Archive for the Resources and Product Reviews Category

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.


Semi-Impromptu Weapon: The Black and Decker Flashlight

Posted in Resources and Product Reviews, Weapons with tags , , on January 5, 2011 by bigstickcombat

I’m a believer in a small flashlight as a great combination of a useful tool and a semi-impromptu weapon.

Remember, a semi-impromptu weapon is a weapon that fits in your environment, and that you have chosen for its suitability as a fighting tool. For instance, although the single battery flashlights are more compact, I give them a pass because they’re too short to be effective as weapons. The semi-impromptu weapon is strategically placed (or carried) so that you have access to it.

The personal flashlight comes in handy at the movie theater. You may think you can get by in a darkened theater just fine –until you drop your keys or cellphone.

As a teacher I’ve had the power go out at school. In a room with only one small window in the corner, a flashlight comes in handy. I drive to school in the dark, and have had to put oil or coolant in the car in the early morning in the country, where there are few street lights.

I bought this Black and Decker flashlight at Wal-Mart yesterday for less than 10 bucks. Ideally, I’d buy one of the nice “tactical” flashlights (like the Surefire Defender), but my budget is not cooperating. The flashlight is a little on the long side, but I find that good if I have to strike with it.

The flashlight also has a clip on it, which may come in handy. I also like a push button on/off switch. One aggravation of the mini-mag lights is that you have to twist the light on or off, which makes it a two-handed operation.

Another neat feature of the Black and Decker is that you can press the light on, and then back off on the pressure so the light goes off. This means if you stumble across some hoodlum with a pistol in your garage, you don’t have a flashlight stuck in the “on” position.

When buying a flashlight, look at lumens, which is a measure of a flashlight’s power. My flashlight is 60 lumens, which isn’t bad. Some I looked at had lumens in the low teens, which is pretty much useless.

Black and Decker Flashlight

Now some might say, “No thanks, I have a gun; I don’t need a flashlight.” Don’t be so sure. In my next post I’ll talk about the role the flashlight plays in defensive pistol use.


P.S.¬† As a side note, the other day at MacDonald’s I saw a guy wearing a fanny pack and a small flashlight (like a mini-mag) in a holster. I would have bet several hundred dollars there was a gun in his fanny pack. Luckily I wasn’t about to pull an armed robbery.

If you carry a concealed pistol, can you be less obvious?

Do you really need a fanny pack to conceal a pistol in record cold temperatures?

Kimber Pepper Blaster II

Posted in Resources and Product Reviews, Weapons with tags , on December 29, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Kimber Pepper Blaster II

Kimber has an interesting pepper sprayer that looks like a small gun. It features two shots of OC.

The Pepper Blaster II features a more ergonomic feel and also includes sights! This advanced non-lethal self defense tool stops threats at a safe distance. Small, light, ergonomic and it carries easily in a pocket or purse. The outer body conforms to either a right or left-hand grip, and fits almost any size hand. The Guardian Angel contains two cylinders with powerful concentrations of near pharmaceutical grade OC (oleoresin capsicum), a devastatingly effective inflammatory agent. Driven by pyrotechnic charges, the solution travels at 90 MPH with little chance of cross-contamination, and with enough energy to wrap around glasses or penetrate a face mask. Effect is immediate and lasts for up to 45 minutes. Unlike conventional sprays, the Guardian Angel does not lose pressure over time.

Technical Information: Kimber Guardian Angel Pepper Blaster II Pepper Spray Gel 10% OC

  • Effective range is up to 13 feet. At 13 feet, the pattern is approximately 10″ in diameter.
  • Instantly incapacitates an assailant
  • Revolutionary propulsion operation
  • Jet delivery minimizes cross-contamination
  • Delivers a powerful blasts of OC, a second reserve shot is available as needed
  • Unit is not reusable and should be properly disposed of once both shots are discharged
  • This unit has a 2-year shelf life

    One reviewer mentioned that the old sprayer resembled a cellphone or other electronic device in its pocket profile, while the new one resembles a gun –just a word of caution.

    This may be a good solution for those who cannot carry a firearm, or choose not to.

    Check out a video here.

    SOG Swedge Knives

    Posted in Resources and Product Reviews with tags , , , , on December 27, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    SOG Swdge III

    I was at the magazine rack the other day when I saw in a knife magazine that Brent Beshara, elite soldier and knife designer (as well as a reader of this blog, I’m pleased to say) has designed a set of knives in collaboration with knife manufacturer SOG.

    All 3 feature the innovative Besh Wedge geometry.

    The SOG Swedge I is designed for icepick grip use, with the blade

    SOG Swedge I

    facing outward. The Spyderco Pikal knife I wrote up earlier is designed for a reverse icepick grip, with the blade facing inward.



    My preference is for the blade out. A blade outward design means that with upraised arms in the boxer’s guard, an attacker cuts himself as he attacks. When I trained with Master Ed Planas, we frequently used this grip

    Master Ed Planas. You don't want to face this guy with a Swedge I in his hands!

    The curved blade of the SOG Sedge I means that the point is in alignment with a downward thrust. If you think about the forearm hinging downward at the elbow, a straight bladed knife tip is actually several inches ahead of the point of power, which is right underneath the bottom of the fist and aligned with the arc of the hand.

