7 Principles of Knife Combat

The following article is based on the principles and techniques taught in the Knife Defense videos. It is intended to give a brief overview of the central tenet of knife combat for the experienced martial artist. This article is for educational purposes only.

Many years have passed since my last mission as a special agent in the military. Looking back, I find something valuable from what I learned in the training Academy. My combat instructor T. Kim used to scream at us during the grueling knife-fighting training sessions, “Once engaging, do not run away from your opponent, get closer to him! Dissolve the knife in your head!”

In the midst of chaotic situations where knives, clubs, metal pipes, rocks flying around, our unit members who tried to run away from the attackers got seriously injured. Those who chose to stay closer and fight, by following T. Kim’s instruction, survived.

Knife1 Junsado Sang H Kim

The cardinal rule of combat, whether against a knife or an empty-handed adversary is “Once engaging, stay tactically close to your opponent!” Especially when your opponent is armed with a knife, there is often no way out but to stay close and fight. The keys for surviving in close quarters combat against a knife are:

First, read the intent of your enemy. In combat, the enemy has only one motive, to eliminate you and obtain his objective. This often made the first assessment for me simple – there was not option to escape or placate my attackers. In civilian life, however, you must read your attacker’s intentions. Assess what he wants from you: your money, your car, your pride, your honor, your life – assailants have many motives for attacking their victims. If you can buy your way out of a situation, whether through material possessions or your wits, this is your best option. Do not hesitate to give the attacker if he wants if it means he will spare you injury. Continue reading