10 July 2007
Observer accused of fabricating comments

Why yer bugger
Black Triangle has this post about the Observer making stuff up to scare-monger over MMR vaccines. Is it me or is there something especially twisted about telling lies which make children more likely to catch fatal or disabling disease, all to sell a few thousand more newspapers?

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28 June 2007
CQB Services » W.E. FAIRBAIRN- THE LEGENDARY INSTRUCTOR. By Phil Matthews

Phil Matthews, one of the Liverpool Gutterfighters has written a new article titled CQB Services » W.E. FAIRBAIRN- THE LEGENDARY INSTRUCTOR.

Phil has a good understanding and excellent knowledge of Fairbairn and his contemporaries and this article has some useful facts for the student of modern combatives. Whilst his writing is not of the usual academic standard he is to commended for getting this information out there.

One issue though is Phil's constant reference to people who criticise his work or 'steal' his information. I really don't know who these people are but I'm not sure that refusing to list your sources is the way forward. To me this detracts from the authority of the article. If people are plagiarising Phil's work then he can point this out to the relevant audience. If they are quoting him then that is normal order of things. Ones cademic research works build on those of ones peers. Trying to control access to information you have published on the net is an exercise in futility.

Anyway - enjoy the article, and well done Phil.

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21 June 2007
Religious Hatred. Again.

Moderate Islam seems more and more like a myth.

Some may remember that Dr Zaki Badawi, the previous head of the UK's council of Islam once offered Rushdie sanctuary in is own home. A far cry from Sir Iqbal Sacranie, homophobe, racist and hate-monger who declared that ‘Death is perhaps too easy for him'. Sadly Sacranie is feted as the face of moderate islam in the UK. A myth ideed.

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12 June 2007
Bullshit

Penn & Teller, they of the magic tricks and Babylon 5 cameos have been doing a show for a while now calling bullshit on wacky claims. Apparently this has been going for a while, but I just heard about it recently.

They've gone for some big targets, such as PETA, ESP, Conspiracy theories and the like. However the two I have enjoyed the most are the ones dealing with the Bible and creationism. What makes it doubly cool is that it appears to have been officially added to youtube, so that those of use without US cable TV can still get the benefit. Go check them out!

P&T Bullshit - The Bible Part I
P&T Bullshit - The Bible Part II
P&T Bullshit - The Bible Part III


P&T Bullshit - Creationism Part I
P&T Bullshit - Creationism Part II
P&T Bullshit - Creationism Part III

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11 June 2007
SurvivalBlog.com

Interesting preparedness and self protection themed blog -SurvivalBlog.com. I've not read a great deal of it, but it looks promising.

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10 June 2007
Combative Ground Work

Fight Times has an interesting article on close combat on the ground. Of particular interest is the picture below, which they describe as the Applegate Fairbairn smatchet. I wasn't aware that the smatchet had anything to do with Applegate, thinking it was a purely British-era thing. Indeed it appears in Get Tough, which has entirely WW2 material.

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31 May 2007
Greek Fire, Noxious Vapours and Medieval Tear Gas

Despite not understanding what constitutes a WMD, Jonathan Wicken has a nice little article on the use of chemical weapons in the ancient and medieval world.

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25 May 2007
Adult breast-feeding sucks, authorities say

It's a weird, weird world.

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23 May 2007
Taking Liberties, The Movie

As seen on Samizdata, this looks very interesting.

I'll be heading along to see it, and hopefully enough people will do so that it will get a wider release.

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Head Wounds In Middle High German Literature

Rachel Kellet is a member of the excellent Linacre School of Defence and is well known in HEMA circles as an superb scholar. She has just made available an article based on her talk at the SWASH event in Leeds earlier this year.

Excellent stuff. Understanding textual evidence is a problem for many and Rachel is one of the few who I think really understand how to use it (I know I certainly don't). Her analysis of text and the drawing out of the key information is very useful. I'm really looking forwards to the publication of her thesis next year.

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'Fightcamp' historical European martial arts event at the Royal Gunpowder Mills 6-8 July 2007.

On Friday 6th - Sunday 8th July 2007 Schola Gladiatoria ( http://www.fioredeiliberi.org ) will be hosting the 4th annual historical European martial Arts gathering at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey (just north of London): http://www.royalgunpowdermills.com/SpecialEventsList2007.htm

Fightcamp is a relaxed and friendly historical martial arts experience, with workshops and presentations by instructors from various respected and well-known historical martial arts groups, games and competitions, as well as informal freeplay and discussion. Workshops will cover documented European martial arts from the 13th to the 21th century.

This year will see people attending from the across the UK, from France, Sweden and elsewhere.

