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Edged Weapon Defense Tactics for Law Enforcement Captain Tony Gregory, MCSO Training Academy May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense.

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Presentation on theme: "Edged Weapon Defense Tactics for Law Enforcement Captain Tony Gregory, MCSO Training Academy May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense."— Presentation transcript:

1 Edged Weapon Defense Tactics for Law Enforcement Captain Tony Gregory, MCSO Training Academy May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

2 The Problem Knives are Common Knives are Legal Expanding the Definition of Edged Weapons to include Improvised, Make-Shift, and Expedient Weapons makes them even more common. Screwdrivers, scissors, bottles, broken glass, saw, etc. are all deadly weapons. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

3 Empty Hand Edged Weapon Defense The most difficult physical tactics problem we are likely to encounter. There are no great empty hand systems for dealing with an Edged Weapon attack. But you will have to deal with it. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

4 Why is This So Difficult? Knives are more dangerous than firearms at contact distance. The blade damages a larger area, and is more likely than a bullet to cause massive bleeding, sever large blood vessels, cut tendons, and disconnect nerves. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

5 Why is This So Difficult? Unlike hand-to-hand combat, knife use is not strength dependent. Unlike strikes, knives do not require energy or speed – just contact. Knife use is not dependent on coordination or skill, unlike most physical tactics. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

6 Why Empty Hand Edged Weapon Defense? Time: A spontaneous attack may not give you the time needed to deploy a weapon. Weapons: You may not be armed. – Off duty – Out of jurisdiction – Jails and some courtroom settings May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

7 Use of Firearms Against Edged Weapons Edged weapon attacks are deadly force threats, and the use of a firearm in self defense is usually justified and preferable, where possible, since it works at a distance, while the knife is a contact weapon. Unfortunately, in most edged weapon attack scenarios, that distance is not available. That distance is much farther than you’d think. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

8 Use of Firearms Against Edged Weapons The 21 foot knife-defense drill has long been taught in law enforcement. Developed by Lt. Dennis Tueller, the basic premise is that an assailant can close 21 feet in less than 1.5 seconds from a standing start, which is the time required for a well-trained officer to draw and fire two center-of-mass shots from a Level II holster. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

9 Use of Firearms Against Edged Weapons Recent studies have indicated that 30 feet is a more realistic buffer, especially from a Level III holster. Nothing in this drill tells us that we should use force against a potential assailant 21 feet away – it simply tells us how quickly he can get to us if he decides to attack, and how little time we will have to respond effectively. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

10 Assassination Scenarios vs. Defensible Scenarios There is little possible defense against the first thrusts or cuts in a planned, abrupt “ambush” attack -- one that comes with no warning. (It’s a lot like being shot by a sniper.) Don’t worry about what you can’t control. You must have some inkling of an impending knife attack in order to defend against it. – Either you suspect it, or – See it coming early on May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

11 Assassination Scenarios vs. Defensible Scenarios It is worth realizing that you may be able to defend against repeated follow-up cuts or thrusts even in an ambush attack, and failing to do so limits the likelihood that you will survive. Your odds of survival drop with every additional stab or cut, so if humanly possible you need to fight through it and prevent additional injury. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

12 Traditional Defenses Most traditionally taught knife defenses are vulnerable to strength, easy disengagement of the assailant, or fail to control the knife hand, so that you will be badly cut. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

13 Types of Defenses to Avoid There is a lot of nonsense taught in Edged Weapon Defense. There is also a lot of material taught that will work for the trained martial artist, but not for the mere mortal street officer. We will focus on techniques that do not depend on martial arts skills, or superhuman powers. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

14 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Many techniques depend on manipulating the assailant’s static extended (stemmed) arm. – Applying a Wristlock to the extended arm. – Intercepting and Deflecting the Extended Arm – Manipulating the arm into Throws The problem is people don’t fight like this in the real world. They don’t “throw a punch” and then leave their arm “out there”. They withdraw it immediately. They will do the same with a knife. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

