Archive for impromptu weapons

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.

Beer Steins as Weapons

Posted in Commentary, Weapons with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Traditional German Weapon

In Germany during Oktoberfest there has been a rash of assaults with beer steins. 32 assaults, in fact.

And not just any beer steins –we’re talking about one-liter beer steins. In eight cases the beer stein has broken. In many other cases, someone’s skull was fractured. In the words of one German police officer, “…every hit is potentially fatal. In our institute, we have just performed an autopsy on someone who got a beer stein to the head.”

A beer stein is not designed as a weapon. It’s designed as a utility.

A beer stein does not handle like a rattan stick, so we must ask to what extent FMA techniques can be applied to the beer stein. Can you do an x block? Can you do a wing block? Can you do an abaniko strike? Can you do sinawali if you have two beer steins? Can you do hubud-lubud (trapping hands) with it?

If you can do any of these techniques with a beer stein, do they make sense? Would they be effective, powerful techniques?

Can you do this strike with a beer stein?

Try this block with a beer stein.

Would this wingblock work with a mug?

What if we thought of direct techniques that a person could learn and use with a hammer, beer stein, coffee mug, tire iron, and so on? Such a style would be simpler, because we would have to cut out the more complex techniques.

I suppose the disadvantages are that there would be fewer, easier techniques, and so DVD sales would drop. After all, who’s going to buy “The Death Master Series: Coffee Mug Basics, Vol I, Coffee Mug Counter Tactics, Vol. II, Advanced Coffee Mug, Vol III”?

Maybe it would help if I called it “Baso ng Kamatayan,” and talked about how ancient Filipinos in Mindanao made tuba steins from hand-blown glass.

When to Use Rifle Grip?

Posted in Commentary, Princples and Theory, Technique with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Reader Arnold asks: “But I do have a question. Suppose you only have access to a “heavy-ended” object, like a mop or push broom…would you try to use the high guard or go back into the rifle grip to use it?”

A common strategy in stick fighting is to move in close and use two-handed techniques, either in staff grip (both hands palm down) or in rifle/bayonet grip (with one hand palm down and the other hand palm up). The close range staff technique is Sifu Doyle’s (of Irish stick fighting) preferred strategy, and GM Estalilla of Kabaroan uses it as well.

When training with GM Maranga I started to reappraise the effectiveness of the close range big stick techniques, particularly against the short stick and the knife. The problem as I see it is that the long stick in rifle or staff grip moves too slowly, and is too easy for the opponent to grab. In close, the short stick and the knife move very quickly. Now while I may be forced into a close range rifle grip defense, I try to avoid it.

When to use rifle grip? Of course, when the opponent closes I am forced into rifle grip. But if I am using a mop or a push broom, I would move into rifle grip with the left foot forward. Why? Because these impromptu weapons can’t really be swung like a stick. Another possibility would be to break of the head of the broom, mop, or rake, to make it a less cumbersome weapon.

A similar weapon would be an umbrella. An umbrella is not really effective as an impact weapon. I would move into a left forward stance and use the bayonet thrust, which is the most effective method of using an umbrella.

Real Life Combat: Greek Riots

Posted in Real Life Combat, Weapons with tags , , , , on May 14, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Photos from the recent Greek riots allow us to study what happens when people really try to inflict injury on each other.

Observe that the protesters’ poles to carry their flags serve as impromptu (or maybe semi-impromptu weapons). Also observe that none of the pole/stick weapons is anywhere near as short as the standard 28 inch FMA stick. Although the cops’ stick is approximately that length, it is a heavy club with a handle.

Here a policeman uses his shield to counter a thrust, hitting the rioter in the head/face.

Good weapon choice, only it’s in the hands of a hooligan.

Good form. Note how the cop's legs are bent, and he is centered.

The 2-handed overhead “samurai” windup of rioter on the right leaves him open.

A chair is an example of a real weapon. How many people train with a chair?

This kick is crap. Leg is locked, torso is forward, and hips are back.

Note the windup. /He'd get more power if he kept the weapon "cocked."

Pole as spear. The rioter is turned sideways, which is good for the cops.

The cop should squat and bring the edge of the shield onto the rioter’s leg, or pivot, deflect, and slam shield into his face.

Why is he using only one hand?

The Sap Wallet

Posted in Resources and Product Reviews, Weapons with tags , , , , on December 31, 2009 by bigstickcombat

Fred Perrin Sap Wallet

Joshua Morale of Stick and Knife Fighters of the World ( referred me to the “sap wallet,” something I was not familiar with. It sounds like a very handy weapon. I have spoken of the merits of saps here, which is a little-known category of weapon.