Fightcamp is open to members of all organisations (though we ask that you email us if you want to take part) and only costs £5 per person for the whole weekend (payable on arrival). People with minimal or no experience of western martial arts are welcome, as well as experienced practitioners.

Camping space is on-site and free, and there are on-site toilet facilities and wash basins. Near by are shops and eating/drinking establishments. The venue is also easily accessable by train from Stansted Airport (via Liverpool Street station), and also by rail and car.

The site is open to the public each day to observe the classes going on or ask questions of our representatives there. The public are not permitted to take part in the classes and are kept a safe distance from them. Hopefully this serves to increase the profile of historical European martial arts amongst the public, while at the same time enabling the students and teachers to be unhindered in their classes.

Fightcamp will open on Thursday night for people arriving and setting up camp. Workshops and events will run through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, covering a wide range of subjects, from medieval and renaissance sources, through to modern combatives (a programme will follow). There will be several casual and competitive freeplay events throughout the weekend, as well as test-cutting. A programme will come soon.
After the site has been closed to the public each evening there is space for traditional archery practice. Saturday night sees everyone gathering near the camping area for a main barbeque.

There will also be a jousting display present at the Mills at the same time as us.

You can see a few photos from the 2005 event here: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=6099

If you are interested in attending the event then please email: schola-gladiatoria@hotmail.co.uk or matt_easton@hotmail.com

If you are interested in teaching at, or recommending a teacher for the event, then please also email one of the above addresses - we can always accomodate more workshops or presentations!

Provisional list of instructors:

Confirmed -
Matt Easton - Schola Gladiatoria (UK)
James Marwood - Schola Gladiatoria (UK)
Nigel Plum - Schola Gladiatoria (UK)
Gordon Hart - Schola Gladiatoria (UK)
Dave Rawlings - Boar's Tooth Fight School (UK)
Pete Samworth - Boar's Tooth Fight School (UK)
Fabrice Cognot - De Taille et d'Estoc (France)
Milo Thurston - Linacre School of Defence (UK)
Anders Linnard - Gothenburg Historical Fencing School (Sweden)
Paul Bennett - Independent (UK)
Mike Stillwell - Independent (UK)
Martin Austwick - Independent (UK)
Chris Stride - School of Traditional Medieval Fencing (UK)
Herbert Schmidt - Ars Gladii (Austria)
Herman Singh - Baba Fateh Singh Gatka Akhara (UK)
Jim Sephton - The Grange (UK)
Phil Marshall - School of the Sword (UK)
Jonathan Miller - Linacre School of Defence (UK)
Nick Thomas & Michael Thomas - Academy of Historical Fencing (UK)

Possible others -

Philippe Willaume - School of Traditional Medieval Fencing (UK)
Mark Donnelly - Society of the Study of Swordsmanship (UK)
Rob Lovett - The Exiles (UK)

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17 May 2007
Stoned to death for falling in love

And people question why I think religion is a Bad Thing.

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16 May 2007
HEMAC annual event Dijon, France, 3-6 May.

You may have noticed a little hiatus on my part. This has partly been due to me attending the excellent HEMAC event in Dijon. This is orgainised annually by the fine fellows from De Taille et d'Estoc.

There are some pictures here.

It was a simply wonderful event with some truly excellent martial artists in attendance. My personal favourites were in no particular order:

Dave Rawling's excellent I.33 class - There is a reason this guy is THE authority on I.33. He is a simply amazing martial artist. Check out his DVD as well. Top notch stuff.

Colin Richard's Shield workshop. I only got to watch part of this but it was pretty damn impressive. Colin certainly knows his stuff.

Matt Galas' fascinating lecture on Belgian fencing guilds. He really, really should publish soon! Matt has published a report of the event here.

And last but not least catching up with guys I have not seen for ages, meeting new guys (Like Scott B and Jeff T who travelled over from the US) and having a simply amazing time.


I did teach 3 classes which went pretty well - one on knife, one on stick and one on stress. They all went well, although the screamy, shouty prt of the stress class had to be put on hold for 20 minutes to allow the relaxation class next door to finish. Who'dathunkit?

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30 April 2007
Poor Britannia

Simon Heffer has an interesting critique of the Blair Years in the Telegraph.

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27 April 2007
Slap KO

For all those who dismiss the power of a slap, this video shows an excellent example. Look at the lack of movement by the slapper - just the drop of the hand and a little coil of the waist. Also the slappee was completely unable to react, partly because he had no fence.

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Kevlar lined hoody?

What a good idea!

