Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

                 STAND YOUR GROUND?

WASHINGTON State, where we live, does not have a definite, clear, specifically worded “stand your ground” law, as far as we can tell. Some states do; on the other hand some states specify clearly that if you are confronted by the prospect of violence you have a duty to retreat before exercising your right to self-defense. We are not a lawyer and we offer no legal advice here or in any other venue. What we do offer is personal advice, and we hope that you’ll consider it carefully.

In every instance —— even if your location does have a stand your ground law —— our advice, as a self-defense teacher, is that your overriding concern whenever you are not subject to immediate violence or the clear and present threat of immediate violence that necessitates your acting first, be to AVOID VIOLENCE. With this in mind we advocate not “standing your ground” if the possibility exists of avoiding violence by retreating from the scene so long as by so-doing you do not increase the risk of grievous injury or death to yourself or to another innocent person who depends upon you for protection.

Win, lose, or draw, there is never —— except in the context of carefully regulated, ethically conducted sport —— any justification for “fighting” per se. There is always justification for defending oneself, which, as we see it and teach it, is an entirely different thing than mutual combat (fighting), which is the recourse of fools, impulse-dominated savages, and the mentally disturbed.

Unfortunately, the popularity of activities like MMA and UFC have left many misguided individuals somehow accepting of the idea that fighting is OK, and that it somehow equates with manliness —— which it absolutely does not. It equates with s-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y on steroids, outside the context of competition and sport. Civilized society — if we ever get to live in one — will treat fighting as plainly unacceptable, and punish those who get into fights so severely that they will not likely be tempted ever again to indulge their impulse to engage in any.

Properly taught martial arts — combat arts — have always emphasized that the techniques of close combat with or without weapons never be employed outside of training unless in unavoidable self-defense. We remember a ju-jutsu teacher telling our class: “God help you if I ever find out you got into a fight outside.” He was a good teacher, even if the specific skills that he taught were in some instances of questionable combat value. His warning was (back in the quality days of martial arts in this Country — i.e. 1950’s through about mid-1970’s) typical. Martial arts were taught for self-defense; not as a springboard to reach for “machismo”, or to gratify a sick, malicious ego. Teachers in the good karate and ju-jutsu schools kept close watch over those who were admitted for training, and over those who trained, as the months went by. Any signs of a lack of self-control in anyone or of a hidden desire to “test out” that which one was learning in the school meant the potential troublemaker got kicked out on his ass.

We have the same policy today, despite the fact that its presence across the board in martial arts schools per se has just about vanished. There are some teachers (actually, mostly classicists!) who still hold to this very sensible and necessary philosophy; but we can only speak for ourself and our few select ICMAF Associate teachers as far as the combat and real world defense schools go. We are not saying that none of the others demand proper discipline and the fullest measure of understanding of how necessary AVOIDANCE is, but we’ve heard atrocious reports from some people that leave us and our colleagues shaking our heads.

If any part of you is just itching to let loose with your combative skills, shame on you. Perhaps your irresponsible and immature asinine philosophy has not been discovered by your teacher yet. But if you ever unjustifiably injure another human being by agreeing to engage in a fight, by provoking violence, or by jumping at the opportunity to use your skills when you know deep down that there is no pressing need to do so, you are not merely a shameful disgrace to the art that you study; you are a louse, a punk, a scumbag, and a miserable coward. Learn to be a real man and a responsible combat student. Engage in battle only if you must —— never simply because you can. And go as far as you are reasonably able to go to avoid violence.

Having said what we have said, we certainly agree and can see that there are times when standing your ground is morally right and necessary. For example if you are any place where you need to be; where you cannot leave, because to do so would be absolutely absurd (i.e. in your own home, for example), or could result in unacceptable harm (i.e. about to enter your vehicle to drive a loved one to a hospital), etc. then Yes! Stand your ground and make as quick work as you can of whoever is a dangerous threat at the moment.

But having the maturity and self-confidence and courage to apologize (even if you have done nothing to apologize for) to some stinking low-IQ gutter monkey who imagines that some innocent look or gesture you made “offended” him, is the sign of the real combat expert — the fellow who fully appreciates the undesirability of violence and who feels not the least diminished by allowing some braindead to feel that “he won” by avoiding that which the braindead seeks to provoke.

Every teacher and student of self-defense and close combat has a solemn obligation to research the law as it pertains to self-defense with and without weapons, wherever he lives. Any specific personal questions of a legal nature must be directed to a lawyer. We cannot help with legal advice. However, we hope that by making you aware of how important this matter is, and what it can ultimately mean to you, we have caused you to treat this matter with the seriousness and respect that it deserves.

Violence does not always or necessarily “solve” the matter at hand. When that violence is not fully and clearly justified legally and morally, it could mark the beginning of your troubles.


Sunday, March 20th, 2016

           You Never “Finish Your Training”

A common question that prospective students of close combat/self-defense ask is: “How long is the course?”

Our reply always contains two parts . . .

First, we explain how many specific lessons a given course designed for the particular student in question will require. Second, we emphasize strongly that the “course” is only the beginning. Once completed, that’s when the ongoing effort begins. Unless the student practices regularly and seriously all that his course contained, he will likely never enjoy a solid proficiency in anything that he had been taught.

You may finish a course of training, but you will never finish the need for training in what the course taught you.

We provide training in two ways: 1. Regular ongoing instruction that combines group class participation with periodic private lessons. 2. Customized private lessons for people who are unable to train with us on an ongoing basis in group classes —— usually people from other cities or countries.

Regular students learn very quickly that “learning” a technique is not the same thing as becoming “able to apply” a technique. Unfortunately, on some occasions, students who take a course of private lessons return home and neglect to maintain a regular practice schedule (say, 30 minutes a day). After five or six months of no practice, virtually everything they were taught has become so distant from memory and rusty that they cannot apply it. What a loss!

This is the way motor skills work. Some techniques, we grant, are so simple and natural that after a few months of review and training they will be practicable to some extent (albeit in reduced form) for life. But the level of proficiency that is retained will not be as great as the level of proficiency that ongoing, lifetime practice will certainly be. And techniques like attack combinations and counterattacks will likely deteriorate and perish after a year or more of zero practice.

We never fail to explain all of this to anyone who trains with us, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the student himself; and we cannot force anyone to do what needs doing.

All of this is especially true if you learn from our DVD Course. The Course provides a wealth of techniques —— more than anyone could need in a lifetime, and all of them excellent —— but if the purchaser simply watches the DVDs and fails to practice regularly and seriously, then he will derive little benefit.

In any form of art, proficiency lies in DOING, not merely in “knowing”. In science you can write a formula down on the back of an envelope and keep it in your pocket for years.Years later you can take the envelope out and merely use the formula, and it will work for you even if, after placing it in your pocket, you had forgotten it. This does not work with arts, only with sciences. And when we train in and study close combat and self-defense we are training in and studying martial ART.

Our purpose in the numerous essays and articles that we provide on the web sites is to give visitors the truth about that which he needs to know, regarding that which he desires to master —— i.e. self-defense and close combat.

While nowhere near the amount of time and effort is required to master a classical/traditional “martial art”, time and effort certainly is required to obtain —— and to RETAIN —— thorough mastery of practical combatives.

We of course have not the slightest doubt —— and never have in the lifetime that we have been in it —— that the required time and effort investment is well worth it. But the question you need to answer is: Do you know that it is?


Saturday, February 20th, 2016

    What Can You Learn From DVDs?

