empty hand vs knife

A freind and I have been messing around with rubber knives, and I've come to the conclusion that there is NO good way to defend yourself against a halfway competent knife fighter (without firepower preferably from a long way away). Anyone have a suggestion on high percentage techniques/arts that can give you a fighting chance against a knife? Thanks! Rob

Keating, Sonnon, Dimitri, Hock, Blauer, Sayoc.

I study Pekiti-Tirsia, which seems to be quite respected in empty hand vs. knife. The problem just is that defending against a knife is next to impossible if the feeder knows even the slightest thing of what he is doing.

Empty hand vs. knife training is fun, but it's very risky to get lulled into a false sense of security if one were to think that defending against a knife with your bare hands is anything but a last ditch alternative when running or using equalizers are not an option.

I Agree with membrane,

In arnis we work alot of knife drills & defense. But once we begin free sparring, it is almost impossible to defend successfully against the knife. More so when you cannot hit your partner full power. I have found though that Hocks method (which is the same as Arnis) of grabbing and controlling with both hands & destroying the base seems to work the best for me. But thats because i'm a larger guy like him. Pendekar Sanders has a Good way of handling knife attacks in Pencak silat, by moving off line and destroying the arm with rappid strikes.

Best philosophy is to run, if not, Pray.


Filipino arts are going to give you the best knife work for offense and defense. You have to know how the knife is going to be used if you plan on defending yourself against it. And like the story says, "plan on getting cut" when going up against an armed assailant. That means minimizing the damage you take and maximamizing what you inflict upon the assauling individual. Drills done in cooperation, can lend to overconfidense, but give you the reps needed to get the mechanics down correctly. Step up the intesity and things get more dificult! Reps, Reps, and more Reps with a gradual increase in intesity and speed can build functionability-But I would think it takes 50 hours of drilling to get a modest proficiency at protecting vitals long enough to turn the tables on a knife attacker.

Personally I am also very fond of Pekiti-Tersia, if its good enough for the Philipine Rangers that trape through the jungles looking for outlaws and terrorists that carry knifes, machetes, and guns; it is good enough for me!

Silat can also be good for any self defense scenario where you are going to quickly and with much prejudice dispatch an aggressor: Mande Muda and Maphilindo are nice stiles...

Ray White

See the thread "Knife Defense Tape" below.

I can'r believe people left out Joe Maffei's "Reality of Edged Weapons". That is another great source of info. I need to get my hands on "Surviving Edged Weapons" and check that out since i just had a run-in with a knife wielding guy on Sunday night.

When it comes to dealing with a blade weilding person, I think the 2 best methods are to 1) close with the attacker and gain control of the weapon bearing limb and 2) make enough space to run or draw a firearm. On Sunday night I used method #2 :-)

Learn how to fight with a belt.

As has been pointed out there is a big difference between a committed and an noncommitted attack. Noncommitted attacks are very difficult to deal with. You should be thinking about surviving and escaping or surviving and finding something to use as a weapon.

ModernArnis and tacticalfighter are correct.

to expand what was posted above, find an "equalizer" be it your belt, your shoes, your jacket, a trash can lid, maybe a branch, a chair, a water hose, a rake, a broom, anything within proximity to equalize your situation. you get the idea.

The only fault I see with Arnis/Kail is the fact that a person might be duped into thinking they can continously "pass" a blade during a fight. Now if you are training in a format simialr to the ones listed above, you will see this is very unlikely to happen, but others might not be coming from the same angle that you are.

As for using other weapons... once again, keep it real. Don't fall into the "before youknife fight, take off your jacket and wrap it around your forearm' line of thinking. In a real encounter, you aren't going to have time for this.

I've never seen the Maffei tape, I'll have to keep an eye out. The reason that so few people seem to have seen the renowned Calibre Press "Surviving Edged Weapons" is that it's only supposed to be sold only to law enforcement. I recently saw it for the first time, and I see why. It's very good but the tactics are all very specific to arrest stuff. It shows NO disarming tactics at all.

Belt has too much inertia, but if you have room, you might hold it from the middle and try to defang with the buckle.

mongoose - Since I work in the LE field, I think the Calibre Press tape would be right up my alley. :-)

"The only fault I see with Arnis/Kail is the fact that a person might be duped into thinking they can continously "pass" a blade during a fight."

This is very true. I have seen this happen in action.

ironmongoose-That would be an improper use of the belt and not the way I would use it. Like I said, LEARN how to use a belt.

e. kaye,

how would you use the belt then? i'm thinking you mean to hold both ends and not use it as a whip, as he attacks, block with the belt and then wrap the belt around his arm?

here's some articles on flexible weapons (rope, whip, jacket, belt, etc) that you can get some ideas to test out vs knife:from Tactical Library:Whips, chains and scarves, your flexable friends by Phil Westthis article was on the net for awhile. when i found it, it was taken down. through google's cache, the article was there, but no pix. some guy just put it up to his site.from Don Rearic's site:Flexible Weaponsseems like he took pix down :-(Garrotteedit:from Black BeltFilipino Rope

e.kaye, okay, so there is difference in our approaches.

I'm curious too about what you regard as proper use of the belt. I sure hope it's not that southeast-asian flexible weapon nonsense I usually see?

No. Stickgrappler is on the right track. There are a bunch of things that you can do with a belt. IT is a lot easier to demonstrate than to sit here and type out. A belt you can always have on you. A belt gives you distance. A belt can really hurt if properly wielded. Oh, and you don't use the buckle.

I love being mysterious.


Okay, smarty-pants. I'll play straight with you. I paid lip service to belt fighting because it "sounded logical", and this is all I'd seen on it prior to this thread:


So let's have a little more elaboration. C'mon.


Never swing. Never use the buckle. No figure eights.