Ground Knife Defense
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

May 28, 2015, Italy

Ground knife defense is a neglected area of training. In fact in all the countless martial arts academies I have been to I have hardly seen anyone deal with this.

I have seen some amazing Brazilian jujitsu and submission wrestling but these are usually taught as sports without taking street situations into account.

When we are on the ground there are many things we need to be aware of:

The assailant might have friends around.

There might be dangerous litter, such as broken glass or stones, on the pavement (rather than the comfortable mats of the gym)

The assailant might have a knife hidden somewhere on his body.

I want to address this last point; a hidden knife´╗┐.

Being aware that the assailant might have a hidden knife changes my whole strategy, I must constantly be on guard against that potential knife attack, where might he be hiding it? Any hand movement could be his attempt to reach towards that knife. Therefore I cannot pursue an arm lock or a leg lock without considering that he I may be opening myself up to a sudden brutal knife attack, every more must take this into account. This changes the entire game, in fact, it is no longer a game at all. 

I must always be scanning the environment.

Moshe teaching knife defense on the ground, Rome, Italy.

Prevent the Knife Attack

At IKI we teach techniques to prepare for such an eventually, to look for it and to know how to respond to it. Should he try to reach for the knife it will prove difficult for him to get to it.

One thing we do is squeeze his body hard with our legs, thus he will find it difficult to get his knife out from his pants. Also, while he is attempting to get to the knife, you can attack him in the face, gouge his eyes, kick his head, etc.

Of course, we do not attempt a disarm, we only buy time until we can get up and get away. Rolling around on the ground with a violent guy who has a knife does not seem like a great idea. 

On the ground he has less range of movement than he does standing, but yet he can still come at us from a variety of angles, we need to train for this. 

Knife defense on the ground is an important subcategory of self-defense.