Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Brief History of Close Combat and the Evolution of Self Defense

A Study of Close Combat, Hand To Hand, World War II, Self Defense, Mixed Martial Arts and Beyond

The root word COMBAT - "to fight in direct contact," "active fighting between enemies," "any fight or struggle".

There are no specific techniques to define Close Combat, Self Defense, and Hand to Hand maneuvers. Based on historical fact and my 30 years experience, training, and understanding of self defense, I'm presenting the following study.

"The Roots of Close Combat, Self Defense, and Mixed Martial Arts"

There are comprehensive surveys and presentations of armed and unarmed combat. You will find a vast array of skills that deploy a diverse mix of "techniques." One truth remains; where people exist, there is a need for defense against aggression. Every culture has its own form of close combat, both traditional and unconventional, yet all have striking similarities.

In Ancient Greece, Pankration was a combined system of "all powers" combat, the equivalent of what is globally known today as Mixed Martial Arts.

The Samurai original fighting systems, Koryu Bujutsu, included a comprehensive catalog of both armed and unarmed skills. The unarmed combatives of the Japanese Bushi (elite warriors) also didn't limit scope or method. This "all in" system of fighting advocated grappling, striking, joint-locking, kicking, biting and any other means necessary to gain tactical superiority over your adversary.

Before the use of London Prize Ring rules and the Marquis of Queensbury (predecessor of modern day boxing rules) "pugilists" (the premiere boxers) used and relied on a great number of different grappling, striking, kicking, and gouging methods.

The Chinese have always maintained fully robust systems of "all-in" methods of combat. Shaolin monks employed such techniques to protect the communities that surrounded them.

Even original Okinawan Te (pronounced "Ti") a system of karate, included percussion methods as well as "tegumi" (grappling) and "tuite" (joint lock) systems. "Punch his lungs out if that did the job best, or grapple into a spine lock and use a neck break if you had to."

In the 19th century the West saw many methods of "combined" self defense systems begin to develop (Read: Mixed Martial Arts). The French combined elements of Chausson/Savate (French Foot Fighting) with Boxe Anglaise (Boxing), Parisian Lutte (stick fighting) and even the "newly discovered" Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. The British did the same. The "Bartitsu" of Barton-Wright (famous self defense writer) is a classic example. In the United States a number of self defense methods became available to the public that combined methods from Boxing and Wrestling. Even before any organized mixed martial arts systems were presented, men who fought even for sport used virtually any device to insure victory. Just read Elliot J. Gorn.

The Twentieth century saw even more "mixed" martial art combat systems. Any and all manner of grappling, throttling, kicking, kneeing, butting, biting, punching, gouging, stomping, and whatever other methods of mayhem could be employed were all "FAIR" when "fair" meant the difference between life or death and it certainly didn't just end at "unarmed" fighting!

Only in the arena of sporting combat did this division of method, pitting one against another, become a somewhat popular past time. Matching wrestlers against boxers, either of the two against jiu-jitsu men or Savate Fighters against boxers was common place in any fairground or public spectacle.

The founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano's nephew got involved in promoting these types of matches between western boxers and native Japanese Judoka. They were called "JU-KENTO," as in Judo, Jujutsu and "Kento" (fist-fighting). During this period, judo players interested in these JU-KENTO bouts sought out specific instruction in just how to make Judo work against boxing. An entire book on this subject was published in Japan in the early 30's. Always remember that all of these bouts had strict rules and regulations of engagement. Few if any of these mandates would have had much bearing on what one could do in a real pier-six back alley brawl. As an example: Judoka (Judo practitioners) were almost always forbidden to use any methods of atemi waza (striking, punching, kicking, butting, and smashing). However, Judo experts of the time have advocated that atemi would be the most preferable method of attack and defense in a serious engagement.

Karate legend Choki Motobu, when asked if his Kempo-Karate was "superior" to boxing after his Knock Out of a western style pugilist, said that in order for his method to be used against a boxer specialized training specific for that type of match would have to be undertaken.

These matches were done under a constantly varying set of rules, so that it became virtually impossible to ever really determine what method or martial art was superior. Even then, as some sportswriters of the time pointed out, "What did any of this have to do with real fighting when no rules applied?"

The foregoing should satisfy and fulfill anyone's definition of mixed martial arts tactics and techniques (even though Muay Thai or more accurately Siamese boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu were not included). But to be fair, there are English language books circa the late 1920's and 30's that detail Siamese boxing quite well. One manual details the favorite attacks of Siamese style boxers as being directed at the liver with brutal kicks and at the throat while grasping the hair with one hand and smashing the throat with the other fist (gloves were not worn at this time). One should note: the liver attack was lethal in many cases because of the widespread epidemic of malaria which left the liver swollen and distended. Deaths occurred frequently in these matches and were considered just a routine hazard of the "trade".

