A conversation with one of my black belts about how the USKMA’s black belt and 2nd degree black belt curriculum is so sparse is what got me on this subject. He asked if we would ever include more offensive knife. I know of other krav maga curriculums that have a ton of stuff in the upper belt curriculums…a ton of unrealistic stuff thrown in there just to have techniques to keep teaching. I always felt that if Krav Maga is supposed to be easy to learn and easy to remember as well as designed for real life violence there wasn’t a whole lot of need for multi attackers with chain saw defense, urban warfare tactics or complete stick and knife fighting curriculums.

In the USKMA 2nd degree black belt curriculum we do have some offensive knife/knife vs. knife. It is exactly four moves. If I am being attacked and must protect myself and my family and have a knife with me I only need to know where to cut to stop the attacker and how to deliver that cut. Why make it complicated? As Bruce Lee once said “I do not fear the man who has practiced 1,000 kicks one time, rather, I fear the man who has practiced one kick 1,000 times.” If we had a whole system for knife there would be a lot of “fluff”. Krav Maga doesn’t do fluff! My cop friends tell me when they see surveillance videos of knife attacks, even from trained knife fighters, it ends up being the same slashes and stabs that anyone else would use. Stress and adrenaline bring out the basics.

Don’t get me wrong, the knife fighting arts are deadly. If there was an offensive knife instructor in my town I would go take lessons. It would be cool and a ton of fun. However, of the three or four self defense scenarios that I can think of off the top of my head knife fighting doesn’t make a lot of sense for any of them.

Scenario one would be a knife against another weapon. I have said many times that if an attacker is close to me I would much rather him have a handgun than a knife. However, at ten feet and out I would much rather they have a knife. If I were to carry one or the other it would be a handgun. I’ve heard knife guys say that they would slice me up before I got to that handgun. Well, that’s a silly thing to say. There are too many variables that they couldn’t know beforehand. Did I start first, see it coming first, have distance on my side? Am I the aggressor, have we started after already injured, etc., etc.? Yes, I know of the Tueller drill. I may well get sliced as I draw that gun, may even receive a fatal wound. I would do this as I am putting ten hollow points center mass. What would have been your goal…to have “I got him too” on your tombstone?

Scenario two would be an unarmed attack like a bar type altercation. If someone is punching you and you slice them up I would imagine that you are going to jail and being sued. You would certainly have to prove to the jury that you were afraid for your life to justify the use of a deadly weapon. As soon as they find out you train Krav Maga that’s out the window!

Using a knife against multi attackers would be easier to justify in court. I’d still rather have a handgun than a knife in that situation.

Lastly, using a knife against someone who has a knife really isn’t anything I’d want to do either. I would rather have a ball bat or something similar that would give me reach and impact. Better yet, I’d run. Even if I had practiced offensive knife a bunch it would still be a gamble, the other guy may be pretty good too. The old saying “The one who wins a knife fight is the one who dies the next day” I would think is too true. I have been told that the top ten Filipino knife masters of all time have all died the same way…knife wounds. If they all died in a knife fight what makes me think I’ll get good enough to be unbeatable? Knife fighting would be too even of a fight. We always want to have the advantage in Krav Maga. If we find ourselves in a fair fight our tactics suck!!

So no, we won’t have a whole knife fighting curriculum in USKMA Krav Maga anytime soon. Practice the few moves we have and keep it simple. That’s our way! BE SAFE!


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