Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Duck and Trip”

Knife Defense Technique Breakdown: “Duck and Trip”

An edged weapon attack that happens on the street, in your home, or anywhere else is different from a ‘knife fight’. In an edged weapon attack, knife fighting expert Master Jerry Wetzel advises us not to think in terms of martial arts or knife fighters, but more about what makes the attacker tick and why he/she thought to bring a weapon in the first place; more often than not, it’s probably because the weapon puts them at an advantage.

Bu the second you start to take away that weapon, they’ve lost their advantage and need to regain control. Unlike TV or films, in a real knife assault you don’t see a lot of combining of weapons with empty hand techniques.

It’s all about the weapon, so once that advantage gets halted or is threatened, most attackers will first try and pull back before troubleshooting (believe it or not, this follows a typical linear continuum of what occurs in an edged weapon assault).

If we defend ourselves the way we should, the attacker is put on the ground before he/she can troubleshoot. In Jerry’s “Disarm and Disable,” a knife defense course offered at Science of Skill, he teaches a couple of key moves, including the “Duck Trip,” which gets your attacker exactly where you want them – on the ground and with you in control.

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

When you perform this maneuver, here are a few key points to focus on in your drills:

  1. Use your head: If you have a baseball grip on one of their wrists, it’s likely the attacker might try to switch the weapon from one hand to the other, putting you in a vulnerable position. You have to think quick if you feel them switch hands or you notice that the hand you’re holding is now empty. The goal (as demonstrated in the video) is to find and get a baseball grip on the other wrist as quick as possible.
  2. Let go if necessary: As you’re controlling their arm, your attacker may try to instinctively grab onto your bicep and anchor your arm; this is a problem, because you won’t be able to turn. Though it might seem counterintuitive, the best thing you can do, for a moment, is to let go and loosen the hand of your pinned arm. This allows you to under-hook into your attacker, as you circle round and position yourself to the side and just behind your attacker, reaching around to secure his/her arm with your free hand.
  3. Bring them all the way down: What you do often depends on your opponent’s next move, but the goal is always to get them on the ground. If in this second step you have your attacker’s arm secured, and he/she tries to swing and grab your head, you can move back and secure your arms around their waist; this position allows you to put the attacker on the ground with a “duck trip”, pulling and flipping him/her facedown.

Once your opponent is face down, you’re in an ideal position to strike, disengage, or access any other tools that you might have within reach.

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.

Bosko Jenkins
Bosko Jenkins

A post from 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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