Archive for the ‘Monthly Instruction’ Category

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Sobering Facts (That Your Teacher May Not Have Told You)

 

MARTIAL arts are, generally, practiced in an aura of mysticism. The instructor (sensei, sifu, master, grandmaster, etc.) frequently remains distant from lower-ranked students and as a result acquires a “superior” demeanor and status; a status that over and above his legitimate position of being in charge of his class and possessing greater knowledge of the subject being taught than his students, demands a deference and unquestioning obedience that is plainly absurd. And while this may in some instances result in a seriously disciplined training and learning environment, it also distracts from the down-to-earth truth that students need to know for real, effective self-defense.

 

The above does not apply if a teacher, either literally or in essence, emphasizes frequently ——

• The FACT that, like it or not, luck plays a significant role in who prevails in a real close combat encounter. This is one reason why sane people avoid physical violence, and why playing in competitive matches —— which are ALWAYS SUBJECT TO SAFETY CONDITIONS AND RULES. Additionally, entrants in matches normally are reasonably close in skill levels and competition experience. “Luck” is certainly not irrelevant in sporting competition; however, if you are unlucky in a match, so what? You can have a rematch. But you won’t be maimed or killed. In an actual encounter anything can happen. The most expert professor of self-defense and combatives can be unlucky and be shot, stabbed, clubbed, or overwhelmed by multiple adversaries. Except to a damn, useless fool, this means that close combat is always to be avoided except in unavoidable self-defense.

You do battle when you MUST, not when you CAN. It just might be your unlucky day!

• The FACT that, as “un-martial-artsy” as it may be to face it, the victor in the vast majority of actual  individual encounters is the one who attacks first with the most destructive actions, not the one who has won the most contests (sport) or the one who has attained the highest level of rank in karate (or ju-jutsu, or ch’uan fa, or hapkido, or . . . whatever traditional system you care to name).

You do not stop a determined, experienced, dangerous physical assailant by “blocking”, “dodging”, “breaking a wrist hold”, sparring, or focusing on being defensive. You ATTACK. Personal self-defense is war in microcosm. Wars are won by offense , not by defense.

• The FACT that sheer animal viciousness, and a fierce attitude of  “I will die killing him if necessary!” can mean more in real combat than ten years of training in any art that fails to teach this along with its techniques! And the attitudes of “being merciful”, “don’t hurt the attacker too badly”, “technical mastery trumps attitude” are all pure b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. Hold any one or combination of them, and you are preparing yourself to die if you ever face a killer who decides to victimize you.

Yes, you need the right skills, tactics, and techniques. But the engine and fuel that will enable those skills, tactics, and techniques to save you in a crisis is the mindset of a WILD ANIMAL; a wild animal bent upon tearing its enemy to shreds. A honey badger has that attitude, and that little 35 pound package of ferocity-hate-rage-determination can drive off lions! Obviously a lion possesses greater size, weight, strength, as well as superior natural weapons than a honey badger; but the honey badger’s unequaled all-out viciousness and zero hesitation to ATTACK AND KILL (OR DIE TRYING) makes even a lion —— sometimes lions —— back down and away.

Integrate that which is presented here with the mastery of really good, combat and war-proven techniques, and, despite the fact that no one can ever “guarantee” you victory in an encounter, it is not likely that, should unavoidable violence come your way, you will ever be a helpless victim —— no matter who attacks you.

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Thursday, November 12th, 2015
This diorama from the USMC Museum, depicts a hand-to-hand engagement between a U.S. marine and a German soldier in WWI. It also beautifully depicts TOTAL COMMITMENT in hand-to-hand combat!

This diorama from the USMC Museum, depicts a hand-to-hand engagement between a U.S. marine and a German soldier in WWI. It also beautifully depicts TOTAL COMMITMENT in hand-to-hand combat!

TOTAL COMMITMENT!

HOW well we remember the years when, as a boy, just beginning to satisfy our desire for knowledge about and ability in judo, we scoured sources of very questionable value (booklets and “courses” advertised in comic books and in men’s magazines, etc.). This was when we were about eight or nine years old . . . we had never yet heard of “karate”, would have thought “kung fu” was something you ordered with chicken chow mein, and hadn’t a clue that judo and ju-jutsu (we spelled it ju-jitsu or jiu-jitsu, back then) were two different arts.

We bought all of the claims: “You don’t need strength”, “Size is unimportant”, “Learn this and you can beat anybody”, “These are secrets not known outside the Orient”, “G-men use these tricks to overcome the most dangerous criminals — easily”, “Easily defeat and disarm men twice your size, even if they are strong and tough”, “Beat boxers, wrestlers, and anyone when you learn these secrets”. and on and on. We suppose there may be some other “old timers” out there, like ourself, who similarly recall the plethora of spectacular nonsense that served as part of the Asian martial arts’ introduction to postwar America.

It really wasn’t until the 1960’s that schools of karate began appearing. Then, around 1970, Chinese “kung fu” . . . and by the mid-1970’s the martial arts of Asia were integral to American society. Not everyone trained in ju-jutsu or karate; but it would have been very, very difficult if not impossible to find anyone of adult age in the 1970’s who did not instantly know what arts those words referred to.

Unfortunately, American cultural familiarization with the Asian martial arts as popular activities, especially among teenage boys and young men in their 20’s, did not  include an adequate degree of familiarization with the facts regarding the various martial arts, their actual capabilities, the requirements for practical success in using them, and their true place in the overall scheme of world methods of close combat and self-defense. To this day, in 2016, many teach, practice, and study Asian martial arts for personal defense and even military combat, without having a realistic perception of the weaknesses no less than the strengths of these many systems. Misconceptions and dangerous falsehoods are often unwittingly passed on to new students whose objective is self-defense; and the result becomes tragic —— or at least potentially tragic. That old idea that “you don’t need strength” and in fact the process of defending yourself —— even against weapons or multiple attackers —— is “easy”  providing you know your ju-jutsu (or judo, or karate, or hapkido, or taekwon-do, or whatever) still infects many schools of thought, courses, and approaches that are popular today.

The plain truth is that, even if we assume that you learn the finest and most reliably war-proven techniques — such as those we teach in American Combato, and our colleagues teach him their respective programs, YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED TO EXERT 100%, ALL-OUT EFFORT AND CONCENTRATED STRENGTH should you ever be pressed to defend yourself.

