© COPYRIGHT – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This site and is protected and monitored by DMCA.COM - ANY UNAUTHORIZED Reproduction, Duplication, Distribution of any kind is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All original content is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Direct linking, reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. Under 17 U.S.C section 101 et seq. those who violate the DMCA could be liable for statutory damages as high as 150,000.00 as set forth in section 504(c)(2) therein.

Sunday, January 31, 2016


A knife fight is a violent physical confrontation between two or more combatants in which one or more participants is armed with a knife.  A knife fight is defined by the presence of a knife as a weapon and the violent intent of the combatants to kill or incapacitate each other; the participants may be completely untrained, self-taught, or trained in one or more formal or informal systems of knife fighting. Knife fights may involve the use of any type of knife, though certain knives, termed fighting knives, are purposely designed for such confrontations – the dagger being just one example.

Modern tactics for knife combat were developed by two British members of the Shanghai Municipal Police of the International Settlement in the 1920s. At the time the Shanghai streets were rife with criminal activity, exacerbated by the political tensions of the time and the breakdown of social order in much of the country.

Captain William E. Fairbairn and Sergeant Eric A. Sykes developed knife fighting skills and defences, which they began teaching to both police recruits and members of the British Army, Royal Marines and U.S. Marine units then stationed in Shanghai.  Fairbairn reportedly engaged in hundreds of street fights in his twenty-year career in Shanghai, where he organized and headed a special anti-riot squad.  Much of his body – arms, legs, torso, and even the palms of his hands – was covered with scars from knife wounds from those fights.

During World War II, Fairbairn and Sykes continued to refine their knife fighting techniques for military and paramilitary forces, teaching British Commandos, Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel, selected American and foreign soldiers and covert espionage personnel, including members of the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and US/UK combined Operation Jedburgh teams. Their experience in training both soldiers and civilians in quick-kill knife fighting techniques eventually led to the development of a specialized fighting dagger suited for both covert elimination of enemy sentinels and close-combat knife fighting, the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife, a landmark weapon of its type.

The knife was designed exclusively for surprise attack and fighting, with a slender blade that can easily penetrate a ribcage. The vase handle grants precise grip, and the blade's design is especially suited to its use as a fighting knife. Fairbairn's rationale is in his book Get Tough! (1942).

In close-quarters fighting there is no more deadly weapon than the knife. In choosing a knife there are two important factors to bear in mind: balance and keenness. The hilt should fit easily in your hand, and the blade should not be so heavy that it tends to drag the hilt from your fingers in a loose grip. It is essential that the blade have a sharp stabbing point and good cutting edges, because an artery torn through (as against a clean cut) tends to contract and stop the bleeding. If a main artery is cleanly severed, the wounded man will quickly lose consciousness and die.

The length of the blade was chosen to give several inches of blade to penetrate the body after passing through the 3 in (7.6 cm) of the thickest clothing that was anticipated to be worn in the war, namely that of Soviet greatcoats. Later production runs of the F–S fighting knife have a blade length that is about 7.5 in (19 cm).

In all cases the handle had a distinctive foil-like grip to enable a number of handling options. Many variations on the F–S fighting knife exist in regards to size of blade and particularly of handle. The design has influenced the design of knives throughout the many decades since its introduction. - WIKIPEDIA


Hand-to-hand combat (sometimes abbreviated as HTH or H2H) is a lethal or non-lethal physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range (grappling distance) that does not involve the use of firearms or other distance weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of striking weapons used at grappling distance such as knives, sticks, batons, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools.[1] While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

Combat within close quarters (to a range just beyond grappling distance) is commonly termed close combat or close-quarters combat. It may include lethal and non-lethal weapons and methods depending upon the restrictions imposed by civilian law, military rules of engagement, or ethical codes. Close combat using firearms or other distance weapons by military combatants at the tactical level is modernly referred to as close quarter battle. The United States Army uses the term combatives to describe various military fighting systems used in hand-to-hand combat training, systems which may incorporate eclectic techniques from several different martial arts and combat sports.

