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Messages - David

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Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: August 05, 2009, 01:06:17 AM »
I disagree with the majority of that last post...

This is hilarious. Not because Maxx got stabbed, but because all this money is spent on vids, gear, special knives...seminars, $1000 training weekends,competitions...and YOU CAN"T USE IT.

Maxx did use his training.  Without it, he might have ended up on the bottom getting stabbed in the neck.

Had Maxx pulled his knife and stabbed him, probably killing him, the the guy who spent years learning how to defend himself now
gets to try it in prison.

And?  He didn't, because he knows better.

But, the situation gets hyper-analyzed and we supposedly all learn something from it. "this is what I would've done..." and so forth. So it's all
just for information purposes only I guess.

I don't think ANYONE on this forum has said "this is what I would've done".  No one knows exactly what they would have done.  But situations like this can help people to see what they should be training, and they can certainly learn from it.  I posted two lessons that should be taken from this, IMHO:

1.  Focus on techniques that will disable due to physical factors (not pain)
2.  Use triangular footwork to stay standing, and get out fast

MANY people have used their training to defend themselves in a range of situations from less to far more severe.  Just because Maxx got stabbed doesn't mean his training failed, or that discussing it is "for information purposes only". 

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: August 03, 2009, 11:56:19 PM »
I hope some people don't think that if I had remembered it was there I would have pulled it.

That certainly wasn't what I was implying, or trying to imply!

Now I would like to ask..If you don't feel it when you get stabbed why is it that we or someone of us carry a knife?

This is actually the reason I started this thread in June of last year.  My reason #4 for not considering a knife a good SELF-DEFENSE weapon was "lack of impact/feeling".  I personally think a knife will do extreme damage, but with nearly no fight stopping affect...unless you stab your opponent in the eye, kill them, or sever some tendon/ligament that stops their ability to move a certain body part.  I'd much prefer a hard impact weapon that will break bone, but not necessarily kill or disfigure a person unintentionally.  I'd even prefer a very bright flashlight at night. 

Granted a light or impact weapon wouldn't be as useful on the ground...  But again in that situation, as with vs. a gun threat, I'd rather have both hands free.

Maxx, you were beating this guy from the mount, and he was still able to get out a pen and stab you in the leg.  Consider the reverse:  What if you (or any person) had been mounted by an attacker and were getting beaten (or much worse, stabbed!).  Would it be better to use BJJ skills to control your opponent's body/hands, or to pull a knife and start stabbing?  I submit that using empty hand skills would be far better from a self-defense perspective.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: August 03, 2009, 12:56:26 AM »
Thanks for posting about your experience Maxx.  It's very similar to what I've heard and experienced myself, and again one of the reasons I prefer impact weapons to a knife.  I know several people who have been stabbed, and none of them realized it until after the altercation was over.  I was also with a friend when he was shot through the hand.  We didn't even realize he had been shot until we ran a couple of blocks and which point he passed out.  :x

Aside from a person likely not feeling pain during an altercation, your experience reemphasizes two training/fighting points for me:

1.  Focus on techniques that will disable due to physical factors (not pain)
2.  Use triangular footwork to stay standing, and get out fast

I love Pekiti/FMA training more than anything else, primarily due to the emphasis on triangular footwork and blades.  In boxing, it's fine to block a low blow with your arms (or elbow ideally).  It's no problem to move straight back with a cover, and then straight in with a return, etc.  If two fighters have machetes though, the dynamic drastically changes.  You're not going to be blocking a machete by covering your head with your arm, as you might deal with a hook.  Against a machete you better have damn good footwork.  You need to get the hell out of the way when an attack is coming in.  And if you're on the attack, you need to get in in such a way that you're certain the opponent is unable to continue, or you need to get in and get out, FAST.

I think this has real applications in self-defense, but less so in sport training.  In self defense you can use triangular footwork with a finger in the eye.  I've done this to others and had it done to me, and it works extraordinarily well.  You can't zone back and away on a forward/male triangle and hit the person in front of you with a hard punch.  Because you're moving away it's just not going to have enough power to do anything.  But you can certainly do the same evasive movement with a simultaneous eye jab.  You can use the eye jab equally well with a deep evasion on a reverse triangle, on the way to a fast exit.  This technique, the eye jab with evasive triangular footwork, follows BOTH of the principles above...disabling a person physically and using footwork to stay standing/get out. 

If there is no room to step OFF the X, then you might need to step INTO it.  I like what I call the "smack and hack" for this, stepping into the opponent via a forward/male triangle.  I believe Crafty calls this technique a "bracial stun".  I call that a "hack", and proceed it with what is basically a pak sao...smacking the opponent's arm on the entry making it nearly impossible to block.  If the hack doesn't drop the opponent you can immediately transition to a "head and arm control" via an underhook/kimura type position with a face push, or an underhook to a duck under and take the back.  I prefer the "head and arm control", because the opponent cannot reach you with his far hand, and you can repeatedly knee his face, puter kepala, etc., etc. 

Those are just two examples of combining techniques with footwork that do not rely on pain to disable the attacker, and getting out right away if possible.  I think your situation Maxx highlights the necessity of a couple of "default responses" that are HEAVILY ingrained, vs. 100 different options.  And, I think those default responses need to be based on the above two principles.

You said you had a folder at the time but didn't even realize it was there.  This most certainly highlights the reason everyone must train empty hands first.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid
« on: July 02, 2008, 01:35:18 PM »

Yes.  I taught private classes and a few small groups full time for nearly 10 years, until Katrina, and part time for years before that.  I never had less than 20 hours of training a week.  Unfortunately, now I only practice alone a couple of hours a week, occasionally practicing with my wife and a "student" here in Vienna.  I'm hoping to increase practice again, but now that I'm not doing it for a living it's more difficult.  It's also difficult not being in any one place for more than 6 months...and here and there at that.  My additional problem is that the schools here either focus on MMA or traditional styles.  I don't have anything against either, but I always trained/taught with a self-defense emphasis...similar to JKDU from what I understand.  I'm on the verge of having a couple of regular guys here though, so that will be good.  Why do you ask?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: July 01, 2008, 12:41:56 PM »
Awesome video!  I saw the first one in 2006 and loved it too.