ACTUALLY you can learn just about identically from good DVD instruction as you can from personal, live instruction. And obviously, you can learn a great deal more from quality and authentic DVD instruction than from from a live instructor of limited knowledge, ability, and experience. In fact, you can learn more from a book that has been written by a genuine expert than you can from an instructor of questionable expertise.

Here’s the rub: When you are learning from a quality teacher, showing up for lessons regularly and benefitting from his training counsel, you receive a boost in incentive; something that you need to provide yourself when you train at home from quality DVD instruction. You certainly require discipline whether you train under a good teacher or under the instruction of DVDs; but you need self-generated, unassisted discipline when your teacher is on a screen.

You also need a greater willingness to watch carefully and listen carefully —— and to do for a number of times, in many instances, when you train from DVDs. A live teacher (assuming he is a good one) will monitor your efforts and your progress. He will tell you to go back and to review this or that, and he will correct you on the spot, when or if you do something that he just taught you, incorrectly. You need to be more careful to review and to catch yourself, when you train on your own via DVDs. Although authentic close combat and self-defense techniques are very simple, there often are small details to their performance that you need to apply in order to learn them and be able to use them to maximum effect. A good DVD presentation by a real expert will see to it that techniques are demonstrated slowly enough so that you can observe exactly how to do them, AND he will explain verbally —— in clear, easy-to-understand language —— how the techniques must be performed for optimum effectiveness.

DVDs (just like their predecessor VHS tapes) are too often done as impressive demonstrations of skills rather than as careful, complete descriptions of that which you need to do. Just like a good, live teacher, a quality DVD TEACHES, it does not present demonstrations that “show off” or dazzle.

If you possess the desire, the discipline, and the commitment to regularity, consistency, effort, and understanding, rest assured you can learn extremely well through DVD instruction.

The feedback that we have received from those who have ordered AND USED ACCORDING TO INSTRUCTIONS our DVD Home Study Course, has been extremely gratifying and enthusiastically positive. We have produced the DVDs on the assumption that the purchaser has had no prior martial arts experience, will require reasonably slow demonstrations of how to do the skills required, and will need clear and complete spoken instruction in the proper performance details of all that is presented. We also continually emphasize the requirement for consistent, serious, regular practice of the techniques for practical proficiency and confidence to be developed. No “overnight” or “weekend” miracles. No secrets. No “hidden” skills. We present proven techniques, not “magical” techniques. And if the purchaser will train hard (just as though he was in a regular class environment and holding to a systematic training schedule under a good teacher) he will get all that he s after —— and MORE!

Naturally, those who have had considerable experience in training in martial arts (boxing, judo, ju-jutsu, wrestling, karate, etc. etc.) before purchasing our DVDs will almost certainly learn faster than inexperienced beginners; but that is true when live instruction is involved, as well. The important thing is that a good, quality DVD program must not REQUIRE that the user have previous experience and knowledge.

In our own case we have been teaching for 50 years plus. We have had many years of personal instruction in both practical and classical skills. The former from Rex Applegate, Charles Nelson, Robert Sigward, Caesar Bujosa, and Maurice Geier (Mr. Geier having been a student of Fairbairn and Sykes during WWII, when serving as a counterintelligence agent with the FBI). The latter as a student under Young Koo Lee in Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do, Siu Lee in Ch’uan Fa Kenpo-Karate, Kiyose Nakae in Ju-Jutsu, “Swami” Vrygiananda in Varmannie, and others. We also learned much from the classic literature of close combat. DVDs however, were before our time; and we do wish that they had been available during our teens, 20’s, and 30’s! They would have doubtless been a valuable source of learning.

You can benefit from this training medium today, and —— most especially if attendance under ourself, Prof. Bryans, or any of our ICMAF Associate Teachers is for whatever reason not feasible —— YOU OUGHT TO DO SO.

Remember: Merely watching DVDs will not equip you with practical, reliable ability in combat skills, and prepare you for the dangers of handling a self-defense emergency. But watching quality DVDs, working hard and regularly and seriously to master what they teach, most assuredly WILL equip you with practical, reliable ability.

P.S. Just be sure that you are getting combat and self-defense instruction. There are classical/traditional and sporting/competitive DVD programs that are excellent and beautifully produced. They also are of value, but for traditional martial arts students, and for competitors in the sporting martial arts venue, NOT for those seeking 100% close combat and self-defense instruction.


Friday, December 11th, 2015

Some Thoughts We Share With Those Who Can Think

Saying that a person who is not strong or in good physical condition can effectively defend himself if he employs the right kind of techniques is not the same as saying that hard physical training, strength and excellent condition is not desirable, and that strength and condition are not to be regarded as integral to a complete and balanced personal training program. Recent experience has shown us that there is obviously a tiny contingent of literarily challenged people who have a very hard time understanding the English language, and any logical expressions in that language beyond those graspable by a 3rd grader.

We thought that we would address an important point here —— the need for which has been brought to our attention by an experience with someone who simply could not seem to “get” many of the points that we have clearly hammered out over the years —— painstakingly and completely —— in our live teaching and lecturing, and in print, on our web sites; in articles, and in books. While we strongly suspect a heavy element of deliberate, disrespectful, ignorance-based nastiness-coupled-with-smartassism as the motive for what became a too-lengthy ongoing procession of communications regarding wholly unnecessary “confusions” and “doubting”, ad nauseum on the part of this contact, we will not say that that is what  the motive was. We will assume, in good will, that all of what appeared to be an astonishing inability to grasp crystal-clearly and extensively expressed facts, was simply good faith questioning. We readily admit, our patience ran out after a while, and we simply referred the inquirer to our extensive, previous materials; all readily available for free, for answers to his somewhat sarcastically-put “questions”.

Being deliberately misunderstood and misrepresented is, on the part of those who do this, a reprehensible, disgusting, shamefully unmanly and undignified, dishonest act; and is something that we, and virtually every legitimate teacher who is also an innovator and consistent advocate of his stand has experienced. So, for the benefit of those who may be in any way duped by such characters, we will continue.

We know —— from their input and feeback —— that for the greatest number of our visitors, and surely all of our personal students, the following points (apparently escaping those who either cannot grasp them, and despite having been made clearly by us before, or who choose not to grasp them — for whatever reason) are important to understand:

1.  Boxing is not a close combat system, but a combat sport (as is judo, competitive karate, wrestling, kick boxing, fencing, MMA, etc.). As a combat sport boxing does teach a great deal that is of value to the student of self-defense and close combat. Boxers train in proper movement skills for administering blows — but the combat student will use different types of blows if and when he adopts the boxer’s principles of stance and movement. Boxers use their bodies in the right way to generate fluid, fast, powerful delivery of blows — singly, and in combination. Their method is faster, and usually more powerful, than that of typical karate students. Thus, combat and self-defense students have a lot to learn from using boxing’s principles, but employing those principles with combat techniques.

2. Ju-jutsu (the older, combat ju-jutsu) was — and in many instances remains — a powerful, reliable method of self-defense. Unfortunately, it takes years and years to become really expert in ju-jutsu methodology before the art can be relied upon as an all-round method of personal combat. Nevertheless, the principles of balance, momentum, leverage, etc. that ju-jutsu teaches is indispensable in unarmed and armed combatives, and thus ju-jutsu too teaches much that is valuable for actual close combat. Ju-jutsu was, in its heyday, proven effective in combat. Studying a full and complete fuedal-age ju-jutsu system, however, entails the inclusion of a tremendous amount of irrelevant material for the modern student. Hence, both because of the time element involved in training in classical ju-jutsu before any level of serious proficiency has been achieved, and the fact that in addition to many excellent techniques as well as lots of irrelevant techniques, classical ju-jutsu cannot realistically be recommended for those seeking hardcore combat/defense training only.

