Archive for the ‘Monthly Instruction’ Category

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

                       Physical Training For Close

                         Combat And Self-Defense

WE were recently shown some apparent promotional material for “Cross Fit”, a popular physical training activity about which we have been aware for some years now. In our personal opinion this approach to physical training is NOT  good. We vigorously recommend against it. That doubtless will do nothing to deter people from participation in Cross Fit, and that’s not our concern. We’ve said our piece; now do whatever you wish.

What prompted our writing this present piece is the fact that within the promotional literature that our friend gave us was mention of Cross Fit being followed by martial artists, and it being well suited to those who are involved in martial arts training.  How unfortunate, as we see it, if those training in combat arts are drawn to Cross Fit because they believe it to be especially well suited for their requirements. Hold it!

The reality is that there is no single best “martial arts-oriented” physical training program. There are many physical training, exercise, and fitness systems that work beautifully in conjunction with that which is our specialty (i.e. close combat and self-defense), and it is simply not true to insist otherwise.

We happen to be very partial to all round sensible weight training programs, using adjustable barbells and dumbells. These programs build every desirable physical quality, and provide strength training that we feel is particularly important in man to man combat. We absolutely concede that the use of Nautilus machines, gymnastics, rock climbing, regularly swimming laps, and rugged courses of calisthenics training are also all excellent for use in conjunction with hard training in close combat and personal defense. During WWII our Marine Raiders trained with rifle P.T. (using their M1 Garands) calisthenics, log P.T., obstacle courses, and climbing/rappelling in conjunction with their “combat judo”. They did just fine! The British Commandos and American Rangers also worked with log P.T., tough obstacle courses, and climbing skills combined with their hand-to-hand combat. The “Devil’s Brigade” (The First Special Service Force) similarly trained with calisthenics, climbing, running, and negotiating obstacle courses, as they were taught the O’Neill System of hand-to-hand combat by Pat O’Neill, himself.

Using a barbell and dumbells is convenient, simple, easily accomplished at home —— even in a small apartment —— and takes relatively little time. It is safe when properly done, and the results are always impressive. It is  a P.T. method suited to the needs of the modern individual who is not training in an elite military unit, and who cannot even join a good gym. With just a few hours of quality weight training a week, the combat arts student can enjoy total physical development, to include health-building and the increased self-confidence that comes from actually seeing oneself grow stronger as one becomes more skilled in techniques.

If you wish to build yourself up for outstanding ability in close combat and self-defense, then simply build yourself up. We’d urge weight training, but if you enjoy any other all-round exercising method and can do it regularly, go for it.  The exception, in our opinion, is Cross Fit.

We are well aware of Cross Fit’s enthusiastic following. We believe that adults must be left free to do that which they personally choose to do, and so we have no desire to see Cross Fit “banned”. However we are aware of certain potential very dangerous possible results of doing Cross Fit that have affected some people, and we do not wish to see anyone so harmed. We know from our own personal training experience and from training thousands of others over the years that the simple, basic non-frantic weight training workout that utilizes basic exercises, progressive resistance, strict form, adequate rest between sets, sensible time limits, balanced body work, rest, a good diet, and a healthy attitude, will provide the greatest, surest, lifetime training benefits to all who participate. We also know the serious potential for harm that doing Olympic type lifts entails. In fact it was the genius Arthur Jones (inventor of the Nautilus Machines) who warned that —— over time —— Olympic lifting causes damage to just about every single individual who participates in it; even those whose natural physical structure and capability is favorable for doing the lifts when they are youngsters.

“There are plenty of people who will laugh at all this and go right on enjoying their Cross Fit workouts. That’s fine with me. There are a lot of people who, in their 80’s, still smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and scoff at the idea that doing so is harmful. So long as I am free to avoid smoking —— and Cross Fit —— I say “do what you will”, But I do want to give my visitors my best, honest advice, based upon a lifetime of participatory and teaching experience.

1. Weight training provides a simple, inexpensive, convenient, and certain means of building up physically in every way. We’d recommend it for all who train in self-defense.

2. If you enjoy and prefer an activity other than weight training, so long as it works your entire body well, you do it regularly, and it combines well with your close combat training, that is perfectly acceptable. There is no special “martial arts p.t. program” for everyone.

3. We suggest —— rather strongly —— that you avoid Cross Fit (as well as Olympic lifting).


Combat training certainly contributes to overall fitness and well being, but it is wise to supplement your combat training with a definite program of physical training.

Hope we’ve helped you to a useful understanding of the right way to do it.



Saturday, March 4th, 2017

             A Quick Lesson In Developing Mental 

                      Readiness For Self-Defense

These are the things that make a violent offender; they are also the the things that make a violent offender dangerous:

1. Internal rage; unresolved hatreds, resentment of others, dissatisfaction, pervasive anger.

2. Absence of compassion, empathy, sympathy, or feeling for others

3. Intense sensitivity to what he perceives to be disrespect

4. No feeling for the humanity and life of another person. Indifference to others’ well-being, suffering, right to life

5. Real satisfaction and often pleasure in hurting, subjugating, and terrorizing others; and delight in injuring and stealing from them through the use of force

6. If  a psychopath, then no conscience whatever regarding injuring or killing others

    If not a psychopath, a primary desire to get away with his actions despite any inklings of conscience; resentment toward any pursuers or punishers

7. In most cases he has acquired perhaps unskilled or crude acts of violence against others, and had no hesitation about injuring or killing them on impulse, with not a tremor of consideration or “ascertaining” that such violence is even partially justifiable

8. No respect for the law or convention, or commonly held standards of appropriate behavior; unconcern about obtaining, carrying, and using firearms regardless of what the law or local ordinances decree

Decent people who come to the study of self-defense are as unlike the violent offenders against whom they seek to acquire reliable defense skills as a domesticated dog is different than a wolf. There may be a surface similarity between the two, but there the likeness ends!

