Knife Defense Wrestling

January 4, 2023, Israel


Knife Attacks, I recall many years ago, I had just concluded a basic Krav Maga seminar for university students. As I walked out the door a young student approached me with a "quick question", How does one defend against a knife attack?

I told the student that while the question was indeed quick, the answer was not, and it was certainly not something I could deal with while walking out the door. 

There are many videos out there dealing with this question, most are terrible, and some are just bad. There is no easy solution. Some of these videos start off very well, they will explain the danger and the falsehood of most knife defense approaches, and one is filled with a sense of optimism. However, then they go on to show their solutions and you just wonder why they think this will work. I will not attempt to teach defense vs a knife attack in a blog, for that you will have to come to train, I will just tackle one issue; wrestling vs. Knife Attacks.

I have seen this taught, by well-meaning instructors but I must take issue with it. What are we shown? We see a tough athletic guy, poised in a fighting position and carefully eyeing his attacker. This in itself is highly unrealistic unless you are talking about a bar fight or a duel. In most cases the attack will come as a surprise. If you have time to see the attacker, you also have time to get away. 

And what are we shown? While the assailant is stabbing, the fighter/defender/wrestler is "fighting" him. i.e. he is trying to wrestle him, he is trying to grab the moving arm holding the knife. What we are being told is that we must control the knife, yes, fair enough, true enough, but how? Our Tough Guy Wrestler is doing it in the video, but...and this is an important point, he is being stabbed repeatedly before he gains control of the arm. Of course in the video it is a rubber knife and the flaws can be hidden.

In the TV show, "The Human Weapon" two guys from the USA travel the world to experience and document various martial arts. In Israel they encounter Krav Maga. In the video, filmed live, they make a valiant effort but at the conclusion they are told by an observer how many times they were actually stabbed and where. The result: They would have been killed. 

A strong fighter can survive a few punches, but a stab can kill with one blow. A person can survive a few cuts but if the stab is well placed, all it takes is one good stab and the person will bleed to death. Wrestling or boxing a man with a knife is not a good idea, and yet, this is taught. 

As I was told as a child, buyer beware. 

Join us for a class. 


This is a real knife; the blade can kill you with one blow. Do not wrestle a man with a knife. It will cost you dearly. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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