3. Of the classical systems karate is the most effective for actual combat. Still, the archaic manner in which karate was/is taught suits it to exceptional students only, demands a very lengthy period of training far beyond what is needed in order to master practical, modern combatives. Thus, although much can be learned from karate, karate per se is not a realistic combat/defense method unless trained in seriously for many years. Such elements of practice as traditional kata, one, two, and three-step sparring, potentially dangerous exercises (like extreme stretching), excessive hand conditioning using unsafe mediums (like sheaved straw), ibuki breathing, and so on, simply disqualify an art that was once extraordinarily lethal and supremely effective. This is why persons seeking practical combat and self-defense skills ought study a method like American Combato, which utilizes the anatomical knowledge conveyed in karate in a manner that fully exploits its value and usefulness without including its less-than-desirable training practices and theories (like “karate begins and ends with blocking”, “in karate never make the first move”, and so on).

4. The currently popular MMA/UFC phenomenon is not combat. It is (in our personal opinion) a potentially hazardous sport, and — for those who believe in its relevance for hand-to-hand combat — a mistake. First of all these activities, although insisted by some to be “without rules” do have rules. And those rules bar participants (as we agree they must and should!) from using those “FIRST RESORT” techniques that need to be employed in real combat. You may draw your own conclusions about why —— despite this fact —— the proponents of MMA/UFC often claim that these sports “have no rules”.

We believe strongly that people should be free to make their own choices about what to participate in and practice, and we have no quarrel with MMA/UFC enthusiasts. We vigorously disagree with that which many of them believe and espouse for and about actual hand-to-hand combat, but if many enjoy that kind of competition, let them enjoy themselves. We do not believe that their choice of sport is “wrong”. We personally recommend judo, boxing, wrestling, kick boxing, fencing, or competition karate for those interested in a combat sport —— but that’s our personal opinion.

5. Anyone, anywhere believing that the incorporation of ground grappling for hand-to-hand combat (the ne-waza of judo, and the wrestling type stuff) is necessary or desirable for combat/defense work, we do disagree with. For combat other tactics are in order. Period. And this has been known and taught by every legitimate combat instructor in history; even those who excelled in this aspect of combat sport to the point of it being their forte when they played in competition —— like Dermot (Pat) O’Neill), WWII instructor of close combat to the First Special Service Force, who, as a 5th degree black belt holder from the Kodokan Judo Institute, was a master in goundwork! O’Neill threw out groundfighing (ne-waza) when he created The O’Neill System for training the wartime commandos of the FSSF.

For those honestly seeking facts about close combat and personal defense, we have supplied many, and we hope that this article serves as an antidote to the bullshitters who, lacking knowledge, experience, and a sincere history of training, distort or “misunderstand” where we are coming from.

If you wish to know what we advocate, how we teach, what our system is like, and from where we derive and validate that which we stand immovably strong in advancing as American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) doctrine, ASK US; OR REFERENCE OUR EXTENSIVE MATERIALS AND DOCTRINE.

Never mind the miscreant, alienated, dilettantish, smartass talkers, gossips, and distorters. Their agenda comes from their malicious passive aggressiveness, discontent with their own failures, and ready vulnerability to commercial propaganda —— not to mention their “desire to belong” which alone discredits them as even being able to be objective and commited only to the facts and the truth. Facts and truth do not normally go with “popularity” and fads.  Their sputterings do not derive from sophistication, objectivity, knowledge, experience, in-depth research and training efforts, and a desire to know; but from some adolescent urge to be pains-in-the ass, and to  win pointless debates, and feel “right” about what they do, believe, and choose to follow.


Monday, November 9th, 2015

                     Train With Whatever You’ve Got


THOSE of us who have been in this for many years have our own idea of ideal training circumstances and conditions. All of of us who have been in this for years and who are truly dedicated also know that no one needs even favorable training conditions and circumstances in order to make terrific training progress.

Too many use the excuse that they have no place to train. No equipment. No facilities. Nonsense! If you can raise your arms above you, to the sides, to your front and rear, and if you can extend your leg in all four directions around you you can train. That’s right. Possibly not ideal conditions, and certainly non inclusive of any additional facilities with which to work, but nonetheless, you can practice very effectively, improve, and even build up your strength and condition to a not inconsiderable degree.

We bring this up because so much of success in close combat and self-defense training hinges upon simple training regularity, persistence and stick-to-it-ive-ness, and has nothing whatever to do with elaborate equipment or facilities at all. We never met anyone who failed in his training endeavors for want of a nice gym, the latest equipment, striking aids, etc. We met hundreds upon hundreds who failed miserably despite having access to great facilities and equipment —— because they simply failed to muster the effort to keep on practicing and working and training as best they could, given their present situation. Situations, remember, improve. Circumstances change. But only those who remain at it —— i.e. who never quit, but who’ve kept on keeping on —— enjoy the benefits of changes for the better, as they inevitably occur. Quitters fail no matter what advantages they start out with.

Over the many years that we have been teaching now, we have observed a recurring phenomenon. As is the case with all schools, we have people leave ours. Our student retention rate is extremely high, but we nonetheless have students quit, leave, relocate, etc. Some because they feel that they’ve learned what they wanted to learn; others lose discipline and perhaps become bored;

and some wish to try another approach to self-defense training.

Just about every single student who, during the last 30 or so years, has trained under us and then left to try another method or school has returned — only to become super-serious in his renewed pursuit of our System. Why? Well, we asked in several instances. In several others we were told without having to ask. In essence this is the reply we received:

“Well, Brad it became real obvious that your stuff really works!

and the more I kept getting shown ‘other ways’ to do things, the more it reinforced your logic and practicality, and the more the rock-solid, genuine effectiveness of American Combato came through.  Hell, I guess the only reason I left is because I got bored drilling, and I thought there must be something more ‘intriguing’ or ‘exciting’ that kept the interest high. But I realize now it’s discipline that does it . . . no matter what you study!”

Two students returned, amusingly, after leaving, taking up another system, and then getting attacked for real, and discovering that American Combato is what saved their bacon!

One thing we do not offer is anything along the lines of the spectacular, the acrobatic, the mysterious, the “secret”, the endlessly unattainable (which some odd people seem to enjoy pursuing). Training can get boring now and then. Just like physical exercising. So? Work through it. Don’t quit.

Discipline. Work. Effort. Do not deceive yourself that these things are critically necessary for any degree of real success.

Possibly you are unable to attend personal training. So you use DVDs. Fine. There is more than enough for a lifetime of training in our 11-DVD Home Study Course . . . but please remember that it is a training course; a presentation of descriptions and demonstrations of techniques and tactical conduct that YOU NEED TO STUDY, LEARN, AND ACQUIRE FOR YOURSELF SO THAT IN AN EMERGENCY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RELY UPON IT AUTOMATICALLY. This means you have to practice the material, not just sit back and watch it.

Never mind if you live in a small apartment. So what? You have room to move around. Do it!. Train, for heaven’s sake, and stop making excuses.

You’re busy with work and with school? We ALL ARE (or were). So? schedule a workable amount of time in and train. You have a family? Great. Use them as an incentive to work hard, long, and regularly at acquiring and maintaining the ability to protect them — and yourself. Find the time. It’s there for you in your day’s schedule, just like it’s there for everyone else who looks for it and who sets it aside. You travel a lot? That’s no impediment to anything. Practice in your hotel room. Or go to a local gym in the area where you’re staying. You’re not occupied with business 24/7, and you know it. Forget the bar. Forget the time-wasting. Train.

