Knife Defence by Hanshi Tim White

Check & Stun Knife Defence Program by Hanshi Tim White
Several years ago I had the honour of training in Hanshi Tim White's Check & Stun Knife Defense Program that he designed and uses for the police defence tactics training he offers professionaly. It was immediately clear to me that I should have brought a much larger knife to this session. The tactics he used were hard-hitting, effective and no-nonsense. I was battered and bruised.

The moves were simple in order for an untrained defender to initiate physical self defence and cope with a knife wielding attacker whilst under duress. Most of the elements required no fine motor skills - you lay into the attacker and no one fiddles around trying to find a lock. At the time I was a 4th degree black belt, not used to giving up, but when you have this mountain of an 8th Dan smashing your knife wielding hand ... let me tell you, it took a lot of control not to flinch, drop the knife, cover and retreat.

Of course I wasn't jacked up on steriods or drugs or heavy metal, but the second strike assumes I am - and what felt like a baseball bat gets slammed into the neck. It's more than a bit uncomfortable. The strike is designed to shut you down immediately - and as you can see from the photos, it's a staple of this program.

Of course I wasn't jacked up on steriods or drugs or heavy metal, but the second strike assumes I am - and what felt like a baseball bat gets slammed into the neck.

A major lesson for any of student - see how simple the blocks and strikes are. This is what practical martial arts is. You reduce the target area on your body by dropping your head/tucking your chin in and raising your arms, then go for solid targets using simple moves that you learn at white and yellow belt level. Don't forget you can also distract the attacker by engaging him verbally with a question. Then all you've got to do is lay into the knife wielding arm and neck with intent because beginners and intermediate students lack a good amount of experience to fiddle around. Besides, holding back in this sort of scenario will get you slashed .

In a few of the photos - sorry they're so small - you can see Hanshi maintaining a reference point on my stabbing arm. What this does is to apply forward pressure onto the attacker, so that if and when I retract my arm, the 'defender' can continue pushing forward to finish off the tactical combination. The trapping arm is also a source of distraction - as an attacker, I don't 'like' having that lead weapon thwarted or 'trapped' and will actively pull away. This creates an additional delay before I can think of launching a secondary attack.

The program in itself is a very simple approach of dealing with an edged weapon, and that's why it is perfect for participants who typically aren't formally trained: deflect the knife wielding arm, attack the limb, and shut the person down. It is also a great 'plug and play' module that can be used agnostically by other stylists - you can use this program, and then tack on whatever moves you feel comfortable with before or after direct engagement.

Keep it simple, folks!

Traditional Taekwondo Self Defence Links

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
[Traditional Taekwondo Techniques | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FB]
And help us rank on Google by clicking the '+1' icon, why don't you?
How much do you know of Taekwondo? Come take our Taekwondo quiz to find out.


Early knife defense training was always illuminating, for me. And by "illuminating" I mean "Oh wow, I would have been dead 5 times over".

Later on in my training I was proud to find that I'd usually only be dead 3 times over; and once, just once, I managed to stop my partner without getting what would have been a fatal cut.
Colin Wee said…
Every time I approach knife training I think of two things - one is the futility of 'traditional' style training and two is how dangerous things really can get. It's a wake up call. I wonder why more don't pick it up. Colin
Interesting comment. Can you elaborate on what you mean regarding the futility of traditional training?

Just seems to be an odd comment coming from a traditionalist (at least, I THINK you're a traditionalist).

Colin Wee said…
Oh, I am somewhat a traditionalist.

What I don't like about 'traditional' is mainly about training methodology - line drills and official interpretation.

Not all traditional schools however share such restrictive traditions, so I'm generalising.

Good that you picked me up on that.
Ørjan said…
Jim Carey has a classic scetch on youtube. Just search for jim carey karate instructor and you will find it. It pretty much sums up the problems with to strickt "traditional" training methods.

Line drills do have their place and while I teach techniques that would go under the label "ho sin sul" (self defense skills) I deliberatly try to avoid teaching knife defense. Not because I think it is not important, but because it is so important that I think they (the students) should be taught by someone a lot more competent than myself on the issue.

A great way to do the "wake up call" is to give one student a marking pen and pretend it is a knife and ask him to "kill" his partner using any means necesary. The stripes and marks constitutes cuts and stabs and it is easy to see later if the student was successfull at defending himself or if he did get killed (and how many times he was killed).

I think Colin would agree that the fault lies not in the "traditional martial styles" but rather in how they are applied and interpreted.

Popular Posts