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Knife attacks, what the statistics say

knife attacks

Knife attacks, what the statistics say.

The field of combat arts and self-defense is plagued by a severe syndrome, false and illusory perception on the issue of knife attacks.

Today thanks to the ability to view footage of knife attacks it was possible to analyze what really happens and it is something I want to deepen because it is a very important responsibility for a personal defense instructor who explains “the knife” because Self-defense is not a game and I have already reiterated it in an article where there is an invasion of fake professionals who have filled people’s heads with nonsense putting them in serious danger.

Knife attacks, what the statistics say Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

A recent statistical analysis of more than 150 real knife attacks has been done and illustrate the harsh reality:

1 – The 71.1 of the knife attacks begins with the use of the attacker’s free hand.

This drastically changes the dynamics and outcomes of the attack, as well as negatively affecting the initial reaction of the victim.

The initial reaction of the victim in defense takes place at the first visual stimulus he receives, which is the free hand of the attacker, and not the knife,which can be hidden for use in the second time.

With the free hand, the attacker manages to keep the victim at a safe distance so that he cannot control the hand holding the knife and is not in a good position to hit him, as well as trying with his free hand to grab the victim making the escape impossible.

Still, the attacker with the free hand can exert a lot of pressure on the victim’s body by grabbing him by the jacket, his arm, his hair, etc.

Statistics say that more than 50 of the victims fall to the ground under this pressure.

This type of freehand attack is called the Prison Yard Rush or Prison Knife Rush.knife attacks

Attention!! Martial arts usually consider the attack scenario without addressing the primary use of the free hand, without considering the unarmed part of the aggressor and without a real pressure and violence of the gesture, the pushing, the jerking with force, etc. thus leaving the student inside this statistic but let’s see 28.9% of cases of possible attack.

knife attacks

2 – Most knife attacks are carried out unfairly and not ONLY in form.

An attacker does not want to show you that he is armed and rarely shows the knife before the attack unless he uses it as a threat, as an equalizer for the purpose of robbery or extortion.

An attacker holds the weapon in a hidden position until the last moment.

Statistics say that 80 of the attackers have a hidden knife. The attackers initially distract the victim, build a “trap” and then launch a close-range attack with violence and determination.

The 70.6 of knife attacks begins at a distance of less than one meter from the victim,leaving little room for reaction and usually attacks with a series of repetitive blows (1-2 shots per second) mainly on the left side of the victim’s body.

This type of attack is called Sewing Machine or otherwise Prison Shanking.

knife attacks

The duration:

Statistics say that 55 of the attacks is very rapid performed with a barrage of blows, so that the victim has no reaction time and the space (reactionary Gap) is canceled.
Knife attacks do not last long, they last from 14 seconds to one minute. On average, most attacks last about 23 seconds.

Knife attacks, what the statistics say Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

The harsh reality for those who defend themselves from knife:

  • The attacks are sudden and the victim is overwhelmed by fear and aggression.
  • You probably won’t see the knife before the attack and won’t be able to avoid the attack or escape in time.
  • He has very little time and space to react and develop a counterattack.
  • He may not be able to avoid the first shot and is almost certain to injure himself.
  • In many cases you may not even be aware that you have been injured or to a greater extent.
  • He doesn’t have enough time to pull out a defensive weapon, he’s deranged and can fall to the ground because of the pressure.
  • Physical movements are limited due to stress, fine motor skills are lost and are replaced by coarse motor skills.
  • Precision movements will be impossible and complex self-defense techniques cannot be implemented efficiently.

Now these are the facts and that’s where you need to start!. As you read and I repeat often there is nothing chivalrous.

Knife Attack

Bleetman’s research

Research by Bleetman et al. (2003), in the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine, describes that most knife attack victims who are rescued in a hospital emergency room have stab wounds, mainly to the face, with less on the upper limb and trunk.

Only 11% who have multiple wounds, that is, have been repeatedly stabbed or cut.

Sixty-seven male soldiers were asked to cut a human-sized vertical target with a blade.

The method by which each soldier attacked was recorded:

  • About half used multiple shots,
  • most attached to the height of the upper torso.

This differs from the patterns of knife injuries observed in clinical practice.

The mechanics of combat in which victims repel blows or disengage is the likely explanation for these differences.

In a subsequent study that took place in the same year, it was found that the average number of stab wounds and stab wounds, out of a sample of 500 patients who had been admitted to hospital after being attacked with a knife, was 2.4.

