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Defense Against A Knife - US Army Modern Combatives
This page focuses on unarmed defenses against a knife attack. These self-defense techniques are used in US Army Modern Combatives training. The Combatives program teaches martial arts techniques to US Army soldiers. However, be aware that unarmed combat against weapons (such as guns or knives) is very dangerous and should only be used as a last resort. Consider other options first (i.e. run away from danger).
For more unarmed self-defense techniques for use against an aggressor armed with a weapon, please visit the main Defenses Against An Attacker With A Weapon section.
Defense Against An Armed Opponent
An unarmed defender is always at a distinct disadvantage when facing an armed opponent. It is imperative, therefore, that the unarmed defender understands and uses the following principles to survive.
a. Separation. Maintain a separation of at least 10 feet plus the length of the weapon from the attacker. This distance gives the defender time to react to any attempt by the attacker to close the gap and be upon the defender. The defender should also try to place stationary objects between himself and the attacker.
c. Precaution. Do not focus full attention on the weapon because the attacker has other body weapons to use. There may even be other attackers that you have not seen.
Defense Against A Knife
When an unarmed soldier is faced with an enemy armed with a knife, he must be mentally prepared to be cut. The likelihood of being cut severely is less if the fighter is well trained in knife defense and if the principles of weapon defense are followed. A slash wound is not usually lethal or shock inducing; however, a stab wound risks injury to vital organs, arteries, and veins and may also cause instant shock or unconsciousness.
a. Types of Knife Attacks. The first line of defense against an opponent armed with a knife is to avoid close contact. The different types of knife attacks are:
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