15 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Any technique that allows a time lag between the avoidance of the knife, and the execution of a counter attack should be avoided. Any technique that allows loss-of-control of the knife during the counter attack should be avoided. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

16 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Attacking the knife is a bad idea. Trying the “turn” the knife against the assailant is also a bad idea. It requires a high level of skill, plus a size and strength advantage. It also requires a fair bit of luck. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

17 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Systems that attempt to deflect the knife by hitting the “back side” of the blade are a bad idea. This requires a high level of precision and skill in a chaotic situation. It has embarrassing results against a double-edged knife. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

18 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Systems that require a great deal of movement (backing up for 6-7 steps, for example) are not likely to work. – We are often in close, confined, and messy environments. – There is no where to back up. – We cannot back up faster than the assailant can move forward. – We are very likely to trip and fall in the real world. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

19 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Deflect and Disengage Systems are commonly taught, easily learned, and may work in an open setting, but: Under high stress and very fast time constraints, can you evaluate your ability to disengage in a given environment? What are the odds of your falling down? What then? A single programmed response will be faster. Aggression is usually a preferable tactic at close quarters. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

20 Types of Defenses Hicks Law – The more possible responses in a situation, the longer you are likely to take to respond – Not a good thing where a knife attack is involved – So we have minimized responses May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

21 Common Fallacies in Edged Weapon Defense Systems that depend on the use of the Firearm, Taser, OC, Baton are unlikely to work at close quarters against a spontaneous attack. There simply will not be time. The use of a non-lethal force option against a deadly force attack is usually tactically ill-advised, and rarely is it an objectively reasonable response to a deadly force attack. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

22 Techniques that Do Work We will explore a handful of approaches that will work much of the time. There are others that will work, but many require a higher level of skill than most officers can achieve given the time they can devote to the discipline. They must be easy to learn, and these are, relatively speaking. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

23 Block and Counter Attack Upside – This approach is Instinctive/Intuitive. Easily learned, particularly for physically aggressive officers. Downside: – Size and Strength Dependent – No real Control of the Arm – Your counter attack had better work – Ineffective if you aren’t a hard hitter May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

24 Block and Counter Attack Five Areas of Knife Delivery – High left – Low left – High right – Low right – Straight on (high, middle, low) You must practice blocking all of these zones May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

25 Control and Counter Attack Grab the Arm – A natural and instinctive movement Wrap the Arm – More secure than a grab – Requires less precision than a grab – Can wrap with distant or close arm – Requires a bit more coordination and training Worry about the man, not the arm Immediately attack with full force and absolute conviction May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

26 Stuns and Strikes All of the stunning and striking techniques you have at your disposal, and all of the targets you have available are permissible. You are dealing with a deadly force attack. Act quickly to keep your subject reactive. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

27 Getting Ahead of the Curve in the Fight OODA Loop Originated with Col. John Boyd, USAF – Observe – Orient – Decide – Act Can be used against the assailant. Keep acting in such a way as to start him into the loop repeatedly. Loud Voice Commands can also help accomplish this. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

28 May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

29 Stuns and Strikes Use your most powerful blows Elbows, knees, head-butts, body checks, heel strikes. Deliver these blows immediately and continuously once you have blocked or controlled the arm. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

30 Targets Head – The eyes are a difficult target – small, fast, and quickly closed – but a good one if you can hit them. Nose Throat Center Groin Knees, Shins, Feet May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

31 Diminishing the Opponent Diminishing your opponent’s ability to fight is only an intermediate goal. The ultimate objective is to get far enough away to employ a more effective weapon, or, Completely control or disable your opponent. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

32 Takedowns and Arm Locks If the flow of the situation allows you to take an arm-wrap into a takedown and gain control, this is desirable. You may still need to deliver multiple blows after the opponent is taken down. You may be able to disengage from a takedown if your opponent is stunned, or he may lose the weapon. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

33 Control of the Weapon The situation will often require that you let go with one hand in order to deliver blows. These must be fast, hard, and effective. Even in an arm-wrap the knife may come in contact with you, and you will get cut, but probably not seriously. Body Armor can help prevent this. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

