Not so long ago and in a pasture too uncomfortably close to here, a flock of sheep lived and grazed. They were protected by a dog, who answered to the master, but despite his best efforts from time to time a nearby pack of wolves would prey upon the flock.
One day a group of sheep, more bold than the rest, met to discuss their dilemma. "Our dog is good, and vigilant, but he is one dog and the wolves are many. The wolves he catches are not always killed, and the master judges and releases many to prey again upon us, for no reason we can understand. What can we do? We are sheep, but we do not wish to be food, too!"
One sheep spoke up, saying "It is his teeth and claws that make the wolf so terrible to us. It is his nature to prey, and he would find any way to do it, but it is the tools he wields that make it possible. If we had such teeth, we could fight back, and stop this savagery." The other sheep clamored in agreement, and they went together to the old bones of the dead wolves heaped in the corner of the pasture, and gathered fang and claw and made them into weapons.
That night, when the wolves came, the newly armed sheep sprang up with their weapons and struck at them and cried "Begone! We are not food!" and drove off the wolves, who were astonished. When did sheep become so bold and so dangerous to wolves? When did sheep grow teeth? It was unthinkable!
The next day, flush with victory and waving their weapons, they approached the flock to pronounce their discovery. But as they drew nigh, the flock huddled together and cried out "Baaaaaaaadddd! Baaaaaddd things! You have bad things! We are afraid! You are not sheep!"
The brave sheep stopped, amazed. "But we are your brethren!" they cried, "We are still sheep, but we do not wish to be food. See, our new teeth and claws protect us and have saved us from slaughter. They do not make us into wolves, they make us equal to the wolves, and safe from their viciousness!"
"Baaaaaaaddd!", cried the flock,"the things are bad and will pervert you, and we fear them. You cannot bring them into the flock. They scare us!". So the armed sheep resolved to conceal their weapons, for although they had no desire to panic the flock, they wished to remain in the fold. But they would not return to those nights of terror, waiting for the wolves to come.
In time, the wolves attacked less often and sought easier prey, for they had no stomach for fighting sheep who possessed tooth and claw even as they did. Not knowing which sheep had fangs and which did not, they came to leave sheep out of their diet almost completely except for the occasional raid, from which more than one wolf did not return. Then came the day when, as the flock grazed beside the stream, one sheep's weapon slipped from the folds of her fleece, and the flock cried out in terror again, "Baaaaaaddddd! You still possess these evil things! We must ban you from our presence!".
And so they did. The great chief sheep and his court and council, encouraged by the words of their moneylenders and advisors, placed signs and totems at the edges of the pasture forbidding the presence of hidden weapons there. The armed sheep protested before the council, saying "It is our pasture, too, and we have never harmed you! When can you say we have caused you hurt? It is the wolves, not we, who prey upon you. We are still sheep, but we are not food!". But the flock would not hear, and drowned them out with cries of "Baaaaaaddd! We will not hear your clever words! You and your things are evil and will harm us!".
Saddened by this rejection, the armed sheep moved off and spent their days on the edges of the flock, trying from time to time to speak with their brethren to convince them of the wisdom of having such teeth, but meeting with little success. They found it hard to talk to those who, upon hearing their words, would roll back their eyes and flee, crying "Baaaaddd! Bad things!".
That night, the wolves happened upon the sheep's totems and signs, and said, "Truly, these sheep are fools! They have told us they have no teeth! Brothers, let us feed!". And they set upon the flock, and horrible was the carnage in the midst of the fold. The dog fought like a demon, and often seemed to be in two places at once, but even he could not halt the slaughter. It was only when the other sheep arrived with their weapons that the wolves fled, vowing to each other to remain on the edge of the pasture and wait for the next time they could prey, for if the sheep were so foolish once, they would be so again. This they did, and do still.
In the morning, the armed sheep spoke to the flock, and said, "See? If the wolves know you have no teeth, they will fall upon you. Why be prey? To be a sheep does not mean to be food for wolves!". But the flock cried out, more feebly for their voices were fewer, though with no less terror, "Baaaaaaaadddd! These things are bad! If they were banished, the wolves would not harm us! Baaaaaaaddd!". The other sheep could only hang their heads and sigh. The flock had forgotten that even they possessed teeth; how else could they graze the grasses of the pasture? It was only those who preyed, like the wolves and jackals, who turned their teeth to evil ends. If you pulled their own fangs those beasts would take another's teeth and claws, perhaps even the broad flat teeth of sheep, and turn them to evil purposes.
