Knife Defense No. 3 Angle of Defense - US Army Modern Combatives

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Knife Defense No. 3 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.

No. 3 Angle of Defense—Check and Lift

The attacker delivers a horizontal slash to the defender’s ribs, kidneys, or hip on the left side (Step 1). The defender meets and checks the attacking arm on the left side of his body with a downward circular motion across the front of his own body. At the same time, he moves his body off the line of attack. He should meet the attacker’s forearm with a strike forceful enough to check its momentum (Step 2). The defender then rides the energy of the attacking arm by wiping downward along the outside of his own left forearm with his right hand. He then redirects the knife hand around to his right side where he can control or disarm the weapon (Step 3). See diagram below.

Diagram of Self-Defense No. 3 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 - 05/06/15

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