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MASTERCLASS PRO takes our Masterclasses to the next level.

Learn how to take the individual self defence techniques and strikes in our Masterclass feature and merge them into natural and effective combinations in MASTERCLASS PRO.

Study how you can mix and match different upper and lower body strikes, with different ranges and angles of attack.


Keeping a knife attacker away with a FRONT KICK, for as long as possible, continuing with; KNIFE SURVIVAL AGAINST ATTACKS 180° ABOVE SOLAR PLEXUS if the attacker gets close enough to launch a (towards upper torso, head) knife attack.


A front kick is a primary striking choice as it’s the longest range option available to you, when you’re aware of (facing) a threat. Therefore, practice it extensively.

If the knife attacker is approaching - and you can’t escape by running away, keeping a longer distance or use barriers or objects to defend yourself - do the following to kick, when the attacker is at a range you can reach them with an extended leg.

Make a very short step (skip) if you need to close the range to the target. This is the least telegraphic and most surprising way to kick, minimising the time it takes to release body weight off the kicking leg in readiness to move fast.

Either lift knee high and close to you to extend the foot/lower leg forward towards target, or; kick in an upward ‘whipping motion’ from below. The latter is less visible and also doubles up as a groin kick if the target moves closer mid-motion.

The kicking leg is optional and can be a choice between your favoured (stronger leg) or, more tactically, choosing the leg mirroring the knife hand as the inside part of the thigh (femoral artery) will be more protected during the kick than the opposite leg kicking.

Connect with the ball of the foot (smaller surface for better energy transmission) around centre-mass (abdomen) and aim to kick through the target by extending the leg, immediately followed by a quick recoil. Bring the kicking leg back without lowering knee, before landing.

The landing is a tactical decision. For knife attacks, aim to land the kicking leg in a natural, balanced position on the same line as the base leg no wider then shoulder width in case the kick is less ineffective and you want to avoid landing forward onto the knife.

Keep your hands up and in front of you throughout the kick, making them available to follow up with strikes or to protect head and upper body defensively. Against knifes, you can also place your hands and forearms together in front of your torso (as if you were praying) as you move and kick so to protect your heart and vital organs.

Breathe out as you strike.

Picture: The front kick. When practicing the kick, you can work on a striking pad held by your training partner for extra power application and targeting.


The first thing to realise with any hand defence responses to edged weapons attacks - by definition conducted at close range - is that earlier potential defence action such as avoidance, distance, conflict management, danger detection and exiting the situation has either failed or hasn’t been possible (e.g. remaining to protect third parties or because no exit is available).

If the attack is sudden and unexpected or the weapon is previously undetected, it’s highly likely you’ll get stabbed. The defence is then more about survival and preventing multiple strikes. As action beats reaction, even an expected attack at close range will be hard to defend.

Always disengage from any visible or suspected weapons attack scenario, wherever possible.

This defence is aimed at stopping the initial attack, controlling repeated stabs and fighting back through destabilising the attacker with striking back with blows to vulnerable areas (the head, neck, throat or face).


Once a stab or slash above the solar plexus happens, there’s no way to detect the exact downward trajectory until the motion is in progress - at which point any reaction will be too late.

The defence must therefore take into account any trajectory of attack, any angle of the blade and be agnostic as to whether it’s a slash or a stab.

Follow the below action, from the ‘praying position’ described above:

If the attacker is at a range where they can reach you and the arm is moving upwards and backwards to strike, send your arms forward from the shoulders in a pyramidical shape with a shoulder-width gap between the hands and with elbows low and fingers high. Push yourself off forward with your feet to join the forward striking motion of your shoulders and arms.

The arms should be locked at all the joints; in the shoulders (as far forward as possible), at the elbows (in an approximate 90° angle keeping elbows low/hands high) and wrists (with fingers outstretched).

Picture: Send the locked arm frame forwards from your shoulders and let your body move in this sequence; arms, upper body, legs.

This double diagonal forearm strike should connect with the bony outer part of the wrists near to the attacker’s wrist and on their neck or face, giving you a long shield against the knife strike and a long striking surface to connect with.

The symmetrical action will aid your brain to deliver optimal striking power on both connection points as an asymmetrical action (e.g. a forearm block and a punch) will always cause one of the two actions to be de-prioritised (less power) by your brain.

If you lose balance forward, aim to step forward with the foot matching the knife hand, bringing your back leg with up so your stance is relatively upright and ready to move forward, however aim to land with your head lowered and directed towards the attacker’s shoulder joint (not the end of the arm where the knife is held).

Picture: How you land, head down and away from any slip of the knife, towards the attacker’s shoulder, not the hand.

As you connect, continue the forward motion (if possible) to unbalance the attacker and force them backwards to focus their mind on prioritising balance rather than immediate recoil of the knife hand and repeated attacks.

As you move forward, press the forearm against the attackers’s neck as the other hand moves along the attacker’s arm underneath their armpit as you turn 90° in your upper body towards the attacker, protecting your heart and torso area against further attacks. Press the knife arm and control it under your armpit by pressing it in across all contact points.

Continue to move around the attacker towards their opposite leg (to keep them off balance and moving away from their free hand), striking diagonally downwards or sideways (attacker height dependant) against the attacker’s neck or at the very top of the spinal cord with a slightly angled but locked at the elbow arm, connecting anywhere on the forearm or hand. The locked frame of this arm doesn’t change from the first strike, through press the attacker’s neck on contact and on all these strikes. It remains the same.

Picture: Move around the attacker and as you control the knife arm tightly, attack the back of the neck with devastating downward forearm strikes. Other strikes are also possible.

Drop the striking more vertically if the attacker bends down in response. Continue to strike ferociously. Switch to knee strikes to the head if appropriate if the attacker’s head drops low.

If the attacker is taller than you, or to add additional strikes, attack their face (aim to break the nose) with fast and repeated open palm strikes, including digging fingertips into their eyes. As their head moves back, alternate by punches to the larynx to crush it. Think: ‘Can’t see, can’t breathe’.

The strikes are conducted in the spiral movement motion to continually keep the attacker off balance.

Practice the defence slowly and methodically until it becomes instinctive.

Further strikes are then available if needed. See our MASTERCLASSES and MASTERCLASS PRO for options.

Find all our MASTERCLASS PRO articles by clicking on the theme selection on the website home page. Chose MASTERCLASS for individual strikes and techniques.

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