The bold sheep knew that the fangs and claws they possessed had not changed them. They still grazed like other sheep, and raised their lambs in the spring, and greeted their friend the dog as he walked among them. But they could not quell the terror of the flock, which rose in them like some ancient dark smoky spirit and could not be damped by reason, nor dispelled by the light of day.
So they resolved to retain their weapons, but to conceal them from the flock; to endure their fear and loathing, and even to protect their brethren if the need arose, until the day the flock learned to understand that as long as there were wolves in the night, sheep would need teeth to repel them.
They would still be sheep, but they would not be food!
Courtesy of Gabe Suarez, one of the greats in reality based self protection:
Carrying In The Non-Permissive Environment
First of all, nothing in this article is to be construed as an advocating of violating any laws. This is presented for those who may be interested in the academic nature of such studies and for education purposes only. There now that we got that clove of garlic out in the air, let’s get into the meat of the material.
This will be controversial, but I think it needs to be written. I have students all over the world, in some very dangerous areas. In many of those places, there is no NRA, CCW Laws, Second Amendment, or even recognition of Human Rights. The danger is real and I’m regaled with stories of brutality from infant rape to post-kidnapping dismemberments and other grizzly stories that would drive any sane man to carry weapons, regardless of the local laws, and be prepared to use them violently at any moment. The danger is even more real if you are a pale-faced American in our current age of drug wars, terror wars, and renewed anti-Yankeeism. Can this info be misused? Anything from beer to baseball bats can be misused. The bad guys already know this material, and it is part and parcel of their bad guy skill sets. Heck, who do you think we learned this from? Our friends who were once on the opposite side of the legal lines.
When Operating and Carrying Weapons in A Non-Permissive Environment:
First of all, be low profile. Try to fit into your environment. Don’t dress like a Yankee. Avoid loud clothing with bright colors or patterns and instead go for muted earth tones. Avoid the scruffy look as well. In general, neat, clean people get overlooked, dirty scruffy unshaved people get a second look. Avoid American brand clothing such as things with flags or slogans. Again, the entire idea is to dressed in a way that you can easily be overlooked.
If carrying a weapon, dress to hide it. No one looking at you should have any idea that you are carrying a weapon. Photographer vests from Royal Robbins may look and be the rage on the cover of Bitchin Guy Magazine, but you may as well carry openly because everyone knows its covering a gun. Same goes for baseball hats representing American tactical companies such as Glock or “certain shooting schools”. If it marks you as an armed American, do yourself a favor – get rid of it! Real operators are invisible, not poster boys for the American gun industry.
A note about weapons. Pistols of course are a fine choice if you can have one. If not, at least have a knife. Either bring one with you, or get one locally. If you cannot find a knife, get a screw driver a nice sharp Phillips screw driver. The idea is to have something with which to fight. Usually someone will bring up the idea of O.C. Spray. Well, here is my opinion on it. In the USA, that may be a fine idea due to various social issues, but with or without it, you must have something to back it up. You cannot OC three guys wanting to “stomp the Yankee”.
In this environment the idea of less lethal is secondary to having the ability to inflict instant and overwhelming damage on those who attack you.
With regard to firearms, there are some choices which are better than others. Avoid extremely expensive or “personalized” guns. Carry Mexican style. That is holster less. Why? Because if you need to discard you pistol to be instantly unarmed and not one to be paid attention to, the empty holster is as telling as the gun that it carried.
Something that is often done by those who venture into such environments routinely is to wipe all fingerprints off the cartridges and reinsert them into the magazines with gloves on. It is also interesting to note that polygonal bores such as found on certain pistols do not mark the projectile as do standard lands-and-grooves barrel. The end result is that it is more difficult to determine from which pistol a certain bullet came.
With regards to knives, they should be very very sharp and not used for routine day to day chores. They should be hidden and remain hidden until they are needed. I’ve seen guys whip out a $300 custom folder when some soccer mom asks if anyone has a knife to open a box of cookies. Stupid.
