Knife Defence. Dim Mak is your only chance!
By Athos Antoniades (COMBAT November 2001)
In this article, previously published in Combat Magazine, Athos outlines the misconceptions on dealing with a knife attack, and explains the safest and most effective way to resolve such a situation.
Having just read yet another article on knife defence which encouraged the use of techniques which may work in the dojo, but unlikely to work in the street against a raving lunatic, prompted me to express my views on what I consider to be our only chance against such an attack.
Knife attacks can be deadly: Being able to call on the knowledge of Dim Mak can be vital
The aforementioned article suggested grabbing the attackers knife hand and striking him with an outward elbow to the solar plexus. In my opinion, grabbing the hand holding the knife is not advisable under any circumstances. For someone to lash out with a knife, he is obviously likely to be in a ferocious state of mind, and is likely to escape your grip by aggressively using his whole body weight to break away, slashing your arm/hand in the process, and leaving you in no state to protect yourself as he proceeds to cut/stab you further.
Never use the much taught 'cross block' against a knife as he could easily pull back the weapon cutting your hands, and quite honestly, in his frame of mind he is likely to go past the block and cut you. In fact, none of the traditional "karate type" blocks should be used against a knife attack, as the result is likely to be the same as that of the cross block. Do not grab the knife with your hand sacrificing your forgers to save your life as a prominent Martial Artist one advocated! Are you really going to be in a frame of mind to fight off the attacker whilst your fingers are lying in front of you!
Running is also not an option in most cases, unless you are a fast runner, and at least 10 metres away from the attacker. At close range, you will have to run backwards or turn and run, and both these options are likely to take longer than the attacker rushing towards you.
Having seen what not to do in a knife attack situation, let us now discuss what we can do. Chances are that you will get cut to some degree, but by doing the right thing you may save your life. The method I teach incorporates American Kempo's basic principles with those taught by Master Montaigue's WTBA.
The attacker will have to be in a vicious, aggressive frame of mind to contemplate using a knife, we therefore have to get into survival mode if we are to stand any chance of escaping with our lives. Enacting our Reptilian brain will place us in an even more aggressive state of mind than our attacker.
The shock from the attack will release Chi energy which is stored in our kidneys, and by spreading and extending our fingers and concaving our palms will force a rush of this energy up the back and up to the gall bladder 20 (Gb20) points situated at the back of our head, at the base of the skull. This will have the required effect of enacting our Reptile brain enabling us to fight like a wild a wild animal. You should also round your shoulders, concave your chest sink your weight and place your tongue in your lower (soft) palate, whilst breathing out slowly. The look in your eyes alone will make the attacker have doubts about his intended action, making our task of defending against a knife slightly more manageable.
Athos demonstrates the techniques needed to combat knife attacks: From the attacker's first lunge, side step to evade the knife.
We must then do three things almost simultaneously. Firstly we step in sideways, evading his attack (never step back), slamming the knife hand away with a Fa-jing (explosive energy) strike, where we use our whole body to thrust out his arm explosively away from us, and then use our other hand to attack a Dim Mak point causing a K.O. at the very least. Depending on the type of attack we will evade accordingly slamming his knife hand away. For example if it is a straight thrusting attack we will step to his outside as we evade, slamming his knife hand and attacking a Dim-Mak point, preferably to the throat, face or head with the other hand.
For an inward/slashing type of attack, we would evade to the inside, slamming the knife hand away, possibly striking one of the primary set up points on the inner wrist pericardium 6, 2 inches up from the wrist line, draining him of energy and the nerves situated in the elbow crease possibly paralysing his arm before striking a major Dim-Mak point, again, preferably on the neck, face or head causing a knockout or even death.
Follow through by striking Gall Bladder 1 point in an outward direction (away from the face) and a possible eye poke.
The fact of the matter is that once in Reptilian brain mode, we will become masters of adaptability, countering the knife attack effectively and efficiently, and by combining this with a Fa-jing strike to the knife hand and following through with a Dim Mak strike will go a long way towards saving our life in a knife attack situation.
Relying on pre-determined techniques, will probably get us killed. Although techniques certainly have their place in training, and teach us movements, co-ordination and balance, relying on them in any form of altercation cause us to lose the ability to react to what the attacker is doing to us and cause us to lose the fight.
Fighting is totally illogical and you cannot rely on logical pre-arranged techniques to get you out of trouble. Fighting must become a subconscious reaction, which is the whole point of the Kenpo Taiji system: to take fighting to an internal level.
You can then finish it off by striking Stomach 9 on the throat and with a leg sweep.
The techniques and training methods are there along with the forms to help us with timing, co-ordination and balance. They are also an excellent means of practicing all our basic strikes such as punches, kicks, elbow strikes, etc. In Kenpo Taiji however we have added the extra element of Dim-Mak or pressure point striking. Almost all strikes in most of the techniques are actually aimed at Dim -Mak Points on the human body. You cannot learn Dim-Mak by learning points from a book or chart, the only way to do so is to practice striking them in the correct direction on the human body .
Dim-Mak - Death point striking is primarily involved with energy disruption as opposed to only brute muscle power. A well balanced, unimpeded flow of Chi(Ki) is essential for life and well being. It stands to reason therefore that disrupting this energy (chi) flow would result in either unconsciousness or paralysis. This energy can be thought of as an electric current which runs through our body enabling our whole body to work. Just like any electrical appliance will not work without electricity, without the flow of Chi we die.