The bottom line is: for use in a real violent assault no one, but an utter fool, would suggest an attitude or method approaching less than that of an all-in doctrine. In regards to deciding which martial art is best: nothing was ever, or could ever be, conclusively proven to be superior to anything else. At one time or another any of these various "methods" had both big and impressive wins and equally impressive failures.

The Question is: What makes Self Defense or Close Combat effective? No matter what culture or style, when it comes to real fighting it is whatever was called for and whatever got the job at hand accomplished. The definition came first, the training came second!

Self Defense to the Present Day

The advent of World War I brought warfare into a new and foreboding era of man to man killing and slaughter. Air power, mechanized warfare, chemical warfare, and the general widespread use of machine guns changed the face of battle almost completely.

The static and stagnant lines created by entrenched warfare demanded new and innovative tactics and strategies. Among these was the advent of "raiding" parties, small groups of lightly armed men venturing behind enemy lines for the purpose of recon, probing, intelligence, prisoner grabs, and psychological demoralization missions. The nature of fighting under these conditions became popularized as trench warfare. This was close-in, knife to belly, hand to hand combat. For this manner of fighting, expedient methods of killing ones enemy, improvised close-combat weaponry were developed and deployed.

While technological advances were being made in all other forms of warfare, this particularly nasty and vicious man to man fighting reverted to the most barbaric, primitive, and bloody "methods" imaginable. Despite these changes in technology, one solitary fact remained, in the end it was still man against man in a desperate, brutal, and deadly struggle for survival. As a result unarmed hand to hand methods were drawn from every source of man-to-man combat. Boxing, wrestling, savate, jiujitsu, and any number of rough and tumble, gouge and kick back alley tactics were employed. Those charged with the task of developing such training programs were well aware of the fact that no one single approach to combat was sufficient in kill or be killed battle! Punching, kicking, striking, butting, stomping, biting, gouging, throwing, tripping, choking, strangling, bone breaking, and the use of any and all weapons of close combat expediency were stressed. Fostered by this fact, most military forces researched, developed, and implemented comprehensive and rigorous training methods specific to close-combat and trench fighting. The bayonet, the knife (especially the trench knife), and hand to hand combat became prime training doctrines along with advancements in general physical conditioning and battle preparation. William E. Fairbairn is one of the credited pioneers of this study during his tenure as head of the Shanghai Municipal Police.

The years after WWI saw an increase in self defense "systems" designed for and marketed to the average citizen. Law enforcement organizations began to pay more attention to this area of training. This was part of a movement to increase the professionalism of law enforcement personnel in general. Virtually all of these systems advocated a well-balanced approach to personal combat.

Elements of boxing, wrestling, foot-fighting, and jiu-jitsu were put together in a toolbox of personal self defense tactics. The mixing of different martial art styles became quite popular. Even methods that relied primarily on western boxing and wrestling maneuvers acknowledged that a well rounded combatant must be able to both strike effectively as well as grapple.

Other methods of self defense touted "jiu-jitsu" as the singular answer to personal attack and defense. The reason, most Japanese methods for self defense already included a comprehensive system of blows, strikes, kicks, and grappling methods. You should also note that it's difficult to pin down a particular style of jiu-jitsu because during this period any method of Japanese self defense was given this moniker. Combine this with an influx of Japanese immigrants and emissaries promoting judo, their culture and the individual's personal training and experience, it is impossible to determine a specific style or "ryu." Add to that the Japanese effort to promote Judo above all of these methods that most of the older systems became outdated or lost. The result is from the early 1900's forward most English manuals and books refer to any Japanese system of self defense as "jiu-jitsu", "jujutsu", or "judo".

There was virtually no "authority" or "expert" in the self defense field at this time, who did not advocate the "all-in" doctrine of striking, kicking, joint locking, grappling, biting and gouging to survive hand to hand combat.

Allied Forces "Industrialize" Self Defense: The Evolution of the Modern Training System

The Battle of Britain began in early July, 1940. England was isolated in a war against the axis of evil. The miracle retreat from Dunkirk and the German "Blitzkrieg" across Europe, including the crushing tactical defeat of the famed French "Maginot Line" proved the Third Reich war machine to be virtually unstoppable. Hitler's plan for the invasion of England, named "Operation Sea Lion" was a daily focal point of danger and concern for the British.

Dunkirk had decimated the British forces and moral was at an all time low. Two recently returned veterans of British colonial rule in Shanghai, China approached the War Office and offered their services at this desperate time. William Ewart Fairbairn, retired as a ranking officer of the Shanghai Municipal Police force and his partner Eric Anthony Sykes, a private arms dealer who served as a volunteer in the Shanghai Municipal Police and headed the sniper unit of the famed Shanghai Riot Squad, promised the War Office that their training and methods could in short order, make "any one man the equal of ten."

