Feature Article

Mu Ki Pang Wi
(Self-Defense Against Weapons)

Grand Master James S. Benko, Ph.D.

If when confronted by an opponent who has a weapon, you are unable to reason with him or walk away peaceably, then you must be prepared to defend yourself or face the consequences.

No matter how small your opponent may be, if he has a weapon he has a distinct advantage over you. He will be able to strike you while remaining outside your defensive sphere. A club, even in the hands of a novice, can become a deadly weapon. Therefore, when you begin to take action to defend yourself, you must act decisively and without hesitation. You must either draw your antagonist into your defensive sphere or move along one of the angles of evasion, so that you will be able to control the weapon and neutralize your opponent.

When defending against a weapon attack you should follow the rules of defensive action in their precise chronological order:

  1. Evade the attack by drawing the opponent into your defensive sphere or moving along one of the angles of evasion.
  2. Control the weapon. Use trapping techniques, joint locks or manipulations, strikes, or off-balancing techniques.
  3. Neutralize the opponent. This may be accomplished by disarming him and counter-attacking, using his weapon against him or striking vital parts of the body. Throws and projections are also methods of neutralization and may be used at this point.

When defending against an opponent who has a knife, controlling the weapon is of the utmost importance. Soft blocks, and circular movements should be used when subduing him. Re-direct or evade the weapon while following up with a technique of neutralization.

When disarming an opponent who is using a knife, you will not, in most situations, use the weapon against him, as can be done in club defenses. When defending against club attacks you are able to grab the end of the weapon and quite easily disarm him. With a knife that same situation does not exist. Your opponent will be holding the only area of the knife which can be grabbed safely. The only time you will be able to actually take the knife away from him and use it against him is while executing detailed joint manipulation techniques. Normally, the weapon will fall to the ground, at which point you will promptly follow up with a technique of neutralization.

When practicing weapon defenses you should do so under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. You should practice with a rubber or wooden knife NEVER with a real knife. When executing a disarm technique apply pressure to the joints slowly and stop the technique as soon as your partner signals you that there is pain or too much pressure being exerted. The pain tells you your opponent would have dropped the knife at that point. Safety, concentration, and preciseness are key factors in determining the effectiveness of your defenses.

Techniques are demonstrated by Grand Master James S. Benko
and Thomas Adams.

Assume the on-guard position as the opponent prepares to attack with a knife.

Turn your hip to your right as your left hand grabs the opponent's wrist.

Place your left elbow over his arm locking it against your body with both of your hands.

Kneel down keeping his arm locked by applying pressure to his elbow with your body.

Slide both of your legs out as you drop your body weight onto his arm pinning him to the ground.

Assume the on-guard position as the opponents prepares to attack with a knife.

As the opponent stabs, grap his arm with both hands pushing your shoulder against his arm.

Keep his arm locked at the elbow as you execute a twisting kick to his head to stun him.

Keep his arm locked against your body as you step in front of him with your left leg.

Apply pressure to his elbow as you turn to your right pushing your left shoulder hard against his arm.

As soon as he hits the ground, kneel on his jaw as you maintain pressure to his locked arm.

Club strike to the side of your head, block with your left hand and punch him in the philtrum.

Grab his wrist with your left hand as you seize the weapon with your right hand.

Your left hand holds his arm as your right hand pulls down on the weapon disarming him.

Twist his arm so his palm faces upward as you strike him in the ribs with the weapon.

Maintaing your grip on his on his arm, prepare to rotate to your left and strike him.

Release your grip on his arm as you rotate to your left striking the opponent in the head.

Copyright © 1998- James S. Benko and ITA Institute.
All rights reserved.

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If you would like to learn more, order the following DVD videos:
"Self-Defense Against Weapons"
"Hapkido Defenses Against Knife Attacks"
"Tae Kwon Do Phase Three: Theories of Defensive Action"