Our first exposure to this idea came about a year or so before we were fortunate enough to discover Charlie Nelson’s “School of Self-Defense” in Manhattan. An aunt of ours who had lived through the blitz in England gave us a copy of Get Tough! by W.E. Fairbairn. That was the blow across the head we needed to wake us up and to point us —— finally —— in the direction we had always wanted to go. Only the subtlest factor nudged us into  doubting the fallacy of this “you don’t need strength” thing: In Fairbairn’s introductory comments to Get Tough!  His concluding bit of advice was: “Once closed with your enemy give every effort you can muster and victory will be yours.” (Our emphasis). Reading that, as a boy in elementary school who had been already exposed to years of being taught that effort was essentially unnecessary if and when you possessed the knowledge and the skills and the secrets of judo/ju-jutsu, rocked our whole belief system. But it was a belief system built on questionable ground. We had, after all, already come to appreciate that, in our judo classes and in ju-jutsu training, it was always necessary to really exert force in order to accomplish a throw, or to grapple effectively with a training partner. Most boys were stronger and more athletic than ourself to begin with, and so we had to struggle, even when applying authentic judo or ju-jutsu! Theory was one thing . . . reality proved to be something very different!

Get Tough! led us to Kill Or Get Killed, the Navy’s V-5 Hand-To-Hand Combat, to Scientific Self-Defence, to Do Or Die!, and so on; and eventually to training as suited our purpose and goals best, and to the formulation of our System, American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) in 1975. Courses we took in Tae Kwon Do, Indian Varmannie, Jakata, the Sigward System, Kenpo-Karate, end so on, were all integrated into this growing body of doctrine, all based upon and rooted in the WWII methods, and carrying on —— in technique and in spirit —— their war-proven principles.

In Kill Or Get Killed we read for the first time that the idea that an enemy could be defeated “easily” is a mere illusion! And while that put the lie to an awful lot of what we had been learning in some of our ju-jutsu classes, it certainly rang true! We saw fights, and occasionally got into a scuffle ourself as a boy and as an adolescent . . . and while we could employ the training that we had received, it was not easy to do so. We also received some minor injuries, and by no means —— even with years of training —— was overcoming a contemporary “easy”. A marvelous friend whom we associated with throughout high school, a fellow by the name of Jesus Garcia, was a fabulous boxer. And we learned initially from him, in a friendly, cooperative context, that just about everything we had been taught in ju-jutsu and judo about “defending against a boxer” was rubbish. So long as the “boxer” was a fellow student in ju-jutsu, and so long as he was pretending to box, our “defenses” went beautifully. But once the opponent was a real boxer, like Jesus, three or four punches generally whizzed close enough to prove they would have landed well had he delivered them for real, and had our silliness amounted to  an effort on our part at “defending against a boxer”! In fact it was a combination of our exposure to boxing, our learning some basic atemiwaza, and/or in-depth study of the wartime classics and Charlie Nelson’s influence that pushed us completely into the “karate camp” of self-defense training, as we realized, without question, that blows comprised the last of real combat doctrine. Throwing, strangling, and holding supplemented blows; but blows were the heart and soul of real world personal combat. And using them effectively demanded lots, and lots of concentrated effort. It required all-out commitment and drive, and —— in real combat —— nothing is “easy”!

We are always hoping that we can spread the truth to more and more people whose purpose is self-defense and who want only effective self-defense and combat training . . . leaving the sport and the classicism (all of which is worthy and valuable) to those who are looking for that. The difference between the various approaches to “martial art” is tremendous.

In self-defense you must count upon dealing with a SUPERIOR FORCE. That is, an attacker who is stronger, more athletic, dangerously more experienced in violence, and larger than yourself. Further assume that he will likely be armed, even if you do not immediately perceive that he is holding a weapon. Add to that the likely presence of cohorts who will join with him in an effort to maim or to kill you. Finally, assume that maiming or killing you is definitely going to be the prospect that you face when subject to a violent, extralegal attack. Forget about halfhearted punks who run the second you begin to resist. Don’t fret “smart asses” or “wiseguys” or “showoffs”. These types, admittedly obnoxious, should simply be shrugged off and avoided. Never get into fights. Fighting is stupid, dangerous, and could lead to troubles for months and years to come. Avoid any conflicts that you can avoid.

If you need to defend yourself, and if you realize that no option is now open to you but to act and act fast in self-defense, then DO SO, AND DO SO WITH EVERY OUNCE OF STRENGTH, DETERMINATION, WILL, DRIVE, AND TOTAL COMMITMENT YOU POSSESS! AND DO NOT STOP GOING AFTER YOUR ATTACKER(S) UNTIL YOU ARE SAFE. Do not expect your skills to work like “magic”. There is no “magic”. Never mind how skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, and in-shape you may be. You will need everything you are capable of to protect yourself, and assume no less.

That’s the right way to assist your mental preparation and tactical strategy for handling genuine, dangerous criminal violence.

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Thursday, May 28th, 2015

          Multiple Attackers

              (Defense In A Nutshell)

ANY multiple attacker situation is a deadly threat. Only hard training —— both to insure excellent skills and top physical condition coupled with a savage mindset —— will  increase a defender’s chances of surviving such an onslaught. And even the best trained person in the world can be unlucky. If struck or stabbed from behind there is no defense, and those working to develop practical combatives skills would better understand this.

Still, there have been many instances when persons trained and untrained have successfully defended themselves against more than one assailant; so the question of whether defense against more than one adversary at a time is possible has already been answered. It can be done.

While we respect classical karate immensely, and in no sense wish to suggest that its study is not worthwhile, we must insist that the classical karate approach to employing its formidable skills when assaulted by more than a single opponent is not recommended. That is, traditional kata practice, however valuable as physical conditioning and as a means of polishing the many individual karate techniques — especially techniques done in combination — is essentially useless against an actual attack by determined members of a group of thugs. Nor are the numerous ju-jutsu defenses against multiple attackers that are taught to be recommended. (Note: We acknowledge that there may be karate and ju-jutsu schools that have departed from the practice of classical kata [karate] and rigid and too-specific actions [ju-jutsu] methods for teaching multiple attacker defense. We simply wish to make very clear that those teachers and schools that have not done so, are not offering the best means of dealing with this form of attack).

Multiple attacker situations should be a primary concern with anyone who trains for self-defense. Unfortunately, the last ten to 20 years has seen a dramatic increase in the phenomenon of multiple assailant attacks on private citizens in major cities throughout America. We cannot say with certainty if this is or is not true of other countries, but we can say that the potential for being attacked by two or more individuals is definitely something that deserves a great deal of attention. If it does occur —— and it may —— then a victim is confronting a genuinely deadly threat. And all types of potentially deadly threats (to include any form of weapon attack and/or any type of attack from behind) must be given a lion’s share of attention in any “self-defense” program. If these types of situations are neglected, then the value of the techniques and tactics being imparted to the student are highly questionable, to say the least.