After the debacle at Dunkirk this was a most important and dramatic statement. Initially dismissed, these two men went on to prove the veracity of their words and convinced the brass as to the absolute effectiveness of their methods. Even if that meant that an over middle aged W.E. Fairbairn had to place several young bucks in the hospital to prove his point in an impromptu, but extremely realistic "demonstration", so be it. Those who "tested" Sykes fared no better. So the methods that these men had developed during decades of very dangerous work in Shanghai now became the standard of training for all British forces and Special Operations personnel.

The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, coupled with the Imperial Japanese military's coordinated assault on all American and British forces across the Pacific Rim pulled the United States firmly in this world wide conflagration. The United States was now fully at war with the Axis forces. Fairbairn, who was now in Canada, assigned to the infamous "Camp X", along with "unarmed combat" George de Relwyskow, a Brazilian Judo/Jujutsu expert, and Colonel Carl Eifler who was already undergoing training here, were ordered to assist the U.S. government agency known as "The Office of the Coordinator of Intelligence", the precursor of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services).

Eric Anthony Sykes remained in England and found the need for his services in great demand. He also found himself working under the auspice of the British covert force known as the Special Operations Executive.

The history of these men from the early days of Shanghai, up to and through the war years, is an entire story unto itself and beyond the scope of this article. However it must be clearly understood that the contribution of these men had a profound effect and influence on close-combat methods, tactics, and techniques for decades after the war (despite the often heard "argument" that we have somehow "evolved" beyond these methods). They were certainly not the only experts involved in this field. One of many examples would be A.J. Drexel-Biddle who studied and trained extensively in boxing, savate, jiu-jitsu, swordplay, knife-fighting and various bayonet methods.

As the United States geared up for war, a major factor began to be publicized. Both here and in Australia, the press made a great deal about the superiority of the Japanese fighting man. Part of this was, to be sure, rooted in fact.

The Battle of Port Arthur, the turning point in the Russo-Japanese war, several decades earlier, had shown the world the tenacity and ferocity of the Japanese soldier, particularly in the area of close-in man-to-man combat. Much was made of the large Russian soldier finding abject defeat at the hands of his smaller Japanese adversary when engaged in hand to hand combat (hence a very obvious need for the creation of Sambo). It was here that Japanese Jiu-jitsu was given world-wide attention and notoriety in this regard. The Japanese conduct and performance of the war in China also demonstrated to the world a seemingly invincible and unstoppable force. Japan was a force that was brutal and deadly in the extreme.

As a result, much attention was given over to the training of United States and Allied Forces in methods of personal self defense that would enable the average soldier to meet the Japanese fighting man on a somewhat equal footing. Every branch of the Armed Services began an intensive physical training program designed to meet these needs. Much of the expert instruction needed, particularly in the arena of close-quarters man to man combat, came from the civilian quarter as it still does today.

Men with tremendous and varied life-long experience in all forms of martial arts and self defense were tapped to create training programs that would give the Allied soldier sufficient means by which to engage their enemies at close-quarters. The Axis did the same of course, Japan being the obvious factor in this regard, but even Adolf Hitler proclaimed the absolute need for boxing and jiu-jitsu in German military training as it imparted courage and daring the average soldier to close the distance with his enemy.

In the United States there were a plethora of varied methods and training systems. Any attempt to narrowly define the methods extant in this era is complete ignorance and foolishness. Though the contribution of Lt. Colonel Fairbairn is great, as is the influence of Colonel Applegate, there were dozens upon dozens of different close-quarters battle systems developed. From wrestling, boxing, savate, judo, jiu-jitsu, Chinese boxing, and even football and rugby methods were not only drawn upon, but entire self defense systems were advocated based on these individual methods. It may come as a surprise to many, but here in the Unites States, even Japanese Karate was used and found to be effective.

The problem they faced with creating a universal form of defense is that the experts often tasked with their development typically relied on their expertise too much. This made many unarmed combat courses too complex and technical. Wrestlers tended to rely on that method, Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu men on that system, Boxers on their expertise and so on and so on. You should note that each method can claim stunning success in actual combat. "After Action" reports showed that all of these methods had merit and could be used effectively in the rigors and stress of real battle. However, as the war progressed two major factors began to influence and change these training protocols. One was the fact that more and more men from all sorts of varied backgrounds were drafted into military service. The other was that as demands for more and more replacement troops began to rise, the amount of training time became reduced.

