What should I do if attacked with a knife?

How can I defend against a knife attack?

Recent news has spurred renewed interest in the ongoing battle with knife crime across the UK. One factor that is highlighted consistently is how easy it is to purchase and conceal a knife plus the severity of the injuries that could be sustained in an attack. 

Knife attacks are not exclusive to remote alleyways in the dead of night, knife crime can be indiscriminate and happen any time of day, but particularly when people and the environment are in a state of change.

There’s no substitute for preparation in these situations and if you are travelling to higher-risk locations it pays to be sure of what you can do if confronted. Read on for expert advice on defending yourself against a knife attack.

Knife attack defence

If you are forced to defend against a knife attack, be as cooperative as possible. Whether that means surrendering valuables or leaving the area when asked, give the individual or group no reason to enter a physical altercation. 

Even if you are compliant during a knife attack, you still may feel in danger of a physical attack. At this point, your best defence is to flee the situation, rather than try to disarm or overpower your attacker. If you fight the attacker, you are at a disadvantage and stand a good chance of serious injury. However, if you are cornered consider the following:

Stay Calm, Assess, and React: The first step in any self-defence situation is to stay calm and take a breath. Adrenaline will likely flood your system, pushing you towards fight or flight. However, giving in to this impulse could result in acting rashly and making a situation worse. Pause, assess the threat, and then react swiftly. Remember, your primary goal is to escape safely.

Create Distance: Distance is your best asset. Try to create as much space between you and the attacker as possible. This could involve backing away slowly or putting obstacles between you and the attacker. Each second counts and can buy you valuable time to assess the situation and plan your next move.

Identify Weak Points: When defending a knife attack, knowing where to strike can be crucial. If you are pushed to fight, all rules go out of the window. Aim for vulnerable areas such as the eyes, throat, groin, or knees. These strikes can incapacitate your attacker and allow you to escape. After striking the attacker, there is a potential short window to escape, so once you strike don’t hesitate to flee or wait to see the result - run!

Use Improvised Weapons: If there is anything available, use nearby objects as weapons or shields. A bag, jacket, or even a chair can provide a barrier between you and the attacker. Improvised weapons can also be used to disarm or distract your assailant. Remember anything around you can become an aide to your survival. Throwing a jacket or lightweight object, might just shock the assailant and buy you valuable seconds. Again, if you created a barrier, distracted or struck the assailant, run as soon as you can.

Seek Help: If you can't escape, seek help immediately. Call out for assistance or activate any available alarms. In a public setting, draw attention to the situation to enlist the help of others. Not everyone will respond but someone will, or alert someone who can. Drawing attention to the scene can also cause the attacker to leave, with witnesses gathered, their plan may no longer be worth the risk of being caught.

Defending against a knife attack is all about preparation

In summary, take any opportunity you can to get away from a knife attack, failing that you use every advantage available to you to delay or defend yourself until help arrives or you can get away. A physical altercation should be your last resort. 

Being more familiar with these defensive tactics and spotting danger in advance will always be a worthwhile investment. The best preparation you could have is to take formal training in situational awareness or self defence

We offer regular courses that can be customised to the needs of a group or individuals looking to increase their defence against physical attacks. Get in touch today to arrange a call with one of our trainers and discuss your needs.