Decades ago, I was working out with karate expert friend, and I grabbed his arms. He’d never been grabbed like this, and he had the epiphany-realization in that moment he needed grappling. But he then started years of Judo. But, this was yet another sport-art. They are both sports-arts. Combining them is still two isolated segments of sports-arts, each deficient in their own categories. Adding and doubling, tripling up on more sport-arts atop each other is not going to best solve the survival problem. It complicates it. It distracts it. It needs blending, not adding.
I see a lot of Mixed Martial Arts being taught and spread. This morning I saw a school advertisement for a “Boxing and Ground fighting” school. Their attached photos show official sport “boxing” and official sport Brazilian wrestling. I get the idea that the advertisers, as well as the customers must think…
“Wow! That’s so complete. I’m getting both.” “Ready to be attacked by any and all!”
Combatives is supposed to be above all this isolation. But, once you accept the combatives mission-mindset you are faced with the next problem. Collecting and cleaning up the material, material that mostly comes from sport-arts! And you must possess the “martial IQ” to evaluate the material. This process is not as easy as it sounds. It needs blending, not adding.
Try if you must, there is still much sport leakage around. Even in some Krav Magas – present supposedly as a final cure for sport leakage, but I still see…sport leakage, naively, accidentally falling back too far into sport-art. Instructors are often brainwashed from their old art-sport systems. They still think and solve within their brainwashing when there might be a better, faster, unbiased way. Hey, I still find more of this cleansing about every week – “Why am I doing this when I should be doing that.” The process never ends.
Some things the “Ws and H Questions” for you to ask and answer…
* WHO are you? * WHO is the instructor? * WHO do you want to become? * WHAT are you seeking exactly? Precisely? * WHAT – is there a better, faster way? * WHERE do you go to seek your result? * WHEN have you really found the “it?” * HOW will you find “it?” How do you or he dissect “it?” * WHY are you motivated to try?
“Learning different martial arts is pretty much useless in modern MMA. It is now its own sport and anyone interested in learning MMA would be much better served to join an actual MMA gym. Learning separate martial arts before starting MMA would be, quite frankly, a waste of time.” – Sprawl CO.
Modern MMA as we see in the UFC etc, is the closest art-sport you will get to reality. But you still need to add weapons, cheating, delete safety rules and weight classes and worry about trying all the moves of these full time, young professional fighters. I’ll bet you are not a full-timer, young professional fighter-athlete – 99.99999% of us are not – so you probably can’t and shouldn’t try to do what they do.
(And of course people have hobbies and they want to pursue their hobbies for a variety of reasons. They should answer those questions, know what they want to do and its limitations. I just ask, do they know what they are doing? If so? Hobby, hobby, hobby on and be happy!)
What you don’t do in a fight-combat, helps define what you should do. With or without weapons. In a fight-combat there are 4 barriers to consider. They are very situational. They are-
Some say that Morality and ethics are the same. On the differences – Professor Google says “A lot of people think of them as being the same thing. While they’re closely related concepts, morals refer mainly to guiding principles, and ethics refer to specific rules and actions, or behaviors.”
In some martial arts, one of the sales points offered by some and usually directed at children is their martial arts build respect, character etc- and various good stuff. Exactly what I don’t know, varies, and I never have taught kids and officially never will. I don’t know how much and what is injected into their programs. Bully programs seem to vary. I do recall some “values-injection” in Japanese martial arts for adults and kids, but in very broad ways, good, but not very down to earth such as, “you know, if you do break this guy’s leg? You could go to jail. Here’s a quick 3 examples where it might be legal. Now let’s kick…”
Take a look at Thai Boxing (TB). If TB is studied strictly for TB competition, then why bother with any such categorical worries. True. Same thing with BJJ. But, if TB and BJJ are totally or partially sold and-or studied for self-defense and there is never, ever a mention of these 4 categories, their doctrine has a problem. If there is a knife guy just stabbing and stabbing away (sometimes at unarmed people) without ANY segments-mentions of the 4 categories discussed, the doctrine has a problem. If you are cracking skulls and bones with sticks without the 4 categories ever mentioned, the doctrine has a problem. If all a combatives guy does is growl macho-tuff-stuff, ear-biting, eye-squashing, endless knees and throat punches, etc. there’s a doctrine problem. In other words, in all cases…their total or partial self-defense class is now a bit of a “go-to-jail school.” And YOU are the potential cell mate. Blind, muscle memory is an unguided missile.
There are so many examples of this routinely happening. We are probably all familair with misguided use of martial material applications. Look at the May, 2023 case, poor, well-meaning, former Marine case on the New York Subway, choking a crazy guy accidentally to death. Recently again in May, 2023, a woman was attacked by an immigrant in Denmark, an attempted rape. As he tore off her clothes, she sprayed him with pepper spray. Now she is under arrest for illegally carrying pepper spray! The rape suspect escaped. Too many examples to list.