    In this view of an icepick thrust, the power zone is in a straight plumb line from the bottom the fist. The tip of the knife is several inches beyond that zone.

    If you look at the photo above, if the wielder makes contact with the hand and point of the knife like this, the blade acts as a lever, exerting force to pry the knife out of the fist.

    The SOG Swedge II (There is also a review at the link.) is designed for a saber grip.

    SOG Swedge II

    The SOG Swedge III is essentially a bigger version of the Swedge II.

    SOG Swedge III

    These knives are ideal for those who need both a utility knife (due to their fierce yet solid points) and a self-defense knife.

    To Punch or Not to Punch?

    Posted in Commentary, Resources and Product Reviews with tags , , , on December 19, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    Devastated by a Single "Jersey Shore" Punch

    In the discussion on Jeet Kune Do, Dan Inosanto, Ted Wong, Teri Tom and the straight punch, reader Miguel Gutierrez of GEACOM S.O.U.T. reminds me of an important point –punching may not be the most effective street technique.

    Miguel explains that after fracturing his hand in a street altercation, his talks with bouncers and others who had fought in real life revealed that hand injuries are more common than many people realize. His answer is to go to the WWII era combatives, and the methods found in classics like “Kill or Be Killed,” which rely less on punching.

    Even though in real life people do get knocked out on the street with punches, like in the “One Shot” Jersey Shore episode, it is still a valid question: Are punches valid on the street? Does punching pose as serious a risk to the puncher as to the person being hit?


    Is punching better suited to the ring than the street? Is the effectiveness of boxing as a style

    Old School Hand Conditioning

    dependent upon some type of hand protection? This may be why so many of the classical styles emphasized hand/fist conditioning, like the makiwara board.

    In downtown Cebu City I train in a small gym. The equipment is basic and much of it is handmade. There is a punching bag, but it’s harder than a rock. I wrap my fists, but I still have to go easy on my punches because it’s too easy to injure my knuckles. However, I find I can do my rear elbow shot¬† repeatedly, full force, without problems. The lesson for me is that if it comes down to combat on the street and I am trying to shut someone down via blunt force trauma to the skull, an elbow is a better choice than a fist.

    Let me raise an idea that might not have occurred to you. As I write this, there is snow on the ground, and it is not out of place for a person to wear gloves. Why not buy gloves that enable you to hit harder?

    Gloves with Hard Knuckle Protectors

    For instance, at Amazon, you can buy Kevlar gloves with hard knuckle protectors. With these, you could punch freely with less worry about injuring your hand. You can also buy cut -resistant gloves. I also saw a protective, cut-resistant sleeve. Citizens can buy knife and bullet proof jackets and clothing.

    Should these items be on your Christmas wish list?

    “The Straight Lead”: Teri Tom and Ted Wong

    Posted in Masters and History, Resources and Product Reviews with tags , , , , , , on December 14, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    In the wake of Sifu Ted Wong’s death, I thought of the book “The Straight Lead,” by Teri Tom. It’s an

    The Straight Lead, by Teri Tom

    excellent book.

    Now you might think that a book only about the lead punch would be simple-Simon dull and repetitive, but you’d be wrong. If you can judge a teacher by his students, the knowledge and seriousness of author Teri Tom speaks well of the late Sifu Ted Wong. Sifu Wong poses for several pictures and is interviewed, as well as being referenced and quoted throughout the book.

    The most fascinating aspect of the book is how it goes into great depth about how Bruce Lee developed his lead punch. Bruce didn’t just get a punch from Wing Chun, or from boxing, or simply combine the two. Bruce Lee’s lead punch was the result of intense study and wide reading in the fields of both boxing and fencing, including legendary boxer Jack Dempsey and fencer Aldo Nadi. Regardless of how well you think you know Bruce Lee, I guarantee you will find something new in this book.

    The book goes into great depth on the lead punch, on footwork, and on strategy. Teri Tom writes so intelligently and has researched her subject so thoroughly, that you can’t help but be prompted to think more deeply about the martial arts. Even if you disagree with her and Sifu Wong.

    And you may very well find yourself disagreeing. The late Sifu Wong was a prime mover behind the “purist” Jeet Kune Do movement, and your view of GM Dan Inosanto may cause your blood to boil, especially in the comments and interview sections toward the end, which are less focused on technique.

    For the serious martial artist, those interested in Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, or the late Sifu Wong, I think this book is a must have.

    Author Teri Tom and the Late Sifu Ted Wong

    Knocked Centsless Coin Purse Palm Sap

    Posted in American Arts, Resources and Product Reviews, Weapons with tags , , , on November 28, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    D3 Knocked Centsless Palm Sap

    I have written about the relatively obscure palm sap earlier.

    I came across another example of a palm sap. It is the D3 Protection Knocked Centsless palm sap. There is a video tutorial here.

    Keep in mind that carrying a palm sap can get you into trouble, while a coin purse is perfectly legal.







    Striking Area Knocked Centsless Coin Purse Palm Sap


    Finger Band for Knocked Centsless Coin Purse Sap