beat the blade finally, knife defense you can live with!
as the officer asks for information, the suspect produces a knife. the officer immediately steps away from the threat, capturing the suspect's waist and moving his other hand toward the suspect's chin. the "foldover" in action. a favorable result. the officer creates distance, while drawing his firearm and assessing the situation. richard nance defensive tactics contributor officer.com when i began learning unarmed knife defense (over 20 years ago), i was taught to defend against a single, robotic attack using an �x� block followed by a joint manipulation, which would result in me disarming the cooperative opponent, while earning �style points� in the process. unfortunately, this is still the way most knife defense is taught. while this type of knife defense is certainly crowdpleasing and ideal for public demonstrations, it contains one inherent flaw � it will get you killed when attempted against a real, unrehearsed knife attack! fastforward 20 years� after attaining my black belt, earning a position on a police s.w.a.t team, becoming a police defense tactics instructor, and spending countless hours studying how real knife attacks occur, i determined that what is needed is a single technique that can be used against any type of knife attack. the result is what wartac co-founder, david hallford and i call the �foldover�. the �foldover� is a simple, gross motor technique with almost universal application. it is not dependent on what specific attack the knife wielder engages with. best of all, the �foldover� can be learned in minutes and mastered in days rather than years. sound too good to be true? read on and see for yourself. when facing a suspect armed with a knife in his right hand that slashes from right to left (at any height and from any angle) or stabs (at any height and from any angle) simply employ the following tactic:
step forward and to the right at a 45-degree angle with your right leg, while simultaneously capturing the back of the suspect�s waist with your right hand and forcefully striking his chin with your left palm. while pulling on the waist, drive your left palm upward. this causes the suspect to �fold� backward at the waist, hence the name �foldover�. (oh, i should mention that you should practice this in slow motion initially to prevent your training partner from being rendered useless for the remainder of the training session). if done correctly, your training partner should be staring up at you, wondering how he went from aggressively attacking you with the knife to lying flat on his back, almost instantaneously. let�s talk about why this tactic worked so well. first of all, you were able to respond without hesitation because as soon as your
training partner started to slash inward or stab. you knew what to do. once you stepped off line of the attack, you were able to immediately seize your training partner�s waist with your right hand (the waist is a major pivot point of the human body and when manipulated, immediately disrupts the body�s balance). while your right hand was off-balancing your partner, your left hand moved upward, toward the head. by simply moving your left arm in this manner, you were able to �shield� your body and head from the knife momentarily (you will only need this �shield� for a split-second because after that it won�t matter). as soon as your left palm connected with the chin, you simply continued to pull the waist toward you as you forced the chin up and back. this resulted in your partner falling flat on his back, allowing you to create distance and draw your firearm. that�s all there is to it. i told you it was simple. i know, you�re probably asking, �that�s fine, but what do i do if the suspect does an outward slash or an inward slash with his left hand?� don�t worry� we have a solution for that, too. against a right-handed outward slash or an inward left-handed slash, simply step to your left at a 45-degree angle with your left leg, while grabbing the back of the suspect�s waist with your left hand. use your right palm to drive the suspect�s chin up and back while pulling his waist toward you. in this case, your right hand is able to deflect and/or �shield� you from the knife during the process of dropping the suspect to the ground. one of the distinct advantages of the �foldover� is that it greatly reduces the number of split-second decisions you have to make during an attack. rather than trying to distinguish from which of the twelve commonly taught angles of attack the knife is coming from, you simply have to determine if the knife is held in the right or left hand. and, since you�re not waiting to see the specific type of attack, you are able to respond at the first indication that the attacker is armed with a knife. there you have it�one simple, easy to apply technique based on leverage rather than strength or skill that works against almost any type of knife attack. keep in mind that during the execution of this technique, you are moving away from the knife the entire time and you are not trying to catch up with and control the fast moving knife arm. also consider the adage, �where the head goes, the body follows.� by manipulating the head (and waist), you are able to completely negate the attack and take the suspect to the ground. while the preferred method of dealing with a knife attack is to maintain distance and assess the situation with a drawn firearm, you have to realize that isn�t always possible. when you don�t have the luxury of time and distance, the �foldover� is perhaps, your best alternative to negate the knife threat and draw your firearm. remember that the only way to truly gauge the effectiveness of a technique is to try to make it fail during training. therefore, i challenge you to put the �foldover� to the test�
web links: weapon acquisition & retention tactics (wartac)
rich nance is a police defensive tactics instructor, firearms instructor, s.w.a.t. team member and karate blackbelt with over twenty years experience training in and teaching self-defense. rich is the co-founder of weapon acquisition & retention tactics (wartac), a company that provides counter weapon and weapon retention training to law enforcement, military, and civilians. for more information, please visit www.wartac.com.