Knife Defense High No. 5 Angle of Defense - US Army Modern Combatives

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Knife Defense High No. 5 Angle of Defense - 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 knife, please visit the main US Army Combatives Defenses Against A Knife section.

High No. 5 Angle of Defense

The attacker lunges with a thrust to the face, throat, or solar plexus (Step 1). The defender moves his body off the line of attack while parrying with either hand. He redirects the attacking arm so that the knife clears his body (Step 2). He maintains control of the weapon hand or arm and gouges the eyes of the attacker, driving him backward and off balance (Step 3). If the attacker is much taller than the defender, it may be a more natural movement for the defender to raise his left hand to strike and deflect the attacking arm. He can then gouge his thumb or fingers into the jugular notch of the attacker and force him to the ground. Still another possibility for a high No. 5 angle of attack is for the defender to move his body off the line of attack while parrying. He can then turn his body, rotate his shoulder under the elbow joint of the attacker, and lock it out (Step 4).

Diagram of Self-Defense High No. 5 Technique Against A Knife


Additional US Army Combatives Knife Defenses

Reference Sources

  1. Information from Public Domain Document, Combatives - FM 3-25.150 (FM 21-150),, Added - 05/13/15

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