Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Friday, July 19th, 2019

   Mindless Aphorisms That Are Blindly Accepted As “Truths”

IN the world of armed and unarmed martial arts we often hear statements that have been elevated to the level of “truths” simply because some celebrity in the field has mouthed or written them. We thought it would be fun to list and debunk some of this bullshit (and doubtless piss off a good number of morons who are true believers in the asininity!).

In The Unarmed Combat Sector

“The most important thing is, don’t get hit.” 

This is an approximation of something that was written years ago by a man who was certainly a legitimate and formidable karate exponent: the late Joe Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a powerful, fast, marvelously skilled karate man . . . but when he commented about not getting hit he said something very foolish, in our opinion.

The most important thing is WIN. Defeat the enemy/opponent, and prevail!

Once a person shifts his focus and tactical conduct on “not getting hit” he becomes defensive and preoccupied with preventing the enemy from hurting him. In combat it is virtually inevitable that the defender will get hit (or worse!). What is most important is that, when the encounter is over, the defender walks away in one piece, and the attacker cannot.

“Karate begins and ends with blocking.”

While this is certainly is true statement, speaking of the classical/traditional karate styles, it enjoins the karateka to adopt the exact opposite attitude and tactical response capacity that actual close combat has proven he really needs in order to stand the greatest chance of defeating his enemy: i.e. attacking relentlessly, and if possible launching his own attack ––– the “preemptive strike” ––– and following up relentlessly with offensive combat actions until his assailant is helpless.

“In karate never make the first move.”

A noble thought, perhaps, but tactical suicide. The truth is that a defender, upon realizing that he is is in imminent danger should make the first move, and follow that up with a vicious barrage until he has thoroughly vanquished his enemy.

In instances when he is taken off-guard, by surprise, he must strive mightily to turn the situation around so that he is carrying the offensive against his enemy.

“It is important to measure the degree of force you use in self-defense, and escalate to more serious actions only when the lesser techniques fail.”

Hogwash! There is no possible way to read the mind and assess the capabilities of a violent offender. Your reaction to an unprovoked (let’s face it, potentially deadly) attack must be ferocious, explosive, maximally destructive violence. Never give a violent offender a break! Waste no time trying to “measure” what you do when someone or some group of someones decides to beat your head in! Go get ‘em! Turn the tables and attack your attacker! Use techniques that speedily and reliably injure. “Pain compliance”, control, and “lesser measures” may be suitable for police officers who are sometimes obliged to restrain a non-dangerous, apparently non-violent misdemeaner suspect. For self-defense this approach is bullshit! 

“Size and strength are unimportant if you are sufficiently skilled.”

Not so. Strength and size are always significant ––– although it is true that they are not always or necessarily the decisive factors ina combative engagement. However, all other things being equal, the stronger and larger man will win every time. Intelligent training enjoins students to build themselves up in strength to their genetic potential, and back up the skills that they employ with as powerful a body as they are able to develop.

“All fights inevitably go to the ground.”

True of judo contests and of wrestling matches (and of the kind of sporting contests introduced as being some kind of “ultimate” event. The absolute myth that ground fighting is “inevitable” (let alone, desirable!) in real close combat is bullshit that a gullible martial arts public swallowed hook, line, and sinker! It was introduced by very clever people whose expertise in contest judo ––– emphasizing ne-waza ––– was outstanding. But for combat and self-defense one stays on one’s feet,and, should the exceptional happen and one ends up on the ground, one does not grapple as one might in a judo or wrestling contest. One uses other actions, and one gets to one’s feet.

“Classical, ancient weapons are every bit as formidable in 2019 as they were hundreds or thousands of years ago.”

The truth is that firearms, and modern edged and bludgeoning weapons are what the modern student of self-defense needs.      If you believe the myth about swords, nunchucks, sai, tonfa, throwing stars, and a few dozen other “ancient weapons” being suitable for today’s personal and home defense, you’re hopeless. 

In The Armed Combat Sector

“It is wise to insure that you have a ‘court-proof’ gun.”

What matters in any situation when a firearm is utilized in self-defense is two-fold: 1. Was the shooter in lawful possession of the firearm that was employed? and 2. Was the weapon employed justifiably, according to the law?

The only people who truly advocate and believe in the nonsense of a “court-proof gun” are the adult children who read that comic book fare known as “gun magazines”.

“The ‘new technique’ permits a man to use a handgun like it was a rifle.”

Oh, really? Then how come in that L.A. shootout where those two freaks in body armor attempted to escape after robbing a bank, the police (whose actions were nothing short of heroic) couldn’t achieve anything with their handguns? They had all been trained in the “new technique”. It was only after they acquired AR-15s from a local sporting goods store that they were finally able to drop the heavily armored bank robbers.

This bullshit about using a pistol “like it was a rifle” comes from the competition circuit. Sure . . . when you are shooting cardboard cutouts a hit with a .45ACP round at 25 meters is the equialent of a hit with a .308 NATO round. Both bullets hit and penetrate the cardboard target. But body armor is a factor, and range is, too. Handgun rounds will travel a great deal farther than they will reliably drop a man who is hit with them. This is a fact! So forget the idiot myth.

“Revolvers are becoming obsolete.”

In law enforcement circles, there is an element of truth to this statement. However . . . many law enforcement officers elect to carry a second gun, and that is most often a small .38 Special snubby! And, as far as the private sector is concerned, the revolver is alive, well, and going very strong. Quality revolvers are powerful, reliable, simple weapons that will likely continue to serve for many generations to come. They will perhaps be obsolete when the autopistol becomes obsolete, and rayguns replace cartridge-firing weaponry.

“A large magazine capacity is good if you plan to miss a lot.”

Oh, gee . . . what a clever (and stupid) comment!

A large magazine capacity provides an advantage that some individuals feel they need ––– or simply want. It’s not that they plan to “miss a lot” (ha, ha . . . very funny), it’s that they want to have more rounds available before needing to reload. With very little imagination we can see how law enforcement officers and military people most notably might want this.

Personally, we’re fine with the standard Colt .45 and seven round magazines. But that is us, not the enitre world of shooters. And we respect the judgment of those who wish to carry higher capacity arms. In fact, you might, yourself.

“Speed’s fine but accuracy’s final.”

If in fact those who emphasized great speed (like Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate, and others who have been and done more times than most “avid shooters” have gone to the range) were unconcerned about hitting the enemy, but only cared about speed, this pointless statement would then make sense. But they don’t, and it doesn’t.

Speed is crucial in reacting to lethal danger with one’s sidearm, or other firearm. This doesn’t mean, and it is a strawman objection to imply that it does mean, that accuracy is insignificant.

This bullshit seems to have become a popular bromide amongst the deluded who believe that a handgun’s sights must always be employed, and that point shooting (which is deadly accurate and much faster) pays no attention to accurate shot placement.

Here’s a final thought (for those who think): In the real world (as opposed to match shooting events) it is important to get rounds firing in the enemy’s direction ASAP. In the military this has long been advocated, and is known as “fire superiority”. Now it is certainly true that cardboard cutouts are not disoriented or shaken by being shot at; but humans are. And a video appearing on You Tube shows a marvelous example of how this works. A little Asian woman literally routs a collection of living sh–t who ––– also armed with guns ––– have broken into her home. Most of the rounds she fired missed , , , but nonetheless caused to scum to flee. Happily she did hit one or two of the garbage heaps! 

And ––– back to the L.A. shootout. It was the barrage of handgun fire that kept the bank robbers from escaping. The .223 rounds from the AR-15 dropped them . . . but they would have escaped if the rapid fire auperiority of the officers had not held them in check.

