Knife at Back

What would you do if an assailant holds your neck from the back and pokes a knife against you?

Two modes of defence are illustrated here: one, at the initial stage when the assailant is about to make his attacking move; and two, at the established stage when the assailant has established or completed his attacking move.

Knife at Back

As the assailant is about to make his attack, move a step in front, lean forward and kick at his ribs with a tiger-tail kick. In Shaolin Kungfu, this pattern is called "Lazy Tiger Stretches its Back".

Knife at Back Knife at Back

In the next example the assailant has established or completed his hold on your neck and is pointing a knife at your back. Take note that both targets of attack can be fatal: strangling your neck so that you cannot breathe, or piercing into your kidney with a pointed object can kill.

Knife at Back

So, if you are not confident enough to handle such a situation even though you may know the techniques to defend yourself, it is advisable not to fight back; give him your money if that is what he wants.

But, of course, if he means to take your life, you have to fight back irrespective of whether you know any counter techniques. An effective way to save yourself, though it may be drastic to the assailant, is as follws. Step hard on his toes with your heel to distract him even monentarily, immediately turn around and jab a finger into his eye, then run for your life.

A competent martial artist, however, can overcome the situation without having to cause drastic injury to the assailant. Step on his toes too to distract him, and at the same time push down his right wrist with your right hand and then hold his wrist tight, and with the other hand swing away his left arm from your neck.

Knife at Back

Immediately swing your left leg a big arc to turn right-about, grip his right knife-holding fist with your left hand and, with the help of your other hand, turn his right arm backward, pushing hard at his right wrist. This will cause him to loosen his grip on his knife.

Knife at Back

Move your right leg behind his right leg, take away his knife with your right hand, keep pushing his left wrist with your left hand and fell him backward onto the ground.

If you are threatened in such a situation where any one of his two attacking points may kill, you have to be very sure and careful. By being sure it is meant that you know your counter moves will definitely work. This means that you have practiced the techniques many times and have acquired the necessary skills and force for their application. If you have merely learnt the techniques from a book or from an oral description by an instructor, you cannot be sure that they work.

Knife at Back

By being careful it is meant that you cannot afford to make any mistakes. For example, instead of pushing his knife-holding hand away and then gripping his wrist hard, if your pushing hand slips and you sprain your thumb, he may just pierce his knife into you. If you are properly trained in kungfu, you will become sure and careful not only in combat but also in your daily work.

Two tactical points are important for a successful implementation of the above counter-techniques, namely surprise and decisiveness. Your stepping on his toes must come as a surprise, giving you the opportunity to move aside decisively his two life-threatening points of attack. You must also conclude the encounter decisively with you taking away the knife from him. If you merely fell him to the ground, he can rise again and attack you with his knife.

The factors of surprise and decisiveness are crucial for those not trained in martial arts but have to fight for their lives. If the assailant is not caught in a surprise, you would be unable to jab your finger into his eye -- of course you only do this if he intends to take your life. If your jab into his eye is not decisive -- for example, if you merely touch his eye or brush against his eyebrow -- you would not be able to put him out of action long enough for you to run away.


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