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Advice on a Knife Fight!

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Trigger Finger, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. This is interesting. It could have been much worse!

    Stay safe, train hard~

    3 lessons learned from a surprise knife attack

    Edged weapons and other potentially lethal implements can easily be concealed in cupped hands that may appear innocuous from the front

    Editor's Note: We at PoliceOne would like to offer our thanks to Ofcr. Greg Lee of the Metro Nashville Police Training Academy for alerting us to this incident.
    Three important lessons about suspect control were driven home for a Nashville officer — with knife slashes to his face, neck, and back. The attack occurred as P.O. II John Timm and his zone partner Ofcr. Mike Hunnicutt of the Metropolitan Nashville PD were attempting to resolve a domestic conflict.
    An Hispanic male had tried to pick up his young daughter after school but school authorities would not release her to him because the child’s mother (the man’s ex-girlfriend) was the custodial parent. He took her anyway. Police were alerted and Timm and Hunnicutt detained the subject on a traffic stop a short time later. The child was in the car, apparently unharmed.
    “We got the parties out of the car,” Timm told PoliceOne. The mother showed up and “the situation escalated due to the suspect not wanting to give up the child. There was a lot of arguing between the parents in Spanish.”
    “I felt a weird sensation on the back of my neck,” said P.O. II John Timm. “Blood started to run down my neck and face and splatter onto the suspect.” (PoliceOne Image)
    Timm doesn’t speak Spanish, so the specifics of the exchange were unclear to him. But there was something about the suspect — he’s still not sure just what — that seemed “strange...weird.” He remembers, “My suspicion level was raised—and so was the hair on the back of my neck.”
    Hunnicutt was in his patrol car “working on the report,” Timm says. “I suggested that we physically arrest the suspect for not having a driver’s license, since he presented only Mexico ID. It would separate the parties for the night and somewhat quell the domestic situation.” Hunnicutt agreed.
    By then, the suspect had returned to his car and was sitting behind the steering wheel with the driver’s door open. After he refused commands to exit, Timm grabbed his left forearm, pulled him out, and spun him around against the car. “He was flailing his arms about, trying to get away from my grasp,” Timm says.
    Hunnicutt, trying to help Timm, leg-swept the suspect, and the man went down hard on his back. But Timm, who was gripping him, fell too, landing with his head on the suspect’s chest. “I tried twice to punch him in the face but I didn’t connect,” Timm recalls.
    Then, after perhaps five seconds of struggling on the ground, “I felt a weird sensation on the back of my neck,” Timm says. “Blood started to run down my neck and face and splatter onto the suspect.” Timm reached to the back of his neck and felt a warm, gaping wound. He’d been slashed by a weapon he hadn’t known existed.
    As “everything went into slow motion,” Timm “disengaged from the fight by crawling off the suspect to one side. The suspect began to scramble to his feet, a 4-in. paring knife now glinting in his right hand.
    “Shoot him!” Timm yelled. Hunnicutt drew down and shouted, “Drop the knife!” The suspect didn’t, and the officer fired a round that tore into the attacker’s abdomen.
    The suspect survived and has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the attack. As he lay on the ground waiting for EMS to arrive at the scene, he pleaded for the officers to shoot him again, Timm says.
    Besides the neck slash, which sliced down to mere centimeters from his spine, Timm suffered two cuts to his face and a stab wound below the rear panel of his vest which penetrated almost to his kidney. Some 20 stitches were required to close the wounds.
    “I never saw the knife until he used it,” Timm says. “Needless to say, he was very skilled.” Apparently he had the blade cupped and concealed in his right hand when the officer pulled him from the car.
    Timm, 31, had served as an army MP and as a jailor before going on street patrol with Metro two and a half years ago. He offers these lessons learned from his close encounter:
    1.) Don’t permit a suspect to return freely to a vehicle once he has been out. Weapons can be hidden myriad places inside and quickly accessed. The suspect in this case said in court that he kept the knife in the car for chiseling ice off his windshield. Timm believes it was tucked into a pocket in the driver’s door and that the assailant retrieved it during one of several unescorted returns to the car he made during the squabble with his ex-girlfriend.
    2.) Trust your gut. Timm says his “sixth sense” told him there was something hinky about the suspect, but because he couldn’t identify specific danger cues he didn’t follow through by exercising maximum caution when getting him out of the vehicle. He failed, for example, to see and control the suspect’s right hand prior to, during, and after the extraction.
    3.) “Watch the hands” is a mantra of officer safety. But an important element of that rule which is not always understood or remembered is “See the palms Edged weapons and other potentially lethal implements can easily be concealed in cupped hands that may appear innocuous from the front, just like the knife that Timm didn’t see until after he was wounded.
    Timm was off work, recovering for two weeks. Fortunately, he says, “I don’t have any lasting effects except an occasional neck cramp.”

    Curt Moriyama
    Special Agent/Peer Support
    Washington State Gambling Commission
    Southwest Region
    4301 South Pine St Suite 307
    Tacoma, WA 98409
    (253) 671-6291 Office
    (253) 471-5317 FAX

  2. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    Only way to win a knife fight is survive. People often overlook pocket knives as deadly weapons, but even a cheap gas station blade can wear you out.

    I have seen first hand what a knife can do. I would rather swap bullets with a BG from 7yds then be wrapped up in a ground fight with a determined attacker and a blade.

    Stay safe guys.

