Unarmed Self Defense Tips Against an Attacker with a Knife

Self Defense Vs an Attacker with a Knife

Recently, we received a question from one of our readers which was sent though the Best Self Defense Weapons Mailbag. It reads, “What is the most effective way to defend myself against an attacker with a knife?”

Successful Unarmed Self Defense Versus an Attacker with a Knife

Aside from the very obvious method of using a longer or ranged self defense weapon, we will show you how to exercise proper unarmed self defense against an attacker who is wielding a knife.

Step 1 – Focus on the Knife

Keep your focus on the knife no matter what happens. What we mean by this is that even though you will get scratches, wounds or damaged clothing, keep in mind that your life is hanging on the balance and the only way to gain advantage during this situation is by disarming or incapacitating your opponent, or gaining control of the knife. Remember that your opponent’s focus also lies in the knife that he is holding, so consider the weapon as your ultimate prize.

Step 2 – Parrying the Strikes

If your opponent attempts to thrust the blade into your body, perform a sidestep while pushing the elbow or arm of your attacker away from you. Refer to the video below uploaded by TeenTendo in YouTube:

You can also apply the techniques provided by Gracie Academy through YouTube:

Step 3 – Disarm or Incapacitate the Attacker

Once your opponent has his back against you, strike his vital parts to disarm, incapacitate or slow him down. You can use your elbow or hand to hit him solid at the back of his neck or kick him in the kidney, the area between the backbone and the hip, the calf, or in the arch exactly opposite his knee. The second video also shows how to perform a hammerlock following a successful block. Again, whenever you have the chance, even if you are thinking of fleeing, attempt to disarm your opponent because he might attempt to stab you while your back is turned when running away.

Optional – Preemptive Strike

Instead of waiting for your opponent to attack, you can use various practical unarmed self defense techniques to take him down. Claw or poke him in the eyes, perform a palm strike to the bridge of his nose, punch his throat, or use your knee or foot to strike him in the groin. But while doing so, never take your eyes away from his weapon.


Take note that the unarmed self defense option provided here is only effective against someone holding a knife and in a one-on-one confrontation. As much as possible, do not attempt to fight your aggressor if you have other options to flee the area. Only consider fighting when you have no other choice and your aggressor really intends to cause harm to you.

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Video Sources: YouTube

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