The approach that seemed most feasible and useful was one that combined the best or the most effective, efficient and quickly learned methods as well as those most well retained. The rudiment basics of boxing and wrestling were made part of an overall general physical conditioning program and unarmed combat became a specialized block of instruction. These courses in unarmed combat, hand to hand combat, combat judo and so forth again sought to combine the most advantageous holds, throws, trips, locks, strangles, blows, strikes and kicks from all the varied methods available. The only truly limiting factor here was the time element.

Other considerations were also important. The O'Neill (another Shanghai veteran and ranking Judo Black Belt) method is a classic example of a system specifically tailored for both the training environment available, as well as the nature of the combat engagement expected. There were even attempts made to instruct the military in actual Koryu (old school) Jujutsu systems here in the United States, however the most effective systems still sought to mix all the varied martial arts.

As the war progressed, more and more "After Action" intelligence gathered from the reality of actual battle helped shape and determine training priorities.Many methods of close-combat began to be trimmed down to those fundamentals that proved most effective overall and most applicable to all trainees across a wide and varied spectrum of physical attributes and skill.

American Col. Rex Applegate was perhaps the most vocal of these advocates owing to his exposure in the INFANTRY JOURNAL and the publishing of "KILL or GET KILLED". He was not without his critics, as was Fairbairn as is The Self Defense Company.

Some courses were so short in duration that they involved only several hours of instruction. Others were quite involved and very complete in their syllabus content. Many are familiar with the Navy V-5 programs and the training at Fort Benning, but lesser known is the very extensive training at places like Fort Meade and at the Hawaii Jungle Warfare Complex. Here at these locations conducted a very complete and mixed program of martial arts was taught. From the CIC training center in Chicago to the Army training camps in Colorado, from Parris Island to the Ranger/Commando schools in the Hawaiian Islands, from the training bases in England prior to D-Day to the "Killing" school in Palestine, the methods taught ran the full gamut of man-to-man, tooth and nail close quarters combat. From the complex to the "instinctive kill" (a method designed to take full advantage of so-called natural "animal" killing instinct), these methods fall under the definition of combatives, self defense, close combat, etc. Even the OSS personnel training at Area B were shown the methods of Siamese boxing (read Muay Thai), western boxing, wrestling/grappling, French "foot-fighting"(including Assaut Vite savate), Indian Varma-adi/Varmannie, Chinese boxing, "Roman" boxing, Japanese Judo/Jujutsu and Karate, Siamese boxing, Burmese boxing-Bando, western fencing, Filipino edged weapons and any and all systems (including almost every weapon known to man) deemed effective in dispatching one's enemies to the hereafter were studied, researched, implemented and trained. One WWII era United States hand to hand combat manual even makes reference to Indonesian methods.

This is the legacy of The Self Defense Company, its Instructors and Training members are the product of this lineage and methodology.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spider Senses Tingling

This past weekend I was away staying in a nice hotel. First thing in the morning I go down to the Starbucks located right in the lobby. The place is busy, there are bellmen, doormen, valets, desk clerks and guests arriving and departing. I roll into the coffee house and all of the sudden I get a huge shot of adrenaline that comes from out of nowhere.

I immediately scan the room. It's filled with families with luggage, couples talking, students hammering away on laptops and businessmen waiting for their morning meetings. But over by the cream and sugar bar, with his back to me is a guy putting sugar after sugar into his coffee. His movement is fast and a little erratic. He had a female companion who came up to him, whispered in his ear and left. He wasn't big, in fact, he was just the opposite. The guy was only about 5' 5" tall and probably weighed about 140 pounds soaking wet. I was at the counter for no longer that a few seconds and he turned looked me dead in the face. I'm about 10 feet away from him and when he looked at me the second time I said "good morning" and purposely looked away. At this point I'm thinking, no need to antagonize this skel, I'm going to keep an eye on him, keep my distance, get my coffee,and get out of here. I'm not going to ruin my romantic weekend with paperwork and statements unless forced.

Now how did this guy pop onto my radar? He didn't make a noise or an erratic movement. He didn't look at me, heck he had his back to me. He didn't give any outright indication that he was a threat. To the same point, how did this guy know to turn around and look at me? Out of all the people in that coffee shop, while he was in the middle of loading up his $5.00 coffee with sugar after sugar. What caused him to turn around mid sugar and look directly at me?

Years ago I had a discussion with my mentor Carl Cestari about the "Instinct". The instinct is the ability to determine the threat level of a particular subject just by looking at them and to some degree, the ESP type ability to sense there was a potential threat even before you saw one. It's like the movie Highlander, when you get in the same vicinity as the threat, you're drawn to it and you get ready for battle.

Carl felt people either "had the instinct or didn't." I disagreed. I felt that the instinct was an inherent survival mechanism developed either through your environment or through training. While some people have a greater aptitude for it, the instinct in wired into our DNA.

