In-Fight Knife Draws

Against a downward stabbing attack with a screwdriver, the author…

Against a downward stabbing attack with a screwdriver, the author first deflects the stab with a two-step, empty-hand defense called hubud.

In previous Street Smarts columns, we’ve examined the techniques of deploying both folding knives and fixed blades quickly and efficiently. Unlike many traditional knife systems, which focus primarily on the application of the knife once it is in hand, street-wise edged-weapon tactics must include practical deployment skills to get the knife into the fight. But the technical aspects of these skills alone are not enough.

During an actual street attack, it is very likely that you will have to create an opportunity to draw your knife. If the first clue that you are being attacked is a tire iron rapidly approaching your head, reaching down to draw your knife is not the best response. Instead, you will need to use unarmed tactics or an improvised weapon you already have in hand to mitigate the threat and keep yourself alive long enough to draw your knife.

The Guarded Draw
When it comes to drawing a knife in response to a close-range, lethal-force attack, one possibility is to combine your deployment skills with a simple guard structure using your non-weapon (aka “live”) hand. By establishing a guard, you at least use your arm to cover your most vital targets—typically the head and neck—to prevent or at least minimize injury while you draw. This approach borrows heavily from close-quarters handgun tactics and, consequently, fuels many of the same debates when it comes to arm position.

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