Close Quarters Combat, or World War II combatives, was largely codified by William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes. Also known for their eponymous Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, Fairbairn and Sykes had worked in the Shanghai Municipal Police of the International Settlement (1854-1943) of Shanghai in the 1920s, widely acknowledged as the most dangerous port city in the world due to a heavy opium trade run by organized crime (the Chinese Triads).

After the May Thirtieth Movement riots, which resulted in a police massacre, Fairbairn was charged with developing an auxiliary squad for riot control and aggressive policing. After absorbing the most appropriate elements from a variety of martial-arts experts, from China, Japan and elsewhere, he condensed these arts into a practical combat system he called Defendu. He and his police team went on to field-test these skills on the streets of Shanghai; Fairbairn himself used his combat system effectively in over 2000 documented encounters, including over 600 lethal-force engagements.[2] The aim of his combat system was simply to be as brutally effective as possible. It was also a system that, unlike traditional Eastern martial-arts that required years of intensive training, could be digested by recruits relatively quickly. The method incorporated training in point shooting and gun combat techniques, as well as the effective use of more ad hoc weapons such as chairs or table legs.

During the Second World War, Fairbairn was brought back to Britain, and, after demonstrating the effectiveness of his techniques, was recruited to train the British commandos in his combat method. During this period, he expanded his 'Shanghai Method' into the 'Silent Killing Close Quarters Combat method' for military application. This became standard combat training for all British Special Operations personnel. He also designed the pioneering Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, which was adopted for use by British and American Special Forces. In 1942, he published a textbook for close quarters combat training called Get Tough.

U.S. Army officers Rex Applegate and Anthony Biddle were taught Fairbairn's methods at a training facility in Scotland, and adopted the program for the training of OSS operatives at a newly opened camp near Lake Ontario in Canada. Applegate published his work in 1943, called Kill or Get Killed. During the war, training was provided to British Commandos, the Devil's Brigade, OSS, U.S. Army Rangers and Marine Raiders.

Other combat systems designed for military combat were introduced elsewhere, including European Unifight, Soviet/Russian Sambo, Army hand-to-hand fight and Systema, Chinese military Sanshou/Sanda, Israeli Kapap and Krav Maga. The prevalence and style of hand-to-hand combat training often changes based on perceived need. Elite units such as special forces and commando units tend to place higher emphasis on hand-to-hand combat training.

Although hand-to-hand fighting was accorded less importance in major militaries after World War II, insurgency conflicts such as the Vietnam War, low intensity conflict and urban warfare have prompted many armies to pay more attention to this form of combat. When such fighting includes firearms designed for close-in fighting, it is often referred to as Close Quarters Battle (CQB) at the platoon or squad level, or Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) at higher tactical levels.  - WIKIPEDIA

Friday, January 29, 2016


The ninja were for all intent and pruposes were the special forces operatives of their day and I have always been interested in the special forces operatives of our day and their history, particularly in close quarter combat (CQC) and World War II Combatives such as William E Fairbain's Defendu and many others.

Growing up I had always heard people say don’t ever mess with a WW2 combat veteran they will kill ya. I remember my mother’s cousin who was a WW2 vet, one day at a family reunion his three sons who were grown men at the time got upset with their dad and decided that they were going to teach him a lesson in front of the entire family. Well that didn’t quite work out the way they had planned. My mother’s cousin made pretty easy work out of kicking all three of his sons’ asses.

I was a boy at the time but I remember that when his sons jumped him from behind he made short work of them. I am thinking now years later that his sons were lucky that he did nt really hurt them I am sure he could have.

 WWII Combatives relied on speed, surprise, and overwhelming violence.  They were not teaching recruits in World War II how to arrest people.  They were not teaching chokes so the enemy could wake up later. It was all about war and killing. Quite simply it was KILL OR BE KILLED!

