Posted by on November 28, 2019

Knife attacks are among the most frequent and dangerous weapon assaults. Knives and other sharp objects are easy to obtain, and they can be used in numerous ways. In a previous article, Knife Assaults: 10 General Facts, we offered an overview of knife assaults. 

Now we want to share some awareness tips. Many attacks take people by surprise so awareness is essential in avoiding, preventing, escaping and surviving. Here are ten awareness tips.

Avoidance. If you see or suspect that someone has a knife it is best to avoid him. Even for the highly trained a mistake can lead to serious injury or worse. If I see someone with a knife and there is no one to protect I am running!

Where are his hands? Is he approaching you with one hand behind his back, in his pocket, under the front of his sweater or a magazine, behind his trail leg? Hands wield sharp objects so be aware of where they are.

What is he carrying? The weapon might influence how he attacks. For example, a utility knife is more effective with slashes than stabs. A screwdriver on the hand is more of a stabbing than a slashing weapon. 

How is he carrying the knife? There are various ways to hold the knife. An upward grip (see blog’s main photo) means it is likely he will stab with an upward thrust. But don’t guess. It is probable rather than predetermined. 

Distance. Some attackers simply catch people by surprise and the attack happens before the victim realizes what is happening. Other times, the assailant is more conspicuous (or you are more aware) and he is at a distance that allows you to run (very long), requires you to kick (long), or use your arms to block or deflect and strike (medium or short). 

Direction. A frontal attack is usually easier to avoid and anticipate. Attacks from the back and especially the back are much more difficult as you have less reaction time. 

Common objects. Are there objects you are carrying or are close to you that you can use to protect yourself – chairs, bags, backpacks, a thermos? During some recent stabbing in Sydney Australia, people used items such as chairs and a milk crate to fend off a knife-wielding attacker.   

General Space. In an open space like a park or a quiet street, you have escape routes. In an elevator or small room, your escape options are severely limited. Understand the space you are in. 

Escape routes? Sometimes there are none. Be aware of doorways, exits, stairwells – all exit points.   

Your Intuition. Something about his behavior, the way he is walking or is reaching in his pocket is unsettling. It doesn’t have to be explicit but your “gut feeling” says danger. Listen to your intuition. 

Knife attacks are extremely dangerous and difficult to defend against. If you can avoid, prevent, or anticipate then you have a much better chance of surviving. Be aware. 


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