The best defensive weapon against a knife attack is your legally carried and concealed firearm. However, as is emphasized often in this series, you might sometime find yourself disarmed by circumstance. My philosophy is, “An attacker may catch me disarmed during an attack, but that attacker will never catch me defenseless.” I will share with you another instrument from my toolbox to ensure that you are never defenseless.

Step 1: The Prayerful Defense to the Capture

To assume the Prayerful Defense, point your reaction (non-gun-side) foot at the attacker and your strong (gun-side) foot at a 45-degree angle to the reaction foot, with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Your strong foot should be offset (not on a straight line) with your reaction foot. Your knees should be flexed, with weight distributed evenly over each foot.

Fold your hands as if you were devoutly praying, making certain your thumbs firmly overlap with the thumb sides of your palm heels and that they tightly connect. Keep your hands “steepled” in a ready position in front of you, moving defensively at a height varying between your nose level and heart level. This position looks non-aggressive and should be accompanied by communication designed to diffuse or distract if an attack is imminent.

However, there might be a time when the attack comes straight in and you do not have the time to pivot. In that case, it is essential that you open your prayerful hands — forming a “V” — and come downward on the attacker’s wrist, capturing it with your firm, vise-like grip and avoiding the blade.

Step 2: Pivot and Control

If you have not started yet, maintain control of the attacker’s wrist as you pivot your strong side behind and beyond where your strong foot was. This is your pivot post until you have completed a 180-degree arc. Throughout the pivot, you should be lifting the arm you’re controlling high enough to pass under it. As you reach the end of your 180-degree pivot, you should be beside the attacker (with his or her wrist controlled and up head-high). Your arm should be on the back side of the assailant’s triceps/biceps area, and his or her arm should be bent at about a 45-degree angle.

Instantly, upon reaching this side-by-side position, pull down and forward on your assailant’s wrist as if it were a sword and you were cutting downward with it. The attacker will drop hard onto his or her back. You can choose to take control of the knife as the attacker drops it, lock up the assailant’s arm or disengage. You may even find it necessary to use the knife you have taken from him or her to defend yourself if the attack continues and you do not have a firearm.

Fight Like You Mean It

As someone who has trained disarming techniques for many years and who has also disarmed attackers armed with knives on the street, I feel compelled to tell you that, when disarming, you may very well be cut. You should only attempt to disarm when you do not have any other options. When you do, go full speed and give it your all. Be mentally prepared to fight through the sight of your own blood.

For the technique mentioned above, there can be no hesitation. It has to be done instantaneously, with the kind of cat-like quickness that only comes with practice. Some people say, “Practice makes perfect,” but not me. We live in an imperfect world. It will never be perfect on the street. However, in the real world, practice makes prepared.