Archive for the ‘Monthly Instruction’ Category

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

              The Wonderful Little S&W Snubby!

WE have two preferences for an ideal concealed carry handgun: The original Colt Commander Model (alloy frame, lightweight) in .45 ACP, and any one of the little Smith and Wesson .38 Special 5-shot snubbies.
Our preference would be for the little Centennial Model, that S&W reintroduced not long ago.

“What’s wrong with us,” one might ask. “Are we not aware that the little 5-shot revolvers can be had in the more potent .357 caliber? Why go with the .38 Special when that wallop-packing .357 can be had?”

We’ll be happy to explain.

One carries a 5-shot snubby for close range, very quick reaction defensive shooting. At close quarters combat distances (usually five feet or less; always within 20 feet) the .38 Special round will do its job if you do yours (that is, place the rounds where they belong). Modern +P and +P+ .38 Special hollow point bullets are very formidable when properly placed.

Our personal opinion is that the .357 round is a very poor choice for a two-inch barrel snubby. First, because the controllability of the .357 in a two-inch snubby is horrendous. (The kick of a snubby firing .38 Special ammunition can be stiff enough.) Second, because the actual ballistic performance of a .357 round fired from a two-inch barrel is not that different from the performance of the .38 Special +P. And using good combat point shooting, you’d likely be able to place a two-shot burst of rounds with the .38 Special before you could get that second round off with the .357. The .357 gives its excellent performance from a six or four inch barrel. That performance is affected significantly when the barrel is only two inches. If you absolutely insist on carrying a .357 when you need maximum concealment then we’d recommend finding one of the three inch barreled S&W Model 13’s or 65’s. These round butt revolvers at least offer a three inch barrel and more heft with which to assist in managing the weapon’s kick.

But back to the little .38 Special snubbies.

Alloy frame snubbies are very comfortable to carry. In .357 caliber a snobby would not be so pleasant to fire. We think an alloy framed .357 two-inch barrel snubby would be a very poor choice. You make your own decisions . . . but please keep in mind the circumstances under which you will be employing that weapon.

“Well, alloy framed .38 Special snubbies offer pretty stiff recoil, too. Besides, if you fire +P’s or +P+ ammo in them you’ll wear out the gun.

First, the .38 Special round fired from a two-inch barrel snubby ––– stiff as the kick may be ––– is not as stiff as that of the .357 round. Second, we believe that idea that you’ll “wear out your revolver” if you fire +P’s in it when the weapon has an alloy frame, is nonsense. (Besides, what’s more important to you ––– your life or your revolver’s?)

In any case, consider this:

Some time back the NYPD Firearms Unit conducted a torture test on a Smith and Wesson alloy framed .38 Special snubby. Five thousand rounds were fired through the little revolver and no damage whatever was observed to have been done to the weapon. Our suggestion: Use light loads when training, but fire at least 20 or 25 of the hot +P’s so that you get the feel of it. Then carry the hot loads for business. Your alloy framed revolver will last forever.

Remember also that the all carbon or stainless steel snubbies are very comfortable to carry constantly. They are light, and the recoil you feel with them is somewhat less than it is with the lightweight (alloy) framed models.

We may be accused by some of being old fashioned when we advocate some of these “weapons of yore” as it were. That’s fine with us.

Remember please that “newer” does not always or necessarily mean “better”.

Those little five shot snub-nosed revolvers have been around ––– and have always remained popular ––– for many, many years. No, they do not “dominate open competition”, and, whenever feasible and comfortable, we agree that it would be best to carry a full-size combat revolver or semi-automatic pistol. Yet, when the choice is to go armed with a powerful, reliable .38 Special snubby or be unarmed, because you can’t wear your customary .357 or .45 full-sized weapon, it would seem that wisdom lies in opting for the snubby.

P.S. The .38 Special round is an excellent one. It is a perfected cartridge, and certainly provides a great deal of punch . . . despite what some of the “experts” say. We have never found a detractor of the .38 Special who would permit us to shoot him with the round. Master your weapon. When you are able to employ your point shooting well with your handgun ––– and if your handgun is a .38 Special snubby ––– you’re set.




Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Simplicity And Destructiveness

(Two Acid Tests Of A Technique’s Practicality And
Reliability In Real Close Combat And

WHEN it comes to evaluating the merits of any technique, whether offensive or defensive for practical application in a self-defense emergency, we cannot do better than to use the Applegate Standard ––– first published in Col. Rex Applegate’s wartime classic Kill Or Get Killed in 1942, and formulated by him:

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

If you want an acid test for any martial arts technique, there you have it; as valuable and true in 2017 as it was in 1942.

Many of the skills taught in the classical/traditional martial arts are of questionable practical value for use in hand-to-hand combat because they are way too complicated. They can take months to learn, and will work reliably only in a training or demonstration setting when the “attacker” or “adversary” is an essentially cooperative partner. Often ––– in training or in a demonstration ––– the technique in question is applied full speed (using control not to maim the opponent) by both “defender” and “attacker”. So it appears that the technique will obviously work, since the observer sees it performed in real time. However it must be kept in mind that in the setting in which the technique is being seen ––– and applied ––– both the defender and the attacker know exactly what each is going to do, and the technique has been well rehearsed so that positioning and timing have been drilled into both parties. Essentially what is being observed is choreography.
We do not say this to diminish in the slightest the considerable skill and work that is required to perform skills in this manner. The repetitious, cooperative practice necessary demands discipline, patience, hard work, and serious trust between partners. Our point is only that as far as practical application of any technique is concerned against an unpredictable, determined, resisting enemy whom one has never seen before in one’s life, and who comes at one in a moment of surprise, when one has his mind on something aside from performing a technique, it is doubtful that many of the impressive-appearing skills could be relied upon. After all, an attacker who is real might come at you indicating that he intends one action, then switch suddenly to another!

There is an assumption too in many impressive looking “martial arts” skills that one’s series of, say, six or eight pre-planned sequential movements will actually work, and that the adversary will react in a specific way, insuring the uninterrupted, smooth completion of one’s technical moves. One must attack an enemy in a barrage and never rely upon a single action to succeed . . . but all too often the popularly practiced moves are not fierce and destructive enough, and under combat conditions it is not likely that they will usually do what one anticipates that they will do. Sequential blocking, for example; or maneuvering the adversary into position for a throw or blow; catching the attacker’s hand and wrist just right, so that he will succumb to the force of what is in actual combat a highly questionable, if impressive appearing technique.

Factors such as weather, terrain, attire, space, level or irregular ground, presence of more than one attacker, etc. etc. are not considered in passing on some (admittedly beautiful looking) skills in the dojo.

So here’s the bottom line:

When we analyze the Applegate Standard for selection and acceptance of techniques for combat we can be confident that we’ve got a winning technique if it proves to be simple and destructive.

Simple techniques are easily learned, easily retained, widely adoptable to an almost unlimited variety of circumstances and situations, and are the least likely to be effectively interfered with or countered by the enemy. (For example: We always advocate carrying a small handful of gravel ––– not sand or dirt, which can blow back ––– and flinging it into an adversary’s face. This requires only a gross body movement, will take anyone by surprise, and can be a prelude to escaping the scene, using unarmed or armed action against the adversary. Simple. Foolproof. Adoptable to all environments and situations.)

Simple techniques are gross body movements, requiring only that the user make use of the inevitable, natural, involuntary reaction of his system to danger, which we know entails the loss of the ability to render fine motor articulations. There’s no “fighting against nature” here; just going with the flow and doing the most natural actions.

Destructiveness is critical in any close combat or self-defense technique. What is at stake is life and limb ––– your or your loved one’s life and limb! ––– and you cannot possibly read the mind or determine the capabilities of any attacker or hand-to-hand adversary ahead of time.