While we cannot in  a “nutshell” describe a complete set of tactics and skills that will provide a trainee with everything that he needs to know and do in case of an attack by two or more thugs, we can pretty much summarize the core and the essence of those principles that must be understood and utilized by anyone when endeavoring to prepare for this form of violent encounter. DVD #9 in our home study course explains the most authentic, practical, and workably effective counter actions versus multiple assailants, and hammers home the attitude needed to survive such a violent nightmare, but right now —— for those who are perhaps students not of our System, but of one of the more traditional or classical arts —— we want to provide guidelines for incorporating the principles of real world multiple attacker self-defense into whatever methodology you are striving to adopt to this type of emergency.

Here goes:——

1. Anticipate the probability that, if you are ever attacked, it will be by more than one assailant, and train with suitably logical tactics and skills to enable you to manage such a crisis.

Whenever you deal with any attacker, drive forward into him — move! — and do not set yourself in a stance from which you strike out. Rather strike as you advance into your man. This is not only the right way to preempt and to counter violence, it also provides an automatic advantage for you if, for instance, while dealing with your attacker, a second or third adversary moves on you from the rear. The fact that you are a moving target that is moving away from anyone behind you, makes this second adversary less able to injure you. His kick, punch, stab, or grab will not be as effective against you as it would be if you were standing still.

Use fast, decisive blows. Do not close with and grapple an attacker —— either if you are aware of a second adversary or not. Get rid of your enemy fast. Break his leg, chop his carotid artery or throat, jab his eyes, etc. and use a barrage of such actions. These kinds of true combat moves do not tie you up with a single adversary, but leave you free to move and maneuver against two or more, should they be present.

NEVER go voluntarily to the ground. Period. The techniques that you must use if you ever are on the ground are not the techniques of ne-waza such as judo advocates, or the other popular sporting contests. You do not ever want to “take your opponent to the ground”. Your opponent (in a real attack) may want you on the ground . . . but not to wrestle with you, to stomp you! Most often your enemy will want to stay on his feet, get you on the ground, and then finish you with his feet —— if and when he is not mainly concerned with getting away before he is arrested.

2. Realize that multiple assailants means DEADLY THREAT. No exceptions. A 13 year old girl can stab you easily in the back if she has a knife, while her 13 year old accomplice comes at you from the front or side. More than a single enemy is always a deadly attack. Don’t quibble about this. Once you accept this fact all inhibitions about what you “ought to do” or regarding “what is justified” disappear. As they should! More than one attacker an ANYTHING goes —— immediately!

If you move well and are lucky you MAY be able to prevent one of  only two attackers from coming at you from behind. However, you’d have to be an acrobat with more luck than anyone has a right to expect in order to prevent one of THREE OR MORE attackers from attacking your back.

3. ATTACK! If you survive a determined attack by two or more adversaries then it will be because you acted with extreme aggressiveness and with offensive, destructive action. You cannot cope with multiple assailants by being “defensive”.

While ganging up on a solitary defender is cowardly, not all violent offenders who do this are per se “cowards”. Most are; some are not. In either case neither a coward nor an offender who is not a coward wishes to be injured or killed. They attack with complete willingness to injure or to kill you, but do not want to be injured or killed themselves. The only sure way to survive and to escape them is to surprise them and devastate one or more of their number! Yes . . . this means lethally neutralize, and do it now! With two or more attackers you have no margin for error — no time to waste, hesitate, or falter.

4. ATTACK FIRST. The very second that it becomes apparent to you that the two or more individuals before you mean trouble, attack them first! Do not wait for them to get in the first blow. Attack decisively, and reduce the attacking force by one.

A vicious chop to the throat, a side kick to one attacker’s knee, a powerful jab into one man’s eyes, a kick to an assailant’s testicles, or —— if, for instance you happen to have one in your hands —— a thrust to the eye or throat of one of the attackers with an umbrella or a walking stick, are all good possible opening moves. Accompanied by your initial presentation of a terrified or passive demeanor that suddenly explodes with ferocity and a piercing shout, will momentarily shock the opponents and give you a tremendous edge that you must capitalize upon achieving, and . . .

5. Keep on attacking. When you are contending with a single assailant your reaction is a barrage of offensive moves — until he is neutralized. When there is more than one opponent your endless barrage of offensive action must take the form of going wildly from one attacker to another, moving in a confusing, aggressive, irregular, bobbing, turning, unpredictable manner, while kicking, jabbing, striking, clawing, butting, elbowing, and growling like a madman. Do not stop moving and attacking.

You might have the opportunity of momentarily seizing an opponent whom you have injured (say, with an eye attack) and slamming him into another in the group; but do not pause to secure any specific type of  “control hold” on any one attacker with the hope of being able to do this. Wild, ferocious striking  and kicking out, and endless, unpredictably confusing movement is key.

6. If the opportunity presents itself seize any object at hand and use it to assist yourself. Throwing dirt or anything else that cannot be used to inflict injury is helpful (so long as you do not waste a moment to retrieve it, but can grab it quickly in the spot where you find yourself). If you are carrying a concealed weapon do NOT waste time attempting to access it while the attackers are upon you! You do not wish to alert them to the fact that you are trying to secure a weapon (they will only take it from you, using the opportunity you have given them by halting your own onslaught and reaching for the weapon). You must have distance, time, and space in order to secure your concealed weapon and have any chance of using it.

Of course if you see a multiple assailant approach from a distance and you cannot escape, then securing your weapon before they launch their attack makes excellent sense. Just don’t hesitate to use it when your life is immediately threatened!

7. ESCAPE THE SCENE ASAP! (We saw the movie Jack Reacher, too. And we got a kick out of watching him scatter that group of scumbags who attacked him. Pure choreographed bullshit as far as practicality and realism go. You’re not going to find dispatching five assailants [certainly not doing so with the elaborate nonsense that Cruise was shown by the choreographer to employ!] that easy and picture-perfect. And, for heaven’s sake do not ever stand around like a horse’s ass after managing to create the opportunity to escape! Get outta Dodge, and do it by running like hell!)

Believe no one who suggests that handling multiple attackers (or even a solitary attacker, for that matter) is “easy”. It is neither “easy” nor is it —— even for an expert —— “risk free”. It certainly can be done, and it has been done; so it is reasonable to conclude that with serious training that provides you the techniques, tactics, and mental conditioning necessary, you stand a good chance of successfully defending against two or more attackers. Just remember the core principles that we have provided here when you train in the techniques that you will be employing. These principles have worked, do work, and will give you an excellent fighting chance to save yourself if the misfortune of ever contending with multiple attackers ever befalls you. Even more important: Properly used with the proper attitude, mindset, and technical ability, these principles may well prove the means of saving not merely yourself, but someone you love.

                                   —————————————————————————

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
This painting shows how the hand ought properly to be held for the fingertips thrust. Fingers extended but not tensed or strongly pressed together.

