Question: "Mr. Perkins: If you're attacked on a crowded subway car by a maniac with a knife, what do you do?"
--email from a student

Answer: We will assume that you are in a subway car with a number of other passengers.You have spotted a crazy person with a knife at a distance of maybe ten or twenty feet. I assume that you are unable to retreat and call for police. The maniac is approaching you and you can see that he intends to cut you up.

No one else has intervened.

This is a situation that has so many variables that it would be a herculean task to outline even half of them.

One thing that you can think about for similar situations is this:

If you can picture all of the poles and hangers that are available on a subway car you can brainstorm in this direction.

If you were on a plane and some knife-wielding terrorists were attempting to take over and you realized that "this is it", you could attack the attackers (a phrase invented by Brad Steiner). Assuming you had no makeshift or other weapons you could use the seat backs for balance to deliver devastating kicks directly at the knife wielder who gets in your path and who may be attempting to kill a crew member.

Your kicking ability will double in power when you balance using a stable object or wall and your attacker is rushing at you. In one of our seminars that dealt with just such a situation, one of the women (who weighed approximately 125 pounds) dropped a 275 pound man carrying a kicking shield and a rubber knife with a front stomping heel kick aimed at the attacker's chest. All of the attendees were amazed, including myself. That's how well a braced kick can work if you develop your timing, balance and channel your fear.

Now of course a real attacker could cut your leg on the way in but I think that if you are about to get a knife stuck in your throat or buried in your chest it is worth the gamble of a cut leg. One thing you should note: If the assailant is holding the knife in his right hand you are safer to use your left leg to kick with because it would make a femoral artery cut less likely. It would also work better for blocking other slashes and stabs. Assuming that you wear strong hiking shoes or boots you will be even more protected and have a more devastating effect. Steel toed shoes are always an option for our construction workers who use the subway to get to work.

If the knifer is not rushing but decides to approach slowly and jab while looking to lunge and finish you, the situation has just become more dangerous. On an airliner you have the advantage of a narrow aisle to attack/defend in. The subway car is wider which allows for more lateral motion on the maniac's part. It also allows you some lateral movement. If a pole is nearby use it for protection. Keep the pole between you and the knifer. Assuming you are in the middle of a full onslaught keep in mind that you could use the subway car walls for stability to enhance high speed rebound multi-kicking with either front kicks or side kicks. This is performed by kicking at the target and bouncing your foot off the floor repeatedly like a jackhammer. In most cases you will use the same leg without attempting to change unless you are a real cool customer and see a possible opening for a kick with the other leg. If necessary continue to stomp and kick the attacker even if he has fallen. Take care not to get cut from a grounded attacker.

If you are unable to get a balanced kick against a knife wielder, or have lost your balance, you can drop to the floor and apply modified Native American ground fighting. That methodology is a whole other world and beyond the scope of this article.

Good luck, JP


How does one commence or begin contact flow? How effective is it against boxing?


First realize that "Contact Flow" is not a method of fighting, it's a training
exercise. That being said, boxing can easily be tried out within the context of
doing contact flow. Since a boxer will not box slowly, the person doing KCD will
then need to match speed and energy. If the KCD practitioner has skill, he may:
intercept or absorb the first punch then flow in with the retraction of the
boxer's arms and rip the eyes and throat; step in and to the side while simultaneously
skimming eye strikes over and thru the attacker's initial punch;
attacking the attacker BEFORE he even throws a punch; kick his shins; or attack the
attacker first in any free-flowing unorthodox way that is grounded in realistic combative principles.
KCD is extremely effective against a boxing strategy all things being equal.

You initiate Flow anyway you want, but the best ways for reality purposes is with the attacker
performing a blind assault or a close combat entry (see Part 1 of our book). Both parties
should try initiating with close combat attacks simultaneously. You want
to be as creative with this as possible because violence is always chaotic and unpredictable.
Try everything.


"No question. Just applauding the newsletters. They are well-written and answer many questions. Thank you John."

--Bill D in Rochester NY. Hope to get down to train with you again."

"I remember times where fear seemed to freeze me solid
or so it seemed. It usually took someone to strike me
before I could react and strike in

That is EXACTLY what happened to me when I got into
the fight where I eventually had to stick my index
finger in the corner of the guy's eye who was
trespassing in my backyard.

For one, I thought my posturing would make him change
his mind. I never ever feared being hurt myself, but I
did feel like something was holding me back and making
me move slower than when I train. It almost felt like
I was stuck in mud or something. I never started
moving naturally until I realized that I was actually
under threat.

Mistakenly, I assumed that I needed to flow a lot
more. That was not my problem, although flowing as
often as possible is very important. It dawned on me
that I had almost completely neglected those fright
reaction drills because I thought they were too
rudimentary and that being someone who has been
exposed to extreme levels of violence in the past had
already prepared me.

I was wrong. What JP described in this article was the
exact phenomena that I experienced. That was a great
article. To this day, I've seen NO ONE that teaches a
fighting system in its totality in the same fashion as
you all. Thanks"

--Ken from Chicago