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Tactical Topics: Knife Fighting and Vital Points

There is always a need to be multi-disciplinary in your skills, and when it comes to close quarters and hand-to-hand combat, it is no different. In fact, it’s more important than knowing how to use a firearm for many reasons—you may not always be able to have a firearm in the location you’re at depending many aspects of legality and otherwise, so knowing how to defend yourself with defensive tactics using a blade or your hands is beyond necessary. When it comes to a knife/ blade, there are several basic principles you need to utilize: Identifying the Threat, Defensive Position and Movement, Slashing vs. Stabbing Actions, and Focal Targeting of Vital Areas. Identifying the Threat- just as it sounds, you need to identify and understand the threat being presented to you. This first and foremost will dictate whether you need to draw your blade and take action, if it’s an intoxicated aggressive person for example, you need to take every measure and use “verbal judo” to exhausted extent before taking physical action. Really it would be when they try to physically harm you (particularly with something like a broken bottle or if they are armed otherwise) is when you should draw and take action, the knife will be the last resort for many reasons including legal—you do not want to be charged with murder for inadequately identifying that someone was a threat to life and limb when they weren’t. If it is an armed assailant or robber, that’s a whole different story, and violence is fair game to either eliminate the threat or cause harm to quickly get away from said threat. Identify and act. Defensive Position and Movement- Once a threat is established, take defensive action. Position yourself in a fighting stance (as demonstrated in GFS training) and draw your blade, keeping it close to your body and out of the threat’s reach until you are ready to strike. Your body position should relegate you being able to quickly “get off the X” and allow misdirection or the advantage of quick counter-movement to best try to avoid or deter the threat’s strikes and advances. Slashing vs. Stabbing Actions- Once you’re taking defensive or combative actions, you need to utilize your blade to the fullest. Slash in the “XTC” patterns (as demonstrated in GFS training) while moving“off the X” to inflict damage to the threat’s appendages and face, they will bleed a lot, possibly lose the ability to see, and ideally drop their weapon and succumb to the pain allowing you to get away or subdue them. If the slashing is not effective in stopping the threat and allowing escape, then you need to start taking actions to neutralize the threat—thrust your blade point into soft, vital areas to inflict the most damage possible and take them down. Focal Targeting and Vital Areas- The core/ solar plexus and gut, the back below the shoulder/ scapula running on either side of the spine where you can access the kidneys and other vital spots, the groin, the throat, and areas with high nerve, tendon, and artery concentration like in the armpit and thighs or biceps should be targeted. Many of these areas are going to inflict not only an immense amount of pain, but also severe bleeding, ambulatory failure, and shock, which will quickly render the threat incapacitated and allow you to escape or subdue the threat. See the graph regarding Vital points on the body.

Remember, you need to train/ practice the GFS techniques often—you are your first and last line of defense, keep a clear head, stay alert, stay alive, stay lethal. About the author: Derek (aka “The Metalhead Mercenary”) is a US Army Infantry Veteran and seasoned Private Security Contractor and Executive Protection Specialist with a combined 21 years of experience. He still currently works in the industry.


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