This painting shows how the hand ought properly to be held for the fingertips thrust. Fingers extended but not tensed or strongly pressed together.

Developing A Fast Fingertips Thrust

 

In American Combato we stress as key basics two methods of attacking an adversary with the fingertips:  1. The fingertips thrust and 2. The fingertips jab. Full details and instruction on how to develop and use both of these basic strikes (as well as many others) is presented in DVD #2 — “Basic Blows”  in our DVD Home Study Course.

Right now we want to explain how the greatest possible speed of performance using the fingertips thrust may be achieved. The fingertips thrust is executed by extending all of your fingers just firmly enough to keep them straight, not by stiffening and tensing them. Execution may be done with either the lead or the rearmost hand in the off-angled Relaxed-Ready Stance. Your hands are held relaxed and nonchalantly at sternum level. Without any telegraphing move of your hands or giveaway of your facial expression or body language you suddenly shoot the attacking hand straight forward thrusting your extended fingertips into one of two targets: the adversary’s eyes or throat. We strongly recommend that the classical “hand spear” (nukite) to the opponent’s solar plexus not be employed. Only the rarest of people have the requisite strong, thick and heavily conditioned fingertips strength to deliver this blow to the midsection with significant enough force to matter in serious combat.

We recommend practicing this blow facing a full-length mirror, at first. Work with both the forward and rearmost hand until you are certain that you have eliminated any slight or subtle telegraphing action. You want the fingertips thrust to shoot forward and hit the eyes or throat with the speed of a rattlesnake’s lunge. In fact, you might be able to exceed that speed with lots of practice.

The way to attain maximum speed with this thrust depends upon three things:

• Relaxation of the hand, arm, and body, and

• Concentration on the withdrawal of your thrusting hand while and as your thrust is being executed.

• Insuring that your thrusts are as perfectly straight to the target as possible.

As you thrust your hand to the target think of it rebounding back after it penetrates the eyes or throat. (Remember, you always hit through never on a target you are attacking). Think of a bungi cord. Upon fullest possible extension the cord whips and rebounds back.

This thought, as you begin to feel its effect on your striking, will increase the speed of your strike significantly.

We recommend your starting off with 20 repetitions of the thrust with each hand. Increase the number very gradually and only after you can do the required repetitions with perfect energy and form. Do not work to the point of fatigue. If you can build up to 50 repetitions per side —— full speed —— that will be fine.

Practice six days a week. After one month of practice, train on only one of the days wearing a 2-1/2 lb. wrist weight for the first  half of the repetitions that you do. Always rest completely one day a week. Do not exceed a 2-1/2 lb. weight. Do not do more than one half of your scheduled repetitions per side with the weight resistance. Use the weight for the first half of the repetitions that you do, not for the second half.

The simple fingertips thrust was a key blow for the legendary Pat O’Neill (father of the O’Neill System, and hand-to-hand combat instructor for the First Special Service Force of WWII), and for the late Bruce Lee. If executed correctly and without telegraphing when the opponent is within range the blow will connect; and the result will either enable you to escape the scene or followup with whatever else you need to do.

Warning!: The fingertips thrust to eyes or throat is never to be practiced carelessly with a live training partner, and never to be employed in any competitive match. It is exclusively for use in a serious emergency when “anything goes” for self-protection.

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Violent Criminal Attacks

WE perhaps ought to arrange a form letter to send to those misinformed souls who contact us regarding practical self-defense and hand-to-hand combat vs. the artificial arena of sporting martial arts (any  sporting martial arts) or the classical arts. Many seem bewildered when they hear that what wins matches is not the same as that which prevails in anything-goes combat. And when we (gently as we can) inform them that there are no “mysterious secrets” or superhuman possibilities to be derived from training in any classical discipline —— no matter what bullshit they’ve been told, sold in a sales pitch, or read, they become miffed or petulant. Kwai Chang Caine was a TV character (in the old Kung Fu series; recall?), played by an actor, not a professional combat teacher.

Combat is combat. Add rules, restrictions, timekeepers, referees, mats, appointed times for contests, etc., and you now have a S P O R T. Not a thing wrong with sports . . . but they do not, cannot, and should not be mistaken for being synonymous with “hand-to-hand combat”. Combat bears the same relation to competition that a hand grenade bears to a bunch of firecrackers that you’d light on July fourth. Firecrackers are not designed to be dangerous or to cause serious injuries —— but sometimes they do. Hand grenades are most definitely intended to maim or to kill; and if they do not, then they’ve not fulfilled their purpose.

Let’s look at real violence. Street violence. Home invasion violence; abduction, rape, terrorist, bullying, carjacking violence. Gang violence.

Here and now in this 21st century is what you can and ought to anticipate and prepare for when training in self-defense and close combat that is for keeps:

Multiple Assailants

Urban America today is a very violent and dangerous place. There is absolutely no semblance of ethics or even decency in modern fighting. In fact most violent attacks include more than one attacker. If your practice and tactical orientation does not address this, then you’d better  that — and fast!

LESSON: TRAIN TO DEAL WITH MULTIPLE ATTACKERS.

Armed Attack

The violent offender who does not brandish a handgun or a knife when he confronts you must nevertheless be assumed to be armed. He almost certainly is! His assumption that you won’t be much trouble to handle might make him leave his weapon concealed. Anticipate weapons! Deal with any violent offender on the assumption that he is armed.

LESSON: TRAIN IN PRACTICAL WEAPON COUNTERS.

Gutter Animals Are Willing To Do Anything To You —— Including Kill You

A very unpleasant fact —— but a FACT, nonetheless. Do not mistake any violent offender for a human being. Offenders are monsters —— whether male, female, young, old, acting alone or in gangs. They are scum, pure and simple.

LESSON: BE RUTHLESS AND WITHOUT MERCY.

The “Street/Punk/Predator” Mentality Is 180-Degrees Different From The Civilized Human’s Mentality

Violent filth has never risen to the level of appreciating the dignity, sovereignty, and precious nature of human life. Like the prehistoric, brainless shark, the predator moves about incessantly, “feeding” on its presumed “prey”. Expect no humanity from these swine.

LESSON: YOUR ATTACKER IS A “TARGET”, NOT A “HUMAN BEING”

“Provocation” Will Likely Be Nonexistent

A human being reacts with violence only when reason fails and when he must take such action for defense because an attacker has given him no choice. Violent scum merely acts on the impulse to torment, victimize, and prey . . . requiring no rational provocation.

LESSON: ALERTNESS! SITUATIONAL AWARENESS AT ALL TIMES!

Violent Assailants Enjoy What They Do

This is something that a decent human mind cannot really grasp. “How,” a human being would feel compelled to ask “could anyone ever ‘enjoy’ unjustifiably injuring other people?” All you need to understand is that they do enjoy it, no matter what bilge you hear or read that has been authored by the offenders’ apologists.