World War II combatives are close quarters combat techniques which include hand-to-hand close quarter combat methods, advanced firearm point shooting methods, and weapons techniques like the knife, the bayonet and improvised weapons. I mean talk about being able to defend yourself and fight like Jason Bourne!!!! This combat method was taught to allied special forces in World War II by such famous instructors as Rex Applegate, William E. Fairbairn and Dermot (Pat) O’neil.

W.E. Fairbairn taught unarmed combat to the famed British Commandos and the U.S. armed forces during World War II.  Fairbairn was recruited to train the British commandos in his combat method. During this period, he expanded his method into the 'Silent Killing Close Quarters Combat method' for military application. Fairbairn who was a 2nd degree black belt in Judo and trained in boxing  and other martial arts contributed more to the knowledge base of how to kill the enemy in close quarters than perhaps anyone else to this day.

W.E. Fairbairn, the father of close quarter combatives,  established his own method called Defendu (Fairbairn Fighting Systems) with Eric A. Sykes. Defendu was based on Fairbairn’s training in Kodokan Judo, and other fighting styles; and was designed to be highly effective.

In 1941 Rex Applegate was recruited by Wild Bill Donovan for the OSS, specifically to build and run what was called "The School for Spies and Assassins", the location of which is now Camp David. Donovan had Applegate learn all that he could about armed and unarmed fighting from William E. Fairbairn to form a brutal and effective system.
U.S. Army officers Rex Applegate and Anthony Biddle were taught Fairbairn's methods at a training facility in Scotland, and adopted the program for the training of OSS operatives at a newly opened camp near Lake Ontario in Canada. During the war, training was provided to British Commandos, the Devil's Brigade, OSS, U.S. Army Rangers and Marine Raiders.

Applegate was the close-combat coordinator for all clandestine missions and this role brought him into contact with other fighters and martial artists of the time period such as a Finnish soldier who killed 21 Russians with a knife and the founder of the British SAS: David Stirling. At one point during the war, Applegate served as the personal bodyguard to President Franklin D Roosevelt.

Dermot O’Neill  was a devoted practitioner of Japanese judo a fith degree black belt awarded by the kodokan while living and working in Japan. He was also considered by many to be the protégé of William E.  Fairbairn.

O’Neill came to the United States at the behest and recommendation of WE Fairbairn who was at this time involved with the OSS. O’Neill was slated to work for the OSS, but was sent instead to serve as an instructor with the First Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-US commando unit known as the “Devil’s Brigade.” When the 1st SSF was sent into action, O’Neill refused to stay behind and declared that since he trained these boys he would damn well fight beside them.

After the war O’Neill served as a consultant on police and security for various Federal agencies, including the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. In the mid-1960s O’Neill located in the Washington, DC area and began work with the International Police Academy there. This organization was funded by the Agency for International Development and was a cover for para-military operations and training run by the CIA.

O’Neill was considered a very tough man in his day and had a reputation for not backing down from anyone. His skill in judo was highly praised even at the kodokan.  The methods of hand-to-hand combat he devised and taught were greatly effective and such was proven in actual battle numerous times. O’Neill greatly influenced military close quarter combat for the United States Army, the United States Army Military Police Corps and the United States Marine Corps.

WW2 would be the pinnacle of close quarters battle, hand to hand, knife and bayonet it all would gell during this time. Designated as the 1st Special Service Force, the Devil's Brigade was a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit trained at Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. Many modern American and Canadian Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit. For the movie of the same name, see The Devil's Brigade.

Members of this unit received rigorous and intensive training in stealth tactics; hand-to-hand combat; knife, the use of explosives for demolition; parachuting; amphibious warfare; rock-climbing and mountain warfare. From the outset, the 1st Special Service Force was armed with a variety of non-standard or limited-issue weapons, such as the M1941 Johnson machine gun. The Johnson  LMG in particular helped greatly increase the firepower of the unit and was highly regarded by those who used it in combat and a fighting knife made exclusively for the Force called the V-42 combat knife.

