This post will give you a weapon defense overview. It clarifies specific terms used when describing weapon defense techniques and also gives specifics of how to perform movements that are generic to multiple techniques.
In short, reviewing the information in this post will make weapon defense training easier.
Weapon disarms training is primarily focused on defense against knife attacks because they are the most difficult common weapon to disarm, i.e., if you grab the knife you will most likely be injured.
Photo Credit: Senior Airman Sandra Marrero. Cropped.
The information in this post has been taken from the Vortex Control Self-Defense Bundle by Sam Fury.
Weapon Defense Overview
For the demonstrations in this book the attacker will always hold the knife in his right hand. When the description refers to a left attack it means the strike comes in on and angle from the left of the attacker. The knife is still held in his right hand.
Note: This method of attack is purely for the benefit of practicing the defense. For more effective knife attack methods please refer to knife attack training.
A straight thrust is when the attacker strikes at you from waist height into your torso. It is always done using a forward grip.
The downward stab refers to an attack that comes in on a downward motion. It is always done using a reverse grip.
Every defense begins with the block/grab technique. This allows you to have two hands on his one. This is important so you have better control of his knife wielding hand.
Unfortunately, using the block/grab technique “ties up” both your hands. This makes you vulnerable to being hit by your attackers other hand, especially if you are slow to apply a dis-arm. However, being hit is better than being stabbed, which makes (arguably) the block/grab a safer technique to use than others.
Unless otherwise stated, your grabbing hand is closer to your opponent’s hand than your blocking hand is, i.e., you block on your opponent’s lower forearm, but grab at his wrist.
There are two main types of blocks. How it these blocks are actually applied is dependent on the situation as well as what works for you best.
To do the chop, use your forearm to chop down on your attackers arm. Do it hard and aim for his upper forearm, since there is a cluster of nerves there. Often, this blow on its own will be enough to cause your attacker to drop his knife.
Bong sau is taken from Wing Chun but the application is highly modified depending on the situation. The images offer the best interpretation.
What follows is an excerpt of how to do the classic Bong Sau from the book Basic Wing Chun Training by Sam Fury.
*** Start of Excerpt ***
Bong sau (wing arm) is a defensive technique unique to Wing Chun. It is used to divert a punch by creating an angle of deflection.
Begin in the half squat position with your hands up. In one movement, turn your hand down and your elbow up. As you do so, twist your waist and tilt your body so your feet are in a fighting stance position. Your waist does the work, not your arm.
Keep your arm in line. You other hand is a guard hand in case your opponent’s strike passes through.
This is bong sau.
Turn slightly back and bring your hand back to the center.
Switch hand positions, so your other hand becomes you lead. Shift your weight to match your new position and then do bong sau on your other side.
*** End of Excerpt ***
There are two types of grips.
The under underhand grip is when your palm faces up or to the outside of your opponent’s guard.
An overhand grip is when your palm faces down or to the inside of your opponent’s guard.
Making a Tap
For many of the dis-arms, once you have done the block/grab technique, the next step is to “make a tap”.
The term “making a tap” refers to the act of bending your opponent’s wrist so his hand is 90° to his forearm. Doing this makes it easier to control his hand, twist his wrist, and therefore dis-arm him.
A tap can be made at almost any of your opponent’s joints. This makes it easier to apply locks.
Grabbing Your Opponent’s Hand
Unless otherwise stated, the reference to grab your opponent’s hand means to grab the fleshy part underneath his thumb. This helps loosen the grip your opponent has on the knife so you can take it.
Grabbing the Knife
In many of the dis-arms you are required to grab the knife in order to disarm your opponent. When doing so you need to do it in a way so you do not cut yourself.
Grabbing the handle would be the best way but most of the time this is not possible because your opponent will be gripping the handle. The next best option is to grab it from the non-sharp side. This assumes it is a single-edged knife.
The last option is to grip the blade between your finger tips and your palm in a way that the sharp edge does not touch you.
Aim to grab as much of the handle as possible when doing this to minimize injury.
Taking the Knife
In most cases you will pry the knife towards your opponent’s thumb and out of his hand. This takes advantage of the weakest point in your opponent’s grip.
LEARN MORE life-saving self-defense skills in the book Vortex Control Self-Defense Bundle by Sam Fury.
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