Decide well. Think about it. Think ahead. Build this into your training. There’s a chapter or a book on each category, which we cannot get into in the limited space here. Screw these 4 categories up and you will wind up “wanted,” or in prison, or dead? Or a pariah. Or maybe you’ll ignore this advice and remain an ignorant, immature, senseless knucklehead, which means you will ignore this warning, and just be another negative drag on humanity.
When challenged in court, your system-art will be examined. This does come back to the “What” questions. An instructor-practitioner of any art or system has this responsibility and should answer these “What” questions.
What is your mission?
What is your doctrine?
What is your end-user product?
What are you trying to “make” of yourself and students advertantly and…inadvertantly?
Today’s gun training world is chock, chock full of these 4 categories. They avoid jail school, and such injections are certainly possible for all in the hand, stick, knife and gun genres. For one example, my knife course has always been chock full of these “use of force guidelines,” to include a big segment on “less than lethal knife” applications. (These worries come to me from years of police work).
Guided not unguided missiles. Practitioners – are you also going to “Jail School” and don’t know it?
With advancing age and advanced age, one’s reliance on “kuraty” wanes. Someday I know I will be limping around with only my snub-nose, hammerless revolver in my jacket pocket as my only and last resort, despite all the years of training. And what of those who’ve never done any “kuraty?” These inevitabilities make one think about handy support, self defense weapons. Like the small handgun and one might be…the mysterious, intriguing…blackjack.
Andre Wong of Police One defines: “The sap, slapper, or blackjack is a heavy leather pouch, eight to twelve inches long, filled with lead and sometimes a flexible steel rod. Unlike a baton, a sap’s size and shape allowed it to be concealed inside an officer’s pocket. Saps may not look as intimidating as a gun or a baton, but thinking they’re not dangerous would be a mi stake. A sap is dense enough to break bones when the user has room to swing, and the leather edge is rough enough to cause a dull, ripping laceration to the face when used as a jabbing instrument. Slappers would be ideal for use in ultra-tight quarters like a fight on the ground against a large suspect.”
I noticed a number of folks selling and teaching these tools of late. And numerous training videos. I see a lot of artistic, photo displays of weapons on Instagram, and most include saps laid amongst knives and pistols, etc. Given the laws of most states in the USA and countries around the world, I am not too sure you want to be “caught” carrying one, or using one. I am not too sure many of these teachers, photographers or makers have ever used a blackjack in a fight? Not that, that is a mandatory rule. Smart people can invent and teach smart things. Or, have they considered the vast legal ramifications of wearing and using a blackjack?
The law? Here’s just one example, from the People’s Republic of California and the many states that swap legal weapons lingo: California Penal Code 22210 PC makes it a crime to manufacture, import, sell, give, or possess leaded canes or batons (or other weapons in this category). The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 3 years in jail or prison. A leaded cane is a: crutch, staff, stick, or rod (later defined as any blackjack) that is weighted with lead so it can be used as a weapon. The statute also applies to short and weighted objects that can strike a person.”
Okay! Then, well, so much for California. You heard it’s illegal, but it sort of “brings it on home,” when you read the actual laws. I fail to see the word illegally “teaching” in there, though. Exponents, fans and sellers say that in most states you can own one (at home), but warn not to carry one or use one. ETSY sells them as “novelty paperweights.” Others advertise them as “change purses with stout handles,” with coinage inserted via a zipper on the striking end for weight. This fools no one.
Police carry. I was officially issued and carried one in Texas policing for many years in the 1970s and mid-1980s, though I rarely hit anyone with it as I was trained and training in empty hand systems so much, I used that first and foremost whenever I could. I noticed that others less trained, whacked the crap out of people with them. I have seen people stunned and knocked out by them, and upraised fists smacked by them – instant, significant reaction. In the U.S. Army Military Police and in Texas we were also issued batons, which again, I didn’t actually use much, though rules were pretty “stick-free-wheeling” in the MPs. (We were even taught to quick-search a body with a stick, rubbing it all around the potential weapon-carry spots, which now…would probably be considered rape of some sort.)
Where did we tote that thing? Believe it or not, in the golden, olden days, usually in our back uniform pocket! Able to be easily yanked out by any miscreant! In my small world I’ve never seen that happen, although stats tell us that lots of resisting people did and do like to grab our stuff and it has probably happened. I have had some attempted gun grabs (one on the ground) and handcuff grabs. Some uniforms had sewed-in sap pockets on the thighs. I hear that some uniform companies still add these “sap pants pockets” (costs more) as a matter of routine…but remain empty.
Empty? Many police agencies, mine included, decided one day in the 1980s to collect up all the blackjacks and hide them away in dusty closets. Night sticks also slowly de-evolved into expandable batons, then for many agencies all “sticks” also completely disappeared (along with those BIG flashlights).