Perhaps a wider range of designs and styles would be a good idea. I'd love one without a zip that I could have printed up with my La Bete logo :)

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Boxing vs multiples

Courtesy of the Shisha Den, a video of some very effective movement and striking against multiples. Look at the effectiveness of a solid base and good footwork - lets him eveade a lot of the blows coming his way, keep from getting surrounded and deliver some telling blows.

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25 April 2007
Emmanuel Prof Fired For "Discussing" Virginia Tech Shooting

The Coolest Camel Girl In The World sent me this link.

Whaddja reckon?

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17 April 2007
Outlaw arms and you arm outlaws

So says... The Telegraph?

Wow!

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More DdlR Video Goodness

Another sweet clip from Craig Gemeiner.

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Virginia Tech

I'm deeply saddened by the news of so many murders at Virginia Tech. A profoundly tragic and potentially preventable event.

Pommygranate has some very interesting thoughts on the matter.

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10 April 2007
Combative Concepts

Morgan's excellent site with a number of articles and the like.

I especially recommend his ruminations on knife combatives.

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The Mormons and roaches will outlive us all...

Interesting preparedness discussion my friend Alina pointed me to.

Looks like the Mormon's are marginally less kooky than I thought (or perhaps our kook-fields are converging slightly?)

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Just Yell Fire - Better Yell for Proper Instruction!

My pal Angel pointed me in the direction of these guys recently and asked me my thoughts.

Overall I can really see the good intentions behind this vid, and they have gathered some of what I would consider the main elements. However there is a heavy dose of bullshit in this as well.

Apart from the presentation style, which seemed pitched at a much lower age group and fairly condescending, the info in the first 10 minutes was solid. The police chief touched on the basics. In my opinion that should have been expanded to fill the whole vid with the principles being applied to the scenarios.

As is common in self-protection vids there was only lip-service paid to the awareness/avoidance/contact management element. For example there was only 1 passing reference to any kind of reactionary gap and one example of a (very poor) fence which was not made explicit. This is the kind of technique which could have been really well taught in a vid like this, much better than 'scoop kicks'...

The other techniques were, on the face of it, decent - eye gouges, tears, slaps, bites and knees. However they are done in a very unrealistic manner - no aggression or force. There is also a lot of shit grab defence stuff - that 'combing the hair' and 'hands up' stuff is bollocks. The defences are diagnostic, overly complex and do not allow for a lack of traction from being picked up or rammed backwards. I also don't think that pain is as effective a stopper as they make out. A tough, goal oriented attacker will fight through having his face torn to shreds. This vid gives the impression that the central casting thug will be stopped by a single eyejab - that's patently not true.

Whilst I really like the scenario ideas, they are very, very limited. No indication of the importance of awareness or contact management, and risible technique applications. Again they are diagnostic in nature and depend on a co-operative 'opponent' This is followed into the short illustrations of training - they give nothing of the actual type of training required for effective self protection.

Some of the statistics seem somewhat dubious. For example I would like to see sources for their claims on the number of date rapes or sexual predators in the US. Also, I think some of the time dedicated to the 'I have a right to' stuff would been better spent on reinforcing the need for safe behaviour. That is probably the most valuable message from this material and it is really only touched on.

In short, this vid is like a '70s self defence manual given infomercial treatment. It has some of the correct ingredients but so much is missing as to make all but that first 10 minutes worthless. The smug assumption that this will save lives is misplaced, and could be dangerous if people think they know how to fight off an attacker after one viewing of this. Kudos to those involved in doing the work and giving it away for free, but I am really not impressed with the content.

One final point is the advice to yell 'fire' that gives the video it's name. Not bad advice and I like the way it is mentioned that this should be a mental trigger (Although no detail on how to accomplish this is given). However they fail to mention how hard it can be to speak, let alone shout when in an adrenalized state. Since no understanding is given of the need to predicate training (as in more than just watching a vid!) on the failure of technique it is highly likely that the system as presented will fall apart at the first failure point and this is likely to be when the shout of fire fails.

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05 April 2007
Pathologising dissent

He might be a bit shaky on muzzle control ;) but Perry de Havilland is right on the button with this piece on Samizdata.

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03 April 2007
Carjack: An Armed Response

Interesting article from Dennis Martin.

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20 March 2007
NO2ID

Show them you're not a number - ID-Day, 26th March 2007

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09 March 2007
Full-cream double standards

Guy Herbert has some interesting things to say.

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07 March 2007
The Utility Belt

The Utility Belt
is a fascinating blog by a Computer Geek with an interest, and a lot of knowledge of, preparedness. Go read it!

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05 March 2007
Thinking

In light of recent discussions on a couple of forums, the following seem apropos

The 43 Logical Fallacies

How to think


Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit

Occam's Razor

and, The Scientific Method.

