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Old 12-10-2014, 07:59 PM   #1
TheOneRonin
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Default Unarmed vs. Knife

Here's a little thought exercise for the community.

Given an exceedingly skilled but realistic martial artist (skill(s) at 16 - 18 range plus a few improved techniques), how would you go about disarming (or dealing with) an assailant armed with a knife?

I'm looking for melee combat approaches, not answers like "run", "bargain with him", or "shoot him".

Martial Arts and Technical Grappling offer a plethora of methods for dealing with this sort of situation, and I'd like to know what the community members feel is the most effective/efficient/safest way to deal with an assailant armed with a knife when you are unarmed.

In addition to seeing your options/tactics/techniques of choice, I'd like to know WHY you would choose that method over any of the other options available.

EDIT

For those who see how many pages this thread has grown too and would like a TL;DR, I'll summarize the tactics people have mentioned so far.

In no particular order...

1. Judo Parry to Arm Lock (then anything after that is just gravy)
2. Karate Kick to knife hand (with lots of DA to reduce the parry chance)
3. Judo/Karate attack to Disarm (with improved Disarm technique from Martial Arts)

The jury is still out on the "Retreating parry to feint stepping to non-weapon side to Arm Lock the non-weapon arm" shenanigans, so I'm not going to put it in the list.

Last edited by TheOneRonin; 12-14-2014 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Added summary of suggestions so far
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
Toptomcat
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Judo 18 + All-Out Defense (Parry) + Retreating Parry + Cross Parry, followed up by an Arm Lock, is a very attractive answer, providing a very reliable defense immediately followed by an attack that controls, damages, and takes the weapon out of the equation. Buy up Arm Lock and Counterattack to enhance it.

I'd choose a grappling answer over a striking-oriented one because you specify a single assailant and not more than one, where grappling becomes more problematic. I'd choose a reactive answer over a proactive one because the after-a-parry application of Arm Lock permits the opponent only one chance to parry you rather than two, and giving them a chance to parry you risks hand injury per the B.376 rules for parrying unarmed attacks with edged weapons. I'd choose a retreating parry because duh. I'd choose a Cross Parry because I'm assuming my enemy doesn't have the high skill needed to Rapid Strike or the Extra Attack advantage.

Last edited by Toptomcat; 12-10-2014 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:29 PM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
Judo 18 + All-Out Defense (Parry) + Retreating Parry + Cross Parry, followed up by an Arm Lock, is a very attractive answer, providing a very reliable defense immediately followed by an attack that controls, damages, and takes the weapon out of the equation. Buy up Arm Lock and Counterattack to enhance it.
.
Arm Lock is certainly valid but unless the knife wielder has Skill-24 and can drop 8 pts of that into Deceptive Attack it might be overkill.

I'm not sure you can follow an All Out Defense with any sort of offensive move. Even a Counterattack.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:36 PM   #4
Toptomcat
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Arm Lock sez you can use it 'on the first turn following a parry', which means you can All-Out Parry and, on your next turn when you aren't All-Out Defending, Arm Lock the poor sucker.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:43 PM   #5
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

I'd also got with Toptomcat's answer, with a slight change: Retreating puts you farther from the knifeman, and makes it hard to close into his hex to effect the arm lock. It's generally better to Sideslip and then step into the foe's hex for the grab.

After the arm lock, a throw from the lock will generally break the knife wielder's arm, effectively disarming him, if the lock wasn't sufficient.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:52 PM   #6
TheOneRonin
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
Judo 18 + All-Out Defense (Parry) + Retreating Parry + Cross Parry, followed up by an Arm Lock, is a very attractive answer, providing a very reliable defense immediately followed by an attack that controls, damages, and takes the weapon out of the equation. Buy up Arm Lock and Counterattack to enhance it.

I'd choose a grappling answer over a striking-oriented one because you specify a single assailant and not more than one, where grappling becomes more problematic. I'd choose a reactive answer over a proactive one because the after-a-parry application of Arm Lock permits the opponent only one chance to parry you rather than two, and giving them a chance to parry you risks hand injury per the B.376 rules for parrying unarmed attacks with edged weapons. I'd choose a retreating parry because duh. I'd choose a Cross Parry because I'm assuming my enemy doesn't have the high skill needed to Rapid Strike or the Extra Attack advantage.
I think that's one of the better choices out there, but the Arm Lock alone won't finish the job. It won't stop him from trying to break free or from striking you with another available limb. So what's your follow up? Break the arm? Throw from a lock? Try a disarm?

