Surviving a knife attack


I had been studying martial arts for 10 years or more was a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo, ample experience in Ju Jitsu, competing regularly and working security on night club doors. All in all in pretty good shape. It was about 7pm and a friend and I had just finished training at the gym and were heading back to the car that was parked on a main road which was well lit. It was a normal day, nothing out of the ordinary, and this had been a regular routine for many months. My friend was getting into the passenger side of the car as I was getting into the drivers side. Out of the shadow a figure went straight up to my friend and demanded money. I could not really see what was going on as I was half into the car, next thing you know there is another man walking around the car towards me. It was dark already so it was hard to see what he was like. I knew that something was wrong as I could see the intention in his eyes.

He said to me give me your money or we will stab your friend…or other more graphic words to that effect. She screamed at me that the guy close to her had a knife. As the second man walked around the car to me, I yelled at her to get into the car and lock the door, she hesitated so I let it be known quite clearly what she had to do. She jumped in the car, locked the door as the man closest to her hammered the top of the car with the butt of his knife. A second later the man closet to me lunged at my chest with a long blade. I was fast enough to just pull away as he took a second swing at me catching me on the sleave. I immediately made distance between me and the 2 men, but they definitely saw me as an easy target and quickly followed which was okay as it allowed my friend time to get away in the car.

As we rounded the a corner the first man pulled his arm back to take another shot, I moved very quickly, maintaining balance, putting years of martial arts training into action. Striking hard and fast my weapons found their mark easily taking out the first man. The second man saw what was coming and bid a very hasty retreat.

This was a very ugly experience. It took very clear thinking and presence to be able to respond effectively. If I had not had years of martial arts training, the outcome could have been so much different. How many stories do we read or hear that someone some where has been stabbed and killed.

Northstar Ju Jitsu is a culmination of my experience in and out of the dojo. Use your time well at training to learn and absorb as much information as you can.


1. Pause, look and respond.

2. Do not fight fire with fire it will only inflame the situation even more.

3. Assume that there will always be a knife involved in a fight.

4. Don’t ever expect to see the knife, you will feel it before you see it.

5. While your attention is in front of you, you are vulnerable to attack from the side and from behind.

6. The instant you see the knife high drop everything and remove yourself from the situation.(if you can)

7. If you engage, expect to be cut. Whilst training in the Philipines with great knife fighters, they all had their cuts to show.

8. When the gap appears move quickly with full commitment, don’t stop until you are safe.

9. If you find yourself in where you have to defend yourself, grab the knife hand and control it…no matter what. If you can’t grab the knife hand, grab the knife.

10. Attend regular martial arts classes that teach practical and sensible knife defence.

Remember, there is no winner in a knife fight.

Andy Dickinson



  1. Ben O on March 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Great advice Andy, thanks for sharing. Ben

  2. Sam on March 27, 2012 at 8:01 am


    Wouldn’t it just be safer to give them what they wanted? Because there is a knife involved you have a huge potential to get hurt. So someone like me who is very inexperienced in martial arts I would think giving them my wallet would be a small price to pay.


    • andy on March 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for the comment.The one thing that I am trying so show here is that it is never that ‘easy’. The attackers where on us before we had a chance to think about whether they would be just satisfied with the wallet. The knife was out and it was coming at my chest…fast..These were nasty, violent men intent on hurting for the sake of it.



  3. Reuben on March 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

    That is some exellent advise Andy thank you. Reuben

  4. Sharon McAnulty mumof Nicholas on March 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Andy, Thanks for this story and advice. Hard and fast is what I absorbed from it. This advice is read keenly as with all the info I read it evey time you send it even if I have read it many times before. I can never learn enough, but I can try.
    Regards Sharon