Remember you can use minimal or no equipment and train marvelously. Don’t kid yourself about this. You can also improvise and/or construct your own equipment from whatever you can lay your hands on. A lot of world champion boxers trained in their bedroom or garage using an old duffle bag stuffed with rags as a heavy bag! We know a fellow back East who constructed a homemade dummy out of old pants and a shirt. He hung it on a doorway chinning bar and drilled relentlessly in good close combat techniques, which he studied from our DVDs. Apparently he did well, because when two street punks tried to attack him he left them lying on the sidewalk, and returned home uninjured! His sticking with training for the months that he did, paid off. He belonged to no gym, and was in the process of saving up for a set of weights.

Those of us with a classical karate background will remember stories of great karate masters (like Choi Hong Hi and Gogen Yamaguchi) who continued their karate training while being held captive as prisoners, in cells! It is unlikely that your request for 100 or so square feet of training space, a striking post, heavy bag, and set of other training aids will be provided when you are locked up as a prisoner of war. So how did they do it? They just DID IT

G. Gordon Liddy, the former FBI Agent, attorney, and Nixon Whitehouse asset who did federal time for his involvement in the old Watergate scandal, wrote about how, while in prison, he met a martial arts master who taught him extremely effective combat skills —— in prison. Liddy further reports how he retained and kept at his personal fitness routine despite being locked up.

“Where there is a will, there’s a way.” There is an awful lot of good sense and truth to that old saw, and we hope that we can encourage you to cultivate the will and in consequence, inevitably find your way to the confidence, fitness, strength, skill, technical knowledge, and tactical savvy that you seek.

One of the greatest self-help and success books ever written, THINK AND GROW RICH, by the late Napoleon Hill, emphasizes that you start where you are, with whatever you’ve got, and work with that! Acquire more and better tools, conditions, and circumstances as you progress . . . but do not wait. Do not procrastinate, make excuses, succumb to discouragement, or toss in the towel before the battle even begins. Never mind what what you do not have, what you cannot do, and whatever additions or subtractions in your circumstances, potential, or opportunity you would prefer to have presently. Just get going and do your very best with whatever you have right now, and right there.

Training has always been for us a lifetime pursuit. We encourage everyone with whom we come into contact and have the privilege to teach to look at this marvelous discipline in the same way.

As ever, it’s now up to you.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

Style: For “Fighting” (i.e. Competition) or For Close Combat/Self-Defense?: Two Different Things!


MUCH has been written about personal style in the martial arts. Style being how one personally utilizes and applies the techniques of the art that he studies in practical application. It is important to understand that “practical application” means two completely different things, depending upon whether one is discussing competitive fighting (or “mutual combat”), or actual individual combat (anything goes, all-in hand-to-hand battle).

This distinction is rarely if ever understood — even by those who fancy themselves martial arts “teachers” — and sometimes the distinction is, for commercial purposes, deliberately blurred or outright denied. The present fad of “MMA” and “BJJ” probably boasts the largest numbers of people who are, wittingly or unwittingly, guilty of this. And the result has created a generation of ignorant “martial artists” who have convinced themselves (and who strive mightily to convince others) that developing a powerful winning style of fighting in the competitive arena automatically produces a powerful personal style of individual combat and self-defense for actual combat.

The competitor is concerned about winning; winning in a fair, prearranged contest against another competitor. He meets this competitor at an appointed time, in an arena that is well lit, matted, and overseen by a referee, and regulated by very strict rules. He is assured that no weapons or “foul methods” will be allowed, and that there will be only one single opponent to contend with. He is also assured, in nearly every competitive fight, that the repertoire of techniques utilized by himself and his adversary will be very similar; and he usually knows not only exactly who his opponent will be, but also a lot about his opponent’s past fighting history, and the personal style his opponent depends upon when fighting, in order o defeat the opposition. This is such an important issue, in fact, that often a fighter will study his opponent’s style, and train so that he can utilize his own style most effectively against his opponent when they meet.

In a situation of mutual combat, we can say that the “fight” is for real. Two people for whatever reason actually agree to do battle, and “square off” before they engage. Mutual combat and fighting, we uncompromisingly contend, can always be avoided. Since it takes two willing participants, it only requires one of them (i.e. the one possessing brains) to refuse to participate. This either eliminates all conflict or it obliges the less mentally well-endowed to attack the one who does not wish to fight. This places the unwilling participant in the role of DEFENDER, and his need now is for either preemptive or counterattacking self-defense skills and mindset —— a “style” that is inconsistent with the requirements or spirit of “fighting” in competition or (as morons will see it) to “settle something”.

The combat (or “combatives”) student needs to develop a personal style of using combat (not competition) skills, in order to defeat, and sometimes to destroy, an attacking enemy. Whether in war or in peacetime, the need is the same, and the need for a personal combat style is what the trainee should be aware of, and guided by in his  studies and practice. If the person seeking to prepare for either self-defense or military close combat takes a turnoff into “fighting”, then that which he develops will be a sport or competition oriented personal style. It will certainly prepare him to enter matches (because he will not be focusing exclusively upon relatively safe techniques, and upon using them against a similarly prepared and oriented opponent, or against another fool who, like himself, is resorting to a “fight” —— mutual combat —— in order to satisfy his ego, or “prove” or “settle” some idiotic difference between them).

The personal style of a combat student will be one into which are woven the following characteristics, tailored to his unique capabilities and genetic propensities:

• The ability to deceive and then attack by total surprise, either in preempting, or in counterattacking mode, when an assailant manages to bypass his readiness (which the student needs to train incessantly in order to minimize his ever having his situational awareness and readiness “bypassed”.

• The capacity for extreme and perpetual barrage-like attacking. Going after his attacking enemy with the ferocity of a wild animal.

• A mindset of utter, extreme, mercilessly brutal ruthlessness.

• Expert mastery of very dangerous blows. Blows that maim, cripple, knock out, or kill —— executed singly and in combinations, and using surprise and the “kill or get killed”, “now or never”, drive to the wall mindset.

Attack mindedness on steroids!

• The ability to employ interactive tactics in which facial expressions, body language, and words diffuse, deceive, distract, confuse, con, or otherwise enable the student to either avoid trouble or set up his adversary so that, if that adversary actually initiates violence, he can be dispatched with efficiency, speed, and by freezing his mental faculty as a withering attack is undertaken to neutralize him.

• The ability to react to sudden, unanticipated violence —— for example, an attack from behind —— like a full grown lion or tiger in its prime would react if someone were able to approach it from behind and begin striking him with a stick.

• The commitment to using good, sound avoidance tactics 24/7. Being mindful that violence may come at any time from any quarter, and that —— exactly opposite to the fighter —— it will never be a “scheduled” or agreed-upon or planned event. (You can not make an appointment for an emergency!)

• The powerful desire to embrace and to cultivate with great enthusiasm all foul, “dirty”, underhanded, unsporting, gutter methods —— techniques, tactics, strategies, and attitudes —— than enable practically anyone, when properly employed, to destroy just about any individual in the world, regardless of that individual’s experience, skill, size, reputation, and strength.

• The knowledge and enthusiastic willingness to use all modern individual weapons — improvised included — in an engagement with an attacking foe, whether or not that foe is himself armed. “Fairness ethics” is stupid, self-destructive, and wholly inappropriate when defending oneself against unprovoked physical violence.

• A planned and regular commitment to strength and fitness-building exercises that build power, agility, internal and external fitness; and a commitment to seriously training the natural weapons so that they are as destructively formidable as the individual’s personal capacity permits.

