Archive for the ‘Monthly Instruction’ Category

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.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, May 28th, 2015

          Multiple Attackers

              (Defense In A Nutshell)

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

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

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

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

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

Here goes:——

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Developing A Fast Fingertips Thrust


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Violent Criminal Attacks

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

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

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

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

Multiple Assailants

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


Armed Attack

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


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

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


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

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


“Provocation” Will Likely Be Nonexistent

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


Violent Assailants Enjoy What They Do

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



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


Friday, January 2nd, 2015

                        Smack Him!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have two targets:

1. The entire side of the face, and

2. The ears.

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

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

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

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

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

It is well worth cultivating.