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Survive a knife attackFirst let me say that these are concepts to increase your chances for success in dealing with an edged weapon attack.

If there was a silver bullet technique, I would practice that all day long. But there is no one size fits all, it’s impossible, there are too many variables. So this has to be based on concepts. So use what you know now from your training and apply these concepts.

I don’t know anyone that wants to deal with an edged weapon vs. empty hand situation. It’s going to leave a mark or two and it’s going to suck.


Run: simply leave; this is your best option and rather self explanatory. If for some reason you are unable to run.

Equalize: If someone attacks with an edged weapon and you pull out a 45cal Colt (while you are backing up) you have done an excellent job of equalizing. Ok… Ok… so you don’t have a gun on you at the time. Pick up something to help you equalize the situation. If the item has some length to it like a pool cue or a broom… the better. If you have something that you can whack the shit out of them with, there is a chance that they will drop it. Then attack rapidly and with everything you have, this is not the time for control or being nice. You cannot let them recover. I look at it this way… just about anything is better than nothing. It maybe something you can throw in their face to distract them just long enough for you to enter and do what you have to, to survive. Maybe the item is something you can shield yourself with while you look for an opening to attack or leave, like a chair. There are many possibilities… perhaps you won’t have the time to deploy an equalizer… it could be that it is in your best interests to hit them now and repeatedly. You will have to be aggressive and use everything you have if you want to survive.

Neutralize: This needs more explanation as well. Think of it this way… The knife is the tool not the problem, the person holding it is the problem. Yes if you get lucky enough to get your hands on the limb wielding the knife, don’t let go, but do not fixate on it either. Do not get in a tug-o-war with the person holding it. Instead focus all your energy on the person and neutralize them. This is where eclectic violence comes into play… Yes eclectic violence, everything and anything… you must become more violent than your attacker. If they are unconscious, they are not much of a threat.

Remember, if they are attacking with an edged weapon. You have to assume that they intend to kill you. You must pull all stops in a situation like this. Remember you are trying to survive. You must keep and use all available weapons, legs, knees, elbows, forearms, head butts… everything. Because failure is not an option and the attack will be fast, violent and repetitive (not just one strike) they will potentially keep stabbing you 20, 40, 100 times and that’s going to suck. The flashy disarms that many martial arts schools teach, will only get you killed.

Now take these concepts and apply them with what training you currently have. Pay special attention to specific target areas that are vulnerable to attack and the sciences behind them. Now get to practicing, with resistance and put some time into it.

Phil Peplinski

U.S. Taekwondo-Hapkido