Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Bat Grip”

April 25, 2016
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Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Bat Grip”

Defending against a knife in a street fight is much different in real life than it is in the movies. On the silver screen, attackers lunge in with big, goofy movements, often with a long pause at the end so that a hero can punch them in the face.

In an actual life or death attack, you’re lucky if you ever saw the knife coming; if you did, you wouldn’t be focused on punching first – you’d focus on not getting cut. More importantly, you’d focus on not getting stabbed, and that’s exactly what you’ll learn how to avoid in today’s video.

The technique demonstrated here comes straight from “Disarm and Disable,” a knife defense course offered here at Science of Skill and taught by knife fighting expert Master Jerry Wetzel.

Below is the “bat grip” approach to knife control, as taught by Jerry:

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

There are a few important points to bear in mind for this technique:

  1. Knife First: Your first priority is “addressing the threat,” in this case, the knife blade itself. There is no focus on “putting up your dukes”, on looking in your opponent’s eyes and thinking about what he’s going to do next – the goal is to control that blade immediately.
  2. Use Gravity to Pin the Blade: The goal is never merely to grip the opponent’s wrist with both hands, but to simultaneously put your weight down through the opponent’s arm so that he is not able to lift the knife or pull it back (see Jerry’s detail about “sinking” the weight on to the opponent’s arm). This is a part of the technique that should ideally be drilled with a friend or training partner to get a feel for using weight.
  3. Close All Distance: As Jerry explains clearly in the video, all the action of a fight happens in the space between the combatants. When the opponent has a knife – close that distance fast, with your shoulder and head tight to the attacker’s body, sinking your weight down through his wrist. The normal response is for him to back away to release the knife – leaving him open to trips and takedown (which are handled in other parts of the video course).

If you need a “go-to” response for handling a real knife threat, getting used to capturing and pinning the knife with this bat grip is the kind of technique you’d want to practice until it becomes second nature.

Some of the right things to do in an actual altercation with a knife are not what you’d normally call “second nature,” which is one of the reasons we asked Master Jerry to demonstrate them in detail.

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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