ITF Forum > General Forum > General Discussion

back to forum | Help | Search

Training Knives and Knife SD Training

5 Replies
Jump to the bottom of the page Posts 1 to 6 of 6
 Start a new topic
Original Message Post # 1
Thu 5th Jun 2008 07:54
Bob Borja

View Profile
Joined: 10/01/2007
Topics: 27 Replies: 123

training against knife attacks is important in martial arts.

A good
training knife will minimize the chances for injury and enhance training. 
There are the common rubber and wooden versions.  The rubber knife has the
disadvantage of a blade that swings from side to side thus making stabs at a
point target haphazard.  The wooden knife has the disadvantage of being
stiff and unsafe for stabbing soft areas of a human target.

counting the unintended burn mark on the exposed skin from a slash with a
rubber knife or the bruise mark from a stab with a wooden knife, neither
provides the critical feedback of undeniable cut locations.  The writing
color marker often is used as a knife to mark cuts on the defender. 
However, simply by how it is held, the marker is more suitable for stabbing
rather than slashing. Another disadvantage of the color marker is that the
resulting stains on clothing can be difficult to remove even after repeated
washing.  To compensate, students often wear an old disposable white
T-shirt for marker knife training.  However, with this arrangement cuts to
exposed arms, where the majority of cuts would occur, generally do not show
well.  Using the Dobok with long white sleeves and easily washable blood
is the better choice.

thoughts on knife training and ideas for an improved training knife are sought
in this forum discussion.

Thank you.

Bob Borja                        Taekwon-Do Central                        Germany

                                                           Vincit qui se vincit.                                                                  
                                             He conquers who conquers himself.                                                     

Post # 2
Top Thu 5th Jun 2008 18:20
Nick Malefyt

Joined: 04/12/2006
Topics: 2 Replies: 50
Mr. Borja,

Traditional ITF Taekwon-Do Techniques
Applied To 5 Common Knife Attacks

Defining the attacks:

Strike #1 Slash from right to left (head level)
Strike #2 Slash from left to right (head level)
Strike #3 Slash from right to left (rib cage level)
Strike #4 Slash from left to right (rib cage level)
Strike #5 Downward stab

A slash can be defined as a quick motion with the purpose of causing a small wound. A stab can be defined as attempting to penetrate the knife deeply into the body

In keeping with General Chois approach to self defense demonstrated against these attacks will be techniques that show attacking counters, breaking motions, and releasing movements.

Attacking motions can be defined as blocking, quickly controlling the attacking hand, and counterattacking by striking. Multiple striking is preferred but here is a start

1) Left hand knife hand block right hand arc-hand strike
2) Checking block left hand upset punch
3) Left low outward block with the knife hand-right open fist strike
4) Right low outward block with the knife hand left hand controls elbow right hand flat finger tip thrust
5) Horizontal strike grasping block middle knuckle punch

Breaking motions can be defined as techniques that apply enough force to break a specific joint. In this case the break will be targeted on the elbow of the weapon bearing hand. Breaks can be performed by directly attacking the joint or by applying opposing push pressure on the joint.

1) Checking block grasping block w/ left hand - right hand elbow right hand upward strike with the reverse knife hand
2) Checking block grasping block with right hand left hand knife hand strike. While performing this technique it is important to keep the attackers weapon bearing hand pinned to your chest. You can do this by pulling your right hand, expanding your chest, and pushing with your left knife hand (opposing pressure on the elbow)
3) "Reverse" grasping block right hand elbow - traditional peel stepping backwards with the right leg to gain outside control apply left hand pressure to the elbow
4) Reverse grasping block controlling the weapon bearing hand. Lift the weapon bearing hand slightly up. Left hand upward strike with the elbow
5) Horizontal strike grasping block palm down on elbow

In the encyclopedia releasing motions are demonstrated as movements that enable a defender to escape an attackers grasp. In terms of knife techniques I like to look at releasing motions as methods of disarming the weapon. Often more then not disarms occur following an attacking or breaking motion. I do concede it would be easier to release a weapon from someones grasp following a movement that distracts or damages an attacker first. Some of the following disarms can be seen as continuations to some of the above listed self-defense techniques.

1) Checking Block elbow strike disarm by sliding your right hand down to the thumb of the attacker and turning the thumb while at the same time lifting your right elbow. Without thumb control the left hand can safely release the weapon
2) Grasping block followed by pulling the knife to your hip. Step out with your right leg while applying pressure to the attackers elbow. This will give you face down control. Once you have face down control you can move your hip close to your partner and simply lift your hands up. The pressure on the attackers shoulder will release the weapon
3) Left hand downward strike with the knife hand pass the weapon and use "reverse" grasping block at the elbow to control the weapon. Execute a right hand cross cut with the knife hand. Turn the weapon bearing hand clockwise (pointing the knife down). Simply back fisting the knife will release the weapon. Continue through with an arm bar (gaining face down control)
4) Right hand downward strike with the knife hand and use a left hand grasping block to gain control of the elbow. Use the right hand (by the thumb of the attacker) to turn the weapon hand clockwise (pointing the knife down). Simply take the knife out of the attackers hand (with your left hand). End with a lead leg turning kick to the knee
5) Horizontal strike pass the weapon regain 2-handed control with traditional peel front snap kick - using the thumbs apply pressure to the wrist of the attacker thus releasing the weapon

ITF Taekwon-Do offers practitioners a great blueprint for effective unarmed self defense against armed attackers. As knife attacks have evolved so to does the need for effective responses to such attacks. This is not to say we need to come up with all new techniques to deal with armed attacks. We simply need to do our due diligence and research and expand on what has already been provided for us.

