Archive for the Weapons Category

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.


The Flashlight and the Gun

Posted in Princples and Theory, Technique, Weapons with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by bigstickcombat

If you own a gun, a flashlight isn’t necessarily something you can dismiss now that you’ve got real 

Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight

firepower. You see, a cardinal rule of self-defense shooting is : NEVER SHOOT ANYTHING YOU HAVE NOT CLEARLY IDENTIFIED.

Violation of this simple rule causes countless tragedies that are totally unnecessary. One Monday morning at work we got the call for an early, unscheduled faculty meeting. This is never good, because it almost always means something bad has happened over the weekend. In this case, the fathers of two students had gone deer hunting over the weekend. One hunter shot at movement in the brush, which he thought was a deer. Tragically, he had shot his friend to death.

Imagine living with the burden of having shot your own friend to death. What is so sad is that this was completely avoidable.

Now suppose that you get up one night, grab your gun, and see an ominous silhouette in the shadows of the kitchen, so you shoot. Only then do you discover it is your daughter coming in late from a party, the wife who couldn’t sleep and decided to take some medicine, or the son who was hungry and raided the fridge.

If you have a gun in your home, here is a simple and life-saving rule: NOBODY MOVES IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT TURNING ON A LIGHT. This means that anyone who gets up to go to the bathroom or fridge, who decides to check on the dog, who comes in late from a party, etc., turns on a light at the earliest opportunity and turns on lights wherever he or she goes.

Your flashlight now becomes critical to identifying threats and potential targets. There are several methods for wielding a flashlight and a pistol at the same time.

The Harries Method

The Chapman Method

The Rogers Method. In one variation, the fingers hold the flshlight like a cigar. The purpose of this grip is to enable you to get several extra fingers on the pistol grip.

The Modified FBI Method. The idea is to hold the light off center, so anyone who aims at the light will likely miss you


The Neck Position. This is a modified FBI. Note the hand is ready to strike, and there is cover at the head and neck.

(These pictures were found here, where you can go for further info.)

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.

    Real Life Combat: Pizzeria Robber Gets Whacked

    Posted in Real Life Combat, Videos, Weapons with tags , , on December 7, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    Pizza Peel

    Video Capture of an Employee Belting a Robber with a Pizza Peel

    Reader Kevin sent in the following story.

    A man at a pizza restaurant defeated an armed robber with a “giant spatula,” which in actuality is a pizza peel. The man knocked the gun out of the robber’s hand, beat him again, and then tackled the robber as he tried to flee.

    You can see the video here, as well as a view of a pizza peel. One pizzeria employee comments:

    “I know at the place I worked at the metal peel was pretty sharp on the edges because of pulling pizzas out of the oven and the “filing” of the metal. He probably could have cut the guys hand off if he hit him the right way.”

    Of all of the impromptu, real life weapons I have catalogued, a pizza peel never occurred to me. But this is a good example of a semi-impromptu weapon. If you are the owner of a pizza place, or even a long-term employee, it makes sense not only to work with a quality, efficient tool, but also one that can serve as a weapon if need be. 

    A Solid Metal, High Quality Pizza Peel: Could It Save Your Butt?

    The pizza peel also follows the pattern I have observed, that almost no real-life weapon handles like a stick –especially a rattan stick. The pizza peel would work very well with Big Stick Combat techniques, or long stick techniques as practiced by GM Estalilla, Giron larga mano stylists, Amo Guro Blackgrave, Josh Morale, etc.


    Pizza Peel: A Two-Handed Weapon

    Real Life Combat: Empanadas vs. Robber

    Posted in Real Life Combat, Technique, Weapons with tags , , , , on December 5, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    Mexican Empanadas

    DEMING, N.M., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Police in New Mexico said a would-be robber was stopped by a female clerk armed with a loaf of bread and a box of pastries.

    Deming police said a masked man who did not display a weapon tried to run off after snatching the cash register from the Amigo’s store at about 3 p.m. Wednesday and soon found himself on the receiving end of a thrown loaf of bread and a box of empanada, The Deming Headlight reported Tuesday.

    The robber dropped the register and fled in a gray or primer-colored car with several other people, police said.

    While the story may seem like nothing more than a mindless bit of amusement, there is actually a useful technique here. In this case, the projectile is not a throwing knife or a ninja star, but whatever you happen to have at hand. The purpose of this projectile is not necessarily to kill or even to injure the opponent
    (although that’s always a plus), but to create a gap that you can exploit.

    Imagine you are carrying your MacDonald’s takehome when someone steps out from behind the corner with a screwdriver.

    1)  Throw the bag at his face.

    2)  He either raises his hand/s to block it, or flinches, but a gap has been created. He is reacting to your offense.

    3)  As soon as the bag leaves your hand, follow with a low line kick to his knee or groin, preferably on the side away from his weapon hand.

    4)  Run.


    Bonus Round:

    As an employee at a bakery/restaurant, what is a semi-impromptu weapon that you could legally and inconspicuously carry? For instance, a box cutter is an essential tool at a restaurant, where boxes are often dropped off by the dozens. No one is going to yell, “Look out, the bus boy has a box cutter!”

    Below are a couple of the common tools used at a restaurant, either of which could be carried or stashed without problem.

    Dennis Martin on the Tactical Folding Knife

    Posted in American Arts, Real Life Combat, Weapons with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by bigstickcombat

    I’d like to direct you to a fascinating web page on the tactical folding knife, written by Dennis Martin. He comes across as a very knowledgeable guy, with a ton of first-hand experience, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of third person accounts of real life self-defense.

    While in South Africa I’d heard a story about a guy using a Spyderco to cut through a car roof. I mentioned this in Springbok Arms gun shop during a chat about knives, and one of the customers, whose name was Ron as I recall, told me that he was the guy. An engineer for South African Airways he used his Clipit for numerous work-related cutting tasks. On his was home from the airport once Ron came upon an accident, and stabbed the Spyderco through the car roof, then ripped it open like a tin can, freeing the trapped driver. The knife was ruined afterwards, but did the job.
    In another case, a chap we’ll call Chris, stops his car at the “robots” [what the South African call traffic lights]. A mugger opens the rear door, gets in and takes Chris in a chokehold, levering him backwards severely. Fighting desperately, Chris manages to access his Spyderco, open it and flails blindly backwards. By sheer luck he rams the blade right into the mugger’s skull, penetrating with instant, lethal, effect. I don’t know the exact model, just that it was a compact Spyderco.

    The Spyderco Civilian and Trainers

    Mr. Martin Discusses the Merits of the Spyderco Civilian Hooked Blade Knife

    Although I found the Civilian interesting, it wasn’t until a senior SAPS Officer, Colonel Mike, alerted me to just how effective that radical knife could be. The blade is visually intimidating. This can be a deterrent, and enable you to win without fighting.


    Mike, one of our course graduates, was on a Bodyguard assignment, and entered the elevator of a hotel at the car-park level. The two characters who followed him in fitted the profile of local street scum, and he went to Condition Orange. One stood facing him, and as the doors closed his partner produced a craft knife and started to open it. Mike had already palmed his Civilian, and commenced proceedings with an elbow-smash to the jaw of the closer threat, then flicked open the Spyderco. At the sight of the curved blade the knifeman dropped his blade, and almost beat it to the floor, cowering in a foetal position on top of his compadre. Mike transferred the Civilian to his left hand, drew his Glock 26, and covered the pair until the elevator reached his floor.

    As mentioned above the stated function of the Civilian was to allow a minimally trained officer to get out of a hostile situation fast. So the fundamental technique envisages the Civilian being used passively, just covering up, or, shielding, the aggressive limb will meet the blade, and will be on a curve whichever the direction of force. “Curves equal cutting”. The limb will “cut itself” as it attacks

    Regarding fragility, well this case demonstrates that the Civilian tip does the job….

    A guy we’ll call Dan, has picked up company payroll from bank. He is carrying his Civilian in his hand, but not as a tactical precaution, more like you carry your keys and twirl them. He is attacked by two gunmen. The first grabs his arm. He opens the Civilian and goes in with a lowline ripping strike. The point enters the inguinal area, rips right through and cuts his belt off from the inside! Man down, instant fatality. Dan slashes at the second robber as he legs it… just missing his back.

    Should You Carry a Second Knife?

    There are a couple of reasons to carry a second self-protection knife. If you are pinned down in a grappling situation, you may be laying on top of your knife, with the full weight of two bodies preventing you from accessing it. A second blade carried on the other side, can be the solution. Another idea is to carry a deep-cover knife as a last ditch weapon, in case you are taken prisoner and disarmed.

    Defensive Knife Technique

    Thrusts Are Essential to Stopping an Attacker

    Another factor was that in my ongoing research I was fast reaching the conclusion that slashes were not the best fight-finisher with a compact knife. To stop an amped-up, committed attacker you need thrusts penetrating the body cavity, inducing involuntary collapse.
    To illustrate how slashes are not always the answer, another case from RSA: Anthony, a graduate of our VIP Protection Course, and a professional self-protection instructor is leaving the gym one night. As he walks across the car park he has his Glock in a moon-bag, looped over his shoulder. Out of the shadows he is pack-attacked by three muggers. He quickly draws his Spyderco Harpy and goes to work slashing the thugs as they try to grab him. After a bit Anthony pauses and tells them “I’m cutting you, look you’re bleeding” The would-be muggers check themselves, realise they are indeed in a knife fight, and hastily run off.

    The Saber Grip Is Not as Effective as the Hammer Grip

    By the way, Bob [Kasper] designed the serrated thumb-rest specifically to accommodate the Sabre-grip, as, at the time, he was heavily favouring this Styers-influenced technique. However, after engaging in a lengthy program of intensive, reality-based knife training, Bob found certain weaknesses with the Sabre grip. He went into print and published his new conclusions, reversing his previous view. This is the mark of a top instructor, who puts tactical truth before personal ego. Although, the KFF was suited to the Sabre grip this in no way limits the use of other grips. The standard, or, “hammer” grip works fine, as does the Reverse grip.

    Folding Knives Are Not the Best Choice

    Having done quite a bit of this type of training I came to the conclusion that the Tactical Folder is not the best bet to defend your life. Under intense psychogenic stress the first place affected as the neural surge and adrenal dump prepare the organism for the life and death battle, is the fingers. With a folder you’ll be trying to dig the weapon out….with the fingers. You’ll be trying to flick open the blade….with the fingers. Finally you’ll be trying to then shift to a more secure grip….with the fingers.
    These days my chosen self-protection knives are all fixed blades. The Kasper Companion, a Push Dagger, or, a Hideaway. The tactical folders discussed above are all great knives. There are many other superb TFKs, and I own a substantial collection, but the ones above are those I selected to look after me in various interesting places, and, more than once, they provided peace of mind in a tense situation. I still own them, and loan them to guys on courses. I had a great time training with them, but in my opinion, the folder has evolved into a modern pocket knife. There is still a place for an easily carried, handily accessed knife for those workplace, garden, household and general tasks.


    In the cases cited above, the good-guys managed to use their TFKs with sucess under intense stress. However, we don’t have a library of cases where guys failed to get their folders into action, but there is no doubt this has happened. In training and planning for our self protection we must play the percentages, and folders are not the primary choice for a weapon to be deployed under conditions of intense pressure, at extreme close range. In my opinion, as far as self-protection is concerned, the arc of the TFK is over.