In hand-to-hand combat with small knives or daggers, the advantage is typically held by the party who possesses the upper hand in their technique. Perhaps one of the most basic prerequisites to become proficient in short distance combat is the position of the dagger in the hand, and there are three primary positions to master. The method of combat changes dramatically based on this one point. If one holds the dagger with the blade facing downward and the handle positioned upward, the techniques one utilizes should include a mix of the following methods illustrated hereafter.
Method one is a downward thrust, which is typically only useful if the other party is not proficient in knife combat. There are occasions however wherein this technique is in fact useful, for example when the opponent is equipped with certain alternative types of melee weapons or a firearm.
The second motion to utilize with the blade facing downward and the hilt facing upwards, which has a much more useful character, is the slashing technique. Careful attention should be placed on the position of the intended part of the body one is aiming for on one's opponent. This position is useful due to the inherent defensive nature the position of the blade affords its wielder. It must be said however that the position makes slashing motions the most effective technique while utilizing the dagger in this manner.
The third method is possibly the most versatile, and will be covered with the most depth of the options heretofore discussed. This dagger position is characterized by the handle being positioned horizontally in hand, with the blade facing outwards and the handle pointing towards the dagger's wielder. What this position sacrifices in defensive posture it makes up for in extended reach. Pointing the blade outward and holding the blade horizontally to the ground also affords the possessor of the dagger the option to not only slash at ones opponent, but additionally the critical technique of forward thrusts, with the intention of piercing the opponent's defensive garments and making internal contact between the blade and the flesh of one's enemy. It should also be stated that the horizontal blade position grants the dagger's owner a significant extension of reach which should not be discounted.
In summary, utilize the downward thrust against opponents without knives. Use the blade downward defensively. And use the dagger horizontally for extended reach. These techniques will be most useful in combination.