• The understanding that personal injury is all but a guaranteed outcome for him, even if he defeats his enemy, and that there is always risk in any combative engagement regardless of skill and knowledge.

• A highly developed understanding of the fear reaction, and of how to employ fear energy in close combat, so that fear becomes the individual’s great ally and energizer in any situation.

• A strict adherence to combat skills and only to combat skills. The understanding that “one resorts in action to that which one has practiced and drilled into himself”.

The competitive sporting “fighter” and the imbecilic fool who “fights” require a personal style that is geared to agreed-upon contest. The combatives or combat student requires a personal style that enables him to make optimum use, according to his individuals strengths and weaknesses —— his natural and acquired propensities —— of the proven close combat techniques, tactics, and mindset… for W A R.

Every individual in the martial arts should be clear on this. It is a perfectly wonderful goal to aspire to become a fighting champion. It is an equally wonderful goal to aspire to be an expert in actual close combat and self-defense. But understand that a choice is involved here. It’s one or the other. In addition to requiring a different syllabus of skills, each goal requires that a participant develop a different personal style in using his acquired skills.

You can and should select the path that will lead to you cultivating the skills and personal style that will serve in the attainment of that which you are after. You can pick either path; but you can’t follow two distinctly different and opposite paths at the same time. And you will be making a very serious mistake if you elect to follow a path that claims to provide for the attainment of both goals, or that suggests that the personal style you develop in following either path will lead to a personal style suitable for each.

Common sense and real world, people! Common sense, and real world.


Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

                      Here Is Self-Defense Wisdom!


The following essay was NOT written by us or by anyone we know. It was forwarded to us in an email and, according to the correspondent who sent it, appeared on a “reality based self-defense” web site.

Our HEARTIEST congratulations to the author! We wish that we knew him. He makes nothing but good sense, and provides accurate, intelligent, realistic counsel to anyone with brains enough to appreciate that which he is saying.

We reproduce this written piece as it was forwarded to us, and we would love to have the pleasure and privilege of knowing its author. Whoever he is, BRAVO! You are a purveyor of a much ignored and maligned TRUTH (as are we), and we regard you as a staunch ally in our own effort to provide the TRUTH to those who are interested in learning the truth!

 Dear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Masters, Experts and Practitioners:

What I am writing here is not to insult, downplay, or question the validity of BJJ as a Sport Fighting Art. It is great for the ring, and refereed matches. 

What I am  writing is in disagreement with one aspect of what you do, telling everyone that your art is the ultimate “On the street” (way over used by your instructors and practitioners) self defense.

It will, if it hasn’t already, will get someone seriously injured or killed. It is time the Bullshit flag was raised on the unknowing public’s behalf. 

And that is that your art has nothing to do with real self defense, but is a marketing campaign to suck money out of pockets that you would otherwise have to let pass by.

I would probably respect you more if you were truthful about it, but then the flow of cash would run dry, and you wouldn’t be considered the Brazilian version of the Trump family.

I have been told many times that 80% of all fights go to the ground. I have never seen the hard data on this though. If this is true, it’s  probably the result of the two combatants not knowing what they are doing. Or not realizing that it is so very dangerous. Does it count if I hit you and you go to the ground because of it?

Your Instructors continually pound this, and other lies about how superior your art is to all other instruction, even the Gracie family has to know this is an out and out untruth.

Can you win a street fight by going to the ground? YES!, you can get lucky, however you will pay dearly for it in the absolute best of circumstances. A BJJ player is not a street fighter.

What we are really talking about is odds. With what I and others have seen in classes and students of BJJ, you are decreasing their odds of survival significantly! You are doing a serious disservice to anyone that takes your class if you tell them that BJJ is a street worthy self defense. But hey, all that badass BJJ gear sure looks good on them, heck, maybe the family will like it so much that the people you are teaching can be buried in it!

We are not saying that what we teach is better, but it is geared toward reality, awareness, inflicting serious damage quickly, in a street fight or survival situation

What many of us have learned in many years of studying various Martial Arts, and Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD) systems, is that going to the ground in a street fight of any type is the last thing you want to do. Be prepared for it, learn to fight from there, but don’t willingly go, or take your opponent there.

My Instructor (whose name I will not state because this has nothing to do with him), is a Golden Gloves Boxer, and has Black Belts in Aiki Juijitsu, Kempo, Filipino stick and knife arts, Aikdo, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Taijutsu, Koryu, and was awarded a purple belt from Saulo. He could get a black belt, he just didn’t want to pay the $3000 cover charge. He has been learning and teaching fighting for over 40 years, with the pioneers of the afore mentioned arts in America. He will tell you “Don’t take a man to the ground, beat him into it”

In reality, BJJ is a derivative of Judo, anyone that tries to tell you different is a liar. BJJ’s history is well documented. Helio Gracie adapted it and then modified it to his use and abilities, and he was an excellent fighter. But when it all comes down to it, BJJ is only used to subdue someone until the opponent yells “Uncle”. A choke is a choke, and an armbar is an armbar, no matter how you get there.

Once that has happened, everyone is allowed to get up and walk away. Or they can go at it again until someone taps out, but make no mistake, you will usually walk away. BJJ is a subduing art, like Judo, and Aikido, not a killing art. And again, there is nothing wrong with that, until you use it “On the street”

Fighting for points or submission in the arena is fine. In the real world, fighting for your life is a different story, if you win, you live; that’s it, no trophies, no one screaming your name, no interviews to be shown on the Jumbotron, no pretty girls hanging on you. No one calling you a badass, all you get is your life. Puts MMA and BJJ in a different light when you look at it like that, don’t it? 

“Randori” or “Kumite” is practiced in Japan, and Okinawa. It means “Chaos Taking” or “Multiple Attackers” and is a free form style of practicing grappling, striking or using weapons, usually against multiple attackers and is used in Jiu-jitsu, Judo, Aikido, Iaido, Kempo, and many others. It is called “Matsogi” in Korea and it is also used in Chinese arts like San Shou, or Tai Chi, but is simply known as “Sparring” The Gracie clan did not invent this, as it has been written, it has been going on for hundreds of years all over the world. Oh yeah, the Greeks did it in the Olympics a few thousand years ago, it was and is called “Pankration”, which is also the name of their martial art.

Now, let’s look at what a street fight is, and what really happens.

Street fights start in a standing position, period.  Either you weren’t smart enough de-escalate, avoid or escape the situation, or because you weren’t aware of what was happening. You allowed the interview to escalate(That’s right, I said to avoid the confrontation)

Add to that, that usually it will be one against multiple attackers (people are pack animals), any of which could have a weapon; that you will not see until it is used on you; anybody, even untrained people see that shooting for a single leg or even contemplating going to the ground would be foolish at best, deadly in any other case.

One other thing to add: If anybody has a knife in their hand, trained or untrained, in my eyes they become a 10th degree master and I treat them that way!

 Street fights tend to be over in seconds, not minutes, and they are all out brawls, that which tend to be won by the person who got the best, most damaging shot in first. It is not a chess match to be thought out and then applied to what you think your opponent’s weakness’s are. MMA and BJJ fighters have weeks if not months to study their opponent.

You may never even see your attacker’s face until court proceedings, if you survived the attack.

(By the way, I am not lumping MMA fighters in with BJJ players. MMA people have figured out over time that you have to be very good at hand to hand fighting. They work hard learning to hit, and take hits, and will probably tear you up “on the street”. Boxing, Kempo, and Muay Thai are generally the favored striking arts in their profession.)

