The old saying goes, “Never bring a knife to a gun fight,” and while this is pretty solid advice, the odds of being attacked by a knife-wielding attacker in a survival situation is very realistic. When the SHTF, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be more people out there with knives than with guns, making a knife attack an all-too-real possibility.
Whether you’re out of ammo or you’re taken off guard, a knife attack can be a very dangerous situation to be in — doubly so if you’re unarmed. Knowing this, there are some steps you can take to fend off a knife attack and hopefully escape unscathed. By following these tips, you can keep yourself safe and live to fight another day.
1. Stay Mobile
When dealing with a blade-wielding assailant, your greatest protection is distance. There’s a reason boxers’ stats include their reach, because that’s the effective distance of their punches. Add a few inches to that and you have the same measurement including the knife. If you can keep outside of arm’s reach, you can keep yourself from being cut.
Keep your distance, move around a lot, and run whenever it’s possible. Since he’s following you, the attacker can only move where he or she sees you moving to, so there’s a chance he or she will trip and give you the chance you’ve been waiting for.
2. Use Barriers
Anything that isn’t attached to you can be considered a barrier. These can be static objects like benches, tables, pillars, signs or mobile objects like swings, cars, or even a fire.
By placing a barrier between you and the assailant, you give yourself a head start and some advanced warning when the attacker is moving in. They need to clear the obstacle to get to you, making it significantly more difficult. Once you get a good barrier between you and the assailant, it could even give you the chance to pull a weapon of your own or make your escape.
3. Don’t Fixate on the Weapon
The knife in an attacker’s hand is the farthest thing from his or her rotation point in their shoulder, making it the fastest-moving piece of the puzzle, yet their hand is exactly what we almost always focus on, since that’s where the knife is. Instead of focusing on the blade and hand and trying to react to them, train yourself to pay more attention to the attacker’s sternum.
Any movement his or her arm makes will start in the upper torso, meaning you can see an attack starting before it ever makes its way to the blade and possibly to you.
This doesn’t mean you should fixate on the upper torso either. Instead, use your peripheral vision to watch for any movement and act accordingly. This can give you the briefest of advanced warnings, but when dealing with a knife fight, this tiny head start can mean the world.
Escaping from a knife attack isn’t always possible, and sometimes you may have to stick it out and do your best. In these cases, you should protect your vital organs and block with your arms.
A slash to your arm might not be the best option, but it’s far better than taking a blade to the throat. Know that the chances are you will end up being cut one way or another, and try to minimize the severity of these cuts instead of avoiding them completely.
Keep a cool head and you might just get out of a knife attack alive.