34 Armor Most Body Armor will prevent a slash from reaching you, although it is not designed for this It may or may not deflect a stab (excepting the hard plate, which will) The sharper and thinner the blade, the more powerful the thrust, and the less your ability to move back, the more likely a stab will penetrate May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

35 Avoiding the Attack Avoidance is always preferable. This isn’t always possible, but in many cases it is. Avoidance requires awareness, and attention to detail and procedure. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

36 Visual “Frisk” Check the hands! See the Palms! Look at the waistband and pockets for obvious knives or dangerous objects. Look around for objects like bottles that can be used as edged weapons. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

37 Person Search Knives and other edged weapons are constantly missed in inadequate person searches. This gets officers hurt and killed. Search anyone you take into custody, or accept from another officer in custody, without exception. The search must be proper and thorough, not just “window dressing”. Criminals do this for a living. Check the places it will be easy to hide edged weapons, and don’t be squeamish or embarrassed about it. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

38 From a Distance Tactical Footwork Disengaging movement if you have spotted or suspect a weapon, and have time and somewhere to go. You will not want to close and engage the subject if time and distance are aviailable. Do not move straight back – the subject will move more quickly forward than you can move backward. Shuffle-step back, then shuffle to the right or left. This takes you off the line of attack It causes subject’s momentum to carry him by you, and to need to turn to re-engage. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

39 Distance Drill Tueller Drill with Blue Guns or Airsoft Weapons, from feet. Draw and fire upon subject’s aggressive movement. Side step the attack Give Loud Verbal Commands. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

40 Dealing with the Attack At close quarters you will have to deal with the attack by blocking, grabbing, or wrapping the attacking arm. You will then need to counterattack with brutal force until the subject is diminished to the point you can either disengage and get to your firearm, or gain complete control. Take down if possible, and continue to use brutal force until you gain control. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

41 Dealing with the Attack UNLESS YOU ARE DISENGAGING, KEEP FORWARD PRESSURE ON IN ALL OF THESE TECHNIQUES. Move Forward Attack your Opponent Keep him from having range of motion to bring the knife into play against you. Shift the psychological momentum of the fight. Put him on the defensive. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

42 Tactical Forward V Footwork Resist the urge to pull away – Instead, move inside the arc of danger – Move into the subject’s personal space – Move to a Position of Advantage – Deep 45 degree step to the side with the outside lead foot – Back foot shuffles forward – FAST!!!!!!!!! May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

43 Blocking Use the sides or backs of both forearms (which are less vulnerable) Do not forcefully block – absorb the impact Move within the arc of danger Can absorb to the inside or the outside Practice Against all Zones, inside and outside. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

44 Blocking Practice immediately following the block with a counterattack. Use elbow, head, heel strikes, knees, feet. Press the attack into your opponent. Do not let him back up and bring the blade into play. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

45 The Arm Trap Not a control hold – transition to secure the weapon Circle the hand closest the weapon over the forearm and trap the wrist between upper arm and ribcage Place the hand behind his elbow Place the opposite hand on his forearm, upper arm, or shoulder May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

46 The Arm Trap He still has a free hand – you must quickly brutally attack and keep him in the first part of the OODA loop Same for his legs. He can try to change the weapon hand – a stun or transition to takedown must be used quickly. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

47 The Arm Trap You may need to simply trap his arm by wrapping one or both of your arms around it as quickly as possible, from the inside or outside position. Immediately counterattack with brutal force. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

48 Outside Takedown From the outside Arm Wrap Trap you are essentially executing a straight armbar takedown, using your arm to trap his wrist against your body for the hip-weld. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

49 Inside Takedown Essentially a reverse straight arm bar takedown, facing the subject. Keep his arm locked to you, step back slightly with your outside leg, pivot and drop to your knees. Drive the subject hard into the ground. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

