By Bruce Alexander
A while back Rich Nance from Officer.com wrote a very solid article entitled, Don’t Get Stabbed! made me think about edged weapons attacks and Executive Protection. A quick (very quick) review of major assassinations in the past 20 years revealed that pistols are the favorite weapon of choice for assassins.
However, does that mean we shouldn’t train to counter a knife or other edged weapon attack during an AOP drill? Of course not. Knife attacks happen and frequency of attack should never be the gauge on whether we train on a particular defense or not. In 1972, Imelda Marcos, wife of the late President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, was attacked by a sword wielding assailant who was shot dead by security forces in the attempt.
Knife attacks on a principal might be rare but when you consider all of the other stabbing , slashing and cutting implements typically found in proximity of a protectee, we should probably train far more than we typically do in edged weapons defense. The best example I can think of for practicing edged weapons defense is the 21 foot principle that is used in defensive tactics training to illustrate the futility of relying on firearms alone to counter an assailant armed with a knife.
That entire scenario approximates the situation facing Executive Protection specialists. The attack comes without an obvious escalation of violence, the assailant is already inside the reactionary gap before the attack, and firearms, unless already drawn (such as in an Iraq/Afghanistan PSD) are usually not a viable option at that point.
Anyway, Rich Nance’s article is yet another reminder that defensive tactics shouldn’t be neglected by the Executive Protection community.