Friday, October 31, 2008

WARSKYL Reading List

While I was in Peoria for the WARSKYL conference, a couple of the young men asked me if I had or would make up a reading list for Christian Martialists. This is a good idea, and I have made recommendations in the past.

In January, I started a series entitled "Christian Martialism on a Budget" in which I recommended resources that would put you through your first year of training for $100. Several of the resources are free. If you have not read that series, or if you've forgotten, it may be good to go back and review, in order to evaluate and plug any gaps in your training.

Still, it would be a good idea to have a reading list compiled in one place. I have placed ads for various resources on this page (and, yes, I do receive a referral fee, if someone buys), but they don't constitute a comprehensive list.

Therefore, I have placed a web store on my other website. It is affiliated through, and I will receive a referral fee if you buy through my store. I know that this will be distasteful to a few readers, but if that's the case, you can still profit from my advice and purchase the material through other channels.

Also, if you can find some of these books at your public library and read them for free, that's great. And don't forget the free resources, either. Some of them are foundational. But if you're ready to move on to another level, and you need a source to buy books for training, go over to and click on the "Web Store" link.

Once you're there, you'll find that I've included notations on most of the books, so you can prioritize. Eventually, I hope to include notations on all of them.

Man Punches Girl in McDonald's: Video

You've probably heard the story, and you may even have seen the footage from the security cameras. A man who had two children with him cut in front of a teenage girl who also had two younger girls with her. She reportedly cussed him out, and he punched her.

I've tried to stop the video at each punch, which I found very difficult. To me, it looks as though the first punch -- right hook over the heads of the younger girls -- misses or just grazes the teen girl. It looks as though he follows that with a left hook, which I believe connects -- from the way the girl's head snaps back.

As she's falling, he moves in to uncork another right. (The guy's a real sweetheart, isn't he?)

Are there observations, conclusions or lessons to draw from this incident? Let me mention just three to get the ball rolling, and see what others you may come up with.

1) Observation: The jerk in this video is a predator. He may be a family man, but he ruthlessly and relentlessly pursues the girl until she goes to the ground. The very fact that he cut in line in front of young girls is a danger signal. This guy is present oriented and will do what he can get away with, unless he perceives an external authority that can and will make him behave. The teen girl ain't it.

2) Conclusion: Avoid confrontations with this type. If all he wants is a place at the head of the line, let him have it. And if he's doing it just to provoke you into a fight, then he's really dangerous. Leave, if you can. Your macho ego will likely lead to x-rays, stitches and possibly death.

3) Lesson: If you cannot avoid a physical exchange, then do not do what the teen girl did. The orc punched from a distance, so she leaned away from the punch. That put her off balance and set her up for his followup blows. Learn the combat wedge and use it in situations like this.

Okay, I could say more, but now let's open the floor for your observations, conclusions and lessons derived from this incident. Comments, please!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Was Ehud a Vigilante?

Continued from "Christian Vigilantism?"

But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.

And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence.

And all that stood by him went out from him. And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.

And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.

Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. . . . And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.
(Jdg 3:15-23, 26)

We can see certain superficial parallels here between Ehud and the vigilante. He acts, not just outside the authority of King Eglon, but directly against the king. He also acts secretly, as vigilance committees tend to do.

The differences, however, far outweigh the similarities. Ehud was raised up by Yahweh. He was called by God to this specific task; he was not a self-appointed judge and jury.

Second, he initiates justice against an invading foreign king, not his own nation's governing authority.

Further, he had some official standing as one sent by Israel to bring a gift to Eglon. Here the doctrine of interposition applies. The lower magistrate interposes himself between the tyrant and God's people.

For these reasons, I think that, although Ehud serves as a Biblical example of Christian Martialism, he does not serve as a precedent for vigilantism.

Next, I'd like to consider David.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Christian Vigilantism?

Vigilantism is a topic for discussion over at WARSKYLMOOT, the forum over at The discussion arose from a question about the legitimacy of acting as a vigilante if the police are not doing their job because of corruption or ineptitude.

(I should not go any further without acknowledging the great number of principled and efficient members of the law enforcement community. This post is not directed as an attack at them, many of whom are Christians, and some of whom are frustrated by the problems inherent in the system.)

God has instituted the civil authority, and He requires us to obey, even if it is officially pagan (or supposedly neutral, as in the USA). We may disobey the civil authority only when it requires us to directly disobey God's commands.

But what about freelance law enforcement? Are there any Biblical examples of vigilantism approved by God? And in our society, today, can we find precedent for citizens participating in law enforcement outside official channels?

By extension, we may ask, "How far can the Christian Martialist sheepdog go in his protection of self, family, church and community?"

I would like to devote a post or two to these questions.

Continued in "Was Ehud a Vigilante?"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Heightened Sense of Security

I'm away at another show. I drove all day Wednesday, and yesterday spent all day at the Louisville (pronounced loo-uh-vl) Expo Center. Will do so today & tomorrow, as well.

I've noticed that I tend to have a heightened sense of security when I'm away from home, like this. I'm always thinking about where my stuff is, what's safe in the motel room, where to leave things, and what to carry with me.

This evening as my brother and I had dinner at a restaurant, I thought about how tired I was and how vulnerable that made me. I get like this whenever I'm away from home. But tactical thinking should not be a function of distance from one's abode.

