Posted by on November 14, 2019

Recent events including the October 7th stabbing death of 14-year-old Devan Bracci-Selvey outside of Winston Churchill High School in Hamilton and a tragic death arising from a knife attack at a Hallowe’en party in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, have heightened an already growing concern about knife violence. 

We are writing a series of blogs about knife violence. By way of introduction, this blog will explore some basic facts about knives (and other sharp objects) and knife violence. 

10 basic facts. 

  1. Easy access. Knives and other sharp objects are easy to acquire. Knives, carpet cutters, broken bottles, screwdrivers, etc… These can be found in most homes, and many stores. 
  2. Easy to use. An attacker doesn’t have to train to be dangerous. He can stab or slash and inflict serious or fatal wounds. 
  3. Easy to conceal. In a pocket, under a sweater, behind his back, under a jacket he is carrying. There are many cases of people not being aware of a knife until after the assault. 
  4. Fast! Arms and hands move fast. The attacker does not have to be especially athletic or fit. Stabs and slashes can come at incredible speed. 
  5. Direction and Angle. The attacker’s arm can move the knife in as many ways as he can move his arm. Straight, circular, up, down, across, diagonal, etc… This makes defending very difficult!
  6. Distance. Some attackers might rush at you from a distance. The recent high profile stabbings in Australia, for example, saw a man chase many people in an open area. More often, knife attacks happen at a very close distance.
  7. Grab and stab. Similar to a hockey fight where players grab and punch, some assailants will grab and stab to control the victim. 
  8. Control and Disarm? Not so easy! Considering the speed, various angles and directions, and the attacker’s determination, controlling the knife-wielding arm and disarming is extremely difficult! Accordingly, we advocate disarming only when necessary. 
  9. Surviving? Some people have been stabbed dozens of times and survived. Others have been stabbed once and died. Avoidance, escape, protecting your vital areas (e.g. throat), effective striking, improve your chances.  
  10. You will likely get cut. Not great news. Like most fights where you will likely get hit, a knife attack will inflict at least one stab or laceration.  The key, again is to protect your most vital areas.

Knife assaults are extremely dangerous. Most self-defense experts I have talked with would rather confront a gun-toting assailant than one with a knife. In future blogs, we will take a closer look at knife attacks and outline some of the things you can do to protect yourself. 


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