Add caption
In japan the Japanese military were doing the same with a special forces group of their own at the “Nakano school”  and were  coming to the exact same conclusions with close quarter combat  as Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate,and O'Neill had. Hit hard, fast, hit the vulnerable areas, kill. NO BULLSHIT. Get IN and get the JOB DONE as quickly and brutally as possible.  

The Japanese military did employ a "knife" design as a combat knife as well as the traditional so-called "Tanto" design. The term TANTO merely describes a "hand sword" NOT particularly a "design" TANTO-JUTSU can refer to ANY knife. The tanto design that is familiar to most of us is actually called a "kogatana".  As I understand it Tanto-jutsu/Kaiken-jutsu usually means "knife fighting technique". TANKEN-JUTSU refers to the use of the BAYONET as a knife. This is taught as part of the JUKEN-JUTSU (bayonet fighting) syllabus.

Monday, January 25, 2016


My first experience with judo was in the combatives training I went thru in the Military. Later when I was 26 years old I pursued further training in judo which continues to this day. I am fortunate enough to have an excellent Japanese instructor who grew up doing judo since the age of six and who trained at the Kodokan, the headquarters of Judo.

I may never have the opportunity to travel to train at the Kodokan in Japan but I do have the next best thing. The 1 hour and 20 minute drive to Orlando to train is definitely worth it. I take great pride in the fact Sensei Sasaki allows me to train and takes up so much time with this 51 year old 2nd degree black belt.

I get asked constantly why do you drive so far, there are schools to train at that are closer. My response is simple, Sensei Sasaki is from the KODOKAN! There is a not only a prestige but a rich history of Kodokan Judo.  

Judo from its very beginning has been a self-defense and combat discipline. The original Judo from Jigoro Kano was and still is a full featured combat discipline which formed the basis for many Military and Police tactics around the world. Pre-WWII Judo was a far different thing than what we see now. 

The Japanese in particular, being on a global war footing, practiced a type of Judo that has little in common with the "sport" of today.  This form of Combat Judo was a type of hand to hand combat that was perfected and used during WWII, modern warfare and self defense. 

Judo served well as an official system of Japanese Imperial armed forces and Japanese police. In 1886 the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Academy hosted a tournament between the Kodokan (The Kodokan Institute, is the headquarters of the worldwide judo community in Japan.) and the prominent Jujutsu style, to determine which "style" the Academy would adopt into their training regimen. Out of the tournament's 15 matches the Kodokan won 12 and had 1 draw. The reason why the Kodokan was so successful at this historic meeting lies in one word: Randori. Randori or free sparring trained Kanos judokas in as close to real life and death combat as possible.

Judo was probably the first Japanese martial art introduced to the west, most notably through the U.S. military in the modern era. As American GIs were introduced to the Japanese culture from the early 1900’s onward it was inevitable that the martial art of Judo found its way into the American culture.

CPT. Allen Corstorphin Smith of the United States Army trained at the Kodokan in Japan. CPT.
Smith was awarded a  judo black belt from the Kodokan in Japan in 1916 and was the hand to hand combat instructor at the Infantry school at ft, Benning Georgia.


World War II combatives are close quarters combat techniques, including hand-to-hand (H2H), advanced firearm point shooting methods, and weapons techniques (knife/bayonet/improvised weapons) that were taught to allied special forces in World War II. The most successful programs were offshoots from the British Commando training taught by William E Fairbairn. Farbairn, a second degree black belt in Judo, had trained the police force in Shanghai, China before the war.  

Fairbairn was likely the single greatest authority on hand-to- hand close combat and personal defense skills with and without hand-held weapons of the 20th century.  He was the most prestigious, sought-after, and influential close combat trainer throughout the Allied Forces of WWII. The Commandos, the secret agents of England’s wartime Special Operations Executive and of America’s Office of Strategic Services, and special agents of the FBI all learned Fairbairn’s special system.

Mikonosuke Kawaishi an 8th degree black belt in Kodokan judo developed and taught a terrific and extremely deadly form of  close combat/self- defense. Mr. Kawaishi's methods are probably the most ruthless form of Judo ever to be put before the public, and were designed for the keen Judoka, and the Police Forces and Military Establishments all over the world.

