Are there any specific Martial Arts technique (taekwondo, kung fu , judo etc) that an individual can use to save himself from knife attack, especially if there are 2-3 individuals armed with a knife.

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    In such a situation, assuming that Gun Fu is not an option, I recommend a judicious retreat. 2-3 people is bad odds to start with. Add weapons and you would have to be lightyears ahead of them to come out unscathed. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 18:45
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    Give them the wallet. It is unlikely that 3 people will attack with knives with the sole purpose of killing you, more likely that they want your money. Give it to them. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 22:49
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    Check out the Filipino martial arts.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 3:46
  • An exercise that has has been repeated by many people over the years is for one party to put on a cheap white tshirt, and another to "attack" them with some kind of felt tip pen used like a knife. Once the attacker is defeated the tshirt is examined to see how many times the defender was maimed/killed. the almost universal answer was "bloody loads". (Very occasionally the defender might manage a fluke "instant" victory.) There is no reliable anti-knife syllabus that doesn't involve being at least equally well armed. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 14:24

3 Answers 3


Yes. Dozens. Probably hundreds.

Tomiki Aikido regularly practices defense against knife attack; students are required to defend against knife attack at every test. Students are also required to defend against multiple attackers at every test. There are several kata that focus on defense against knife (Koryu dai san no kata in particular includes at least 8 defenses against knife attack). I personally am very fond of either shomen ate, or Kote Gaeshi.

I should however point out several things.

  • Tomiki aikido trains against knife attacks that were common during the period when Professor Tomiki was normalizing the curriculum. There was a problem with gangs using knives at the time, and it was incorporated into the curriculum. There are other issues here that are probably worth an entire essay, but I'll stop now and merely note that every knife attack carries with it a host of assumptions about motivation, environment, etc.

  • Possibly the largest class of knife attacks are thrusts. Thrusts are thrusts whether they are done with fist or knife. Anything you do to divert the blow and seize control of the attacker is a defense against a thrust whether that thrust involves a knife or a fist. (almost) everything I do in Tai Chi to defend against a strike will work against a knife. I'm sure this is largely true for other forms.

  • Knife attack is a diverse group. Some attackers use a knife to kill. Others use the knife to wound and weaken. Knife attack is different from knife fighting. In my personal experience, I've found that I have reasonably good success against people who are trying to kill me with a knife, significantly less success against people who are trying to score a point (in a tournament) and almost no success against a clever knife fighter who is using the knife to draw blood, demonstrate dominance or bleed to weaken.

  • "save himself" (or herself) is a loaded term. My assumption is that if my opponent has a knife and is at all competent, I'm going to get wounded. The only thing I can control is who is standing at the end of the fight, and who controls the knife and the opponent.

  • Tomiki's system of teaching Aikido is called Shodokan not Tomiki Aikido. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:46
  • That is a subject of debate. Tomiki called it "Aikido"; I believe all of the Menkyo's simply state "Aikido". My teacher called it "Tomiki Aikido", and I'm following his example.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:00
  • Tomiki called it Shodokan Aikido. I am not sure which menkyo you refer to. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:33
  • Then I fall back to "I am using the term my teacher used". OTOH, I'm not sure that this distinction is important.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 15:23
  • Duty calls. ^_~ Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 6:24

There's no one "technique" here, there's a lot of techniques and principles and all of them are absolutely dependent on the situation and specific.


Being outnumbered, and against knives, escape is the best option. If you cannot leave the vicinity, the next best option is to get something between you and your attackers - preferably walls and a locked door, though, obviously that may not be possible - in which case even a fence, a light pole, a mail box, a parked car can buy you precious seconds towards your next action.

Other Principles

Get a weapon of your own as soon as you can. Disarm the threats as soon as possible ("Disarm" may mean getting the weapon away from them, breaking their hand, knocking them out, cutting muscles they need to attack you, etc.). Maneuver the opponents into each other so you're not facing attacks from every direction at once.

Everything else? Dependent on your situation of the moment. Some martial arts do focus on blade fighting and against multiple opponents - penjak silat, escrima, kali, a lot of the more combative modern schools also include useful training - Systema, Krav Maga, etc.

There's no one technique, there's entire sets of training towards dealing with that situation.

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    +1 for "Run". There are very few ways to get out of a knife fight without at least a few nasty cuts, and this is your absolute best bet...
    – Dungarth
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 14:49

I strongly recomend you to see "the human weapon" and its chapter about krav maga because they talk about it.

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    I'd advise that you expound a little bit about what the querent is likely to learn from the book. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 12:58
  • Well, it's not a book but a TV show and they spend some time dealing with knive attacks and how do they train some people who is going to become bodyguard against it. I guess it's way easier to see it, because some information will be lost if I have to explain it myself
    – user6135
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:01
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    {nods} Even mentioning in your answer that the episode in question (even better if you can link which episode it is) talks about how bodyguards are taught Krav Maga to defend against knife attacks is a step in the right direction. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:04

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