The knife should be inexpensive and easily replaced. The idea that you may have to ditch your knife should be remembered before you choose between that high dollar custom and the Spyderco Endura to carry in the NPE.
Finally, above the software and hardware is the background work. Have a plan, and follow it. If something goes wrong it should not surprise you but rather you should have thought of it before and planned for it. Be smart, be low profile, but be ready. Your safety and that of those around you whom you care about is in your hands alone. No one else will come to help you at such times. Bottom Line - Be Armed At All Times
Now, I'm not one of the god-squad, leaning more to Prof. Dawkins' way of thinking. However I do firmly agree with H.L. Mencken that one must respect the other fellow's religion, at least as far one respects his theory that his wife is beautiful, or his children intelligent. With that in mind, the following is one of the all time great quotes and something more Christians would do well to remember.
He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one" -- Luke 22:36
This weekend was the first time I have taught a full length self-protection course, all of my own material. It was a little daunting to say the least but I think it went fairly well. It was open to males and females but given that it was being held at a hospital it was always going to have the majority of students as females.
One thing which made it so much easier was the help of my chums Raggedstaff, Molossus and Abomination (not their real names, obviously...). All are experienced martial artists and Molossus in particular is very experienced self protection instructor.
Here's a brief outline of what was covered:
The 3 golden rules of self protection and the three stupids Awareness with discussions and drills on clearing and mobile commentary Victim Selection and how to make ourselves less likely to be a victim Colour codes
The fence Default defence (RBSD's cowcatcher) managing unknown contacts basic strikes (eyejab, palm strike, hammerfist, elbow) Managing the Fucked Up Tangle (FUT) Defender floored, attacker standing Both on the floor - rape position and mount
We also touched on weapon defence and improvised weapons, although not in any great detail.
The course seemed well received and I was very impressed with how people progressed, especially H who was very nervous at the beginning but kicked the snot out of a 6' 15 stone blacksmith on the second day!
I learnt a lot as well - specifically:
More drills are needed for the awareness session A warning that people will find the drills stressful and that crying is normal when having dealt with a stressful situation Less breaks to keep the momentum up The second day flowed less well than the first with more improvisation required
So thanks to all those who attended and helped and I will post details about the next course which will be even better!
Belisarius at TPI makes some excellent observations about the MMA fighter skillset as it applies outside of the ring.
There is a lot of bullshit about MMA vs. Comabtives whereas I view the two as complementary. MMA gives the vast majority of the skills (outside of the 'butt-scootin guard-puller' crowd) and is second to none for training. Combatives gives the real-world skills such as observation, line-ups and weapon skills. Of course this is nothing new - guys like Dennis Martin, Dave Armstrong and Geoff Thompson have been including MMA type training in ther classes for years. However, the halo effect provided by the current high levels in MMA competition and the resulting refinement of skills and training methodologies is making for some great improvements across the board.
To add to Cecil's posts about attitude being an important consideration, I think that effective use of these weapons does require a willingness to do what it takes to get to this range and to keep it. Under optimal conditions, the costs will be very low and you'll get in with a low-risk entry on a great attack angle, probably doing damage on the way, and everything will go smoothly. Wonderful. However, conditions can and will deviate wildly from the advertised optimal and pushing the action to force the fight to the clinch range can entail being willing to trade shots, i.e. Badman Contest style, with the risk of taking some heavy blows in the process.
Once you get the Thai clinch, you may find that the guy is unable to answer your technique and simply takes punishment from your close-range tools. However, you may also find yourself having to be a pit bull and refusing to let go of your 'bite' when he starts violently doing things designed to shake you off. If his hands go to his waistband in a real-world situation, for instance, you may have to transition to more of a Greco-based clinch strategy very quickly. I think that this smooth movement between MT and Greco techniques, putting Thai striking and 'dirty boxing' in the whole time, is a real key to this game.
I think MMA is a To add to Cecil's posts about attitude being an important consideration, I think that effective use of these weapons does require a willingness to do what it takes to get to this range and to keep it. Under optimal conditions, the costs will be very low and you'll get in with a low-risk entry on a great attack angle, probably doing damage on the way, and everything will go smoothly. Wonderful. However, conditions can and will deviate wildly from the advertised optimal and pushing the action to force the fight to the clinch range can entail being willing to trade shots, i.e. Badman Contest style, with the risk of taking some heavy blows in the process.