LESSON: CONCERN YOURSELF ONLY WITH DESTROYING YOUR ENEMY

Violent Offenders Respect, Fear, And Flee Only From Greater Force

Spend thousands of dollars on a therapist for a bully, and the end result will be . . . a bully. Break both a bully’s legs, kick his kidneys in, crack his skull on the pavement, crush his testicles, tear his ears off, and beat him for hours until he requires, for the rest of his worthless life, two nurses to help him urinate and lift a glass of water to his lips, and the result will be . . . no more bully. Draw your own conclusions about how to handle violent predators.

LESSON: SELF-DEFENSE IS WAR. DROP ALL CIVILITY, DECENCY, ETHICS, AND COMPASSION.

You Are Unlikely To Have Much If Any Forewarning Of An Attack

Violent offenders strive to stack the odds in their favor and to attack without warning, and with the least amount of risk to themselves. Consider the sewer scum who carry out their knock punch game.

LESSON: ALWAYS ANTICIPATE THE UNEXPECTED. LIVE IN CONDITION “YELLOW”.

Violent Troublemakers Come In All Sizes And Shapes And Appearances And Ages —— And in Both Genders

This is another of those unfortunate facts of reality. Accept it, or be aware that you may one day become a victim because you ignored it.

LESSON: AN ATTACKER IS AN ATTACKER, PERIOD!

Although You May Be Attacked When There Are A Lot Of People Around, You Will More Likely Be Isolated

Predatory scum does try to minimize not only the chance of themselves being injured, but also of their being apprehended. They try to get at a victim who has no apparent recourse to help or to escape. And, even if there is a crowd of people nearby, never expect anyone to help you, or even to give a damn about calling the police or helping you after the attackers flee. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

LESSON: EXPECT NO HELP. LEARN TO DEPEND UPON YOURSELF.

You Will, To A Greater Or Lesser Degree, Be Surprised When An Attack Comes

You may be at a picnic, going to or from work or school, taking out the garbage, sitting in a public conveyance, taking a walk after getting over the flu, speaking with a friend, etc. Your mind will be elsewhere and thinking of anything but violence and self-defense.

LESSON: BE PREPARED AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES. ANTICIPATE!

It Will Be Impossible To Consciously Remember Specific Techniques And “Decide” What To Do

Your conscious mind —— following a moment of clarity in which you will perceive that you are now immersed in dangerous violence and facing a dire threat, —— will give way to subconscious activity. You will, in effect, go on “automatic pilot”.

LESSON: MASTER PRACTICAL, GROSS MOTOR SKILLS THAT YOU LEARN TO DO AUTOMATICALLY UNDER SUDDEN STRESS.

If You Are Armed You Will Most Often Have To Create The Opportunity To Access Your Weapon

Forget about quick draw, or about having your sidearm in hand. In most situations you will only know that you need your weapon after the attack hits.

LESSON: UNARMED COMBAT SKILLS COME FIRST AND MUST BE AVAILABLE EVEN IF YOU CARRY A GUN.

The Terrain, Your Clothing, The Physical State That You Are In At The Time, Even The Weather, Often Drastically Affects What You Are Able to Do

You won’t be in a gi, warmed up, on a mat in a well-lit room that has been cleared of debris and furniture when you are attacked. It is best to assume that everything will be unfavorable.

LESSON: CHECK YOUR SKILLS AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ADAPTABLE TO ALL CONDITIONS.

If There Is Any Pre-Action Confrontation You Will Experience Fear

Fear is an anticipatory emotion. One never fears what IS happening; one only fears that which one believes WILL or IS LIKELY TO happen.

LESSON: LEARN TO USE FEAR ENERGY.

 

By keeping all of these facts about 21st century urban violence uppermost in your mind, you will be able to adjust your training and attitude so that you are fine-tuned to deal with all that we know we can expect in a clash with dangerous predators. And that’s reliable self-defense.

                       _____________________________________________

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

                        Smack Him!

WHEN we were a student of ju-jutsu (late 1950’s—early 1960’s) we were instructed in a self-defense technique that most ju-jutsu students are doubtless familiar with. It was a defense against a one-hand frontal clothing grab with the opponent’s arm extended.

We were taught to apply a powerful open hand slap across the attacker’s face while simultaneously seizing his grabbing hand with our opposite hand. The slap (a disorienting move that was accompanied by shouting “bati!” —— the translation of which we were not given) disoriented the attacker as the slapping hand reinforced our grip, and within a second transitioned into a straight arm lock (kansetsu-waza).

It was good ju-jutsu and we respect and appreciate the art to this day; however we subsequently learned that there are many better ways to handle an attack of that type.

That particular defense intrigued  us not because it was so effective against a clothing grab, but because it made us aware of just how effective a slap or a fast smack can be in setting up an unsuspecting opponent. Charlie Nelson also taught us to slap, preparatory to the application of a wrist hold or armlock “comealong” grip.

Today, we teach police officers to use a fast slap, among other actions, before applying a control hold to a suspect. It is very effective.

It is easy to underestimate the power and usefulness of a good, hard, open hand smack that is delivered by a well-conditioned man. Too often slapping is associated with females and consequently shrugged off as being silly. Few realize that the action can be extremely useful in unarmed combat.

In more than one of the classical ch’uan fa (“kung fu”) systems of China open hand slapping is not merely taught —— it is emphasized. For example, a typical “ancient art” training method is to have new students practice very high repetition slapping with their open hands against a steel shot-filled heavy bag; or against leather bags filled with shot. (Caution: Such training against steel shot filled bags must be accompanied by the use of special hand liniments, or serious injuries can result.) Training today for the modern close combat/self-defense student should not involve such training. Instead, the slap should be developed as a disorientation move (in a manner similar to American Combato’s “backfist-forearm smash”).

A good practice regimen to develop the smack for self-defense is to train each day against a regular heavy bag. Practice a minimum of 30 full power smacks with each hand against the bag. Within 30 days of daily practice you will readily appreciate the power that you are able to deliver.

You have two targets:

1. The entire side of the face, and

2. The ears.

Note: a backhand smack to the nose can be useful, but do not backhand smack to any other target, as the back of the hand is fragile and impact with any hard surface could easily break the bone, causing tremendous pain and disabling the hand. Smack with the open palm.

Remember when training the slap that any wide-swinging blow should be avoided. Too easy to see coming and possibly block or dodge. Instead, cut the arc of the blow in delivery, and use a shorter, faster, elliptical path for delivery.

Get power by turning your entire body into the blow. Slap with everything you’ve got, never just with your arm.