“Unless a man is a good recreational shooter he will not become a good combat marksman.”

Horsesh–t. And this was proven to be horsesh–t in Shanghai, when Fairbairn trained the officers in point shooting, and later on, in WWII, when Fairbairn, Applegate, Sykes, and O’Neill trained soldiers, marines, FBI agents, and secret operatives of the SOE and OSS in point shooting. Few of these people were “recreational shooters”. Many (especially in SOE and OSS) didn’t care much personally for guns, at all. Yet all who were trained in point shooting retained their skills and were combat-competent, as their documented experiences proved. 

“Combat shooting is a perishable skill.”

No . . . the “modern” or “new” technique of the pistol is a perishable skill! As noted, those trained in point shooting (i.e. real combat shooting) retained their skill with no retraining required. 

“The pressure and stress of competition shooting can be greater than the pressure and stress of actual combat.”

Perhaps . . . for a deluded, improperly trained fool who equates shooting for fun with shooting for keeps.

Mental conditioning for combat bears no relation to mental preparation for competition. There is no correlation between shooting at a range and shooting at a man who is also armed, and whose intention is to kill you. Period.

“Point shooting has been surpassed by the ‘new technique’ of match shooting.” (Note: Alternatively: “Point shooting is a fraud.”)

Absolute, utter, complete, fabricated, arrant BULLSHIT.

Anyone who believes this should make a serious study of the use of firearms in self-defense.

Point shooting literally grew out of nothing but actual combat experience with firearms. Ot was validated 100% by reality.

The so-called “new technique” grew out of nothing but competition/recreational/sport shooing experience. When and where put to the test in the real world, it proved not to be a desirable shooting method!

“Knife fighting training demands knife vs. knife fight training.”

The hell it does!

Knifework is not dueling. Certainly having a mock “knife fight” with rubber knives can be fun, but it does not correlate with using a knife in combat. Knifework is a military skill. It is useful for self-defense, but it is not cultivated by one-on-one bouts with fellow knife-wielders!

If we have a knife we will attack an enemy and kill him. We will not wait and enjoin him to draw his knofe so that we can knife fight. And, we understand that no knife-wielding enemy is going to wait for us to draw our knife so that an equal contest can be had.

One of our teachers, the late Rex Applegate, once told us in a telephone conversation that in all of WWII he is not aware of a single knife vs. knife encounter!

“The ultimate stick form of self-defense is escrima or kali.”

No it isn’t.

First of all, these individuals train in competitive bouts. Nonsense and unrealistic, as is knife dueling. Second, they use rattan sticks ––– greatly inferior to the hardwoods we have in the West (i.e. hickory, cocobolo, ash, ironwood). Third, these arts use double stick methods. Who the hell is going to have two sticks in his hand to employ in self-defense? 

A walking stick (private citizen) or a hardwood baton (police officer) is the way to go. Practice the Filipino arts if you enjoy them, but do not look to them for practical stick methods.

Another flaw in the Filipino arts is complexity and formality ––– bugaboos that dilute karate, ju-jutsu, “kung fu”, hapkido, and so on.

The private citizen should also become familiar with the yawara hand stick ––– used to strike, not to apply pressure to pressure-points.

Doubtless we have irritated a number of individuals, although it has not been our intention to do so. We simply wish to present the facts ––– in this case case by exploding some popularly held myths, that unfortuately have become unquestioned mantras for an awful lot of people.

Here’s the truth. Take it or leave it.


Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Consider The Old Warhorse

(For Those Deciding Upon A Handgun)

FIREARMS are integral to a modern program of personal defense training and close combat. And while we are not doctrinaire regarding precisely which revolvers and semi-automatic pistols are the best, we certainly have our biases! We go easy with them today, however, because now in this 21st century we have a plethora of totally excellent combat handguns . . . and it would be unprofessional for us to teach students that there was a single “best” handgun for all, and that he (or she) would better choose it, or be poorly armed.

There  was a time when the argument could be made (and reasonably defended) that John Browning’s Government Model .45 automatic pistol was, hands down, the single finest all-round combat handgun in the world. The late small arms expert Jeff Cooper thought so, and was quite well-known for this belief. William Fairbairn, the father of combat handgun shooting, thought so too . . . long before Cooper’s views became gospel to a sea of true believing gun buffs. And to be honest, we still believe, for ourself, and as far as our personal need and requirements goes, that the .45 is still The Best sidearm. That is the Series ’70 Colt Government Model. We would select that handgun first and foremost if we could (and insofar as we can, we do!) but we think that Sig Sauer, Heckler and Koch, Smith and Wesson, and of course Glock produce superbly serviceable sidearms, and we would say to anyone deciding that he’d prefer one of them to the “old warhorse”, “Go ahead, your choice is an excellent one!”  We also believe that revolvers are better choices for some individuals, as are the .38 Special, .357, 9mm, .40, and .38 Super cartridges. For all the yap we have listened to from armchair combat experts over the years, who love guns and who often excel in the competition shooting sports, about how “laughable” and “underpowered”, and “inferior”, etc. most anything but the .45acp is, we have never heard anyone say that he wouldn’t mind getting shot with one of those “lesser” calibers.

You definitely have a variety of sidearms to choose from. Our only insistence is that you recognize the importance of modern weapons in a realistic self-defense program, and that you take suitable safety and handling training, and then purchase the weapon that best suits your needs ––– legally.

But for anyone who finds themselves still undecided and wondering just what handgun they ought to purchase, we have no hesitation in strongly recommending the venerable “old warhorse”. . . the John Browning designed .45acp Government Model pistol. We’d suggest the Series ’70 model, and we would urge investigating the Commander model and the Combat Commander model, as well. The ones manufactured in the 60’s and the 70’s can be found at excellent prices online from various arms dealers. We personally had the experience of carrying a Commander (lightweight aluminum alloy frame) constantly for a time, and it was the most comfortable handgun we ever carried.

Other than the Colt we’d recommend Springfield Armory’s basic G.I. type .45, or Remington’s . . . all top quality. If you like the .45, then we certainly encourage you to opt for it.

We would offer the following list of advantages that the .45 auto offers, with no intention of suggesting that other handguns do not offer their own advantages:

• The 1911 .45 is utterly reliable. Such problems as some shooters have had with the weapon is traceable to either the magazines they were using, or the ammunition they were firing. Use plain 230 grain full metal jacketed ammunition. Nothing else is necessary and the weapon functions flawlessly with this factory new G.I. “hardball”. And use new factory magazines. If a magazine gets bent or is otherwise compromised during range drill or outdoor practice firing, do not use that magazine when wearing your sidearm.

• The .45acp is a brutal man stopping round, as handguns go. No handgun (including the .44 magnum) will drop a man with greater reliability than the .45. Yes, the .44 magnum is more powerful . . . but with handguns you only get a 19 out of 20 likelihood of dropping your man assuming your round(s) hits center mass. For sufficiently greater power than the .45 you want a shotgun or a carbine, at least.

• The .45 automatic is simply constructed. This is important because it makes for greater durability and reliability. For the military man it is crucial, because it makes field repairs and parts replacement possible when no gunsmith or armorer is handy, by the shooter, himself. The .45 is easy to maintain in peak efficiency under unfavorable field conditions.

• The .45 is very flat and comfortable to carry. This is perhaps true of other autos also; but it is more true of the 1911 than it is of most of them.

• The Government model is a thoroughly proven weapon. In world wars and in lesser wars, in wartime and in peacetime, for more than 100 years(!) this incredible pistol has distinguished itself as one marvelous, reliable, powerful, handy weapon. The confidence it rightly gives its properly trained possessor is important.

