A FORMER SAS officer has revealed his top tips for surviving an attack by knife wielding terrorists – including arming yourself with a pint. Ex-soldier John Geddes learned the best techniques to thwart a dangerous situation during his 14-year career in the elite special forces unit.
The father-of-three gave his advice after the London Bridge terror attack that saw three men go on a rampage stabbing revellers at bars and restaurants in Borough Market. And even though one pub-goer won praise for not wanting to let go of his pint as he ran for cover during the attack, John explained that the man may actually have been protecting himself.
He explained: “A pint pot – we all know the damage some idiot in the pub can do with that. That’s what people have to do collectively to defeat these perpetrators. Cold drinks are good too. Just throw them in his face, especially if they come in a good volume like a beer. Liquid – of any sort – in the face is a big impediment to action.”
The 60-year-old also added that the best tactic is to team up with others and overpower the attacker as a group. He said a briefcase to the head of a jihadi could prove a good move while a pub garden umbrella could be used as a lance, a stool as a weapon – and a coffee in the face could give you time to violently attack.
He said: “You have to become momentarily medieval and fight in a group. You have to pick up whatever is around and throw it. You can only run so far and so fast – and for some people that isn’t an option, so you have to fight. What you should do depends on how the situation presents itself but for the normal person taking on a knife with your bare hands they’ve got no chance. If you are in a restaurant you’ve got knives, forks, chairs and bottles. Throw them at the attackers and overpower them. They bleed the same as you – they are only human. Pick up a table with others and throw it at them and follow it up with whatever you club you can find. For a moment you have to become a group of football hooligans. The very worst thing you can do is hide on the floor in the proximity of the attacker. If that’s what you do then you are going to be stabbed and shot.”
Former paratrooper John has also co-written Be A Hero: The Essential Guide to Active Shooter Incidents which is out in August and has a chapter on how to survive knife attacks. He added: “I heard one example of a man in the London attack talking about how he took them on with bottles and chairs and glasses. I suspect with the number of attackers and the number of people who were attacked, it will have happened more than once. People must have fought back.”
But he advises approaching the terrorist from directly behind and warns you shouldn’t wrap a jacket round your arm for protection because it puts you in a “negative, defensive position”. From his chapter on knife attacks, he wrote: “When danger threatens, don’t forget a bag is there on your shoulder ready to be deployed. Use it to keep a knifeman at bay, or if you come from his ‘six’ or flank, smash him on the head with it. Move side to side as you counter the blows aimed at you. Avoid moving backwards because, sooner or later, you are going to fall over something allowing the attacker to come above you and attack.”
John, who is a married grandfather-of-five was in the parachute regiment for ten years and then the SAS until he left as a warrant officer in 1998. He now works in private security training.
Ex-SAS man’s tips on how to fight off a knife-wielding terrorist
- Use a pint to defend yourself as both the beer and and the glass can be thrown in an attackers’ face
- In a pub beer garden, grab an umbrella and use it like a lance while tables and chairs can be used as weapons
- If drinking a coffee, throw the hot liquid into an attacker’s face or if using knives and forks also use them as tools
- If approaching a terrorist – come from behind them and never move backwards as you will eventually fall
- Bags and briefcases can be used to fend off people and they should be thrown at an attackers’ head
- Join forces with other people use a medieval pack mentality to overpower them