Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

INSTANT SELF-DEFENSE, by Bruce Tegnér

Published by Grosset and Dunlap 1975 (In the USA and Canada)

BRUCE Tegnér’s Instant Self-Defense is an excellent little work (large format, but only 64 pages). In typical Tegnér fashion, the author clearly and logically presents some no-nonsense techniques and excellent counsel for anyone seeking realistic and practical no-frills self-defense. The recent resurgence of interest in and (we are delighted to say!) respect for this well ahead-of-his-time, much maligned teacher of personal protection and martial arts is encouraging. When Tegnér first appeared on the scene — around 1960 — with his Karate: The Open Hand And Foot Fighting, the smirking, and infantile criticism struck like a deluge. Every classical/traditionalist “knew” that any modernizing and demystifying of the martial arts merely destroyed their effectiveness. After all, these unreasonable fools “reasoned”, how dare anyone argue with tradition, and with that which is already established? (Sound familiar?) The fact that mistakes can be carried on for hundreds or even thousands of years, just as well as worthy doctrine, never entered the alleged “minds” of those in the flowing robes (Rex Applegate’s term!). No, Tegnér was widely appreciated and successful, but only because there are millions of people who desperately wanted common sense and effciency, and who disdained bullshit. Regrettably, only a tiny minority of martial arts teachers and students fell into that category in the 1960′s, 70′s, and even throughout the first half of the 80′s.

Instant Self-Defense will prove a refreshing and valuable no-nonsense addition to the library of anyone who is serious about realistic and practical self-protection. No frills, no nonsense. The book does not present Bruce Tegnér's entire System — i.e. JUKADO — but rather an extract of some effective and highly learnable practical skills.

Instant Self-Defense will prove a refreshing and valuable no-nonsense addition to the library of anyone who is serious about realistic and practical self-protection. No frills, no nonsense. The book does not present Bruce Tegnér's entire System — i.e. JUKADO — but rather an extract of some effective and highly learnable practical skills.

Tegnér, to his great credit, simply ignored the asinine critics (as we ourself do, and as we advise others to do, also) and proceeded to offer the martial arts seeking public some refreshing, for that time new, ideas regarding the Asian martial arts and self-defense. Among them were:

• Self-defense and sport are entirely different

• The very people who need and want practical defense training the most are the least likely to be sporting/competitive participants

• Self-defense is simple, and virtually anyone can learn it. One needn’t be a black belt expert, and one needn’t train for years

Tegnér made other points (some of which, we must confess, we do not agree with at all) but if he had made only those three he should be remembered forever as a great pioneer in Western martial arts.

Instant Self-Defense carries a title that, unfortunately, is reminiscent of those “learn-ju-jutsu-at-home-in-ten-easy-self-taught-lessons” courses, which peppered the men’s magazines and many physical culture and outdoor periodicals during the post-war 1940′s, and throughout the 1960′s and early to mid-70′s. It would be a terrible mistake to dismiss this book by assuming that it belonged in their category, however. It does not!

The contents begin with very wise and helpful counsel from Tegnér regarding why the skills to be described work, and the attitude that the reader must have regarding his study of self-defense. The “six best hand and arm blows”, and the “six best kicks” are then clearly described and illustrated. Targets to be attacked — both when one’s opponent is annoying, and when one’s opponent poses a potentially deadly threat — are shown. Tegnér goes into “stances”, something we personally question as being of value when they are of the square off and prepare to fight type, as some of Tegnér’s are. But he also illustrates a couple of good ready stances that do not betray any intention to fight to a troublemaker.Versions of the straight leg throw (taiotoshi), the leg-reaping throw (osoto-gari) and a simple leg hock takedown (unarmed combat) comprise the instruction in “throwing”. These are good throws, to be sure; but our preference would have been for the cross buttock reverse version of the hip thrown, and a stabler and more destructive version of the leg-reap. We suspect that Bruce Tegnér’s personal background in judo (he was California State Champion at one time, according to what we were told, and his family was trained by the fabulous Kodokan judo/ju-jutsu man Theodore Shozo Kuwashima) accounts for his judo style of throwing, and what we would opine tends in some of his teachings to be an excessive emphasis upon throws, per se.

The efficient little work then goes on to what is its most important instruction in self-defense: handling street fighters’ attacks, punching attacks, attacks from behind, weapon threats, and multiple assailants. (By the way, Tegnér describes one of the finest all round knife defenses, almost exactly as it was taught during WWII to commandos). We ourself teach this technique as the very first, when students in our System begin knife defense work. Good stuff!

As we have plainly stated elsewhere, we like Bruce Tegnér’s books dealing with practical self-defense and the combative aspect of martial arts. We’d leave his works on classical methodology and sport alone. Just our opinion.

Instant Self-Defense is a good instructional book on practical self-defense; which is exactly what its author intended it to be. Its strengths by far outweigh  whatever weaknesses we could nit-pick about, and so we’d recommend the work to anyone seriously involved in the combat/self-defense sphere of martial arts.

The book is out of print, but it pops up now and again on the internet. Well worth securing.

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Friday, December 17th, 2010

Book Review: Self-Defence Complete, by Pat Butler

Hardcover edition published in 1962 by Emerson Books N.Y.C. (Paperback edition (shown in illustration) published by Faber and Faber, in England). 100 Pages. 154 Photographs.

This is the softcover edition of SELF-DEFENCE COMPLETE. It is perhaps a little easier to find this edition than the hardcover. Contents of both editions are identical. This is a true classic of close combat and self-defense in our opinion, and if you can find a copy, you will not regret buying it!

This is the softcover edition of SELF-DEFENCE COMPLETE. It is perhaps a little easier to find this edition than the hardcover. Contents of both editions are identical. This is a true classic of close combat and self-defense in our opinion, and if you can find a copy, you will not regret buying it!

Patrick Trevor Butler (1929-?) was a distinguished British judo teacher. He authored several quality books on judo and self-defense, but in my opinion SELF-DEFENCE COMPLETE is — hands down – the best of his works. Although a thoroughly competent judo teacher, Butler taught one of the most practical and realistic self-defense programs ever. He did not confuse sport with combat, and he did not in even the slightest way allow his extensive background in Kodokan Judo to influence that which he taught as self-defense. Like Dermot (“Pat”) O’Neill, Butler threw out all of the ne-waza (ground grappling) and the nage-waza (throwing techniques) of pure judo. Like Fairbairn, Applegate, Sykes, O’Neill, Brown, and Begala, etc., Pat Butler had no illusions regarding the enormous difference between defending oneself, and competing against a sporting adversary.

