A Crucial Reminder For The Use Of Personal   Weapons

WEAPONS are tools. They are the tools of self-defense. Any so-called “martial art” that instructs in unarmed skills alone is woefully incomplete. Integral with the the study of effective unarmed close combat is the study of how to employ the following individual weapons practically and well in a dangerous emergency:

The handgun. carbine, and shotgun (in some instances the battle rifle might be included)

The fighting knife (to include any knife that might be available)

The stick (walking stick, baton-length stick, and yawara hand stick

The La Gana American Tomahawk (or similarly designed modern tomahawk)

The garrotte

All improvised weapons and “weapons at hand” (i.e. use of all commonly encountered objects and items as weapons to be used in an emergency)

Familiarization with the WWII spring cosh, the WWII smatchet (or “Fairsword”), and the thumb daggers of WWII ––– all weapons of the wartime SOE and OSS.

We have never seen the point in teaching unarmed combat without weaponry, or teaching weaponry without unarmed combat. We probably acquired our conviction in this regard from our early introduction (we were about twelve years old) to Get Tough! and to Kill Or Get Killed . . . both classics emphasizing as they did the incorporation of weapons in the combatant’s repertoire. As for the classical weaponry of the Asian martial arts, we respect the study of these implements, and appreciate that those aspiring to mastery of classical arts will certainly include appropriate training in them. However, we do not believe that training in the use of antiquated weapons is wise in a program intended for modern use by private citizens, soldiers, and law enforcement professionals. (Note: Back in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s we had a number of NYPD officers among our students. At the time, nunchucks had become popular, and were actually being carried by some bad guys who had fancied the weapon. “How do you defend against those things,” cops asked us, “short of shooting down the punk before he begins to strike?” The answer was simple ––– and very effective! A few hours training in the use of the hardwood “nightstick” that NYPD patrol officers were then issued, solved the problem. Remember, nunchucks were not originally weapons at all. They were rice-flailing sticks ––– improvised by the Okinawans to use against Japanese occupying troops. It took (and still takes!) a helluva lot of training and practice to be even marginally effective with nunchucks. Normally, someone who picks a pair up and begins to swing them ––– feeling very Bruce Leeish! ––– ends up smashing himself in the face or head. Let the martial arts classicist train to use nunchucks and the other weapons of antiquity.)

One very important thing that we emphasize whenever instructing in any personal weapon is this: Never forget that, in addition to your weapon, you still have command of your entire body, and a powerful kick can be used to make you more effective with a walking stick, a knife, a handgun at very close range, or even some improvised weapon or object-at-hand.

Weaponry and unarmed combat do not merely “go together” as individual studies for the purpose of all-round readiness and preparation for combat and defense. They truly go together very often when utilized against attack! Jabbing a punk in the eyes with a fingertips thrust can give you the opportunity to draw your sidearm. (In fact, doing so might well serve to save the life of the punk. While he stumbles for a few moments unable to see, you can step back and gain control with your handgun. As he recovers and realizes he is being held at gunpoint, and from a distance he cannot cover, he just might give up his intended purpose.).

Deluded “pistoleros” who consider their training in use-of-the-sights distance firing in competitive matches as peparation for combat shooting(!) are missing an important fact, even as they acquire their medals and feel themselves to be badasses in the making: Just about every instance when a defender uses a handgun for protection against a real attack, the range is very close; in many instances, hand-to-hand combat range. In just about no case does the range exceed about 20 feet; and more than 50% of these actual excounters occur at a distance within five feet!!!! That’s kicking distance in many cases, and a good knee-breaking kick enables a draw of the weapon. Trying to “outdraw” someone who is right there, on top of you is just plain stupid. Chop him in the throat or neck, kick him, knee him, drive a heel of the hand blowto his nose or jaw, etc. THEN draw your weapon!

The walking stick is a near ideal weapon for self-defense. In addition to a host of virtues and advantages that a walking stick offers, is this unique one: It is there, in your hand, when you are attacked. Unlike a knife or a gun that needs to be drawn from a holster or other concealment, your walking stick may (once you have been properly trained in its use) be instantly whipped into your adversary virtually anywhere on his body. Followup is naturaly and easy . . . either using unarmed actions, further stick blows, or your concealed handgun which the use of your stick has given you time to access!

Deeply consider the message here. You, all of you, must be trained and conditioned for close combat and self-defense if total readiness is the desired objective. When you are fully prepared to handle a violent emergency by bringing into play whatever weapon ––– or object ––– you have access to, AND you are able to combine your natural weapons and weaponless tactical skills effectively, then you are truly prepared!