Blackjack Training Issues and Problems. I sometimes consider slipping a “Blackjack Module” into my Force Necessary: Stick course, because it is an impact weapon. I often consider too, changing the name of Force Necessary Stick, to Force Necessary: Impact Weapons. But, it doesn’t “sing” so well as the core, four single nouns, “hand, stick, knife, gun.” Imagine that added, elongated song title of nouns –
“Hand, Stick-Flashlight-Blackjack-Sap-DanBong, Knife, Gun.” That makes for a long album cover name. Even adding the term “impact weapons” replacing the solo word “stick” rambles on, “Hand, ‘Impact Weapons’ (instead of just ‘Stick’), Knife, Gun” is still too long for me. It is hard to replace the simple, message “impact” (yes, pun intended) of single-syllable caveman, “Hand. Stick. Knife. Gun.”
With blackjacks I have other reservations other than just too many syllables and nouns in the title. Mostly those weapon laws, yes, and then “supply and demand” problems. First off, they are illegal to run around with almost everywhere to begin with, lest of all a box of them. But then so are samurai swords and that hasn’t stopped classes on them! Just don’t walk into a Walmart wearing a katana. People like to study all kinds of stuff from esoteric to practical.
If I taught the sap subject, I would need to travel worldwide with a supply of, a bunch of actual saps or training saps at seminars for attendees. You see, no matter how much we ask, people do not show up with the subject gear. Local schools do not have a boxloads of saps in their closets either.
In my world I’d need like…25 or 30 of them. And do you now much stuff I already fly with? Boxes of stuff. Why so many? There’s not much worse than having a specific, weapon-topic seminar, or a session within a seminar, showing up and no one or almost no one has that specific training weapon. I could tell you stories. You are talking to a guy who’s been stopped in Australian airports because I had a box of wooden pistols. What safety, look-a-like, substitute could I fly and drive around with such a box of stuff, that would be blackjack-like and yet, not get me tossed in TSA or the local hoosegow for illegal weapons? Just one real one in my luggage or to and fro the seminar could be legal trouble.
Making the blackjack subject matter a mandatory part of the FN:Stick course, makes these support accommodations on me mandatory too.
The padded knife-dueling tool shown here is an option but it is not perfectly shaped, removing the nuances of the weapon. (This is also a knife problem when trying to emphasize the knife’s edge with a rounded replica.) And…no strap! You have to experience the scenarios with the straps-lanyards.
In the spirit of “reducing the abstract,” Nok – Tak Knife sells a soft cleaver knife, with flat top that might better substitute for a sap. About $40. Again, no strap. And I am quite sure, someone reading this will supply a photo of replica training blackjack, with the quote like, “Dracula’s Obscurities sells foam saps for training!” And of course, more news that John Doe can make them in his garage. Great news for the sap training world.
If I did teach this topic, I would not replicate the mediocre police blackjack material of yesteryear, but rather teach the subject through the basic and advanced “Combat Clock,” I’ve used for 27 years now. The basics? “Slash and stab” at 12, 3, 6, 9 or high, right, low, left. Advanced? All numbers of the clock, standing through ground. And then the nuances, the nuances of that particular weapon. One such nuance would be sap-targeting, another is if you turn the standard, flat top, blackjack sideways, it is more stout and less “giving.” Another is suddenly grappling with one strapped to your hand or wrist – one must experience the “judo” and “jujitsu” moves of the world with one strapped-wrapped to you. I might also add that a blackjack handle within your closed fist helps reinforce your hand a bit when punching. There’s more of course.
Fad or Fad Not? In the big picture, I suspect that the subject matter is a fad. I am not a passing-fad-boy. And, I don’t mindlessly replicate fads or fad makers. Fun, but a fad and at this point, I can’t see it as much of a big, crowd-drawer or a big, crowd-pleaser in the big picture of the so-called “civilized world” – in that the damn thing is illegal most everywhere. Of course, I could be wrong and blackjacks and saps might sweep the globe. And in a “free state,” if asked I guess I would cover the topic.
Despite the legal hassles, still the lore and the look of these little scrappy, tough bastards are intriguing enough to stay alive for “free staters,” collectors, gawkers, historians and self-defenders.
Who, what, where, when, how and why? The BIG “W’s and H” questions that one answers in a fight (and life).
“Where?” There are so many “where” questions to answer. One is knowing where your body parts are when you are not looking at them or can’t see them. Oh, I know the word is more technical and diverse than that, and normal people deal with the subject to improve normal activity, rehab injuries and surgeries and fight back age. But we? Oh we…we here, worry about…fighting. Where are your body parts when you are not looking at them in a fight? Especially a ground fight? Horizontal, not vertical?
“Proprioception is an important sensory function for all normal movement activities, including the ability to maintain dynamic balance and move accurately. All exercises elicit proprioceptive responses to some extent.”
The subject is teaching ground-fighting and one of the challenges for practitioners and teachers is not-knowing, not-seeing their body parts in a “horizontal world,” and of course moving in “flat” unfamiliar movements.