For many decent people the very thought of seriously injuring or killing another person —— even in overwhelmingly justifiable, legal self-defense —— is traumatizing; and even while becoming reasonably adept at the mechanics of armed and unarmed personal defense, these people never acquire the mindset and mental conditioning necessary to actually USE what they have acquired —— for real, and when necessary.

Mental conditioning and the combat mindset determine that the person who has learned self-defense will use it.

There have been many instances when people trained in martial arts have frozen and done nothing when the need for them to use what they had acquired arose. Confronting the creature that is a violent offender is unlike confronting training buddies or a professional teacher, and despite his training the student who has learned self-defense remains unready to confront the “wolf”.

Effective and reliable mental conditioning for self-defense and close combat is possible. We have been doing it successfully with all sorts of good people for decades now. It is integral to our unarmed and armed combat instruction (American Combato [Jen•Do•Tao]). As a trained and licensed hypnotherapist for 30 years we have produced a comprehensive set of self-hypnosis CDs that cover all aspects and facets of mental conditioning for close combat and defense emergencies. As a professional instructor of combat arts for 50 years+ we have developed a unique method of group class instruction that conditions students’ minds for combat, as well as their bodies.

Presently, we wish to explain in simple terms what is necessary in order to be fully prepared mentally to use the combat-defense techniques that you learn. Providing you are training in a modern, viable, true combat system, proper mental readiness will do the rest!

Reread the list of eight things that characterize the violent offender. You don’t have them, do you? In fact you almost certainly don’t number anyone who does have them among your friends, do you?

Therein lies a big part of your problem: The very things that make the offender dangerous, and that drive you to be concerned about being able to defend against him stem from the fact that you DO NOT HAVE A SET OF SIMILAR CHARACTERISTICS, AND SO THE OFFENDER TRUMPS YOUR DECENT, “NORMAL” ATTITUDE AND APPROACH TO LIFE. HE – THE OFFENDER – POSSESSES THAT WHICH YOU NEED TO ACQUIRE.

Let us clarify:

You certainly do not want or need to revise your character and mental attitude so that you are an approximation of the violent offender, in general. However, you do need to understand fully the wild beast’s (i.e. the offender’s) mindset AND ADOPT IT IN REGARD TO THE VIOLENT OFFENDER. In other words, transform yourself so that you ————

— Have a hateful, white-hot, burning rage and resentment toward violent criminal offenders

— Abolish and rid yourself 100% of compassion, humanity, empathy, care, sympathy, forbearance, and even basic human decency insofar as every violent offender —— from bully to terrorist —— is concerned. That category of human debris merits no more consideration than the AIDS virus. It is to be extinguished, and given no more consideration than a roach on a picnic table

— Elevate your sensitivity to approaching danger by cultivating mistrust, suspicion, and extreme wariness in regard to all whom you do not know, personally. You can be polite. You can be respectful on the surface. But always be prepared for any stranger to pose a dangerous threat. The, when and if a stranger ever does, you will not be shocked; you will be ready

Ruthless disregard, and an utterly merciless, savage, and brutal attitude must be cultivated and maintained toward all who would harm you or yours. Be fully decent and caring toward others who are decent and caring; but drop your humanity the very second that you realize you are dealing with a dangerous predator. As was shouted to our troops as they departed for Europe in world war one: GIVE ‘EM HELL!

— Do not avoid or deny cultivating a sense of supreme satisfaction at winning over and destroying a predator. Why ought you not derive satisfaction from ruining some scum who would —— purely to delight himself —— ruin you?

— Get it finally and forever into your head that the violent offender and not you is responsible for whatever damages he suffers as a result of your successfully crushing him and his unprovoked attack against you. If he is crippled for life, or dies, well, he asked for it. You were simply protecting yourself. No need to care, or to give a damn in the least

WORK AND TRAIN INCESSANTLY IN THE FINEST WAR-PROVEN COMBAT SKILLS KNOWN! BUILD A COMBATIVE SUPERIORITY that enables you, when you must, to tower over any scumbag offender who endangers your life and well-being. Be able to do things that he has no idea of; that he has no idea that you can do. Be ready to instantly overwhelm and beat your attacker —— even as he would beat you —— without mercy, relentlessly, and finally. Let him suffer a retaliation on the spot that leaves him KAPUT!

— While you should normally be scrupulous about obedience to the law, careful not to disregard decency and local ordinances, an emergency situation must be dealt with by EXPEDIENCY so as to insure your victory. There is real wisdom in the popular saying: “Better tried by twelve than carried by six”. First comes your or your loved ones’ safety, security, and protection. Violent bastards and street scum either have no regard whatever for the law, or they “worry about it later” after devastating a victim. To damn hell with them. When they intrude into your life, they get destroyed.

Granted, some will find transitioning from a “decent person” to a “decent person who is well able to deal with indecent scum a serious challenge. DO IT ANYWAY. You really do owe it to yourself and to all who you love and care for; and to all who love and care for you.

Study proven combat skills.

Make sure that you’re ready, willing, and able to use them if you ever must.

Our self-hypnosis programs can help you if you feel that you need help, and are not one of our personal students. Maybe you can manage it on your own. But get it done.

One day you and everyone important to you may say a prayer of thanks that we led you —— perhaps “nudged you” —— to do so.


Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

           Have No Preconceptions — About


ONE of the most detestable characteristics of people (from our viewpoint) is the inclination of so many of them to jump to conclusions or assumptions about people and subjects that they have not the slightest firsthand knowledge of, and about which they have done no real research and exerted not the least amount of effort to inform themselves about.