Finally there is “Pat” Dermot O’Neill the fabled hand-to-hand combat instructorr for the Canadian/American First Special Service Force (the “Devil’s Brigade”). O’Neill had been a detective with the Shanghai Municipal Police Department, and had learned Defendu directly under Fairbairn. O’Neill was the highest ranking Caucasian judo black belt in the world in the 1940’s.

Fairbairn, Oneill and Kawaishi were all Judo trained men. All three of these men were incomparable masters of practical, all-in fighting and close quarter combat.  EACH ONE taught a repertoire of vicious, direct skills to disable the enemy as quickly as possible at all costs.

Various aspects of Judo were taught to all U.S. military police as an effective way to deal with arresting and controlling drunken, brawling GIs without seriously harming them.  The great Judo legend Masahiko Kimura shared a story in his biography about being approached shortly after WWII in the summer of 1946 by a Capt. Shepherd of the U.S. Military Police to train Military Police personnel in Judo.

The United States Air Force has at times in its history been at the forefront of Combatives Training. Soon after the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service in September 1947, GEN Curtis Lemay was appointed as the Commanding General of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). GEN Lemay, who had masterminded the US air attacks on the Japanese mainland during World War II, knew that more US bomber groups in Europe had suffered more combat casualties than the US Marine Corps had in the pacific. Many of the lost Airmen ended up as German Prisoners of War. He was determined that all of his flying personnel would have a working knowledge of hand-to-hand combat to aid in escape and evasion.

In 1951 GEN Lemay appointed Emilio "Mel" Bruno, his Judo teacher and a former national American Athletic Union (AAU) Wrestling champion and fifth degree black belt in Judo, to direct a command wide Judo and combative measures program. He devised a program combining techniques from Aikido, Judo and Karate.

 In 1952 the Air Training Command took over the program. The Commanding General was General Thomas Power. Because of the deficiency in qualified instructors, Power sent two classes of twenty four Airmen to train at the Kodokan for several weeks. 

Based upon the success of this trial and after an official delegation from the Kodokan toured SAC bases in the United States, Bruno set up an eight week training course at the Kodokan. Students trained eight hours a day, five days a week and upon return to the United States were assigned throughout SAC. The course was a Japanese designed mix of judo, aikido, karate and taihojutsu.

From 1959 to 1966 the Air Force Combative Measures (Judo) Instructors Course was taught at Stead Air Force Base in Reno Nevada. The 155 hour course consisted of: 36 hours fundamentals of judo, 12 hours aikido, 12 hours karate, 12 hours Air Police Techniques, 12 hours Aircrew self-defense, 18 hours judo tournament procedures, 5 hours code of conduct and 48 hours training methods. There were also a 20 hour Combative methods course and a 12 hour Combative survival course for Aircrew members.

Being recognized as so effective in combat, Judo became the basis for most of the hand-to-hand combat skills taught to soldiers in basic training throughout all branches of the U.S. military.

 "Strikes are an inefficient method of ending a fight. However, they are a significant part of most fights, and a solider must have an understanding of fighting at striking range. It is important to note that while at striking range, you are open to being struck. For this reason, it is often better to avoid striking range." - Combatives, US Army Field Manual FM3-25-150, Department of the Army, 18 January 2002, Washington D.C.

 "Marines should avoid being on the ground during a close combat situation because the
battlefield may be covered with debris and there is an increased risk of injury. However, many close combat situations involve fighting on the ground. The priority in a ground fight is for Marines to get back on their feet as quickly as possible." - US Marine Corps Close Combat, MCRP 3-02, Department of the Navy, 12 February 1999, Washington D.C.

Judo is a sport but it is much more "combatives" oriented.  The judoka trains at a close quarter combat range developing avenues to quickly put an end to a hand to hand or close quarter combat situation. There is a reason that old school law enforcement and the United States military taught Judo...IT WORKED.