I often have to tell grounded practitioners to “FREEZE! Freeze right there!” I step in and grab their legs, knees, feet, whatever into the advantageous position. Lest of all have them freeze and say “take this elbow and strike this face right here,” because they are: a) brainwashed wrestlers, or b) new to the horizontal world, and cannot make the proprioception connection. Out of sight, out of mind.
Ground fighting to a combatives person is, (or certainly should be):
Knee-high versus standing.
Knee-high versus knee-high.
Knee-high topside versus those below.
On right side versus all…
On left side versus all…
On back versus topside.
On back versus kneeling.
On back versus standing.
(I include “seated” in this grouping.)
All strikes and kicks included.
Use of force laws & military rules of engagement, if any?
Hand, stick, knife, gun (pistol and long gun).
The vital W’s and H questions.
This is the 6th Stop, the Stop 6 of the Stop 6 “The Ground Fighting Collision,” my outline list.
Horizontal time in grade, reps, experience, coaching, all contribute to proprioception exercise. While wrestlers (including BJJ-ers) are developing or have developed this ground-fight awareness, combatives people and “stand-up-only-arts” who only dabble in ground fighting don’t, won’t, and haven’t achieved similar awareness. Modern MMA people work on it, (but without weapons and cheating). You can see the importance of organized doctrine timetables.
Another term for this, a bit more heard of, but not by much, is “Kinesthetic Perception.” I would suggest searching on the word to get the fullest understanding of it. Here’s one link, but continue the hunt.
It’s always fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. I did it for years too. Rather…mindlessly too. I knew it had abstract benefits for reality, and frankly, mix and match was good for my school business and student retention (1989 to 1997). And we all know doing just about any martial arts is certainly better than sitting on the couch. But I still only “kept” what I could to glean in the “what works” essence for police work. Fifty years later, this filtering is still an investigation I am addicted too. I still find little and big things to alter and totally remove.
But some things I knew right away, decades ago were “street-wrong.” Like a few “boxing glove cancers” for one of the categories of no-no’s. Those big gloves change things. This photo above, below and those like them, just drive…me…crazy when I see them. This one above is obviously a police training session. Could be a rookie academy or an in-service class. They are mindlessly replicating a sport, face-cover from boxing as a routine stance. Police, military, combatives and self-defense people should not be exactly, mindlessly emulating boxing, (wrestling too), sports or arts as a doctrine principle for crime and war, survival fighting. Each martial, application-blend needs to be investigated.
This “PAB” – Peek a Boo does not protect your face without big gloves! In crime and war survival, not this peek a boo. It’s a boo-boo. Don’t believe little ol’ me? Then to support my observation of common sense I will use two recognized authorities on two points, 1) no protection, and 2) distancing.
Foremost, the great champ. Bass Rutten, – who is in a world of small MMA gloves not boxing gloves – described this peek a boo “stance” and face cover as, “It’s a ‘meat block.’ I will punch and kick right through that.” Okay. Well, that about sums that up!
Secondly, JKD great Larry Hartsell agreed, as I heard him say in seminars. He said it was a big, boxing glove position. Hartsell, a former state trooper and Vietnam combat vet, also advised that, arts aside, from a JKD “street fight,” perspective, keeping your hands up and right on your face as a standard, also allows the opponent to get closer into you, even closer than when hands up and out, further shaving off your reaction time. “Make him EARN that space, fight for that space,” he said. This was a great quote that really stuck with me. Of course, Hartsell was also paid to teach the art-sport of boxing, kickboxing and Thai – all wearing big gloves. Hartsell taught those sports-arts and you will see photos of him in that formal process, too. He knew what went where.
Arms and hands can move very fast, and people might overcome a myriad of strategy mistakes with sheer speed. But, fast hands are not an excuse to teach thoughtless, off-mission, doctrine.
Many reality systems, retreat to a doomsday position and protect their heads with forearms WHEN NEEDED. It is NOT their full-time, formal fighting stance. They retreat momentarily into it.
(A quick, protective forearm beside your head when needed is NOT a “turban block wrap.” Don’t get me started on these mandatory, “turban-arm-wrapping-head” systems. Another topic for another time.)
Allow me to go one step deeper here in this subject. Are fooled by PAB? And do you think it’s dominant in MMA and Bare Knuckle Boxing (BN). By being fooled, I mean, if you train in a sporty-art system that emphasizes the “peek a boo,” and you see an opponent, a criminal or whatever take up this or any tight face cover pose in front of you, you might be brainwashed into thinking, “Oh darn! That guy is ‘covered,’ I can’t punch him,” from much big glove training. Actually though, he is not safe. Punch those hands right on or around his face as though his hands are not there (yes, yes, palm strikes and hammer fist too. Yes.). Be like Bass!
