Knife Defense Wisdom
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

I was training a young student, lets' call him David, for that is his name. We were working on knife defenses when his dad walked in to watch the last few minutes of training and then take him home.

Like all Israeli citizens David's father served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and like many, after his military discharge he worked in security. Also like many Israeli citizens he was born in Russia. As such he had a traditional tough upbringing. Russian Jews are pretty tough.

David was defending himself quite well against my knife attacks, as he has been taught. David is only 11 years old but has been with me for many years. Over these years he has grown and matured. I am very proud of him.

David was blocking my attacks and disengaging, i.e. blocking and escaping

His father began to question our defenses. "Why don't you get the attacker in a lock, we were shown a lock for this. Let me show you."

He showed me his lock and I informed that I too knew this lock, in fact I have done this lock thousands of times and earned a black belt in this lock from none other than Itay Gil. And yet, I insist that this block will not always work, in fact both Itay and I and many others came to the same conclusion; any lock is highly unlikely to work in a real life situation against an aggressive and determined opponent.

Let me rephrase this.Let me absolutely clear.

We tend to use the word "Opponent" but this is misleading, it makes us think of an opponent in a match, like the UFC, or K- 1. But this is not what we are talking about. We are talking about a man who came to kill you. He must kill you! He is determined to kill you. He is not your "opponent", he is a man determined to end your life here and now. And your lock is a very weak and flimsy defense. If you disagree with me please do yourself a favor and do not bet your life on it. This is a price you cannot afford to pay.

You may choose to argue with me, that is your right (even though you will be wrong, dead wrong, excuse the pun), but please do not try this against a determined killer.

Then the father offered the following advice, "Why not hit the guy with a few punches to the face, shake him up a little bit? This would be a good idea, no?"

No! it would not be a good idea at all. But his son, David, young and wise, did the answering for me.

David wisely explained that the best idea is to block and run, or block and pull out a handgun, if you have one. He explained to his father that many men can handle a punch to the face, that it will only make them more angry and determined, that you cannot rely on a "one punch knock out".

David further pointed out that sometimes a punch will miss its mark or that as the defender is trying to punch, the attacker is trying to stab, and the stab will win.

I will add that even great fighters have broken their hands trying to punch on the street, such as when their punch beats the top of a guys' head.

This is all so very true and born out by countless real life encounters. Too many people, even in most Krav Maga schools, still believe in "dojo knife defense" or "You Tube Krav Maga". These defenses only work on you tube or in the dojo, but not in real life, not on your life.

When a man is coming at you full force, full of determination, with a knife in his hand hell bent on killing you; you block and run. If you block and then try to hit him most likely he will continue to stab you. You are punching him and he is stabbing you. In the TV series Human Weapon two very strong, powerful and well trained American martial artists came to Israel. They tried this approach at the gym of Itay Gil. The results were proven: each had been stabbed multiple times. Had the knives been real they would have been dead.

In debate you have the right to be wrong, but when it comes to debating knife defense, if you are wrong, then you are Dead Wrong.

Train with us in Israel!