The commonly taught method of countering a rear choke involves cutting the attacker’s arm with a knife to effect a release. This tactic doesn’t really target critical structures and in a real struggle puts a sharp, pointy knife dangerously close to your face.

One of the so-called “truths” of self-defense is that the majority of fights end up on the ground. The increasing popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts) competition, which typically includes a heavy dose of grappling, has reinforced this belief to the point where many consider going to the ground inevitable. While I personally feel that understanding the difference between “self-defense” and “getting in a fight” has a lot to do with determining how true this “truth” really is; any way you look at it, having grappling and groundfighting skills in your arsenal is a good thing. And if you carry a knife for personal defense, you also need to know how to incorporate its use into your grappling tactics.

Taking It To The Street
MMA training is a lot of fun and can definitely be used to develop a formidable level of fighting ability and combat fitness. However, no matter how you slice it, once you take those skills off the mat or out of the octagon and put them on the street, things change drastically. A simple double-leg takedown or knee sweep that puts your opponent on the mat in competition is, for all intents and purposes, lethal force on the street. Similarly, a choke or lock that would qualify as a submission on the mat can leave you unconscious or crippled on the street and therefore defenseless against a follow-up attack.

Based on the real possibility of suffering death or grievous bodily injury when grappling on the street, the use of a weapon like a knife could certainly be justified in your defense.

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One of the so-called “truths” of self-defense is that the majority of fights end…