Re: How to deal with aggressive, non-compliant attackers? And discussion on atemi.
The ambush sucks. I played paintball for many years. We KNEW ambushes or hidden attacks were out there. We were ALERT, looking for them. And yet - still you would get whacked out of nowhere. The usual result was you were out, no chance to do anything. Most ambushes are like that. If you get surprised, you lose. Period. End of story.
That being said... If you were lucky and survived the initial attack, you had to MOVE and counterattack immediately - essentially enter and attack hard and fast with everything you had.
Now, over time we developed tactics to counter ambushes. Getting the ambusher to reveal himself (or herself) early and increase the odds of surviving the initial attack was always good. I was influenced by Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in WWII, who stated in his autobiography that he would approach potential sniper positions from afar out in the open and invariably induce the sniper to get impatient and take the shot early and miss.
Another tactic we liked was to guess the most logical ambush positions (by thinking like an ambusher) and essentially flank those positions to dislodge any potential ambusher. Feigning indifference by appearing to be moving straight into the potential ambush but then veering off at the last moment can also cause the ambusher to spring a much lower percentage attack thinking their moment was slipping away.
As far as knives go... My practice with "realistic" knife attacks - ambush or no - leaves me feeling naked and vulnerable. Avoid the knife and strike hard probably would work given the experiments we tried (obviously we didn't actually strike each other hard...). That's what the Systema guys show. It seems like the ONLY thing to try against someone wielding TWO knives... But those only work if you read/see/feel the attack coming...
Good Aiki probably wouldn't hurt of course...