Friday, October 19, 2018

Defining Violence, Part 2

Here's the second part of the video from TFT on violence. Please notice the distinction drawn between antisocial and asocial violence.

Note: Some language may violate the household standards of some of my followers. Minor children are on their honor to have a parent/guardian preview it.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Defining Violence, Part 1

For they [i.e., the wicked] eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. ( Proverbs 4:17 WEB)

Tim Larkin of Target Focus Training (TFT) provides an excellent intro to what constitutes violence & begins to introduce the concept that, in a life or death situation, you will either dish out the violence or receive it.

 NOTE: this video contains scenes of graphic violence. If this material offends you, or young adults under 16 are present, please skip this video. Also, there are 2 or 3 instances of language that may violate some household standards.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Comparing Two Knives from FightFast/TRS

In this post, I will compare the 5n1 EDC to a previous knife I got from TRS, the 325s Tactical Survival knife. Both knives came "free" but cost $9.95 S&H. They were both promotional items, and I think they were good value at that price. I "bought" the 325s a few years ago, and the EDC came last week.

First off, the EDC blade is narrower and about an eighth of an inch longer than that of the 325s. Closed, the EDC is about a half inch longer. Their width closed is almost identical.


Out of the box, the EDC opened a little stiffly, and the liner lock was really hard to operate. Working with it has smoothed both operations considerably. I do miss the spring-assisted opening of the 325s. It would probably not be feasible on the EDC, though, because of the location of the light and fire starter.

In my hand, the 325s feels more ergonomic. The EDC's straight housing, for the light and fire starter leave it feeling just a tad less comfortable in my grip. Long or hard use might cause blisters.

The EDC obviously has two more features - the light and the fire starter - than the 325s. That increases its utility, and when you need a fire starter, you need it. Ditto the mini light.


Both knives have the seatbelt cutter and the window-breaking pommel. Both blades take a nice edge with a little stropping.

So, which will I carry? Probably both. I'm used to the 325s, but the EDC has the extra margin of utility I may occasionally need.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Principles of Personal Defense -- Review of Ch 2

As I mentioned in a a previous post, I've been working on a project that includes a detailed review of Jeff Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense. Here I address his second principle, decisiveness.


“When ‘the ball is opened’ -- when it becomes evident that you are faced with violent physical assault -- your life depends upon your selecting a correct course of action and carrying it through without hesitation or deviation.” (p. 13) Jeff Cooper has not left you in the dark about how foster a decisive mindset.

He says you must learn to think tactically. “By thinking tactically, we can more easily arrive at correct tactical solutions, and practice -- even theoretical practice -- tends to produce confidence in our solutions, which, in turn, makes it easier for us, and thus quicker, to reach a decision. (p. 14)

Although he does not elaborate on the  concept of theoretical practice, from the context, he obviously means running mental scenarios. You think to yourself, “If someone did this, then I would do that.”

Psychologists have found that mental practice produces results almost as good as real-life training. To achieve it, however, you must visualize the scenario -- the more vividly, the better. You will also achieve better results if you see the scenario in the first person, everything happening as if you were seeing it firsthand.

In addition to what Colonel Cooper recommends, I will caution you that predators can mask their intentions. They don’t want you to know their intent until after the attack has begun. They will do their best to get you to suppress that gut-level warning telling you something is wrong.

Too often, they succeed with victims afraid of seeming impolite. You must realize that a street attack does not follow the fictional rules of a schoolyard fight where one boy draws a line in the sand with the toe of his shoe and dares the other to cross it. That’s not how it happens on the street.

When a stranger approaches, and your gut warns you, “Something is wrong,” you do not need a literal line in the sand. You can and should have in place a series of mental lines which let you know exactly how close the predator has come to making his attack. No matter how much he smiles or uses words to try to throw you off balance, as he crosses the lines, he will make his intentions plain. (I talk about drawing a verbal line HERE and HERE as well as HERE. Go HERE to see my series on Lines in the Dirt.

Other lines include the following.

    The line of verbal manipulation (I cover these in my review of The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker.

    The line of physical pre-contact cues (Tony Blauer discusses HERE)

    The line of personal space

In each case, you must plainly tell the predator to break off his contact with you. Refusal to do so provides you with moral justification for the use of force against him. I will discuss legal justification in my review of Cooper's principle of aggressiveness.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Principles of Personal Defense - Review of Ch 1

 I have previously given an overview of Principles of Personal Defense by Jeff Cooper. Now, I'd like to give you my critical review of the first chapter, "Alertness".


If you stay alert, you will most readily escape or evade an attack. In an unavoidable assault, alertness keeps you from being taken by surprise. Cooper says that, although some people possess a greater inborn capacity for alertness, the rest can increase theirs. 
Of improving alertness he says,  “Two rules are immediately evident: Know what is behind you, and pay particular attention to any thing out of place.” (p. 7)

Then he presents a way to enhance your situational awareness: “Make it a game. Keep a chart. Any time anyone is able to approach you from behind without your knowledge, mark an X. Every time you see anyone you know before he sees you, mark down an O.” (p. 8)

This works even better if you can recruit a buddy to play the game with you. He gets a point every time he approaches you unnoticed, and you get a point when you sneak up on him.

