Knife Hand Strike - Marine Corps Martial Arts Technique

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Knife Hand Strike - Marine Corps Martial Arts Technique

This page examines the knife hand strike used in the Marine Corps martial arts program. Overall, this section focuses on gray belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

For more Marine Corps techniques, please visit the main Marine Corps Martial Arts Program section. If you are searching for hand techniques used by other martial arts styles, please visit the main Punches & Hand Strikes section.

Knife Hand Strikes

Knife hand strikes are used when the primary target area is narrow, for example, to allow for strikes on the neck between body armor and a helmet. The knife hand strike can be executed from one of three angles: outside/forward, inside/reverse, and vertical.

Outside/Forward Knife Hand Strike

The outside/forward knife hand strike is used when the primary target area is narrow and to attack soft target areas of the body such as the sides of the neck. Results of the attack can stun the aggressor allowing you to conduct follow-on techniques.

Striking Surface

The striking surface is the meaty portion of the hand between the bottom of the little finger and the wrist.

Target Area of the Body

The primary target area for the knife hand strike is the neck.


~ Assume the basic warrior stance.
~ Execute a knife hand by extending and joining the fingers of your right hand and placing your thumb next to your forefinger (like saluting).
~ Bring your right hand back over your right shoulder and rotate your right hip and right shoulder backwards.
Your arm is bent at approximately a 45- to 90-degree angle. Your elbow should be lower than your shoulder.
~ Thrust your knife hand forward (horizontally) into the aggressor while rotating your right hip and shoulder forward.
~ Rotate your wrist so that your palm is up. Contact should be made on the aggressor with the knife-edge of the hand.
~ Follow through the primary target area with your hand and rapidly return to the basic warrior stance. See figure 3-6


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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 06/14/15

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