A few days ago I came across this interesting article. The whole thing is worth reading and thinking on, but I will reproduce a few key points here.
“… in early 1992 I conducted an empirical video research study. I had 85 police officers participate in a scenario based training session where unknown to them, they would be attacked with a knife. The attacker, who was dressed in a combatives suit, was told that during mid way of the contact, they were to pull a knife that they had been concealing, flash it directly at the officer saying "I’m going to kill you pig" and then engage the officer physically. The results were remarkable:
- 3/85 saw the knife prior to contact
- 10/85 realized that they were being stabbed repeatedly during the scenario
- 72/85 did not realize that they were being assaulted with a knife until the scenario was over, and the officers were advised to look at their uniforms to see the simulated thrusts and slices left behind by the chalked training knives
…It also explains why one officer, who had actually caught the attackers knife hand with both of his hands and was looking directly at the knife, stated "I didn’t see any knife" It was not until I showed the video that he believed there was a knife.”
There are other reasons why you might not see a knife in addition to stress and adrenaline. Knives are often used at night or in dark places, the attacker may be actively concealing the knife or may not draw it until he feels he needs it.
Many self-defence books like to tell you that in a real fight there are no rules and then give you specific techniques for an unarmed foe, one with a knife, one with a club and so forth. The “Pat, Wrap and Attack” system of controlling the weapon delivery system that Darren Laur mentions seems technically sound, but is based on the assumption that you are aware a weapon is involved.
This leads me to the following conclusions:
- In a real fight always assume that a weapon might become involved. Just because you do not see a weapon does not mean that it is there Deliberately going to ground and wrestling may get you cut.
- All of your primary offensive and defensive techniques must be practiced as though your partner had a knife in his hand(s). Strikes and parries must be withdrawn or they will get “cut”. Use evasion and manoeuvre in preference to blocking and parrying.
Naturally after reading the above article and deducing these conclusions I read through the book to make sure none of the techniques I suggest contravened these ideas. They didn’t!