It is well to remind readers that, under combat conditions, human beings can be shockingly difficult to stop. Little women, normally weak men, even elderly people, can explode with a resolve and tenacity under great survival stress that makes them five to ten times stronger and more resilient than they normally would be. And that refers to normally decent, everyday people from all normal walks of life. When you consider violent criminal offenders whose very lifestyles revolve around violent combat, or military adversaries, who may be battle-hardened and ––– to use a popular term ––– “tough as nails”, you can imagine how much might be needed to shut them down in an all-out encounter.

Techniques lacking destructive capability should be discarded. They may be suitable for competition, when done with proper control and according to the rules, but they are not to be called upon to save human life. Some of these techniques (i.e. control grips, restraining and come along type holds do have a definite place in the training of security people and law enforcers . . . but restraining and/or arresting troublemakers is not the responsibility of the private citizen or military person who must deal with a dangerous opponent. His responsibility is to stop his enemy and save himself or other innocent persons from being knocked out, maimed, killed, or kidnapped, etc.

We hope that this presentation assists those who are students of the more classical martial arts who wish to set up a repertoire of doable skills in case they are ever confronted by danger outside their traditional training and practice environment. Select a handful of techniques (and all of the classical systems have some) that are simple and destructive. Work on them intensively and regularly. Keep them in reserve for what both of us hope never comes to you. Enjoy whatever you like in the dojo, amongst your training partners and friends; but when and if the worst ever happens, use those skills that have met the Applegate Standard ––– and use them with every ounce of strength, speed, and determination you can generate!


Monday, July 31st, 2017

                The Cooper Color Code: Tightening It Up

ALTHOUGH we disagree completely with the mechanics of that which he referred to as the “New Technique of the Pistol” for serious combat shooting of the handgun at close quarters, we nevertheless am grateful for learning the “Combat Color Code” when, back in the mid-1970’s, we took his Course personally, from the late Col. Jeff Cooper. In fact it was a friend’s lending us a copy of Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense, which we regard as a masterpiece for anyone and everyone engaged in any form of self-defense training ––– with or without weapons ––– that caused us to contact Cooper in the first place. Mental conditioning For Combat had been a matter of serious study for us since the 1960’s, and when we discovered the PPD we were delighted.

Over the years we have modified how the Color Code is used for ourself and our students. Our view of all forms of armed and unarmed combat is that simple is better, and we believe that by simplifying the way the color code is utilized, we’ve simplified that particular aspect of mental conditioning for combat ––– and improved it for practical application.

Here is the Combat Color Code, invented by Jeff Cooper, and the specifics of how he taught it:

Condition WHITE: Inattentive, relaxed, paying no particular attention to anything near or around you. Unaware.
Condition YELLOW: Relaxed alert. You are paying attention wherever you go and wherever you may be to who and to what is around and near you. There is no specific cause for alarm or concern, but you remain situationally aware as you go about whatever business you may be going about. You notice as much as possible within the area where you happen to be at the time.

Condition ORANGE: Specific alert. Something/someone has attracted your attention and has caused you to consider that it/he may need to be dealt with. You remain in Condition Orange until whatever has caused you to be concerned has been explained and determined not to be a source of possible danger.

Condition RED: Alert and ready to take action! Whatever has caused you to become alarmed in Condition Orange has you convinced that yes, you may need to take serious action and ––– being guided by whatever “triggering action” you have decided must take place before you actually do neutralize the threat ––– you are ready to go! Whether armed or unarmed, if the individual(s) who has aroused your state of readiness to act decisively makes a certain triggering move or takes a certain triggering action that you have decided upon in advance, you will neutralize the threat instantly.
(Note: The “trigger” is decided by you, and will vary according to circumstances. For example, “If his hand is raised as a fist, I’m going to attack”, “If he produces a weapon I am going to shoot him”, “If these two move to block my way I am going to attack”, etc. and so on.)

That Color Code is better than excellent, and if it suits you exactly as Cooper taught it, that’s fine. But realizing how dangerous any attack can be, and understanding how simpler is always better insofar as technical or mental preparation goes, we have “tightened up” Cooper’s Color Code, so as to bring the defender “closer/sooner” to a state of readiness to drop any threat to life or limb.

