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.
Wooden, rubber band guns. Why do I use them? Let me count the ways…
At seminars, police or others, I have seen and organized a whole lot of “force-on-force” style work-outs these last 26 years and without exaggeration, all over the world. This “FOF” nickname became popular in the later 1990s. The majority of these FOFs were and still are done with “no-shoot,” classic rubber guns. I have always preferred to use guns that shoot something VERY safely so we can get many repetitions tallied and a whole lot of “external focus” experience in.
I am a true-blue believer in the motto that “YOU are not fully learning gun combatives unless you are shooting at moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you.” And of course with simulated ammo…you learn quickly, that it sucks. Never stop working on marksmanship, dubbed by experts like Force Science as “internal focus,” but never forget this “external,” sucky part.
I have decided to only teach the interactive, external part. And due to travel, locations, expenses, safety, logistics, etc, I mostly use wooden, semi-auto, rubber band guns that shoot pretty straight for about ten feet to experiment with. Remember, if you do use gas guns or official SIMUNITIONS? They can break eyes, skin, windows, mirrors, chip room paint, bust ceilings and blow out lights, ding and dent cars, etc., etc.
“I thought simulated ammo is supposed to hurt!” One military vet told me years ago. In certain training exercises yes, like room clearances and so forth. There is certainly a time and a place for painful ammo. But there is also a time and place for pain-free ammo. A whole lot of time and a lot of places. I use the wooden, rubber band guns…that shoot something.
In the 1990s I was laughed at in national training circles and ridiculed for using “toys.” In fact, even Airsoft (popular then in Japan) was considered toys back then. In my defense I never used toy-toys. I used these wooden, rubber band guns that fired multi-shots. There was little available and affordable to simulate any close, interactive shooting back then. By about 2000 or so cops worldwide were seeing my drills and buying a lot of these wooden guns from me for their repetition training. Of course, citizens too.
Easy. Safe. Quick. Great for lots of short, realistic vignette experimentation with lots of reps, anywhere. Anytime. (I even had life sized M-16s that shot very well at about 30 feet.)
OKAY! “No-Shoot” Rubber Guns, versus “Do-Shoot” Wooden Guns. When it comes time to draw these classic rubber guns under stress, or when just fighting over them for a draw, and when one person gets free of the other enough to successfully pull, point and theoretically “shoot” the pistol at the partner/bad-guy, – this is what I have seen for years – these two participating folks just freeze and look at each other. Once in a while someone might yell “bang!” But they frequently just freeze. It’s over! They act like the scenario is over, like the fake trigger pulling part and the wounding or killing part is automatically over. No follow-up action needed, taken or practiced. Just…just freeze!
What Happens Next? In my great collection of “Ws & H” questions, one of the greatest questions is “WHAT happens next? Then next? Then next? Of course, it’s not over with the classic freeze. It’s not. I mean what can happen? The other guy surrenders, or is shot and wounded, or even if he receives a mortal shot, he can still shoot back, stab, fight back a bit, or fall upon the good guy with a weapon like a knife in his hand. Even if the attacker “surrenders,” if they surrender, do citizens know what to say or do next? Orderly or disorderly escape? “Citizen’s arrest,” so to speak? Often this never enters gun instructor’s minds. What happens next? The fight is not over with the mere pointing of a rubber gun. The freeze is totally unreal, incomplete and inadequate training.
The Trainer-Actor’s Part. The scenario IS NOT OVER! If the bad guy is shot, he or she should act like they are shot – it’s he trainer’s job! But it helps the trainer to know where they were shot, to properly act-out responses. Impossible with classic rubber guns and no “bullets.” You need something that safely shoots, tens or even hundreds of times to get the reps in. The trainer doesn’t have to win the Oscar, but act out in common sense.
Light Beams? Somewhat popular these last few years are the SERT guns. To say “popular” might be a “financial” misnomer. They are about $225 to $500. They shoot light beams. They are very real in look, size and wright. Everybody knows about them but few can afford them. How many people do you know will afford to buy one? If you teach seminars, how many people show up with one? In my many year teaching experience, very, very few show up with SERT guns. $$$! And here’s the training rub, when battling with CQC force on force, the attacker-actor almost never knows where the light beam landed so they can simulate a leg shot, hip or gut shot, or throat shot, whatever. They always see, feel where the rubber band lands. Okay, SERT is neat for solo practice, but almost useless for me in the type of hardcore, close quarters drills I do.
When Suggesting the Wooden Gun “Route”…I have often said to folks:
“You like those rubber guns, huh?”
“Hey, what would you think about wooden guns?”
“Yeah, using wooden guns shaped like your real guns, or shaped like your rubber guns?”