This is a major problem when training for close combat and self-defense. It comes up in different ways, and it affects the student very adversely. We hope that we can affect you and your thinking, so that it does not jeopardize your odds of defeating an enemy and saving your life — or the life of a loved one.

No matter what your habits may have been in the past adopt the following policies —— read: rules —— so that from now on you are guided not merely by clear thinking (sometimes you may be guided by subconscious mental guidance, over which you have no control) but by accurate, true, proven and long-established reliable facts and basic premises. Then, when you go on automatic (i.e. subconscious) pilot in an emergency you will not be flailing away pointlessly, but will instead be functioning like a war-machine, which is what training should to a degree make you.

1. NEVER judge anywhere you are or visit or need to go for any reason as “safe”. Never assume that it is “dangerous”, either (unless of course you have received intelligence alerting you to that known fact).

Assume that anywhere you are, visit, or need to go MAY be dangerous. Always keep that little reminder flashing in the recesses of your mind. To be lulled into a state of complacency is to be rendered dangerously helpless should a dangerous threat arise —— and it could, no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing.

When you realistically stop pre-judging environments about which you have no relelvant, current, accurate information —— no valid threat assessment —— and just acknowledge that there is an equal chance of everything being lethally dangerous as there is of everything being a grinding, boring drag, you’re properly set, mentally. You’re ready for anything. To enjoy the passivity and relaxation; or to deal with the dangerous threat.

2. Since you cannot meaningfully assess anyone without knowing him and taking pains to scrutinize his behavior —— obvious and subtle behavior, both —— don’t try to do so! We love the admonition from whoever it was that first said it to: “Be courteous and respectful to everyone you meet, but always have a plan to kill them.”  How we wish we had first said that! It perfectly summarizes the attitude of a well-conditioned, correctly trained, realistically-oriented close combat/self-defense student —— an American Combato student. We certainly acknowledge that even when trouble arises it is not always — or even “usually” — necessary to “kill” the troublemaker or violent type, however we trust that our visitors have the common sense to appreciate that we deliberately state the “worst case exrtreme” to make a point.

In no sense and by no stretch of the imagination is the intention of this to achieve anything in the individual’s psychological and tactical development, save a committment to readiness at all times. An ideal, perhaps; but we believe a possible one of attainment, and in any case a worthy and valuable one to keep on pursuing with relentless tenacity!

3. When facing someone from whom you expect a strong possibility of trouble, do not attempt to “figure out” what his move will be, should he attack. In other words never mind how — specifically — he intends to attack. When you are fortunate enough to have the benefit of an approach about which you are aware, and of a likely aggressor before you who is about to strike, CLEAR YOUR MIND. The saying in Ch’an (“Zen”) is: “If a thought comes into your mind, throw it away.” This, by the way is the entire relation between martial arts and Ch’an; do not allow yourself preconceived thoughts. Keep a blank mind so that your opponent’s attack will be correctly and instantly perceived, and —— in the case of those who train in our way of American Combato —— so that your preemptive riposte will explode instantly, and in effect by initiating his attack, your attacker will trigger his own destruction.

4. Never underestimate anyone. If your attacker is a teenage girl, there is the possibility that she is insane, abnormally strong, psychopathically motivated, dangerous, and (for whatever insane “reason”) bent on murder. Don’t frown. If you doubt that this is possible you are a fool, and you have learned nothing of the reality of unprovoked violent attack, and the criminal mind and the violence it is capable of rationalizing and driving the body to do!

Just because the fellow attacking you appears to be your physical inferior, do not assume him to be so! Your attacker is, at the very least, dangerous because he is violently anti-social and lacks maturity, civilitiy, and impulse control, and a respect for human dignity and well-being. That’s enough to enable him (or her) to cause your maiming or death in certain instances, and you must not ever be so naive to permit that to occur. And you have ironclad proof that at least this much is true simply because you are being attacked.

5. Never forget that you must always respect yourself, too. While not allowing yourself to assume arrogance or over-confidence, never forget that if you stay in reasonable shape, make it your business to master genuinely reliable close-combat techniques and tactics, and maintain an attack-minded mental state, conditioned to go all-out and crush an enemy without a tremor of hesitation and without mercy if and when necessary, then you are a formidable threat to any adversary; and it behooves you to appreciate this fact. Remember, no attacker picks you thinking that you will be giving him serious trouble. Nor does he know what you have learned and developed, or what you are willing to do to him.

6. Never allow yourself to be convinced that there are any guarantees or certainties in real combat. This should make you desperate in any emergency, and that’s exactly what you want to be! You want the adrenaline pumping, the gross muscular system of your body ready to tear down walls, and your attitude prepared to destroy King Kong! The more expert you become physically, the more your mental readiness should snowball in its magnitude. In the instant of perceiving that you or a loved one is in danger your entire being should transition into a “murder-machine”; you turn into a wild, inhuman animal; an animal bent on the utter destruction of whomever is now attempting to prey upon him.

The last thing you want in any emergency is the kind of idiocy that leaves you assured that victory is certain to you, because you’ve got a bag of martial “tricks” that you’re going to pull on the scumbag dumb enough to attack you.

Self-confidence is a correct and quite valid objective in training. But realistic self-confidence, never “cockiness” or failure to believe that you’re going to need to really go after your enemy and take whatever beating you need to take, if you intend to destroy him.

Treat any dangerous encounter or violent emergency realistically. Bring every ounce of your power, skills, strength, speed, and will-to-destroy to bear —— and do it INSTANTLY in one great surprise explosion. Make no assumptions about your adversary save that he must be stopped, and he and that which happens to him during the stopping, doesn’t matter one iota.  One hundred percent of you and your skill and will is now required to fulfill that vital task.

