Tuesday, 30 July 2013

What to do if you are threatened with a weapon

You are being threatened with a weapon. 
Not a great situation to find yourself in. 

People consistently ask me, "What do I do if someone has a knife and they want my purse?" 
"Even you? With all your training? You would give him your purse?"
OF COURSE! I value my life and my health, and I don't think that wrestling someone over my phone is worth possibly being injured or disfigured for the rest of my existence. 

Avoid any opportunity to engage or fight off someone with a weapon; it's simply not worth it: 

  • Everything can be replaced - your phone, wallet, credit cards, car, etc. None of this
    stuff matters in the long run. It might be inconvenient to replace, and it might cost you money; however this is still a small price to pay in comparison to the long-term effects of bodily injuries and disfigurements. 
  • You will more than likely get hurt - this is the reality of attempting to fight someone wielding a weapon, especially when you have little or no training. Stab wounds are extremely serious and cause a frightening number of deaths; their wounds can be difficult to treat, and the rate of infection is high. 
  • Run away if you can, and comply with your attacker if it is reasonable for you to do so 
There are only three general circumstances that I would suggest fighting back against an attacker with a weapon: 
  • You are going to die if you don't 
  • You are with someone who is going to die if you don't 
  • Your attacker is trying to get you into a car or van to take you to a second location
If you are forced to fight off an attacker with a weapon, there are a few things to remember: 
  • You're probably going to get hurt if you do fight. The goal though is to minimize your injuries, and to attempt to have non-vital areas suffer the injuries (i.e. outside of the arms vs. inside of the arms, where there are all sorts of important arteries that could cause you to die if they were to be cut). Fortunately, the adrenaline that will be coursing through your body will help you to avoid feeling some of the pain if it's not a vital cut, and allow you to keep holding your ground or to run away to safety. 
  • Always cover your head and neck 
  • Shield your body with the outside of the arms, not the inside 
  • Do what you can to run away and get to a safe place where you can call for medical attention (run towards people!) 
  • Keep moving, don't stand still and make yourself an easy target 
  • Be as vocal as possible to attract attention from passersby 
  • Use improvised weapons to inflict damage to your attacker, and to also create space between you and your attacker (knock over chairs, garbage bins, use pieces of rock or sticks - anything around you that you can use to shield yourself or cause damage) - more on this next week. 
Undoubtedly others will think differently, and I welcome your thoughts and opinions below. 

Stay safe! 


  1. "Undoubtedly others will think differently, and I welcome your thoughts and opinions below. "

    I dunno, I'm no WSD expert but pretty much everything you've said here makes sense. I suppose if I were to quibble (and this WOULD be quibbling) I would say that, if I were being robbed with a knife (NOT a gun) then I'd likely flee before I handed over my belongings.

    This is because I am confident in two things:

    1. Fear, and my physical training, will allow me run REALLY fast.
    2. Your common robber is not looking for a foot race and will not likely pursue.

  2. Oh yes, I agree that that's a great option if it's open to you. In Krav Maga, we do scenario training where the attackers change in terms of weapons used, the number or attackers, and in distance from the victim. If the attacker is out of range for an immediate attack, we are taught to simply find the nearest exit and run.

    And you're right - your common mugger is definitely not looking for a foot race!