How to get off the line of attack

A few days ago I posted about the need to get off the line of attack when someone is charging at you. I didn’t elaborate on what that really means and how to do it. I “knew” the answer because I had seen it done in training at Insights but I could really put it into words as well as I could demonstrate it with real people and fake guns (or fake pepper spray–the same principles apply).

I would be difficult for me to over-emphasis the importance of knowing how to do this. If you know what you are doing and have the right tools you can easily avoid blood loss from a knife attacker starting at less than the normal 21 feet.

John, being the expert trainer and having taught this technique, drew us a picture and put it into words. Words to live by.


7 thoughts on “How to get off the line of attack

  1. “If you know what you are doing and have the right tools you can easily avoid blood loss from a knife attacker starting at less than the normal 21 feet”

    I don’t care what kind of training you have, if I have a knife in my hand and am 21 feet from you, intent on doing you harm, you are going to bleed.

    Training will help you win the encounter (and I highly, highly encourage it), but the proper mindset for dealing with a knife wielding attacker is this; you will get cut.

    To say that you can easily avoid blood loss in such a scenario is just plain wrong, especially when you say that it can be done at less than 21 feet. The Tueller drill showed that was the minimum distance where you could get a center of mass (COM) shot off in time. There are plenty of instances where determined attackers have continued to fight on even after taking a round through the heart.

    I apologize in advance, I didn’t look at the links cause I was too fired up by what I read. I also apologize for coming across so strongly. But I think it is very critical to recognize two things. If someone pulls a knife intent on attacking you, the proper mindset is to recognize that you will likely be cut, but that you can and WILL fight through it. Plus, the “21 foot rule” is widely misunderstood. That is generally accepted as the minimum distance you need to score a hit, but even a perfect COM hit doesn’t immediately win the fight.

  2. I went and read the links. It is all good training, solid stuff, and I agree with what he is saying.

    All except for the “easily avoiding blood loss” part. Knife fighting is a messy business, even when your opponent is untrained. If he(or she) IS trained, you will almost certainly be cut in some manner.

    Mindset above all else, right?

  3. Perhaps “easily” is a little to strong of word. And if the attacker is a quick athlete and/or the victim has physical limitations or obstacles then the situation is much more difficult.

    But the entire point is that Tueller was correct for the given assumptions–the gun guy is stationary. Once you give up that assumption the end result is much different. Tests have shown that all other things being equal the gun guy easily empty their gun into the knife guy without getting cut. At the ranges involved if the gun guy even has a little bit of training that corresponds to several head shots. Unless the caliber involved is better suited to cleaning sinuses than permanently changing criminal intent the gun guy is going to walk away with an elevated pulse and blood pressure but no blood loss.

    John/Insights is saying that the Tueller Drill is obsolete.

  4. I’d say that the Tueller drill isn’t obsolete really. It’s useful for a couple of things: First, it shows how necessary it is to get off the line of attack. Second, it’s useful for demonstrating to a jury the necessity to keep shooting until the threat is down, eliminating those arguments of “excessive force” or “he shot him too much” or “why didn’t he just shoot the assailant in the leg or arm?”

  5. Again, I’m not disagreeing with the tactic at all. I think it is a good tactic to use when confronted in such a situation. But if you think that you will avoid being cut because you are going to make head shots on a moving target while you yourself are moving, then I think you need some (or some more) force on force training.

    Saying that all you have to do is “J-step” is one thing. It is quite another when you are conducting actual scenarios, and the bad guy has a stun knife. Most likely, if this happens, it won’t happen on a football field or a gun range. It will be in a living room complete with couches and coffee tables. Or in a kitchen, bedroom, or in an unfamiliar alleyway, for that matter.

    By all means, I suggest that you use this tactic, but it is HIGHLY LIKELY that you will be cut if ever in this scenario for real. Know that ahead of time and plan to fight through it, is all I am saying…

  6. And I agree with Defens. The Tueller Drill isn’t obsolete. Misunderstood, yes, but it is a good visual example of how reaction time factors into shootings. As well as showing how a person with a knife is still a threat to someone who has a gun.

    The Tueller Drill never advocated standing in one spot, it was designed to show that was a bad idea. IIRC, he started at 7 yards and charged people (not expecting what was coming) and kept moving it back until he found a distance where most people could get a good shot off.

  7. Tanner:

    As soon as you remove the ability for the defender to maneuver (due to a confined space, or obstacles) then this changes equation substantially. I would argue that “J Hooking” requires far less movement (and space) than say moving laterally, or moving to the rear. Additionally all of this movement is along a path that you have recently seen.

    In terms of placing the technique in a hypothetical scenario, A lot is going to depend on the scenario. As soon as I have obstacles that I can put between me an the attacker then we are no longer talking speed on a straight line distance. In fact one of the problems with putting a target on a railroad track is that it can corner faster than a person can (assuming proper construction.)

    “the proper mindset for dealing with a knife wielding attacker is this; you will get cut. ”

    I think that the proper mindset is recognizing that you *might* get cut, but is by no means an certainty. I would rather not be paralyzed by the idea of sustaining an injury, but I am not making it part of my primary plan.

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