My concern about locks and throwing from locks is the amount of in-game time it takes. Every turn spent on the setup and execution of this is another attempt he gets to break free or counter attack.

As much as I love Technical Grappling, it slows down this process even more as you must first grab and inflict CP before you can attempt a lock.

Using just Martial Arts, the sequence above looks like this:

1: Bad Guy attacks
2: Hero performs retreating judo cross parry
3: Hero performs Arm Lock
4: Bad guy gets to Parry/Dodge the Arm Lock (attempt fails)
5: Bad guy spends his turn trying to break free
6: Hero can do something nasty like damage the arm or throw from a lock.

In the above example, the Bad Guy gets two attempts to defeat the lock before the Hero can start doing nasty stuff to him.

Using the same basic approach with TG, you get two options:

1. Hero makes a grapple attack against the Bad Guy's arm.
2. Bad guy gets to Parry/Dodge (fails, so Hero accumulates CP)
3. Bad guy attacks to break free on his turn (fails)
4. Hero performs Arm Lock to lock the joint (adds more CP)
5. Bad guy gets to Parry/Dodge (penalized by CP and fails)
6. Bad guy can attack to break free again on his turn (fails)
7. Hero can now perform nastiness on the locked limb

So now we are at step 7 before before we can begin the carnage, and the bad guy gets two active defense rolls and two attacks to break free.

The 2nd option is to use Grabbing Parry as a defense to start your initial grapple:

1. Bad guy attack's Hero.
2. Hero makes a grabbing parry to grab attacker's arm (inflicts CP)
3. Hero performs Arm Lock to lock the joint (adds more CP)
4. Bad guy gets to Parry/Dodge (penalized by CP and fails)
5. Bad guy can attack to break free again on his turn (fails)
6. Hero can now perform nastiness on the locked limb

Back down to six steps, and the bad guy still gets two opportunities to disrupt the Hero's plans.

Also, Grabbing Parry is pretty difficult to pull off and cannot be improved in a non-cinematic game.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:56 PM   #7
TheOneRonin
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
Arm Lock sez you can use it 'on the first turn following a parry', which means you can All-Out Parry and, on your next turn when you aren't All-Out Defending, Arm Lock the poor sucker.
Yup, that's right.

The Retreating AoD parry actually happens during the Bad Guy's turn, not during the Hero's turn.

So after the Parry, it is the Hero's turn again. And he can attempt an arm lock, an elbow to the face, or a kick to the junk.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:58 PM   #8
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneRonin View Post
Yup, that's right.

The Retreating AoD parry actually happens during the Bad Guy's turn, not during the Hero's turn.

So after the Parry, it is the Hero's turn again. And he can attempt an arm lock, an elbow to the face, or a kick to the junk.
that makes no sense. How can you retreat away only to magically be next to your target immediately after?
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #9
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
Arm Lock sez you can use it 'on the first turn following a parry', which means you can All-Out Parry and, on your next turn when you aren't All-Out Defending, Arm Lock the poor sucker.
You choose All Out Defense during your _attacker's_ Turn. When your Turn comes around you're locked into the All-Out Defense you chose. You're not out of All-Out Defense until the _next_ time you choose a Defense and you can't attack until after that.

Like I said you're in an overkill situation anyway. You don't need to AOD. Just drop that part and go with the rest of it.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #10
TheOneRonin
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Default Re: Unarmed vs. Knife

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I'd also got with Toptomcat's answer, with a slight change: Retreating puts you farther from the knifeman, and makes it hard to close into his hex to effect the arm lock. It's generally better to Sideslip and then step into the foe's hex for the grab.
Depends on the knife and the attack. With the knife in the basic book, the bad guy has to be in Close Combat for a Thrusting attack. If he does that, then you can retreat to an adjacent hex and still be able to move into close combat on your turn.

Quote:
After the arm lock, a throw from the lock will generally break the knife wielder's arm, effectively disarming him, if the lock wasn't sufficient.
Absolutely! But without AoA (Double) or Rapid Strike, you cannot lock and throw in the same turn. Waiting until your next turn gives your foe yet another opportunity to try and break free. Or he may just try and knee you in the junk or punch you in the face with his free hand.
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