Prioritize Reality

Recently I wrote an article and mentioned, just as an example, the way martial artists will bicker over minutia such as the proper way an attacker will hold a knife. This led to some follow-up emails. Most were friendly, some were whatta ya mean by this? 

So, I want to address this in a little more detail today. I hope some find this helpful!

When you attend a self-defense class, you might spend some time working on defense against a knife attack. There are two ways that they will emphasize the attacker’s grasp on the knife.

Hand Under the Blade


Hand Over the Blade


As to which option will be used by the dreaded untrained attacker, well, that changes from school to school. I suppose it matters what school the attacker was untrained in. Edges are sharp and points are pointy. If the person holding the knife knows this, they can cut, stab, and possibly kill you. I had lunch once with a professed knife expert who managed to scatter corn all over the table as he struggled to cut it off of the cob. When I sliced the corn off of the cob on my plate and lost no kernels at all, he asked me, in utter amazement, how I did that. I told him that I let the knife to do the heavy lifting. He gave a confused look and continued talking about his amazing skills. But, I digress.

By the time the knife is in your line of sight, you have either not been paying attention, or you have missed all of those exit signs on the highway to hell.

Here is where my red flags are:

Nothing in my Hands (I Promise)


When you can’t see both hands, you need to do something. Exactly what that is will depend on you and your training, but this is the point to focus your attention on. I want to be able to see both of your hands. To me, if one is hidden, you are a threat until I know otherwise.

This is why I say that the arguments over hand positioning of the knife are trivialities. There are a series of events leading up to that moment, and until you reach a certain point, there are opportunities to turn things around.

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