The smack lends itself to delivery from a non-apparent ready-stance, with your hands open, relaxed, and telegraphing nothing. Remember also that when delivered with full follow-through —— as it always ought to be delivered —— the smack results in the striking arm cocking, ready to deliver a returning handaxe chop or hammerfist or elbow strike. The recipient’s head will turn upon impact of the smack, and that opens up his carotid artery or temple to your followup blow.

After mastering the core 16 Blows, we recommend starting to develop the smack as a reliable, useful secondary strike.

It is well worth cultivating.

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Thursday, December 11th, 2014

                      Techniques To Forget About

  (If your concern is exclusively self-defense and close combat)

SIMPLICITY, destructiveness, retainability, learnability, broad applicability. doable by almost anyone of any age or either gender, suitable for use in all environments, under all weather and terrain conditions, not greatly dependent upon physical strength or agility, or upon any particular type of clothing, or even of being in top condition or perfect health. That sums up fairly nicely the requirements of techniques that are expected to stand up to actual, real world combat and emergency self-defense situations and circumstances. And that also provides a standard by which numerous popular “martial arts techniques” may be excluded from consideration for practical use. (Note: We are in no sense now making a blanket criticism of any skills that are —— classically or competitively —— practiced enthusiastically by the many devotees of the many systems out there. Our point is only that, for actual application and reliable use in  real unarmed and close combat, there are many techniques that are way less than desirable choices.)

If you have particular interest in traditional arts or in competition then we urge that you waste no time or energy on the following:

1. Unless you are a law enforcement officer, security specialist, or similarly employed peacekeeper, all “comealong”, control, restraining, and pain compliance holds. Private citizens have absolutely no responsibility to effect arrests or to restrain violent offenders. And doing so is always risky and dangerous. Pain is subjective. Injury is what stops determined attackers. Many offenders are insane, on drugs, drunk, or psychopathically determined, and will fight to the death to escape capture or to maim or kill anyone attempting to bring them under control.

2. Any fine motor movements intended to enable you to stop punches or kicks that are thrown, to defeat sudden holds and grips, or to thwart surprise shoves, tackles, etc. Once hit with a real attack —— or obliged to preempt what you perceive to be danger —— your ability to generate fine motor articulations disappears. Yes, in a demonstration you can catch the knife thrusting wrist of the attacker and, after making him drop the weapon, toss him about and bring him under control with a beautifully executed armlock. In a real world attack you will be lucky if you can evade the lunatic’s stabbing action and retaliate with effective blows.

3. Classical karate blocks. Hell, black belt karate experts cannot even use these themselves in sparring! They are rigid, slow, not very strong, reactive (i.e. commenced only after the attacker launches his attack, making a successful choice of which block to employ all but impossible!) and inefficient.

4. Attacks that connect with non-decisive targets. The objective in a life-threatening emergency must be to knock out, cripple, or kill . . . because that is what will likely happen to you if you dawdle about with holds or blows intended to “discourage” rather than disable. For the purpose of serious unarmed combat the human body has about fifteen targets to destroy. The martial arts teachers, schools, and theories that insist that the human body has nearly 100 vital points are misleading.

5. High, turning, spinning, jumping, flying and all acrobatic kicks. Forget ‘em! The legs offer extremely valuable weapons . . . but they are limited to only simple, direct, low area kicks. In real hand-to-hand combat, whether in a military or citizen self-defense context, fancy kicking is suicidal.

6. Throw out all but the most fundamental throws and takedowns. “Sacrifice” throws should not be used. Combat throws must cause injury during the setup and delivery phase, not merely at throw’s conclusion. Besides, throwing is a secondary, not a primary technique in close combat. Blows of the hands, feet, elbows, knees, and head are key.

7. Classical karate kata. These formal exercises are extremely beneficial for the ongoing drill required to keep all classical movements sharp. They provide exercise, discipline, and they are useful to catalog individual techniques and instill the ability to render viable combinations of the basics and the stance movements of the art. But there are few things more IRRELEVANT to real world hand-to-hand combat than the classical/traditional kata.

8. Classical karate or “kung fu” or ninja, etc. stances. Absolute nonsense for real world, modern close combat. Like classical kata, they are irrelevant for practical use.

9. Judo’s preliminary grasp. We mention this because anyone training in judo becomes habituated to the frontal approach and the application of the sleeve-and-collar grip which precedes throwing drill, randori, etc. OK for judo; death in real combat. If you study judo with the expectation that you will use it for personal defense, be warned! Unlike the foolishness of assuming a formalized “fighting stance” (which is bad enough!), the foolishness of the preliminary judo grip not only wastes time and telegraphs your intention, it will surely get you knocked out by a good fistfighter, or stabbed to death by a knife-wielding felon.

10. Reliance upon clenched fist punching. Straight punches into the sternum, uppercuts to the solar plexus, and —— in certain instances —— to the testicles, as well as punches into the liver, spleen, or kidney MAY be practical for some. However, aside from the occasional use of such clenched fist blows, the OPEN HAND and the hammerfist type closed fist are the natural weapons when the outcome of an encounter means serious injury or death.

11. Any techniques for which lengthy limbering up, warming up, and elaborate preparation must be undertaken before execution is possible. This really ought to be obvious to everyone. However, we have spoken with tae kwon do black belts who need at least 30 minutes of warming up before they can execute the very kicks upon which they seriously expect to defend their lives in a split second, unanticipated emergency, when they are clad in normal attire, and when the weather may be cold (necessitating up to an hour of warming up in the dojang, under ideal conditions)! Unwise.

12. All techniques requiring the presence of unusual hereditary strength or athletic propensities. First, because you may not possess this strength or these propensities to begin with. Second, because even if you do, they will not serve you into old age as true combat and self-defense techniques must be capable of doing —— or they are of very limited, short-term value.

13. Pursuing “ch’i” development and the supposed use of “special energies” and powers to stop dangerous enemies in combat. Grow the hell up.

14. Studies of T’ai Ch’i Ch’uan, Hsing Yi Ch’uan, or Pa G’ua Ch’uan, or aikido for combat purposes.

First of all, aikido is not and never was intended to be a martial (i.e. warlike, combat) art. It is a martial WAY. Aikijutsu is the combat art.

Second, the Chinese internal martial arts can be used in personal combat and defense, but only after what would be for most people a prohibitively long period of training (i.e. perhaps fifteen to 20 years or more). A person who spent a serious, hard year boxing or learning judo would be better able by far to defend himself than someone who spent only a year training in an internal Chinese system.

We again must emphasize that we are speaking only and exclusively about discarding or avoiding techniques FOR SELF-DEFENSE and FOR  CLOSE COMBAT use. We are not deriding martial arts of any kind, per se. If you wish to excel as a competitor or if your love is classical methods, then by all means train as your objective and long-range goals require, in order to attain what you are after.