• Although the 1911 is probably the single most altered, customized, tinkered with, and modified handgun in the world, it is perfectly adequate for battle right out of the box. An army of true believing sycophants who drank the “new technique cool aid” will bristle, guffaw, and snicker madly at our statement, but consider that in world war one and two, in Korea, and in Vietnam (to name only the wars in which the unmodified, out-of-the-box .45 automatic served superbly) the plain unadorned 1911 pistol did just fine. We do urge that the new weapon be broken in with two or three hundred rounds of range firing before carrying it, and we have no argument with anyone who believes that this or that modification will improve the weapon for himself, after he has had experience firing it, we think it foolish to assume that one necessarily needs anything more than that which the factory provides. For 90% or more of those who purchase a .45 automatic, the out-of-the-box weapon will serve perfectly.

• Something for every self-defense and military student to consider: The Government model .45 makes a powerful skull-cracking bludgeoning weapon when empty ––– should the need for such application ever arise. It is durable, heavy, and makes a great blackjack!

• As far as withstanding abusive, unfavorable field service conditions (again, mainly for the military man) nothing beats the 1911.

It has been our intention here to present a case for selecting the Government model 1911 .45 pistol for those who have not yet decided what they wish to obtain for their personal defensive handgun. So long as anyone selects a quality weapon other than the .45 we believe that’s just fine. But we do believe that the .45 is a great choice if you are undecided about what to choose.

Do remember that lots of dry fire drill is desirable so that your handgun becomes an “extension” of yourself . . . a tool that you are accustomed to handling. Get out and fire your weapon; master point shooting, and become expert at close range (i.e. about seven yards or less) quick reaction shooting. Unarmed and armed combat BOTH are necessary for a complete, reliable self-defense and family defense program.



Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

The Fair Play Trap

FAIR play is fine so long as you are playing. However, self-defense is no game, sport, or friendly competition.It is a battle for survival! And unless a student comes firmly to grips with this irrevocable fact, he will be less than fully equipped to defend himself, protect his family, and deal with the predatory scum that comprises a percentage of the human species.

While we certainly recognize anyone’s perfect right to participate in whatever sport he wishes, we take exception to the widespread notion that the sport of UFC or MMA is related to the war that is a self-defense emergency. Participation in the MMA, the UFC, competitive karate, judo contests, boxing, wrestling, etc., while certainly providing a serious and advanced competitor who is in hard training a set of tools that he can normally adopt to a real emergency, does not prepare a person fully for real close combat. Combat is a separate phenomenon and must be addressed as such if the student’s goal is personal defense, and he has no interest in sport, whatever.

One of the problems with attempting to prepare for self-defense by participating in sport is that fair play ––– i.e. decency and good sportsmanship ––– is (and must be) inculcated into every participant. And it is a fact that, under great stress, a person reverts to that which he has most deeply embedded into his motor memory and psyche. This does not mean that a sportsman will deliberately reduce his level of reaction to a deadly attack. Rather, his constant training in adhering, when fighting, to the appropriate body of rules and regulations that attend his sport, will incline him sharply to follow those rules and to obey those regulations in combat, unconsciously. In a situation, for example, where some street punk confronts the sportsman and assumes a stance, it would be quite natural for the sportsman to assume the stance that he is accustomed to. In reality, a far better reaction is immediate attack; violently blasting into the street punk while he is the process of assuming his “stance”. However, his conditioning from contests and sport would mitigate severely against the likelihood of his doing that. He will do, instead, what his conditioning and experience have taught him to do.

The sportsman is in a “fair play trap”. The ethical consideration that is a necessary and valid and indispensable part of any and all competitive fighting is completely out of place when an emergency obliges the individual to defend himself.

You can have a sport, or you can have a combat method. But you cannot have both in the same system, no matter how much popularity or popular bullshit is behind the idea that you can.

Our focus is and always has been on close combat and self-defense. If that is your objective, and your concern, then read, study, and memorize the following precepts:

1.   There is no correlation between any form of sport and real combat.

In a sport the idea is to win in a certain allowable, prescribed way. In combat/self-defense the idea is to WIN, period.

2.   Embrace the dirtiest, foulest, most unfair methods for self-defense ––– and do so with great enthusiasm. These are the techniques that work under extreme, life-threatening conditions when anything goes for personal protection. 

3.   Fighting (i.e. “mutual combat”) is stupid, dangerous, and ––– except in a sporting form in which consenting adults participate ––– always avoidable. The need to defend yourself is not always avoidable, and as an unwilling participant in the battle you must never restrict yourself to any rules or forebearance.

4.   Objectively speaking, of course, any attack that is initiated against a passive individual is a “dirty”, “unfair”, “unsporting”, “foul” action. Even if an attacker elects to attack by employing only certain sporting-type actions, the fact that he is doing so against an unwilling participant and not a fellow competitor makes him a predatory beast deserving of no mercy, fairness, ethics, consideration, compassion, decency, or concern. You owe such a beast nothing.

5.   Whatever harm or damage or injury or loss any attacker suffers, he bears 100% full responsibility for it. An intended victim who resists the attacker is responsible for nothing. (This is a principle of reason and justice; it may not be reflected in the law).

6.   Your attacker will never hesitate to do to you what you might be hesitant about doing to him. Ponder this deeply and consider how important it is to eliminate any hesitation whatever when reacting fiercely to any violent criminal attack.

7.  Police officers and those in similar occupations may need to employ arrest and control skills. You do not need or want this bullshit. You want decisive, destructive skills that stop strong, determined human aggressors in their tracks. As a private citizen you have no responsibility to arrest or to control an offender.

8.   Your life is more important than your attacker’s life. He (the attacker) has, as far as you are concerned, signed his resignation from the human race the moment he decided to pose an unwarranted danger to you.

9.   Weapons, despite the stupidity and hysteria so commonly heard today, are highly desirable and important tools. Firearms, edged weapons, and bludgeoning weapons are all a part of a comprehensive self-defense repertoire. Going beyond the obvious value of being armed when confronting armed aggression, there is the reality of weapons often being needed to equalize. Multiple attackers, much younger and stronger assailants, a defender’s having medical conditions that prevent him from using his hands and feet well enough to defend himself, etc. are important reasons why weaponry must be an important part of comprehensive self-defense preparation.

10.  Finally, please remember something that we first pointed out in the early 1970’s:


Summing Up . . .

You have every right to go to war when you are attacked and defend yourself with ruthless disregard for the attacker. No matter what bullshit may be believed or accepted, it is the initiator of unjustifiable violence who bears full responsibility for whatever damages he or others may suffer as a result of defensive action being taken against him, not to mention whatever damages his intended victim may suffer. No tactic is too foul, dirty, or unfair that a defender should hesitate to employ it in self-defense. You owe nothing to anyone who initiates violence against you, unjustifiably. Do not remain in the “fair play trap” . . . as only the living scum who choose to prey upon the innocent benefit from anyone’s insistence upon being fair and ethical.



Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

“Superheroes”, “Guardian Angels”, And You

“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing”

–––Albert Einstein

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for all good men to do nothing”

–––Edmund Burke

UNTIL very recently we were unaware of the urban phenomenon of so-called Real-Life Superheroes. These are individuals, mostly young men, but with a percentage of young women, too, who don what are often fairly outrageous outfits including masks, and go about ––– normally after dark ––– attempting to do whatever they can to fight street crime and to provide assistance here and there to needy people. Local police where these people ply their avocation seem more to “tolerate” than to support these very well-intended, civic-minded, enormously generous and surprisingly decent community members. (A somewhat similar relationship has always existed between the now famous “Guardian Angels” Organization, which is headed up by its Founder, Curtis Sliwa, and the NYPD).