The sap wallet, designed by Fred Perrin, can be seen in action here. In essence, you put coins into the bottom of the wallet, which is swung like a sap. The sap wallet resembles a prison weapon in which a bar of soap is placed into a sock and swung.

The Atienza Kali people have a video here in which they showcase a weapon called a “trapo,” which is a weight in a sock. The sap wallet could be wielded with these techniques. (As an aside, “trapo” is Spanish for “rag.” In the Philippines vendors at intersections sell rags sewn into circles like potholders. Drivers buy them for a few pesos to wipe their cars or to help them hold the steering wheel in the blistering heat.

I would categorize this as a semi-impromptu weapon, in that it is a weapon that would fit into your environment and that you have selected ahead of time for its suitability as a weapon.

Always Prepared

Posted in Real Life Combat, Weapons with tags , on December 15, 2009 by bigstickcombat

In yesterday’s post I talked about impromptu/emergency weapons –weapons that you can use in a pinch.

Another weapon might be called “semi-impromptu.” You plan ahead, carefully selecting an item that is natural to your environment. I mentioned that as a teacher at a rough school I bought a heavy pair of steel scissors in case I had trouble. As a teacher, it would not be out of place if I had a pair of scissors with me.

Another example of planning ahead is a former cop I met who was horribly overweight and had health problems, so he decided to get rid of his car and to ride his bike everywhere. (By the way, he lost weight and got into great shape.) Whenever he thought there might be trouble, he got out his bicycle pump, like the kind pictured on the left. While it was not the ideal weapon, he always had it with him.

Once he got wind of an unruly guy at a convenience store, so he got off his bike and took his pump with him.

How many martial artists in the same circumstance would have had their weapons with them? Their nunchakus (a felony in California), their bo staffs, machetes, rattan or kamagong sticks, shinai, bokken, samurai swords, etc.

How conspicuous and provocative would these martial artists have looked going into a store with a three sectional staff? (“Well, officer, some crazy guy came into the store with big-a** numchucks.”)

For those who carry knives, what are you going to do, stab a drunk because he was double-dipping at the soda fountain and dropping f-bombs?

The cyclist with his pump was able to legally and inconspicuously arm himself. There was nothing threatening or out-of-place to see a cyclist with a pump.

Lynn Thompson of Cold Steel talked of seeing a video of a farmer who destroyed two trespassing punks with his shovel. In the farmer’s case, a shovel was a tool he always had with him and was something he felt comfortable wielding.

What is a semi-impromptu weapon that would suit you?

It should be something that is…

1) Natural to your environment

2) Selected ahead of time for its suitability as a weapon.

An Unlikely Weapon

Posted in Weapons with tags , on December 14, 2009 by bigstickcombat

I found an ice scraper and brush on sale today at Wal-Mart for just 5 bucks. It’s 35 inches long, and light, but it seems sturdy.

So it’s going into my car. No, I’m not going to use this in a challenge death match, but it just might come in handy if I have to grab a weapon, or happen to be put on the spot while I’m scraping the ice and snow from my car. No doubt it’s an emergency weapon.

If this sounds far-fetched, I went out to my car one morning and was just inside when I heard a snarling, barking dog behind me. The neighbors have a big, aggressive dog that gets out from time to time. And if I’m surprised some morning while I’m clearing my windshield, it’ll be good to have this.

I think this is a valuable exercise for the martial artist. It’s a little mind exercise: What impromptu weapons are around me? How can I add to my arsenal of impromptu weapons?

When I buy a flashlight, I’m looking for one I can use as a weapon.

When I lived in California I taught at a rough school. Keep in mind the next time you read the sob headline Police Officer Shoots 16 Year Old Boy, that “boy” may be 6 feet tall, weigh 185 pounds, and be a hardcore tattooed gang member. These “students” don’t have to beat up teachers to get their way –just intimidate them.

So I bought a heavy stainless steel pair of scissors. They were more expensive than the typical scissors, but if I had to use them as a weapon they would do the job.

It is my belief that most impromptu weapons are best wielded with big stick techniques, and this snow scraper is no exception. It’s too long for effective abaniko techniques, and the brush at the end makes it less aerodynamic. One hand is not enough to get it moving fast enough because of drag from the brush end.

Two hands are not only necessary to get maximum speed from strikes, but also to get full power from thrusts, especially with a weapon you feel might fold up on you, like an umbrella.

The ice scraper end would make for a nasty slicing butt end strike.