I would also like to point out that in the 28 years I have been studying the martial arts I have attended several seminars offered by knife fighting experts. With minimal exceptions the techniques that they use to attack, break, or disarm a knife wielding attacker can all be found in ITF Taekwon-Do. Their techniques simply have another name. For example Sensei John teaches a Universal Block and Guru Steve teaches Quick Shield - they are both simply a checking block. Guru Steve teaches a C-Clamp which is simply a grasping block. Guru John calls it Saluting the knife we call it a horizontal strike. The list goes on

It would be impossible to train for every possible self-defense scenario; however we can make some generalizations (suggestions) and formulate some specific responses based on known methods of attack. Hopefully the above techniques will help with the response part of the puzzle. I would like to close this with a few suggestions to help guide students and put them on a path of self-defense exploration when it comes to dealing with an armed attacker.

9 suggestions to keep in mind when it comes to knife attacks:

1) Whenever possible always first try to put an object in between you and the attacker. This can be something that can be used as either a shield or projectile. Examples might include a pocket book (which can be thrown toward the head of an attacker to buy time/create an opening) or a briefcase that can be used as a shield.
2) Always use skills in evasion and dodging and if you have a chance to run -RUN. However if you commit to engaging the attacker physically commit 100%.
3) Always move in the same direction the knife is heading DO NOT go towards the weapon as this will reduce your reaction time and increase your chances of getting cut.
4) Move to the outside of the attackers body whenever possible. Being on the inside of the attackers body makes you vulnerable to the attackers other weapons (their other arm and their legs).
5) Attack whenever possible and make gaining control of the weapon bearing hand your #1 priority. If you are lucky enough to get it dont let go. Control is best maintained at the elbow first and wrist second. Having control at both the elbow and wrist would mean you would not have another hand available so if you find yourself in this position use those legs.
6) Become familiar with different knife grips and different ways that the knife could come at you. This will help you better defend against the knife and also help you in the event where you actually end up with the knife.
7) Practice knife techniques in different situations (against a wall or lying down on the floor) - dont just practice standing up in the middle of a room. This will change your thinking and force you to research additional responses based on your environment.
8) When learning a new defensive maneuver partners (attackers should attack at slower speeds and offer little resistance. When the material starts to come together in the defenders eyes attacks should speed up and attackers should offer more resistance to see if the technique really works - or see if it needs to be modified.
9) As with most martial arts instructors and students should familiarize themselves with basic first aid. Cutting injuries should be covered and bandaged immediately. It is also important to note that should a knife if a knife be stuck in a body that it should not be pulled out (that could make the bleeding worse). The wound should be wrapped with bandages around the knife

Nick Malefyt, V Dan
From my VI Dan Thesis
Post # 3
Top Fri 6th Jun 2008 19:04
Bob Borja

View Profile
Joined: 10/01/2007
Topics: 27 Replies: 123
Mr. Malefyt,

Thank you for responding with your thesis.
You provided much food for thought.
I shall continue on this topic shortly.
Thanks again.

Bob Borja Taekwon-Do Central Germany

                                                           Vincit qui se vincit.                                                                  
                                             He conquers who conquers himself.                                                     

Post # 4
Top Mon 9th Jun 2008 07:24
Michael Munyon

View Profile
Joined: 04/12/2006
Topics: 20 Replies: 46
But does he know about the Blue Worm? :)

Mr. Malefyt.....I always enjoy reading your views on weapon techniques. The harsh reality is that many people don't do the gentleman (or gentlewoman) fighting now a days. Weapons are usually used (both natural...meaning our body and environmental).

It's always good to read, see and hear other people's views and instruction in regards to dealing with weapons or weapon concepts.

See you in Michigan sir.

Michael Munyon, VI Dan
US-ITF Armed Forces Director
Serving America, Armed Forces and the ITF
Post # 5
Top Mon 9th Jun 2008 12:55
Bob Borja

View Profile
Joined: 10/01/2007
Topics: 27 Replies: 123
Hello everyone,

For instructions on how to make a knife as an improvement over two common martial arts training knives; and an improved artificial blood, please click Article at website:

After making such a knife & the blood and using them, your feedback is welcome on this forum. Thank you.

Bob Borja                                                 Taekwon-Do Central                                                Germany

                                                           Vincit qui se vincit.                                                                  
                                             He conquers who conquers himself.                                                     

Post # 6
Top Tue 10th Jun 2008 01:33
Nick Malefyt

Joined: 04/12/2006
Topics: 2 Replies: 50
Mr. Munyon,

While I agree that with bladed systems practitioners have increased their proficiency with knives I don't think overall most of the general population has not evolved as much. The best thing to do would be to study the different angles a knife can strike and work on defending those lines. Let's face it, an offensively trained knife fighter will have an edge (no punn intended) regardless.

Blue Worm may be a proprietary concept (could be copyrighted) - not the technique just the name :>)


Jump to the top of the page Posts 1 to 6 of 6
 Start a new topic
© International Taekwon-Do Federation Limited