SELF DEFENSE TIP OF THE MONTH
Recently in Southern California, where I live, there was a serial killer targeting homeless men. His weapon of choice was a knife in these brutal attacks. Thankfully he was apprehended when one of the attacks was witnessed by a good Samaritan, who called police and even risked his own life by chasing the killer.
So, I think in light of this tragedy it’s a good idea to think about personal protection and to review some strategies to fend off a knife wielding attacker. There are many self defense moves that are effective against a knife attack, however the effectiveness will vary depending on the skill level and even the strength of the victim. So I’ll focus on some everyday items that can be used as a shield or blocker to create space between you and the attacker.
Case Study #1
A customer sent me an e-mail a while back and recounted a method his wife used to thwart an attack. She was loading groceries into her vehicle in the parking lot at the local market. She noticed a figure approaching rapidly in her peripheral vision. She had maybe 2 seconds to react so she used the shopping cart to create space between her and the attacker. She held onto the cart and moved it strategically every time he tried approach her. The entire attack lasted about 10 seconds before he realized that she wasn’t going to be an easy target, and he ran off.
Case Study #2
Another similar example was a story I read a few years ago in my local newspaper. A man in his 20’s, was approached by a knife wielding attacker at an ATM machine, who demanded his money. Rather than comply, he removed his tennis shoes and put them on his hands. He used them to protect his hands while he fended off the attack and deflected the knife blows away from his torso. After a few minutes the attacker, gasping from fatigue, ran off with his tail between his legs. The knife actually penetrated the shoes and did cause some minor wounds, but the wounds most likely would have been much more serious had they penetrated his body.
So, what can you do to fend off a knife attack? Obviously there are many self defense products on the market, but what if you are caught off guard and can’t get to your pepper spray? There are two basic categories of improvised items to protect yourself.
A blocker is any item that is used to create space between you an an attacker. A blocker is usually a large item that requires two hands to use effectively. Some examples include;
- Shopping Cart
- Large Trash Can
- Office Chair
- Or any large item that you can use to keep an attacker from getting close to you.
The number of items that can be used as a shield is endless and only limited by your imagination. A few good possibilities include;
- A lap top case
- Hard Cover Book
- An Open Umbrella
- Picture Frame
- Garbage Can Lid
- Card Board Box
- Waste Basket
- Tennis Shoes
An attacker is likely to approach quickly, while you aren’t paying attention, so you won’t have a lot of time to plan. You’ll have to improvise with whatever items are within easy reach. Remember, he’ll want to act fast without attracting attention, so your goal is to buy time. The longer the attack takes, the better your chances of survival. So the idea behind a shield is simple; use it to block the knife or to keep some distance between you and the knife.