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03 March 2007
Groundfighting 101

Great aticle, pointed out by Mike at TPI

Groundwork or Newaza is essential to a well rounded knowledge of Jujitsu. It has been said that if you do not know how to fight on the ground you just do not know how to fight! Ideally we do not want to end up on the ground in a real street fight. Maybe there are other attackers we need to fend off or perhaps there is little room since quite often there is not a great deal of space to maneuver on the ground. Such reasoning has made many martial artists reluctant to even bother with Newaza. But statistics show that 75% of all streetfights end up on the ground in a matter of seconds! It doesn't seem to matter if we believe ground fighting is beneficial or not, the facts show that the likelihood is that we will end up on the ground in a real fight! Neither does it matter how many people attack. The more people that attack us the quicker we will hit the ground! A good knowledge of Newaza, then, will give us that added advantage and allow us to either finish our attacker whilst on the ground or even escape a stronger opponent and quickly get back to our feet!

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01 March 2007
There's something rotten in Ohio

And I think it's Associate Professor Julio Pino and his blog.

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Tactical Torches

A quick recomendation. I've used Tactical Torches a few times now and I have had excellent service. Tony's prices are consistantly cheaper than the other UK suppliers and he is very helpful.

So, if you're looking for a reasonable, reliable supplier for torches and the like, then I'd give him a shout.

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27 February 2007
Kim Family Tragedy

I'm currently re-evaluating my safety precaustions and especially looking at things like what kit I'm carrying and how. During some reasearching I came across this account of the Kim family tragedy and started thinking about what I can learn from it.

Looking at the weather here in the UK, we are unlikely to get that kind of blizzard. Being stuck for more than a couple of days in unheard of (AFAIK) but it is entirely possible I may have to spend a night stuck in the car or even in a building without power.

With that in mind the questions that page poses are relevant and ones I will be considering over the next week or so.

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26 February 2007
Renew For Freedom

renew for freedom - MAY 2006 - renew your passport

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21 February 2007
The Root Of All Evil

This interesting Dawkins documentary courtesy of PostMormon.org.

"Religion is an insult to humanity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but to get good people to do evil things it takes religion." - Steven Wienberg.

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20 February 2007
Chapter Five - Line-ups: The Fence

The fence is an invaluable self-protection and the cornerstone of dealing with unknown contacts or escalating assaults. Geoff Thompson was the guy who codified this technique and is probably the best at explaining it. Courtesy of Fight Times, here is the relevant chapter from his book Dead or Alive

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19 February 2007
The Walking Stick Method of Self Defence

All round top chap Kirk Lawson has updated his presentation of the The Walking Stick Method of Self Defence by H.G. Lang. This is one of the prime sources for La Canne Vigny and is well worth a download, espeically since it is free!

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Henry Jackson Society

These chaps also have an interesting statement of principles, although I'd be inclined to focus a ltttle more on fixing our allegedly liberal democracy than they do.

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The Euston Manifesto

I know I'm probably very late to the party with this this but I can't help but see this as a positive thing. Whilst it is not 100% to my tastes it does appear to be a well thought out attempt to move the left back towards sanity.

Good work fellas!

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14 February 2007
Antisemitism vs Homophobia

But, would those Jews calling for the right to discriminate against gays be willing to drop all equality legislation, including that which protects them? That would be the only logically – and morally – consistent position.


Courtesy of a link in Harry's Place, an interesting piece on TotallyJewish.com by Brett Lock, the editor of Gay Humanist.

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13 February 2007
Heavy Shit Indeed

Poor Dave.

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LSD Manuals

I should have linked this earler but this is the rather excellent collection of texts provided by the Linacre School of Defense.

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12 February 2007
More on Vigny

More Vigny goodness. This time courtesy of Ralph Grasso and Craig Gemeiner.

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03 February 2007
The Other Cold Steel

And since we're on the subject, here is Hutton's Cold Steel.

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www.vrazvedka.ru

This russian site has a couple of useful texts on it, especially Cold Steel which is tricky to find on-line. It's mostly in russian but the HTML links are in English so you can use these to navigate.

I'm in the process of transfering a lot of my soft copies of useful texts on to paper so I've turned this one into a pdf. It's a bit big to be hosted here so drop me a line if you want a copy.


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24 December 2006
Cool New Blog!

From a fellow Schola G forum member - Laches.

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Previously...
Wine and Cheese to the rescue
The Camera Never Lies?
Observer accused of fabricating comments
Hennesy Hammock
Awesome weekend
FightCamp Ahoy
A Quiet Mugging
Muhammad Ali with a Blackjack
CQB Services » W.E. FAIRBAIRN- THE LEGENDARY INSTR...
Religious Hatred. Again.



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