Now, add to that what BJJ players are taught: BJJ is the ultimate self defense; taking someone to the ground in any situation will win the fight, any fight. No other art can come close. On top of all the macho posturing and bullshit BJJ players tend to spout that is exactly opposite what you are taught to do in self defense.  

I saw the news and video that you are teaching this to children now. It is at great peril and it’s irresponsible to them and their parents, who are getting ripped off and brainwashed into believing that BJJ is teaching them how to be safe and responsible when in reality, you teach your older students to be narrow minded bullies, who will fight at the drop of a hat. Those two things do not match up.

As I write this essay, I realize that you may wonder what my qualifications are to make these statements. Street fighting in Detroit as a dumb kid, Aiki-Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, knife and stick fighting, weapons and H2H training in the military, Boxing and studying fighting arts for the last 32 years. I have taught self defense for 16 years, and developed curriculums for females and children. And while I have done all of this, I am by no means an “expert”, I am still learning, training and making what I do better, I am still a student.

Now while I am not an expert at BJJ, but I am pretty good at countering it, as are the other contributors to this essay. Let me give you an idea of what I know about real world fighting and using a sport against it.

First, I practice awareness, and pay attention to detail. Plus, I will not allow myself to lower my standards or character to be goaded into a fight over name calling. So, I would have to be ambushed. But for this instance I am going to be stupid. Let’s put this is into perspective:

We are outside, we we’re in a bar and we had words, I left but you followed me into the parking lot, continuing to verbally challenge me by calling me a pussy, or whatever you want to insert there to insult me. The parking lot is typical, dimly lit with an asphalt type base.

I turn to face you, and let you know I am as stupid as you are, because I have chosen to stand and fight instead of leave. “I am a Brazilian Black Belt” you yell “And I’ll kick your pussy ass” you add. The aggressiveness you have had drilled into you, has given me an advantage, I now know what you know. I know that because of your training, you will want to take me to the ground, where you will try to choke me out, or armbar me or something.

My only response to you is “bring it bitch” and I assume a fighting stance. What I don’t let you know is, I am also well trained, and I have a Gerber multi-tool clipped to my belt that I use like a Kubota, and I am very good at it. You don’t see it, the parking lot is dimly lit. I know fighting and fighters, we all “run to momma” when we are fighting, in other words, we do what we have been trained to do the longest, and we are most comfortable with, and in BJJ, it is shooting for a leg takedown.

You take a typical crouched stance and slowly advance on me. I will move in circular motions around you, waiting for you to make your move. I will watch to see if you are as aggressive as you are loud. I may even bait you by leaving a leg just a little more forward. As you lower your head to find your target, I move my hand to my side. You’re so locked on you don’t even hear the click of the pliers moving forward from the handle.

You make your move, and so do I, driving my metal multi-tool into your head as I sprawl, driving you into the ground. I place a hand on your head, and drive three good knee shots to your head, you’re done. On top of the damage I have inflicted, the ground has messed up your hands, knees, and face. I stand up look around and split, leaving you there to be found.

You brought hands to a knife fight, and didn’t even know it. It actually didn’t have to be a knife, It could have easily been a knee to the face (I practice that a lot), a strike to the head, a total body sprawl, using all 220 pounds of me, to slam you into the concrete or asphalt. Or maybe a head rip, twisting your neck as hard as I can as we go down.

Or, you could have gotten the drop on me, maybe you were faster than I anticipated and we rolled back onto the ground. As you try to mount me, I drive my fingers into your eyes, I give you a palm strike to the nose, and then roll with you, yes, I know those tricks too, go with the motions, whichever way you are trying to go, I will help you. Maybe I drive my knee into your crotch, not once, because if I have a way to do it, I will hit you six, maybe seven times, crushing your testicles. I will slap, punch, kick, bite, scratch, break, or otherwise damage anything I can to win. I do not follow any rules; this is a street fight, there are none and I don’t care about you.

Pray nothing is within reach, because I will use it to win, a rock, a straw, a pebble, I will hurt you with it, I practice it.

Do you practice taking hits? I do. I also practice getting out of the way of them. You really don’t want to go toe to toe with me, I know how to hit you very hard from angles you can’t even imagine. I know how to use the “one inch punch”, I know where all your soft targets are in your whole body. I know how to use my forearms like a bladed weapon, and you would rather take a punch, than an elbow strike from me. I am very good with my knees, and I can destroy your lower body and legs with kicks.

You better pray I don’t have a stick in my hand, even a small one, because it is as deadly in my hands as a knife. I grew up street fighting, I have a high threshold for pain, and I can really pour on the damage if I have to.

As I write this, I am sitting because of doctors orders. I took a fall on ice, a chance in winter and I tore my rotator cuff and quadraceips on my right side, I taught Self Defense and put in a full work day afterward, before I saw the doctor. I also once walked on a broken ankle for 6 weeks before I could see a doctor, but that’s a different story.

Let’s pick a different scenario: I walked out of the bar and you followed me out, as I left I sent a text to a buddy, who lives not far from here. And as we were busy squaring off, he pulled into the parking lot. He brought a baseball bat. You took me down and were doing pretty good, then the lights went out, he took a full swing at your head and connected with it. I saw it and even held you up for a second. It cost you your life. We may get caught by the police, but what does it matter, your dead.

I know these are in my favor, I could have written a dozen more, easily, but it all comes out the same. I am not sure that someone could write an honest counter to these.

 I have a buddy, who has never taken a MA lesson in his life. I would never want to take him on, all he has ever done is street fight. He has never lost to anyone, ever. He has commitment, and he likes to fight. How do you think a BJJ player would do against him? I also have a friend who is a Salo Black Belt. He is a beast, but he also has boxing and Aiki- Jiu-Jitsu in his bag.

I guess the biggest difference between BJJ and RBSD is; BJJ teaches you how to compete against your opponent. RBSD teaches you how to survive. It is a huge difference, and it is time that everyone knows it.

Again, if you are a BJJ player, good for you, keep going, get your Black Belt. But don’t expect it to save your ass on the real world. You’re not Alice, this isn’t Wonderland, and you will get your ass handed to you, if you are lucky enough to survive.

I and the other contributors to this essay know this is going to piss a lot of people off. Oh well, it is the truth and I am tired of all the crap that BJJ players are taught and expected to pass on to others. BJJ is a awesome competition art, as is Judo,  Tae Kwon Do, Japanese JJ, Wrestling and many others. The only time it could be considered self defense I guess is if you are going against a total idiot. But then you may be considered the aggresor when the cops show up. Also if you let anyone know you were trained in BJJ (which you will), the cops will automatically think you were looking for a fight, you have that rep.

This is something that had to be said. We tried very hard to not insult anyone, just state facts, and obvious deficiencies in BJJ as a Self Defense System.

If you have anything to add, please feel free to contact us, we love well thought out, logical, intelligent discussions on the subject. Seriously, we do.

If you are just going to be another one of the thousands who are brainwashed into defending BJJ as a Self Defense, and you’re going to just call us assholes or something of that ilk, don’t bother, we know what we are, and you probably won’t change our minds with your witty repartee.

Please don’t be stupid enough to challenge us to a fight, the guy that wrote this is the lightweight of the group. Besides, we really aren’t interested in giving you our house, car, and other things we worked hard for, because you cannot accept facts.

One more thing, stop looking at You Tube and other video sites to reinforce your image as a BJJ player. Getting a “Kung Fu” Master to come to my dojo, then ringing the mat with my people, and then telling him he cannot do what he does, so that I can “Toy” with him before I take him down is a blatant setup.

