Using a Knife in Self-Defense: Right or Left Hand

According to researchers, left-handed people are better equipped for close-range mortal combat than right-handed people, but the ability to use both hands in hand-to-hand knife fighting is an essential element if you want to develop a correct approach to hand-to-hand combat. Both hands should work symbiotically and coordinately for a common purpose, whether they are both armed or only one of the two armed hands. However, if you are right or left-handed, just take it where you are most comfortable using a knife in combat.

The role of knives in self-defense is about survival and defense against an attack, not fighting. You must have intelligence, balance, and precision to learn how to defend yourself with a knife. You can learn how to carry knives safely and legally, as well as how to properly defend yourself against potential attackers.

Here are some of the details on how to use a knife in self-defense:

The Basic Grip Technique

The Forward (Common) Grip Techniques

The Forward (Common) Grip Techniques

Knives can be gripped in a variety of ways, but two distinct techniques, as well as some unusual grip techniques, have evolved in the tactical knife field. They are all very different, with distinct benefits and drawbacks. The knives are photographed with details mentioning the grip techniques of the military, and tactical combat knife pages are available through some tactical knife portals. The most common grip technique is the forward or traditional grip, which is used when picking up most knives and is how one would hold a kitchen knife.

The Reverse (Defensive) Knife Grip Techniques


The reverse knife grip technique is used when the knife blade and point oppose the thumb in the opposite direction as the forward grip. Reverse grip techniques have received a lot of attention over the course of human history, not all of it positive. It’s worth noting that in previous decades, the reverse grip was thought to be a sign of inexperience, popularized by knife murder dramas in which an inexperienced attacker would grab a knife and poke wildly downward. People who had been trained in the elegant and proper use of swords and parrying daggers had traditionally used the forward grip, so this was the only refined way to hold an edged weapon to them. Because refined is proper, all other grip techniques must be refined.

Unusual Knife Grip Techniques and Features


The human hand has incredible dexterity and can grip objects in a variety of ways. Man has learned to adapt his tools to the hand over time, and the knife, as man’s first and original tool, should be the epitome of these adaptations and designs. Unfortunately, many knives that are manufactured or poorly made are designed to meet economic manufacturing constraints rather than to accommodate the human hand.

Some of the knives handle grip techniques are unusual, rarely seen, or only used on a specific knife handle design. Finger rings, talons, spikes, and unusual shapes can guide the hand and create a strong grip. Grip styles designed to emphasize a specific function of the knife blade such as piercing can result in unusual grip positions. Some of these are mentioned below, as well as some that apply to many knife styles. 

The Left-hander’s advantage

The awkward position a left-handed knife fighter imposes on a right-handed knife fighter contributes to his advantage. The typical right vs. right symmetry is absent. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are far fewer left-handers than right-handers in the world, so the right-hander is always at a disadvantage in terms of experience when compared to the left-hander.

The disadvantage when Fighting a Left-hander with a knife

Knives with the same side “mirror image” can be confusing and stressful. Traditional attack and defense angles are rendered ineffective or awkward. The knife hand is a more vulnerable target. Off-hand (live hand) combat becomes less effective as the distance from weapons increases; live hand checking, passing, and parrying become more difficult. Secondary weapons may lose effectiveness for similar reasons. Knowing that the opponent is left-handed (and thus has an advantage) may be stressful in and of itself – at least in a real knife combat situation.

How to deal with the left-hander?

Learn to fight left-handed: This will teach you how left-handed knife fighters think and fight, as well as expose their tricks and mental quirks. It will also improve your coordination and provide you with a backup option if your dominant right hand is injured during a fight. As much as possible, stay out of the left-inside hander’s line: work to his outside this is what they’ll often try to do with you; fake inside, attack outside.

Train with left-handers: seek them out and fight/spar with them; learn the hard and painful way to deal with them. Make use of distance and footwork: Keep an eye on your distance; control distance to gain time to react and plan. Make some more room for yourself to find out what’s going on. Mental practice: Don’t let the situation frighten you; stay calm and focused.

Attack the hand: Your knife hand is closer to the blade of the left-hander, but remember that his knife hand is also closer to you; cut the hand; open up for the kill shot (e.g. to the left side of the neck, left eye or left kidney) Switch to southpaw: If you can fight with both your left and right hands, you should consider switching to southpaw to reduce the left-advantage handers.

Get trained in self-defense


You should not carry a knife for self-defense if you do not know how to defend yourself. Take a general personal self-defense class to learn how to use a knife for self-defense. It will help you learn to control your environment and maintain your cool in physical confrontations. Knife and stick fighting classes are widely available in metropolitan areas. Check out what’s available and get detailed, one-on-one training to learn how to use a knife properly and safely.

In general, a knife should be regarded as an everyday tool that can be used for self-defense if someone provokes an altercation, rather than a fighting weapon. Only draw your knife when the situation deems you so, like in a situation where your opponent is holding a knife. Additionally, only draw your knife if you intend to use it. Using a weapon to intimidate an opponent will likely induce a fight or flight response, and the momentum will shift quickly in their favor.