Defend yourself against a knife attack

Defense against edged weapons. There are many types of edged weapons knives, scissor, ice pick, razor blades, kitchen utensils, broken bottles etc. While many consider knives a thug’s weapon, they are easily concealed, lethal options to cause harm or death to another individual.

Verbal de-escalation can work if there is time. The use of Verbal Judo or using one’s words to prevent or end acts of physical violence and avoid letting a situation escalate. It works by redirecting an aggressor’s hostile energy back at them and getting them to think on your terms.

Attacks can be provoked or un-provoked. Motives can be illusive, and attacks can be random. Knife attacks can be random acts of violence but may also be a reaction to mental illness.

Knife Attacks are usually attacks of rage or anger. What type of attacks are perpetrated with a knife or sharp object?

Attempted murder/homicide

Threat to Kill



Rape/Sexual assault.


11-29-16 A person drove a car into a crowd of Ohio State Students got out of the car and stabbed several people with a butcher knife.

5-28-19 A Japanese man carrying 2 knives wades into a crowd of schoolgirls at a bus stop outside of Tokyo killing an 11-year-old and one adult before wounding 17 others.

8-30-19 Two hours of terror in Orange County California as a man kills 4 in a series of knife attacks.

9-4-19 Man banishes knife in Target Springdale Ohio. Tasers were deployed but did not stop him. A SWAT team was deployed, and the man dropped the knife.

9-11-19 An employee of Dyke Industries in Tallahassee Florida stabs 5 co-workers with a folding knife. One victim is in serious condition, two are listed as fair, and two are listed as good.

Any non-ballistic weapon, such as a knife, requires close-distance contact to be effective. The less the space between you and the threat, the less time you have to react. Time is a critical factor. The longer you stand in harm’s way, the greater your chance of incurring injury. The quicker you take control of the situation, the greater your odds of gaining the initiative to move you and those with you to safety.

How do you overcome that moment of panic. Taking a self defense class especially one geared to edged weapons can give you more confidence in that “deer in the headlight” moment.

If you are faced with an attacker with a knife or other edged weapon, there are a few things you should remember that will drastically improve your survivability. (The following is condensed from several on-line articles and the authors best suggestions.)

1. Stay mobile. Distance is your best ally against any contact weapon. Stay as far away as possible. Run if you can.

2. Contain the situation. Place barriers between you and the attacker. Use any stationary or moving object between you and the attacker, i.e. chairs, cars, shopping cart, etc. Send someone to call 911 if possible.

3. Do you best to protect your vital organs and arteries. Keep you hands up and guard your centerline (your throat, neck, lungs, heat and arteries).

4. Don’t get fixated on the weapon. Look to the attacker’s sternum, because any movement of the arm will originate with the upper torso.

5. Stay in the fight. There is a good chance you will get cut; there are no bloodless fights don’t focus on it. No matter what, fight through to the end.


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