What of these people? What of their groups or members of their groups? Are they making a difference? Is the difference a good one? Should citizens support them?

We’ll start off with the well-known Guardian Angels. Our personal opinion of these people is that they are nothing short of wonderful. They are paid nothing. They patrol danger spots and curtail a great deal of trouble ––– often by their mere presence; sometimes at the cost of their own blood. These people we would prefer to refer to as super citizens than “super heroes”, since the latter term smacks of ostentation and bravado (neither of which have ever characterized either Curtis Sliwa or his people). Curtis Sliwa has risked, and recently came very close to losing, his life. The reaction of the NYPD officers who showed up at the scene of Sliwa’s near-assassination was, in our view, unbecoming. Sliwa and his people have always cooperated with the NYPD, have often been responsible for the apprehension of street scum, and have never derided or in any way entered into conflicts of any kind at any level with the law enforcers of New York City. We like to think that the majority of New York’s Finest appreciate and respect Sliwa and the Guardian Angels.

As for the Real-Life Superheroes (a designation that these individuals use, themselves) who exist in much smaller groups than the today well-established and international Guardian Angels, or in some instances as solitary persons who simply feel that it is their mission to work against crime and injustice in their cities, we came away from our orientation in their activities and motives feeling  a) That they are essentially decent, highly motivated, courageous and determined individuals,  b) That they certainly deserve citizen respect and support,  c) That they do not hinder or conflict with duly constituted law enforcement in any way, and  d)  That they would do well to drastically simplify, tone down, and minimize whatever costumes or “uniforms” they choose to wear. Our personal opinion is that they would be taken more seriously by more people, and that ––– if their appearance was less flamboyant ––– their effect would actually be more powerful. We do not say this disrespectfully, but more as a sincere observation intended to help these individuals ––– since we’re all for what they do. (Note the much more simple uniform that the Guardian Angels wear. It gets the message across instantly who they are . . . and there is no way to mistake the members for fanticizers or possibly flakes.

Whenever we think about the Guardian Angels (and now, the Real-Life Superheroes, as well) our thoughts invariably turn to the need for every single citizen who is able to do so to become a prepared enemy of criminal violence and intimidating predation. No, we do not mean that every able-bodied man and woman should join or form any group at all, necessarily. However, we do believe that every man and woman should become as adept and able as humanly possible to defend himself and those he loves. We make no apologies for the fact that we advocate responsible private citizen ownership, carry, and lawful USE of firearms, and edged and bludgeoning weapons as well as the use of the customary security procedures (i.e. alarms, locks, guard dogs, neighborhood watch groups, etc,). You know we believe in martial skills training! Not competition stuff, but the real deal. COMBAT skills; war-proven skills. Armed and unarmed. We believe that combat arts training should be a part of every decent citizen’s education. Yes, the police must be trained and prepared, but first and foremost it is the American way for all citizens to be ready to defend themselves and their families in any emergency. It is exclusive, elitist, and frankly statist to declare, as some have, that the citizenry constitute a body of  “sheep”, and that they are in need of so-called “sheepdogs” (i.e. state-employed armed protectors) for their security. Yes, we need the police and the military, and absolutely we should support them and respect them, and cooperate with them whenever we can do so;  but we should insist upon and demand laws that freely allow all of us to defend ourselves with and without all modern, individual weapons. 

We applaud the Real-Life Superheroes for their spirit, and for the fact that their hearts are in the right place. Just like the Guardian Angels –––  may they continue to flourish. But in applauding them and our law enforcement professionals as well, we nonetheless understand that we, the people have not merely a perfect RIGHT but also a responsibility, to safeguard and protect ourselves and our own. The powerful, united front presented by well-organized, lawful citizen groups, the police, and well-prepared individual citizens who are able to meet the predatory elements when necessary and beat them at their own game of violence, would soon see the despicable acts of antisocial predation dwindle tremendously from their present disgracefully frequent rate of occurrence.


Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Do Your Techniques

Have An “Expiration

Date” ?

VERY seriously, a large number of so-called “self-defense” techniques have what can only be described as an “expiration date” or a “shelf life”. These are not necessarily all “bad” or “useless” or “completely impractical” techniques (although many are, for real world self-defense). Rather, they are techniques that depend upon you being . . .

• Reasonably young (say, no older

than perhaps 40 or 45, at the


• In good condition because you are

in regular training and competition

The techniques that we are referring to are, for example, high, spinning, or jump type kicks; clenched fist punching; fancy footwork; advanced throwing techniques; complex holds. Some who are enthusiastic competition fighters are quite good at the application of these skills ––– for the time being. So long as they are in daily, hard training, competing regularly, and being scrupulously attentive to fitness conditioning in addition to their technical practice and competition, they just may be able to apply their fairly elaborate fighting skills outside the arena of competition and in the street, against a real violent attacker.

But the accumulation of injuries from a competitive fighting career, and the onset of middle and then senior age will inevitably make the combat application of these skills (even if they can still do them in training, in the gym) useless to the sport fighter for practical use. The agility, viciousness, strength, speed of movement, street combat experience, and psychopathic meanness that typify the really dangerous violent types that infest our cities will trump competition actions, once the competitor is in his 40’s. (Are there exceptions to this? Probably. But it is foolish, if you are concerned about self-defense, to hope that you will be one of the exceptions. There’s too much riding on such a gamble. And besides . . . there is a body of war-proven close combat and defense doctrine that can be relied upon for a lifetime. So why not go with that, in the first place!)

Real self-defense and close combat art is a weapon. It has nothing to do with sport or with competition of any kind. And to even spend some time on questionable skills (i.e. competition stuff) when you are in your prime ––– if real combat ability is what you’re after ––– is a foolish waste. Would you purchase a handgun when in your 20’s that would lose its effectiveness and reliability when you reach the age of 45 or 50? Of course not! A firearm is a lifetime weapon; and if it came with a shelf life, it would be a worthless piece of junk! Hell  . . .  good firearms are passed on generationally, and if you purchase a quality sidearm your grandson will be able to use it for defense of himself and his family literally 100 years from now.

Combat and self-defense skills must of course be acquired individually by each person who wishes to possess them, so the analogy with firearms is not perfect. But anyone with something higher than a room temperature I.Q. should see the irrefutable logic here. If self-defense and close combat is your purpose when you undertake the study of martial arts, then go with that which is intended for that purpose, right from day one.



Sunday, May 13th, 2018



WE are a great believer in the fighting knife.If it were up to us every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman who deployed to a combat zone would be armed there at all times with a handgun and a razor sharp fighting knife. And, we would add, he would have had very adequate training in their proper combat employment prior to being sent in harm’s way.

Individual close combat is not a primary or even a moderately serious secondary concern for war planners and military leaders. Hand-to-hand combat and close range interpersonal confrontations with handguns do not decide the outcome of a war, and hence don’t matter much to those who run the armed services’ war fghting activities. But these activities matter a great deal to the individual fighting man who finds himself in a predicament that demands he kill or be killed in a close quarters affray!

Personal hand-held weapons that may be worn on the person 24/7 and that give the individual marked superiority in a close range encounter impart a boost to the fighting man’s morale that can prove invaluable in any war effort –––– great, small, or “limited” (as those who see nothing wrong with playing with the lives of the finest young men our Country has been blessed with, refer to them).  The well-trained soldier who is never without a reliable, loaded handgun and a fighting knife automatically possesses great confidence and an enhanced fighting spirit. This last alone justifies the fighting man being so armed whenever he is sent to any hot zone on earth. But we know what gives; we won’t hold our breath.

