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No Holds Barred:

Defense Against A Straight Stab

By Eli Bitran

When defending your life in any self-defense situation there is a maxim that I follow: Do the maximum damage to your opponent and allow the minimum to yourself. This requires four things: determination, good technique, correct targeting and domination over your attacker.

The following is a defense to a straight knife thrust. The initial reaction can be used to simply stop an attack, but other techniques are added if needed. They include strikes to stun or cause unconsciousness, unbalancing to take the opponent to the ground and an immobilization. Taken together the techniques shown are progressive and also relentless. This defense is one I teach in my own Kempo Aiki Jujutsu style, which combines elements of karate, judo, aikido and aikijujutsu. Kempo Aiki Jujutsu provides a series of defenses against a whole range of common attacks.

When attacked you might employ just the initial block and counter strike moves, follow up moves, or if the attacker is alone you might take him or her to the ground as shown.

The first photos shows the defender facing the attacker. In the real world you might turn to find someone already upon you. When the attacker thrusts the knife at your mid-section parry the knife thrust downward, hollowing your midsection so the knife does not make contact. If the knife is long or the thrust is deeper you might also jump a little backward. At the same time thrust with your right hand to hit the opponent’s face with a fist or knuckle (as to the eye). Then without hesitating (second photo from the right) move inward toward the opponent, your left arm moving under and around the forearm of the attacking knife and pinning it to you as you execute an elbow strike to the attacker’s chin. Photo 4 at the right shows the same step but seen from the opposite side.

Continue by striking downward with the edge of your open hand (shuto) or closed fist (tettsui) to the back of the attacker’s neck. As the attacker’s head moves downward bring your right knee upward, hitting into the side of his head/face/neck from the other direction. With your attacker’s arm still securely pinned by your left arm, move your right hand and forearm upward to the opponent’s shoulder, using leverage between the arms to force the attacker to bend forward and his body to move toward the ground. A slight step backward, to the side or moving him in a spiral, depending on your opponent’s position, will facilitate this takedown. Once on the ground you can help secure the opponent by using your knee to exert pressure against his head.

If the opponent is cooperative you can at this point just bring the other knee up onto the side of the opponent’s back, leaving your hands to take the knife away. But, if the struggle continues you can switch hands to grab the opponent’s other arm and leverage it across his back with your left hand while doing a backhand to the side of his head/chin/face with your right fist.

Of course, there are many other alternative moves that could be taken in this scenario. The important point, however, is that any defense should be combined with a simultaneous counterattack that continues relentlessly until the attacker is completely subdued, unconscious or unable to continue.


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About The Author:

Eli Bitan is Chief Instructor, Shihan and Branch Chief of RA’AHANA Seido Karate, which is taught out of his Martial Arts and Movement Center where he also teaches aikido, judo, self-defense and his own Kempo Aiki Jutsu. The center also has special programs for the treatment of children with disabilities.


To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Knife self-defense, knife attacks, self-defense,knife training


Read more articles by Eli Bitran

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