“I guess that would be okay.”
“Now, what if I told you…what if I told you that these wooden guns could shoot something? A safe something? Wouldn’t that be cool? You could do all the stuff you are already doing, and – you could actually pull the trigger shoot something and see if you could successfully, actually shoot the gun, hit your enemy while fighting, standing or on the ground. And multiple shots like a semi-auto. You wouldn’t have to stop when you pointed the gun. You could actually exercise pulling the trigger and aiming under stress, explore the next events. Anytime. Anyplace.”
“I guess that would be smart. But we do that with Simunitions.”
“Oh, about once every two years.”
“Sometimes more years than that. Some people never do it. ”
“I know. Because you need special gear and a special location that won’t be destroyed by the Sims. Lots of set up and gear. Sometimes the setup and expense just pushes the workouts off and off. And who wants to be shot with Simunitions 30-40 times in one hour when working on an important scenario?What if I told you could use these wooden guns – which cost about 15 bucks each – anytime, anyplace, aiming, shooting with no safety gear, easy experimentation with moves and problems. You can get a lot done, safe, and cheap.
“I guess that would be okay.”
“I am talking about using wooden rubber band guns. I am not talking about giving up routine live fire. I am not talking about never using electric, gas or Sims again. I am not saying throw away your rubber gun. It too has uses. I am just talking about the potential of wood over rubber. I am talking about the easy, safe study of moves & shooting. I am talking about more access to important experimentation and reps. You are already using rubber. Why not wood? Why not wood that shoots something? Did I mention the wooden gun cost about $15?”
And a Safety Idea. Sometimes these gas guns look really real. Horrible switch mistakes can happen, especially after lunch (another long story) and they, rarely thank goodness, get into the classes. And, with wood, within the class, everyone can see instantly see that each other has a safe, light-colored, wooden, training gun.
I can travel the entire world with a box of wooden guns without breaking ANY laws in any state or country. Can you with a suitcase full of gas guns? Sims guns? Easily? Effortlessly? One more point for traveling practitioners and instructors, these wooden guns weigh almost nothing in your luggage.
In my External Focus Gun seminars, or regular mixed seminars of hand, stick, knife and gun, you will probably be shot 30 to 60 or so times a day as you work out with a good-guy or bad-guy partner in different situations. And very close up in standing, seated and ground situations. Battery powered guns will not damage the facilities (and will not hurt cars) but you still need some thick clothes and face protection. And I still can’t outfit all, half, or even a quarter of attendees with these guns and safety gear, and furthermore protect their walls, lights, windows and cars. Out come the wooden guns.
Don’t let your custom fit holster stop you from doing this training. I hear this complaint or excuse. Just get a real cheap “ol bucket,” universal holster for this type of training. The emphasis is on interactive goals about movements and fighting, and many skills more important than exactly how your replica pistol fits perfectly snug your custom fit holster. Rubber training guns don’t always fit into your custom holster, either. Yet people have persevered for decades with rubber gun training stuck in bad-fitting holsters.
Where ever we are, lets move the ball downfield every chance we get. I know what folks are saying about Airsoft, that it is superior training in versatility. There are two kinds, 1) gas and, 2) electric-battery. With Airsoft, you still need eye protection and the pellets can still sting. (gas hurts more.) When you do a combat scenario like this one in the photo above, 10-15 times, then 3 more scenarios in the hour, you are shooting your friend, or being shot 45-70 times in just one or two hours. Close-up. Then add 4 or 5 hours to that. This becomes a “pain in the neck,” especially with Airsoft gas guns. Everyone in the whole room must have at very least eye protection but some people wear more and more safety stuff. Even with electric-battery Airsoft, this becomes a logistic-gear-expanding training endeavor. (I like to use electric-battery Airsoft around cars because cars will not be dented or hurt.) The higher quality sims gun? The less reps your people can stand for the basics. The more pain, less reps means way less experimentation and “muscle memory.
In Summary Pain is not the only reason to have safer, ammo shooting gun. Not by a long shot, ducking pain is part of the training. I would like to use the best gear in the best locations were we can ignore the destruction of people, buildings and vehicles. But that dream is both impractical and expensive for most of the places I travel to teach. I do the best I can, with what I can at the moment to move the learning ball down the field. A wooden pistol that shoots something and safely is better than a rubber gun that doesn’t. The wooden rubber band gun. It utterly harmless, still shoots semi-auto style and you get to see where your shots land. Totally superior to no-shoot, rubber gun. I ditched the rubber gun for a wooden one that at least shoots something. Why have a “shoot-less” rubber gun, some cost $50 or more, when you can get a wooden one for $15 that shoots something?
And this is why I use them a lot. I think I have counted the ways.