PAB is Dominant In….? Once in a while I see a slippery, anomaly comment that PAB is dominant in MMA and BN. Huh? PAB is big glove boxing, method-idea. Just because MMA and BN fighters have head movement, footwork and high hands does not define them as PAB, And I don’t think that with small MMA gloves positioned right-on-face, PAB is a big consistent and dominant in MMA. Plus in MMA many worry about kicks and takedowns, low stuff, and dismiss PAB as an important MMA strategy. Curiously, one of the biggest, related questions searched on the internet is “Why don’t more fighters use the peek-a-boo style in MMA?”Suggesting that it is not a dominant strategy among the interested masses “out there.” Pro-side, PAB-ers usually lose the follow-up, discussion.
So what about bare knuckle boxing? I have seen the PAB term mentioned once in a while by some, claiming that such-and-such BN-er is a “PAB-er.” As with MMA, when you look at their films, no, their hands are just…high up, sometimes one in, one out, both sometimes out, sometimes open and “cupping” the outsides of their face, NOT routinely plastered on their teeth as a foundation. In MMA and BN, all use head movement and footwork, also ramparts of PAB. Hands in fights need to, should move in and out, up and down. And, hands in motion are tools of deception.
In summary. Which leads me to the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions and doctrines. Are you teaching-doing sports or reality? As I said, it’s always great fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. But beyond fun and exercise…what is your real mission? Are you making the mistake of mindlessly mixing sport-art things up with survival? What are you trying to do?
Boxing-boxing is just terrific. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, overhand. Terrific. But are you, missing the “big glove point,” over-using boxing? Are you as an instructor, practitioner of police, military, combatives and self defense systems…are you creating and-or enforcing the best doctrine for your mission? I just groan EVERY time I see this bare knuckle version of the gloved PAB stance. It actually hurts my soul! I groan. Bass Rutten, just…just smiles. For him? It’s…lunch.
Every competent person, every competent organization has or should have a refined “mission statement.” It’s where you start. Like so many operations, and in a training company like mine, the mission statement is how you build and direct doctrine, avoid dogma, confusion and even hypocrisy. People-companies within their sphere must seriously define, the – “what we do.” One way to really help define what you do is to also seriously define what you won’t-don’t do.
Mission Statement Consequences? – Keep in mind, there will always be both good, planned consequences and unintended (bad?) consequences. Be flexible enough to make sense of things, changes and challenges.
In the 1990s, interested only in the generic, mixed-weapon world of hand, stick, knife and gun, self-defense survival (and enforcement-security), I decided to refine my Force Necessary mission statement to also explore what I don’t do, what I cannot make, and what I would not produce. This is a truth-and-honesty mission statement for me and for my “customers-practitioners.”
By simply understanding won’t you are not, you are not trying to limit yourself, you are trying to be realistic and stay…on a mission. The “no” reasons, the “why,” for each topic listed below might take a few lines, a paragraph or perhaps in some cases a book chapter to explain, but not a whole book to explain. But, no such details are pontificated here for a such a short essay as this.
I don’t teach firearms marksmanship. I am familiar with the landscape, but I leave that to the many great folks that do that so well. I’d rather spend all that time in interactive, person versus person, simulated ammo training. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field you can find for bullseye shooting, if that is your goal.
I do not make champion kick boxers.I am familiar with the landscape, but, while nothing replaces “ring time,” as Joe Lewis warned us, we must experiment with kick boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion kick boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you and I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of kick boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
I do not make champion boxers. I am familiar with the landscape, but while nothing replaces “ring time,” we must experiment with bare-knuckle-boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (as you might begin to spot themes here? One such theme is a dedication to the short cuts of cheating. Cheating the rules.) (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
I do not make champion wrestlers. This incudes BJJ. I am familiar with the landscape, but again, while nothing replaces “ring time,” and while we must experiment in with wrestling-grappling methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion, sport, wrestler-BJJ person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the field of wrestling you can find if that is your goal. While I look with awe at many of these fine people, and forever look to steal only survival information, I find the very, very simple basics important. Beyond that, I find much of the tap-out nuances fun, but off-mission. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
I do not make champion MMA fighters. I am familiar with the landscape, but “Ring time!” And yes, while we must experiment in MMA methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion MMA person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the MMA field you can find, if that is your goal. While I look with awe at many of these fine people and atheletes, I forever look to steal only survival information. I find the very simple basics important. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
I don’t teach any other official martials arts except very essential, Filipino Martial Arts “on demand”- when asked. I am happy to do so, and when I do, I trim it down to rawest-raw, universal, generic essentials. I do not regurgitate whole systems. Though I have black belts in several martial arts, I only use parts of them. (And truth be known, also, I do not do katas and katas are often part of perpetuating these other systems. So…I send you to my friends for classic stuff.)
I don’t follow any sport rules. I am only guided by the “law-law,” use of force, ethics and the rules that keep you and me out of jail. “Using only that force necessary”…heard that before? Which is the very name and filter of my courses.
I don’t do any katas. I have other fighting things to do with that time I think is more productive. So I don’t do or teach katas. Zero.
