With the increase of concerns over edged weapon assaults in the past several years, many police RKD1departments and criminal justice agencies are now starting to look for good training curriculum that deal with edged weapon defense and control. With this demand for training from individual law enforcement personnel as well as agencies, different defensive tactics organizations are now starting to offer this type of training.

Some of these programs are good, and some are not so good. All are dedicated to giving the law enforcement individual some means of defense against and edged weapon attack where the use of a firearm is not warranted or not accessible. All are well intended and should be evaluated upon their practical merits as opposed to the prestige of the organization or the individuals offering it.

Edged weapon defense training is a viable and necessary adjunct to the officer’s normal defensive tactics training. Too often an officer is caught trying to pull his or her firearm while trying to fend off an edged weapon assault because he or she has not been sufficiently trained how to defend against this situation. In the meantime, the officer is being stabbed or slashed before the firearm clears the holster. If the assailant is holding the officer’s gun arm, restraining the officer from using it while continuing to slash and stab with the knife, then the officer is in dire trouble indeed.

This can occur because the current response of officers is, if the attacker has an edged weapon, he or she will attempted to draw the firearm and fire on the assailant. Obviously with all the warning and precautions afforded to the assailant before discharging the firearm. This is okay if one has the time to do this, however, what happens if you are attacked unexpectedly, such as in a kitchen while answering a call involving a domestic altercation between family members. The situation is tense and one of the family members, in a fit of anger impulsively reaches in the sink, pulls out a kitchen knife and decides to stab or slice you. Do you reach for your firearm, which you will probably not clear before sustaining a serious injury? Alternatively, do you apply good defensive tactics that deal with edged weapons? Tactics that give you the option to apply a control technique or to get clear and draw your firearm (Provided you have been trained). Another situation could be in a crowded bar where it is dark and noisy. Again the attack is more of an impulse situation rather that a premeditated action.

As can be illustrated, there are situations and instances where drawing a firearm may not be the best initial response and alternative training or option should be available to an officer. With edged weapon assault training, it is very important that the officer can act under the increased stress of being cut or stabbed.

Some of the better systems of edged weapon defense recognize the fact that an officer is likely to get cut, if attacked by an edged weapon, and train with this in mind. This does several things in the individual officer’s mind. First, it gets the officer to accept the fact that he or she may be cut, thus minimizing the initial shock of that fact if it should occur. Secondly, it allows them to overcome this fear and apply their training to the situation at hand. This is especially important since there are many officers who are afraid more of being cut by a knife then being shot. There are sound psychological reasons for this but on the surface, it seems strange.

This manual in no way advocates the use of empty hand defense against an edged weapon attack when other means are available to disarm a potential attacker. However, in the case of surprise or unexpected attacks where time to use alternative means is not possible, empty hand techniques may be the only solution to get the officer out of danger and gain enough time to use other options.

Some of the concerns that officers have are:

What are the most common types of attacks?

What is the proper distance for an officer if he or she feels that possible edged weapon attack is imminent?

Will the technique learned be effective on the street?

All of the reputable systems have merit in what they offer. All will be able to answer these and any other questions officers might have. As an agency or individual you should look at what is available and evaluate it on how it will best support your needs.

A good system should be simple and easy to learn with simple movements to the defense. Some systems have very good core techniques, but have then modified them just because the sponsoring organization wants to claim they are always changing for the better. I believe in the old adage: “Don’t fix it, if it isn’t broke”

Nevertheless, no system can provide all of the answers to edged weapon training. This is because of the time constraints that modern LE training formats have. Another factor is the amount of time an average officer is willing to put into such a specialized area of training. A third factor is the ability of the individual officer to apply the technique. A technique that feels very easy to use and apply for one individual may be completely foreign in use and application by another individual. Usually this does not happen since most techniques are designed for the average police officer and not an expert “Martial arts” trained officer. Just as there are different approaches to applying defensive tactics training and techniques by the different D.T. organizations and instructors, so there are a difference in techniques and training curriculum for edged weapon defensive training. A good systems should have the following:

The defensive techniques should not be at odds with the current training curriculum in which an officer has been trained. And if you can find a system that utilizes a commonality of technique training philosophy, you will have a bonus to the training as well as increase the retention factor.

Training curriculum should be such that the basic techniques can be learned in a relatively short period of time with emphasis on retention under stress. There should be a format for learning the most common types of attacks and the appropriate defensive response as well as having the option to apply follow-up control techniques.

An awareness of the environment and other elements that may affect the survivability of an edged weapon attack should be covered as well as proper distancing. The training should also address using the environment to a tactical advantage such as keeping objects (preferably immovable objects) in between the officer and the assailant.

Some of the things in the application of the physical techniques to look for are:

A minimum number of movements to get the officer clear of an oncoming attack will allow for ease of
retention during the training and for short on going maintenance practice after training.

The defense can be initiated from the normal field interview position as well as any casual position in which an officer many be in.

A common point of transition allowing the officer a choice of disengaging from the assailant or applying a control technique. This common point of transition should be arrived at regardless of the direction of the attack. i.e. an overhead stab to the left side of the face or neck area as opposed to a horizontal slash to the right side or waist area. This is very important because one officer may feel a control technique would not be appropriate because of several factors such as size and gender of the attacker in relation to the officer’s size and gender. Others might feel that applying a control technique once the initial defense, has been accomplished is best for them.

The techniques should be versatile enough to cover a broad area so that perception of the attack does not have to be precise and the officer can utilize a defensive technique that will cover the intended target area.

The training should be modular in nature so that the officer gets a good understanding of each aspect of the attack, defense, and subsequent control or disengagement options available to him or her.

Finally, any person trying to acquire skill with techniques to counter edged weapon en counter must practice these techniques. If you, as an individual, learn the basic techniques to the defensive maneuvers in this manual and never practice them outside of your initial involvement at the seminar, the chances for any of the techniques to succeed in a real situation will be greatly diminished. As with any type of physical skill, practice will improve both reaction times as well as execution.

Written by,Parc Asterix2_0022 copy
Mangisursuro Mike Inay
1991