Butler begins his presentation by sensibly introducing the reader to the matter of learning self-defense, and explains the difference between doing so, and preparing for the other possible (not in any sense unworthy) goals for which people come to the study of martial arts. His insistence that karate must be studied for years, and for many hours each week under a qualified master before the student can properly consider himself an “exponent” of the art, let alone an expert, demonstrates that Pat Butler had a greater appreciation for what classical/traditional karate actually is than have many karate “teachers”, today!

Properly, Mr. Butler corrects the then (late 1950’s, early 1960’s) erroneous view held by many that judo is any kind of “ultimate” combat or defense method, and he brings the reader — and his subject — down to earth. He is a competent, honest, utterly reputable authority on his subject. And while we disagree with some of that which Mr. Butler espouses (armlocks and wristlocks), we nevertheless appreciate the context in which he teaches these minor skills, and we’d have welcomed him with open arms into our International Combat Martial Arts Federation. (In fact one of our Associate Teachers in London,, England today is a former student of Pat Butler).

In the instructive chapters that comprise Butler’s program, he delves into karate and atemi blows, kicks, strangles and chokes, practical general defenses, how to counter punches and kicks, some specific instruction tailored to the needs of women and girls, the use of some improvised weapons, and defense against armed

attacks. Good stuff. (We think Butler’s “emergency knuckle duster” might be somewhat awkward to construct and to bring into play in time, but his umbrella work s outstanding).

Once again I must take some issue with the wristlosks and the armlocks material, simply because I see that type of technique as being appropriate for law enforcement and security people who have a responsibility to arrest and control — something with which the victim of a real attack need not concern himself, and should not concern himself, as it is risky and needlessly dangerous. I would also take slight issue with the somewhat (by my standard) restrained attitude that Pat Butler appears to have in regard to brutality and outright animalistic ferocity for self-defense. His point that karate might be “too severe” if taken undiluted as a self-defense method, puzzles me. Classical/traditional karate’s weakness, in fact, is that it is NOT vicious, direct, brutal, and destructive enough, and it takes too long to larn enough to stand even a good chance to defend oneself by using it. I frankly do not think that anything could possibly be “too severe” when acting to defend against the savagery of violent, unjustifiable attack — and I do not want my students thinking so, either. But Mr. Butler makes a ton of sense in so many other respects that I feel almost guilty devoting this paragraph to criticism of a small point with which I disagree.

In any case, I would have liked to read a  powerful advocacy of BITING, and of EYE GOUGING in Self-Defence Complete.

Pat Butler’s book, like so many quality, reliable, and worthwhile books on realistic self-defense and unarmed close combat, is long out of print. Happily, copies do appear on the internet for sale every once in a while, and knowledgeable enthusiasts of close combat and self-defense will snap them up the moment they see them available.

Self-Defence Complete, by Pat Butler, is an excellent companion work to Applegate’s, Fairbairn’s, Martone’s, Cosnecks’s, Styers’, and Wesley Brown’s. I’d rate it a “7” on a scale of 1 to 10.

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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
This book is one of the REAL rre ones! As a collector's item it is a gem; however, despite it being a fairly good book on close combat, it does not in our opinion compare favorable with the wartime works of Applegate, Fairbairn, or Brown and Begala.

This book is one of the REAL rare ones! As a collector's item it is a gem; however, despite it being a fairly good book on close combat, it does not in our opinion compare favorable with the wartime works of Applegate, Fairbairn, or Brown and Begala.

BOOK REVIEW: Arwrology: All-Out Hand-To-Hand Fighting, by Gordon Perrigard, MD. Privately published by Renouf Publishing Company, Montreal, Canada — 1943 (Reprint available from Paladin Press)

Until Paladin Press reprinted this WWII era book, Arwrology was one of the single hardest-to-find volumes on individual combat and self-defense in existence. Original editions were — and still are — harder to find than original editions of Fairbairn’s Scientific Self-Defence. The last copy of Arwrology that we saw for sale by a bookseller (years ago) was priced at $1,000.  And it sold within two weeks!

This is a fairly good book on the subject. We first saw a copy, and first learned of its existence, many years ago during a visit to Col. Rex Applegate’s home in Scottsburg, Oregon. It was among his collection of wartime references, and in fact was one of the numerous books that the (then) Captain Applegate pored over at the instruction of William J. Donovan, when he was ordered to “learn everything there is to know about close combat”. Subsequent to our seeing this book in our mentor’s home we feverishly attempted to secure a copy for our self, and succeeded — finally, after years of searching.

The title “Arwrology” is, no matter how much we say it, write it, or use it, irritating and annoying. It might just as well have been called ju-jutsu, because, for the most part, that is pretty much exactly what “Arwrology” consists of. Dr. Perrigard was a physician and a black belt in ju-jutsu/judo, apparently. When world war two broke out he undertook to organize and teach the most viable elements of close combat that he could cull from his studies, to Canadian and American servicemen. An admirable undertaking, and the work that he produced (if we can overlook the damn title) is not that bad. (“Arwrology” derives, according to Dr. Perrigard, from the Welsh word for “warrior” — i.e. “arwr”. Hmm…)

It appears that Dr. Perrigard developed an interesting approach to calisthenics, in which more “combatively relevant movements” were recommended as exercise, instead of the customary P.T. regimen normally administered in basic training camps. Whether the Canadian or any other service actually utilized the good doctor’s recommendations, we cannot say. But there does appear to be some logic, if not to the use of Perrigard’s exercises as a substitution for the usual calisthenics done by military trainees, then to their being added on, as a part, perhaps, of a hand-to-hand combat program.

Certain recommendations of Dr. Perrigard’s concerning how to crawl and how to arise from the ground — or strike out at an enemy from the ground position — are interesting. In reality these skills are taught in certain ju-jutsu systems. So are virtually all of the other skills that are offered under the “Arwrological” heading. The throws are ju-jutsu throws, and the holds are ju-jutsu holds — most notably that naked choke attack from behind, recast by Dr. Perrigard as the “Arwr lock”.

The techniques are pretty good. We just wonder why the term arwrology is used to describe them. Dr. Perrigard  himself made it clear that his were judo/ju-jutsu credentials, plain and simple. Possibly it was the wartime climate in which so much anti-Japanese sentiment was aroused, that prompted his gravitating to a Welsh term for Japanese ju-jutsu techniques.

