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As the blade of his would-be killer's knife punctured his flesh over and again, Tim Bateman drew on every last inch of his "average" martial arts ability.
The Dawesville father says the self-defence he learnt in a flirtation with Muay Thai and freestyle martial arts saved his life as a drug-affected intruder slashed away at his face and chest.
Mr Bateman, 43, confronted the attacker after the man had been terrorising a Dawesville street on August 30 last year.
When the man leapt through a neighbour's window, Mr Bateman instinctively followed.
His intention was to warn the residents to get out, but Mr Bateman found himself face to face with the "mad man" - now armed with a big kitchen knife.
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The man lunged at the unarmed Mr Bateman.
"It was so fast," he said. "There were no warnings, no threats, no nothing. He was aiming for my face, aiming for my chest, he was trying to kill me. I didn't have time to think, just react - block, block, block, that's all I could do.
"If it had been anyone else, someone who hadn't had training, they would be dead. I was just average in terms of ability but it was enough to save my life."
Mr Bateman suffered multiple injuries, including a chest wound that doctors said came within millimetres of vital organs.
"At the time I didn't know how many times I had been hit," Mr Bateman said. "There was no pain, just pure adrenaline. It's amazing what you can do when you're fighting for your life."
With the help of a neighbour, Mr Bateman was able to corner the volatile attacker as police made their way to the scene.
Governor-General Peter Cosgrove will today announce Mr Bateman as one of two West Australians to receive a bravery medal.
Another WA man, Scott Franklin, is among four unsung heroes of the dramatic Beaconsfield mine rescue in 2006 to be added to a group bravery citation.