Follow-Up Knife Defense Techniques - US Army Modern Combatives

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Follow-Up Knife Defense Techniques - US Army Modern Combatives

This page focuses on follow-up techniques used after learning basic 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.

Follow-Up Techniques

Once the instructor believes the soldiers are skilled in these basic reactions to attack, follow-up techniques may be introduced and practiced. These drills make up the defense possibilities against the various angles of attack. They also enable the soldier to apply the principles of defense against weapons and allow him to feel the movements. Through repetition, the reactions become natural, and the soldier instinctively reacts to a knife attack with the proper defense. It is important not to associate specific movements or techniques with certain types of attack. The knife fighter must rely on his knowledge of principles and his training experience in reacting to a knife attack. No two attacks or reactions will be the same; thus, memorizing techniques will not ensure a soldier’s survival.

  1. Defend and Clear. When the defender has performed a defensive maneuver and avoided an attack, he can push the attacker away and move out of the attacker’s reach.
  2. Defend and Stun. After the defender performs his first defensive maneuver to a safer position, he can deliver a stunning blow as an immediate counterattack. Strikes to motor nerve points or attacker’s limbs, low kicks, and elbow strikes are especially effective stunning techniques.
  3. Defend and Disarm. The defender also follows up his first defensive maneuver by maintaining control of the attacker’s weapon arm, executing a stunning technique, and disarming the attacker. The stun distracts the attacker and also gives the defender some time to gain possession of the weapon and to execute his disarming technique.

Additional US Army Combatives Knife Defenses

Reference Sources

  1. Information from Public Domain Document, Combatives - FM 3-25.150 (FM 21-150), http://sill-www.army.mil/428thfa/FM%203-25.150%20%28Combatives%29.pdf, Added - 05/04/15


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