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Defending Complex Knife Attacks – by Eyal Yanilov

Defending Complex Knife Attacks – Running Open Seminars

by Master Eyal Yanilov


In Israel we have had our share of knife attacks, mainly because of the rising of terrorist acts, but not just. Homicide and street violence in Israel are not that common, when you compare it to other countries.

It is generally a safe country, but we still had to fight a lot, especially in the last 8-9 decades due to wars operations and other threats. So now we are exporting KMG our unique Krav Maga System, to thousands of students all around the world. KMG’s system is a constant evolution of what we know, experienced and constantly evolve through case studies all around the world.

When analyzing attacks and threats with sharp objects, inspecting these kinds of attacks, we see different manners how the knife, or sharp object, is being used. When we look at more complex attacks, we see that the attacker sometimes is using his other hand to grab the victim’s clothing, or hand, or pull or push, while stabbing with the hand holding the knife.

This is an example of a load, inflicted and applied by the aggressor which the defender must deal with. Practically this is a physical, technical and obviously mental load that we must cope with, in progressive training and overcome. Only through escalating the complexity of the situation, we become better and readier to function in adverse, realistic conditions when violence and difficulties are on the rise. This was the subject of Master Eyal’s open seminars in the last few months, as well as one of the topics in our 2018 Yearly GIT Instructors Training in Israel.

The idea in this is – first, to focus on improving and mastering the defenses against knife attacks at close and medium range, then introduce the prevention of the grab or the hold that the aggressor aims to do with his other hand.

Later, we learn and practice to deal with a situation when the prevention failed, the aggressor managed to grab us and now he is pulling or pushing while stabbing or cutting us with a knife. The principles of the technical and tactical solutions are as follows: Constantly defending against the repeated knife attacks (that is the aggressor’s common mode of operation), counterattack forcefully and repeatedly when there is no limitation on the counter attacking hand, control the aggressor’s attacking arm (when possible), move out of the channel of attack and attacker, use powerful kicks, release the grabbing (in some specific way) and obviously apply the appropriate finishing mode to wrap up and resolve the situation.


We have learned that this progression and training methods, according to the principles, variations and increasing load of difficulties, that Master Eyal has developed and introduced in the last couple of decades, proved to be highly efficient, interesting and rewarding to KMG students and instructors all around the world.