Rampage in Chicago

What Went Down

An honor student in Chicago got caught up in a gang melee. He was hit in the head with a plank (which, as far as I can tell from the video, was a 2×4) and then struck and stomped to death when he fell. My “Real Life Combat” examples usually feature ordinary people who successfully defend themselves against thugs, but this episode shows the real, and often tragic, consequences of violence.

Lessons Learned

  1. Avoidance Is Not a Strategy. The young man who was killed was doing everything right: He was not into gangs, and he was not looking for trouble. Is this your strategy, to avoid trouble and to stay where it’s “safe”? Violence found him, and could just as easily find you, with tragic consequences

    When I taught in Fresno a group of students went on a rampage. A student in my class was blindsided, and now has to live with a bone fragment in his eye that could someday sever his optical nerve and blind him. You don’t have to do anything wrong to be targeted –sometimes victims are chosen as random.
  1. Real People Are Attacked by Real Weapons. A plank is a real weapon. A plank is perfectly legal and is readily available. When violence goes down on the street, you are not going to be attacked by someone with a pair of hook swords, a spear with a red tassel, or a rattan stick. Someone will pick up a brick, a beer bottle, or a shovel and try to cave in your head with it. You should train accordingly.
  2. The Big Stick Can Kill. If the young man had been attacked with rattan sticks or nunchaku, he’d still be alive today. You also must ask if a pair of nunchaku or a rattan stick can stop a 2×4 wielded by an enraged gang banger. The big stick is capable of causing lethal damage, a fact that can either work for you or against you.

Guro Mike Pana steered me to this video in the Philippines, where a fight goes down with one assailant wielding something like a 2 x 4, and the other a knife. He told me he has relatives who work as tanods and carry large sticks (lumber?) like these.



  1. Great blog entry. I watched the Chicago video a few months ago around the time I found the Philippine Big Stick VS knife video.

    The large sticks/planks used in the Philippines are often used typically because they are environmental. The squatting houses tend to be built with such pieces of lumber, and as a result, are easy to access.

  2. Punong Guro Pana,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I enjoyed watching clips from Burton Richardson’s movie filmed in the Philippines, and I must say how odd and out-of-place an object a rattan stick seemed to me. I’ve been in squatter settlements, and if you’re looking for rattan, or kamagong, or bahi sticks, you’re out of luck, but pool cues, and 2×2’s or 2×4’s are all over the place.

  3. darring, i enjoy your very real posts about martial arts and fighting. i dont thing that there is enough of this kind of thinking in the FMA community, and you do what they call, keep it real.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s