It's clear that in modern society this instinct is repressed. The only people who remain in touch with this mechanism are people who live in a hostile environments, have a vocation that deals with violence or train to specifically for violent situations. I have also known physically active people to have this instinct to some degree as well. But people who have become sedentary and live sheltered and somewhat isolated lives within their communities are without the instinct. Those people make up the vast majority of the world. Those people make up the vast majority of victims as well.

Modern science still can not determine the number of observations that the brain makes in a given second. Neurons in the brain fire hundreds of times per second. Researchers from MIT and beyond are still trying to understand exactly how many observations the human brain can make in a given time period. Let's just say your brain is working 24-7 (most of you anyway). It's continuously taking in information from your senses, inputting that info into your memory and making judgments based on your conscious and subconscious. While your conscious mind works with reason, your subconscious runs on instinct.

Your subconscious is reading body language, speaking patterns, filtering smells and facial expressions. These signals are taken in and the responses are physiological, not reasonable. While a conscious observation will manifest itself in a thought a subconscious observation will manifest itself with an emotion, a feeling or a convulsive reaction. When you touch a hot stove, you don't need your brain to tell you to "move your hand".

Have you ever seen two dogs meet? There's a lot of sniffing and posturing (often accompanied by some peeing). This is a great example of what your subconscious is doing (give or take the urination) when you're sizing up other human beings and even your environment. You're constantly assessing and evaluating threat levels. On a subconscious level, you're more aware of your surroundings than your conscious mind will let you know. In fact, in modern society your conscious mind often convinces your instincts that there is no threat. Many times victims of violent crimes have recalled that they thought they saw their attacker earlier in the day, but dismissed their ill feelings as over reaction because they had "no reason" to fear that person. the man in the coffee shop never gave me a "reason", yet I still knew he was a threat.

Call it intuition, ESP or whatever, you're already operating on levels beyond your comprehension. But you don't need to comprehend them, all you need to do is how to develop your sensitivity to them. As mentioned before, the best way to really get in touch with the instinct is through physical activity combined with violence specific training. This method will get you up to speed in the fastest time possible outside of dropping you in Libya or South Central, Los Angeles. On the contrary, the more sedentary and isolated from the reality of violence, the more those instincts deteriorate.

Deterioration of your instincts depends on what level your exposure to violence or time in training. Some who has seen combat or been involved in real world violence will have that instinct for years to come compared to someone with only martial arts training. This all depends on the individual, but like all skills, the longer and more intense your exposure, the longer the effects will stay with you.

Mother nature has engineered you to survive. Survival is the primary goal of every species on the planet. After training literally thousands of people over the course of twenty plus years I can say without hesitation that these instincts can be developed and heightened through the right type of training. Instead of walking past a group of men hanging out on the street corner, a pharmaceutical VP senses something's wrong from almost 50 feet away. A federal agent draws his weapon and takes a defensive position well before he gives his first command to a subject. Why? Because both of them felt something was wrong and instinctively did something proactive about it.

That's what saves lives. Listen to that "little voice" and don't talk yourself out of it. Reason kills all instinct. So what if you're wrong? You took 5 more minutes to get to work or you need to holster your weapon. Who cares?

As for the coffee shop encounter, it went without incident but I should have you know a few things. To manage the situation I kept my distance, got my coffee and went back to the room. Keep in mind I looked for that guy all day and it added aa little edge to my weekend getaway.

How do I know they're junkies? because they acted like junkies. They were intense, wearing clothes that looked like they were fished out of a dumpster, had a pale, beaten complexion and literally put about 20 packets of sugar in an 10 ounce coffee.

They were as nervous as hooker in church and might have well had been wearing t-shirts that said "I still shit for meth." To wrap it up, when I came back to the hotel almost four hours later, they were still clocking time in the coffee shop. At that point I made security aware. Let's face it, I'm not going to dime every junkie that gets my juices flowing, but two skels, sitting in a Starbucks for four hours on one cup of coffee? That raises a few questions. Sure, if they were dressed in khakis and had laptops I would probably pay them no mind. But then again, when's the last time you were robbed at knife point by a day trader?

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thanks for the "Liability" Comment

Unless you're an attorney, licensed to practice in all of the 50 states and all of the 194 counties in the world, do us all a favor and kindly close your pie hole.

I'm not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be one, but the one thing I do know is that use of force laws vary from country to country and state to state, so unless you can comment on each individual municipality the world over, please enjoy this hearty cup of "shut the hell up."

I would not or could not even attempt to comment on when to use deadly in a situation unless I was placed in it myself. This is a moral and ethical decision that is saved for one person and one person only: the man or woman in the situation. I would hope that you would give that person the credit that they will make the right call and do what ever it takes to save their life and the lives of others.