You can always ratchet back if, after you go after your attacker you see that he seeks to escape, has given up and has lost the will and the capacity to further harm you, etc. or that your retaliatory actions have knocked him senseless and harmless immediately. In all of these not-to-be-expected-or-anticipated events, fine; once you have stopped your attacker, stop. But for God’s sake and the sakes of your loved ones no less than yourself, WHEN YOU UNDERTAKE TO DEFEND YOURSELF YOU GO TO WAR! YOU WIN THAT WAR! AND YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THAT’S WHAT SELF-DEFENSE IS ALL ABOUT.

Kapish? Let’s hope so.


Sunday, October 16th, 2016

     A Powerful Self-Defense Tip For The Real World


WE spent some years studying ju-jutsu. Not the current fad form of ju-jutsu which is played as a sporting contest ——— i.e. MMA/UFC “Jiu-Jitsu” (which in our opinion is not the same as, nor is it as effective as the ju-jutsu of yore, which is all-combat, noncompetitive, and popular in the early part of the last century (often referred to at that time alternatively as “judo”, before the public became more sophisticated about the martial arts). This was in the 1960’s and 1970’s, although the U.S. Army and Marine Corps did instruct their men in ju-jutsu as early as world war one.

In the training that we received a great deal of time and technical effort was given over to learning counters to wrist and arm grabs, and to sleeve, collar, and lapel grabs. “Defenses” included distracting blows followed by arm locks, wrist-turning locks and throws, hip and shoulder throws, or simply painful disengagements. Some of the techniques were good. By no means were all or even most of them truly practical. They were esthetically pleasing and they were satisfying when working with our training partners because those partners cooperated with us. After weeks and months of mastering skills that —— with cooperative partners, not real attackers —— enabled us to wrap up the “assailant” in excruciating bone locks or limb twists, and throw him deftly to the (well matted) ground, confidence, often unrealistic, grew, enabling us to feel that we could literally make quick work of anyone foolish enough to grab hold of us! To the extent that the grabber would go no further than apply his grip, and simply stand there, allowing us to apply whatever countermeasures we wished to apply, our ability to employ the techniques that we learned was sound, and our confidence in them was justified. However, what we were not taught or prepared for is the fact that a wrist, arm, collar, or lapel grab is always a prelude to the actual damaging attack against us. And unless the attacker was slow moving and hesitant and we were lightning fast and perfect in our technique, we’d be punched, head butted, kneed, slammed into a wall or thrown to the concrete sidewalk and stomped. Or —— even worse —— we’d be stabbed or clubbed with his free hand, if the attacker’s grab was executed with only one hand. You see, this is the reality of dangerous, violent criminal attack. Street scum cares not a bit for rules, has no mercy, and is very capable of maiming or killing someone for little or no reason, save “fun” or “amusement” or imagined “insult”, etc. He doesn’t don a gi and spend 30 to 40 minutes warming up, then approach you and make sure that you’re ready, and then attack you so that you can defend yourself against the defense du jour.

We intend no disrespect or discourtesy here. Ju-jutsu, like all of the martial arts, offers great benefits, physical and psychological, to its participants. However, much of the classicism and traditionalism (and even some of its more modern theories of defense) are NOT the best for self-defense. They cannot be applied fast enough. They do not do sufficient damage. They depend too much on terrain and on other factors working out just right for them to stand a chance of working as they do in the dojo. And they are too complicated, relying as they do on ideal conditions, fine motor articulations, and on a slow, awkward attacker who has much, much less capability than you possess. They also are much too specifically oriented to very specific attacks. That’s why there are so many (sometimes thousands) of individual techniques of self-defense to learn in some ju-jutsu (and even in some karate) systems.

One lesson that we learned from immersion in wartime skills and the serious systems of hand-to-hand combat we studied is that which we would like to share with YOU. That is: clothing, wrist, and arm grabs are no threat (no one ever died from having his wrist[s] or arm[s] or clothing grabbed. No one). But many have been maimed, crippled, and killed after the enemy grabbed them thusly, by that which the enemy attacker did once he grabbed them. Note this for females: No woman has ever been seriously injured, raped, or killed by some pig she didn’t know approaching her and putting his arm around her shoulders and pulling her close to him. Nor has a female ever been devastated by a wrist, arm or clothing grab, or by a pig placing his hands on or around her waist, or by him placing his hands under her arms and lifting her off the ground. But many females have, unfortunately, been scared and intimidated by such actions and in consequence did nothing and were subsequently injured, raped, or killed by the pig because of what he did AFTER taking his initial intimidating action.

In response to a pig approaching her and pulling her close to himself after wrapping an arm around her shoulders, a petite young lady —— a model, in fact —— who we had only given two private lessons to, applied a ferocious tiger’s claw to the pig’s face with every ounce of her 115 pound body weight (which was quite sufficient!) and all of the speed she could muster. She ran away. She actually could have walked away leisurely, because the pig doubled over clutching his eyes and howling in pain.

Man or women:


Develop these and similar actions. Then build combinations for yourself so that should an assailant seize one or both of your wrists, or your arm, or your clothing, you explode like an enraged tiger and go after him relentlessly, until he is helpless, or until he runs away, or until you can safely escape from the scumbag.

THAT is self-defense that works.


We want to make it clear that we are not suggesting that any type of grab or hold that any aggressor initiates against you should (or could) be dealt with in this manner. Only wrist, arm, and clothing grabs. Powerful choking attacks, Encumbering body holds. Mugging grips from behind, and all grabs and holds that in and of themselves actually do impose serious pain and injury. These types of holds do demand that they be broken or at least weakened before the attack against your attacker be initiated full bore.

With the above caveat we do believe that we have saved those visitors who are after serious and utterly effective self-defense the time so often wasted on learning techniques that are at best only semi-effective and at worst are too dangerous to attempt against angry, dangerous, stronger and larger violent offenders.