Our particular belief is that Condition Orange should include being

Ready to take action! Whatever has caused you to become alarmed in Condition Orange has convinced that yes, you may need to take serious action and ––– being guided by whatever “triggering action” you have decided must take place before you actually do neutralize the threat ––– you are ready to go!

Condition Red then is ACTION! And we refer to the stages of YELLOW, OR ANGE, and RED as: Ready, set, go! Condition WHITE is, exactly as Cooper taught it, unacceptable and inappropriate to living, functioning, traveling, working, and so forth in a dangerous world. Only when you control completely the environment that you are in, know exactly who is near and around you, and understand that only those who mean you no harm can approach you, is being in Condition White justified.

We have not modified Cooper’s Color Code just to be different. With great respect for his innovation we have tried to make it even more effective for more students of self-defense, everywhere.

We note that here and there others have added something they call condition “black”, thus further complicating matters (and, we feel, just to make gullible fools believe that they have improved upon Cooper’s work). We stress again: SIMPLIFYING is what improves things in combat arts. And in the spirit of wanting to improve a great thing created by an extraordinary man, we offer our thoughts which we hope make the color code even more effective for you.


Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

         Something To Think Seriously About

IN a way you could say that this is the foundational prerequisite of proper mental conditioning for close combat and self-defense. It also may at first blush seem to be something very obvious or easily dismissed and taken for granted. Please believe us ––– it is not necessarily obvious, and it must not be taken for granted.

We are speaking of the conviction in your mind that yes, indeed, violent aggression may come to you. If you shrug and say “Well naturally I know that; that’s why I train in self-defense skills and why I read and study the subject,” we must point out that a great deal of evidence exists that points to the likelihood that many people who train in martial arts do not in their heart of hearts truly accept, understand, feel, and believe that a serious, life-threatening attack by one or more deadly felons actually ever could be in their future. They may say that they believe it, but study of the facts points to the possibility that they may well be amongst that large number of private citizens, soldiers, and law enforcement officers who ––– at the deepest level, do not believe it.

So . . . what makes us say this, and where is there any evidence of its being true?

In our decades of research and study, which of course includes speaking with and/or reading the after-action reports of military and police professionals and private citizens who have spent considerable time, energy, and money learning self-defense both with and without weapons, we note that in more than half the cases the individuals state that they “couldn’t believe what was happening”, “it didn’t seem real”, “I felt like time slowed down and I was living a bad dream”, “nothing felt real” “I just could not believe that this guy was pulling a knife (or gun)”, “it didn’t feel real when he went to punch me (or whatever aggressive action the assailant took), and so on. Black belt experts, seasoned street cops, trained military men . . . all are among those who ––– we’d say very obviously ––– were not convinced that the awful reality of a dangerous physical attack against them would ever “really” come to them.

Psychologically this is not too much of a surprise. It is a well known phenomenon that the overwhelming majority of soldiers who go into wartime combat do not really expect to die. And yet the possibility (indeed, in some instances, the probability of not emerging from an engagement in wartime combat is often incontestably present).

Ferociously realistic training and mental indoctrination can change this and increase the fighting man’s understanding of the reality of a deadly threat, and thus make him better prepared to deal with it; but the reality of this is rare. During WWII one of the absolute fiercest and most hardened and mentally conditioned units was the USMC’s Raiders. Interestingly, although the Raiders were routinely outnumbered by the Japanese troops that they fought, and the regular infantry marines were often not outnumbered, there were fewer losses percentage-wise amongst the Raiders than there was amongst the regular infantry. Years ago a former USMC Raider ––– a veteran of the Makin Island Raid ––– told us: “We were ready to die if death came, and we knew the Japs were ready to kill us. So we attacked and killed them because we knew that this was it; it was real, and we had one chance and one job to do.” We did clean up the grammar a bit, but we report the essence of the statement made to us. Please note: “. . . we knew the Japs were ready to kill us . . .” We have no doubt that this acceptance of exactly how great and real a threat they faced accounted for their incredible success and their comparatively small loss of men. When you know, understand, believe, and appreciate the reality and nature of exactly what you are facing you have the greatest chance dealing with it effectively.

