Thomas Wictor

How to defend yourself against stabbings

How to defend yourself against stabbings

A very stupid video called “How to Stab People” is making the rounds in Palestinian social media. The purpose is to try and scare you. What I’m going to do is deconstruct both the video and the whole notion of stabbing people. By the end of this post, you should know better how to defend yourself.

First, the video.

The “instructor” is a clown. In his first thrust, he uses his index finger on the back of the blade.


He’s therefore broken his own grip on the knife. If the blade hits something hard such as a belt buckle, his hand will slide right down the cutting edge. He’ll slice off his own fingers.

Secondly, he uses an overhand grip.


That’s the easiest thing in the world for a person to block, simply by raising the forearm.

This video is garbage, which is good. Anyone who tries to copy it is going to end up where they belong: in the morgue.

How to defend yourself against stabbings

Your body will do most of the work for you, so don’t worry. We all have amazing reflexes. By simply thinking about it, you’ll make yourself far more difficult to harm.

1. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Always. Every single time you leave the house, become radar. This isn’t bad; it’s smart. Cars can hit you, paint cans can be accidentally dropped on you from skyscrapers, and hate-filled losers can come at you with knives. Simply keeping an eye on everything around you will give you the edge. An ambush won’t be possible.

2. Always watch a suspicious person’s hands.

Don’t watch his face. His hands will tell you his intentions and whether or not he’s armed. Watching his hands will let you anticipate the direction of his knife thrusts.

3. Carry a hardback book.

Your instinct will be to block a knife thrust. A hardback book can serve as a shield.


Hold the book with both hands, and watch the knife, not the attacker’s face. When the knife comes at you, block it with the book. Pull the book back toward you after each thrust; don’t just hold the book out there, because then he can knock it out of your hands.

Practice with a friend. Hone your speed. A knife attack will last only a few seconds. All you need to do is fight off the killer for no more than half a dozen thrusts. You can do this easily.

If you don’t mind carrying your cellphone in your hand and not a pocket, you can use it the same way. Hold it with one hand, and use it as a tiny shield.


I don’t have a cellphone, so I used a date book for the photo. With your one hand, you can block knife thrusts. A battery pack will make the cellphone stronger and more able to deflect. Again, practice with a friend. You’ll be shocked at how fast you’ll become in a very short time.

4. Use a shoulder bag as a shield.



Wear the strap across your body. If the bag is on your right hip, put the strap on your left shoulder. Go to an art-supply store and have them cut three or four pieces of very hard mat board to fit the bag perfectly.


You want the mat board to be upright, forming a layer of protection as wide and tall as the bag.

If you prefer, have a piece of light steel cut to fit the bag.

Practice holding the bag between you and an attacker. Grip the bag tightly with both hands and have somebody slash at you. Don’t hold the bag too far in front of you, because then the attacker can grab it. The bag is there as a shield for the few seconds that you’ll need it.

5. Use everyday objects to defend yourself.

If you’re in a supermarket, pelt the attacker with canned goods. Throw them as hard as you can. Glass jars and bottles can also serve as deadly projectiles.

If there are plastic or metal chairs nearby, pick one up and hold it with both hands, the legs pointed at the attacker.


React. Don’t take the initiative unless he falls down. Then shove a chair leg into his eye.

Anything long and slender can be used to keep an attacker at bay. An umbrella or broom handle, for example. Never hit him; jab him. Aim at his ribs; that will cause enough pain for him to stop. Use both hands and make sure he can’t take your weapon from you.

6. If someone grabs you from behind, instantly turn around.

Don’t struggle or try to pull the arm from around your neck. Simply spin and face the attacker as quickly as you can. When you’re face to face, he can’t cut off the blood supply to your brain with his forearm, and you’ll have at least a chance to defend yourself by deflecting a knife thrust or by kneeing him in the crotch or biting off his nose. You should practice this spin with a friend. Have the person grab you very hard, and spin as forcefully as you can.

Start slowly and work up to the very hard grab. Make your spin a reflex.

7. Never raise your arms above your head.

You must never lift your arms above your head to hit an attacker. Doing so makes you completely vulnerable. You’re not trying to defeat the attacker; you’re trying to survive. You must think only of defense. Someone will come along and shoot the bastard. Maybe someone with you will do so. Your job is to deflect knife thrusts for no more than four seconds.

You can do that easily.

8. Choreograph everything in your mind.

Imagine what you’ll do in any given situation. Work out the movements you’ll make. Rehearse them until they become second nature, and don’t feel bad about having to do this. I want to empower you, not scare you. The enemy is only human, and he’ll almost certainly be overconfident. That means you can overcome him.

* * *

There are lots of martial-arts techniques that allow you to disarm a knife-wielding attacker or block his thrusts, but they’re very risky, and they require years of practice. What I’ve listed above are things you can master in a week. This is the concept to remember:


It can be distance or an object.

Knife attacks happen very quickly, so you have to have your defensive weaponry already in your hands. A book, a cellphone, a shoulder bag, or an umbrella can save your life.

Don’t let idiotic videos by incompetent poseurs upset you. “How to Stab People” is about as realistic as this knife fight.

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