Dr. Perrigard designed a kind of “bulky F&S style dagger”. It is shown in the book, along with some basic techniques of defense against a knife.  He also describes some knifework that we wouldn’t feel too keen about training in, or about training others in. More suggestions of a fairly complicated type, for handling a too narrowly-specific situation, than generally usable knifework principles and all-round, general skills.

What we really do like is Dr. Perrigard’s analysis and explanation of the edge-of-the-hand blow to the carotid artery. Being a medical doctor he really understood how efficient an action that blow is! And he emphasized it — much to his credit as an instructor.

Weaknesses in this book (aside from the title!) include a much too great emphasis upon throwing than is desirable when training men for hand-to-hand combat; the failure to really describe and stress the use of other natural striking weapons — especially kicking techniques , which are all but completely neglected — except for the knee-to-groin; and a not-all-that-practical rendering of knifework.

As far as the desirability of obtaining a copy of this book (in the original) as a collector’s item, we say: Definitely get a copy, if you can find one! Purchasing one of the reasonably priced reprints from Paladin Press makes excellent sense if you are not a book collector, but merely wish to explore this arwrology text for yourself.

For whatever it’s worth, when we asked Col. Applegate about the book, his response, as we recall, was lukewarm. “It was one of those we looked at,” he said simply.

You might wish to do the same.

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Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

DEFEND YOURSELF!, by Jack Grover

Published by The Ronald Press Company – New York City – 1958

This was one of the first books aimed at providing an eclectic "all practical" approach to self-defense by drawing upon different formal arts. The author, an accomplished athlete with particular skill in wrestling, presented some excellent material on effective self-defense. While not necessarily a "must have" title, this volume is certainly a good one for any serious close combat book collection.

This was one of the first books aimed at providing an eclectic "all practical" approach to self-defense by drawing upon different formal arts. The author, an accomplished athlete with particular skill in wrestling, presented some excellent material on effective self-defense. While not necessarily a "must have" title, this volume is certainly a good one for any serious close combat book collection.

JACK Grover, the author of this interesting title, comes from a background in football, wrestling, and boxing — not at all bad for someone wishing to describe doable self-defense measures, since all three of those activities involve some tough man-vs.-man experience. Grover apparently made some study of at least the rudiments of ju-jutsu, certain police tactics, and quite possibly some karate, as well.

Like most books on self-defense, this one contains some very good material as well as some material that is perhaps most useful for demonstrations, and best not attempted in hand-to-hand combat.

The finest example of the good material is Grover’s presentation of ways to start a fight. Clearly, not intending these attack sequences to be employed literally to “start a fight” per se, Grover wisely urges these attacks (which in certain cases we our self took from this book and incorporated into our own repertoire and System) in order to preempt an obvious aggressor who has not yet begun to initiate his full attack. This is very, very good instruction. It is also extremely unusual, and the fact that Jack Grover sees the importance of preempting, per se, speaks to his obvious “real world” knowledge of exactly what close combat is all about — and what prevailing in an encounter really does necessitate! This is the best part of the book.

The less-than-terrific material involves the wrestling-type actions, especially the takedowns and ground grappling. It seems that many who have distinguished themselves in the great arts of wrestling and judo sometimes fail to appreciate that —  a) Almost no one who trains for self-defense is or will become an accomplished wrestler;  b) Wrestling and judo are both done on mats, and hence that which one may do in either of those sports does not translate into that which one will likely be able to do in an honest-to-goodness close combat situation;  c) In real combat one strives to knock one’s adversary to the deck — not to accompany him there for a “pin” or for a “submission hold”. Instead, one uses one’s feet, knee drops, downward blows of the hands, etc. against the downed enemy.

The book includes a section devoted to “self-defense for women”. Some of the material is good. Eye attacking, for example. However, Grover’s advocacy of holds and control type grips in order to “bring a man to his knees” is, as far as we are concerned, pure fantasy and nonsense. It might work against a mildly annoying and physically inept fool; but a woman would be insane to try this stuff on a dangerous male aggressor. Chops to the throat, eye gouges, biting the face, kicking the testicles, and rippling off the attacker’s ears is more in line with what a woman ought to be training to do, if she is genuinely interested in self-defense.

There is also a “technique” that we take exception to. A woman is urged to remove one shoe (assuming she is wearing high heels) and strike at her attacker with the heel. Barefoot — or with one shoe still on — a woman is, as far as we can tell, more vulnerable than she was with both shoes on! (Yeah . . . if she’s wearing six-inch stiletto heels she’s immobile while wearing her shoes. But let’s face it: in general the sort of women who wear six-inch heels also tend to carry better weapons with themselves than the heels that they are wearing!)

In all seriousness, the high heel can be employed in only one way: an obvious, swinging hit. This is easily blocked and then she’s helpless. Besides, going through the action of removing a shoe and positioning it for a blow is not likely to go unnoticed by a rapist, kidnapper, murderer, or other nut. Better the lady simply act compliant, then bite a piece of his face off while ripping off his ears and kneeing him in the testicles. Or carry a utility knife and tear his throat open.

There is a chapter on exercise, and it is refreshing not to have the author advocate the useless (and potentially harmful) stretching that is so often taken for granted as being “necessary” for self-defense. We would have liked to see a frank advocacy of weight training, but the book was written in 1958 . . . and it really wasn’t until we wrote WEIGHT TRAINING FOR THE BUDO-KA for STRENGTH AND HEALTH MAGAZINE in the late 1960′s that weight training per se began to be associated in this Country with combatives training.

There is an interesting chapter on “Tricks of the Trade” which covers some interesting and possibly useful tips of a miscellaneous nature, that self-defense students might find helpful to know. Nothing on the order of any spectacular revelations, but when you consider the time of the book’s authorship (1958) and the fact that — insofar as the private sector was concerned at that time — virtually all of the “good stuff” was the WWII material by Applegate and Fairbairn, and Styers (slightly post-WWII), Grover deserves a lot of credit for his approach in this volume.

The Ronald Press (as far as we know, no longer in existence) produced three books that have each become fairly difficult to obtain. Two of them are genuinely valuable. The three books are:

SELF-DEFENSE, by Wesley Brown

JIU-JITSU, by Frederick Paul Lowell

•  DEFEND YOURSELF!, by Jack Grover

The genuinely valuable two are the ones by Brown and by Grover. Lowell’s is interesting, but the least practical,  in our opinion. Book collectors will of course be after all three titles. But if you can obtain SELF-DEFENSE or DEFEND YOURSELF!, you’ll have located a real find for practical instruction.

