Knife Defense No. 4 Angle of Defense - US Army Modern Combatives

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Knife Defense No. 4 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. 4 Angle of Defense—Check

The attacker slashes the defender with a backhand slashing motion to the right side at the ribs, kidneys, or hips. The defender moves his right arm in a downward circular motion and strikes the attacking arm on the outside of the body (Step 1). At the same time, he moves off the line of attack (Step 2). The strike must be forceful enough to check the attack. The left arm is held in a higher guard position to protect from a redirected attack or to assist in checking (Step 3). The defender moves his body to a position where he can choose a proper disarming maneuver (Step 4). See diagram below.

Diagram of Self-Defense No. 4 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 - 05/07/15

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