 As you progress, introduce the game into your daily activity. In a restaurant or public library, do you sit with your back against the wall so that no one can approach you from behind? If you cannot sit back-to-wall, perhaps you can deliberately choose a spot where you can observe anyone approaching you. Here, you might use a reflective surface to increase your field of vision.

You can also get in the habit of looking around as you pump gas, so that no one can come up on your back without you knowing.

For myself, I find grocery shopping the perfect opportunity to work on an alert mindset. It’s easy to get so involved at looking for the right can of beans or figuring the best deal on tuna that you don’t notice you’re blocking the aisle. Which also means you don’t know who’s behind you. In any crowded place, you can practice alertness by navigating the crowds with awareness and purpose.

Cooper addresses rule #2 when he says, “Anything out of place can be a danger signal.” (p. 8) He treats this big topic only briefly. I will not elaborate here, but direct you to my review of Gavin DeBecker’s The Gift of Fear.

I will end this segment with a few recommendations by the Colonel.

    “On the street, let no stranger take your hand.”

    “Use your eyes. Do not enter unfamiliar areas that you cannot observe first.”

    “Make it a practice to swing wide around corners." (p.9)

Doing these things could prevent a surprise attack, or at the very least, take the surprise out of the attack.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

American Combat Judo -- A Review

I published a review of Bernard Cosneck's American Combat Judo some time ago here on WARSKYL. I've upgraded it below.

As a lad, I found I had to do my time in elementary school.  In 2nd grade, I believe, the boy in the desk next to me brought in a book called American Combat Judo. As a timid youngster, I  had to endure those who teased and pushed me around. Therefore, the idea captivated me that a book would teach me how to wreak mayhem on my tormentors. It even had a couple of pages dedicated to instruction in the delicate art of gouging out an eye. I wanted that book.

A few years later, when I was in Jr. High (Middle School to you moderns), I used to go into a stationery store (Ulbrich's) and covet items in their book rack. On one occasion, a strangely familiar cover caught my eye. It was my old friend, American Combat JudoI think I had to wait until the next trip -- after raiding my piggy bank -- to plunk down the cash for the slim volume. I fearfully approached the cash register wondering if the clerk would permit a minor to even purchase such a book.

My 1959 edition did not contain the information on eye gouging that my friend's 1943 edition had -- a disappointment, to be sure -- but it was my first self defense book, and it became a personal treasure. It did not turn me into a formidable fighter, but the mere possibility comforted me to.

A few of the techniques seemed to fit me, and I could see myself doing them. For example, the photos of middle-aged brutes in speedos showed me how to apply the Rear Arm Strangle, and I even used it (unwisely) once or twice, and I carry that shame to this day. Most of the techniques, however, required a practice partner to learn effectively, and it's probably a good thing that at that age & stage of my life I did not have someone to practice with. One of us might have maimed or killed the other.

Many years later, after I had trained in Goshin Ryu Jujitsu, I once again picked up the book, and understood how techniques worked that had once seemed so impractical and out-of-reach. As with many books on the subject, some techniques are more practical than others, but on the whole, it contains a lot of workable suggestions.

Bernard Cosneck was a collegiate wrestler in the early 1930's who served in the Coast Guard during WWII. He wound up teaching hand-to-hand combat alongside former heavyweight champ, Lt. Jack Dempsey. Cosneck's style was eclectic, taking elements of wrestling, jujitsu, savate and "police tactics".

You can find American Combat Judo on, although it seems that it is no longer in print. It should not be your first --let alone your sole -- book on hand-to-hand, but if you're into WWII combatives and/or self defense classics, this one should be on your list.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Limitation as the Doorway to Specialization

 My frame wasn’t hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:15-16 WEB)

 God created you with strengths and weaknesses. Do you focus on improving your weak areas instead of developing your strengths? The best strategy to overcome a weakness often lies in learning to specialize in your strengths.

Some time back, I read a story by Keith Pascal entitled One-Armed Al. He learned to fight by specializing in the moves he could accomplish with the one hand he had.

Today, I rec'd a story in an email from Trav at FightSmart. It makes the same point in the context of a Judo class.

Here it is:
A young man once wandered into a Judo school, because he wanted to learn how to throw people... you know... for self defense.
However, he only had one arm.
His Judo coach wouldn't let him jump into the normal classes... instead, he was forced to stay off on the side and practice a beginner throw.
Every day, the other students were allowed to master super-sweet moves and sweeps, while our One-Armed judoka did the same. boring. throw... over and over.
One day, the young man finally complained.
"I want to do advanced class with all of the other students. Don't limit me because of my disability!"!
The sensei stopped the class, and replied, "Well, NOW you're going to fight everyone in the gym. Let's see who throws who!"
What a jerk... AMIRIGHT!?
So he reluctantly stepped onto the mat with his first match, a pit of nervousness in his stomach, and began to fight.
Within seconds...
The sound of his opponent's back smacking onto the mat echoed throughout the room.
He was shocked.
However, each time the young judoka faced a new opponent, he promptly slammed with the same. stinking. basic. throw.
After 5 straight effortless victories, the young man's mind was ablaze... shocked by his own dominant ability, he looked at his sensei as if to ask, "how is this even possible"?
His sensei calmly explained, "The only known counter to that throw is to grab the arm that you don't have".
It can be a gift, if you allow it to be.