Our students will smile when they see in DEFEND YOURSELF! Grover’s description of two attack methods that we adopted for our System. Our students will recognize them as “Chop—Punch—knee” and “Distract—Punch—Knee the face”.

Doubtless, a serous study of this book — if you can find a copy — will prove interesting and, perhaps, reveal a tidbit or two about practical combatives that you’ll be able to employ, yourself.

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Sunday, April 11th, 2010
This excellent book was first published as "Unarmed Close Combat". Although one of the better books ever written on the subject it has, unfortunately, gone out of print. We note that copies do show up from time to time on the internet, and we'd certainly recommend this work to any who have the good fortune to have the opportunity to purchase a copy.

This excellent book was first published as "Unarmed Close Combat". Although one of the better books ever written on the subject it has, unfortunately, gone out of print. We note that copies do show up from time to time on the internet, and we'd certainly recommend this work to any who have the good fortune to have the opportunity to purchase a copy.

Lethal Unarmed Combat

by Dr. Malcolm Harris

Published in Great Britain in 1972, this excellent work on practical unarmed combat and self-defense is well worth obtaining and studying. It is a valuable reference, learning source, and addition to any professional’s close combat library.

The author of this book is a genuine expert in unarmed close combat. He is an experienced police instructor who holds black belt ranks in both judo and karate. But what makes this book — and Dr. Harris — so brilliantly credible, is the fact that, unlike so many who hail from a “law enforcement” and/or classical/traditional background, the author clearly understands, appreciates, and makes abundantly clear to the reader, the enormous differences between classical/traditional martial arts and MARTIAL martial arts. Dr. Harris pulls no punches in his criticism of the formalized practices that traditionalists follow, and the practical needs of the person (police officer, or anyone else) who requires effective and reliable hand-to-hand combat abilities. This makes Lethal Unarmed Combat similar in some ways to John Martone’s fabulous little Manual, reviewed previously.

Like all professionals in this field, Dr. Harris emphasizes blows of the hands and feet, straight away. His first chapter on Man’s Basic Weapons gives an excellent account of the proper performance and application of the critical open hand blows, a couple of effective closed hand blows, and powerful, practical kicks. We love Dr. Harris’ description of the side kick (he calls it the  “sideways kick”), since — despite the fact that, as a black belt holder in karate, he doubtless has been through the “side thrust” and “side snap” kick formal drills, teaching kicks to middle and high targets — he teaches LOW kicking, and in the world war two era form, not as taught in the karate systems.

In addition to his fabulous chapter one, chapters five, six, seven, and eight are outstanding for any student or teacher of serious close combat and personal defense. These deal with: strangleholds, combat tactics, adverse situations, and truncheon techniques, respectively.

Dr. Harris includes considerable material that in our view has application only for law enforcement. The risky “prisoner handling and control” skills (chapter two) are useless for self-defense and are never desirable for military (save perhaps military police) uses. Private citizens have no responsibility to risk their lives attempting to get an attacking felon “under control”. They only have the responsibility never to agree to fight, never to do anything to escalate or to encourage violence, and never to start a fight. After that, once attacked, their only responsibility is to defend themselves. (At least this is, to the best of our layman’s knowledge and as we understand it, American law).

Dr. Harris’ chapter on “selected judo throws” is, in our opinion, somewhat less than perfect. Such throws as the circle throw (tomoenage) and the floating and outer winding throws are not recommended for hand-to-hand combat, in our opinion. Too risky. Too complex. Too demanding of a MAT upon which to apply them, for the thrower’s safety. And no sacrifice throw makes sense in deadly combat. In our opinion a more decisive version of the leg reaping throw (ie stomp-stepping behind the enemy’s leg, rather than “reaping” per se, and smashing him in the head with a powerful chinjab in order to effect the throw), would be desirable. This, at any rate, is how we teach it. We also advocate O’Neill’s head-twist takedown, and the flying mare (i.e. palm-up over shoulder throw) if one has to use a shoulder throw at all. We are sorry that Dr. Harris does not include these versions of throwing in his book. We have not the slightest doubt that Dr. Harris could apply every technique that he advocates with precision and efficiency in an encounter, but we do not honestly believe that such is within the realm of probability for anyone save a highly proficient black belt judo expert. So, we’d skip the throwing instruction.

The “immobilization holds” that Dr. Harris describes are, once again, judo actions. And while we concede that a law enforcement officer may have practical need of an immobilizing hold when arresting an individual, we would not opt for those used in competitive judo. We’d select one or two from ju-jutsu, and go with them. However — for real world defense and military combat we urge that the downed attacker be handled with kicks, knee drops, and downward smashing blows of the hands , not by attempting to “pin” him. Well, Dr. Harris is an accomplished judo man, and we can forgive him what we would respectfully suggest is an overemphasis upon sporting skills. The chapter on “immobilization holds” does not teach what we would recommend.

Any book in this field that contains 60% or more outstanding material deserves recognition as a most valuable contribution to the literature of close combat and self-defense. And Lethal Unarmed Combat, by Dr. Malcolm Harris is such a book!

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Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Thiis is an original 1950's edition of the book. The Paladin reprint contains the material that is in the original — in its entirety. However, it is doubtful that any professional in our field will be satisfied until he acquires an "original". If you can locate a copy of either the 1943 or the 1950's edition of Hand-to-Hand Combat be prepared to spend a hefty sum for it. In its original editions, this book it a collector's item.

Thiis is an original 1950's edition of the book. The Paladin reprint contains the material that is in the original — in its entirety. However, it is doubtful that any professional in our field will be satisfied until he acquires an "original". If you can locate a copy of either the 1943 or the 1950's edition of Hand-to-Hand Combat be prepared to spend a hefty sum for it. In its original editions, this book it a collector's item.

Paladin Press has reprinted this wartime classic, HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT, and we recommend the book highly. We first obtained a copy of this Manual in the 1950's and — like KILL OR GET KILLED and GET TOUGH!, and other wartime titles — it strongly influenced us in our development of AMERICAN COMBATO. Most especially persons working on their own to acquire self-defense skills will benefit from a careful study of this and similar works. We also emphasize that classical/traditional stylists who are into their arts for self-defense, will benefit enormously by adopting much of that which HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT presents, for use in an actual emergency.