I don’t do unnecessary, artistic moves. You know them when you see them, well, I’ll take that back, maybe most won’t know them, and be amazed, infatuated and seduced instead? One should look efficient and ugly when fighting. If I-you appear pretty and artistic in action, that should be by accident. Trim this fat. Combatives is checkers not chess.
I don’t do emergency or tactical medicine beyond some very initial, raw advice. There are plenty of really, terrific medically-trained, veteran EMTs and doctors available for this. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, and I can send you to experts, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the emergency medicine field you can find, if this is your goal. (Get veteran EMTS, medics and “Docs,” they are the BEST!).
I don’t teach kids. VERY rarely when asked, yes. But 99% of the time? No.
I don’t require uniforms, just wear “street” clothes as in the clothes you think you will be fighting in. What will you be wearing when forced to fight? Wear that. No pajamas. No bare-footy. No Spiderman body suits. Your police or military unforms and gear, or your street clothes. Reduce the abstract.
I do not long-lecture on anger, fear and pain management like I am some kind of an expert psychologist. I am familiar with the landscape, but I only brief these issues and quickly steer people to real experts. I can lecture on many topics like crime and criminals and fighting and writing, I am comfortable with history and war, but I don’t have P.H.D.s in the complicated, mind game.
I do not, will not worship a martial arts system and a martial arts system leader. Such worship is a mind-trap and counter-productive. If I am not mistaken, Bruce Lee said the same thing. Be free to question, skeptical, distrust and investigate everyone and every idea. You can like them, respect them, have coffee with them, but not worship them. (Nor should I be over-trusted or over-worshipped.)
I don’t want to be called any titles. I am just a guy that’s “been around a few blocks” with a bag of tricks. And we are getting together, scratching our heads, experimenting with the mixed-weapon fighting problems of crime and war.
I don’t put up with any racist crap. That’s white on black, black on white or any color-on-color crap. One of my American heroes is Martin Luther King. What he says, goes, and works for me.
I do not and will not ignore your past martial experience. You have climbed off the couch and done stuff! I like that.
There’s a few more but this is getting too long. I could offer many examples in each category, dramatizing my ideas, but I think you get the idea of the reverse concept. This actually is not about me! This is about what such a list looks like and about you and your list.
A martial arts customer-practitioner needs a mission statement too and most NEVER-ever have. They just walk into schools like “dumb and dumber,” looking for things that the school doesn’t offer, that they saw in a movie last week. Revealing your different reality doesn’t always fit with the join-up, lobby sales-pitch.
Just in the teaching business with a school? Exist in that classic 5-square mile, demographic in a hunt for customers? You are at ground zero. As school-owners, don’t follow me and my “don’ts! Remember I have no school, my market is different, so don’t mimic me. Keep the kids and the uniforms and the dragon posters! Stay alive! And look, many people “change hats,” right within their diverse school. Then you should have a mission statement for your karate class, one for FMA or BJJ class and any other mission-hat-statement for your self defense class. I do want you to be happy and healthy, pursue your interests and hobbies and be successful. If you are happy? I am happy. But you still need appropriate mission statement…hats. It’s all a hat trick!
There is a not-so-old expression (and at my age I know what an “old” expression is) the new kids call – “staying in your lane.” What you are not, helps you understand what you are and helps you stay in your so-called “lane.” (This is true of life in general too.)
But for me exactly? If you are questing for the above traditional, sport and art goals, I can only quote Bob Dylan,
“It ain’t me babe, no, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me your looking for babe…”
The grab strategy is now deemed possible and “okay.” In the 1990s and early 2000s, I received a considerable amount of trash talk. forum ridicule for demonstrating and suggesting that – if you could grab/wrap up the knife bearing limb, it was good idea. I had suggested that IF you could, you grab the limb and should INSTANTLY fight on. The common criticism back then by the “know-it-alls” was that any and all such grabs were absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!
Ridiculed, my High Home Films videos and the “bigger” TRS “Unarmed vs the Knife” video segment in 2002 were ever so maligned. .
This is a lethal force attack, you grab-wrap and knock-snot out of the attacker’s eyes, face and or throat, etc. I have collected news and news-feeds for decades on knife attacks and totally untrained people have been winning (and even disarming knives) with regularity, world-wide. Today’s times have youtube videos. Grabbing the knife limb is-was a consistent successful factor. As with medieval art attached, if you need to look back-back-back.
Some of you will say “What? We’ve done this grab all along.” But some of you can’t say that. Training is tricky thing. Common sense does not always reign supreme. You see there are always several martial “boys clubs” out there that are rather mindlessly revered and followed, then replicated. They now show the knife limb grab-wrap a lot, thank goodness. They do tend to grab with two hands and maybe, arm wrap and body turn, etc. But some examples I see, I think, spend a bit too much time in the arm-grab-wrestle moment, like pushing the top of their heads into the attacker’s head, etc., when they should be instantly attacking the face-throat. Whatever, at least the grab is deemed okay!