If we are to get together, I am doing what I do best, at a neutral site, and you’re going to have to deal with it. What I like best is Knife Fighting.  Any Takers?



Saturday, May 30th, 2015


SOMETHING that we have always found amusing (in most cases) or pathetic (in other cases) is the attitude that many “martial artists” have in regard to modern weapons. They disdain them. They view them as being somehow “tainted”. And these are people who will practice for hours with a samurai sword, nine foot pole, or nunchucks. Or they will drill religiously in throwing shaken and shuriken at a target. What the hell gives?

We suppose that our visitors would be surprised if they learned how many students of the various traditional martial arts are against firearms, and do not believe in guns for personal protection. In fact, one of the few disagreements we have with the late, brilliant self-defense teacher Bruce Tegnér, is that, despite his prevailing (and largely) practical and sensible views regarding modern self-defense, Tegnér argued against firearms for self-defense (and would not consider fighting knives, either). Three aikido teachers to our knowledge became actually incensed at the mere thought of shooting down a murderous felon, or of ending a would-be killer’s life  through the use of deft knifework. And —— astonishingly —— we have heard more than one karate and ju-jutsu zealot assure us that he “didn’t need weapons”; his hands and his feet were sufficient!!! For most dyed-in-the-wool classicists however, cracking a man’s skull with a bo or with a jo (long stick or short stick, respectively) and killing him that way is cool. Cooler still would be cutting him neatly in half with a sword, and killing him. But shooting him with a gun? Or killing him with a well-balanced modern fighting knife?  Heaven forbid.

Frankly, this is bullshit. At least it is certainly bullshit for anyone who wishes to learn practical self-defense. (The antiquated and traditional weapons are fine for classicists who understand that they are learning outdated weapons, and if their concern ever shifts to realistic close combat, they would be well-advised to emulate William Fairbairn’s choice of weapons [or ours!], and not Miyamoto Musashi’s).

The knife —— especially the fighting knife —— is a superb weapon. It is second only to a firearm as a close combat/defensive weapon, and has advantages even over the excellent and justifiably popular La Gana American Tomahawk. Unfortunately, in the anglo-saxon culture the knife never really gained the great popularity that it deserves. Western society in general sees the knife as the “bad guy’s weapon”. This is unfortunate.

No weapon or implement is, by itself, good or evil. Weapons do not have a will of their own, and may be used to effect justifiable killings, no less than they may be used to injure and to kill unjustifiably. And since eliminating weapons is simply impossible, it behooves all decent human beings who aspire to a mastery of close combat and self-defense, to learn how to use whatever weapons one might encounter, common to the time in which they live. There was a time when maces, clubs, chains, swords, and battle axes were the weapons of the day. Then, when one trained with such weapons, one was being realistic and practical. But the fellow who keeps ninja dust in his jacket pocket when he goes to work in a modern office —— instead of a .38 Special revolver or a razor sharp knife —— is not being sensible.

Back to the knife.

Gun laws being as unjust and wrong as they are in many states (not to mention as they normally are everywhere in other countries throughout the world) we strongly recommend that knives be reconsidered for daily carry, perhaps home defense, and certainly for use in any comprehensive modern combat system.

Doubtless in most locations a fighting knife will bring legal repercussions if spotted by a law enforcement officer; but a good, stout lockblade folder is acceptable, and in most places it is a matter of indifference to the law if you own and keep in your home all the fighting knives that you legally purchase.

Sometimes, if you hunt, camp, fish, hike, or climb, you can carry a full-sized combat-survival knife, even if you cannot carry such a weapon inside city limits where you live.

In any case if you are a student of modern combat arts and practical self-defense the knife is one of the foremost manufactured weapons (along with the handgun, carbine, shotgun, tomahawk, walking stick, baton/baton-length stick, 5-6” hand stick) that you should study seriously. Put away the nunchucks and swords and nine foot poles if  you train for the real and modern world.

There is no such thing as a “bad guy’s weapon” —— be it a knife, firearm, or even a garrotte! Any weapon that may be employed in today’s world that can save your life and possibly the lives of those you love is potentially a GOOD GUY’S weapon!

Weapons themselves are neither “good” nor “evil”; they are merely tools. Those who purport to be teachers and students of combat arts should know this very well, and should embrace all weapons that are currently used and that are available to them in order to defend themselves and their loved ones.

Let us now argue FOR the knife as a desirable weapon of personal defense:

• Knives are very convenient to carry. They may, in their various configurations, be kept in a pocket (folders), or in either an open-carry or concealable sheath (full length fighters, “boot” knives, or “survival” type knives that double easily for combat use).

• Fixed-blade knives are, with a bit of practice, very quick into action and “ready to rock!”

• Knives are silent (obviously a sometimes great virtue for military or intelligence applications)

• Sharpening and cleaning (necessary only after use) is the only maintenance that a knife requires to be always ready and reliable

• Knives are deadly —— in close combat second only to a firearm

• Knives have a psychological effect on the attacker that is enormous

• Knives of completely adequate construction and quality are relatively inexpensive and —— save only under the most unusually extreme conditions —— do not wear out or break

• It is easy to learn how to use a knife for personal protection. A few hours is all that is needed

• A knife is readily combinable with a person’s unarmed skills

• While fighting knives may not be legal to carry, they are legal to own and to keep in one’s home or apartment —— so several may be concealed about the dwelling for emergency access. And a lockblade folding knife with a blade 3 or 4 inches long is legal to carry just about everywhere in the world

• Once you learn how to use a knife for personal protection you can grab a kitchen knife, utility knife, or object — like a screwdriver or punch — and employ it as a weapon, in an emergency

• Training in proper knifework will assist you to a degree in preparing you to defend against knife attack. At the very least it will ground you realistically in appreciating how a knife may be used against you, and what a knife’s capabilities are. (These last items normally being completely disregarded and not understood by the majority of “martial arts” and “self-defense” instructors).

If we have succeeded in establishing that ——— a) A knife is a legitimate and acceptable (as well as rather excellent) weapon of hand-to-hand self-defense,  b) A knife is a completely “decent”  and desirable weapon for private citizen self-defense, and its being regarded as a bad guy’s weapon is mere cultural bullshit,  and   c) The knife is one of the best modern weapons of close combat and thus should be on the “high priority” list of weapons to master for the 21st century student of combat arts, then we’re satisfied!


Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Weight Training: The Essential Supplementary Exercise For The Student Of Close Combat And Self-Defense

THE most often seen supplementary physical training for combat arts is stretching and flexibility conditioning, with a few calisthenic strength-builders thrown in; all conducted at the start of a class. Certainly this type of training — unless done to extremes, as it often is in taekwondo and some “kung fu” schools — safely limbers the trainee up for the immediate class. However, it does not provide the type of physical training most relevant for hand-to-hand combat. Despite the mythology, you need strength. But you also need more than strength, and weight training that is properly done provides what you need. The only thing that weight training does not provide is natural weapon conditioning; and that is the second most crucial (yet often completely neglected) supplementary physical training for combatives devotees.

But right now we wish to focus on weight training. If you were not aware of its benefits, and why we insist that its practice is essential. please consider the following:

1. First and foremost weight training develops strength. Strength can be built to a degree with calisthenics, but there is no comparison to not only the greater effiiciency with which systematic weight training will accomplish the goal, but also how much more strength can be developed with weights.

While there remain a hardcore minority of instructors who insist that “strength isn’t necessary” in order to defeat an adversary in combat, most understand that whil not necessarily being the deciding factor in a violent emergency, strength is undeniably a factor . . . and most especially students of self-defense and close combat studies need all of the strength that they can acquire —— in addition to their skill.

