I’m working on a new book tentatively called “Surviving a Knife Attack” and I am smack in the middle of the research phase. Right now, I don’t want to give away too many details but you can guess from the title what it’s about… :-) Here’s the thing:
One of the things I’m doing with this book is using stories of actual events. I have a lot of stories already, some from well known authors and experts, but I’d like to get some more to have a bigger sample to draw information from. For that purpose, I’d like to ask your help:
- If you’ve been attacked by somebody wielding a knife or other edged weapon and successfully defended yourself.
- If you were in a situation where the knife was out but you got away, managed to de-escalate or anything else that meant no violence was used.
- If you are willing to write about this event (anonymously if you prefer).
- If you know of somebody who went through such an event and would be willing to write it up.
Please get in touch with me via my contact page. I’ll give you some more details then and we’ll see if we can work something out.
If you can’t help out in that department, no worries, there’s still something you can do: please share this post with your friends who also practice martial arts or train in self-defense. They might know somebody, even if you don’t.
In the same vein, I’m looking for two more contacts for the book:
- An FBI agent who is willing (and allowed) to do an interview about the Uniform Crime Report, in particular the data on knife attacks.
- A trauma surgeon with experience caring for victims of knife attacks (stabbings, cuts, etc.)
I would like to interview them via email or over the phone to get information about the realities of knife attacks from their perspectives and professional experience. If they prefer, they can use an alias or stay anonymous.
With all the information I have right now, the book looks very promising. But I’d like to make it as good as I possibly can so if you could direct some people who can help out towards me, that would be great. Thanks!
Randy LaHaie says
Hey Wim… I just came across this post about your upcoming book. I’m looking forward to finding out more about it.
I thought I’d throw something at you… A number of years ago, when I was assigned to the police academy, I undertood the development of a “spontaneous knife defense” course for my agency. At the time, the topic was very popular and since our officers were running into more and more edged weapons assaults, a solution needed to be implimented.
Most of the existing programs involved a “crash course” on how to fight with a knife first (usually drawn from Philipino martial arts) and then, with that out of the way, the students would be taught how to defend themselves against each type and angle of attack. Blocking, trapping, counters and stance were modified when a knife attack was involved.
Unfortunately, many of the “bad guys” out there hadn’t taken the course and therefore didn’t know how to attack “properly.” ;-)
Shortly after I began my research, it stalled in couple places… First of all, my research both locally and internationally indicated that most officers who were attacked with a knife didn’t realize a weapon was involved until AFTER they had been injured. So much for modifying stance, blocks and reactions.
I can only assume that the dynamics would also play out the same way in civilian encounters.
Secondly I was finding that the “weapons” involved were far more varied and assorted than just a traditional “knife.” In 1999, I reveiwed my database of violent encounters involving my officers and in one year alone they had been attacked with the following: steel pipes, a jagged ring, screw drivers, bottles, broken glass, pry bars, a pick ax, a meat fork, machette, keys, scissors, a coffee mug, tin can lid, exacto knife, cue ball in a sock, brass knuckles, boards, pens, A MICROWAVE OVER, baseball bats, hypodermic needles as well as knives (most of them of the common kitchen variety).
Upon uncovering these details I changed the focus of the course to broaden the focus to “contact weapons” as opposed to knife defense. The program was built around the premise of two issues:
1. That at the time of attack, the intended victim will probably not be able to differentiate between an unarmed attack, a knife attack or an attack with some other form of contact weapon. Therefore, a specialize response was unrealsitic.
The initial response to a “spontaneous attack” would have to be universal and reflexive.
2. The primary focus of the course needed to be based on awarenss of the pre-incident indicators and danger cues that might be detected that could alert the defender to an imminent attack and the practice of “safety habits” that would be incorporated regularly “in the absence of an unanticipated contact weapon assault.”
I did include a physical skills component but the emphasis was on awareness and prevention.
Other research that came forward was in 1992 Victoria BC Canada police conducted a dynamic scenario exercise to test veteran police officer’s ability to respond to a sudden and unanticipated knife attack. (keep in mind that in a training exercise the participants are on high alert and know that SOMETHING is going to happen).
After being exposed to a “suprise knife attack” involving 88 participants, here were the findings of the study:
3 => officers saw the knife prior to the attack.
10 => officers didn’t realize a knife was involved until AFTER they were stabbed with it.
75 => had no idea that a knife was involved during the confrontation.
Any ways, I doubt if this will change the structure or direction of your book but since it’s related, I thought I’d throw it out there as food for thought.
Good luck with your project.
Thanks for your comments and the info, much appreciated. A lot of what you mentioned has indeed already come through via the different stories I’ve collected so far and my own research. Though there are some differences as well obviously. It’s a complex topic and I doubt there is a miracle technique that works every time but some principles seem to be coming back consistently.
BTW, if you have any stories of knife encounters you want to share, contact me directly. If you prefer, I can publish them anonymously. Of if you know of somebody who might want to add to the book, feel free to pass along this post.
I was at a nightclub with a friend. We were in our late teens. It was a nightclub with a bad reputation. When the nightclub was finished for the night, we left. Outside a mob had gathered, with the occasional outburst of fighting. One of the mob looked at my friend – took a mysterious dislike to him and started to mouth off. My friend who was a tall, tough guy, with very little fear when it came to altercations, started to mouth off a little – nothing too much but enough to persuade the aggressive individual to back off. As this was occurring, another indivdual came up behind him and slashed his leather jacket, from mid-back to waist with a short-bladed tool. Incrediably, the blade did not penetrate deeply enough to cut skin. A 1/2 inch deeper and he would have had a serious, approx. foot-long slash down his back. Foolish youthful exuberance on our part, lesson learnt. The leather jacket, by the way was quite thick and tough – frightening.
Just sent you an email Sean.