If you are training purely to be able to defeat an enemy in hand-to-hand combat or to be able to defend yourself under dangerous, real world street conditions however, pay attention to what we say.

                             —————————————————

Monday, December 1st, 2014
The epitome of fierce aggression! The Gurkha warrior, though relatively small in physical stature, if feared and respected worldwide for his absolute ferocity and attack mindedness. This is the attitude needed for self-defense.

The epitome of fierce aggression! The Gurkha warrior, though relatively small in physical stature, if feared and respected worldwide for his absolute ferocity and attack mindedness. This is the attitude needed for self-defense.

            On Attacking First

 

SOME have deliberately misconstrued our doctrine of  “attack your attacker”, which we formulated and introduced in the very late 1960’s, and then wrote about in subsequent publications, as condoning “excessive aggressiveness”, “a too aggressive mindset”, and as being “contrary to the teachings of the ‘true’ martial arts” (whatever the hell that idiotic statement may mean).

In fact of course the way in which we teach, and the underlying tactical premise of our System, American Combato, is anything but excessively aggressive, or condoning of a “too aggressive” mindset. We advocate avoidance whenever possible, and the use of force only in unavoidable self-defense. The nonsense reference to “true martial arts” is way too stupid to reply to. Martial arts of all kinds have been developed, taught, and are still evolving throughout the world. No one can reasonably state that some of these are “true”, as opposed to others, which are presumably “false”. This is RELIGIOUS talk; in no way does it have anything to do with the martial arts —— i.e. with the authenticity and validity of “arts of war”. Some close combat and defense systems are apparently more effective and logical than others. However, each and every one of the world’s combat arts was developed by individuals who, sincerely and honestly, believed their product to be valid. That’s all that is required to qualify any system or method as a “true” martial art. Over the centuries there have been many hundreds if not thousands of “true” martial arts. Unfortunately, it is the inclination of one-dimensional morons to assert (with zero truth, or validation to support their assertions) that their “martial art” is the “true” one, and everybody else is from hunger.

Where some valid judgment regarding value may be made occurs when we speak of specific purposes for a martial art that is in question. For example, if we wish to know which percussionary martial art is best FOR WINNING MATCHES, a great argument can be made for either Th’ai boxing or tae kwon do. Both these arts as interpreted in action by their finest respective proponents, do seem to prevail over others in “karate-type” matches. For grappling contests the so-called “Brazilian jiu-jitsu” and Kodokan Judo would likely take the lead; in some instances, perhaps catch-as-catch-can wrestling would prevail.

As far as classical/traditional arts are concerned, the only question that may sanely and realistically be asked is: “Which one do you most enjoy training in?” That one, as far as any individual participant is concerned, is the proper one to select. It’s the “true” one for you.

When it comes to combat and defense arts, history has taught us again and again what works and what doesn’t work in hand-to-hand combat. All who have made legitimate studies and researches into the subject know the kind of techniques, tactics, and mindset that prevails in war —— and, specifically for defense and combat —— systems that adhere most closely to that which is known to work in real combat may be said — in that context — to be the “best”.

Our System, American Combato, is the one we know best. It is the result not of attempting to either emulate or carry on classical/traditional or sporting/competitive martial arts, but of striving to develop a system that abandons tradition and sport, and that looks only at that which works, and that which has been proven in war to be effective in all aspects of individual combat.

Over the decades of our training and study and research we have found that certain things are responsible for a man’s victory in hand-to-hand combat, and certain things tend not to be effective, even though classical systems and sporting arts of “combat” teach them. In their (i.e. the classicist’s and competitor’s respective camps) that which they do is valid, and needs no correction. However, for combat —— in the context of private citizens’ self-defense or military battle —— the following has proven to be The Right Way To Go:

1. A fierce, aggressive, often murderous and merciless mindset is needed. Decency, ethics, fair play, sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, mercy, compassion, and restraint are anathema, and must never hinder the mind of a person who finds himself battling someone who is bent upon maiming or killing him.

2. Extreme and unmerciful aggression —— concentrating on attack —— is the only likely path to stopping a dangerous foe from defeating you.

3. Blows —— to include gouges, clawing, ripping, crushing, biting, spitting, butting, poking, and the use of anything at hand to assist in defeating the enemy —— is the backbone of optimally effective hand-to-hand combat,whether for self-defense or for wartime application by members of the armed forces.

4. Relentless followup should always be one’s tactic when engaged in vital combat. Human beings are very difficult to stop when under combat stress and/or when they are determined to maim or to kill.

5. Four assumptions need guide one’s tactical preparation:  i) The enemy is physically and technically superior to you,  ii) The enemy is armed (even if no weapon is apparent at the time of attack),  iii) The enemy is deadly serious, and his intention is to severely injure or to kill you,  and  iv) The enemy has cohorts who will also attack you (even if none are apparent at the time of initial contact).

6. Develop strength, stay in shape, and develop your natural weapons to the greatest degree possible.

All of that which is stated above is for the purpose of making the student an aggressive, deadly combat machine; a machine that, when necessary, will go into unhesitant aggressive, offensive action and neutralize whatever threat presents itself. This is because, in real combat, offense wins. And, in real combat, losing is not an option to be considered.

This is why we advocate attacking first. Not attacking in order to start a fight. Attacking in order to preempt an attack that you perceive being unavoidable and that is imminent from a confronting aggressor.

Even when you are taken by surprise (which can and should be prevented insofar as it is humanly possible to prevent — by planning, situational awareness, wariness, and constant alertness) and find yourself obliged to react to a hold from behind, attacking is your best hope for effective defense. Attack the attacker with whatever has not been immobilized, or by using the best available natural weapon to devastate the adversary’s closest vulnerable target. Then followup! Keep on attacking!

“Defense” is the decent human being’s motive for using the techniques of close combat. “Offense” is his best means of successfully protecting himself.

Bear this in mind whenever you train and in your preparations mentally for dealing with any dangerous, violent crisis.

                                  ______________________________________

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

 

 

                            A Great Tip For Knifework — Courtesy

                     of Fairbairn and Sykes

Warning!: This article, and all articles, instruction, and commentary on this web site, is presented for academic and informational purposes only.

 

FAIRBAIRN’S great Classic All-In Fighting/Get Tough! references his and Sykes’ superb commando knife, and does describe some very rudimentary knifework, but it does not go into the full Fairbairn System’s knifework repertoire. Neither does Applegate’s fabulous Kill Or Get Killed —— which certainly does go into a great deal of the excellent WWII knife fighting doctrine of Fairbairn and Sykes, and of Applegate. But there was more.