While our British cousins have apparently made fighting knives and lockblade folders that are suitable for self-defense just about impossible for the law abiding private citizen to own and to carry, we here in the U.S. have no such problem (yet, anyway). And while Mr. and Mrs. Private Citizen in the U.S. cannot carry a full-sized combat knife on his person, purchasing and owning such knives is legal (to the best of our knowledge, everywhere in America), and having such weapons available in one’s home or apartment can prove to be life-saving . . . especially in places like New York City, where the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms is shamelessly infringed, and only dangerous criminals and the police are armed with guns. (It is of course “possible” to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in New York City; but unless you have the financial means to afford the legal counsel and political red tape, forget it.) Unfortunately, this atrociousstate of affairs exists throughout the Stateof New York today!

So learn knifework and unarmed combat. We’d recommend strongly that you master the stick, too. With a quality folding knife that does not exceed the legal size allowance for wherever your live on your person, and the skill to use it well, you’re better off i the street than being unarmed. And having a few fighting knives placed throughout your dwelling is certainly better than having nothing but your bare hands to repel a home invading intruder. Even if you do carry a handgun legally, there’s nothing wrong with also carrying a good knife.

The knife has certain advantages over the stick. Consider . . . 

  • A knife has tremendous psychological effect on an attacker. Many individuals are not intimidated by a stick, but will draw back instantly when confronting a sharp blade.

  • A knife is readily concealable, very light and easy to carry, and is infinitely combinable with unarmed combat skills (the learning of which should always preceed learning knifework).

  • The sheer shock of having an intended “victim” turn warrior and not merely draw a knife but attack with it fiercly, stabbing and slashing like lightning, can turn the toughest troublemaking predator to jelly!

  • With proper training you can learn to inflict a terrifying (fatal, if your life is at stake) wound to anyone. Nobody wants to bleed profusely and feel his flesh ripped apart! It spoils the attacker’s whole game.

  • Proper knifework can be taught to almost anyone who has a firm grasp and working knowledge of the basics of unarmed combat within a few hours.

  • The fact that there is a Wstern prejudice against knives (i.e. they are thought of widely as “the bad guy’s weapon”) actually helps if you use a knife for self-defense! The scumbag may easily and quickly conclude that he has picked a far “badder dude” than himself to mess with. 

Recommended Knives

THERE are today literally dozens of different, high quality folding knives that are speedy to open and that are well-designed for anti-personnel use. Just check online or go to any well-stocked knife shop. You want a lockblade folder with a facility for one-hand opening.

We love the Applegate Folder, and if we were going to carry a folding knife that would be our choice. But you will find many other top-quality lockblade folders that constitute a fine choice.

As for fixed-blade fighting knives, we recommend:

  • The Randall-Made Model #1, #2, #14, and #15.

  • The Ek combat knives (made prior to the close of the Ek Commando Knife Company. They are available and well worth the cost.

  • The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Fighting Knife. The old Sheffield models are around, and there are other well-made versions of this proven knife available. Don’t opt for a “cheapie imitation”. Spend the asking price for a quality model.

  • The USMC Ka-Bar knife

  • The original design Gerber Mark II Combat Knife

There are other excellent choices, and we urge you to remember that, finally, it is the man behind the knife, and not the knife per se that matters most. The legendary Jim Bowie made his reputation as a fierce and unbeatable knife fighter long before the “Bowie Knife” was forged! It was at the Vidalia Sandbar . . . and Bowie used a kitchen knife!

One final thing. We would be less than honest if we did not recognize and point out that your mindset and attitude matter a great deal whenever weapons training is considered. Are you, in your heart of hearts, ready and willing to use a knife against a human adversary? Not everyone is, and no one who isn’t, or who suspects that he isn’t or may not be, should carry or equip himself at home with a knife for self-defense.

Forget the stupid knife “seminars” and martial arts fanticisers who have their charges use rubber or wooden knives in simulated dojo combat. In reality you must expect to get blood and perhaps pieces of flesh on your hands, clothing and face. Using a knife on an enemy is a close-in, personal, hands-on, bloody affair. It is one thing to simulate slashing someone’s throat. It is quite another to actually slash someone’s throat. Some people who would shoot someone in a crisis, or strike him repeatedly with a walking stick across the neck, head, and face just could not get face-to-face with another individual and stab and slash him to death. And, like how it sounds or not, that is exactly what you must be prepared to do ––– and to do without a tremor of hesitation ––– when you employ a knife in self-defense. While some street garbage may turn tail and run after they sustain a slight wound or just see the knife, some will not. And when training in any aspect of self-defense it is the worst not the best that must be assumed and prepared for.

So think about it. If the knife is for you, then you definitely want to learn knifework. As the late master knifemaker John Ek would put it: The knife is “your silent partner”; and if you become adept with its combat use it will not let you down!


Monday, March 26th, 2018

             Spycraft, Tradecraft, And Questionable “Training”

BECAUSE some of it is definitely related to and relevant for practical self-defense, and because we are conversant with the real methods, we will from time to time go into techniques of clandestine tradecraft that are taught to those involved in secret intelligence and special operations. We are aware, however, that a certain number of highly questionable “courses” administered and taught by persons of highly questionable backgrounds have become popular, and that these may be ripping off an awful lot of people.

Let this be clear: We have no quarrel with programs or instructors who actually are teaching viable and authentic skills for what is popularly referred to now as “urban escape and evasion”. More power to them! However, those programs that are disseminating lukewarm stuff that is not only not taught in either special forces units or in secret intelligence training schools, and that are nowhere near as reliable and dependable as the claims that are made for it would have you believe, are doing a disservice. False confidence in the minds of those who take these courses leaves these people in a fool’s paradise. Should the god-awful need to handle a real situation ever arise, and should the adversaries encountered be even partially sophisticated in the terror trade that they ply, graduates of the less-than-authentic “spycraft” courses are in for a huge disappointment!

Those E&E programs that are popular and that teach enrollees to break free of duct tape, handcuff, or ziplock binds, etc. are not thereby offering “little known special forces or CIA skills”. They are teaching very well and widely known tricks ––– tricks that the bad guys are often very familiar with, also ––– and this builds false confidence. Yes, the skills that are taught have some value, but if anyone thinks that they will enable them to defeat the efforts of professionals, they are sadly misinformed. The weekend course that might go into such escape methods may introduce you for the first time in how to get out of a locked car trunk, etc., but the monsters against whom you are struggling to learn how to defend yourself already know about these tricks. And by themselves ––– as they are taught ––– these skills may be utterly worthless. For example: You’re locked in the truck of a vehicle and you know how to get free. But your captors are driving speedily and with no pauses anywhere for you to get out and get help, to the location where they will be holding you captive ––– or kiling you. What will you do? Open the car trunk (assuming that you have not been bound by wire or rope with your hands behind your back, and gagged) and jump out while the vehicle is going 50 to 60 or more miles per hour through an area with which you have no familiarity? The occupants of the vehicle will know when the trunk has been opened. They will then attack you and probably kill you. Or will you wait until the vehicle arrives at its destination? No worries . . . the occupants will then remove you from the trunk of the car themselves; you won’t need “escape skills”.

What can you do . . . really and seriously . . . in such a situation? There’s only one tactic that works: Feign compliance when ordered into the trunk, and at the last moment resist with lethal force and prevent the abduction! People do not want to hear this in many cases; and in very few instances will a person in the private sector train long and hard enough to actually be able to fool the abductor and kill him.

So, is the car trunk escape trick useless? No. It has some possible use, on some occasions. But it isn’t authentic spycraft (children learn it in child safety courses!) and it is not one-tenth as effective as being able to thwart the abduction attempt in the first place.

