Top 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do in a Knife Fight

Here’s the truth. 

You never know when a fistfight can turn into a knife fight.

And when your opponent comes at you with a knife, you are at a disadvantage.

Keep in mind, knife fighting isn’t about graceful and stylish moves that you associate with martial art movies. 

It’s all about stabbing the opponent in any way you can to injure or kill him. Obviously, that will involve a lot of grisly blood spilling.

Quite simply, it’s no joke. A person who picks up a knife probably wants to drop you quickly. That means the risk of severe injury and death is high. 

Most importantly, one doesn’t need specialized training to use a knife for hurting you. So even if you’re carrying a knife for self-defense, you may not come out as the winner.

But, if you’re already engaged in a knife fight, there are a few things that you should not do to increase the chances of staying intact. 

So, let’s take a look at the 5 vital things you should avoid during a knife fight.

1. Do Not Get Close

Note, knives are close-range weapons. Most knife attacks are launched from a distance of 3 feet or at arm’s length.

Since many attackers keep their knives hidden till the last moment, maintaining distance may not be so easy.

If you’re already aware that your opponent is using a knife, keep a safe distance. When you’re close, there’s hardly any reaction gap to avoid a stab. That increases the chance of getting stabbed or slashed.

Perhaps you’re bigger than your opponent and thinking of moving in fast to deliver a knockout punch. 

Think again.

It’s very difficult to knock out someone who is spiked up by adrenaline. You may find them simply ignoring the hit and taking advantage of the closer distance to cut you up.

Try to move behind an object to manage the distance. Also, you can use a chair or a stool to help you keep the opponent away. 

With more distance, you also have a better chance of escaping from the attack. An item like a pool cue or a candlestick can be improvised and used as a club. Or else, you can pick up a bottle to distract your opponent and look for a chance to escape

Experts say that the average length of a knife attack is 23 seconds. The longer you can hold out, chances are, you will get help from other parties. 

2. Avoid Remaining Stationary

By remaining stationary, you will be making it easy for your opponent. Movement is a vital aspect that works together with maintaining the right distance to save you during a knife fight.

As with many other martial arts, footwork is the key in knife fighting. Being able to move fast is the key to preventing your opponent from injuring you. 

In a knife fight, don’t face your opponent head-on or stand toe to toe. It’s best to stay at a 45-degree angle from your opponent’s line of vision to prevent the strikes from landing.

When you’re carrying a knife for self-defense, use your footwork to dance around the enemy and find an opening for a counterattack.

Moving back when an attacker is charging at you can also make you lose your balance and fall. And that’s not something you want. 

It’s best to move sideways from the line of attack and gain some time before your opponent can change direction.

3. Grabbing is a Bad Idea

Needless to say, the knife is an extremely fluid weapon. Trying to grab your opponent’s hand can lead to a serious injury to your arm. Slicing of a tendon or a thrust in the arteries can incapacitate you.

Unless you’re a trained fighter, grabbing is risky. The moment you bring yourself closer to your attacker, you become an easier target. To make such a move successful, you need to know the right methods for taking down your opponent at close range while preventing him from stabbing you.

Think about this…

A one-inch-deep strike in the inner part of your forearm can cut off the radial artery. The resulting blood loss can make you lose consciousness within 30 seconds.

Even if you manage to grab the arm, your opponent may simply jerk it out of your grip. And in that process, he might deliver a deep cut.

4. Never Miss the Leading Arm

One of the most common forms of knife attacks is the Grab’n Stab. For that, your opponent will use his free arm as a leveraging tool.

Generally, an opponent with a long reach will use the free arm to prevent your attacks. Or else, he might grab you to use the knife more effectively. The free arm will also help him to control you or push you back against a wall.

And once you have been grabbed, it’s tough to escape the blade. At this point, your opponent can start stabbing repeatedly with the knife to inflict some serious damage.

With your focus on the knife, it’s easy to miss the leveraging arm. That’s why experts suggest that you need to suppress the leveraging arm and maintain a safe distance. In case that’s not possible, grabbing can be used as a last resort.

5. Do Not Surrender to Pain

Make no mistake about it. If you’re in a knife fight, you will get cut. 

The good news is, most attackers with a knife won’t deliver a single fatal blow to put you down. And unless you’re stabbed in a vital part of the body, you can keep fighting. 

Remember, you need to drive on by overcoming the pain. Don’t freak out at the sight of blood. That will make it easy for your opponent to slaughter you.

Never lower your defenses. Putting your hands up to defend your body is extremely important. A slice through the hand is usually survivable and will allow you to keep fighting. But a stab in the gut or in the neck will allow more blood to escape and lead to you losing power and consciousness.

If you’re right-handed use your left hand to absorb a blow. That will allow you to use your right hand for a counter strike.

And always use the backside of your hand to block the attacks. That will protect the veins and arteries of your hand from a slashing stroke.

Wrapping It Up

These are the 5 things you should not do when facing an opponent with a knife.

What’s the best defense against a knife attack?

In reality, dealing with knife attacks when you don’t have a weapon is a complex and tricky scenario. Distracting your opponent and escaping is the best way to survive such an assault.

Can you win a knife fight on the streets?

With a lot of luck and skill, yes.

If you manage to do that, always check yourself for wounds. Many victims don’t realize they have been stabbed unless they see blood.

Above all, keep an eye out for danger if you’re in a dodgy place. Situational awareness is the first line of defense against a knife attack.


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