Knife Fighting Tactics in Israeli Krav-Maga

Updated: Jun 15

In this article we will go over: What is the conception of Knife Combat in Krav-Maga? What are the tactical mistakes in knife fighting? What are the tactical mistakes of a rookie in knife fighting? What are knife fight tactics against multiple attackers? What is psychological preparation in the fight against a knife armed in Israeli Krav-Maga? What types of training knives and protective equipment are used in Krav-Maga training? What types of real assault knives exist? What are the recommended books to read, on the subject of knives?

The concepts presented here are for illustrative purposes only. Before attempting any technique discussed or presented in this article, seek professional training from a reputable instructor.

What is the conception of Knife Combat in Krav-Maga?

Fighting with an opponent armed with a knife
Fighting with an opponent armed with a knife

The peculiar features of a fight against an enemy armed with a knife should be approached with great caution and foresight. The knife is a quite dangerous weapon and any false step can cost a life. It is impossible to predict which knife blow will be used by the enemy. However, seeing the position he is standing at this moment, one can try to foresee his possible actions. Every position dictates its own conditions. That is why In Krav-Maga, a highly efficient solution is created for each scenario. After that, the same scenario is worked out to perfection.

Sudden attack in real hand-to-hand combat with "bare hands" is quick and transient, but knife combat is still shorter. In knife combat, any well-aimed blow will be either mortal or disabling. One cannot shorten the distance to make the enemy's blow weaker at the moment of an enemy's attack, as it is usually done in hand-to-hand combat because in that case even if one weakens the force of a blow, all the same, he will be wounded. As a result, In Krav-Maga, the emphasis is on combat distances in front of the enemy; footwork - geometry in terms of triangular steps; so that the fighters are able to move away from the knife attack line, i.e. from the center, at the left or right angle; With the main goal, to find a more comfortable position to the enemy.

What are the tactical mistakes in knife fighting?

A knife slash, even not too strong, is very dangerous. Therefore, knife combat introduces some changes to the fighting technique. As the slightest mistake is fraught with mortal danger. In such a scenario, Israeli Krav-Maga is taught to move back and side if possible, to learn the opponent's offensive movements, and at the appropriate time to attack him back. While you are jumping or moving, the enemy can swiftly run up to you and deliver a mortal blow. This battle tactic indicates the lack of experience of the opponent. At no account, one should thoughtlessly jump and caper before the enemy. If you are in a state of readiness, you will easily respond to the enemy's movement and quickly move aside or back. If you are jumping up at one place, at that moment you are in a state of unreadiness; and cannot dodge back or aside. The same happens when you make unnecessary movements before the enemy. At that moment you are in a state of unreadiness too and become easy prey of your enemy. As a result, according to the Israeli Krav-Maga technique, one should dodge aside or back with a slashing blow (Provided he has a knife), with a subsequent counterattack with a stabbing or slashing blow at vital points, which are very important in knife combat. It is necessary to evaluate the situation and clothing of your enemy. If the enemy wears thick and dense clothes, slashes will not harm him seriously. In this case, arm blocks can be also used.

What are the tactical mistakes of a rookie in knife fighting?

Judging by the fact that the enemy holds a knife and how he moves, one can say at once if he is a rookie or professional. If the enemy holds a knife before him and makes various passes with it, one can say at once that he is a novice who saw a lot of cinema thrillers. In such cases, the professional very quickly learns the movements of the attacker, moves right, left, and back and at the appropriate moment performs a lethal attack. The knife, even if it is before you, should not move too far from the torso, moreover, one should not make various figures with it, as at that moment you can allow delivering a mortal blow. The expert with extensive experience in knife warfare as part of training groups in Israeli Krav-Maga, Russian Combat Sambo, Kali and etc... Does not make unnecessary movements in mortal combat; his movements are economical and simple. He will never brandish a knife before himself. A professional expects the enemy's actions and acts depending on the situation. If the enemy expects your attack in a state of readiness, your thoughtless attack will look like a jump on the precipice, and most likely you will perish. If an enemy is in a state of readiness, it is necessary to bring him out of this state with various false actions. But at no account does it mean that a professional will run or jump before you, brandishing a knife. Not at all! A professional clearly senses the distance and knows where he will be safe and where he will become an enemy's target. If your enemy is jumping, bustling, or brandishing a knife, he will be easy prey of a professional. The only thing to do is to choose an appropriate moment and make a swift attack.