When you bring up the liability issue you reveal yourself as a self important, sanctimonious putz. We get it Dad, thanks for telling us something we already know. Now go back to boring other people in your life. I guess you think we're too stupid to even consider the legal ramifications of our actions or that we live in a society governed by laws and that those laws when broken, have consequences. So for that, I thank you.

The same holds true for the people who like to post "Why don't you just run away?"

Who the hell do you think you are to tell what to do? Why stop there? Please tell me how to vote, am I pro-choice or pro-life? What religion am I? Do I like the color blue or black? Am I gay or straight? If you're in the business of telling people what moral and ethical decisions to make and imposing your values and judgments on others, you might as well keep going.

Use of force is a moral and ethical decision for the individual to make. Like a firearms manufacturer, I provide the tools, you make the decision. I am not here to tell you when and if to use force, only how. I do not assume I know what the best decision for you in the heat of the moment because I am not a sanctimonious asshole.
I only give you what has been proven to work with the highest degree of success. Further more, I promise I will never tell you where to shop, what to eat, who to sleep with and how to file your tax return. Because at the end of the day, it's none of my damn business.

That being said, please keep your liability discussions for someone who cares, like your lawyer, PBA rep or your mom and just let the grown ups talk. And if you choose to run away, that's great, but from those of us who can't or don't want to, please take your panties some place else.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

VIDEO- Combat Chokes vs. Sport Chokes- Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company

The first time I even heard of a strangle. I was about 13 when Hulk Hogan choked out comedian and Law and Order star Richard Belzer when Belzer laid claim that pro wrestling was fake. Watching Belzer get knocked cold from the sleeper hold was all it took, I wanted more.

Getting choked and learning to choke for the first time is a surreal experience. The controlled power of being able to strangle someone until they pass out is intoxicating to say the least. On the flip side being choked sucks. The claustrophobia, the ears ringing and the out of body experience of being put to sleep and getting 10 seconds of REM are off-putting at best.

In the beginning, I thought I knew how to choke. I put on the hold and in a few seconds my partner would tap. When I was choked, I did the same. That was until I started training in combatives.

British Judo Great and World Champion Neil Adams once said, " haven't been strangled until you shit yourself mate." For years I really didn't understand this. I though that getting someone to tap was god enough and getting someone to tap in competition was even better, but that was only the half of it. My combatives training that would eventually lead to The Self Defense Training System brought my strangle skills to a whole new and frightening level.

Most people think they know how to strangle and technically I guess they do. They can put on a hold and get someone to tap or pass out. This usually takes several seconds in practice or competition which is fine, but against a person who's fighting for their life, that turns into forever. Forever is not an option.

I prefer more efficient means of strangulation. Believe it or not, I'm a little lazy and the thought of wasting energy and time doesn't appeal to me. This method of combat strangles is detailed in The Self Defense Training System. This system involves several different technical points that can be applied across the board to all strangles.

The first involves the point of contact as demonstrated in the video above. While it's common to see the elbow of the choking aligned with the chin and contact on both sides of the neck with the bicep and the forearm, you will discover that this creates gaps between your target's neck surface and your choke. Like a noose, you want to have 360 degree contact around the neck and throat. To do this requires you to move the elbow back and initial contact with your wrist on the thumb side. NOTE: The purpose of the seated position above is to demonstrate the strangle grip and not full execution. Full execution involves the use of gravity, body weight, your legs and core which I will describe later.

This new point of contact gives you some critical benefits. First, it's extremely painful on the throat. This may be mistaken as a throat crush, which it can be but your target will be passed out for the blood strangle well before you can crush the trachea. The pain will distract him while you set the rest of your body position. A lot of times in competition an opponent will tap just from this pain. The other benefit of this grip is that you trigger the gag reflex when you start to rotate your wrist up into position. This will cause your target to convulse, allowing you even deeper penetration on the choke.

The Devil is in the Details

The choke grip is only the conduit. The real strangle comes from gravity (ether using your weight or his weight), your legs and your core, depending on your position. For example, the rear strangle(s) above may involve rocking him back and compressing his spine while you lean your weight directly onto the strangle (Module 12 of the SDTS). You could also be on your feet and have him in a guillotine or front strangle and by "lifting him" instead of just squeezing him (module 3 and 12 of the SDTS)you will increase pressure and effectiveness of the strangle exponentially. You may also be in the mount and use your body weight in conjunction with legs and core to apply the choke (modules 3 and 12 of the SDTS).

Another little secret is breathing. Inhaling while you're strangling helps fill in the gaps and increase pressure. The inhale expands your chest and aids in filling in the gaps and creating more pressure.

when you're training chokes, the tap should be instant. Because in reality that instant will turn into seconds and seconds is all you have.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Most Awesome Self Defense Phone App in the Universe.

