My New Site!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 16, 2011 by bigstickcombat

I’m excited to launch my new site, BigStickCombat.com

Please bookmark it.

The site will be easier to find and remember (with a shorter, more direct address). I will also be able to post videos on my new site.

Bit by bit I will begin transferring content from here over to the new site.

Real Life Combat: Bouncer Saved by Credit Cards

Posted in Real Life Combat, Resources and Product Reviews with tags , , , on January 14, 2011 by bigstickcombat

A wallet stuffed with 20 plastic cards and a stroke of luck saved a pub doorman in western Germany from serious injury during a knife attack.

A customer ejected from the pub in the city of Witten on Sunday stabbed its 31-year-old doorman four times in the chest with a knife, police said. But a fat wallet in the bouncer’s breast pocket stopped the blade from piercing his body.

“The wallet and cards acted as a protective vest and prevented a more serious incident,” chief inspector Volker Schuette told Reuters without naming the bouncer or attacker.

“Everyone at the police station checked their wallets and no one had 20 plastic cards,” he said, adding that the doorman’s wallet had a plethora of cards for video rental stores along with credit and bank cards.

Schuette said that a wallet with fewer cards in it would not have been enough protection against the attack and that lady luck had also been smiling on the doorman that day.

“He said that he usually doesn’t carry his wallet with him when he works.” 

Stainless Steel Wallets

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Paul Casciato – Reuters 2010)

This article reminds me of stainless steel wallets. Might they have some protective abilities? At the very least they stop people from remotely scanning your cards with RFID.

This story also echoes my previous post concerning the “Back with Reinforcements” syndrome. So you’re a 22 year old grandmaster of the world’s deadliest art, and streetfighting veteran, moonlighting as a bouncer. You’ve just obliterated some punk.

Another victory? Look out!

Even when you “win” the fight may not be over. Observe how this guy was kicked out, only to come back with reinforcements, this time with a knife. If that is you, ejecting the drunk from the party, the disruptive guy from church, the hot-headed employee from the workplace, etc., expect him to come back with reinforcements.

The Filipino Spear –Bangkaw

Posted in Masters and History, Weapons with tags , , , on January 13, 2011 by bigstickcombat

The Filipino Spear --Bangkaw

Today I have something you’ve probably never seen before, no matter how long you’ve been in the FMA. File this under rural weapons of the Philippines.

Kuntawman argued for including other weapons besides sticks in Filipino Martial Arts competitions, including the bayonet:

Yes, the Bayonet. Maybe some of you from the province forget that our old men taught this weapon as part of the Eskrima we studied. Some of us are actually embarassed by this weapon, as if the Bayonet made our systems look “country” and unsophisticated.

This post raised the idea in my mind of spears or pole weapons in the province of the Philippines, particularly the Visayas (central Philippines) where I often travel.

In a rural home in Cebu I spotted a weapon that at first resembled a spear, a long pole about five feet long with two barbed spikes at the tip. I thought it was for fishing. It was explained to me that the late grandfather used to go into an abandoned house and catch bats!

The idea was not to spear bats, per se, but to jab the barbed ends upward as bats swirled around. The barbed prongs would ensnare the bats outstretched wings.

Why would you catch bats? To eat, of course. Filipinos will eat almost anything, and grandpa liked his bats adobo style.

When Congress Was Armed

Posted in Commentary, Masters and History with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2011 by bigstickcombat

Old School Congress

When Congress Was Armed and Dangerous is a surprising, informative article that sheds light on the way the American congress really was.

In the rough-and-tumble Congress of the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s, politicians regularly wore weapons on the House and Senate floors, and sometimes used them.

During one 1836 melee in the House, a witness observed representatives with “pistols in hand.” In a committee hearing that same year, one House member became so enraged at the testimony of a witness that he reached for his gun; when the terrified witness refused to return, he was brought before the House on a charge of contempt.

Perhaps most dramatic of all, during a debate in 1850, Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. (Someone eventually took it from his hand.) Foote had decided in advance that if he felt threatened, he would grab his gun and run for the aisle in the hope that stray shots wouldn’t hit bystanders.

Most famously, in 1856, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina caned Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on the Senate floor so brutally that Sumner had to be virtually carried from the chamber — and did not retake his seat for three years. Clearly, wielded with brute force, a cane could be a potent weapon.