Good tip we think!

And good luck . . .

ATTACK THE DAMN ATTACKER! And when his “attack” amounts to a silly “setup move”, you must appreciate the opportunity it provides! go get him! Right now! The grab or grip or hold will vanish naturally as his leg breaks, as he can’t breath, as his jaw or neck is broken, as he is knocked unconscious, or his testicles are crushed.



Sunday, August 7th, 2016

          Learn Something!


Go to YouTube. Enter “US Army Special Forces vs. Peruvian Special Forces”. Study what is said on that video and especially what you see. A simple “tiger’s claw thrust”. No B.S. and this is not some “MMA” or “UFC” sport. This is REAL. See what works for real?

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

                     Just Say No To Rules

IN a self-defense emergency anything goes. Many will repeat that important point but relatively few truly understand its full meaning and implications; and few have internalized the admonition and have embedded it into their cells and into their subconscious. In short, few have made “anything goes” in self-defense their personal gut conviction and single guide to action in a life-threatening emergency (which, in most cases, they never really believe will ever come to them).

We have enormous sympathy and compassion for anyone who is victimized by any predatory member of the human species, whether a schoolyard bully or a murderous terrorist, home invader, mugger, rapist, kidnapper, thrill killer or “knockout puncher”, or other violent felon. However, when we look at how some people who have been trained in martial arts of one or another kind so often defend themselves (or try to) using contest skills or strict classical doctrine that was perhaps suitable to another age, we shake our head. We’re delighted when (fortunately) they succeed in defending themselves. Usually this is because, luckily, their attackers were stumblebums. Sometimes, indeed, attackers are just that. However, there has never been anyone yet who possessed the ability to read attackers’ minds and to determine the intention and the capability, let alone the criminal history, of any given violent type, as the monster approached and launched his attack. If the attacker is a cowardly, uselessly inept punk, that’s great! You can do with him what you will as soon as you scare him by letting him know that you intend to fight back and not be his victim.

But suppose he is not a cowardly, useless punk? Suppose he’s maimed and killed before, and he enjoys it? Suppose his boyish (or her girlish) face suggests innocence but masks a murderer? Suppose the two scumbags blocking your path have handguns or knives on them which —— in a moment —— they will pull on you; as they have on a dozen people before you? Suppose the vicious rat confronting you is literally intending to kill you; but he doesn’t “look” like he’d be a problem to take, and his initial gesture and approach suggest a “mere amateur”? And so on.

The plain truth is that you have no way of knowing what one or more violent assailants want and plan to do to you (and perhaps your child, wife, or other family member), and you are in effect helping these animals to succeed unless a sudden violent attack or assault against you triggers the WAR REACTION that their previous victims did not possess, and prompts you into actions that are beyond mere “ruthless” and “vicious”, and that disregard entirely the welfare of your enemies! These actions must be utterly decisive —— decisive for real, not within the parameters of “rules” or for the purpose of a contest! —— and give you every possible opportunity to destroy those who would destroy you and yours. Get this straight. Make it “take”. Never fail to remind yourself that this is what real self-defense requires. There is not one safety or sporting rule that merits even peripheral consideration when deciding to save an innocent life. FORGET THE RULES! In self-defense you are acting to protect your life and/or the life of someone dear to you. Anything —— absolutely anything —— goes.

Got it?

Concepts expressed in the common words “fairness”, “rules”, “decency”, “ethics”, “compassion”, “sportsmanship”, “humanity”, etc. have no place as far as serious training for self-defense against dangerous felons is concerned. Remember: The violent attackers have no regard for such concepts. If they did, they wouldn’t be violent attackers. Forget scruples, morality, and anything but Winning and surviving. Lie, cheat, deceive. Show the same compassion for the violent criminal that medical science shows for the AIDS virus.

Let the following influence and assist your training:

• In any encounter if you can mercilessly exploit any unfair advantage you might possess, do it. And do it with every ounce of your physical strength and psychological focus.

• Master lying and deceiving. This is psychological camouflage. “Please don’t hurt me, guys, I have a family. I’ll do whatever you say but please don’t . . .”  and then explode like a killing machine and drop one of the scum with a blow to his throat. Growl like a wild animal and yell! Followup! Go after each one of the filth and leave him in a broken, destroyed heap on the sidewalk —— right where they were going to leave you.

• Embrace whatever works in real combat. Modern weapons for modern times. You are not a samurai or a ninja. “Here fellas, here’s my wallet. No problem, I won’t give you a hard time” you stammer, “Just please don’t hurt us” you beg as you reach compliantly and passively for your wallet. The surprise is that you draw your licensed .38 revolver (or even better, your .45 automatic) and instead of your money the scum receive nice neat holes in their stomachs or chests; and you and your wife escape unharmed.

• See any attacker as a “target” —— an object —— not a “human being”. Assume that any violent predator has signed his resignation from the human race and now is nothing more than a predatory beast that needs to be stopped. After all, that is, despite politically correct gibberish and newthink, a completely correct assessment, by rational standards.

• Be an environmentalist! Use anything and everything in your environment at the time of an attack to assist you in your effort to defend yourself. Objects-at-hand as weapons. Staircases to throw opponents down. Windows to throw opponents out of. Traffic to throw opponents into. Lampposts, fire hydrants, mail boxes, store windows, parked vehicles, telephone poles, large public trash cans, park benches, garbage disposal bins, public statues, curbs, etc. to smash your attacker’s face or head into. When indoors use what is available.

• Carry a handful of aquarium gravel in your outer pocket. Take it in your hand if you feel trouble coming. Throw the gravel forcefully into your attacker’s face. Now break his knee with a side kick and escape the scene. Or —— if you cannot escape (trapped in elevator) —— stomp and smash him relentlessly until he is unable and unwilling to attempt to harm you again.