What are knife fight tactics against multiple attackers?

Combating against several knife-armed enemies extremely aggravates the situation. In this case, one must not stand motionless and wait for an enemy's mistake. You must move all the time to avoid hostile attacks from several sides. That's why you need to move toward one of the enemies so that the other enemies could not approach you from the back or sides. While moving aside, it is necessary to watch enemies' actions all the time and choose a convenient moment for a counterattack. When moving aside, deliver strong slashing blows at the enemy's vital points of the body. Combat against several enemies armed with knives is complicated by the fact that you cannot always use a mistake or fault of one of your enemies, as during your counterattack the second enemy can deliver a mortal blow. In that case, although you neutralize one enemy, the second one will still be able to hit you with the knife to you.

What is psychological preparation in the fight against a knife armed in Israeli Krav-Maga?

When you fight against the enemy armed with a knife, you should scan continuously all his positions (of arms, legs, body, weapon, etc.). It is very important as all these details can help you predict your enemy’s possible actions. Because every position dictates its own conditions and possible actions. However, your thoughts and ideas about these items must run in your subconsciousness. You should make the decision about this or that action at the instinct level. It is necessary to prepare the trainee, first of all, for the psychological aspect, for stress resistance in cases of attack with the use of weapons. To do this, many exercises and repetitions are performed using rubber equipment simulating various and very common attacks, until the reaction turns into a defensive instinct. Usually, our brains stop thinking when such an event occurs, and the real battle ends in a matter of seconds. Trainees go through many repetitions to prepare for such attack scenarios. Such training greatly increases the chances of survival. That is why you must switch consciousness off when fighting otherwise it will break all your actions. If you obtain incorrect knowledge or that one you will never need in practice, you will not manage all fighting tasks. Move over, your subconsciousness will find wrong solutions. This may cause deplorable consequences, especially since we talk about enemies armed with knives. Any mistake can lead to a lethal outcome.


What types of training knives and protective equipment are used in Krav-Maga training?

It is very important to practice Krav-Maga using rubber training knives and even more important during training to wear appropriate protective equipment: such as glasses designed to protect the eyes; a body protector; a Head guard against receiving an unwanted blow. The following is a list of recommended equipment for knife defense studies in Israeli Krav-Maga:

What types of real assault knives exist?

Warning!: Real and dangerous combat knives have been attached below, do not use them for training purposes! Do not use them to intentionally hurt someone! They are for illustration only! That is, to recognize existing threats and be prepared for them! The following is a list of real attack knives for illustration only (there are dozens of different types of attack knives):

What are the recommended books to read, on the subject of knives?

Dear friends, if you are reading this article I guess you like the subject of knives. As a result, I will share with you a number of books on this subject that I have personally read and been very impressed with. You will ask and rightly so, why are they not only about an Israeli Krav-Maga? My answer is simple, I believe that for survival any self-defense technique is good! As much as it is applicable and useful! In our Facebook Group, we are talking about applicable self-defense, and what is good about it is that the method has no meaning at all, but the application of realistic exercises for effective self-defense! As a result, the books are also from different fighting methods regarding knives. I hope you will enjoy them.


Summary: Knife Fighting tactics in Israeli Krav-Maga

In this article, we went over: The concept of knife fighting in Israeli Krav-Maga; Tactical mistakes in knife fighting; Rookie's tactical mistakes; knife-fighting tactics against multiple attackers; Psychological preparation in the fight against a knife armed in Israeli Krav-Maga; What types of training knives and protective equipment are used in Krav-Mega training and what types of real assault knives exist.


Written by Gil Peleg.

Professional consultant in Krav-Maga Mark Fesler.


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