This suggests that knife attacks tend to be short, close together rather than prolonged!

Attackers carry out one or two quick attacks etc. from a close distance from the target, it is really complex that you can make an adequate defense, regardless of the training if you consider the variables in play, your relative position with respect to the aggressor, the context, etc.

Knife aggression

The distance before the attack!

From the statistics of the number of shots, you can deduce the importance of the distance before the attack, the aggressive situations as they evolve in the escalation make you understand that maintaining / controlling the range of action in the pre-conflict phase of the clash is fundamental but also of how complex this is

Relying only on physical techniques and athletic/trained ability is unlikely to succeed from such close range.

As “effective” as the techniques are and are solutions to survive a knife attack , it has been found that most knife attacks occur between 0.61 and 1.07 seconds.

It means that if an attacker was at a close distance from the target, less than a meter, it is unlikely that an adequate defense can be carried out, regardless of training without injuring you.

It can still mean surviving and that’s still fine but it is still something traumatic, complex, shocking, and above all it is not for everyone.

Knife and knife attacks are not a game!

Personally I always do training to make the boys / girls aware where two in front or very close where one attacks keeping the knife hidden and the other, that I will be attacked who can keep his hands and body position as he wants.

Who attacks must shoot maximum 2/3 shots starting when he wants from the distance he deems appropriate!

It’s very educational!

Even training this contextualized situation every week changes the attitude, posture, position, etc. and gives rise to strategies that are not always easy to explain.

And this is why starting from the realities that are born methodologies and training techniques designed to develop the attributes to get out alive from these contexts, but it is essential to understand that the variables involved are still high and you can not think of not hurting yourself but it is survival when there is an aggressor armed with a knife who wants to hit you with a knife.

Knife attacks, what the statistics say Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Some statistical studies of recent years

Lemos and Crane (2004), researching knife crimes in the UK, a really serious situation that is requiring special laws for the high number of crimes found that although the reason why most people initially chose to carry a knife was fear, the vast majority of times a knife was used it was not defensively as a means of protection, but one of aggressiveness/offensive.

This makes it clear that the context and the situation in knife attacks can totally change the perspective and a person who takes it with him out of fear turns into an aggressor perhaps for a trivial quarrel for a parking lot or with a neighbor!

For example, a person decides to carry a knife as a means of protection, but if an accident causes him to become angry/aggressive, then he could use his weapon as a defense tool against another person to offend.

One of the reasons that drives people to “need” to carry a weapon with them such as edged weapons or other is the result of living in close proximity to violence, and this assumption helps explain why most murders and “near-accident” homicides tend to occur in a small number of geographic hotspots (Massey et al., 2019), certain neighborhoods in cities and between people who know each other.

A 2020 study in Merseyside (UK) – Campana and Giovannetti – found that one of the biggest predictors for knife carrying and violence was a previous association, with someone already carrying a knife.

Thomsen et al., in a 2020 study in Denmark, examining knife homicides between 1992 and 2016 (471 homicides), found that only 15.9% of homicides involved strangers in public or nocturnal settings.

Knife attacks, what the statistics say Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Are you really in danger?

Although you can consider yourself at risk of knife attacks, the truth is that if you avoid certain neighborhoods and places and do not stay near people who carry knives (usually younger people), the chances of meeting a man armed with a knife who attacks you is relatively low although not to be excluded especially if you frequent badly frequented places perhaps because there are beautiful girls from many countries and who are in neighborhoods that you don’t know or at night.

For this reason it is still important to learn how to effectively manage an aggression with knife attacks, but it is essential to understand that where you are and who you are going with because they are important factors that you need to understand maybe that you have to leave before or move away if you see that the situation is also pleasant in that particular room but that there are also potentially dangerous subjects, for the use of drugs and alcohol, or are delinquents, groups of bullies, etc.

The solution is to move away and remember that the goal is to bring the skin home not to show courage or a huge ego even if you are one who knows his stuff.

If you see something is wrong, walk away!

Even animals adopt this strategy, even predators know when they have to run away to avoid injuring themselves even if they could still win the fight!

Street Fight Mentality

Stay Tuned! Stay Bladed!

Knife is not a game!


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Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Self Defence and Fight Sport.

# Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Method & Training.
# Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms / Strategy.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport!

State Of Love And Trust!

Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Knifemaker


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