By the 1850s, violence was common in Washington. Not long after Sumner’s caning, a magazine told the story of a Michigan judge who traveled by train to the nation’s capital: “As he entered the main hall of the depot, he saw a man engaged in caning another ferociously, all over the room. ‘When I saw this,’ says the judge, ‘I knew I was in Washington.’”

In Congress, violence was often deployed strategically. Representatives and senators who were willing to back up their words with their weapons had an advantage, particularly in the debate over slavery. Generally speaking, Northerners were least likely to be armed, and thus most likely to back down. Congressional bullies pressed their advantage, using threats and violence to steer debate, silence opposition and influence votes.

In 1842, Representative Thomas Arnold of Tennessee, a member of the Whig Party, learned the hard way that these bullies meant business. After he reprimanded a pro-slavery member of his own party, two Southern Democrats stalked toward him, at least one of whom was armed with a bowie knife — a 6- to 12-inch blade often worn strapped to the back. Calling Arnold a “damned coward,” his angry colleagues threatened to cut his throat “from ear to ear.” But Arnold wasn’t a man to back down. Ten years earlier, he had subdued an armed assassin on the Capitol steps.

As alarming as these outbursts were, until the 1840s, reporters played them down, in part to avoid becoming embroiled in fights themselves. (A good many reporters received beatings from outraged congressmen; one nearly had his finger bitten off.) So Americans knew relatively little of congressional violence.

Congressman Lincoln Davis Decides to Upgrade from a .38 Special Snubbie

As a practitioner of the big stick, I was especially interested by the comment, “Clearly, wielded with brute force, a cane could be a potent weapon.”

Of course I am not condoning threats and violence over political (or other) disagreements, but it is enlightening to compare and contrast the bold men of the past with the mealy-mouth representatives of today:

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer confirmed on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning that threats to congressmen increased from 2009 to 2010, but he doesn’t believe more members carrying guns is the answer. “I’ve been a policeman for 42 years, and I don’t think introducing more guns to the situation is helpful,” he said. “I think we should leave the law enforcement and security to those professionals.”

Let us ignore for the moment that many congressmen are wealthy, and can afford to live in gated communities and leave only with their own armed bodyguards. In New York, which has some of the nation’s most repressive gun laws, wealthy residents could hire off-duty cops, who were the few people in town who could legally carry guns. (William F. Buckley Jr. was one of a handful to get a legally issued gun permit, and he was hardly a taco truck driver.) So the wealthy were protected, the cops had guns and extra cash, and who cared about some poor guy in Harlem trying to get home at night?

So here we have the same tired advice: don’t arm yourself; don’t fight back, just get raped; don’t carry a gun or a knife, carry a whistle and yell “Fire!” Leave it to the professionals, who are in no way responsible for preventing you from being victimized. Never mind that every hero at the scene of the Tucson massacre was not a professional (God bless them), but an amateur.

No congressman, nor any citizen, should have to live in fear. Denying gun and speech rights is not the solution to the acts of a madman.

Congresswoman Giffords–Wishing her the best.

 

 

Master Ted Lucaylucay

Posted in Masters and History with tags , , on January 11, 2011 by bigstickcombat

I met the late Master Ted Lucaylucay and spoke with him several times. One story he told me

The Late Master Ted Lucaylucay (on left) and one of my teachers, Tim Evans Sensei

stands out.

Master Lucaylucay lived in a very rough neighborhood in Los Angeles, in a home as part of an extended Filipino family. Next door were some neighbors who were fond of big parties. One night the neighbors threw a huge party and cars filled the streets, blocking off the driveway where Ted lived, so no one could get in or out.

Well, Master Ted decided he needed to talk to the neighbors next door so people in his house weren’t trapped. But there was a large crowd next door, the music was loud, and the booze was flowing (perhaps along with other illegal substances). It was a raw-looking crowd in a tough neighborhood, and there was no telling how they would respond to his request to move their cars.

So Master Ted came prepared. He was carrying his short stick and knife, in a Filipino style called “espada y daga,” which is Spanish for “sword and dagger.” Now only once at a seminar did my friend and I see Master Lucaylucay give a glimpse of what he was capable of, and I can tell you that it was jaw-dropping. I would not confront Master Ted with any weapon, let alone a stick and a knife.

Master Ted went up to the neighbor’s door, prepared for the worst. He wasn’t brandishing his weapons, but he wasn’t hiding them either. When the neighbor opened the door, the party was in full swing, and Master Ted politely asked if they would move their cars.

The Late Master Lucaylucay. Why yes, I'd be glad to move my car, sir.