Do not believe that the “secrets” you are introduced to during a weekend course will sustain you. Whatever value these skills may have, they must be developed. Merely having been shown them and perhaps applied them a few times in a supportive, relatively stress-free environment is not enough. Like all self-defense measures, these skills must become second nature. And be extra-extra cautious about what courses you pay out your hard-earned money for. Some (read: most) merely instruct in so-so skills that do not address the extreme dangers and the extreme formidability that desperate, violent offenders pose. Your normal, daily life, sprinkled with a smattering of nifty tricks that work with similarly naive practice partners will not, we’re sorry to have to say, prepare you for that which, in real life genuine, active-duty clandestine intelligence operatives and hardened special forces soldiers sometimes cannot handle, themselves!

Finally, please remember this: What accounts for the success of the field service operative (in secret intelligence or in special warfare) is his personal makeup and character. His ability to think and to improvise quickly, under extraordinary pressure and in life-or-death situations. Not everyone is built this way. This is why there is an in-depth examination process that precedes a candidate’s entry into CIA’s Clandestine Services. Fully 90% (and probably closer to 96-8%) of CIA’s employees work in analysis and other strictly cerebral, academic occupations. To a large extent people come to intelligence work or to military special operations units already possessing the right character. Yes, characteristics may be developed ––– or altered. But not in a weekend or after a mere 20 or 30 hours of “training” in a smorgasbord of Walter-Mittyish skills. (We train people all of the time to new attitudes and philosophies . . . over a period of months or years; and we employ hypnosis as an adjunct to such training, for those who need it ––– and many do). And we push lots and lots of physical practice and training. No one learns by brief exposure.

Here are some things to consider before you enroll in some of these “spy schools”:

1. You can break free of amateurish tape and other ties but only if –––
a) The ties really are amateurish (i.e. your hands are bound in front
of you, and are not additionally tied strongly to your feet so as
to immobilize you), b) You are left unguarded (sure, it’s possible
––– but why assume you’ll be up against a moron?), c) You are
in full possession of your mental and physical faculties (don’t you
realize that you may have been knocked unconscious or beaten
severely before being bound?)
P.S. We guarantee that no one could escape our method of tying and binding them! Hint: It goes way beyond the method of “hog
typing” described by Fairbairn and Applegate (i.e. Our teachers, by the way, who, incidentally, really did train spies and counterintelligence operatives!)
2. Escape from a completed act of confinement by rope, tape, wire, etc.
is ––– a) Only one step in the escape process, b) Actually getting the hell away from your captors is the vital step #2, and c) Professionals (i.e. SF and CIA, etc.) are trained to counter any attempt at their captivity right then and there when and where it happens.
Correctly, they are instructed to escape as soon as posssible, not allowing their captor(s) to remove them to any secondary area.
3. “C” above is properly to be concluded by at the very least maiming (and, preferably, killing) your captor. This takes mindset, and
really serious and intense skills training. Frankly, although anyone
who is truly determined to acquire this ability can do so, most
people lack the intestinal fortitude and the fitness and condition to
reconcile this and be ready to do it.
4. For heaven’s sake do not count on an “E&E kit” that you purchase at
a school or anywhere to help you. Sure, if you are taken prisoner or
hostage by someone with an I.Q. of 15 he will likely not search you thoroughly and scrupulously search whatever clothing and gear you may have on you. (We teach that the concealment of a handcuff key, button compass, and small hacksaw blade is some-
times possible. When it is, great! But you must be prepared with
nothing but your wits and your body if you really wish to be pre-



Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

                   Is Ju-Jutsu The “Mother Art”?

EVERY once in a while we get annoyed at popularly touted nonsense that is presented by “experts” as historical fact. Just because an individual is a martial arts instructor does not mean that he is well acquainted with the history and background of the combat disciplines ––– Eastern or Western. (In fact there is as much or more nonsense being mouthed today by black-belted ignoramuses about the popular “WWII Methods as there is about the Asian systems!).

One commonly heard bit of untruth is that “Ju-jutsu is the ‘mother art’ ––– the art from which all of the other martial arts have been derived”.

First of all this is most commonly said of the Japanese arts by speakers who overlook the plethora of arts that were developed and that are practiced throughout the Asian countries; but there are many hundreds of Okinawan, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, and of course Chinese arts, and none of them “come from ju-jutsu”, virtually all having predated Japanese ju-jutsu (often by thousands of years!).

Second (and this is the corker!) Japanese ju-jutsu comes from the much older Chinese ch’i ch’i su systems. These were self-defense styles in which all of the “ju-jutsu” moves may be seen. One of these arts, “Chi-Na”, recently popularized in the West, is a good example. Ch’i ch’i su incorporates all ––– and more! ––– of the holds, locks, grappling, throws, blows, and escapes of ju-jutsu. The Japanese in point of fact, copied ch’i ch’i su, gave it the name of ju-jutsu, and claimed the art’s origin to have been in Japan’s mythological age, when the gods Kashima and Kadori used ju-jutsu to fight evil demons. (People will believe anything).

It is said that the art of karate (and remember there are perhaps 200 different schools and styles of karate throughout Asia ––– ALL predating Japanese ju-jutsu) is an expansion upon atemi; atemi being the section of ju-jutsu in which blows of the hands and feet to vital points is taught. Not so. The arts of karate derived from the external boxing systems of China (ch’uan fa or “kung fu”). The development of karate systems entailed much, much more than merely hitting the opponent in a vital spot. We dare say that any serious student of any of the various “karate systems” knows this well.

Some karate systems include an emphasize upon methods of throwing and joint-locking (the Wado-Ryu school of Japan, in fact, is a good example), but karate per se began as a percussionary art. And what is most likely to be true is that the grappling aspect of close combat grew out of the failed attempts that occasionally occurred to STRIKE. That would seem to be logical.

To observe that ju-jutsu systems almost invariably include throwing, holding, grappling, locking, striking, kicking, and miscellaneous actions and self-defense “tricks”, and to conclude therefore that arts in which one or more of those particulars is stressed came out of ju-jutsu is ––– to put it politely ––– muddled thinking. Every karate system that we have ever observed or participated in also includes throwing and so forth, but plays it down considerably as it emphasizes blows of the hands and feet, a blocking system, and breathing methods. Why? Because throughout the centuries it has always been discovered and then acknowledged in their training by actual warriors that BLOWS CONSTITUTE THE HEART, CORE, AND ESSENCE OF SERIOUS CLOSE COMBAT. Karate systems and self-defense methods of a more modern kind, as well as the best military close combat methods, also recognize and teach this. And those ju-jutsu systems that remain rooted in combat intent and methodology (like the Shin-Kage-Ryu) also lay great emphasis upon BLOWS.

That ch’i ch’i su and ch’uan fa (i.e. “ju-jutsu” and “karate”) systems have always and forever been the original “mixed martial arts” is conveniently ignored or glossed over by those commercializers who would have all and sundry believe that the current MMA (which we suggest should be correctly termed MMS, for Mixed Martial Sport) is unique. In fact we’d call it brawling, and make the observation that its many rules and restrictions make the flailing and grabbing that is done a mere hazardous game, and not a close combat or self-defense method at all. But that’s just our opinion.

The modern Art of American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) incorporates anything and everything that is effective in serious hand-to-hand close combat and self-defense, and relegates control grips and holds to the instruction of law enforcement and security people, to whom we teach these skills AFTER these professionals have learned how to save their lives! But neither private citizens seeking self-defense ability nor combat soldiers and marines need ANY “arrest”, “control”, “submission”, “restraint”, or “comealong” methods.

Let us return to our main point.