• If you are driving avoid entering any area where police lights are flashing. Never mind your “curiosity”. Avoid driving through unsavory or questionable areas of any neighborhood or park, etc. If caught in a riot DRIVE! Go right through the rioters. Remember what happened to motorists who stopped out of concern for the wild animals in the L.A. riots? Their vehicles were overturned and they were beaten mercilessly.

• Eye gouging, biting, ripping off ears, seizing/crushing/yanking the testicles should always be done with all of your speed and power, whenever your life or the life of a loved one hangs in the balance! Obviously these actions must be supported by good unarmed combat ability, and opportunity will dictate when one of them ought now be used. But burn them into your repertoire! They must be done instantly when needed to save a life.

• Adjust your own psychology so that you do not get sucked (read “suckered”) into listening to any crap about “humane self-defense”, “non-harmful” or “non-lethal” self-defense etc. When or if you ever need to defend yourself or your loved ones those jackasses who mouth and advocate this s—t will NOT be there to help you deal with the psycho(s) trying to murder you.

• Here is your “force continuum”:

—— Level 1: Keep your hands to yourself so long as

you do not feel that there is any real danger. Strive

mightily to avoid trouble as long as you can.

—— Level 2: Neutralize the threat! The moment you

realize that serious dangers threatens, go full bore and

eliminate the danger ASAP.

• Young children (both boys and girls), apparently “old” people, “nice looking” and “polite” and “nicely dressed” people. men and women —— ALL have been on occasion murderers, kidnappers, home invaders, rapists, thrill killers, brutal child molesters, and interesting combinations of these despicable things. Your solution? Be wary. Trust no one you do not know personally. Be polite and be respectful, but do not trust anyone you do not know, and know well.

• Just as a lethal attack may come from anyone, so it may erupt anywhere. Situational awareness —— constant vigilance —— is your key to not being caught by surprise. It’s probably not possible to be forewarned about every single attack; but it is possible to be forewarned about almost every possible incident if  you commit yourself to alertness as habit.

• Since anything can serve to assist you in self-defense, learn and practice how to use anything in an emergency. There is almost always something handy with which to stab, cut, jab, club, strangle, distract or simply smash someone into.

• Yell, growl, grimace, scream like a madman or insane wild beast when you trip the wire and go into your attack.

• When an enemy is down and you cannot safely escape the scene, use your feet ! A situation in which you must defend innocent life is not a boxing match. Do not step back when you’ve decked your attacker!

• Cultivate resentment, hatred, malice, and the most ferocious kind of animosity toward all criminal violence and toward all who are criminally violent. Unleash it when and if you are ever forced to defend yourself.

• Deliberately break all of the rules.

Way back in the early 1970’s when we were forming the doctrine that was to become American Combato in 1975, we gave ourself an interesting exercise: We got hold of the rules of all of the combat sports. Then we went through them and broke every rule, systematically and deliberately. We then considered how this best might affect the use of the skills in each combat sport for application in close combat. It was a good experience. you might try it.

                                In Conclusion

We have presented a skeletal outline of many of those tactical and strategic considerations that we teach our personal students as they progress through the techniques and skills of American Combato.

We (Prof. Mark Bryans and ourself) have had numerous cases over the decades when Combato techniques coupled with these tactical and strategic considerations of our System have saved student lives.

We hope that if the time ever comes when you must protect yourself and your family against a murderer’s attack, these precepts will save your lives.


Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

                   Opening The Action!

ULTIMATELY when undertaking to defend yourself against a dangerous and determined aggressor, that which you do should as speedily as possible result in massive shock to your enemy’s nervous system and/or stopping the enemy’s breathing. Despite the hallucinators and wishful thinking fantacisers who think that violent enemies who attack (often with weapons or in numbers) can be locked up in some hold, or pinned and made to submit, or otherwise be subjected to competitive actions that work on the mat or in the movies, the truth (born of literally hundreds of years of experience, and researched and analyzed by genuine combat experts) is a far cry from that which the commercializers tout, and that which the gullible and ignorant are led — by the commercializers — to believe.

Physical violence is dangerous and to be avoided at all costs save accepting victimization and allowing oneself or a loved one to be preyed upon. When oneself or a loved one is threatened, and when there is no viable, safe option to avoid, then counterforce is needed; and it damn well better be decisive! No creampuff, competition, flashy, fancy, or acrobatic bullshit. You need the real deal when circumstances compel you to protect yourself or someone else against deliberate, calculated, extralegal, often DEADLY attack.

In the early 1970’s we formulated this rule for those wishing to be able to defend themselves, and whom we were teaching to do just that: “When you are attacked, attack the attacker!”

After more than 50 years of teaching, researching, studying, and doing, we are more than ever convinced of the rock-solid reliability of our early 1970’s admonition. IT WORKS. As one member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces who took lessons from us and who is an avid reader of our web sites, and who has been in actual hand-to-hand close combat more than once told us: “Anyone who disagrees with your philosophy of self-defense, and in the techniques that you offer, is a complete a——hole!” (Thank you, Sergeant).

Massively shocking your enemy’s nervous system and/or bringing his breathing to a halt is not always perfectly and immediately possible —— although sometimes it is. Often your opening action paves the way for such a conclusion, and thus you must be prepared to “open the action” in such a way that it paves the way for the conclusion that you must achieve.

Here’s how to do it:

• Attack your enemy’s mental focus i.e. his consciousness (this may knock him out, and if so, great). Your objective is to at least totally disorient and stun him so that he offers no more resistance to your followup than a training dummy. This is accomplished by a fast, untelegraphed attack to his head (including face, neck, ears, eyes, nose, and throat).

