Respect the Knife
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

Do I fear knives?

I am not sure if I want to say yes to that, so I will quote my friend, the plumber/roofer. We used to repair roofs together. Part of the job involved hanging over the side of the roof and painting over rough patches with special coating to prevent water leaks. I did not enjoy this. I did not enjoy looking down 6 stories to a concrete parking lot. I tried not to look, or think.

When I expressed this to my friend and co worker Aryeh, he said, "I feel the same way. I am not afraid of heights; I have a healthy respect for heights."

We respect heights and we take precautions, because otherwise we might fall to our early demise. I feel the same way about knives. I respect knives, no matter whose hands they are in.

When I first started training in knife disarms I thought I could easily disarm a violent knife wielding thug. I thought I could catch him by surprise with my martial arts techniques and easily subdue and disarm him. Everyone would be so impressed!

I did not appreciate what damage a knife could do. I also erroneously believed that carrying a hand gun would give me a huge advantage over a knife. Again - wrong, dead wrong.

Knife attacks are part of our reality in Israel. In the Old City of Jerusalem, at bus stops, in market places, they happen. They are difficult to predict so we must learn to be alert and ready.

Training with Itay Gil in reality Krav Maga, speaking with him over many years about real life cases, and viewing tapes of actual knife attacks and photos of victims in the hospital, has taught me to respect knives. I know what a knife can do, and how easily it can do it.

I no longer believe in knife disarms, they may happen but it will never be part of my plan. I will always chose the option of running away (retreating) rather than voluntarily confronting a knife wielding attacker, no matter how small the individual or his knife. I know what a little knife in the hands of a little person can do. I respect the knife, any knife, in any one's hands.

Krav Maga is about the real world and how to survive it, so it is best to divest ourselves of all our illusions of being Superman, or Steven Segal in a movie. That is not reality.

A knife can cut us coming and going. It can come so fast that you will be cut before you even realize that the person had a knife.

Any individual with a knife has an advantage over you. Period. You must accept this as the first step of knowledge in your knife defense training. We begin with humility for our abilities and respect for the knife. Now we have a chance. Let's start training.

Principles of Krav Maga Reality Knife Defense