Paladin Press has reprinted this wartime classic, HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT, and we recommend the book highly. We first obtained a copy of this Manual in the 1950′s and — like KILL OR GET KILLED and GET TOUGH!, and other wartime titles — it strongly influenced us in our development of AMERICAN COMBATO. Most especially persons working on their own to acquire self-defense skills will benefit from a careful study of this and similar works. We also emphasize that classical/traditional stylists who are into their arts for self-defense, will benefit enormously by adopting much of that which HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT presents, for use in an actual emergency.

V-5 U.S. NAVY Manual Hand-to-Hand Combat

Published originally in 1943. Available today from Paladin Press in a softcover reprint of the original edition.

WE first acquired a copy of this book in the 1950′s, and we still have it, along with another original wartime edition (published earlier), which we acquired from a bookfinder in the 1980′s. We regard these books as supremely valuable and important contributions to the literature of close combat and realistic, practical personal defense.

Wesley Brown and Joe Begala were the men who developed the hand-to-hand combat course that was taught at the U.S. Naval Institute to Navy Aviators during WWII. Both men were accomplished experts in wrestling, and Wesley Brown had also done some cursory studies in ju-jutsu and savate. Hand-to-Hand Combat is a rather complete exposition of a good deal of excellent technical material that is, for the most part, fully reliable in real world encounters — whether in wartime or on the streets of an urban city, in peacetime. Although not without some flaws, we’d rate this tome as one of the essential references for serious students of personal combat, and for all teachers who focus upon practicality and realism in the martial arts that they present to their students.

The book’s section on FUNDAMENTALS is in our opinion the most valuable part of the book. Emphasis is given here to a presentation of many gouges, blows, jabs, and other damaging actions that are forthright, practical, and easily adaptable to an infinite number of emergencies. Necklocks are explained, as are a few simple holds and throws — these last two being perhaps less than the very best actions for close combat. However, there is no great complexity in the holds and throws taught, and it is possible that with lots of practice a fit and serious trainee could apply them against a dangerous foe. In other words, this is not Kodokan judo or any of the flashy ju-jutsu one is so often presented with in “self-defense” books. The techniques are all quite practical — with some being somewhat less practical than others.

Being primarily wrestlers, Wesley Brown and Joe Begala (the two men who created and taught the WWII program to Naval personnel, and who put together the Manual) let their wrestling orientation influence a bit too much of their program’s contents. For example, their advocacy of wrestling’s arm drag and switch techniques against frontal attack is, in our opinion, questionable. Perhaps a skilled wrestler could pull this off in a hand-to-hand encounter, but we seriously doubt that anyone whose exposure to these techniques was limited to their being taught in a brief close combat course could ever make them work against a fierce military adversary, or a seasoned street assailant.

There is also a too great an emphasis in those sections of the Manual subsequent to the fundamentals section on reactive or defensive combatives. That is, the reader finds description after description of (albeit for the most part effective) self-defense responses to attacks. This neglects the all-important OFFENSIVE methods — and we therefore cannot equate the fundamental premise of this work, or the manner in which it is presented, as equivalent to that which one finds in the works of Applegate, Fairbairn (especially in GET TOUGH!), and Styers. Doubtless, graduates of the program for which this book served as a text were fierce and formidable hand-to-hand fighters, and we know that Brown and Begala did stree attack; however, we would like to see this philosophy reflected much more powerfully in the physical skills that the Manual describes.

We like the section in this Manual on knife use. It does not present a method of knifework equal in merit to that described in Kill or Get Killed, but it offers a refreshing emphasis on attacking and killing with the knife (as opposed to the ridiculous dueling, which, unfortunately, has even crept into the training today of CIA personnel at Camp Peary, and that constitutes the farce of “knife fighting” instruction so often taught in seminars and classes in the martial arts).

Oddly, the mistake that the authors of Hand-to-Hand Combat avoid when teaching knife skills, they make when describing stick techniques.  For some odd reason, the Manual contains stick vs. stick work which, while infinitely more practical and realistic than the popularly taught stick work of, for example arnis, still reflects little of what practical stick combat ought to entail (i.e. attacking and maiming or killing, with the stick — period).

Some of the weapon “disarms” (poor but common choice of words when discussing counterattacking a knife, stick, or gun wielding foe) are good, and some are not. The knife defenses are less than the best. We would not recommend them. The handgun and shoulder weapon counters are mixed in value. We would suggest not using anything like the “takeaway” described versus a pistol threat, or the counters to a man’s reaching for a shoulder-holstered sidearm using an armlock. This type of threat calls for a killing blow to the throat, or a kick to the testicles, followed up with a lethal attack — not the application of an armlock(!) as depicted in the Manual.

Offensive methods of liquidating an enemy is a good section of the book. We would never suggest that the full nelson with forward trip be taught, however, for such a purpose. Maybe a genuine wrestling master could employ such a technique in wartime by coming up behind an enemy and applying it; but no short-term pupil of a combat course could do so, if that was all the wrestling experience he possessed. Also, it takes physical superiority to make the full nelson effective under any conditions — and realistic training demands that what is taught be doable against an enemy who is stronger and larger than oneself. Additionally, the full nelson can be countered instantly and effectively by doing the most simple of actions: locking one’s elbows to one’s side upon feeling the attack commence. Better to use a knife in the back, and then slit the throat, or apply a neckbreak from behind and forget about wrestling with the guy!

Hand-to-Hand Combat is a lengthy work with a lot of good, valuable material. We do not on any account wish to leave the reader with the idea that this book is so-so. It is excellent.

On balance, despite the few flaws in its presentation, we must rate this wartime classic  “8” on a scale of 1 to 10. You are missing some real gold if you neglect a serious study of what Hand-to-Hand Combat contains.

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Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
One of the lesser-known of the "practical, real world combat" greats! Martone certainly knew his business, and the practical realism and functionality of the material described in this excllent little book makes it a "must acquire" item for the professional combatives teacher and the serious student, alike!

One of the lesser-known of the "practical, real world combat" greats! Martone certainly knew his business, and the practical realism and functionality of the material described in this excellent little book makes it a "must acquire" item for the professional combatives teacher and the serious student, alike!

HANDBOOK OF SELF-DEFENSE IN PICTURES AND TEXT, by John Martone — Published by Arco Publishing Company, New York City 1955. 111 pages, hardcover. 115 photographic illustrations.

A subsequent edition of this book was published in softcover under the title Handbook of Self-Defense For Law Enforcement Officers. It contains the identical technical material and may be a little easier for interested individuals to locate.

THIS is an excellent yet little known gem that was written by a man who knew his trade!