To his surprise, the neighbors immediately agreed to move their cars, without any protest. As Master Ted returned to his house, he was thinking to himself how threatening he must have been, and how his mere presence and warrior’s self-assurance had caused the otherwise troublesome neighbors to fall in line.

It was in the midst of these thoughts of self-congratulation, walking back home with his stick and knife in hand, that he happened to look up.

“When I looked at my house,” Master Lucaylucay told me with an amused smile, “there was a gun barrel sticking out of every window, pointed at the neighbor’s house. I thought I was all bad with my stick and knife, when what the neighbors saw was my whole family and a house full of guns pointed out all the windows right at them.”

Like a true master, Master Ted had the humility to see his own failings  and to laugh at himself. This story has an important message for every martial artist –don’t believe your own press. And there’s nothing wrong with having a little backup.

Does the X Block Work?

Posted in Commentary, Princples and Theory, Real Life Combat with tags , , , , on January 9, 2011 by bigstickcombat

The Oft Maligned X Block

Reader James posted the following,

In Dagger Disarms part 1 they show only two blocks that “should never” be done in the real world. Note that they show only one photo for each and do not show or are aware of the follow through of these techniques they say not to do. The X-block in Jujutsu is a soft block, it does not hold the arm there but merely receives the arm and then moves it to the side as the force is coming down.

You see, in the Filipino martial arts, the X block has got a bad rap, probably even worse than that of the maligned judo chop. I think the Dan Inosanto Filipino Martial Arts book helped to bury the X block. The average Filipino martial artist can show you a dozen counters to the X block, especially when used against a knife.

Years ago in the Philippines I met Perry Gamsby, an Australian who had moved to the PI. He was telling me how on his first day on the job as a security guard, he ended up chasing a thief through the market. The thief suddenly whirled, drew a large knife, and thrust it up toward Perry’s stomach.

“I blocked the knife with an X block,” Perry told me with a laugh. “The one they tell you never works.”

Now one possibility is that the story isn’t true, but I believe it. But how do we explain the fact that an X block, which isn’t supposed to work, did in fact stop a knife attack?

I think the reason may be that when we train we are fencing. When I have the training knife, I am light on my feet. I may feint, withdraw, then leap back in to “cut” your extended arm. As trained fighters we are both doing this sort of strategy. We are cagey, tactical, mobile, elusive.

X Block: Fact or Fiction?

But what happens when I see someone brutally attacking my mother and there is a knife in my hand? Tactics, feinting, double thrusts, evasion, etc., all go out the window. I am not thinking of counter moves. I now have what Amo Guro Blackgrave refers to as “intent.” The person in this frame of mind (enraged kill) is stronger, but also, his moves are more committed, and although they are more likely to be fatal, they may also be easier to counter.

How many people say the knife can’t be countered bare-handed? I certainly advise against it, because we’ve all seen how poorly real counter-knife scenarios go down in training. Yet we also know that there are people who have survived knife attacks bare-handed, so it can be done. Maybe the reason for the seeming contradiction is the difference between dueling in training and intent-to-kill on the streets.

Posers of the Week, Part II

Posted in humor, Poser of the Week with tags , , , on January 7, 2011 by bigstickcombat

Crouching Tiger? Coiled Like a Squirrel Prepared to Strike.

Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. The guy doesn’t realize that from this crouch his chop must travel such a long distance, and he must move up against an upright opponent, that it will never land. This guy makes the Hillbilly Ninja look like Bruce Lee.

Famous last words: “Oh, by the way, I’m going to crouch and extend my leg, but please don’t crush my kneecap like a cockroach, Mr. Mugger.”

One option is to bull rush the guy. Just charge into him headlong. Even a drunk can figure that one out, and this guy is toast, because his weapons (hands and feet) are not prepared to strike. He presents his side to the opponent. My counter to the side stance is to Thai kick the opponent’s lead leg, then move in behind him to blast his kidneys and the back of his head/neck.

Note the right hand resting above the knee, which in kung-fu is called, “Old Man Climbs the Stairs.”

In his hunched over stance, his rear foot points away from his opponent. Observe how he must twist his foot in order to launch his attack. Hint: Keep your toes pointed in the direction of the opponent. When he chops (photo 3, lower left), his body still faces away from the opponent, which means that his strike is all arm and no body, which results in a weak, sloppy, ineffectual blow.

If I trap/check his forward left elbow with my right hand, how is he going to counter it?

My advice: Contact Ninja Bob for private lessons.

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