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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.

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