"Judo instruction is one of the high spots in the life of the latest addition to the Leatherneck Marines here. An instructor shows a recruit how to make the enemy's bayonet useless. Cpl. Arvin Lou Ghazlo, USMC, giving judo instructions to Pvt. Ernest C. Jones, USMCR.", 04/1943 - Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Most recently I wrote an article explaining a brutal knife attack a friend of mine had suffered. He was attacked from behind and it was fast, furious.bloody and brutal.  He was stabbed and cut 14 times, was in a coma and had more stitches in him than I wanted to count. The article elicited a lot of comments and remarks some had great advice others not so much. Personally and being someone that practices combat training with the knife, the outcome is never good for the victim from a determined attacker.

In this case my friend was attacked from behind and I know hindsight is 20/20 and every “internet master knife fighter” and his brother has an opinion,  but I cant emphasize enough to be aware of your surroundings always. If possible leave quickly or try to arm yourself with a weapon that'll keep distance between you and your assailant (bo/mop,shovel,broom etc) and definitely keep moving.   I keep in my mind the 21 foot rule regarding drawing my handgun, and if its imminent just be mindful of your vital areas because you're gonna get cut, stabbed or both.

From my experience almost all knife attackers use short, quick stabbing and slashing motions and not big movements, making most of the knife disarm techniques taught by martial artists useless.... So, instead of talking about a lot of crap concerning so-called unarmed "knife" defenses,  I want to look at reversing the roles.

Instead of looking at it from the defender’s point of view let’s assume the "role" of the attacker. The mind set and the weapon of choice. The attackers choice of weapon…a knife.  A knife is up close and personal, ferocious and brutal. You have to close on your victim and physically, violently and with extreme prejudice stab,slash, and hack him to bits. A knife is about as personal, ruthless brutal and deadly as it gets. It's not like a gun, which which has an element of detachment.

We are still assuming the role of the attacker so your attack will be a frenzy of hate,rage and murderous intent. You more than likely aren’t going to fake a move or feint with your knife, you aren’t sparring with your blade, you damn sure wont be "half-stepping" with your knife. You  are going to attack with mindless brutal and ruthless rage and do ANY and EVERYTHING that will finish your victim off in as ferocious a manner as inhumanly possible. Murderous intent, rage, hate and adrenaline are fueling you to an almost superhuman state of frenzied violence.  Even when your man goes down you still keep stabbing and slashing away. In the case of my friend a bystander who was a legal firearms carrier pulled a  gun on the attacker. Only then was the attacker stopped.

FACE THE FACTS!!! This is what REALLY happens when one human being uses a knife on another. Too many are playing knife gymnastics without really realizing what an knife wielding assailant has in store for them. It isn’t going to be pretty! Are you REALLY preparing to DEAL with something like this?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



Ryohei Uchida was born in Fukuoka prefecture. He was the son of Shinto Muso-ryu practitioner Uchida Ryōgorō, and from an early age was interested in many forms of Japanese traditional martial arts, including kyudo, kendo, judo and sumo. In 1895, he attended the Toyogo University, where he studied the Russian language and in 1897, made a trip to Siberia.

It was 1903, and in less than a year, Japan and Russia would be at war. Russian intelligence officers would have paid dearly for information that Ryohei Uchida was in Vladivostok, Russia and that Japan's first overseas judo dojo, the Urajio, was in reality a secret headquarters for the spy activities of The Kokuryu-kai (the Black Dragon Society).

The dojo in Vladivostok was run by six hand picked men by Ryohei Uchida to specifically cater to young Russian military officers by exposing them to the new Japanese art of judo and hopefully gain access onto the military base under the guise of instructing officers in judo.

In all the annals of Japanese history there has been nothing more mysterious and sinister than this secret organization. The Kokuryu-kai flourished as a special headquarters for espionage, sabotage, revolution, intimidation and assassination.