One of my "goals" has always been to get paid to travel in some way.  Working on the web is the closest thing I've found so far...

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 30, 2008, 11:55:12 PM »
Karsk: Interesting observations/connections you're considering. 

GM: I think you're likely to be right regarding the prison, but possibly people who are split up will be a bit less brazen. 

I've become more and more pessimistic over my years.  I think people have equal potential for violence and kindness, especially males.  Just take a look at history.  There are places in time where things are nice, but they never stay that way it seems.  Many people from cultures such as in the US think that "morals" or "right and wrong" are innate.  I disagree.  I think they're learned.  Look at the relatively recent practice of head hunting by tribes in Borneo.  These people would chop the heads off neighboring tribes for nearly every event.  A male had to present a head when he was married, for celebrations, etc.  I was told one method they used was to light fire to a neighboring longhouses and chop the heads off of the people running, women, and children.  Obviously, these people used to not have the same sense of "right and wrong" that we do in the West.  Think about the Holocaust.  Most people can be lead to do anything, through ideology or even misinformation...Iraq.

In general, I find people to be a pretty rotten bunch.  Most don't think about what they've been brought up to believe; they don't REALLY question their beliefs and the validity of them.  Think of the concept of "faith" that pervades many cultures, including ours...a "belief" that must be held even if contrary evidence is introduced.  Anything that goes against the "faith" must be ignored or ridiculed, but never truly considered.  No doubt "tribes" will continue to kill each other over beliefs, struggle for resources, etc.  AND, I guess as Karsk points out, even neighbors can be considered mini-tribes. 

I agree that the mingling of tribes can help the different members to see their similarity, but also their differences.  And inevitably, even in a group of similar people, differences will emerge and new groups will be formed.  In the end, I come back to the fact that people are not only friendly, but also violent...ignorant, and violent...a bad combination. 

So, do you get involved or not?  Is getting involved really going to change the big picture if people are going to kill each other anyway?  Or is it worth it for certain particular situations?  I still feel that helping others without risking your life is "right".  Maybe that's just the way I was raised.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid
« on: June 30, 2008, 09:20:26 AM »
Peregrine: The reason I first began training myself, and teaching, was primarily for self-defense.  Over time I enjoyed training so much, that although I felt I could defend myself and didn't need to teach and practice as much as I did, I liked it, and it was healthy.  Now that I'm no longer living in New Orleans, or in a dangerous area, I practice for enjoyment. 

Watching the video GM just posted though does take me back to the kinds of people I lived around in New Orleans.  On one occasion I watched a neighbor shoot at his uncle (who was younger than himself...17 and 18 I think), over a silly argument that had just sprung up.  Shortly after, they were together again.  As the video demonstrates, many of these people have no regard for life at all.  I remember when the brother of the kid who was shot at was murdered.  He was shot and then set on fire in his car.  I told him I was sorry his brother had been killed, and he reacted as if he couldn't care less.  Amazing. 

I think Crafty was right in pointing out that my position is more that you shouldn't NEED to carry.  If you should, then you should.  I certainly have no problem with that.  I'm very fortunate that I don't at the moment...

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 30, 2008, 08:46:34 AM »
GM: Very good points.  I agree.

JDN: The Austrian police are very efficient.  However, the woman was screaming.  In a situation in which I feel there is a VERY small chance of me being injured, I would not allow a man to beat a woman if I can help it.  I'm not saying I would have gone in and beat the man.  But, his back door was open and he was in the back room.  At least going into his yard and making him aware that I was there might stop him.  If not, then I'd have to go from there.

Yes, generally I would only get involved if I felt my risks were minimal.  My family is more important than a neighbor or stranger, so I'm not going to risk my life for someone less important to me.  I was once in a hill tribe market in North Vietnam where a man was brutally beating a woman in front of a crowd.  Although I hated to see it, I wasn't going to risk my life or risk going to jail there.

Regarding my in-laws...they SAID that they would not allow the man to beat his wife, yet they not only didn't look to see what was going on when they heard her yelling, but also didn't call the police.  I think this happens many times...people THINK something shouldn't happen, yet they do nothing about it.  My point in bringing them up was not that they're bad people, but that no one else is going to act if you don't.

Regarding the "sex slave" issue: I have met the couple.  I'm not sure why you assumed I hadn't.  I'm married to a foreigner, so obviously I have no problem with that, or language barriers.  It's the particular couple; not language or economics specifically.  I don't think the woman is actually a slave against her will, but I think the man picked up the woman in Thailand without knowing her, to marry her for her "services", home services and sexual.  I base that on my and my in-laws knowledge and observation of this couple.  There's also something wrong with you if you go to Thailand not knowing anyone there, and then come back with a wife two weeks later who you share no common language least to me there is.  You can't know someone who you cannot speak to, in two weeks time, at least not NEARLY enough to know you want to be with them for the rest of your life.  Either you're very immature, or you have other intentions.  (Not you JDN; I mean in general.)  With this understanding I thought the man COULD be abusing the woman, and that the situation COULD be serious.  Without confronting them I wouldn't have known.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 30, 2008, 06:06:16 AM »
GM, I understand what you're saying, but that would mean no one would help anyone but their own families.  Calling the cops is very often too late for the victim.  I think your position is valuable, but a bit extreme.  I think there's a middle ground.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 30, 2008, 05:28:24 AM »

That's another horrible story you referenced, and in such a case I don't think I'd risk getting involved.  I've got my own family, and I'm not going to attack someone who has a gun and risk being killed or put in prison myself.  I do think it's important to consider what you might be getting involved in before getting involved.  In the case I brought up here in Vienna, my risk would have been minimal. 

I agree with your point that if we do not do something when faced with such a situation, how can our community improve. 

Looking back, I know there were times I intervened in situations where it probably was a bad idea.  Fortunately things turned out for the best.  The problem I have with calling the police though, is that they often don't arrive in time.  Additionally, in New Orleans I've called on a situation down the block and had police come straight to my door first...without me giving them my address.  From that point on I always called from a cell, hoping that would stop them from seeing my address.  Anyway, this thread is great food for thought.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 29, 2008, 11:36:32 PM »

You wrote: ""Mail order" young Thai wife?  And that means???"

The guy speaks German, and his "wife" does not.  She speaks Thai.  They can barely communicate.  When you go to Thailand and return with a wife who doesn't speak your language, you've got issues.  Do I need to expand on this?

I completely disagree with your idea that nothing should be done.  The police arrive AFTER you call them.  A lot can happen in that amount of time.  I'm not about to sit by while some big ass hole beats up what basically amounts to his "sex slave".  I'm from NOLA, but am currently in Vienna, Austria.  First, the chances of this guy having a gun are slim to none here.  Second, the reason we could hear them was because his back door was wide open.  I understand that there is a risk associated with intervening in a domestic situation (and in New Orleans I probably wouldn't do so in another person's home unless the situation seemed dire and I had a weapon), but if I know that a woman is being beaten and there is something I can do about it, I'm going to do it.  I'll leave calling the police to you.  The last time I called the police in New Orleans, for a shooting, they didn't answer 911 the first 4 times I called, called me back later (caller ID), and showed up 20 minutes after that when the shooters where long gone.

If neighbors don't put up with a man beating his wife, it's going to be a heck of a lot more difficult for him to do so.  The fact that most people do nothing in such situations allow the perpetrators of such acts to continue them.

PS.  I have no problems with Asians or anyone else for that matter.  I spend part of every year in S.E. Asia.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 29, 2008, 06:13:05 AM »
Jonobos, did you read Grizzly's post?

As I mentioned, I think NOT getting involved may very well be the best thing to do for your own safety.  Maybe avoiding trouble is a good practice for "self preservation".  On the other hand, I'm not advocating not getting involved.  I think that in most situations, morally, it's best to help when you can.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done?
« on: June 24, 2008, 03:06:25 AM »
Horrible.  It's amazing that people can witness this and not do anything to stop it, but I do think it's "normal".  I had a couple of psychology classes in college and remember this "phenomenon" actually has a name that escapes me at the moment.  I think one lesson to be learned is that you cannot rely upon anyone to help you if you're ever being attacked yourself. 

On a related but very less intense note...this weekend I was having dinner at my in-law's house.  We were eating out on the back patio and started hearing a woman screaming.  At first it sounded as if she could have been playing, as if being tickled too severely, but then it started to sound like she was in pain.  We recognized that it was coming from the house next door, where a man lives with what we think is a "mail order", young Thai wife.  My wife and I got up and quickly went to where we could see the house, and just as I was going to jump the fence, the woman stopped screaming and the man appeared, pulling up his pants.  However, he looked very relaxed and not at all like he was involved in a physical confrontation or abusive moment in any way.  He looked a bit embarrassed and said sorry, they were just playing around.  Then a moment later the woman came out and looked as if nothing was wrong, said hello, etc.  These people are very strange.  They have no curtains, and you can see that they watch porn at all hours of the day, from the time they get up until the time they go to bed.

What struck me about the situation though was that if myself and my wife would not have gotten up to see what was going on, my in-law's would not have.  When we came back to the table my in-laws said they had heard the woman screaming before, and had also heard the couple arguing, yelling, etc, but that it was "their problem".  I said, yeah, but you can't allow someone to get abused without doing anything, and my father-in-law said, "of course not", totally agreeing with my statement.  However, although he would verbally say you can't allow abuse to occur, he didn't get up to see what was going on.  I find this to be strange and a bit disconcerting.

I've noticed similar situations in New Orleans, where I'd stop a man from abusing a woman...very often drunk...and other people would be standing around doing nothing.  While I think it's horrible to stand by and do nothing, I do think it appears to be quite the normal human instinct.  Maybe it's a Darwinian survival mechanism...the weak are allowed to die, and you increase your chances of survival by staying out of trouble.  Really, I think the lesson to be learned is that if you don't act, no one will, and not to expect help yourself.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 19, 2008, 08:29:58 AM »
I's a much better title Crafty came up with...

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid
« on: June 19, 2008, 08:28:17 AM »
Probably so.

DO you need to carry is another question that I also think is worth consideration, along with WHAT you carry if you choose to.  That was the point of the knife thread.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid
« on: June 19, 2008, 01:31:35 AM »

I do not equate being prepared with being unhappy or unfulfilled at all.  I consider myself prepared, yet also happy and fulfilled.  I also don't necessarily equate carrying a weapon with being "unhappy" or "unfulfilled".  At this point in my life I generally do not carry a weapon...nearly never when I'm outside of the US.  But when I did carry in the past I was certainly still happy, etc.  There will certainly be times when I carry again, and I'm sure I'll be happy then too.

However, I do feel "better" not carrying a weapon.  Having a weapon does suggest the possibility of having to use it, and you do need to be aware of your weapon.  My decision to stop carrying coincided with the aftermath of Katrina when New Orleans became a very safe place for a short period.  Although this period was terrible due to the physical situation in the city, it was also nice as we spent evening after evening out on the street talking to the few people who were back in the first few months.  I started carrying again as the crime worsened.  You may be right to some is possible that my association with carrying a weapon and "discomfort" is related to those circumstances...the fact that whenever I carried I did so because there was a significant chance of being involved in some crime.  When alone, this was not nearly as uncomfortable as when I was with my wife.

You ask, regarding my feeling about weapons/preparedness: "Is it because you chose to carry a firearm based on your fear of your previous experience?"  (I deleted the comments in the first post because I thought they related too much to the knife thread, and were a bit long for someone coming to this thread straight away.)  I had many, many "experiences" with crime in New Orleans.  I wouldn't say that I personally "feared" it, but the more I traveled to very safe places, the more I liked not having to be prepared in the way I was in N.O., 24/7.  In the time I lived there, there were 2 shootings directly in front of my last house, 1 in front of another I lived in.  My wife and I would hear gunshots probably every other night, whenever we didn't have the AC on.  We'd hear automatic weapon fire probably once a month.  Often you could guess who won and who lost.  We had bullet holes in our roof on two occasions, we found shotgun shells in our backyard, there were several fights in front of our house, shootings down the street, a brothel two blocks away for a while, etc., etc...not to mention the bank robbery I wrote about and other family members being sister was forced naked and robbed at gunpoint in her apartment, my mom was beaten and carjacked, etc.  I could go on and on.  My wife and I were prepared.  I carried weapons; I had several stashed around the house; we had motion sensor lights, a motion activated camera, burglar bars, an alarm, and a dog.  I wouldn't say I was in "fear", exactly because I was prepared.  I was also happy.  But, I must say that the crime and being prepared to prevent/deal with it put a filter in front of all else. 

I hadn't thought about it that much to be honest with you.  Like I said, I definitely don't associate being prepared with being unhappy, but there is a connection for me between carrying a weapon and being in an unsafe environment.  Possibly that is why I feel "nicer" not carrying a weapon.  I know this is hypothetical since everyone can't get up and move...but doesn't carrying a weapon suggest the possibility of attack?  Would you not feel better living in a place where the odds are extraordinarily high that you will never be attacked?  I certainly do...not even so much for myself but for my family.

Other points:  I'm not sure what you mean by "meat eaters" carrying.  I only know two vegetarians...most meat eaters I know do not carry.

I don't know how many people I've trained who were "on the ground", but there were several.  I carried more than anyone I taught, and the military guys with the exception of two who were cops, didn't carry. 

Finally, I didn't mean to suggest that you are not happy or fulfilled...but that you might feel a bit better if you didn't carry, or better put, if you didn't NEED to carry.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Relaxed vs. Prepared
« on: June 16, 2008, 07:51:12 AM »

I lived in New Orleans up until the beginning of 2007.  In New Orleans I lived in a "decent" area, but like many areas in N.O. there were a great deal of very bad areas just a few blocks away.  I lost my MA business due to Katrina, but tried to stay in the city nonetheless.  For the first 6 months there was nearly no crime...but also nearly no electricity or phone, etc..  Anyway, about a year after the crime got very bad.  There were two shootings in front of my house in the last few months I lived there.  My wife and I sold our house and don't live anywhere now for more than 6 months.  We spend a bit less than half the year in Vienna, Austria (where she's from) some time in other EU countries, some time in S.E. Asia, and some time back in New Orleans.  Why do you ask?


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Relaxed vs. Prepared
« on: June 16, 2008, 01:13:22 AM »
The chances of facing a serious assault are extremely low if you avoid doing stupid things with stupid people in stupid places, as Crafty has stated previously.  I very much agree with Tony about the rarity of "truly spontaneous crime".  Basic awareness and maintaining a safe distance will also take care of a great deal.  Additionally, I feel that de-escalating situations, or not allowing them to escalate in the first place, with kindness, goes a long way.  At least for a man, I largely disagree with yelling "get away", "back off", etc.  Many aggressive people will see this as an opportunity to escalate the situation...seeing that you are also somewhat aggressive.  I think this ties in to Tony saying:

Funny thing is that these people because of their paranoia tend to attract the very things they claim to be trying to avoid.

In my experience, trusting your senses (being naturally aware and open to your instincts) while at the same time having a relaxed and friendly attitude, will deflect many potentially aggressive situations.  I've also met my share of "out of balance people", and I do agree that their attitude helps to attract trouble.

I lead a relaxed and happy life by not obsessing about being attacked, imagining that I might walk into a mall shooting, a terrorist attack, etc.  If I do find myself in such a situation, the best bet is to escape anyway.  If I can't escape, the secondary benefit of my training will kick in.  The primary benefit is health and enjoyment.

Maija, from what I've read about Maestro Sonny Umpad, he sounds like a relaxed and nice guy.  I think that's very important in training and I agree with you that the way you train can/will have a large effect on your life.  I came in contact with hundreds of people when I was teaching full time, from all different walks of life and previous training experience.  I had the "kung fu types" (no disrespect to "kung fu") with the long hair and Chinese outfits, to the camo wearing terrorist fighter types, and everything in between.  The funny thing to me about the later is that they were always so much more gung ho than the real military people I taught.  I've taught a number of guys from various branches of the military, and not a single one of them carried a weapon or obsessed about being attacked, etc.  It was always the civilians or private contractors who were completely over the top.  Especially when you train with weapons, I think it's very important to have a training environment that's not too serious. 

Peregrine:  No disrespect here...but it is also my right to carry a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, etc., yet I don't do so.  Probably, you're more likely to need a first aid kit or fire extinguisher than 3 knives.  I can't see how it's your "duty" to your family to carry weapons, but not a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, rope, etc.  I also know the impact of criminal elements being around as a child, and I don't feel they're good...good meaning that they're more likely to lead a person toward happiness.  I wonder how much NICER it would be for you and your family if you didn't have a "fixed knife deployable in it's target in less than a second".  (I used to carry a gun, knife, baton, and pepper spray, so I know where you may be coming from.  I feel far better now carrying no weapons.  Maybe you would too.  Maybe not.)


Martial Arts Topics / Being Prepared without Being Paranoid
« on: June 15, 2008, 01:58:34 AM »
(Woof All:  I've renamed the thread with what I think is a better name)

This thread is the continuation of a tangent from the Knife for Self Defense thread:

Maija wrote: I think it is an interesting balance you talk about between expecting danger at any moment, and not thinking it will ever happen .... how do you live a relaxed and happy life and at the same time keep prepared for the unexpected?

Edited: I've removed my first comments here since they had too much to do with the previous thread.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 15, 2008, 01:08:41 AM »
Maija: Our favorite place to travel is S.E. Asia, and it was there that I was speaking of.  My wife has a photography website that currently has pictures from trips to Vietnam and Laos.  We're going to add pictures from Malaysia in the next couple of days.  You might enjoy them.

One of my favorite photos is of Ama Kong.  Hopefully he's still around...a famous tribal leader known for catching elephants to be domesticated near the border with Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Crafty: I'll take a stab at the "relaxed vs. prepared" thread.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 14, 2008, 09:34:21 AM »

I just checked out the "karambit vs. straight blade" thread.  Yep.  Good points there also.

I understand what you're saying about a blade leveling the playing field more so than many other weapons.  I would be more a bit more likely to try to enter on a stick versus a blade myself.  Certainly, knife does have some advantages over stick.  For me, at this point in my life, I'd prefer an expandable baton. 

Years ago I carried a gun (with a CC permit), an expandable baton, and a knife.  I carried all that for at least two years, and fortunately I never had to use any of it.  My wife and I like to travel, and when we'd go on vacation, generally for a month at a time, I didn't carry any weapons.  The places we went were far safer than where we lived.  I felt so much freer when I didn't carry a weapon.  I'd get home, not carry for a few days, see some funky characters or hear about another robbery/shooting, and start carrying again.  After hurricane Katrina there were nearly no people in the city for a good 6 months.  During that time I didn't carry any weapons.  It was incredibly safe in the city at that time.  I got used to it and liked it very much.  A year or so after the storm the crime in our neighborhood increased astronomically, so we left the country.

Although I love martial arts, and I love training both stick and knife (Pekiti is probably what I like training most), I really like sitting down and enjoying a piece of cake and a cup of coffee without thinking about where my gun is.  I'm not turned off by blood or anything like that, but I don't like the idea of cutting someone open.  Sure, I'd prefer that to someone cutting me open!  Anyway, I like the FEELING of knowing I can crack someone in the shin, knee, or hand with a stick more than cutting them. 

So aside from my own feeling that I can maintain distance and get less involved (potentially) with a baton or even pepper spray, I like the feeling of not carrying a knife.  If I had no choice but to go somewhere that was very dangerous, I'd carry whatever I needed to.  I'm not opposed to that in any way.  But for everyday life I just don't feel like I need to pretend I'm some kind of super hero...I carry nothing with rare exceptions.  I guess it all boils down to your environment, your skills, and what you feel comfortable with.  Anyway, good discussion.

I also just checked out the Donnie yen clip...Youtube is great!


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 14, 2008, 04:36:24 AM »

Text is often a bad medium for discussion...  I agree with everything you wrote.  Most certainly "the person with the better ability and will to close gains a much bigger advantage, regardless of weapon", and of course I agree with you that controlling the weapon hand is not easy to pull off. 

I'm not actually thinking of any scenario.  I'm asking in general what you and anyone else might think of other weapons being better suited for self defense, based on what I see as 4 primary downsides of the knife relative to other possibilities:

1.  Justifiable use
2.  RELATIVE lack of ability to injure to degree
3.  Range requirements
4.  Lack of impact/feeling

Just a couple of clarifications...  I do not think the blade is ONLY good for lethal use.  However, a blunt object is easier to use to injure to degree.  There is less chance of accidental death with a blunt object than with a blade. 

A blade CAN have psychological effects, but so too can alternative weapons.  Again, I'm not thinking of any particular scenario.  What I am thinking about and looking to discuss if anyone would like to, is if other weapons MAY be better suited for self defense.

Regarding someone who is crazy/drunk/high coming at you: I don't know you  :-), what you look like, your size, etc.  Having lived in New Orleans most of my life, in the French Quarter for years, I've seen my share of crazy/drunk/high people.  Many of them are only a threat when "drugged", and not people I would want to kill on purpose or by accident if attacked by them.  I feel comfortable just going on defense, clinching and choking, striking, even beating with a baton.  I would NOT feel comfortable cutting one of these people up with a knife.  (Not saying you would either!) 

I know there's a lot of talk around here and/or on related forums about terrorists, bad guys, etc.  But honestly, how many of us are EVER going to run into a terrorist attack in progress?  How many of us are ever going to have to pull any weapon to defend ourselves if we're not, as Crafty said "in stupid places with stupid people doing stupid things"?  I've seen my share of crime.  I've had multiple shootings directly in front of my previous houses, been in a small bank with four guys who came in and shot at a teller, stopped a number of violent encounters I've happened upon, etc., etc.  However, I've never been in a situation where the use of a knife was justified or practical.  In all the situations I've been in I've never pulled a weapon, and doing so would have likely only made the situation worse.  Maybe some of you have other experiences.  Based on my experiences though, I see other weapons as being better suited for self-defense.  In situations where I'd need a truly deadly weapon, I'd prefer a gun.  In situations where I don't need deadly force I'd prefer a blunt object.  I see the knife as a great offensive weapon, but not the best defensive weapon, given the alternatives.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 13, 2008, 11:45:51 AM »
Jonobos, Max,

I agree with you guys.  Avoiding trouble is by far the best bet. 

I do think though that stick/baton vs. knife is safer than knife vs. knife.  With evasive triangular footwork and a metal baton you can do some serious damage.  It's one thing to train padded stick or rattan stick with gear vs. a fake knife...but I doubt there are too many people who would want to go against a metal baton with a knife.  I don't want to face a knife with anything, but my question was, is a knife the best self defense weapon?  You can't justifiably use it against an empty hand attacker, you can't injure to degree, and it's debatable as to weather it would be better than empty hands vs. a gun threat, etc. 

Additionally, while I do think the odds are bad, I feel that against a large number of people techniques such as the Dog Catcher can work with a good degree of success.  Again...not saying I'd like to try it for real...but I've had a great deal of success in training similar methods.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:46:08 AM »
The point I was originally trying to discuss was whether other weapons were "better" than a knife for self defense...not that a knife is not effective in any case.

Maija: I completely agree that when confronted with a knife, running, a much longer knife (machete), a longer impact weapon, or even a handful of rocks would be better than empty hands.  All of these options give you distance.  That's what I want against the knife.

And, as I said previously, in all honesty I probably would rather go knife vs. knife than empty hand vs. knife.  The problem I have with knife vs. knife is that I'll likely need to get in close to avoid a cutting contest.  In close range against a knife, if I'm using a knife myself, I won't have quite as much ability to control the opponent's weapon bearing limb as I would had I no knife.  Without complete control of the opponent's weapon/limb at close range, I figure it's a bit more likely you'll get cut up.  (I'm not saying complete control would be easy with no weapon...just that it's even harder with one.)  Do you see what I'm saying?  I will concede that against a very skillful opponent with a knife, it would be better to also have a knife.

Michael: In some ways I agree that a knife is more dangerous than a gun at close range.  The problem I have with a knife though is that it often doesn't kill/knock out instantly.  Against a gun I'd rather have both hands free for a quick strip if the situation permits, or a strong control combined with techniques that I feel have a greater chance of making the attacker unconscious, quicker.  I feel that accessing a knife takes time and focus that would be better spent dealing immediately with the threat. 

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 12, 2008, 11:30:08 AM »

No, I don't live in CA.  I'm from New Orleans but am a bit of nomad recently. 

So what kind of weapon would you use your karambit against?  My feeling is that vs. a gun at close range it would be better to have both hands free.  This may sound crazy, but even against a knife I generally prefer empty hands over knife.  I've trained a good bit of Pekiti, but I feel that in knife vs. knife you lose the total control you have with empty hand vs. knife.  Sure, you can do more damage with a knife, but you may sustain as much yourself.  And, vs. a stick...a knife will only help once I'm in...and at that point I don't need one. 

I can see that you/I/anyone could finish the job quicker in knife vs. knife compared to knife vs. empty hand.  If honestly faced with a knife wielding attacker I may actually like to have a knife.  BUT, it would be close.  I don't want to go anything against knife of course.  Am I making any sense here?

Edited: I just noticed the thread on the Tokyo knife attack but didn't see it discussed anywhere else.  Regarding Crafty's statement about the lack of armed resistance...I would change "armed" to "prepared".  You don't need to be armed to stop someone like this.  Going along with my original point in this discussion, would it be easier to grab the "Tokyo knifer's" face from behind and quickly break his neck, or slash his throat.  Again, my feeling is that if you can get behind him you can kill him faster by simply breaking his neck.  If you approach him from the front...without full control of his weapon arm (maybe a two-on-one via the Dog Catcher) feeling is that you may take some cuts while delivering your own. 


Martial Arts Topics / Knife for Self Defense
« on: June 12, 2008, 07:36:30 AM »
I've just written a post on my blog regarding the use of a knife for self defense in response to a thread on FMATalk, and my preference for blunt weapons instead.  Since you guys are very realistic minded I'd like to get your perspective.  Rather than re-write the reasons, the post is here: Knife for Self Defense

My preference, as mentioned, is an expandable baton.  Do any of you carry unconventional self defense weapons that can function as a stick where expandable batons are illegal?  I've noticed the self defense umbrella on the DB site.  Have any of you practiced with that?  I'm pretty sure carrying a knife or an expandable baton is illegal in CA.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption and Sucker Punches
« on: May 16, 2008, 11:53:44 PM »
I think the idea of interrupting the potential attacker's thought process or "OODA loop" is a good one.  Whenever I'm in a situation where I pass someone on the sidewalk who could potentially be an attacker I look them in the eye and say, "hey, how are you doing?".  Most people are obviously not used to this and it visibly throws them off.  I prefer it in a passing situation because it doesn't draw attention or have the person think, does he know my mother?  No, he doesn't, don't know my mother MFer...

Crafty's mention of "stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things" is one of the most important to me.  If you're not in stupid places doing stupid things you're going to avoid the VAST majority of conflicts.  And when trouble comes your way, leave!  A cop I used to teach said he had a good trainer many years back who told him "distance is time".  There's nothing more true than that.  If you can cross the street before the potential attacker gets close, or put something between you, that will also completely prevent the "sucker punch".

If someone significant is approaching me from behind I either cross the street or stop and move off his line of approach a few steps, pretending I'm looking at a building or something.  Walking into the street to put a car between you, to get a better view of a house/building, is also a good strategy.  If the person approaching you follows, you've probably got trouble. 


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude
« on: May 12, 2008, 01:30:23 AM »
Great thread!  I'm grateful to have been born in a free and prosperous country with many paths to happiness, for my wife, dog, family, and to live in a safe environment.

Expanding on the quote Hawke provided, I wish everyone would do a little bit for those that are less fortunate than we are.  There are such a great number of people born without the freedoms most of us had/have, with no or bad education, no rights, limited food sources, etc.  The people in Myanmar are having a horrible time now, and I hope more people will come to their aid.  Helping others makes the world a better place, and makes you feel good, even if they never know who you are.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption and Sucker Punches
« on: May 12, 2008, 01:17:51 AM »

I agree with most if not all of the points you make.  Our differences may be largely semantic.  I know the terminology...fence, interview, etc.  I also know the terminology from wing chun, most FMAs, I can speak some basic Japanese, etc., but I don't use any of it unless I must.  First, I think that many people, especially new-comers on a forum or website will have no idea what you're talking about if you call someone sizing you up an "interview", or a pull and punch a "lop sao da".  Mostly for that reason I tend to stay away from in-group terminology whenever possible.  Second, I like to keep things as simple as possible.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that you shouldn't be using the terms you are...just trying to make myself understood. 

Regarding someone asking for the time, if an old couple asks me for the time I'd stop and tell them what time it is.  I base that on the individual(s) and I strongly feel that the vast majority of people are capable of sensing who you can very safely stop for, who is questionable, and who you should certainly not stop for.  When I was teaching, which I have not been doing since Katrina, I talked to all my students about these things.  I don't specifically remember any of them not crossing the street if they were approached on the same side of a block by a person who likely had the potential to be aggressive.  And, no one I taught would not have paid attention to a person who crossed the street directly toward them.  We discussed being alert as to places where a person could hide behind, not walking close to corners or bushes, etc.  BUT, to me, and what I tried to get across to my clients, is that all of this is an extension of "keep your distance".  You keep your distance not only from people who could pose a threat, but also from places where people could hide, etc.  As you very well know, maintaining your distance is not a magic tool.  Someone can encroach on it anyway.  So my simple "rule" was, if you're threatened and you cannot escape, attack.  Attempt to maintain distance, and if you can't, something is very wrong. 

I agree with you about distraction, deception, and perception, but still I think this can be covered by maintaining distance and being aware of your surroundings.  For law enforcement I think things are a bit different.  I taught a number of cops, and obviously they've got far greater needs in this area since they need to get close and stay close to potential attackers to a level much greater than non-leo's.

Anyway, I feel this is a relatively simple part of self-defense.  Be aware of your surroundings, keep your distance, and attack when you feel threatened and can't escape.  Spend the vast majority of your time training physical self-defense so you're ready if the above fails to keep you safe.  It could be that I'm over-simplifying here, or that most of the people I taught self-defense to in New Orleans were already very aware based on the place they lived and the fact that they were coming to take self-defense classes.  I have noticed that in places where there is far less crime that people do things I would consider ridiculous with respect to distance, etc.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pre-emption
« on: May 11, 2008, 01:30:25 AM »
Living in New Orleans I not only know a number of people who have been "sucker punched", but also one who was stabbed by a stranger walking by...not even robbed, just a stab and run by a total stranger.  It's very difficult in populated places such as the French Quarter to keep your distance from people, but I don't know of anyone who was attacked in such an environment without an extended verbal exchange first. 

My strategy has always been to avoid verbal exchanges, to keep going, and to keep my distance when approached by someone.  Even in a crowd, when someone asks you for a dollar, the time, etc., just keep on walking, or start walking.  If you're followed, maintain the distance.  If you can't maintain the distance, then it's time to act.  I used to tell my students, when you're threatened and cannot escape, it's time to attack.  No well meaning person is going to keep pressing you if you've tried to moved away and voiced your intention.  If someone does press you further, something is wrong.  Of course I'm not advocating nailing someone for asking you what time it is.  But you can move away, tell the person you don't have the time/money/whatever, and use your hands/arms as a barrier with great preparedness if he continues to approach, all the while being non-threatening...not provoking a fight.  With training, you better be able to pick up the signs/body mechanics that someone is about to launch into an attack from a few feet away.  You could clearly see them in the first video.  The attacker even cocked back. 

I can't imagine many, if any, scenarios that just keeping your distance and avoiding people you don't know won't solve.  Do you guys really think it's more complicated than that?  Maybe I'm taking too much for granted, but I'm not going to let someone get close enough to hit me without having time to react unless I'm in a crowd.  Common courtesy dictates that you don't walk past someone with no space when no one else is around.  YOU can maintain the distance.  And if you're in a crowd and someone hits you...well there's no amount of training that's going to prevent that...aside from ninja like super consciousness!

I guess I do have a video with one potential solution, but it might not bode so well in court: (video at the bottom of the page).


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Sombrada
« on: May 05, 2008, 11:41:53 PM »
Thanks guys.

PhilipG: Yes, the video was limited in scope.  There's only so much you can fit in 2 minutes, and just compiling that from the small amount of video footage I have, adding the narration, etc., took hours.  If someone was paying me to do this, then I'd be happy to make an hour long video demonstrating all the possibilities, variations, etc.  But, I'm doing this for fun!  Also, there were 5 movements in the drill I included, not 3, and one was in fact a low line thrust.  I meant to only show the "sombrada" portion of the drill, or what I call "sombrada", not PT "thrusts on tapping", break in-break out, etc.  I do find that the drill can be done for technical benefits, fun, and exercise even remaining in that one pattern...continually focusing on striking your partner rather than the stick.  I find it's a good way to zone out and ingrain the motions.

Good day to you all,


Martial Arts Topics / Sombrada
« on: May 04, 2008, 05:37:01 AM »

I've posted a new video explaining sombrada and its application, primarily with material I had originally made to send Crafty in 2002.  I thought you guys might be interested.  The video is here:

...and the blog post here:

I hope to add much more to the site in the coming weeks and would appreciate any comments and/or suggestions,


Martial Arts Topics / Has anyone here studied kendo?
« on: November 27, 2003, 06:06:25 AM »
Thanks for the correction Guro Crafty.  I'll make note of it.  


Martial Arts Topics / Has anyone here studied kendo?
« on: November 26, 2003, 07:03:32 AM »

I practiced Kendo for a couple of years in college with a Japanese exchange student who had his first or second dan.  He wasn't an instructor otherwise, but as far as he related them to me, the rules and allowable techniques were fairly simple to learn.  I was teaching an empty hand system at the time, and did get something out of the Kendo training other than having a good time.  

For me, training with a "long" weapon made the outter ranges that the Dog Brothers talk about, "before contact" and "weapon contact" much more apparent.  It is a lot of fun, but I wouldn't look to it for self-defense training unless you've already got a solid base in empty hands.  


Martial Arts Topics / Use of range in single, double stick, empty hands
« on: October 31, 2003, 12:37:54 PM »

I'd love to come by for classes, and will as soon as things slow down a bit here.  Your place is next on my list.  

"It depends"... I know...that's what I was asking about.

When I wrote the part about hubud, I had written, "This may not be a good example", but erased it.  I stress footwork and angling as the foundation of these drills.  The example was my attempt at a quick explanation.  Maybe the forum isn't the best place.  

The theory of 7 ranges and the role of the fighter's understanding you write and talk about changed my view of various drills when I first heard you mention them in a sombrada debate a couple of years ago.  I had done the triangular footwork for many years before, but until you put it together, and I began taking classes in Pekiti Tirsia, I didn't quite get it.  Thanks.  I hope to visit soon,


Martial Arts Topics / Use of range in single, double stick, empty hands
« on: October 31, 2003, 10:46:32 AM »
Dog Russ,

I'm sure the bravery or confidence issue plays a significant part.  

My question regarding empty hands in relation to single vs. double stick, was, can the same concepts be applied in single and double stick fighting?  How much more difficult, if at all, is it to apply these concepts to double stick?  And, does an empty hand fight resemble a double stick match more than a single stick match?  If empty hands is closer to double than single stick (???)  what implications does that have?  

I only have a few minutes left now, and this is a bit hard for me to put into words, but I'll try.  Take a drill like hubud...when the number one angle comes in, you stop, pass, press, and return.  I'm aware that this is just a training method, and that you could easily strike as you stop, pass, or press, enter, or do any other number of things.

If the "attacker" is trying to hit you with the butt of his stick, and if he is concentrated on his stick, maybe you could actually stop, then pass to put him in a worse position, then attack.  But, in an empty hand situation, or possibly in a double stick situation, if you stoped the angle one as you could possibly in single stick, you would most likely get cracked with the other hand, or punyo.  

So, how does this effect the way you fight double in relation to single stick, or single stick in relation to empty hands (where there are more than two weapons...since the opponent will most likely not be concentrating on one primary weapon).  

The fact that most people reveal a particular "style" or structure in double stick, and that that structure can be exploited is a good point.  And, the fact that most people will concentrate on a dominant hand even in double stick, is also a good point.  But, my question is, how do the principles learned in drills such as hubud, sombrada, attacking blocks, etc. apply when more than one weapon is allowed?  Do you guys feel the apply to a lesser extent?  


Martial Arts Topics / Use of range in single, double stick, empty hands
« on: October 27, 2003, 08:44:44 PM »
Brian, Crafty,

Thanks for the answers.  They make a great deal of sense, and it's a very interesting topic.  I ordered the KK tape a couple of days ago, after Brian mentioned it, and look forward to seeing this material.  

Crafty, I agree 100% that "deep bilaterlism requires certain medium and long term training methods".  This is a great point.  It would be difficult, if not impossible, to "install" or ingrain these things in an inconsitent environment.  And, the point on the Attacking Blocks tape that you've also made here, regarding the fighters understanding, is equally important.  

Brian, you also make a great point about the dominant hand, wider range of angles in the single stick use by most, and emotional content.  

But, if we are talking about a practitioner who uses the "entire deck", manifests the smokey potential in snake range, etc., how does this change the way you might approach double vs. single stick?  Are the same concepts equally applicable?  Thanks,


Martial Arts Topics / Use of range in single, double stick, empty hands
« on: October 25, 2003, 03:34:02 PM »

Thanks.  That makes a lot of sense.  If a practitioner is very good in snake range, do you find it more difficult if he is using single or double stick?  I've done a decent amount of single stick sparring, and do practice with double sticks, but haven't sparred with them.  I will however soon.  But, I would imagine that if an opponent doesn't have an identifieable structure, or if his structure is no particular structure, that it might be a bit more difficult to deal with two weapons rather than one.  Maybe this is not the case...  

In empty hands, if you limit each participant to only jabs for instance, it's much harder to hit each other than when either hand is allowed, and much more so when anything goes.  For that reason, I figured double sticks would be harder than read, avoid, etc.  Do you find differences in that sense between empty hand and stick fighting?  


Thanks.  I'm not particularly interested in specific ways to fight single vs. double, or double vs. double.  I'm more interested in the strategy in FMA's and the applications and implications regarding empty hand fighting...and weapons.  


Martial Arts Topics / Use of range in single, double stick, empty hands
« on: October 24, 2003, 01:09:18 PM »
Crafty, et al,

I?ve got a question regarding the difference between single vs. single stick and double vs. double stick as it may apply to empty hand fighting.  How similar are the outer three ranges, snake, weapon contact, and largo, in single stick fighting compared to double stick fighting?  

When fighting single stick vs. single stick, in snake range, and even in the weapon contact range, you can strategically zone by using the opponent?s stick as a moving reference point, if that makes sense.  With double stick, this seems a bit more difficult.  At least it would be more difficult to match or strategically position two moving sticks against two moving sticks simultaneously.  Watching Top Dog on the instructional tapes, it is clear that he ?counters? the opponent?s possible angles of entry at times, before the opponent strikes?using the ?snaky? stick.  

In theory it might make sense to zone to the outside of the lead stick, somewhat negating the rear stick, but in practice, the rear stick can become the lead stick and vice versa with short notice.  

Many of the two-person drills, such as ?Attacking Blocks? make a great deal of sense with single sticks.  Are these drills equally applicable in a heavy double stick fight with no gear, as they would be in a heavy single stick fight with no gear?  Do you guys have double stick ?Attacking Blocks? drills?  If there is a difference, would that difference translate into empty hand fighting, where less emphasis is place on any one weapon?

I am very interested in the empty hand application of FMA?s, and would be interested to get some of your perspectives on these questions.  Thanks,


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