Whenever a teacher teaches (assuming he really does teach, professionally), he includes and incorporates into the program a lot more than may be recorded in print, or demonstrated in films. The spontaneity of good teaching enables the teacher to draw upon little details of his subject —— born of study, research, and experience —— and while personally interfacing with students over time he is able to provide somewhat more than just the core essentials and mechanics of his subject —— which of course can be presented in books or on DVDs, etc. In teaching close combat, which is of course in many ways a chaotic and unpredictable matter, experiences drawn from which are numerous, and “tricks” and “tips” that accrue to the professional over his decades of experience provide real treasure for personal students.

We learned one of those “tricks” years ago, from the late Col. Applegate. He advised us that this was taught by Fairbairn to the British Commandos, and was not really emphasized (if mentioned at all) to students in SOE or the OSS. Due to the nature of this technique we assume that the emphasis upon it for commandos grew out of the knowledge that these specialized soldiers were incredibly well-conditioned, fit, and supremely aggressive and strong. Unlike those who filled the ranks of the SOE and OSS (who were also well-conditioned and fit) the commandos were real and true “gut fighters”. They were in many instances naturally aggressive far beyond whatever aggressiveness may have been integral to the personalities of the rather intellectual body of recruits who filled the ranks of the wartime secret services. The commandos were —— unapologetically —— killers; and they were very, very good at their craft.

knife_sykes_fairbairn_issue_2pat

 

When issued their F&S Commando Knives they were trained thoroughly in the use of these daggers, and each commando was an enthusiastic “knife man” —— in addition, of course, to being an unarmed combatant and an expert with individual firearms. All things pertaining to combat and killing —— with and without weapons —— and to instilling murderous ferocity and merciless aggressiveness was the mainstay of commando training. SOE and OSS agents were very well trained, but the personal killing (with knives, sticks, and guns, etc.) did not occupy anywhere near the number of hours that it did with the commandos.

 

Because close combat was so integral to commando work, and closing in hand-to-hand combat was anticipated and expected during most if not all commando operations, every dirty and effective foul method of gaining the upper hand and destroying the enemy was drilled into these ferocious shock troops. This was one of them:

 

As the enemy came into contact range in hand-to-hand, the commando held his knife well back, hand braced at his side. In darkness or semidarkness and with a darkened blade (which commandos were taught to do with their knives) the enemy most often never even noticed that the British soldier was in possession of a blade!  Suddenly and powerfully, using the advancing momentum of the Nazi soldier, the commando seized his adversary and yanked him strongly toward himself, using the combined momentum of the enemy’s advance and his own strength and determination. The result was that the commando effectively pulled the advancing enemy onto the braced and poised blade of his dagger!

Once impaled, the commando simply ripped the blade across the enemy’s body. This insured a fatal wound, and the agony of such evisceration far surpassed the effect of a mere “stab wound” (which, even when eventually fatal, often caused little actual shock or severe pain).

The superb F&S Commando Knife. The straight double-edged dagger with its spearpoint, slim blade and sharp double edges is ideally suited to this and to all of the knifework tactics that Fairbairn taught. Randalls, Eks, and other well-designed fighting knives work as well.

The superb F&S Commando Knife. The straight double-edged dagger with its spearpoint, slim blade and sharp double edges is ideally suited to this and to all of the knifework tactics that Fairbairn taught. Randalls, Eks, and other well-designed fighting knives work as well.

 

Alternatively, if for some reason the combative encounter resulted in the enemy breaking body-to-body contact upon the initial blade penetration, the commando simply slit his throat or drove his knife into the enemy’s throat or into his carotid artery.

 

We readily admit that this sort of combat is, well, distasteful. However, if we have not yet conveyed the message, let us do it now: All real combat is “distasteful”, ugly, and —— whenever possible —— to be avoided. Only in unavoidable self-defense should any combat actions be used against anyone —— armed or unarmed.

Now you’ve had a lesson in WWII knifework that you won’t find in Get Tough! or in Kill Or Get Killed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

                           The Half-Fist Strike

THE half-fist strike (“hiraken” in the Okinawan and Japanese styles of karate) is a very useful blow in unarmed combat. The late Prof. William Chow, founder of the kenpo-karate system that the late Ed Parker brought to the mainland, favored this strike. Chow’s thick fingers and powerful hands enabled him to employ the half-fist blow to numerous targets that most individuals would be well advised not to attack with this weapon. However, this blow can be utilized with extreme efficiency by nearly anyone when limited to the throat and to the sides of the neck.

THIS ILLUSTRATION SHOWS HOW THE HAND IS TO BE FORMED FOR DELIVERY OF THE HALF-FIST STRIKE.

THIS ILLUSTRATION SHOWS HOW THE HAND IS TO BE FORMED FOR DELIVERY OF THE HALF-FIST STRIKE.

Used in a fast thrust to the throat the half-fist is excellent as an opening move in a combination. Once this blow connects with the throat the least that it will accomplish is complete disorientation, leaving your enemy totally helpless to resist your subsequent actions. The blow could also be fatal, so obviously —— like all genuine combative techniques —— this blow is to be employed only to save life and limb in a dangerous and unavoidable attack.

It is always critical to avoid telegraphing this or any strike.

It is also critical to never rely upon one single blow to drop a dangerous and determined adversary, and follow up.

When launching a preemptive attack you will almost without exception be in your prepared stance (in American Combato, our relaxed-ready stance). You launch a straight-line non-telegraphed half-fist thrust from this stance using your lead hand.

Used defensively against whatever your adversary initiates —— catching you for the moment off-guard —— the half-fist may be driven to the throat or to either side of the neck with either hand. Use it when and where the opening occurs, and use it fast!

Advantages of the Half-Fist Strike

1. Its reach extends a few inches beyond the clenched fist.

2. The flat, narrow hand formation insures that the blow will travel under the enemy’s jaw and not be blocked by the jawbone, as a clenched fist might be.

3. The blow is strong, and the two recommended target areas are extremely vulnerable.

4. The blow can be delivered —— powerfully —— despite the assailant’s close proximity.

For all but those very, very few who might find the half-fist blow awkward or the hand formation difficult to achieve, this blow is very versatile. With lots of practice its delivery can approach the effectiveness of an open hand chop (“handaxe strike”).

How to Condition the Half-Fist Blow

Do not use sheaved straw. Use a thick rubber pad fixed to a striking post or solid wall.

A most excellent conditioning method is to use a block of artist’s modeling clay and repeatedly drive the blow into that. It will not cut your hand or damage your knuckles but will improve the quality of your weapon’s hardness and destructive potential.

While the half-fist blow in not one of the key Basic Blows of unarmed close combat it is nonetheless a valuable supplementary blow for those who have developed their key basics.

Remember: This technique must never be used unless you are given no choice but to take action to protect life and limb.

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