50 Control after the Takedown It is extremely important that you retain control of the arm during the takedown. Be prepared to use whatever force necessary to get the subject to drop the knife, including breaking the elbow or dislocating the shoulder, strikes to the head, neck, etc. Give LOUD VERBAL COMMANDS to DROP THE KNIFE! Be prepared to go into a conventional control hold and cuffing technique once he does drop the knife. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

51 Ground Defense The techniques are the same but harder to execute. Use a rapid “bicycle kick” to keep him away from you. – Hooking the leg and kicking the knee is almost impossible in a dynamic situation. Rotate your torso on your lumbar spine as needed. Get to your firearm or OC if possible. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

52 Wrist Grab Control Earlier we noted that a natural motion is to grab the wrist of the assailant One problem with this move is that it requires dexterity and precision under stress, while another is that most people can pull their arm lose from a wrist grab. However, there may be a number of situations, particularly if you are off to the side of an individual where a wrist-grab to control a knife occurs spontaneously, or is the only way to quickly control the arm. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

53 Wrist Grab Control A wrist grab can occur in one of four ways. 1) Outside grab, same hand. 2) Outside grab, opposite hand. 3) Inside grab, same hand. 4) Outside grab, same hand In order to maintain the hold and quickly gain control of the arm, all of these grabs need to be immediately converted to a “figure-four” hold. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

54 Same-Hand Wrist Control From the Outside Same-hand grab (right hand grabs right wrist, for example) after grabbing the wrist, immediately step in reach over the assailant’s knife-arm with your free arm. Shoot under the knife arm, and grab your other arm with your hand, completing the figure-four lock-up. Turn away from the subject to hyperextend his knife-arm. You can now slide your hand that was holding the wrist down onto the back of his hand, creating a wrist lock and attempting to force the release of the knife. From this position you can also perform what is effectively a straight arm bar takedown by pivoting hard away from the subject, and either kneeling or sitting down. It is critical that you act quickly to prevent the assailant from attacking you with his free hand, or grabbing the knife with his free hand. May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

55 Same-Hand Wrist Control If the same-hand grab occurs from the inside or the front: Begin by stepping to the outside to convert this to an outside grab, raising his arm as you go Then proceed into the figure four lock. (Note, you will probably be holding the assailants arm from the bottom of the wrist rather than over the wrist as a consequence of moving to the outside.) May, 2009 MCSD Knife Defense

56 Opposite-Hand Wrist Control From an inside opposite-arm wrist grab (left hand grabs right wrist, for example)…. Step into the opponent hard with your outside foot, and shoot your arm over the assailant’s arm Complete the figure-four lockup by grabbing your other arm From this position you will effectively have turned your back to the opponent, so it is critical that you quickly proceed to a wristlock release of the weapon, or a driving takedown. (One upside of this position is that your body will position will make it difficult for him to grab the knife with his free hand.) May, 2009 MCSD Knife Defense

57 Opposite-Hand Wrist Control If the opposite arm grab occurs from the outside or the front: Begin by stepping to the inside to convert this to an inside grab, lifting his arm as you move Then proceed into the figure four lock. (Note, you will probably be holding the assailant’s arm from the bottom of the wrist rather than over the wrist as a consequence of moving to the outside.) Once again, you have your back to the assailant, so immediately proceed to a disarm and takedown or other control situation. May, 2009 MCSD Knife Defense

58 Mindset Expect to get cut! Accept this, and fight on through it. If you aren’t dead or seriously injured, and you go to the hospital, get sewn up, and leave with no permanent problems other than dueling scars, you won! May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

59 Mindset Edged weapon attacks are often sudden and unexpected. Think it through ahead of time, and act on your resolve. Pay attention. Be aware. See it coming if possible. Avoid and gain distance if possible. If you are cut, you may not even know it. Often officers think they’ve been punched. Stay in the fight. Don’t Quit until you Win! May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense

60 A Final Thought "This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense, The sword is more important than the shield, And skill is more important than either, The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.“ -John Steinbeck May, 2009MCSD Knife Defense


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