Phone apps for martial arts and self defense are lame. As usual they over sell and under deliver. They're either some useless, outdated manual, warmed over MMA sport or out dated, martial arts demonstration techniques that really don't give you any real idea of how or why they would work.

So instead of just bitching about it, I decided, along with my good friend and evil genius Matt McKernan from Mosaic Website, to put up or shut up. We took our money, time and brilliance and developed the most awesome self defense app in the universe. Which to tell you the truth, isn't that hard since all of them are so piss poor, I can't make it through a single one of them.

In order to build the most awesome app in the universe we took 11 tactics from the Self Defense Training System and showed you exactly how to apply them to real life situations. We give you the precise instruction and then show you how it would play out in the field. But that's not all...

We took it a step further and demonstrated exactly what NOT to do. Each scenario begins with an attack where the good guy tries to use some popular self defense method to survive and well, the bad guy reacts how bad guys do...ruthlessly and viciously (and we really show you in full graphic detail, stage blood and all). Oh, I should mention, that like the Self Defense Training System this app is for ages 18 and older...sorry, no kiddies.

This is how the app breaks down. Each scenario is three parts. The first part is the situation where the good guy tries some lame martial arts movie technique and gets wasted. The next part is a small instructional section from The Self Defense Training System. Finally the third part is how the Self Defense Training System solution is applied to the scenario where the good guy (or girl) pummels the bad guy into quivering mess.

Scenario 1 "Elevator Jacked"
The good guy gets on the elevator minding his own business when a scumbag gets on the elevator and asks him for some money for the bus. Good guy politely says "No" and the bad guy jacks him up and slams him against the wall. While the good guy tries a wrist release, the bad guy headbutts him, pummels him to the ground and goes through his pockets anyway.
We then go to Module 4 of the SDTS and the good guy discovers how to turn the elevator into a chamber of horrors for the bad guy.

Scenario 2 "You're Fired!"
This scene the boss has to let one of his driver's go. The driver threatens him and the good guys says, "You're not worth it" and starts to walk away when the now unemployed driver decides he's gong to do something about it. He slaps a rear naked choke on his former boss and chokes him out in spite of his boss's attempt to perform a wrist release. The scene ends with the boss getting kicked while he lies passed out on the ground.
Next we go to the SDTS solution from Module 4 where our hero discovers a sue fire method to turn a potentially fatal attack from the behind into sudden victory.

Scenario 3 "Fight in the Foyer"
We open with a business man waiting for the elevator when out of nowhere another guy enters raging about how he was just cut off and proceeds to push the business man around. They scuffle and the bad guy get's our hero in a head lock proceeds to pummel him until he eventually slams his head into the wall.
Then we show you the SDTS solution from Module 4 where the business man learns to react swiftly and accurately to save the day (and his own skin).

Scenario 4 "Stalker Hell"
A woman is getting into her car in a parking garage when a man comes up to her and asks her for directions. Sensing a problem she says she doesn't know. The man is insistent and desperate, he grabs her wrist and starts to pull her demanding help. She attempts a wrist release but gets punched in the head and face until she is incapable of defending herself.
We then go to Module 5 from the SDTS for her solution where our would be victim discovers how to react and escaping to safety with the SDTS.

Scenario 5 "Escape from the Parking Garage"
In this scene the woman is trying to get in her car again (I know you think she would park some place else) and she's approached by a man asking her for the time. She says politely that she doesn't have it when suddenly he's on top of her trying to grab her hand to prevent her from getting into her car. She performs a wrist release when from out of nowhere another attacker comes from behind and bear hugs her. Trapped and scared she tries to fight but it's far too late. The first attacker knocks her out with a right cross and she's left to the mercy of her attackers.

Then we go to Module 5 from the SDTS where she learns how to treat every situation as a multiple attacker scenario. She learns to keep attackers off of her, maintain her mobility and escape to safety.

Scenario 6 "Crack Head Trouble"
The scene is set in a high end office building where security is called to remove someone loitering outside of an office entrance. The guy has been harassing people going in and out of the building all morning. Security arrives on scene to escort the man from the premises. The man resists and security tries an academy wrist lock, come along. The crack head instantly becomes combative, punching the security officer in the head repeatedly until he's out cold.
Next we cut to Module 10 of the STDS where the security guard is taught the "shin kick set up to a hockey take down".

Scenario 7 "Car Jacking Gone Wrong"
In the parking garage a man is slammed up against his car and a gun is jammed in his back demanding his keys. The man, fearing that his attacker is going to kill him, tries a gun disarm and grabs the weapon. While they wrestle over the gun, the bad guy hammers the good guy in the head with punches until he can pull the gun away and delver 3 shots to the good guy's mid section.

