Whenever someone comes at you with a knife and you are empty-handed, you are automatically at a 90-percent tactical disadvantage. Even worse, 99 percent of the disarm techniques and self-defense moves taught today are too complicated and unrealistic to be effective in an actual confrontation. Furthermore, if you do not practice self-defense moves against attacks launched at full speed and full power and at the angle of the attacker’s choosing, any drill will be merely a choreographed pattern that reinforces a false sense of self-confidence. After years of mulling over this dilemma, I finally discovered a way to transition from step-by-step practice to full-speed training in self-defense moves to survive a knife attack. The “Jim Wagner Defense Rule” was born while I was teaching knife disarms to members of the Canadian army. To demonstrate that my reactions were genuine and not part of a prearranged defense that worked only when I knew what was coming, I told one soldier to attack me using any technique he wanted. He lunged immediately, and I had no time to prepare a defense.


Be ready for any type of attack with our new FREE Guide — Knife-Fighting Techniques: 9 Essential Drills to Deploy Tactical Folders for Self-Defense Moves Under Any Conditions — available now for FREE download!

Without thinking, I caught his knife hand. Before he could wrench the knife free from my grip and launch a second attack, I stepped toward him to deny him the space he needed to cut me, strike me, trip me or even step back. Then I took him down, moved away and drew my pistol. After repeating the drill two more times with the same success, I knew I was onto something. Since then, I have taught the same course of self-defense moves to a mix of law-enforcement officers from different units and countries. Beginners seem to catch on instantly, and advanced students seem to like the system’s simplicity. Rather than focusing on 50 techniques to cover all the possibilities of a knife fight, the course has only three components: Jim Wagner's Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #1: Grab If a knife-wielding assailant corners you, you must control the knife before he inflicts any damage. Grab his knife hand as if you are clutching at a person’s windpipe and do not let go. Remember that in a real attack, blood will make grabbing the weapon even more difficult. It is OK if your hands are not in the perfect position when you grab his hand — especially when training at full speed. Jim Wagner's Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #2: Close Once you latch on, maintain your grip and immediately close the gap by pressing yourself against the attacker and securing his weapon hand tightly against your own body. From this position, you can execute a takedown to prevent him from escaping. Although you are already in “close combat” (within reach of the opponent) in a knife fight, the attacker still needs several inches of room to swing his weapon or thrust it into you. While the blade can still cut you, the wound is likely to be superficial. Jim Wagner's Self-Defense Moves to Survive a Knife Attack — #3: Takedown With your body pressed against his, force your shoulder into his to knock him off balance, then pivot your body to complete the takedown. If you feel resistance in the direction you intend to take him, immediately switch directions and force him down. Once the person falls, disengage from him immediately. If you are a civilian, you should escape. If you are a police officer, you should get an adequate distance away from the suspect and draw your gun. One last warning: Ground combat with a knife-wielding assailant is a no-win situation, and the idea of stripping a knife from somebody’s hand while you’re down is pure fantasy. About the author: Jim Wagner is the author of several reality-based self-defense books and DVDs. For more information about Jim Wagner's programs and seminars, visit jimwagnertraining.com.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Bruce Lee's "10,000 Kicks" Challenge – Complete 10,000 Kicks in 10 Days and Feed The Children

Bruce Lee's secret to self-mastery is hidden in the following quote, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Discipline, dedication and perfect repetition over time are the keys to mastery. To get results like Bruce Lee we need to train like Bruce Lee.

Keep Reading Show less

If there's a martial artist in your life who's hard to shop for, look no further than this list of the best holiday gifts from the world's leading magazine of martial arts.

The holidays are right around the corner and there's no better time to shop for the ninjas in your family! Black Belt Magazine doesn't just provide the history and current events of the martial arts world, we can equip you with all the best products too. From beautiful belt displays, to stylish gloves, to collector's edition books, keep reading to check out this list of the top five gifts to kick under the tree this year.

Keep Reading Show less
Essential Gear

In this issue find some of the best essentials you need for your training!

Keep Reading Show less

Takakeisho claimed the November Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday with a playoff victory over Terunofuji. The pair had already met in the final scheduled match of the 15-day long event with Terunofuji throwing Takakeisho to the ground to win the bout and force the playoff as both men finished with a 13-2 record.

But Takakeisho, 24, came out hitting in the playoff forcing Terunofuji out of the ring to capture the championship, his second Emperor's cup since achieving ozeki status, sumo's second highest rank. The tournament, which had to be moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo due to coronavirus concerns, was contested without grand champions Hakuho and Kakuryu who withdrew due to injuries.

Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter