07 January 2011

25 of the Best Comments from YOU

I thought it was time to showcase some of the BEST comments from subscribers and readers of Low Tech Combat. What a good way to begin 2011 by showcasing the best of YOU :) This is a BIG thank you to those who take the time to craft an interesting comment on some of the posts here. From MANY of them I have gained a better insight into the topics I write on. Thank you very much.

And here are 25 of the best in no particular order.


From Phil on the post Can You Be Stabbed With a Knife and Not Know It?
I heard of a case of a police officer and his partner who was in a gun fight with an armed offender. They shot the suspect dead. They proceeded to check each other for injury as it was at very close range. His partner noted that his shirt was shredded where a bullet had apparently passed through his shirt missing him. When he saw that, he relaxed knowing that he was not injured. At that point the vasoconstriction released and the bullet wound in his shoulder began to gush blood. He had not felt it because of the adrenaline and the vasoconstriction had prevented the bleeding until he made the psychological distinction (which then resulted in a physical response) that he was out of danger.
Great article.
From AFJ on the post How Hard is it Really?
I agree with a lot of what you say, but I would like to offer a few contrary observations. I believe that you both overestimate the time required to train for a violent struggle, and you conversely underestimate the level of threat one might face. This sounds a bit contradictory, but I observe:
1) The skill set one must develop for a violent confrontation is not complicated. Gross motor skills, as you note. If it takes you more than a year of serious work-outs to learn those skills, then I think you should question either the complexity of your technique or the complexity of your tactical plan. Vastly more difficult to develop than skill is the capacity to form the genuine intent to harm an attacker. Years of learning ever more intricate technique will not compensate for a lack of intent.
I realize that your figure of five years is merely an example, but to even talk in terms of years of training is, in my opinion, to go well beyond what is required and you end up overemphasizing physical technique. Now, if we're talking about gaining the knowledge to successfully train others for combat, then five years or so is probably a good starting point.
2) Dividing threats into two basic scenarios or types is useful, so long as we avoid being too stereotypical in our depictions. Examine the videos you have linked from your post "Violence" and try to categorise them cleanly as Alpha Male or Predatory. As archetypal poles of types around which to group instances of violence this division might work, but when it leads to an almost dismissive tone towards "Alpha Male drunks," I think there's more harm done than good. The psychology of human motivation is, obviously, complex, and this includes the motivations for violent assault. We recognize complexity in ourselves and we must likewise recognize that complexity in our hypothetical attacker(s).
I fully appreciate the need to develop self confidence, but to accomplish it by building a contemptuous image of an assailant is, I believe, a serious mistake. This assailant has the primary advantages of choosing the time and place, and choosing the conflict. He has the initiative, he has the intent, and he has the belief that he will win (otherwise why start it?). Or, he is out of his mind and irrational, or drugged/intoxicated. Neither situation is to your advantage. You might be assaulted by a hardened ex-con, just out of a ten year lock up and seeking to finance his new freedom with whatever your house contains. You might have a fender-bender with a bodybuilder just peaking on a steroid rage. You might happen to be the next person in a borderline paranoid's path when he decides he's mad as hell and won't take it anymore, and the look on your face makes him reach for a knife. Hypotheticals, sure. And unlikely. Just as facing a serious assault from anyone is statistically unlikely in most of the developed world. But to reduce your expectations of violence to drooling schoolyard bullys or sly predators who will avoid you 'cause you're a stud, well, that's simply flawed thinking. Everyday in every city in the world there are violent encounters that do not fit easily into this scheme, and bad men daily walk the streets.
My revision to your post is essentially this...Winning and surviving a physically violent encounter isn't especially complicated and training for it need not take up a huge amount of our time...but it can still be hard as hell.
From Sifter on the same thread,
Which is why soldiers at higher levels who receive hand to hand combat typically drill it for many hours each day, every day, for maybe three weeks. Intense, basics, repetitive, but not for years. We all get absorbed in 'Hollywood' fighting, movies, that promote spinning back kicks and techniques requiring years just to learn. I think some of the reality stuff, Krav Maga, WW2 Fairbairn stuff, is more like what is needed. Plus immense conditioning, something I need to improve greatly.
From Anon on the post Overseas Travel Dangers: Know Them, Here's How
Security strategy depends on what it is you're doing overseas. Moneyed businesspeople working in high-risk areas would benefit from a no-nonsense book like "Still The Target" or "Beyond the Bodyguard". Aid groups will benefit hugely from this free manual: http://www.odihpn.org/publistgpr8.asp
Your risk, and your security strategy, depends totally on your role and mandate, your relationship with the groups in the place you're operating, your exposure, things like your nationality, gender, manner of dress and behaviour, etc.
Plan in advance what level of risk you can accept, where you can and can't go, how to make local connections, etc. But once on the ground, get up-to-date info from allied groups and locals. Conditions change all the time.
From Marc G. on the post TMA v Modern Systems
"...fundamentally, the practise of martial arts aims to teach skills which give one the ability to successfully defend and counter any physical attack that may come their way."
I couldn't agree more. Everyone has the right (and I think even the resposibility) to defend themselves.
"The threat we face on the streets today are very different than the threat faced in south east Asia hundreds or thousands of years ago which is what TMA were developed for and is still today, essentially, the focus of these systems."
I do not neccesarily agree. I think violence is violence and the same basic techniques of number superiority and and armed thugs is still the same as ever. Guns add a new dimension to it, but that is about the only practical difference. And, many of the modern asian arts (Karate for example) were developed for exactly the individual man defending himself.
"Its my belief that the study of the classics, some of these listed above, combined with hard, effective training is actually a pinacle in the history of hand to hand or low tech combat..."
I agree as well. There is something of value in many of the martial arts. And they all have their strengths and shortcomins. There is nothing wrong with absorbing what is useful from many...as long as you are actually training and learning reliably, not just to pad a martial resume youmight say. It is the intent and intesity of the training that make a superior martial artist...not a "superior art".
http://actionkaratearts.com/why-we-train/machineguns-and-the-martial-arts/
http://actionkaratearts.com/traditional-karate/well-dont-we-all-have-style/
And, to those "Anonymous" commenters out there...if you are going to bother to make negative comments...that's fine, but at least don't hide while you do it. Identify yourself somehow (nickname, first name, number, something...)
From Ed on the same thread,
Adam,
First, thank you for opening what seems to be an infected wound in the MA community. By all means, lets lance it, let it drain and hopefully it will heal with minimal scarring.
I come from a military/law enforcement background and have twenty years or so in the arts. Funny thing tho, I started in a more "Immediately Practical" training system in the 80s. I don't know if they invented the term MMA yet. I discovered I was searching for something and found it in Aikido. In addition to my Dan ranking, I also am a Law Enforcement Firearms, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Impact Weapons Instructor.
15 years later (with dozens of real applications with people who really wanted to really wanted to hurt or kill me) I have learned that Aikido and similar arts can be very effective in the real modern world. That being said...
We are not talking about "TMAs v. MMAs" here. What we are talking about is separating the "Sports" or "Hobbies" from the path of warriorship. A warrior wears no label. He honestly inventories his surroundings and threats and compares them to the tools he already possesses. If his arsenal contains an effective response, great, he works to perfect the employment of that tool. If it does not, he MUST (becuase he is a warrior, not a student of a specific style) seek out an answer to the problem. If that search crosses the TMA/MMA border in either direction, so be it.
For keeping that dialog open, thank you.
Ed
From IronMongoose on the post 50 Year Trends in Violent Crime in the US
Several sociologists and economists have suggested that the drop-off in violent crime in the early 90's was due to the liberalization of abortion laws 20 years earlier.
Many of the people whose demographic properties put them at high likelihood of committing those crimes, were killed before they were even born. 20 years later, when they were at the "peak" of their would-be crime career, we first notice that they're nowhere to be found. That's the drop-off in violent crime stats.
It's a controversial theory. Conservatives hate it because it seems to suggest abortion has an upside. Liberals hate it because it blames crime on a certain "type" of person, and has creepy eugenic implications. But they've done multiple-baseline comparisons that seem to support the model. I think it's pretty plausible.
From hsoiblog on the same thread,
Another reason is gun laws.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's we started to see the movement towards the legal carrying of concealed handguns by law-abiding citizens. For a good illustration of the growth, see this animated GIF:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Rtc.gif
Brief explanation of the legend: "unrestricted" is just that. "Shall-issue" means the state shall issue the carry license once criteria are met (e.g. must be of particular age, must not be a felon, must pass tests, etc., exact requirements vary from state to state)... but the point is, once the requirements are met the state shall issue, no allowance is given for some administrators personal opinion or bias. "May-issue" allows some administrator (e.g. local sheriff) control over who may or may not get a license, e.g. in New York they routinely deny average citizens, but rich people, movie stars, sports stars, etc. get granted for whatever arbitrary reasons. And "no-issue" is simply that.
So anyways, you can see how over the years the "right to carry" has grown, and correspondingly, violent crime has dropped. Does this correlation equal causation? Not necessarily, but many studies have been done examining this data and evidence is strong.
Or to put it in a simple way, criminals don't like getting shot. :-) There was a burglar arrested in my town last year. He was responsible for about 50 burglaries, but all of small businesses. After he was finally arrested they discovered why: because he knew he was in Texas and that many people in Texas have guns in their homes and he didn't want any part of that.
http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/smart-criminal/
So your guess of laws changed? Yes, in part.
From Todd I. Stark on the post Alpha Male v Predatory Threats
This is a very good concept, and one I've found extremely useful myself as well.
I follow a similar distinction in my thinking, but with a slight variation. I distinguish social violence in general (intra-species basis in social emotions) from predatory violence (coming from inter-species behavior).
My reasoning is that essentially, when our species preys on itself, it is leveraging mechanisms evolved for predator/prey interactions with other species. Bur our species evolved with powerful selective pressure for social interaction, both cooperative within groups and aggressive between groups.
The reason for the difference is that the two types of interaction use different neurobiological mecchanisms, and so the implicit underlying rules that we follow tend to be different.
Predatory violence is what happens when we "dehumanize" someone and treat them purely as a target. All but a very small percentage of us start out with a powerful inhibition against killing another person outright or using them as piece of meat (see Grossman's "On Killing" for the argument). Various kinds of training or indoctrination or social-political forces can conspire to overcome that inhibition.
Most human interaction is not predatory, it is rather social, and both domestic and "alpha male" patterns fit into that category for me. Just because there is an abuse of power and sometimes becomes lethal doesn't make it predatory for me, you have to look more closely at the process leading up to the danger points.
When we train people to kill, we are essentially teaching them to dehumanize their opponent and invoke predator-prey thinking. Some forms of military combatives and "reality" training are based on this principle. According to some, this is presumably neccessary because the other guy is trying to kill us, so we have to fight on his rules. I think a more flexible and human strategy (although more difficult) is to be able to distinguish the types of interaction and train for each accordingly.
It's a matter of making the basic distinction (predator/prey vs. social interaction); and assuming that either we should prepare for the most lethal but least likely type (predator/prey) or the more likely type (social); and then whether taking a predator stance is really the best choice in each case.
The most important heuristic for me is that social violence can generally be deescalated or defused, and predatory violence generally cannot, it can only be avoided, defended, or constrained by force.
The distinction is very similar to arguing with a rational vs. irrational person. In the former case, you present evidence and make arguments and reasonably expect to listen to each other and come to some consensus. In the latter, you set boundaries and establish alternative strategies and focus on the small things where you can be effective, you don't bother trying to argue. However, if you guess wrong in either case, you are going to be less effective.
From Elias who shared an educational account on the same thread,
Hi Adam, I wanted to share a story with you; this happened to me yesterday.
I was on my way home from training, catching a train in a sketchy neighbourhood at 9.30 PM.
As I was descending an escalator, I saw a guy looking at me; I thought it was a little suspicious, but didn't really think anything of it. When I looked again a few seconds later, he was still watching me, so I was pretty sure he marked me.
I'm a 22 year old male, but I'm told I look a few years younger than that. I weigh about 160 lb and am around 5'6. I am short sighted and was wearing my glasses, and I use a schoolbag to carry all my training stuff, which is why I think he marked me.
Anyway, I happened to be going in the opposite direction, so when I saw him switch platforms I figured it was on; he entered the train on the opposite end that I did, but he walked the entire length of the train (I think he did this in order to check I had boarded).
I made absolutely sure I knew where he was sitting and then adjusted my position so I could see his hat; however, when we got to the city he exited the train as fast as he could; I followed him as subtly as I could to make sure he left the station, and then took extra precautions on the rest of my way home, as there are a couple of stations within running distance of the city, on my line.
I believe that this was an attempt at a predatory attack; he thought he had singled out a weak, unaware victim; I think that when he realised that I was aware, he decided to bail.
I couldn't judge whether or not he could fight, but I have been training Krav Maga for a little over two years, and also I was aware enough to notice that he was sketchy.
Do you have any thoughts?
From Ikigai on the post Punch on the Street or Not?
Interesting discussion. Bill Hayes (Shobayashi Shorin Ryu Karate) always says 'hard to soft, soft to hard.' In that he means, use your hard knuckled fist to strike soft vital areas like floating ribs, nose, mouth, and solar plexus. Use your soft surfaces (palm of the hand) to strike hard surfaces like the head and joints.
From BK Price on the same thread,
A recent article in Black Belt Magazine (I think from March 2008, but I could be wrong) discussed the fact that clenching one's fist is a natural, instinctive reaction to the fight/flight reflex. Flexing of the hands, clenching the fists is one of those things that we often see as "pre-fight" indicators and supports this notion.
So whether punching with a fist or not is best may not really be a choice. If you know the fight is coming, sure strike with open hand strikes to the head but if you are caught off guard (as in the majority of actual fights), then you may end up throwing punch anyway.
Blauer teaches in his SPEAR course that its best not to try to resist instinct. Rather, to progress from "primal" to "tactical" in the shortest means possible. This would suggest the same for hand techniques. Instead of trying to resist the urge to punch to the head, it may be better to simply learn how best to punch to the head to minimize potential injuries. You can't necessarily train an instinct out of your system, but you might be able to manage that instinct the best way possible.
Just a thought.
From BossMongo on the same thread,
I agree with Ikigai, and BK beat me to the punch (no pun intended) by bringing up the SPEAR.
One thing I would add, though, is that the line of reasoning that "you will fight as you train" is not thought through to its conclusion. If a boxer's abilities are debilitated by the loss of his gloves, and his chances of injuries are increased, then it is because he is not training as he expects to fight. Don't think anyone can really count on having the time to wrap and tape his fists and then pull his gloves on on the street.
That said, I think that if the fist is trained and conditioned for punching, it is thoroughly functionally sound and reliable. However, most people only ever throw a naked fist "in extremis," and then complain that naked fist punches are dangerous when they break their hand. Spend a thousand hours on a hard makiwara, and I think that you can reasonably claim that your fist is now 1)more dangerous and 2) less susceptible to injury than the boxer who employs his naked fist for the first time on the street.
If the ungloved fist is to be regarded as a primary piece of the fighter's tool box, then training time should incorporate naked fist training and conditioning.
From AFJ on the same thread,
While palm strikes do protect the knuckles from a shattering impact, they bring up the distinct possibility of catching a finger or two and wrenching them violently backwards if you are even slightly off. Even with the fingers curled inwards, any impact above the lower palm and its direct line with the wrist has the potential to cause painful and debilitating injury to the tendons in the area. This isn't to say that palm strikes should be avoided, of course, just that they carry their own risks of personal injury.
As for punching, I believe that one of the better strategies to reduce the risk is to consider Jack Dempsey's style. He wrote that you can punch harder and safer if you target along the ring finger's knuckle. The idea is that the impact here will almost always involve the knuckles of the middle finger and the little finger as well, not the exposed and solitary index knuckle or the middle knuckle alone. It might seem that this would expose the little knuckle which is the weakest, but in practice it's almost hard to end up landing with the pinky alone. While this certainly doesn't eliminate the risk, I believe it reduces it. Further, this feels like a more natural punch for me, allowing a stronger locked wrist.
Of course, the best answer is to always hit just what you aim for...
From Zara on the same thread,
Since our primary focus is self-defense we teach open hands in the form of palmheel strikes to the nose or chin (either straight or rising) and cupped hand strikes to the ears (packs a huge whallop when you put the entire body behind it as you always should with any striking technique). For SD open hands definitely is better than closed fist since you’re far less likely to injure your hand and wrist but it is indeed true much depends on the way you train and perhaps even more so on the fact whether you’re a man or a woman: men almost instinctively clench their fists when there’s trouble and in fighting they will throw punches, whether they’re trained or not. Women tend to favor open hand strikes naturally and it’s much better suited to them since their wrists are generally weaker and their knuckles more fragile. I think boxing is a great art and a very useful skill to have in your SD arsenal but it needs to be modified and turned away from the pure sports-context: the defenses are generally the same (parries are always useful and actually the best way to defend a straight punch) with the exception of the cover that definitely needs to be higher as you recommend (however I wouldn’t go so far as to put the elbows in front of your face since it exposes the entire body and it’ll be a lot more difficult to defend low blows which can be just as damaging as shots to the face, at least when they’re aimed accurately at the solar-plexus and the liver. You should be able to take some punishment on the forearms and if you lean into the incoming blow you’ll greatly lessen the impact. Of course the moment you feel impact on your guard you should automatically respond with a combination of your own otherwise you’ll be acting as a punching-bag and sooner or later you’ll get hit. Personally I don’t favor covering up but in some situations you have no choice and if you don’t have it ingrained into your system you’ll be in serious trouble.
In any case: if you plan on using bare knuckled boxing punches or you know that’s what’s going to come out naturally train for it: do push-ups on your knuckles, strengthen your wrists, do rounds on the heavy bag without taping your hands or even wearing gloves (start lightly, it’s also a good idea to get a lighter, softer bag if you’re going to be doing this regularly) … You’ll immediately feel when your punch is perfectly aligned and this is what’ll break your wrist in a streetfight, when this can happen to a boxing great as Mike Tyson then it definitely can and most likely will happen to you unless you prepare for it. Boxers tend to be very careless in the way they keep their wrists or the exact spot they punch (of course it’s hard to accurately target a moving opponent) since they don’t have to worry about injury as they have a padded surface to strike with and the hands are so taped in they can’t even move an inch.
Here are some excellent posts on the subject that I highly recommend to all boxers or martial artists who are serious about SD:
http://oldstylemuaythai.blogspot.com/2009/10/bareknuckle-boxing-for-beginners.html
http://oldstylemuaythai.blogspot.com/2009/11/bareknuckled-vs-gloved-six-thru-ten.html
Regards,
Zara
From Anon on the post The Best RBSD System
40 hours is about a good length for a program, but few people of "average fitness" will be able to hold up doing consecutive eight-hour days of new and vigorous activity with contact. Five consecutive Saturdays, or a couple evenings per week for a few weeks, would work out better.
1) Active and inactive sections should be alternated. 1.5 full days at the beginning before you get into the real combat stuff isn't the smartest way to go about it. Break it into memorable 1/2 to 1 hour modules which are alternated with the hitting, grip breaks, etc.
2) Dovetailing with the above, "spaced practice" makes for better retention of learned material.
It doesn't take a lot of time to teach the principles of detection, avoidance, deterrence, and defusion. Repetition and application IN SCENARIOS, spread over the course of the training, and linked-in with the combat skills, will reinforce it much better than trying to cram it all in at the beginning.
3) CQC basic movements should be taught before the weapon defence, since the students will draw on some of the movements, such as kneeing the peroneal nerve after acquiring outside-two-on-one on the knife-arm.
4) You're missing multiple-attacker training, ethics, and jurisprudence.
You're on the right track, but you're not going to get a good, working program until you break it down into finer pieces, and figure out how they should be optimally sequenced.
From BK Price on the post Improvised Weapons, Grips and Holds
Weird coincidence, I was just writing up my lesson on improvised lessons this past weekend. This post is very helpful, thanks. If you don't mind, I'd like to use some of your pictures for illustrative purposes. I'll give you full credit and a link to your blog.
When I teach improvised weapons, I teach that there are six (possibly seven) ways to use any object that you come across. My "attention getting step" for my students is: You walk into your house/apartment/room and find someone in the process of burglarizing it. Before you can leave, they turn on you with a knife, you reach out and grab the first "equalizer" you can find, how do you use it?
For offenisve use, I divide the weapons into four categories: Smash, Stab, Strike and Slash. The weapons fall into these categories based on whether they are narrow or wide or if they are long or short. A narrow, long weapon is used to slash at an opponent. A narrow short weapon is used to stab an opponet. A wide, long weapon is used to strike and a narrow, short weapon is used to smash.
I also provide a hierarchy of use for those weapons that can be used for multiple types of attack suggesting that priority should be:
1. Stab
2. Slash
3. Strike
4. Smash
The idea being that you want to use any edge you have to stab or slash because it will cause more damage. Stabbing is more effective than slashing because it typically does more internal damage ("On Killing" discusses this in greater detail as well as why people generally do not like to stab vs. slash). Striking is higher in priority than smashing because you can get more leverage from the swing and because the range can provide you more reactive distance from your opponet.
Defensively, I recommend using objects either as Shields or as Surprises. Shields is pretty self-explanatory, you pick something up that is large enough (or deeep enough) to stop a weapon from being employed against you. Surprises are smaller objects (typically) that can be thrown into an opponent's face to temporarily blind or startle them.
My last catefory is Structure which references the ability to use the environment around you as a weapon by "smashing" your opponent into it. Things like bathroom sinks, resteraunt counter tops, curbs, etc.
I also discuss ways to choose between weapons if you have enough time for that (you're being chased and you get into the kitchen a few seconds before you opponent). Things like "heft," "focus," and "durability."
I've seen towels and ropes recommended as weapons much as you do, but I've never studied a system that uses anything like that, so I have no reference for using it, let alone instructing it. I've trained with nunchucks, of course, but in most cases, they are just "strike" type weapons. You can entagle folks with them as well, but that's never really be a training area for me.
BTW, the 7 S concept is built upon the 4 S method taught by the Modern Combatives Group. I've never trained with them, so while I know they use the same 4 offensive labels that I use here, I don't know anything more than that. I didn't intend for this to be a "six minutes abs is better than 7 minutes abs" sort of thing. I just liked the brief article they had about it and I thought about how I would teach the same concept.
Also, I would recommend Marc "Animal" MacYoung's book on the same topic. Completely different categories and a lot more emphasis on the actual employment techniques.
From John W. Zimmer on the post 11 Key Differences Between Training and the Real Thing
Some of the surprises I've found in real fights were beer on concrete and flip-flops did not mix. In that fight I landed on my butt (slipped on the beer) after the first kick and then got up and used hands the rest of the fight.
I discovered that you fight the way you train. I did lots of point fighting and in some fights I would hit the guy with a back knuckle and then have to do it again (after realizing what the heck I was doing).
I had tunnel vision when I drank too many beers and found I could not do any spinning moves (not that this was a good idea anyway but as I said, you fight the way you train.
Great point about unknown persons... in the bar when I was a bouncer - it was the guy you did not know about that was the danger.
I've always said that you would get into a fight when you were too sick, tired, drunk, injured or such so your training had better get you through...
As far as consequences - I used to have to fight in the pre-cell phone camera era... I would really be worried about one-sided pictures in today’s mindset. One cannot simply disappear to avoid questions and a he said/he said situation. Now everyone has a camera and might actually accuse you as being the aggressor just because you won the fight.
Excellent points in this post.
From Anon on the same thread,
A huge difference, and one that screws up more martial artists than any other I know, is judgment. See, in class you don't usually need to exercise judgment - you don't have to decide if you have the legal ability to throw down, decide when and really have to figure out if the situation is no longer salvageable with words and only violence will resolve things. In class you get ready to spar and the teacher gives the word and it's on.
In the street you have to Observe what's happening, Orient to the threat, Decide what to do and then Act (OODA loop). Rarely does most civilian training introduce and train this process, which leaves the mental wheels turning like a hamster wheel under critical incident stress - spinning for all they're worth but not really going anywhere.
From John W. Zimmer on the post Real Combat is Raw
Interesting - I took this post as injecting a little realism into fighting. Most people that have only gotten into fights in grade school do not really understand for a couple of minutes - anything goes. All conventions of normal society are on hold and your own response to the aggressor is what is important.
If it takes biting, scratching and yes screaming to distract - do it. I've always ended up fighting when I was injured, drunk, or sick so being able to regroup and win is the most important. It would be nice if fighting could be planned and one could pick the probable opponents but this is not the case.
I for one like the fact that you are trying to make people realize that they just might have to come out of their comfort zone if then end up having to defend themselves or family.
Keep up the good posts!
From Boss Mongo on the same thread,
Adam,
I think Anon needs a snack; his blood sugars appear to be getting a little low.
I concur training should start with the worst case scenario and expand from there--to include nonviolently avoiding a confrontation with an agitated musclehead in the Wal Mart parking lot.
In my professional community we start with the LINES training (Linear Infighting Neuro-muscular-overload Engagement System; basically applying as much blunt force as possible in the shortest time possible to the most efficacious locations of the target's body) and then grow from there. I'd posit that the more tactics and techniques with which one becomes proficient and the more nuance and finesse one can apply to a given situation, the further one slides on the scale from "martial" to "artist."
I would submit, though, that your descriptors of the modern battlefield apply to a very narrow dimension of armed conflict, and that the modern battlefield we actually find on the ground is a lot less antiseptic than you--and, unfortunately, a great number of operational planners--seem to think. Both theaters of war are rife with examples of soldiers and marines involved in close, personal combat employing their firearms (as clubs), edged weapons, and field expedient bludgeoning devices.
Enough of this has happened that, while it probably cannot be described as common, it is statistically significant. Enough so that the US Army has revitalized its hand-to-hand training manual and programs. Of particular interest, these situations have validated the need for groundfighting. Of course, groundfighting on a broken/paved surface in full "battle rattle" is a little different than putting on a gi and rolling on a mat. And, too, I have issues with the Army's training program, which is best described as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu meets the Ranger Regiment. Still, a lot of missions require a dirty, dumb grunt to do the job, rather than a pristine, smart bomb.
From IronMongoose on the post Real Case Studies Highlight Most Attacks Occur Between People Who Know Each Other
When Tony Blauer first discovered this little factoid in the 1980's, it was what stimulated him to look into defusion techniques and the whole pre-contact part of his system.
I have always said that if you have the choice between living in a city with high violent crime and one with high property crime, pick the one with high violent crime, because it's relatively unlikely to touch you.
Most heavy-duty violent crime occurs between people in drug distribution, gambling or other criminal activities, or between intimate partners (e.g. spouses), or among people who have been drinking, or in places where people are drinking. It's ridiculously easy to avoid.
Of course, there are limits. Those cities with ridiculously high violent crime are those where lots of people are mugging or raping strangers... that's exactly the sort of thing you want to avoid.
From progressivedefence on the post Senshido's Shredder
Hi mate,
Just to provide an explanation of the sometimes cryptic claim that the Shredder "bypasses the flinch response", it isn't because the Shredder is so quick or non-telegraphic, it is because of the feral nature and constant momentum.
Allow me to explain. If I am to strike you on the half beat (for example, with a jab-cross combo,) even if I manage to get the jab off non-telegraphically and you don't flinch, you are instinctively going to flinch and/or cover the same target before the cross arrives. This is why a jab-bodyshot combo will hit more often than a jab-cross.
Now, when we shred we attack something ferociously, say a hammerfist to the nose. Now since we're moving on the quarter beat, as you flinch away from that strike I've already grabbed your ear and ripped it. As you flinch away from that my hand is at your throat, or your hair, or I'm kneed your thigh, or struck your groin, or spat in your face. You see, by constantly applying the principle of "closest weapon to closest target" in tandem with non-telegraphy, I 'bypass' your flinch mechanism by staying one step ahead of it. This is what makes the Shredder so devastatingly effective. The nervous system is completely overwhelmed and feels like it is being attacked from all angles. As such, the most common reaction is for the person to go fetal - our most primitive defensive structure.
I'm happy to expand further, but hopefully that helps.
Joe Saunders
Senshido International
From IronMongoose on the post Grappling When Weapons May Be Involved
You are exactly right when you say that we need to train grappling against an armed attacker NOT because we'd choose to go to the ground with them, but because it CAN happen.
The same reasoning that says "don't train against an armed assailant on the ground" would also, logically, say, "why train for self-defence AT ALL?" No one WANTS to be attacked... you should always avoid or defuse. Don't let it go physical, and don't bother training for the possibility of it going physical.
Of course, that's absurd. ALL training is contingency training. Winding up on the ground with an armed assailant is one very significant contingency that needs to be addressed.
It is NOT advantageous to be on the ground with the attacker. Yes, you can bring him to the ground with a controlled takedown--that is a different issue entirely. An actual groundfight or grappling match with a knife means all body parts are in close proximity to all others, which means more opportunities for holes in your body. It also means that you forfeit the possibility of stunning and running. This being the street, all the other disadvantages of being on the ground are in play: hazards on the ground surface, the risk of multiple assailants coming into play, etc. etc.
One option that presents itself more on the ground than standing, is to smash and grind the bad guy's hand against the ground surface as a disarm. (Standing, the concept can also be used with walls and objects.) This surely isn't a REASON to WANT to go to the ground with an armed attacker, but it's an option that should be trained.
Tony Blauer had a vid on weapons defense on the ground. He kept going for a modified mount where his shin pinned the bicep of the knife-bearing limb.
SouthNarc has an interesting clip on Youtube where he modifies omaplata and gogoplata to address weapons scenarios: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeX1PyKKuYk
Go for an improvised weapon? NO NO NO NO. Everything has to be thought of in terms of time and space--white space, reactionary gap, reaction time, whatever. If you and the guy are in clinch range and the guy has his hand on a knife, priority is to control that knife/hand. Now is not the time to be thinking, "Hmm, well there's a pen in my chest pocket... if I switch to scarf hold I'll be able to pull it ou--"
That knife is going into you NOW.
Remember the Tueller Drill? Now how many feet apart are you when you're in a wrestling match?
That's right--ZERO.
From Bob on the same thread,
Back in the prison days we were strongly discouraged from spending too much time on the ground in a one-on-one situation. This because an inmate's pal could attack you while you are busy grappling.
That having been noted, I can remember at least a dozen times where 3-5 officers wrestled with an inmate on the ground who had an improvised weapon. In fact part of our PPCT training covered motor nerve strikes that were employed in a group setting to get the inmate to let go of the weapon. Big difference here is that it was 3-5 wrestling an armed inmate vs. one-on-one on the street.
The street has different variables than prison. However, it seems logical that self-defense should cover some basics about wrestling one-on-one with a knife-wielder.
Our interactions on my blog and my current class have got me thinking about grappling and weapons. So far I have not found the ideal system. Some seem to come at it from an unrealistic stand-up perspective while others come at it from an unrealistic ground fighting perspective.
The truth has to be in the middle -- right? If you or any of your readers is aware of a "system" that does a good job of balancing striking, grappling, and weapons defense I'd love to hear about it.
So far Krav Maga has risen to the top of my list - though I'm not sure if they cover weapons on the ground.
How good are these comments? Very insightful. Again I would like to shout out a big thank you to all of the subscribers and readers who have left comments here and added to the topics being discussed. Let's keep things going into 2011. I look forward to hearing from you all in the future.

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