We then go to SDTS Module 8 for our tactical solution where the good guy discovers how to clear the weapon, attack the man and end the fight in seconds.

Scenario 8 "Economic Down Turn"
A struggling company is trying to make ends meet when an employee storms into the office and demands payment. His employer asks him to be a little patient. The employee becomes belligerent and starts pushing his boss. His boss retaliates by shoving the employee against the wall. Thinking the fight is over, the boss backs off. Next, the frustrated employee decides to take it up a notch and pull a knife. He attacks and his boss grabs the weapon hand. This doesn't stop the attack when the employee turned killer begins to rain punches down on his boss. The boss can no longer hold onto the weapon and gets stabbed to death.

Cut to SDTS Module 8
where the boss is taught the "Lion Tamer Chair" and uses it to crush his attacker into submission.

Scenario 9 "Stairway to Hell"
A woman is going down her office stairwell to avoid the slow elevator. Coming up the opposite direction is a man she thought she saw in the parking garage earlier that morning. They pass on the landing when she is taken by surprise, jacked up against the wall and a knife is across her throat. He demands her to be quiet. Sensing the worst, she grabs the knife hand and attempts to do the self defense she learned in karate class. The man resists and punches her in the head. Not wanting any witnesses, her throat is cut, she is stabbed repeatedly, robbed and left for dead.

Cut to SDTS Module 8 where the woman is trained how to clear the weapon and attack the man in one swift, accurate and devastating motion. She learns how to hit and keep attacking the enemy until he is no longer a threat.

Scenario 10 "Bus Stop Stomping"
A working man is minding his business waiting for the bus when a local junkie approaches him and asks him for some change. When the man says NO, things quickly escalate as the the junkie invades his space. The man raises his umbrella to retaliate but the junkie attacks, knocking the man unconscious and then rolls him, emptying his pockets.

Next we go to SDTS Module 9 where the man is taught how to turn his umbrella into a deadly weapon.

Scenario 11 "The Great Rape Escape"
It was the couple's third date and even though she liked him, she still wasn't sure. They talked about sex, but she still wasn't ready. On the other hand, he was more than ready. Third date and it was time to get a little return on his investment. In his mind, it was a DONE DEAL. That night after dinner they went back to her place and began to get intimate. He went for it and she said "NO", he told her, she promised and became forceful, he wasn't taking NO for an answer. She struggled and even managed to get him into an armbar she learned in Brazilian Jujitsu, but it wasn't enough. He still managed to punch her and crush her with his weight until she was too injured, too weak and to tired to fight back.

Shift to SDTS Module 3 where our heroine learns how to fight on the ground by attacking his most vulnerable targets with her strongest weapons. Never again will she become a victim. Next time, she walks away.

Like the Self Defense Training System, this app is not for the squeamish. We depict everything in graphic detail. We don't candy coat it or use euphemisms to make you feel all PC and fuzzy. Violence is messy, bloody and raw.

I can't wait until this thing huts the market and scares the hell out of everybody.

There's only one way to train...honestly.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
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Monday, March 7, 2011

VIDEO- Hammer Time (Power Training)

In the street power is king. Concussive, penetrating, crippling power. In order to do that you need some type of resistance training. The most effective and most popular is positive impact training. Positive impact training is when you strike a target. Negative impact training is when you use resistance on the motion. Weights, surgical bands and even a weight vest are excellent means of negative impact training.

One such old school method is hammer training. What is unique about this type of training is that is combines both positive and negative impact training. The negative resistance comes from the weight of the hammer while the positive comes from the impact on the target.

Another added benefit is hand conditioning. All of the muscles and skeletal structure engaged to hold the hammer is strengthened. Your forearms, wrists, metacarpals and fingers become stronger and tougher with each stroke of the hammer. It's no wonder prize fighters started doing this back in the turn of the 20th century.

It's funny, when I was in college one of my buddies became a mason. Part of what he did was break stone (among all the other crappy details newbie union masons have to do). Between that and squeezing a caulk gun, his grip was insane!!! Here I was climbing ropes, doing wrist curls, squeezing balls and all these other tricks and he still felt like he could crush my hand. Later I learned the old time boxers trick (and the Japanese did it too with a thing called a suburito- but that's next blog post :D).

Negative impact training is great for those times when you need to give your hands a break. Injured, tired or sore, one of those things is bound to happen during your training so you better plan to supplement your efforts with a variety of creative training techniques.

So grab and old tire and a lump hammer because its HAMMER TIME!

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company Corporate Center World's Most Lethal Self Defense Police Combatives Training Keep Your Family Safe Turn Your Passion into Profits Self Defense for Everyone Free Resource Material
FREE Training Forum