And that’s the point we wish to hammer home. More precisely, we want you to “hammer it home” ––– into your subconscious mind, your motor nerves, and your reflexes!
It can come to you.

Naturally we hope that violence never intrudes upon our lives and the lives of those we love. But as students of self-defense we are “switched on” to the reality that the world we live in is hardly one big Disneyland. We realize that when we are out and about in that ocean of humanity out there wherever we work, attend school, go for recreation, seek to enjoy time with those we love, etc., we will not always or necessarily encounter some friendly Charlie The Tuna; it may well be JAWS, and because we anticipate this possibility occurring one day, we will not be taken by surprise if it happens. We will be ready. We will not experience, when that awful moment arrives and some worthless, subhuman scumbag suddenly comes at us, that state of bewilderment expressed by the words, “I can’t believe this! This can’t be happening to me!” We will instead react with a mindset that knew this occurrence was always possible, and that now commands us to bring into play those techniques and skills that we have worked so hard and long to develop.

Anyone feeling that he needs or would like to avail himself of really intensive mental conditioning should obtain our self-hypnosis CDs. Check out the list.We have carefully prepared a set of 20 that more than adequately covers the mental barriers to total mental conditioning for close combat and self-defense.

Just know and do not ever forget that we live in a world that is neither safe nor friendly. Disgracefully, one of the more hideous dangers that we humans all face is the danger of being attacked physically by self-inducedly inhuman members of our own species ––– i.e. dangerous, despicable, predatory savages. The death toll from scummy excuses for “people” who kill their own kind (unlike, we note with raised eyebrows, creatures in the animal kingdom who do not attack and kill members of their own species!) is akin to the death tolls from some dread diseases.

One day, if mankind ever survives this insane-asylum-masquerading-as-human-society, our mentality and morality will have risen to the point where we cease to tolerate predation by members of our species, and we react to them when they surface as we react to rabid, feral rats. But that day appears to be a long way off, if indeed it ever comes.

But adjusting the attitude of human society is not and need not ever be thought of as your or our individual concern. JUST WORK ON YOUR PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL ATTITUDE, AND YOUR MINDSET; AND BEGIN BY REALIZING THAT THAT WHICH YOU ARE TRAINING TO COPE WITH MAY IN FACT ONE DAY REALLY COME TO YOU.



Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Defending A Loved One (Family Member, Etc.)


OF all the nightmarish scenarios that could happen for which the avid student of self-defense strives to prepare, surely one in which he is not alone but with one or more loved ones, and must defend them as well as himself against the scumbag(s) attacker(s) qualifies as a matter that heads the list.

Many of us are fortunate enough to have one or more persons in our life for whom we would give our life, if that became necessary in order to save and protect them. Thus the thought of being in a situation where not merely oneself, but also someone one loves and cares for, is placed in potentially lethal danger, is horrific. We actually pity anyone whose life is so barren that his only concern, his only focus, his only human value, is himself.

In any case, the matter of defending someone you love when, while with them, the ugly situation arises where you must deal with an unavoidable attack that imperils you both.

This matter is rarely if ever addressed in martial arts courses, and even when it is addressed it is usually glossed over too briefly. We can see why. The situation is none too favorable, even for the black belt expert in a quality combatives system.

This problem differs from the relatively  easily solved one of coming to the aid of a third person in two ways:

First, when coming to the aid of a third person you have the element of surprise in your favor and normally a quite clear opening to neutralize the offender. The attacker’s focus is on his intended victim; you can nail him without his knowing what hit him.

There is no element of surprise (save possibly that of your mere resistance to the attack alone, which very often can enable you to turn the tables —— even on a group of savages —— when undertaken with sound tactics and a killing attitude. But you as well as your loved one are the targets in the type of predicament we are discussing, and you may be the primary target (the savages thinking that once you are out of the way they can easily go after your spouse, etc.)