Once you get the Thai clinch, you may find that the guy is unable to answer your technique and simply takes punishment from your close-range tools. However, you may also find yourself having to be a pit bull and refusing to let go of your "bite" when he starts violently doing things designed to shake you off. If his hands go to his waistband in a real-world situation, for instance, you may have to transition to more of a Greco-based clinch strategy very quickly. I think that this smooth movement between MT and Greco techniques, putting Thai striking and "dirty boxing" in the whole time, is a real key to this game.
I think MMA is a bit like undergrad because you have both a liberal arts curriculum and you have your major. Everyone in MMA needs basic striking and grappling fundamentals (the liberal arts), and then will usually tend to emphasize certain tools for "attack" and to leave the others for contingencies and opportunistic use (declaring a major).
As has been written about extensively, the three majors are really Sprawl & Brawl, Ground & Pound, and Submissions Technician. If MMA were an ecosystem, these would be three predators who prefer to kill in different ways. Within these you even have subspecialties:
-G&P has relatively one-dimensional fighters that always try for the takedown as soon as possible and almost never get a standing KO or sub or bring the fight back to standing; and it has multi-dimensional guys like Fedor who can knock people out in the stand-up phase and pull off efficient submissions, too.
-Subs Technicians have the classical Gracie family strategies that generally look to pull guard---let's be honest---and are very comfortable with the idea of working subs from the bottom, and who are essentially uninterested in using techniques from outside of BJJ; there are the BTT types who prefer the top-position and incorporate a lot of wrestling takedowns, stand-up striking skills, and G&P (these are very close to the multi-dimensional G&P fighters); and there are the Catch/Shoot/Sambo type guys who will often try submissions before position, grabbing everything they can and emphasizing rolling techniques and leg attacks.
-S&B has the Counter-Punchers, the precision bombing guys who circle/push away from the clinch and use stand-off weapons as much as possible; and the Attack Dogs, the carpet-bombers who come straight at you and will trade leather in order to get what they want---clinch-based striking.
I personally think that the S&B guys probably have the most in common stategically with the emerging "Tactical MMA" type of fighter who combines MMA training with weapons and different overarching tactics.
This is a simplistic categorization scheme because all of the elite guys can and do employ techniques from all of the above. It is more a matter of portfolio concentration than it is anything else. In all cases except one (guard-puller) you have to be a solid wrestler, and that one stand-out is starting to go the way of the Dodo bird in high-level MMA because guys are getting killed.
To be a great standing elbows & knees guy against strong opponents, you probably have to have that Attack Dog mentality---this isn't always easy to bring out in people.
Surly at TPI makes some excellent points about Unknown Contact Management specifically for females.
I'm teaching a number of seminars later this month for female nurses and this is a very, very important part of what I will be covering.
1.) Teach the obvious visual scan: Due to socialization, women don't often learn a visual scanning technique. Use of peripheral vision and motion sensitive vision should be taught within a specific head movement pattern. Watch a woman performing a sector vision scan, and her head movement is going to look "out of place". That's one "Pre-don't-assault" queue. If in close to unknown contact, scan from hands to head/eyes. When subject moves hands, make obvious eye movement to hands. This says, " I'm watching YOU. and your hands".
2.) Posture and Movement: Natural female movement is loose, flowing. Watch Southnarc's UCM movement -- fighter like balance, precise, staccato. It's a deliberate move-hold-move cadence. Short circular arcs. Once again, unnatural for a female to move in this manner. Number two "Pre-don't-assault queue". This can be expressed in parking lot egress;, take momentary cover position, scan, move forward. A BG watching a female move across the parking lot, is going to take a mind pause. Combined with obvious vision scan.
3.) Take the Concealed-One position early: In ECQC lexicon, the "C-1" is establishing grip on the weapon. For my trainee, being female, I say make this early an obvious, dramatic movement. Even a citizen woman is going to get more leeway, if the C-1 is seen by a no-threat person. Emphasis can be added by dropping non-essentials ( like shopping bag ), to clear hands. As if to say, "I'm hands free, and weapons' hot". No need to present weapon unless warranted, but this is one major "Pre-Don't Assault" queue. Besides being an 'queue' it's good to free the hands. ( not so good for the eggs in the bag ).