But what of the attacker’s other arm? I have seen MANY (and rather famous) experts doing this grab-wrestle on film and both parties, the attacker and defender frequently ignore the other’s free arm. Standing or grounded. Watch for this next time. Watch these workouts with an open mind, keep an eye on the free hand and think what the attacker could do with it if the demonstrator actually used it. This is why the quick, face-neck strikes are important, to short circuit other free-hand attacks,
Specifically, the knife attacker gets grabbed, plays along with the capture in training and never instantly buzz-saws in with the free hand to the face and neck of the defender-grabber. Then the opposite, the defender grabs the knife limb and the attacker doesn’t instantly destroy the defender’s face or throat. This works both ways.
Quick Warning-Watch Out! A lot modern double hand limb wrappers like to change from facing the opponent and “drag” the knife arm forward so that they get behind the opponent. You might get cut, thigh or otherwise during the arm drag.
This ignorance of the free-loose hand, this miss-step neglect of the other free arm-hand drives me BONKERS-NUTs especially even when watching quite a number of BJJ or any wrestling moves. The free hand of the semi-captured or captured partner often just dangles out there, doing nothing. It is free to tap-out. Or, the free hand does something non-fight-cheat ending so the wrestling can continue and continue and continue.
But, it is only bonkers to me when the instructors claim what they are doing is “street.” Sports-okay, because the free hand cannot cheat. (I don’t do sports so my bonkers filter is extremely low.) And why are sport people doing knife anyway? They are off-mission and their solution-blend is also often, innocently, off-mission.
My ridiculed 1990s formula for “grab knife limb and attack” was:
A: Single-hand limb grab and instantly support hand strikes face-throat. Buzz-saw continues…
B: Double-hand limb grab, when knife limb seems sufficiently secured, one hand instantly releases and strikes face, throat. Buzz saw continues.
Extra! Get your knife limb grabbed? Your support hand instantly busts in on defender’s face, throat.
I could write a small book on this “other hand” subject, but at least the modern boys clubs like the grab again! Defending or attacking, knife or not, the support hand is a both a vital tool and a vital worry. You should not be taught to mindlessly ignore it.
My last two years in the late 90s I wound up back in patrol (I was a real “Adam 12” dinosaur patrolman from the 70s) resurrected back into uniform after some 17-plus years as a detective.
All thanks to some upper-management, “flip-the-applecart” plan. (Lets make the foot-doctors into heart-surgeons and heart-surgeons into foot-doctors.) So, after catching a hitman and filing 12 organized crime cases, I found myself on midnight shift patrol one day, or should I say…night. I had some fun, yes, did some stuff, yes, but it really was a waste of time, grade and experience for me and the flipped others, AND the citizens who rely on expertise.
I had enough military (Army) and quasi-military (policing) in me, to “buckle-up,” “shut up” and go where they sent me. I never once took a promotional exam, (military police or Texas police) wanting to remain in line operations in patrol and investigations. Maybe I should have though? To thwart numerous, deskbound, admin, idiot ideas?
Some of my friends took these tests and remind me they created some ideas for effective change, But me? I was selfish. I wanted to catch criminals, and I spent a blissful 17 years as, what many use to call, a “lone wolf” detective. I was-not, am-not a socially driven public servant by today’s standards, turning and improving agencies into pubic-happy-machines or solving big problems. I just wanted to work cases. Selfish – I confess I used victims as vessels to wrap my hands around the throats of criminals. I mean, I wasn’t rude or dismissive of victims, but I new my mission. Thus, I am-was a dinosaur.
There are numerous stories about why I eventually retired in the Wolfpack Publishing book with their exciting title Kill or Be Killed. Nowadays, I tell all my police and military friends to NOT be like me. Take tests. move up. Build financial security. Build your family. Yours and their future. Don’t remain powerless, bottom-rung, cannon fodder like I was.
In very generic terms, and with you as the “tosser-thrower-tripper,” in the old-school business of “taking people down,” it would be worthy of mentioning, worthy of thinking about, these two kinds of takedown categories.
1-Going down with him.
2-Staying up or somewhat up as he goes down.
There’s one group of methods were you crash down on the ground with the opponent. The other group is when you chunk the guy down and you remain “up,” as in standing, or at least knee-high.
With the first group, there are way more takedown options, including way easier and even sloppy options for when both of you just crash-tackle-fall to the ground together. Actually, almost any idiot can do that, as witnessed in the world of yesterday and today.
With the second “stay-up” there are less options (and more skill) with remaining “up.”