  3. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    Good reminders, thanks for the post. Knife offense/defense is something that's really not taught to police, compared to all the other weapons we train with and use regularly.
  4. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    I can tell you from some experience in dealing with inmates, that a knife can be very small and still do some damage. Veins in the body are towards the surface, especially back of the hands. Arteries that are normally deeper within are towards the surface in some areas, such as the carotid artery. Be alert folks.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  5. Remember the C/O who was executed years ago at Pelican Bay, by orders from an STG leader? Cause of death: A shank to the jugular vein. Fast and furious, no advance warning.

    The pitiful training on knife defense I received involved a couple of whizzbang textbook blocks which worked great in the classroom, but were worthless in the real world, plus the following wise and sage advice: "If you get in a knife fight.... :shrug:...... you're gonna get cut". Yeah right.
  6. God gave us the gift of fear. When the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, believe it. There's a reason for the "head's up!"
  7. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    This video was mandatory viewing in our academy. It features legendary Eskrima instructor Dan Inosanto. (He trained with Bruce Lee years ago and was one of the knife fight choreographers on Book of Eli)

    The bottom line... distance is your friend and probably your best defense. If a bad guy wants to stab you... "you pretty much are getting cut" plain and simple.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  8. Hedo1


    Oct 1, 2007
    SE Pennsylvania
    Some good advice already. Knives are a close in weapon and a surprise type offense is the most effective. You don't have to be good with a knife to kill someone, just determined. (a quote from my instructor).

    Distance is your best friend if you can get it. Movement is good also. Move to the side of the attacker that is not holding the knife. Circle to his left if he has the knife in his right hand. Attacks across the body are difficult and reduce his leverage and balance. If really close in control the knife first and don't go for your weapon first. Don't grab for the blade, the wrist, forearm and bicep can control the blade of the attacker too.

    Finally be mindful of the slash. A jab or thrust attack can hit an organ or artery, but it also may not. That's why thrust attacks usually involve multiple jabs with the knife. A slash by someone who knows what they are doing is very deadly. If deep enough it's hitting multiple blood viens, you will lose a lot of blood quickly and it's almost impossible to stop the bleeding before you lose conciousness.

    Cheat to win if you go up against a knife. Be careful.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  9. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    And anything you plan to do in real life with your weapon, TRAIN FOR IT on the range. Walk and shoot. Run and shoot. Turn and shoot. Drop and shoot. Draw quick and shoot from the hip without using sights. And so on.

    Standing in a straight line shooting at paper targets is some of the least realistic battle training that exists (even though we all do it more than anything else), since chances are 99.9% that is not the deadly force scenario you will ever face on the street.
  10. unit 900

    unit 900

    Sep 3, 2000
    Baltimore, Md

    This clip is from the Calibre Press video called "Surviving Edged Weapons". It is one of the most valuable training aids I have ever seen/used. Well worth getting a copy if available. Was popular in the 80's.
  11. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

  12. RetailNinja


    Jan 31, 2007
    Does sixth-sense testimony hold up in court?
  13. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    That is terrifying to watch. But true.
  14. GTownGlockMan


    Apr 28, 2007
    Incredible. Our training as it related to edged weapon defense in the academy literally consisted of a one-liner from our defensive tactics instructor: "if you can see the blade your chances of survival are good, if he hides the blade, as in behind his palm, then you should be afraid". Edged weapon attacks straight scare me...period. I'm more than proficient with firearms as in I train in shooting from the hip, point shooting, shooting while moving, shooting while stepping off axis, and so on. Because I train I've become at least what i consider to be a pretty skilled marksman but I'm at a loss when it comes do defending against a real world knife attack against someone trained in its use.

    We had the benefit of having a classmate in the academy that was a trained knife fighter and to see her and hear her explain how easily and quickly your tendons can be severed removing your ability to manipulate your hands/arms and to deliver such an effective stab so as to make you drown in your own blood before any EMS personnel could stop your immanent expiring was terrifying. That's the only word I can use to describe it.

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  15. It sure holds up well in the field. Wish I had a lot more of it.

    If your guts are telling you there's a problem with somebody, there is! Maybe you (or any of us) can't exactly define it or relate all the physical cues you're picking up on as they're happening. Make the situation safe for yourself and others on scene. Worry about court after you worry about your safety.
  16. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    It does, if you can articulate what you feel. The officer in the article obviously said that he cannot, but much can be said about learning, memorizing, and being able to articulate "pre-assault indicators".
  17. jolly roger

    jolly roger

    Apr 28, 2001
    Knob Creek
    Knives concern me...Had a guy pull a hawkbill on me one time and I literally buried a leather sap right between his eyes...worked too. We were so dang close I couldn't grab my gun it time. Watching hands saved my butt though. After that incident the fellow quit drinking and became halfway useful. All in all a success I suppose.
  18. txleapd

    txleapd Hook 'Em Up

    Aug 27, 2004
    My best advice to survive a knife fight is, to first, bring a gun. Everything after that is secondary, IMHO.

    But, I'm no expert. :dunno:
  19. ZombieKing


    Feb 25, 2009

    I'd like to think we should cheat in any deadly force situation where it is win or die.

    But that's just me. :supergrin:
  20. ZombieKing


    Feb 25, 2009
    I saw most of it back in the academy but we never got a chance to finish it. Just amazing to see how fast you can get stabbed if you're not on your A game.

    It is proving exceptionally difficult to find a copy on DVD. If anyone knows it would be greatly appreciated if a link was provided.

    As evidenced by the video no gun helped these officers. Luckily it was training for them and not the real thing.

    I would say the best advice is to know how to fight against a person with a knife and then use your gun. :cool: