Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reality Knife Training

Last night we had our monthly instructor workout and we focused on fighting with a knife. When done properly, there is no real defense. Once you attack you can see quickly how helpless your target becomes.

The crew saw how ruthless and brutal fighting with a knife can be. As big Jim Klienfelder put it, I remember going to another "twisty wrist" seminar and they're showing a knife defense that's like, just grab here, kick there, no problem.

Well, once the guys started stabbing the cardboard on the training dummy, they realized how brutal really stabbing someone can be. They also found that it didn't take much to become really effective with a knife when you have the right empty hand training.

So what is your only option for fighting someone with a knife? Create space (run) use your environment, look for an opening, sustain as little damage as possible and attack viciously and frequently. Always take ground and never let up.

Empty hand techniques are the last resort. Alays arm yourself. That's why pepper spray is so effective, squirt 'em and go. But please don't think that just bcause it looks good in the dojo it will work for real.

Nice neat and tidy techniques NEVER WORK. Leave that stuff to the movies. Remember, always bring a un to a knife fight.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Story Of A Real Hollywood Legend

Real Life Martial Arts and Close Combat Hero

Look at today’s Hollywood Action stars you see a lot of window dressing without a lot of substance. If you're a patriot, Hollywood can be a pretty lonely place, but during World War II Hollywood's some of the brightest stars went to war and among them was Douglas Fairbanks. He didn’t serve in the rear either. He chose to take to war to the enemy using deadly close combat techniques that included combat martial arts.

Film legend Douglas Fairbanks Jr is best known for the over a hundred films he made, but many of his real life heroics remain classified by the United States Navy. Fairbanks was among the first to pioneer unconventional warfare tactics and commando training. While you can’t count on celebrities to even make their own court appearances, Fairbanks didn’t back down when his country was at war and he chose to become a clandestine warrior.

At the beginning of the war Fairbanks held a number of important civilian positions before being commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves. His first assignment was on Lord Mountbatten's staff in England as part of an exchange program. Mountbatten was a very vocal supporter unconventional warfare, and encouraged all the Allies to create Special Forces units. Fairbanks trained at the H.M.S. Tormentor Advanced Training and Amphibious Operations Base and at the Commando Training School at Ancharry Castle, Scotland. As part of his top secret training Fairbanks learned martial arts, knife fighting, sentry removal, and other close combat techniques from martial arts legend William E. Fairbairn.

After taking part in cross-channel raids with British commandos Fairbanks returned to the United States and organized the Beach Jumpers, a specially trained unit that was designed to deceive and distract enemy forces. The new special boat unit also rescued POWs, and landed commandos. Although he was supposed to be an organizer Fairbanks still participated in operations in the Mediterranean Sea and was decorated multiple times by several countries for his heroics. The Beach jumpers would take part in dangerous operations in the Pacific theater and combat operations in other wars before being incorporated into other units. After the war Fairbanks continued his interest in martial arts and encouraged others to learn the combatives he learned for self defense.

Douglas Fairbanks chose to become an actor, but he could have been successful in any career. Like his father actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. he was very athletic, and excelled at many sports. He wasn't just a good athlete. e was an excellent student and well as a successful businessman. In addition to acting, he was also a skilled painter and sculptor. Before the outbreak of WWII he did several films including Catherine the Great, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Gunga Din, a close combat classic, where three British Army officers take on a cult of thieves and assassins who worshiped the Indian blood goddess Kali.
Fairbanks would remain in the reserves after the war until he retired with the rank of captain and continued to work, splitting his time between Hollywood and London. Like most veterans he seldom spoke of his wartime service, and most of the operations Fairbanks took part in remain classified, but it clear that he served bravely and honorably. Fairbanks also saw the potential of martial arts, and summed up his thought when he wrote:

“In the early days of the cattle country, the six-shooter was the means of leveling all men to the same size. Now that the sale of the six-shooter is prohibited, every one should have some knowledge of the art of self-defence in cases of emergency.”

Most people know Douglas Fairbanks for his film work, but his greatest role was as a real life hero. Without seeking reward, or even the applause of an audience he did his part to win the war and showed uncommon valor. He could have taken a non-combat assignment, but instead he took on the most dangerous missions and hardest training. He took on the Nazis using close combat and deception, and proved martial arts could turn an athlete into a warrior.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Toughest Police Beat in the World – How Martial Arts Were Adapted For The Real World

By Damian Ross and William Pehush of The Self Defense Company

Today it is hard to say what area is the toughest for force a police office to patrol, but in Shanghai China during early years of the twentieth century things were about as bad they could get. A handful of dedicated police officers were tasked with keeping law and order in a city where murder was so common that it didn’t even make the front page.

To understand how bad the situation was in Shanghai you have to understand the city and the times. The city had been divided into three districts with the Chinese controlling one, and the French and the British controlling the other two. Over a million people called the city home and many of the native Chinese saw the Europeans as the enemy. In the early years of the twentieth century things were out of control in the city. Inside the city the Chinese Green Gang, a secret society similar to the Italian mafia were involved in illegal drugs, gambling, prostitution, and weapons smuggling in the coastal city. They kept control through murder and had no problem killing police officers, and kidnapping for profit became its own industry. The Japanese Black Dragon Society fought for their share of the criminal underworld, and espionage was common place in the Internal National Settlement. If dealing with the hostile population in an overcrowded city wasn't enough the territory around the city was filled with communist guerillas and warlords.

How do you do you survive the toughest streets in the world? The answer is with the right tools and training. Unfortunately for the Shanghai Municipal Police in the early 1900’s nothing existed when it came to dealing with this type of ruthless violence on a grand scale. Consequently a new method of close combat needed to be created, tested and work. The man who led the charge was William E. Fairbairn.

Fairbairn was already and skilled barroom brawler and was a hand to hand combat instructor, but after being badly beaten in a street fight while on patrol, the young sergeant realized that current police training was very inadequate. He trained in several Asian martial arts and stripped away all the ritual and sport and produced a system that was simple and effective. As he climbed in rank he would make many changes to the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) that would give officers the edge in combat.

To keep law and order in a city that never stopped fighting the SMP which was never larger than 6,000 men needed every advantage they could get. After studying various Chinese martial arts including and Japanese Jujutsu and later Kodokan Judo Fairbairn developed Defendu in the 1920’s for self defense and to help officers safely execute arrests. It was a combination of techniques from several martial arts, but it was practical in every way. The system was designed to restrain or disable a subject quickly, but if necessary it could become lethal. It was a martial arts style for the street brawler not a competition martial artist.

Another project of Fairbairn’s was the Reserve Unit which worked as a riot squad and the world’s first SWAT team. Originally setup to deal with riots the unit expanded to handle kidnappings, armed robberies, and barricaded criminals as well as terrorism. They were the first to employ body armor, chemical agents, grenades, forcible entry tools, and automatic weapons. Anthony Sykes a firearms sales representative and good friend of Fairbairn’s would lead an attached sniper unit. Every member of the reserves would learn Fairbairn’s system and trained for realistic close combat shooting situations. While all these tools are common to a big city police department today it was all because of Fairbairn’s work.

It isn’t easy to be a police officer any where, and if you walk a beat you know how quickly things can go from routine to chaos. The martial arts, urban warfare, and other techniques developed by Fairbairn and his peers weren’t untested theories, but battle proven methods that worked under the worst conditions. The British military and the United States Marines who worked along side the SMP would learn many valuable lessons that would serve them well in the next war. Also it should be noted that SMP was a diverse force with many different cultures and religions, but they all learned to work together as a team to uphold law and order.

Fairbairn was responsible for many innovations that are still in use today, and have saved the lives of countless police officers. At the time he was just doing it to help better protect his men, but his efforts would go on to help many more. In addition to their work with law enforcement Fairbairn and Sykes would share what they knew during World War II. The would train British Home Guard volunteers in the simple and effect martial arts system, and they would train British and American commandos and secret agents in the same lethal style. During his time as police officer Fairbairn would be involved over six hundred street fights; this will never be replicated again. This begs to question, are these modes outdated? Maybe in some military applications, where technology has reduced the need for this type of training, but when it comes to the police officer and the civilian, it’s still guns, boots, knives and clubs.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why You Should Never Run Away From a Fight

As the Presidential Election Heats Up, Our Thoughts Turn To Our Citizen Soldiers in The Desert.

One of the fundamentals of Tekkenryu Jujutsu is to always keep advancing on an attacker. Every technique is meant to take ground and keep the attacker off balance. Because once you make the decision to fight, retreat only means pain and loss and if you want to survive cannot relent in your attacks. History proves that most casualties occur when the enemy is routed and on the retreat. This principle is the same no matter if it’s two or two million.

The principals of Tekkenryu Jujutsu can be applied to the war in Iraq where many think the only answer is to pull out and redeploy. This sounds a lot like retreating and giving up ground to the enemy. The majority of the fighters in Iraq currently belong to groups like Al Qaeda. If these groups were allowed to take control of Iraq after an American pull out the situation would be dramatically worse.

The people could end up like those in Afghanistan under the Taliban. That is of course is if one of the many factions actually establishes a central government and Iraq doesn’t end up like Lebanon. Either way our enemies could end up controlling Iraq’s massive petroleum reserves which could easily be traded for nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. The fight has started and maybe it can be argued that the war should not have begun, but like any fight once it starts, there’s no turning back.

One could argue that this is all just speculation and that a principal like constant attacks has no place in the modern world. The problem is there is overwhelming evidence which continues to support such principals. One good example is Somalia where the United States retreated and abandoned humanitarian aid, leaving people to the warlords of that nation who did nothing to remedy the famine and disease which infest their country. Army Rangers fought a heroic battle in the streets of Mogadishu, but needed support was denied to them.

When the soldiers did fight their way past the warlord’s forces the next move was to pull out of the country. In the end a warlord got to claim he defeated the mighty United States in close combat and people continued to suffer. Even Sadam enjoyed frequent screening of “Black Hawk Down” in his anticipation of an American withdrawal at the first sign of bloodshed. After the United States pulled out and leaders like Osama bin Laden were able to rally support because fighters like themselves had stood up and defeated forces of the United States.

Throughout the world enemies of the United States felt they could achieve victory if they made their fight bloody enough.

The invasion of Iraq is shrewdly camouflaged as a terrorist insurgence and by no means should be considered an internal conflict. Recognizing an enemy for what they are and fighting them the right way is key to achieving victory. The enemy in Iraq is part of a global conspiracy with plans to take over the world and place it under the banner of Islam.

The real fight is in the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. American forces need to have a good relationship with the Iraqi people. That will eliminate any support base they have in Iraq. Getting the people on our side is like getting in a street fight in neighborhood where you have friends; you won’t be alone in that fight for long.

No conflict should be taken lightly and you need to seriously asses your capabilities and understand that it may take everything you have to keep fighting and keep taking ground. If asked how long it will take the answer is it will take as long as it takes. This not a Judo match with rules and a time limit, this is a street fight where the first person to get hurt or die loses. The sooner people realize this, the better because those who pull the strings of Al Qaeda know if they can just keep fighting we will tire and go home. The problem is that these killers will follow us home. They see winning in Iraq as another step closer to achieving victory and we should think the same terms.

Martial Arts, Martial Arts Training and Martial Arts Videos