Winning a Knife Fight

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

There’s a great quote out of the movie The Punisher. Sean Connery’s character says something about not bringing a knife to a gunfight. Various versions of this quote have floated around, some more scatological than others. But the point is well made; you want to make sure that the weapons you’re using are at least as good as those any enemy is using.

However, there is such a thing as overkill too. The police operate under a principle of using the minimal necessary force. I was taught the same thing for riot control, back when I was in the National Guard. That still means using more force than the bad guy is; but if he’s got a stick, using a machine gun is unnecessary. Any gun might be considered excessive force, when the case is presented in the courtroom.

But there are other times when you might not want to use a gun, such as a crowded room. You have to operate under two assumptions in that case. The first is that you won’t shoot as good as normal. With the adrenalin coursing through your veins, you’ll be lucky to hit the bad guy with a third of your shots. In a crowd, that could mean that two-thirds of your shots hit someone else. The other assumption makes that even worse; that is, the innocent bystanders are going to do dumb things.

In such a case, I wouldn’t want to be quick to grab my gun, unless I had no other choice. But I try to always make sure I have another choice. Usually that’s a tactical knife, mounted to the back of my belt, horizontally. The same draw movement that reaches for my gun, only needs to be modified slightly to get the knife instead.

That’s not to say that I would go up against a guy armed with a gun, with only that knife. But there are still a fair number of criminals around who use knives. It’s for them that I carry my knife.

Of course, having a knife and using a knife are two different things. few of us have ever done any training with a knife and like any other martial weapon, it takes a lot of practice to become proficient in knife fighting.

But there is a way that you can use a knife effectively, without a lot of training. That’s to use it in a way that others won’t expect. Using it in that way increases your odds of a victory considerably.

So, what am I talking about? When most people grab a knife, they think in terms of attacking their opponent’s body. More than anything, they are thinking in terms of stabbing, rather than slashing. But slashing can actually be more effective; especially if you’re not thinking of slashing the body.

Your goal in any fight isn’t to kill the other guy, it has to be to get him to stop being a threat to you or others. So, you don’t need to stab his body, hoping to hit a vital organ. All you need to do is impede his ability to fight. You can do that best, by attacking his knife arm, rather than attacking his body.

There are several advantages of attacking the knife arm. First of all, its’ a whole lot easier to get to. The bad guy has to present that arm, in order to use his own knife. He’s literally putting it out there where you can slash it. So you don’t have to get past his knife to hit him. If all you’re concentrating on is his hand and forearm, you can hit that, without the risk of exposing yourself to a counterattack by him.

One or two cuts to the arm will pretty much guarantee him dropping his knife. Then you’re at an advantage. Not only will he be disarmed, but his knife arm will be hurting. If he manages to grab his knife again, it will probably be with his other arm, which he won’t be able to fight as effectively with.

At the same time, you eliminate the risk of one of your missed shots hitting a family member or innocent bystander. That alone will keep you from an uncomfortable stay in the state prison.

Finally, this is a non-lethal way of defending yourself. While I hope that we would all do what was necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones, you can’t just get over killing someone easily. That’s something you’d have to live with the rest of your life. Yes, it was self-defense and yes it was you or them, but your mind will still punish you for taking another human life.

It will look better in court too. Your lawyer will be able to honestly say that you used the minimum necessary force, when you had something more deadly to use. That should play out well in court.

So, if you don’t have one already, consider getting a good knife and adding it to your EDC. Even a good folding knife will do, as long as you can open it easily and it has a good locking blade. And as always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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