SOMETIME ago we reprinted an article in our monthly on-line Newsletter SWORD AND PEN (please see our other web site: www.americancombato.com) that had appeared in a military police publication in the 1950′s on the subject of “disarming”. The author was John Martone, and his article — like the present volume, now being reviewed — bore this expert’s trademark: i.e. a most attractive and welcome combination of brevity/clarity/realism/ and authenticity.

Martone’s book, although long out of print, is well worth searching for. In it he explains very clearly the factors needed for success in hand-to-hand combat, and then proceeds to explain the basis of what anyone aspiring to practical proficiency needs to know. Getting and staying in shape. How to stand and move. (Martone teaches a basic fighting stance, which is good, of you must take a stance, but — like Applegate’s stance in Kill Or Get Killed, is largely superfluous for self-defense. Why get into a stance that betrays a readiness to do battle? Better a relaxed-but-ready stance that prepares you but that does not betray the fact that you are ready for action). What is good about the stance material is the footwork. Having been a boxer (and one of Jack Dempsey’s sparring partners), Martone bases all footwork on the Western boxer’s model — which we do, similarly,  in American Combato — and which makes a thousand times the sense that all of the elaborate and exotic stance work drills and movements make, that are taught in most of the classical/traditional martial arts.

Most welcome is Martone’s simplified way of describing the body’s vital points. Instead of enumerating dozens of “vital targets” (of which, when put to the test of real combat, are hardly all that reliable, at all) Martone reduces his advocacy to a few core targets — and those he describe make sense. We have always agreed with Rex Applegate on this matter of “vital points”. The human body has about a dozen or so for the purpose of fast-moving, genuine, dangerously serious hand-to-hand combat. Martone is sensible and worth paying attention to, as is Applegate.

Emphasizing that the OPEN rather than the closed hand is the better weapon for serious combat (something, we hope the reader will note, is coming from a professionally qualified BOXER. Jack Dempsey, when training Coast Guardsmen in close combat, along with his colleague, Bernard Cosneck,  the wrestler, stressed this fact, too) the first blow urged by him is the edge-of-the-hand blow. Martone does not emphasize the “thumb up” position taught by Fairbairn and Applegate for the edge-of-the-hand blow, but illustrates a version closer to that utilized by Brown and Begala who developed and taught the U.S. Naval Aviation Cadet’s Course in hand-to-hand combat, during WWII.  John Martone also describes the fingertips thrust to the solar plexus (a blow that we were trained in also, by a former FBI Instructor who had learned the blow from Fairbairn during WWII). We personally do not care for this blow, but we have no doubt about its efficacy when properly rendered — particularly against an adversary wearing light outer clothing — and for those who like it, go for it.

More good, simple stuff follows throughout the book. Ramming fingers into the eyes, using the fingers to apply a pincher-grip to the windpipe, and employing a seizure-and-crushing action with the hand in order to attack the testicles. Good, simple, reliable doctrine that WORKS.

We especially like Martone’s advocating — and illustrating — open hand claw-ripping to the face. This is somewhat reminiscent of Fairbairn’s excellent “Tiger’s Claw” attack, and this is the kind of material that is needed when the you-know-what hits the fan! Forget all of the pretty and acrobatic stuff! Thank goodness John Martone has forgotten and completely discarded all of the fluff in this book!

There are some good, simple reactive defense actions described, and the counter weapon skills are very good. Very similar to Applegate’s.

Martone provides some superb guidelines for police officers — similar to the material that we advocate for our students who work in law enforcement. We note — appreciatively! — that Martone’s advice would in some instances be regarded with raised eyebrows in today’s major urban police academies. For example, Martone advises: Never give an adversary a break in any fight. AMEN. Doubtless, the “tone” of that (as a lawyer might say) conveys a bit too much aggressiveness for the modern, sensitive public. (Would that members of the public were more sensitive to the horrific dangers that police face when engaging felons in hand-to-hand battle!).

We would have liked to have seen a bit more emphasis on kicking in this book — most specifically the side stomping type kick.

On balance we’d rate this book as being among the “top 50″ all time great texts that have been written in English on the subject of self-defense and close combat.

***                ***              ***            ***              ***            ***          ***        ***



Monthly Book Review

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

PLEASE WATCH FOR NEW BOOK REVIEWS AS THEY ARE ADDED TO THIS SECTION.

KILL OR GET KILLED

by Rex Applegate

(1976 edition. Published by Paladin Press 7077 Winchester Circle  Boulder, Colorado 80301-3505 USA)

The original wartime edition of the most famous and excellent book on close combat ever written.

The original wartime edition of the most famous and excellent book on close combat ever written.

The latest (1976 reprint) efition of this Classic.

The latest (1976 reprint) edition of this Classic.

WHAT can one say about the greatest single book that has ever been written on the subject of armed and unarmed close combat? Precisely that! In fact, KILL OR GET KILLED remains The Book on the now famous “WWII era methods” of armed and unarmed hand-to-hand combat, alongside which all other books that have been writen on the subject are to be compared and judged  for quality and authenticity!

It is fitting that the first book review on this site be of a title authored by our own greatest mentor in the field. We credit the late Rex Applegate and the late Charles Nelson (“Sarge”) with being the two top and most influential teachers of practical, realistic, and effective close combat doctrine in our life. We are of course grateful too to those from whom we learned ju-jutsu, taekwon-do, varmannie, ch’uan fa (“kenpo-karate”), and assorted other skills and methods. We certainly also bow our head in respectful gratitude to the late Father of Armed and Unarmed Western Combatives — William Ewart Fairbairn — from whose works, and from one who (like Rex Applegate, who had learned at Fairbairn ‘s own hand)  taught us. We learned valuable lessons from many sources. However, the greatest live teacher in our lifetime, and the one who most greatly influenced the devlopment of our own System, American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao), was undoubtedly, far and away, Col. Rex Applegate.

