top of page

Top Discussion: Knife blows from below in Israeli Krav-Maga

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

In this article, we will look at: What are the attack strategies with a knife? What causes more harm, a knife cut or a stab wound? What are the traditional forward knife grip techniques? What is a long knife blow from below? What is a short and frequent stab from below? What types of training knives and protective equipment are used in Krav-Maga training? What types of real assault knives are there?

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 are the attack strategies with a knife?

When starting to teach knife attacks, instructors usually use a specific language to convey movement, that is, they use angles numbered from one to eight. Some instructors prefer to use more angles, while other instructors choose fewer. Distances to the enemy are very important for choosing a defense strategy against a knife attack. If we are at medium and close range, that is, at the most popular distances, we need to use the hand to stop the momentum of the attacker. But you have to be careful! Usually experienced masters of the knife fight use a tactic called "Killing Snakes". Note: This is the case when both the attacker and the victim fight not for life, but for death. This principle, taken from the Filipino martial art "Kali", is simple: when a weapon (knife) or a blow approaches you, simply attack him with the knife "The region of the opponent's body closest to you". This is a very dangerous principle for an attacker! Because in any attack he gets cuts on accessible parts of the body! While the main goal is to cut the inside of the wrist and forearm, where are the tendons used to bend the fingers. According to Shihan Armen Avanov (6th Dan in Krav-Maga and Karate-Kyokushin), “Knife strikes to the limbs are very dangerous, so the victim must attack with kicks and hands-on the diaphragm and lower abdomen. Kicks to the groin, if they are not quite accurate, only raise the level of adrenaline and then the attacker becomes much less sensitive to pain". By using this combat tactic, further resistance from the enemy can be prevented and basic movement skills can be slowly but surely neutralized. When incised high above the hand, i.e. on the arteries of the hand ... the result can be fatal for the victim and the end comes within a few minutes through the loss of a critical amount of blood. According to Mark Fesler (6th Dan in Krav-Maga), “You should pay attention to the starting position of the attacker. Usually trained people work in the opposite starting position, i.e. the foot and the attacking hand with the knife in front, give an advantage in the distance of access with the knife".

What causes more harm, a knife cut or stab wound?

The best way to understand the damage caused by a cut or knife wound is to study the anatomy of the human body. We do not realize how vulnerable our body is and how many vulnerable areas there are in it, where even a shallow incision can be fatal. As always, the situation dictates, and you may find that in some cases a cut is better than a stab wound, or vice versa. Depends on what the attacker is targeting and where he is aiming, and more importantly, where he is actually hitting. If the target is an artery, an organ, etc., the thrusting tactic is generally capable of inflicting deep damage, but in particular, the spread is limited due to the thin profile of the strike. Attackers use it to strike internal organs such as the kidneys, lungs, heart, spleen, etc., but the stabbing can also be effective against external soft targets such as the eyes. The advantage of stabbing strikes is the tremendous speed with which the "Sewing Needle" technique, point linear strikes, can be applied. Creating deep stab wounds is incredibly effective when used this way, the downside is that if they miss a vital target, they heal fairly easily. In the case of cuts, it is not necessary to be accurate to hit a vital target, as is the case with a stab wound. The knife-cutting tactic gives the practitioner the ability to maintain unexpected and dynamically flowing movements and to link blows together while focusing on larger areas of the body. If the attacker is targeting a specific limb, a series of cuts in known areas containing arteries and tendons, his chances of hitting a vital target increase with each stab. This tactic is based on the intention to harm a person (robbery, rape, terrorism, etc.). Most people in the event of a knife attack die due to blood loss, although even a stab to a vital organ such as the heart can result in immediate death. According to Shihan Armen Avanov (6th Dan in Krav-Maga and Karate-Kyokushin), “An important aspect of the degree of damage caused by a knife blow or a cut is clothing, an effective cut in open places, a knife blow, on the other hand, is dangerous in both cases. That is why, if the victim is wearing a shirt or T-shirt, it is better to take it off and wrap the clothes around your arm”. Thus, both approaches are deadly. When we are attacked and there is no other way out, it is good to know them! To increase the chance of survival.

What are the traditional forward knife grip techniques?

A knife is a simple tool, but in the hands of a skilled professional, it is a devastating weapon. Even if the cutting edge is dull, the knife-edge can still be dangerous. Knife strike - a sharp cutting edge of steel can be fatal to helplessly exposed human tissue. The knife can also be dangerous to the person who carries it. According to Mark Fesler (6th Dan in Krav-Maga), "Be aware that unlike the trajectory of the bullet (straight), the knife cuts or stabs wherever it passes, making it very difficult to guess its trajectory". Knives can be held in a number of ways, but two major unique techniques have evolved in the field of tactical uses of knives - the forward and reverse grip of the knife, as well as some exceptional grip techniques. They are all very different, and each has clear advantages and disadvantages. Note: There is no right or wrong way to hold a knife. Humans have an amazing ability to specialize in a wide variety of positions and grips, and since everyone is different, a variety of grip techniques are used. In the previous article, "Top Knife Techniques: Side and Straight, in Krav-Maga and other methods" we covered a number of basic knife grasping techniques, so we won't delve into them in this format.

What is a long knife blow from below?

In the scenario: long knife blow from below, the attacker uses all the strength, the mass of the body, and the rapid movement of the arm with increasing acceleration from the bottom up towards the target. When holding the blade: with a forward grip (hammer or saber) - when in the first case the thumb is wound around the handle, and in the second case it is held on the butt of the knife. The goal of the attacker is to reach the vital organs of the human body in one fell swoop in order to neutralize his defensive abilities. The blade trajectory can be lower, middle, and upper. Because of this spread in the probability of hitting, it is difficult to predict the direction of the enemy's attack. True, for an experienced person in defensive scenarios with a knifes, the chanc