For the July 2014 issue of TACTICAL KNIVES, self-defense expert Michael Janich explored various roof block tactics in his “Street Smarts” column, a maneuver that allows its user to simultaneously block an attack and counterattack with their weapon hand.

“In simple terms, the roof block is a structure that combines a horizontal block or cut with a weapon with a simultaneous block with the non-weapon hand,” says Janich. “When performed with a stick or long-bladed weapon, the body of the weapon resembles the ridge of a roof, giving the technique its name. Although it is most often used to defend against overhead attacks, the versatility of this structure allows it to be easily angled to one side or the other, making it effective against a broad range of high-line attacks.”

Janich goes on to describe a small-blade version of the roof block, altering the technique slightly to allow the user to grasp the assailant’s forearm. “Small knives don’t have enough mass or surface area to block a committed attack, so executing a roof block with a small-bladed weapon has to take another form,” says Janich. “In the small-blade version of the roof block, the live hand…does all the blocking, making contact with the attacker’s forearm. At the same time, you use your knife to cut the forearm of the attacker’s weapon-wielding arm, hopefully compromising his grip or disarming him.

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Proper follow-through for the technique is also discussed, with Janich exploring how one can efficiently repel the attack. “To finish the fight after the roof block, use the palm of your live hand to collect the attacker’s elbow and pull his arm under your armpit to control it. Continue the flow of your first cut to bring the blade down vertically onto the top of the attacker’s arm. Drop your weight and pressure cut through the bicep and brachial nerve plexus, then follow immediately by cutting the quadricep muscle to disable his leg.”

CLICK HERE to read the full article on Street Smarts | Roof Block Tactics!

Also check out the July 2014 issue of TACTICAL KNIVES, available on newsstands. To subscribe, go to


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