Hit and attack with whatever natural weapon or object that is at the moment most suitable. Throw sand or dirt or the contents of a drinking glass into his face. Jab into his face/neck/throat/head area with the end of an umbrella or walking stick. Bash the side of his face/head with a close-in hammerfist smash, elbow blow, or handaxe chop. Bash his face with a fast head butt. or chinjab. Got it? Good!

• Inflict damage to one of his legs. This will ruin his balance and stability, and cause him to reach down —— opening up his face and head to attack. Nothing beats the low stomping side kick to the knee, but a front kick that hits the shin bone or knee, or that stomps down on and breaks the instep also does very nicely.

• A properly delivered vertical fist straight punch to the sternum, or a fast uppercut punch (palm up, please) to the solar plexus will certainly put an immediate and paralyzing stop to an enemy’s ability to breath well. So, use these actions when an opening permits and you fear grievous bodily harm to yourself or another.

• If a gnat or grain of sand in the eye can cause a strong man to become utterly and immediately disoriented, just imagine what strong fingers rammed with bodyweight advancing behind them can do, when they drive into a troublemaker’s eyes! The tiger’s claw thrust is also a wonderful way to attack the eyes —— as it thumb gouging, etc. Once his ability to see is gone you attacker is helpless as a baby. Just do whatever you must do next as fast as possible.

An attacker might not be surprised when and if you resist by trying to block his moves or push him away. But no one attacks another in  anticipation of being attacked, himself.

Now you’ve got the simple key to “opening the action” (that your enemy will never suspect you of attempting to do) in a way that sets him up to be destroyed completely. Only for a genuinely dangerous emergency; but if, God forbid, one ever arises, DO IT, AND HAVE NO REMORSE, REGRETS, OR DOUBTS. GO 100%.

Open the action and finish your enemy —— before he finishes you.


Tuesday, March 29th, 2016


“THERE have been many famous boxers and wrestlers who time after time have won their contests with their favorite blows or holds.  . . . they had so perfected those particular blows and holds that few could withstand them.  The same applies to you. If you will take the trouble to perfect one method of attack, you will be far more formidable than if you only become fairly good at all the methods you will be shown.”

——— Quoted directly from the famous Introductory Speech

             to Fairbairn’s “Silent Killing Course” of WWII.


THE admonition to “perfect one method” that is expressed in the speech from which the above has been extracted applies in 2016 no less than it did in the early 1940’s, with but one small modification.

Students today training in the Art of American Combato will, thanks to the presence of no wartime emergency as existed when the abbreviated Course given by Fairbairn was taught, have months and years to learn, practice, and train hard; not merely a few weeks. So, naturally, they will be able to learn much more, and will have the time to perfect more than one method of attack.

However, no attempt should be made by students, regardless of how many months or years they train, to acquire encyclopedic mastery of everything taught in our System. Our System contains a massive amount of war-proven, combat effective and reliable skills because we want all of our students to perfect their own best techniques from among all of those techniques that permit them to enjoy a polished, complete, “personalized” and fine-tuned “tailored to their unique individual physiological and psychological qualities” system. Fairbairn’s Course was necessarily an encapsulation of those techniques that could be taught very quickly and easily and that were suitable to just about anyone. But when culled completely from the world’s effective skills from many methods, there is a very comprehensive body of doctrine (all of the wartime systems’ quality, but some suiting individual pupils slightly better). With the time, interest, and energy available to learn what suits you perfectly, why not take advantage of it?

There are three categories of techniques as far as the individual student is concerned . . . even in a system that has collected and integrated into a logical curriculum all known practical and reliable techniques for close combat and self-defense. The categories are:

Category 1:

Techniques that fit the student perfectly. He likes and has confidence in the extreme in these particular techniques. He can do them perfectly, with balance, speed, power, accuracy, and automatically, under combat conditions.

Category 2:

Techniques that the student likes and feels are practical, that he needs a bit more practice on, but that he wants to integrate into his personal repertoire.

Category 3:

Techniques which, for whatever reason, he simply does not favor or feel fully effective with —— even after seriously practicing them.

The student of close combat and self-defense should completely drop and discontinue practice of category three techniques. He will certainly find that he is far better off drilling in and mastering category one and two techniques. In American Combato we train, over time, in a sufficientnumber of skills so that every individual student can zero in on those that suit himself best, and that are decisively effective in offensive and in counterattacking close combat.

With limited time due to work or school, and/or with insufficient energy, only category one techniques need be mastered. And note the word “mastered”. Just as Fairbairn admonished his short-term students to perfect one method instead of many (knowing they had time enough to do that —— and in fact after doing that they were indeed a force to be reckoned with; and were enormously successful when they met the enemy in combat) we urge YOU to abide by that principle, and perfect that which suits you, perfectly, instead of becoming fairly good in a greater quantity of skills.

If you train in a true combat system then the techniques will all be simple and practical —— and very destructive. Remember, your objective is defeating a dangerous violent criminal, or —— if you are in the military —— an enemy who want to kill or to capture you. There is no wiggle space here! Techniques will be versatile and very adaptable.

Since our own American Combato is the martial art we know best, we will use it to illustrate a good, realistic objective for the trainee who is in the study as a serious, long-term student.

The core of American Combato consists of:

—— 7 or 8 Fundamental, Foundational Skills

—— 16 Key Basic Blows (With many variations)

—— 30 Key Attack Combinations (With infinite variations)

—— 30 Key Counterattacking Situations (With infinite variations)

(The above references only the UNARMED sections of our Method. Weaponry is also taught, but is not pertinent to this discussion.)

