Why do young people carry knives?

This is the first thing we need to ask if we are to stand a fighting chance of stopping them…

A History of Violence – Reece Coker

Frankly, I wasn’t a good boy when I was growing up! I used to get into lots of fights, and lots of trouble, and finished school with no GCSE’s whatsoever… For me, I liked the idea of guns, knives, survival, fighting, and everything that would make me tough, or, look tough… For me, the fear of being bullied, and the preoccupation with violence that I seemed to have, stemmed from a deep rooted fear of violence, and of seeming to be a “pussy” in front of my friends (yes I just dropped the P word). I will give you another P word “political-correctness”, now that word will do NOTHING to address the problem. So for me, peer pressure, protecting myself physically, and protecting my ego were the driving factors that made me strive to become a “weapon” as a fighter, and to carry weapons in my youth. I became such an accomplished fighter without a weapon, that I viewed it as a weakness on my part to actually carry one. Ironically, the tougher and more skilled I became, the less violent I was, and I had less need to prove myself.

Many people who carry knives, rarely even think about the potential for using the knife, and many who have used the knife in a violent situation have done so on the spur of, and heat of the moment, and regretted it. There is a double tragedy to consider in many cases, where a young person kills another, and wrecks their own live, that of their families, as well as taking the life of the victim, and devastating the victim’s family.

Interesting Fact

7 out of 10 young people who end up in A&E with a knife injury have been stabbed with their own knife. Carrying a blade actually puts you at risk.

What about others, why do other youngsters carry knives. Some of the top reasons cited by perpetrators, are:

  • For protection, self defence, in case they were ever attacked and needed to protect themselves
  • Because they are cheap and easy to get hold of
  • Being brought up in a household where carrying a knife is acceptable
  • To make themselves feel like the ‘Alpha Dog’ in their manor, or amongst their peers
  • To gain “respect”
  • Because they are not able to have a fist fight, and feel that a weapon will back them up
  • Some people just carry knives for their own mental safety, they like to feel re-assured in their mind that they are safe
  • Instilling fear in others
  • So that they feel they can push themselves up the social ladder
  • Some young children are forced to carry knives for older gang members, as the police wouldn’t suspect a 7-year-old of carrying a knife
  • Some people genuinely carry knives to hurt others with no other reason but to injure or maim another person
  • Peer pressure

You need to consider all of the above before coming up with an “anti-knife programme”. Simply speaking to mainstream schools, that don’t really have an issue with “carriers”, may tick a political box, and make politicians feel better, but it is a truly impotent approach in terms of dealing with the real issues. Teaching non-carriers about awareness, personal safety, and self-defence is far more useful, but doesn’t deter the “carriers”. To deter the carriers, you have to address the fear, which is the most common theme. In some shape of form, the concept of feeling safe, feeling more powerful, gaining respect – in a violent and edgy world where school teachers, politicians and other “suits”, have zero respect and zero understanding of how important respect is!

Violence is something that is naturally respected by young men from this world. They gravitate towards it as I did. Its sexy, intoxicating, addictive, and a fundamental part of human nature. Some of these young men are hardwired to be warriors, and leaders. If this is channelled, these young men could be leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes and more. I was lucky. A combination of martial arts and the military sorted me out, and allowed me to channel these natural tendencies. Concepts like National Service, boxing and martial arts gyms and survival training have long had a useful medium for channelling aggression constructively. Simply speaking to mainstream schools and telling the kids that “knives are bad” is lame to say the least!

So Why Am I Writing This Blog?

I will be arranging for a knife summit / conference like no other. I will be bringing together the Police, security, politicians, victims, perpetrators, intervention schemes, youth workers, businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and anyone else who wants a voice, and has something to contribute. This conference will be held in Yorkshire, but will then be rolled out Nationally. The result of the conference will be the formation of a programme which will make a difference, and will be heard!


If you are interested in sponsoring or speaking at the conference and would like more information, email events@combat-academy.co.uk



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