Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Spiral Drive Take-Down”

April 25, 2016
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Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Spiral Drive Take-Down”

If someone comes at you or your loved one with a knife, the ultimate goal is to disarm and finish bringing him (or her) down with whichever hand-to-hand combat approach in which you have training. In an actual assault, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong before you disarm, especially when two people are on their feet.

In today’s video, knife fighting expert Master Jerry Wetzel teaches an effective spiral drive take down defense move, an excellent transition for when you may be on the losing end of a drive or you feel your attacker is trying to put you down on your back:

(This clip was taken from permission from our “Disarm and Disable” Knife Defense DVD program – click here to learn more about this course)

You want to move your attacker into a position that puts them face down on the ground. This move gives you a position of maximum control, and also allows you to control the level of violence.

As you watch Jerry teach this move, here’s a few key techniques to keep in mind:

  1. Quick follow through: You need to drill these moves until they become ingrained in your mind-body control so that you can execute them quickly and all the way. You take risks if you don’t follow through (for example, if you don’t step and turn quickly enough, your attacker will be situated at an angle instead of both of you facing the same direction, definitely putting you at a disadvantage).
  2. Keep your attacker anchored: The goal is to always gain control of the attacking arm, and to do so you want your attacker’s arm to be anchored to you. Again, practicing these techniques again and again is the best way to make sure that you leverage your body force and weight effectively, such as keeping your left shoulder on top of your attacker’s as you turn (otherwise, the attacker has too much control).
  3. Full spiral motion towards floor – If you hang out too long after executing a move, your attacker will no doubt troubleshoot or try to stand back up in a position of control; this isn’t an option when you need to take him (or her) face down. Your movement as you transition, with the attacker’s right arm controlled, is to turn your foot 180 degrees and continue until you have them pinned all the way down on the ground (down on knees is not enough) with your shoulder. This is similar to the more traditional martial arts spinning foot sweep.

Just like every martial arts technique fails at some point, so it goes with positional control. Positional flow in knife combat is key to keeping control if (or when) your attacker does something that counters what you intended to do.

Jerry has literally flown around the world to teach law enforcement personnel and everyday folks how to defend with a knife (one of the last times I spoke with Jerry on the phone, he had just come back from Norway and Australia teaching his knife defense techniques). There aren’t many people in the United Stated with that kind of martial focus, and we’re grateful to have some of Jerry’s expertise to share here at Science of Skill.

Stay safe.

About the “Disarm and Disable” Knife Defense DVD Program: “Disarm and Disable” is a short, powerful DVD course devoted entirely to defending oneself against edged weapons and knives. Master instructor Jerry Wetzel explains principles and drills for: Avoiding the line of attack, controlling an attacker’s weapon with technique instead of strength, and reversals and takedowns to end a fight quickly. Click here to learn more about this full course.

Daniel Faggella
Daniel Faggella

Coach Daniel is the founder and head publisher at Science of Skill, LLC. A martial arts black belt and self defense instructor, Dan has spent years training with and interviewing some of the world's best self protection experts. His passion lies in encouraging others to train smart and to improve the skills that make them safer and stronger.

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