Known to a relative few in Japan, and then only by the innocuous name of the Amur River Society, the Kokuiyu-kai was founded in 1901 by Ryohei Uchida. In the 40 years of its shadowy, cloak-and-dagger existence, the long hand of the Black Dragon Society could be found in wars and revolutions, the assassination of a queen and the abdication of an emperor, the murder of prime ministers, the overthrow of cabinets, the intimidation of statesmen, the annexation of foreign colonies and the operation of extensive overseas spy rings. It even organized and financed Manchurian bandits, Korean fanatics and Filipino revolutionaries.

Uchida was the descendant of a long line of samurai, one of whom had been exiled to an offshore island for his rebellious nature. His father, Ryogoro Uchida, served in the Kuroda clan as a bushi in the late Edo Period, and it was from his father that the young Uchida developed an ambition to see Japan expand into Korea.

Uchida's father Ryogoro, was quite famous in Kyushu for his skill in the martial arts, attaining great proficiency in the Itoryu School of kendo, the Shinto-Muso ryu School of jojutsu and the Kyushin-ryu school of jujitsu. Ryohei Uchida attained repute as a renowned marksman in kyudo at a very early age. He was also a fine sumo wrestler, while his father became his personal coach in kendo and jojutsu. Uchida also began to study judo.

As a youth, Uchida joined the Genyosha nationalist group and soon became the leading disciple of its founder, Toyama Mitsuru. The Genyosha was active in raising funds and agitating for a more aggressive foreign policy towards the Asian mainland. When the Donghak Rebellion began in Korea in 1894, Uchida went to Korea to help the rebels.

While in Korea Uchida had taken over the tactical operations of the Genyosha and organized a subsidiary group called Tenyuko (God-Gifted Samurai) — 12 handpicked adventurers dedicated to the task of ensuring that Japan would not be robbed of the fruits of its victory over China.

 The 12 men hand picked by Uchida created a small riot, and in the confusion, dressed as tonghaks, but wearing masks, they successfully entered the Royal house and slew the queen, Empress Myeongseong . The tonghaks, rebellious Koreans, took the blame for the incident.

By 1895 Uchida was in Tokyo at Toyogo University studying Russian. He also worked out at the Kodokan and established a special relationship with shihan Jigoro Kano. Ryohei achieved the rank of go-dan, and some years later became master of the Keio University Judo Club. His father not only continued to coach him daily in jojutsu, but also found time to teach Navy men and police in the art of the short stick.

The young Uchida also played a part in organizing the first judo dojo in Kyushu together with Jigoro Kano in 1897. Called "Tenshinkan," it was headed by a colleague of Uchida named Hyozo Chiba who later became the first instructor to visit the U.S. to teach judo. Needless to say, the young volunteers who would comprise the newly formed Dark Oceean Society and later the membership of  the Black Dragon Society were given a thorough indoctrination in the martial arts as well as in the ultra-nationalistic philosophy of the two societies.
Front row Left to Right: Ryohei Uchida, K. Iizuka, Sakuzo Uchida, Ikkan Miyakawa. Back Row: Isogai, Nagaoka, Jigoro Kano (seated) Yoshitsugu Yamashita (taught Pres. Teddy Rosevelt Judo).
By 1901, Uchida founded the Black Dragon Society and by 1903, Uchida was sneaking around Russia and Manchuria directing his network of spies, mobilizing Manchurian bandits and Chinese guerrillas for the coming struggle against the Russians, Mitsuru Toyama formerly of the Genyosha (Dark Ocean Society) was "persuading" politicians to his way of thinking.

Toyama mapped out the policies, while Uchida directed the operations. Singly, each man was impressive and powerful in his own right, but together they made an unbeatable pair. They sent literally hundreds of their followers to Manchuria and-Siberia as secret agents.

Mitsuru Toyama was just beginning to make good headway when he suddenly locked horns with the stubborn Prince Ito who favored coming to an understanding with Russia. As the nation's leading elder statesman, Prince Ito exerted more influence on governmental policy than any other single man in Japan. Toyama realized that unless the Prince threw his support behind those advocating a war policy, there would be no war and the Black Dragon's cherished crusade of driving Russia out of all territory below the Amur River (dividing Manchuria from Russia) to make way for Japanese expansion would collapse.