I had to handcuff people most of my adult life when I fought them. In my professional life, on the sidewalks and streets, rocky roads and the tile floors of life, I always tried to be up, or somewhat up, trying for the knee-high or standing results rather than the full-out, ground-wrestling-around results. Once fully down-down, a whole host lof extra, messy things can happen with size, strength, adrenaline, weapons, etc…
I say “try” because sometimes the “toss-er” often falls anyway along with the “toss-ee” from the crazy “asses and elbows” mess that is a “fight.” And if things got rowdy with the “toss-ee,” if and when I got them down, I would try to sit on them, squeezing in on their beltline-pockets (weapons) area, in what was once called “Top-Side Saddle” or “Reverse Top-Side Saddle,” if he was face-down, as in “reverse.” The new, cool kids call it the “mount.”
So at times, I got way down there too, lower than “saddling.” And I had to flat out tackle people due to positional and situational circumstances. In this “ground zero” world there was a short, effective, old school bag of police tricks I was taught, (that including hitting) and I get to show this bag in some seminars when the topic comes up. They do work! And in some cases I had to to choke them out a few times. Nowadays chokes are pretty much taboo in almost all police ops, but okay for civilians if reasonably justified.
It might be worth it, to make a list of the easier, “2-man, crash downs” takedowns and the lessor, harder, “stay-up” takedowns. List and experiment with them. Or, at very least know about the two “ways” and that they exist.
a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.
an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking.
an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.
For me, in martial-combatives studies this is quest for that somewhat, magic moment of a new understanding and progress.
Lots of people are addicted to their martial sport or art and for many good reasons like “tribal” friendships, exercise, goal achievement, etc. and they become purposely or naively entrenched in what they do. Which is fine for them, providing they understand what I just said. Where it all fits. But, however, if they were like me years ago, doing all those things, and STILL frustrated, it is a problem. I worried, was I on “on mission” or “off-mission?” I was a soldier. I was a cop. I worried about the real world of crime and war, not martial hobbies, not arts or replicating systems.
One day in the mid-1990s, I “awoke” with a big epiphany. As I have written here about before, and I went from “mixed-up” martial arts to “mixed martials.” That is what I realized, what I wanted and needed, my real “on mission,” pursuit, which in my case was the maximum, total blend of hand, stick, knife, gun (“gun” as in pistol and long gun).
Following this big epiphany, came smaller ones, like these examples:
Example 1: Finding single skill drills that work with hand, stick, knife and gun. Or as many of the 4 as possible.
Example 2: Searching for things as simple as possible, yet allowing for as little complexity as functionally possible.
Example 3: A format for individual tactics like…kicking. Take the simple front snap kick (to the shin or groin) Do it –
Standing, arms down as in a “sucker kick,” work both legs.
Standing in a ready position, like a fighting stance, front and rear legs, switch leads.
Kneeling snap kicks– experiment with this if you can. Some can. Both legs.
Grounded on your back. Both legs, with and without a “crab walk” lift. Grounded on your left or right sides. Both legs.
All of the above while holding a stick, single-hand grip.
All of the above while holding a stick, double-hand grip.
All of the above while holding a knife, saber and reverse.
All of the above while holding a pistol, one or two-handed grip.
All of the above while holding a long gun.
Total package of the front snap kick use in reality.
Oh, and NOT barefoot!
So, just a simple snap kick? Yes and no. Total use. Of course, all of these have nuances, and it takes a veteran martialist or a smart mind to develop, fix and alter. I still have to teach separate courses for hand, stick, knife and gun.
The simple universal formula of:
3: grounded (on back and sides).
4: unarmed and,
5: while holding weapons.
Five universal realities-blended. The formula foundation.
Run all rudimentary moves through this formula when plausible.
Most people want to “do their thing,” follow their isolated interests for the reasons listed way above, which is fine. I still have to teach separate courses for hand, stick, knife and gun. I am paid, like a job, to make customers happy and cover these subjects separately. But my real interests lay in the big, generic quest of the blend. This blend pursuit is more important to me, and not at all important to most others. Which is why I will never become so-called “famous” in the martial arts world. I am an outlier. In fact, most people won’t even read this.
There have been movements to martial blend, as in some Krav Magas and Combatives. Certainly handy and productive, but I think many do so without a formula foundation, and therefore with just collections of random sets of things thrown together. Or, the instructors cannot escape their root martial arts, like BJJ or boxing, and overdose their outlines with sport, mini-failures in reality, which leads us back to the “Mixed-Up Martial Arts” world,
Epiphanies. Many mental experts like to suggest, that to have an epiphany, one must leave the “work table” of your problem and like, “walk in the woods” to free the mind. Answers will manifest? However one of my favorite neuro-heroes, the great Gary Klein, with a resume too long to list here, has written “What Others Don’t See,”his case history studies on epiphanies-insights-discoveries, and he lists another 4 big ways these lightening flashes of ideas arrive adding a few more strands of other ways too.
How does the quest begin? Inventor Charles Kettering suggests, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” I de-construct all problems by investigating the “Ws and H.” Who, what, where, when, how and why questions. This helps me. Helps you?
Discoveries change the world in many big and small ways. Search for epiphanies.