If a student PERFECTS the fundamentals, 8 of the basic blows, 6-8 of the attack combinations, and a couple of dozen of the 125 individual situational solutions contained in the 30 counterattacking modules, that will be enough for him to be able to defend himself well, and to launch vicious attacks in any desperate military combat predicament, or life-threatening emergency. He need not try to learn everything that is in the System, and he does not need “everything” that is in the System. He needs a thorough mastery of that which he can do best. All of the techniques are viable.

If you are not a student of ours (live or DVD) then use common sense to apply the principle of prioritization that we have here described. Your abilities will be sharper, more effective, and very dangerous to any assailant.

Best of luck.


Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

                    Hit Through —— Not On

WESTERN  boxers deliver their punches exactly as all natural weapon blows should be delivered in unarmed close combat. Those who train in any of the numerous karate systems, and those who, as students of ju-jutsu, employ atemiwaza skills should study Western Boxing principles. The clenched fist is a very limited weapon in serious unarmed combat; however, whenever it is used it should be used with the boxer’s style of punching —— i.e. punch through the target, do not merely hit “on” the target.

Classical karate practitioners actually train to strike incorrectly when they practice kata and when they freestyle. Only when they engage in breaking do they —— must they! —— use the proper technique. If you have ever trained in a classical karate system you doubtless can relate to this. When practicing basic blocks, kicks, punches, and strikes, as well as when practicing one, two, three step, and freestyle sparring you strictly control your actions so as to avoid full contact with your practice partner. More: When you become advanced and when light contact is allowed, you train to not only  hit on vital targets, but to deliberately avoid employing any more than just a very, very small amount of the force you presumably would employ in self-defense. Freestyle sparring is believed to be the “ultimate” preparation to use karate in combat. It is not. First, because the targets and the natural weapons allowed are not the same targets and weapons that need to be used in self-defense. Second, because the entire idea of “squaring off” or “matching” does not replicate self-defense emergencies; it instead duplicates fighting or mutual combat which is illegal and irrelevant for both private citizens needing self-defense, and military people needing hand-to-hand offensive and destructive enemy-maiming and killing skills. (Of course the same thing applies —— even more emphatically —— to those who prefer training in throwing and grappling arts. By using judo type throws and holds, and by eliminating deadly skills, a rough sport is achieved. But for combat, sport “fighting” is not adequate training. Right now, however, our focus is on hitting; i.e. on percussionary combat training).

What trainees and their teachers must understand and employ is ——

a) A serious and protracted training in the most destructive

hand, arm, knee, elbow, foot, and head strikes (which

cannot and should not ever be permitted to be drilled

full force against live training partners).

b) Training all-out with combat-level force against training aids:

i.e. striking posts, dummies, padded trees, brick walls,

always maintaining a kill or get killed mindset and the

actual vital points that will be attacked in an actual


c) Training with live partners using the exact same techniques

and actions that would be employed in real combat,

but severely limiting the force applied, and NO CONTACT permitted. This embeds the precise combat

moves that will actually be used when working with a

partner, while relegating the full and all-out force practice

to inanimate training aids. This avoids unintended injuries of

a very serious nature to be avoided completely despite the

trainees’ always working on the correct manner of 

attacking and counterattacking, and not using “safe”

techniques with partners, and the all-out combat techniques

in the air and on impact training aids.

d) Understanding that the live partner practice objective is to

hammer into the nervous system and motor memory the

most vicious, brutal, and destructive skills that can be

employed in close combat and defense, while steering the

trainee away from the illusory “method of combat preparation”  that any form of “sparring”, “fighting”, “contest”, or “matches” provide. In combat one either defends or attacks; and his “defenses” are in fact counterattacks.

If you grasp these essential  facts then you will have no problem understanding that all blows trained in for combat (and blows of the hands, feet, and other natural weapons of the body have been proven in both war and in peacetime to be the superior bulwark of real world unarmed combat) must be delivered with every ounce of destructive force that the applicant’s power permits. Boxing teaches this method of hitting. Boxers do not train to “make contact” with their opponent’s jaw or solar plexus; they train to SMASH RIGHT THROUGH those key boxing targets. And by so doing they train to use their fists with optimum power . . . real knockout power. They do not strive to have their “gi” snap dramatically to verify the “power” of their move. They wear no gi! They strive to hit hard! And one need only step into the ring with a good boxer to discover that in fact boxer do hit hard. Damn hard!  Train to deliver combat blows the way the boxer delivers his knockout punches. Blast through your targets (i.e. your adversary’s vital points) and destroy them!

Martial arts people observe this critical principle  when they practice breaking skills. Set up a stack of eight one inch pine boards and try to break through them by hitting ON the top board and your demonstration will be . . . well . . . most unimpressive. Train to drive through the boards, and assuming that your trained up to it, those boards will crack apart like balsa wood when you apply a quality knifehand strike.

We are certainly not advocating that close combat students should include breaking techniques in their training. Heavens no! But they definitely should adhere to the mandate to go though any target that is struck, and not on the target. And this practice must be born in mind when striking and kicking training aids. The training dummy and the heavy bag are not “sparring partners”. They are impact conditioning aids. Blast into them with murderous, life-or-death force, striving to go through whenever you hit. Then practice your combat techniques cautiously with no impact to vital targets, but by going after those vital targets just as you would in combat, but with no contact. This trains the motor nerves and embeds the patterns of action into your nervous system. Become viciously attack minded and strive to optimize physical readiness to destroy a dangerous attacker with the mental conditioning that prepares you to do so, and you’ll be set.

Training to go all-out with your blows and supplementary actions so that, like a tiger attacking its prey, you tear into and, figuratively speaking, “rip apart and destroy” your assailant before he destroys you or someone you love is the way to really train for combat and defense.

Begin by remembering and never forgetting that you want to hit through never on a dangerous, attacking criminal or enemy.


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.