to checkout a FREE Course I am offering over at the Kyusho Club website. This is a 3 Lesson Free course on Neurological Pressure Point Knockouts. Follow this link to enroll now!
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So, what is Pressure Point Self Defense and why do you need to be studying and applying it to your martial arts system? Back in the old days of martial art training in the West the old master often referred to pressure points as “nerve strikes.” This is an excellent term, but there is much more to it than this!
What exactly is a pressure point? This is a place on the body when an nerve terminates or comes to an end. Where nerves cross in the body, or where a nerve nerve will branch out into a “Y” shape. The actually pressure point itself is the size of a pin head, but the area of activation is the size of a Looney (Canadian Dollar pictured below)
Now picture 361 of these pressure points covering the human body! Not all of them are useful, but a large number of them are extremely effective in self defense.
Now why do I refer to Kyusho Jitsu, the art and science of pressure point self defense as a science? The reason is we TEST reactions and responses on real people to find predictable results that can be replicated. The things that we teach, when learned and practiced with intention, will yield a 90% plus result from attacker to attacker.
There are many who say that Kyusho Jitsu is not a science, so for those who think this, lets go back to the dictionary!
I don’t think much more needs to be said here! So exactly what are some examples of a predictable result? Let’s look at a few pressure points and see.
In 16 years of Kyusho study I have NEVER encountered a case that the above does not happen!
Here are just 2 examples on the arms, showing the predictable results. To become effective using pressure points you will need to understand how they must be attacked. What the correct angle and direction to use is, plus a solid martial art system to apply this information to.
How hard is it to find GOOD information on Pressure Points? There is a shortage in the world of QUALIFIED and knowledgeable people to teaching Kyusho Jitsu. There are maybe 2 or 3 dozen and literally millions of people training in the arts. The internet is FULL of information, much of it WRONG, or incomplete.
Ok so what about me? Am I qualified? That is a resounding YES! My direct teacher is 9th Dan Kyusho Jitsu Grand Master Steve Stewart. GM Steve is a student of, as well as certified by Grand Master George Dillman.
I am currently a 6th Dan Black Belt in Kyusho Jitsu with DKI (Dillman Karate International). I am also a 9th Dan in my root art of Hapkido. At some point in the future I will seek my 7th Dan Black Belt with DKI or KIA (Kyusho International Alliance). But more importantly I am a LEVEL Five Certified Instructor in the DKI/KIA system. This is the highest level attainable. You can easily contact GM Stewart to check me out! Here is a link to more information about myself.
Back a little over a year ago I created the Kyusho Jitsu World Alliance and subsequently Kyusho Jitsu University to help promote, teach and certify instructors in our system. This is a NON political organization focused on education! You can take a look at the Alliance Website right here.
How do you get started? There are many different ways to begin! The first place I would suggest getting started is to join our FREE Kyusho Jitsu Mini Course. This is a 10 lesson course sent to you daily for 10 days. I also have 2 other FREE courses and you can learn more about all of the, from the link below!
The art and science of pressure point self defense called Kyusho Jitsu will take your self defense skills and your martial arts training to a new level! And as a little bonus before you go, to help you learn more about the pressure points and how each works grab a FREE copy of my Kyusho Pressure Point Anatomy "Sneak Peak."
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Grand Master Art Mason
"I was already a Kyusho Jitsu student of Grand Master Mason when I embarked on my Humane Pressure Point Tactics journey and i found that it was a perfect accompaniment to both my Kyusho studies and the martial arts I trained and taught in as well.
I'm a kickboxing instructor and also train in MMA, but I focus primarily on teaching self defence. Humane Pressure Point Tactics complimented the lessons I hold on self defence, particularly through the use of the levels system. Following my certification in Levels 1, 2 and 3 of HPPT my students are now able to understand the different levels of confrontation and apply the correct skills and appropriate techniques to that level, whatever the situation.
HPPT is now a staple of my teaching program. Level 1 provides an introduction to combat that I had never previously covered, Level 2 compliments the techniques I already taught, and Level 3 covers the highest level of escalation.
I genuinely can't recommend the course enough; real value for money and Grand Master Mason is always approachable and quick to respond to queries."
- Phil Turner, Kickboxing and Self Defence Instructor, Peterborough, UK