This Classic treats the matter of unarmed combat in less than 70 pages. Exactly as the subject ought to be treated, when the purpose is to get down to the bare bones fundamentals, and to explain the subject so that statistically average men can acquire a working capability with it, before they go off to war and find themselves pitted against lethal enemies in real battle. And this was Applegate’s purpose. Focusing on blows (which, as Applegate stresses, actual experience in combat has proven to be the best way to handle engagements with a dangerous foe) Kill or Get Killed describes a number of techniques, but emphasizes the EDGE-OF-THE-HAND BLOW, the CHINJAB, and the low KNEE KICK. This last being what we refer to as being  a “low side kick to the knee“. Other blows, such as the knee-to-the-testicles, ear boxing, knuckle jabbing, and elbow smashing, etc. are described, with of course that vital emphasis on ATTACKING, which is so sorely neglected (and had even then been neglected) in training for real world encounters. It is notable that the U.S. Army’s official and then current field manual on the subject of “Unarmed Defense For the American Soldier” (FM 21-150) did not accord with Applegate’s doctrine, and in numerous presentations and papers delivered on the subject during the war, Applegate pointed out the inherent folly of that which the Army had “officially” been presenting to the troops via this very Field Manual. Kill or Get Killed was not published by the Army, but was produced  privately, by Stackpole Books, as one of that publisher’s series of excellent works on combat, during WWII.

Eye gouging, biting, and what we found to be the most sensible and realistic instruction ever put into print ever on the subjects of fighting multiple attackers and fighting when on the ground is also described in Kill or Get Killed. Applegate, like every combat-experienced wartime teacher, stressed the need for FOUL METHODS, for  NOT going to the ground voluntarily, and for never expecting to emerge uninjured from any hand-to-hand fight. To this day the majority of “martial arts students and teachers” fail completely to “get” this critical series of points (as, largely, do numerous individuals who decide how members of our armed services ought to be trained, today! See the August 2009 on-line edition of Sword & Pen for evidence of this. Go to www.americancombato.com).

Kill or Get Killed describes the principles and techniques of applying basic throws but emphasizes that blows should always be employed whenever possible instead of such relatively complex and risky methods. The combative version of the shoulder throw (i.e. palm up, executed in a manner that is calculated to kill) is described, as is the cross-buttock (original ju-jutsu)  version of the hip throw. We note that almost every single so-called “self-defense”, “ju-jutsu”, or “combat” system that teaches throwing today, teaches the Kodokan Judo versions of both the shoulder and hip throws (i.e. ippon seoinage and o-goshi, respectively).

Although marvelously practical and complete in its description of “defensive unarmed combat” (speaking from the standpoint of evaluating a short-term emergency program in the subject, which is precisely that which Kill or Get Killed was written to synopsize in print) the book frankly advocates OFFENSE, and this is what everyone looking for the real deal needs to hear! One does not win any battle by being defensive. Period. If that were all that one derived from Kill or Get Killed after studying the tome, his  reading of it  would have been worthwhile!

Some holds are demonstrated in the book, but are quite properly not emphasized. Their weakness (frankly stressed by Applegate)  making even the best of them not suitable against a determined man who is willing  to resist and to escape. If only those optimists who continue teaching lukewarm “defensive tactics” (often aikido based) would really study Kill or Get Killed!

While most famous as The Classic on unarmed combat, Kill or Get Killed has marvelous and valuable chapters on knifework (both defense against knife attack and how to use a knife in combat against an enemy) and on combat handgun technique, as well as close quarters work with a shoulder weapon.  Both the material on knifework and on combat use of the handgun and shoulder weapon are as current, valid, important, correct, and necessary TODAY – in this 21st century – as they were when written (originally as classified documents) during WWII. “Gun buffs” and other weapon aficionados would do well to recognize this, and to toss in the trash most of the recently popularized material on the “new technique” of the pistol, and assorted other stuff on “knife fighting”, etc.Kill or Get Killed contains that which works — not in the competition venue, but in dangerous, unforgiving, chaotic, fast-paced lethal COMBAT.

Although he never made muh of a point about it, we’d like to do so right now, regarding another outstanding and exclusive chapter in Kill or Get Killed;  the chapter on Disarming: In fact, Rex Applegate is the developer of the “disarming” techniques that are described in that chapter in which the edge-of-the-hand blow “chop aside” actions are illustrated against firearms. He also originated the shoulder weapon “disarms”. (Note: We do not believe that “disarming” is a good term for these types of skills, since “taking the enemy’s weapon away” is practically never the goal. Rather, avoiding being shot and then dispatching the gunman is the objective. We had discussed this with Col. Applegate and, in the 1980′s when we did so, he concurred).

We have listened with  great amusement in the past to one or another “martial artist”  criticize not only the “disarming” section of Kill or Get Killed, but also the unarmed combat sections and the knifework for  being “too simple”. To criticize close combat methods because they are”too simple” is like criticizing a scalpel because it is “too sharp”! One can only scratch one’s head, smile, and walk away.

Post-war editions of Kill or Get Killed include increasing amounts of material on crowd and riot control, and related law enforcement and military police matters. Since there is not one single edition of Kill or Get Killed that leaves out the unarmed combat, knife combat,and firearms instrucion — in full — it hardly matter which edition one obtains and studies. They  all impart pure gold.

Because of the personal relationship and close association  that we had for more than 25 years with Rex Applegate, and due to the great affection that we have for the man and for his memory, we may be accused of being biased when we urge his book as being essential in the working library of every professional in our field.  But before dismissing this review as an exaggeration, or our feelings and assessment as going overboard, please consider that there is not a single genuine professional teacher of close combat and real world self-defense in the world who disagrees with us.

Buy the book.

AMERICAN COMBAT JUDO, by Bernard J. Cosneck (Latest reprint available from Paladin Press. Originally published in 1944 by Sentinel Books, NYC.)

This is the original 1944 edition of AMERICAN COMBAT JUDO. It is identical to subsequent editions in all ways, except for the original's inclusion of a technique for gouging out an adversary's eye. Personally, we feel that this makes the original edition THE ONE TO LOOK FOR, but the latest reprint — by Paladin Press — of the later post-WWII edition (without the eye gouge) is well worth acquiring. Cosneck's use of the term "combat judo" is interesting. He is not the only one to use this term, which would seem to be a "catch all" for general types of unarmed combat. The United States Marine Corps used this term synonymously with "jiu-jitsu" or "ju-jitsu". In fact Sgt. Robert Carlin, USMC also authored a rather brief booklet on the subject of "combat judo", too. Carlin's material was not identical with Cosneck's. One of our own teachers, Charles Nelson, was often referred to as a "combat judo" instructor.  There is no one system per se that is in fact "Combat Judo".