3rd picture from the right on wall  is a portrait of Ryohei Uchida
One day in the summer of that year, 1903, Toyama and three burly judoka approached Prince Ito at his seaside villa in Oiso, some 50 miles south of Tokyo. By cajoling, flattering and threatening the Prince, Toyama was able to alter the Prince's war policy.

When war with Russia finally came in 1904, the Japanese Imperial Army took the Kokuryu-kai under its wing temporarily as an intelligence organization. Black Dragon agents were even attached to the army in the field as interpreters and guides.

The pictures used in this article are courtesy of the Uchida family

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Sometimes in our lives things happen to others that we know and it just hits too close to home. It makes you rethink and sometime may even be a revelation and even a turning point in your life or the way you do things or see things. Reality sets in. It makes you think. 

Recently a person I know and speak with several times thru the course of most weeks had gotten himself into a physical altercation, At first it was just a fist fight but later almost ended with someone losing their life.  Even though this particular incident took place in a bar it still raised some red flags in my mind about the training the majority of martial artist do and if it is even practical and effective in this day and time.

It was the viciousness of the attack that sent my mind spinning it made me look at how I train and prepare myself physically to confront such a overwhelming attempt to end a life.  My friend was literally stabbed and slashed 14 times by a guy who had followed him out of a bar after an altercation they had inside the bar. The attacker ran up on him from behind and began stabbing and slashing him with a knife.

My friend was in the hospital in a coma for three days both lungs had collapsed. He spent two weeks in the hospital. When I finally saw him he took off his shirt and showed me his wounds.   There were multiple stab wounds to both sides of his ribs. There were slashes that covered his back, the back of his neck and both arms. The stitches were too numerous to count. It was evident that was indeed a wild, mindless and violent attack. It was a raging, chaotic fast flurry of stab after stab and slash after slash. I look and see how most people train to defend themselves and quite honestly it just isn’t enough, and guys, it wont deal with such a vicious attack like I just described. 

Reading and learning from a book, learning from a video, larping and other systematized type practices just isn’t going to cut it. This guy didn’t make a thrust or a slash and just leave his fucking hand out there so someone could disarm him. This was a fast and furious continuous storm of knife slashes and stabs coming at you unpredictably from all directions. Forget the shit you see from larping martial artists in YouTube videos.  Live action role play on a motionless attacker who just stands there while you do your thing will not even come close. IF you aren’t training for a full blitz wild type of an attack you are dead. My friend could have very easily lost his life. The attacker now sits in jail with no bond on an attempted murder charge. 

I looked at my friend with the knife wounds all over his back, on both sides of his ribs, his neck and arms and it dawns on me now more than ever. Over my years of training in self defense, and teaching self defense I never saw any system, or style of knife defense that immediately clicked in my head as being effective.  I have seen a load of self defense instructors who teach how to analyze the knife from different angles with all these fancy, complicated, and downright ineffective techniques. Some people though seem to buy into them because they LOOK COOL. 

I found myself going back to my days in the military and then things I was taught in basic and the Military Police Corp in the mid 80’s. I DID NOT fight in a war anywhere.  I DO NOT have combat ribbons or medals.  But my stint in the military was really my first experiences in training with dealing and preparing for the possibility of a serious attack, a life or death situation.

My first exposure to Judo was in the military but the Judo taught wasn’t for sport it was for combat and survival, it was life or death. It was practical and effective. Your opponent come at you crouched and attacked you realistically. First it was done slow and by the numbers but then it progressed becoming more fluid and faster. The guy just didn’t leave his arm dangling straight out in front of your face waiting for you to react. If you missed that small window of opportunity to do something they would come at you again and again. You kept doing it till ya got it right. 

We didn’t learn a hundred and something techniques, we didn’t pull guard or fight off our backs. We didn't strike some cool movie Bruce Lee fighting pose.  It wasn’t a game it was how we prepared for what would be a life or death situation. A situation for me that keeps it all in perspective.