Possessing both a high level of strength and a high level of skill is a most desirable combination when you find yourself in any serious confrontation.

2. Weight training greatly contributes to the development of self-confidence.

As you can clearly see and objectively measure your growing strength through regular training, your self-confidence will inevitably receive a boost. “I am twice as strong now than I was last year!” is a revelation that is sure to bolster any combat trainee’s confidence . . . and such is commonplace for those who take up weight training and proceed to workout regularly and correctly.

3. Weight training improves and increases your ability to withstand punishment. A strong person with well-developed muscles is harder to injure than someone of average physical development.

Naturally weight training will not assist in resisting blows to the neck or throat, kicks to the knees or shins or testicles, or attacks to the eyes. However, weight training with certainly make a person indifferent to wrist, arm, and shoulder grabs, to clumsily thrown punches or kicks that land, and to all of the common, unskilled inflictions of injury that are attempted by most troublemakers in most amateurishly mounted attacks.

4. Sensible weight training keeps you healthy —— inside and out.

5. Weight training keeps you flexible and agile.

Some people might be surprised to hear this, but is absolutely true. And whereas flexibility training per se can often prove downright harmful, weight training exercises are never harmful when correctly performed.

Working the basic exercises from full extension to full contraction achieves healthfully correct flexibility development. You will not strain or sprain joints, ligaments, or tendons —— ever —— when doing the basic exercises through full range, strict motion with weight resistance that you can correctly handle.

6. While weight training cannot prevent aging it can certainly delay the agin process and keep you in “combat condition” throughout life.

7. The greatly improved posture, bearing, walk, and poise that you will enjoy after getting fully underway in a regular weight training routine will decrease the likelihood of you ever being targetted for a physical attack in the first place.

Tips For Getting The Best Results From Weight Training

• Work your enire body at every session. So-called “split” training is not as beneficial as total body workouts.

• Never, ever touch steroid drugs or fall for outrageous dietary supplements or meal plans.

• Forget about becoming “super strong” or achieving a “magazine cover build”. People in those categories of development had the hereditary advantages  necessary to get there. Not everyne can be a lifting or physique “champion” —— and you don’t need to be in order to benefit to the limit from weight training.

• Strength, fitness, and condition do not substitute for technical mastery. You need to practice your skills relentlessly. Such development as you enjoy fom your training will bolster your capability  with combat skills, but never replace the need for such skills.

• There are no “martial arts weight training programs”. Develop your self-defense and combat abilities; supplement them with good, basic, all round weight training.

• Train three times weekly on alternate days if you train in combat skills three times a week. If you train four times a week in combat skills do weight training twice weekly —— on spaced days.

The competitor, the classicist and the combat trainee will all derive enormous benefits from a properly planned, systematic routine of progressive resistance exercise using simple, proven weight training equipment. However, for the self-defense/hand-to-hand combat devotee the advantages that he derives may well be a matter of living or dying in an emergency.

We hope that we have adequately emphasized the intended message of this article:  i.e. TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS!


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

                    But Can It Be Done For Real?

              (Use The Applegate Test To Find Out)

THERE are numerous schools and theories of unarmed and close combat. With the exception of those that teach obvious nonsense (i.e. no contact self-defense, etc.) most schools are worthwhile and quite authentic. None may reasonably be criticized outside the context in which they are intended. That is, it is absurd to criticize a competitive sport because it does not properly treat the requirements of self-defense and hand-to-hand fighting; and it is equally absurd to criticize a system of self-defense and close combat because it does not advocate competition methods and winning in sport. If a system is a classical/traditional one, then it makes no sense to criticize its adherence to archaic weapons, modes of dress, or skills and practice methods. Thus, anyone insisting that devotees omit the classical kata that is a part of their classical training are out of line —— as are those who suggest that classical kata has a place in any school of modern combatives.

Our only and exclusive focus is on modern combatives —— i.e. practical self-defense and effective methods of armed and unarmed close combat for the military and for others who require this training.

Speaking only about skills, tactics, weapons, and techniques of self-defense and close combat, we urge all who train —— whether in our System or in another —— to use as one aspect of validating anything that they are either now practicing or are considering practicing, the brilliant acid test presented in his first edition of his classic, KILL OR GET KILLED. The late Col. Rex Applegate wrote:

“Will this work so that I can use it instinctively in vital combat against an opponent who is determined to prevent me from doing so, and who is striving to eliminate me by fair means or foul?”

Think about that. Let its implications sink in. Use it when

analyzing techniques of individual combat. Esthetically satisfying, beautiful and challenging, awesome to observe, a feat of athletic accomplishment, a technique that is “traditional”, a winning technique in contests, “the technique” that enabled this or that champion to defeat so-and-so in an important match, etc. NONE of these things has even the slightest bearing on the question posed by Applegate’s irrefutably valid standard.

In developing our System of American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) we applied Applegate’s standard to everything and to all that we included in our curriculum. To the WWII methods and systems that we studied and scrutinized and to the systems of taekwon-do, ju-jutsu, kenpo-karate, varmannie, boxing, and so on, from which we culled those classical skills that are of value and are practical for our purpose.

Both Mark Bryans (our top Black Belt and teacher of American Combato) and ourself have had numerous students utilize that which we teach, over the last few decades. IT WORKS. It work because it has met the Applegate Test Standard, and we do not for a second hesitate to say so.

We know that anyone who understands and utilizes the realism to be found in Applegate’s Standard will benefit enormously and immediately if his objective is self-defense and/or close combat.

For real world success and valid training you need:—

• Techniques that can be learned quickly, retained easily, and applied regardless of whether you’re in hard training and top shape or not

• Techniques that inflict serious injury

• Techniques that can be relied upon to stop a physically superior adversary who is determined to maim or to kill you

• Techniques that give you a good chance of surviving an armed attack, multiple attackers, and attacks from behind

• Techniques that are adaptable and doable under unfavorable terrain conditions, and in numerous contexts. (I.e. you do not want a method that has many hundreds of self-defense techniques. You want a system that has ADAPTABLE and MULTI-APPLICATION self-defense techniques. We call them “counterattacks”, and for every one that you acquire you should be able to multiply your practical readiness many times).

• Techniques that do not require fine motor articulations —— but that depend upon gross body movements (i.e. the only ones you can use reliably in a high stress, dangerous emergency)

Look at what is taught. Look at a technique and ask yourself:

“Can I do this in a business suit and tie?” / “Can I do this in a cramped office, parking garage, restaurant, hallway or elevator?” / “Can I do this in formal battle dress?” if you are a soldier or marine. / “Can I use this against more than one attacker?” / “Is this compatible with the use of my personal weapons?” / “Will this work on a debris-strewn sidewalk, or anywhere else that may have obstacles, glass, rocks, parked vehicles, etc. present?” / “Will this work against an attacker who is under the influence of drugs, who is drunk, who is insane —— or who possibly is operating on two or all of these influences?”

Possibly you will come up with some more contexts —— environmental or otherwise —— that can be used to good effect in assessing a techniques merit.

Always ask: “Will this work under the worst conditions, and work reliably in real combat?”

Remember that nothing, no matter how excellent, is perfect. And there can be no “guarantees” when it comes to anything so unpredictable, chaotic, and dangerously risky as individual combat. Nevertheless, there are war-proven skills whose track record sets them apart and makes them the way to go when determining what to train in and to use if your life or the lives of those you love is ever at stake. And discovering what those techniques and skills are by using a very simple, understandable test.

Be real.