Please do not make the mistake of carrying on the myth that “ju-jutsu is the mother art from which all of the different arts derive”. To REAL experts you will sound like a fool if you repeat this, and for your own education know that it just isn’t so. Some of the schools presently teaching their brand of ju-jutsu are excellent, and do offer students some very valuabke defensive skills training. (One outstanding teacher whose work we admired was Phillip Scrima in the Bronx, New York. He flourished in the 1960’s and 1970’s and never failed to give his pupils an excellent grounding in practical self-protective measures, using ju-jutsu). We did not produce this article to slam or to denigrate good ju-jutsu or those who teach and practice it; please note and mark that well.

Engaging in physical violence, unfortunately, is as old as man. And from the looks of things it would seem that this insanity will never end. So, mastering quality self-defense in order to protect yourself and those you love against violent types makes sense. We’d opine that it is an absolute necessity and should be a part of every decent human being’s education.

You can learn self-defense, close combat, weaponry, and personal battle tactics without scrutinizing the exact origin of every move you are taught, or in fact the origins of anything that you are taught. But for those who love the martial disciplines it is a matter of serious interest to set the record straight on certain matters pertaining to the theoretical basis and roots of the arts that one studies. Doing this in regard to the ju-jutsu myth has been our intention in this piece.




Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

                        Common Sense And Concealed Carry

IT seems that everything involved with the subject of combat shooting and going armed is now regarded as complex doctrine that must be validated and presented by “experts” only; the individual who wishes to master combat shooting and be ready for emergencies can figure nothing out for himself.

Here are the simple facts regarding the matter of concealed carry. You can use them as a guide and save yourself tons of money, or you can line the pockets of “instructors” who will be happy to initiate you into what they enjoy presenting as the “little known lore” normally restricted to the elite professionals.

You should familiarize yourself with a variety of revolvers and semiautomatics and select the one (or possibly two or more) that you can handle and feel most confident with, personally. Your selection of a handgun or handguns for your personal carry and use should be based upon the following criteria:
a) The weapon should be of the highest possible quality manufacture. If you live in the United States you are very fortunate here, because you can select from amongst the finest quality firearms available from every manufacturer on earth ––– or damn near every single one. Quality must be first class. You don’t look to save money when purchasing a firearm by compromising quality. Buy the best; because if you ever need that handgun you will need it very badly indeed, and the last thing that will matter to you is how much you “saved” on a bargain-basement firearm.
b) Unless you have the knowledge and experience, purchase a brand new weapon. Used weapons can be every bit as good as used ––– sometimes, depending upon who owned and used them, they can be superior to new weapons ––– but you need to have the ability to examine and to evaluate them. If you lack that expertise, buy brand new.
c) We personally urge that you select nothing less than a .38 Special or 9mm handgun. Carrying a .357, .40, or .45ACP is best if you can carry it comfortably concealed on your person. (We love the old Colt Commander Model .45 auto pistol. We carried one 24/7 years ago, and it was ––– in our personal experience ––– an absolutely fabulous constant-carry piece. When carrying that was not feasible, we carried a Smith and Wesson Model 60 Chiefs revolver in .38 Special in an ankle holster. Today, we would choose a Centennial revolver, which we feel is a better pointer.)

2. You must determine how the variety of available holsters fit you. Your physical structure (height, weight, hip width, etc.) will greatly affect which holsters feel comfortable and enable you to carry concealed, and which do not. Each of the following can be perfect under certain conditions for certain people. Check into it and utilize what you discover about your physique, mode of dress, etc. and how these factors affect any given concealed carry mode for you.

––– Small of the back holster (Excellent in certain situations. Obviously no good if you are sitting down)

––– Crossdraw holster (One of our favorites. Excellent sitting or standing)

––– Appendix carry holster (Comfortable for some)

––– High hip holster* (Probably the all-round fastest. Not at all good when seated in a vehicle)

––– Shoulder holster (Another of or favorites. Excellent sitting or standing. Permits either hand access. All but makes a weapon snatch impossible.)

––– Ankle holster (Not the best, but will do when no other option for concealed carry presents itself)

––– Inside the pocket holster (Very practical for many)

*Inside-the-pants carry mode is extremely popular, and rightly so. However, do not automatically assume that this will prove functional for yourself. It may not. Excellent outside the pants holsters will permit outstanding concealment, and if an inside-the-pants causes you discomfort, you will not want to wear it for ten or more hours steadily, and discomfort ––– with any holster ––– could easily give away the fact that you’re “carrying”.

Your selection of concealed carry modes MUST FIT YOU.
3. PRACTICE, practice, practice, practice, and practice more! Speedy access (“quick draw”) should be drilled into you so that, in a crisis, your weapon can be produced ––– accident free! ––– in the shortest possible time ––– ready to fire!

Most often quick draw is not required. But if you can accomplish quick draw then smooth and efficient access (which is always required when a firearm must be withdrawn from its holster) is easy and natural. Note that quick draw from an ankle holster (the late excellent holster-maker Chic Gaylord to the contrary notwithstanding) is not practically possible under combat conditions. Please do not point to some odd exception who practices for hours every day and who is a natural perfectly coordinated athlete and shooter. This type of individual cannot realistically serve as a model for the statistically average person (private citizen, law enforcement officer, soldier, etc.) who must accommodate less favorable hereditary and daily practice realities.

It is very doubtful that one handgun and one carry mode will suffice for anyone who must go armed constantly. The principles given apply to each and every firearm and carry mode, and to all who employ any!

We have not referenced firearms safety, proper handling, maintenance, basic combat (i.e. point) shooting, and how to use the handgun when distance, time, and light permit use-of-the-sights aimed firing. We merely wished to mention the salient facts about concealed carry so that those decent citizens who wish to go armed and can legally do so, but who cannot afford to pay through the nose for instruction in this simple subject, will get the scoop.


We understand that carrying a knife concealed is normally not covered by any permits that are issued for concealed firearms carry. Therefore we present the following for academic/informational purposes only. We do not recommend or endorse the carrying of a knife or of any weapon in any manner, illegally.

Fairbairn had a great idea in regard to knife carry. He had a holster sewn into his left hand pocket. He was right-handed. Thus his right hand was free to strike, and no one noticed him draw the razor sharp commando knife that was his own ––– and Eric Sykes’ ––– invention, with his left hand.

Whichever pocket you choose, we think that having the pocket modified so that a fighting knife can be held in a conveniently placed holster inside that pocket is a great idea.

Soldiers in battle dress often carry a knife on their web gear, but not concealed. There are shoulder holsters for knives, but we cannot recommend any personally. We have never carried any fighting knife concealed. We did carry a Buck Folding Hunter that was slightly modified with a nub welded on the blade for one hand opening. This was years before some excellent commercially available “flick type” folding knives became available.

As we have written elsewhere, we like the box cutter (“utility knife”) as a self-defense weapon. These, and lock blade folders ––– the only kind to carry for defense purposes ––– are very easy to conceal in normal pockets. We train students to employ folders that have not been already opened as yawara sticks to strike blows before taking the moment to open them.
The important thing with a knife that you carry concealed is that it be convenient, readily accessible, and comfortable for you. There really is no “official” or universally recommended carry mode for knives. In fact, where lawful, the carrying of a knife in a conventional belt scabbard can be fine. Again, you must determined what suits you best and what accommodates your unique requirements ––– dress wise, physique-wise, technique application wise.

Weaponry is an important aspect of modern, practical self-defense, as it has always been an important aspect of real world close combat.




Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Attack Combinations: A Critical Part of The Unarmed Combat Curriculum


WE have been advised by more than one correspondent now that the idea is being emphasized in some “combatives” training circles that a program or course of training should not teach specific combinations of blows (i.e. what we refer to and strongly advocate as “attack combinations”). Only the individual strikes, smashes, kicks, and so forth need be taught, so their instruction goes, and the student can work out those combinations that suit him best, and that he likes. This produces “spontaneity”. And while we agree 100%-plus that the ability to react with spontaneity is a crucial aspect of the trainee’s being able to render techniques effectively in a crisis, we vigorously disagree with the notion that drilling in practical combinations of techniques is either irrelevant to the attainment of this objective or that drilling in practical combinations somehow “inhibits” the trainee’s development in that area. Nonsense!  Please . . . if you want to get the benefits of realistic close combat and self-defense training do not accept this idea as guidance for your own development in training! However well-intentioned any instructor might be in asserting the irrelevance of carefully planned, practical combat combinations being very specifically taught to trainees, he is completely incorrect.

Now we will acknowledge two things:

1. It may be the case that someone with many years of serious training in karate and ju-jutsu, having mastered so many blows (and in the case of ju-jutsu —— we hope! —— the art of atemi-waza) may find it relatively easy to formulate combatively logical and effective combinations after being instructed in the repertoire of basic combat blows taught in a combatives system. This especially if he has had some real hand-to-hand combat experience in addition to his many years of training in one or more self-defense emergencies where he needed to put his training to use for real. You can see that this applies to a very small minority of individuals; and it might not even apply to all of them!

2. Once a student of a good system of close combat and self-defense has trained and mastered a good curriculum of attack combinations he should be encouraged to go on to develop and to build his own personal repertoire of combinations. These will not replace the formally taught attack combinations that he has acquired, and that suit him, but rather will utilize the experience and knowledge and skill that hard training in the formal curriculum has given him. (Note: Naturally, every student will find over time that some of the formally taught attack combinations fit him better than others, and a few might just not be right for him, after all. In such a case, after learning the mechanics of the combinations’ proper performance, the student should retain and continue to polish his favorite combinations, and discard those which a suitable amount of experience have proven to be unsuitable for himself.)

How many attack combinations should a student learn? This depends upon his training. Is he studying a short-term course (perhaps in the military) which necessarily will teach him far fewer techniques than he would otherwise be taught if he were to study for many months or possibly years? If so then a few representative examples of attack combinations —— perhaps three or four —— may be appropriate. If a student is a long-term student, possibly one who is going for black belt level ability, then he should continue to be taught a few new attack combinations with every promotion that he achieves. But learning combinations will speed and solidify his development.

Attack combinations constitute a most important part of the American Combato curriculum. We would like to explain why they are so important, and why it behooves every student to work hard to learn and develop them.

Most of the attack combinations that we teach have been carefully worked out by ourself. Some were adopted from what was taught by other masters of close combat (i.e. Fairbairn, Applegate, Carlin, Biddle, Grover, Nelson, etc.). These combinations work in real combat. This alone more than justifies their being taught and emphasized. But there’s more.

One of the greatest errors in the majority of classical karate systems is their positing of the idea that the “one punch stop” is the training objective, and that the karate expert’s goal is always to be able to drop an attacker with a single blow. Anyone familiar with real combat understands that this is a mistake. Human adversaries are very difficult to stop (if we assume, as we always should, that they are stronger, meaner, and larger than we are, and that they are determined to maim or to kill us). Dropping such a foe with one, single strike might occur; but the trainee should neither expect it to happen, or train with the idea that if he masters the art he is studying, he will be able to get such a result.

Drilling in attack combinations emphasizes that followup and follow through is crucial in combat. Just as practical counterattacks must stress continuing to attack the attacker and not naively assume that one quick, skillful action will do the job, so preempting attacks must be comprised of relentless followup. One stops when one has rendered one’s attacker(s) harmless and when one is safe; not after delivering one terrific hand, knee, foot, or elbow blow!

Attack combination practice trains the neophyte in the essential process of combatively logical combining of moves. The inexperienced and unskilled will tend to resort to flailing about, rather than to driving into their enemy with a formidable barrage of techniques. Practice of basic blows alone is of course also essential and must never be neglected. However, their individual mastery is no guarantee that under combat conditions the trainee will somehow “spontaneously” lace those blows together in tactically sound sequences. He must have training in how those sequences are constructed and applied.

Western boxers have always recognized the importance of hard, serious drill in combinations. Their shadow boxing (regarded by the late heavyweight world champion Jack Dempsey as being the most important and valuable part of the boxer’s training, aside from getting into the ring and boxing!) is the sporting equivalent of combat attack combinations. Boxers, of course, use clenched fist punching sequences only; the combat student must use everything relevant to dispatching a deadly enemy. And the combat student should learn to treat those combinations just as a boxer treats his shadow boxing combinations: with deadly seriousness. In the ring, the boxer’s mastered sequences enable him to explode against his opponent. In the street or wherever, the combative student’s combinations enable him to devastate a potential killer before that killer can bring his own intended onslaught into full play against the student.

Attack combinations also teach the student miscellaneous blows, and other hand-to-hand skills. While, for example, American Combato teaches 16 Basic Blows, the System contains a total of more than 50 blows. These minor actions, along with throws and neck breaks, etc. are laced into the attack combinations, just as many are laced into our counterattacks (i.e. “self-defense” techniques).

Drilling in attack combinations instills aggressiveness, and does so somewhat more effectively than mere drill in repetitious practice of basic blows. Our students are trained to visualize when practicing, and the attack combinations are a perfect vehicle for perfecting the supreme attack mindedness and aggressiveness that properly implemented visualization enables a student to achieve. Bruce Lee once wrote that a martial arts trainee should train with the idea that he is facing the most dangerous attacker on earth, in fact the trainee’s worst enemy. Attack combination drill is ideal for this type of focused combat training.

With proper visualization and accumulated training experience the practice of attack combinations enables the trainee to perfect very dangerous even lethal skills with compete safety. He may work for full power, speed, and utterly ruthless abandon of the slightest concern for his attacker’s welfare (which is exactly what he must do to be fully effective against the street savage, or other dangerous foe). Remember this FACT The human nervous system does not distinguish between a vividly imagined vs. an actually lived through experience. Thus training in the kind of attack combinations we teach, and training as we teach it, becomes —— as the trainee masters his drills —— the equivalent of actually using his techniques.

Note: For anyone who doubts what is said in the last two sentences above, just consider your dreams. If you have ever had a “good” or a “bad” dream you awoke to having the experience of feeling the physical manifestations of the experience you dreamed that you were having. Maybe you were scared. Maybe angry. Maybe laughing, crying, sweating, shaking, feeling good, etc. The point is that your nervous system “believed” it was experiencing that which you were imagining in your dream. Some people can relate what we are saying to daydreams. In any case this is true, it is a fact, and it is critical in understanding much about realistic training for combat, and developing not only proper mindset, but fully reliable physical skills. When attack combinations are correctly developed you can count on real world combat actions that can save your life being developed, as well.

Attack combinations are a valuable way to train (and we teach it because it is) with hand-held weapons, too. The stick, the knife, and the tomahawk are all best taught by training in effective, reliable combination actions.

We are aware that many of our visitors train in methods and systems other than our American Combato. If it’s right for you, then by all means stick with it! But we speak, write, and teach from more than 50 years of experience in learning, teaching, and researching. We do not hesitate to say that you would be wise to factor in that which we share in this and our other web sites.

If you are training in another combatives or close combat system we respectfully suggest that you reject any suggestion you may be given that definite attack combinations which you learn and drill in are not effective in training you. They are effective, and you should be devoting regular, serious, intensive practice time to them.

If you are a student of ours, you already know this. If not, we strongly suggest you take our message to heart.