Second, coming to the aid of a third person is not necessarily as desperate and terrifying to you as is the prospect of a loved one’s victimization. Even when only your loved one is under attack and you can employ coming-to-the-aid-of-a-third-party tactics, there is still the horrific personal factor of knowing WHO IS IN IMMINENT, PERHAPS DEADLY DANGER. It’s always different when the welfare of someone you love hangs in the balance.

Here’s what we recommend when thinking and training for defending a loved one in a street attack or other situation.

1. Have a Plan

With violent, atrocious crime literal rampant in urban America today it is shocking but true that most citizens give little thought to preparing for an encounter —— just in case one ever occurs. Being out with family members or good friends is today being vulnerable. Because of this you should discuss and prepare with your wife, children, parents, etc. what will you do if the worst really does happen? Having a plan provides some peace of mind and at least leaves you and yours with the assurance that you know what you’ll do in case of a catastrophic event.

2. Make the Plan Realistic

Noncombatants can’t offer much help in an attack. First, because they don’t know what to do, and haven’t the skills by which they can be expected to do anything. Second because they are subject to being beaten or murdered as helpless standing targets. This naturally floods your mind with concern for their safety, and thus detracts from your focus on dealing with the scum.

If possible in any confrontation the noncombatants should escape the scene while you attack and do whatever you can to neutralize the aggressor(s). If you know that your loved one is escaping the scene then your mind will be cleared to concentrate on destroying the threat.

If your loved ones are competent in combative skills then the plan should be to attack the single or multiple scumbags with force-to-kill. Ideally, you will all be armed with handguns which you know how to employ; but the reality is that —— at best —— only you will have a sidearm, and often you won’t. If you live in a violent toilet like NY, LA, Chicago, etc. the chances are you will have no firearm.

3. Review and Rehearse Your Plan

In many instances an enthusiast of combat skills will need to go to some lengths to get reluctant family members to do this. We’d say it was worth it trying as hard as possible to break through the barrier of indolence that they may set up.

4. Become Very Familiar With Good, Basic Security Measures

This goes for everyone in your family, even those who have no interest in learning combat skills.

5. Go As Well Armed As Circumstances Permit

If you can legally do so, carry a handgun with which you are competent in combat shooting. But carry something. A walking stick, a knife, etc. Punks and assorted street scum always carry weapons and, like hyena, normally travel and attack in packs. So be prepared, when protecting those you love, to use the most extreme armed violence of which you are capable.

6. Use Common Sense

(We often wonder why it is referred to as “common sense”, since its possession is so uncommon!) Go to extremes to avoid places where scum hangs out or where violence is especially common. Always be extra alert, extra cautious, and extra-ready when with someone who depends upon you for protection.

7. Priorities

Violent scum deserves to be destroyed. Whenever you are compelled to act in defense of a vulnerable loved one, remember that ANYTHING GOES because you cannot possibly predict how much trauma the person you need to protect can withstand. Show no mercy, compassion, forbearance, humanity, decency, or care for the attacker(s). ATTACK with lethal intent. More than you is at stake here, please remember. You have only one, single priority: Make sure that your loved one is uninjured, and if possible yourself, also. That’s it.

Question: “What about employing bodyguard tactics to protect a loved one?”

Answer: Effective bodyguarding almost always requires a team, and —— frankly —— that team is expendable. Its only function is to shield the principle, and effect a successful evacuation of the principle from the scene of the attack. Such “return fire” or other force that one or more team members direct against the attacker(s) is done entirely to facilitate the “cover-and-evacuate” strategy. When you are with a loved one and must act to defend that person you are acting alone, and you ar also acting, secondarily, to protect yourself. The predicament is different. It is very, very personal.

We have worked as a bodyguard and we have trained bodyguards. We do not recommend attempting to use bodyguard tactics in the situation we are addressing here.


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?