This is the original 1944 edition of AMERICAN COMBAT JUDO. It is identical to subsequent editions in all ways, except for the original's inclusion of a technique for gouging out an adversary's eye. Personally, we feel that this makes the original edition THE ONE TO LOOK FOR, but the latest reprint — by Paladin Press — of the later post-WWII edition (without the eye gouge) is well worth acquiring. Cosneck's use of the term "combat judo" is interesting. He is not the only one to use this term, which would seem to be a "catch all" for general types of unarmed combat. The United States Marine Corps used this term synonymously with "jiu-jitsu" or "ju-jitsu". In fact Sgt. Robert Carlin, USMC also authored a rather brief booklet on the subject of "combat judo", too. Carlin's material was not identical with Cosneck's. One of our own teachers, Charles Nelson, was often referred to as a "combat judo" instructor. There is no one system per se that is in fact "Combat Judo".

Bernard (“Barney”) Cosneck was a wrestling champion,  having twice won  “Big Ten” championship contests as a student at the University of Illinois. He collaborated in the design and teaching of an unarmed combat course while serving in the United States Coast Guard. His partner was none other than the great Jack Dempsey. The two men also co-authored a book titled HOW TO FIGHT TOUGH, which Paladin Press has also made available in reprint. We cannot help but note that these two men — each representing an entirely different form of martial sport —  nonetheless were friends and collaborative partners! A huge lesson for some of the myopically one-sided in today’s “martial arts field”. What is more: both men recognized the severe limitations inherent in their own respective disciplines, and consequently looked to the proven “dirty” or “gutter” tactics of commando fighting for the core of their COMBAT teachings! Something, once again, that many of the “our system wins in contests, so we’re the best” crowd might learn something from — IF they’re teachable, that is.

Anyway, this is an excellent book on unarmed combat. Most particularly, the original “wartime” edition, if you can locate a copy, is the one to get. In that first edition Cosneck describes and illustrates how he advocates gouging out an enemy’s eye. His technique, for those who have never seen or who cannot obtain a copy of the original edition, involved driving the index finger into the outside corner of the enemy’s eye, and then driving powerfully inward. While we cannot vouch for this particular technique’s efficiency from personal experience, we are quite willing to accept Cosneck’s assurance that it is a great way to pop someone’s eye out of his head! In our experience and from our own research and training, we always advocate that the thumb(s) be driven into the inside corner(s) of the adversary’s eye(s). Our reason is simple: It is all but impossible for him to escape the gouge by turning away sharply (which would almost always be anyone’s reflexive reaction to a finger driven into his eye, we’d imagine), and by using the thumb (not the index finger) you can practically hold onto your man’s head and effect your attack no matter his response. Now we must hasten to say here that Cosneck definitely emphasizes that the enemy’s head be braced and held securely for this technique, so we cannot argue that — done the Cosneck way — the action would be supremely effective. We are a bit concerned about those combatants whose prowess at holding a man stable might be considerably less than an expert, powerful wrestler’s, like Cosneck.

As is true of ALL genuine close combat masters, Bernard Cosneck builds his method around BLOWS, not holds or throws, despite the fact that he was a wrestler. This is also true of the U.S. Navy’s Wesley Brown and Joe Begala (architects of the Naval Aviation V-5 Program in Hand-to-Hand Combat). These men were both highly accomplished wrestling experts — but when it came to war and to real combat, these grapplers (like O’Neill and Fairbairn) knew what gives! Cosneck’s pet blows are the proven “hack” (his term for the edge-of-the-hand blow) and the “jab” (his term for the middle-finger-one-knuckle strike). He stresses these actions right at the commencement of the book, which is wise. This establishes the critical nature of striking, and Cosneck demonstrates where these two blows are best delivered.

Again, we take minor issue with Cosneck’s advocacy of the knuckle jab. It is an effective blow, but not for everyone. A strong man with heavy bones and powerful hands wil find the blow outstanding; but lesser endowed individuals will not. Personally, we offer this blow only to our own students after they have spent quite a while on hand-axe chops, chinjabs, elbow smashes, fingers-to-the-eyes, hammerfist blows, and a few other (in our personal opinion) easier-for-most-people-to-apply striking techniques. But for anyone whose physiology lends itself to the use of the “jab” as Cosneck teaches it, there will be no problem whatever in following the instruction in this book, precisely!

Illustrated also are such niceties as clapping the ears (unfortunately, Cosneck does not place emphasis upon cupping the hands, as Fairbairn did, but simply shows the open hands smashing into the adversary’s head), stomping on the instep, punching the solar plexus, and kneeing the testicles — all great stuff and, quite properly high on the “must learn” list for any man looking for honest-to-goodness real world hand-to-hand skills.

Since the book is a wartime text it is not surprising that some techniques, such as how to garrotte someone, which are useful to special forces  types, are included in the instruction.

Certain defense actions, such as Cosneck’s recommended actions against a rear body scissors and the Japanese strangle will only work when those types of attack are amateurishly applied. We personally would never employ a rear body scissors without locking on a rear stranglehold, as well. And the Japanese strangle ALWAYS is properly taught as a military skill by jerking the opponent vigorously to the rear, off balance. But we point these things out more for the benefit of those who learn exclusively from books, so that they will know the limitations of some of that which many years of training has taught us, and not to nit-pick and criticize.

Cosneck demonstrates a handgun defense, when threatened from behind, that we would strongly recommend against. It is similar to one of the handgun counters that Applegate refers to in his Classic, and which, interestingly enough, we discussed with the late wartime combatives Grandmaster. The technique involves applying a kind of armlock to the gunman, and then wresting away his firearm. Cosneck goes so far as to apply a throw, and then “covers” the downed attacker with his own weapon. Nice for a demonstration and show — terrible in any actual situation! When we brought the technique up in a discussion with Rex Applegate many years ago, we said that we would never attempt such a technique. Our method is a two-step plan (ie 1. Get out of alignment with the weapon, and 2. Kill the gunman). Applegate agreed heartily. “Yes Brad,” he said, “you’re right. But we taught this and used it as a demonstration of what an expert in ‘disarming’ might be able to accomplish. This gave the trainees confidence.”

Again, we only point out this disagreement with Cosneck’s teachings to assist those who might not have any extensive and formalized background in the “real thing” — so as to help them fully benefit from that which is valuable in the book, while staying away from the few things that are not.

And MOST of American Combat Judo is excellent. We’d say that fully 80% of what Cosneck  describes is valuable and doable, and deserves consideration in a good hand-to-hand combat program.

This is one of those books that belongs in every professional’s library. And it is one that serious students will benefit from reading, too.

The final section of the book is a single page — but a valuable one. It synopsizes “situations” and their responses, as taught in the book. This is a valuable review and practice aid for students and teachers alike, who will use this book as a training text.