How about you? Do you let the familiarity of your surroundings lull you into a sense of false security? Do you feel most safe when you are actually least protected?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to take a critical look at your habitual routines and rate your actual security as if you were far away from home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanks to God . . .

. . . and thanks to you who prayed.

After surgery, Raquel spent about an hour in the recovery room & then was moved to a regular hospital room. She was released the next morning & is now back home, trying to complete her recovery at her sister's house, where she is nanny to six children.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Judo Chop -- Multiple Attackers

On my walk this morning, I got to thinking about training my judo chop (known to you youngsters as a karate chop, to WWII practitioners as edge-of-hand blow and to many martial artists as knife hand or sword hand).

The strike can be devastating, especially when directed at the side of the neck. (And it doesn't matter much where on the side of the neck because you're sure to hit something important: brachial plexus, carotid artery, vagus nerve.) It's also effective when directed at throat or temple areas, but be warned that hitting those targets can be fatal.

I started thinking about it this morning because of a dream in which I had used the judo chop against multiple opponents. It worked pretty well, in the dream ;-)

The thought occurred to me that if I stood with my back in a corner -- not a good place for a real fight, by the way -- I could chop out at both walls at the same time, as though at assailants who were trying to flank me.

After the walk, I went to my training room and tried it out. I stood in the non-challenging ready stance, and lashed out (see fig. 3 below) at both walls as I visualized orcs.

Hitting the wall is no problem, as long as you're using the meaty edge of your hand and not your little finger to strike. (Illustration comes from Get Tough by WE Fairbairn.)

I recommend you train with two strikes simultaneously as well as one, then the other. Also, try facing the corner, then whipping around to engage the two orcs coming up behind you.

Of course, effectual training for multiple assailants requires practice partners. That's a luxury I don't have, so I'm forced into these somewhat less-than-ideal creative solutions. If you train solo, you know what I mean.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prayer Request

I just received word that one of my daughters -- Raquel -- has been diagnosed with appendicitis & they are prepping her for surgery as I write this.

I appeal to you, brethren, for your prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back Home!

We arrived back in Possum Kingdom after 5AM yesterday (Sunday). We were all exhausted from the marathon trip & sadly, did not make it to worship.

This morning we took a walk in the cool air, and I surprised myself by walking a little farther than we had before we left. I did not get any real walks in during the trip, but I did have to climb some stairs on a daily basis.

The trip allowed me to see myself & my performance in an unaccustomed context, and reminds me of my need to address personal fitness issues.

I developed shin splints in late July to early August, and as a consequence I cut out the daily walks for about two months. Just started up again a couple of weeks before the trip. Now, I hope to get back into a regular fitness routine.

Because of the shin splints (mostly healed, still a little pain & swelling), I will be looking low impact & no impact exercises. I think I will try to incorporate a lot of John E. Peterson's Power Calisthenics into the mix.

How about you? Chances are you're a lot more fit than this old, fat guy. But what could you do to take your fitness level up a notch or two?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Followers & Followup

I was surprised to find that WARSKYL has 3 "followers", even though I had not promoted that feature. So, I put the app over on the right, in case anyone else wants to publicly affirm that they follow this blog.

Now I would like to address the men, women and young people who attended the WARSKYL Conference on Saturday. At that time I gave you an introduction to a small number of defensive skills. In a group of almost 40 people, it is difficult to give individual help to everyone who needs it -- which means some of you left better prepared for a physical confrontation than others.

Therefore I would encourage all of you to put in some practice over the next few weeks. As things were winding down, I noticed John C. practicing the palm-heel strike with someone. Over a period of not much more than 5 minutes, I could hear the smack of his palm against the focus mitt become stronger and crisper.

You can do the same with your skills. Listen to your body and feel the effects of your strikes. You can do a lot to correct and improve your skills through self-evaluation.

Finally, a few of you asked about where you could obtain your own focus mitts. I've checked Amazon, & they have some similar to the square, yellow Tae Bo mitts, only theirs are red: click here to see.

For a little more money, you can get one that has the glove-style grip on the back: click here to see. As I said at the conference, though, you could make some serviceable focus mitts out of an old foam pillow or cushion and some duct tape.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fight Scene Update

In the post, "Another Overhand Right Video", I linked to a fight scene & mentioned "If you're dancing, dance. If you're fighting, fight. Don't confuse the two."

I have since discovered the scene actually came from a Hollywood movie called "Never Back Down". I also have obtained a better image of the scene:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WARSKYL Conference Report

Well, it's over, and the 39 attendees seemed genuinely pleased with the content.

There were a few minor errors in the PowerPoint presentation, but they are easily fixed, and the presentation should go even more smoothly next time. (Yes, it was no sooner over when deolexrex was talking about the next conference).

Kudos to Colton (richardthelionhearted) and deolexrex (his dad) for the planning and efforts that went into the event. They will also be preparing the recording of the conference to be distributed along with the manual & the PowerPoint. More on that at a later time.

Also thanks to Providence Church for letting us use their facilities. The coordinators and most of the attendees are members of Providence.

It was great to meet so many fine Christian Martialist sheepdogs. The fellowship was incredible, and the questions & participation were great. After it was all over, a good number hung around for quite awhile.

Well, that's about it. I was pleased with the response. Hope we can see more of you there, next time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Street Fight - Quick Technique

Today, another guest article by Keith Pascal. Hope you like it. Posts may be few and far between for the next couple of weeks, as we'll be traveling.

Street Fight - Quick Technique

by Keith Pascal

I don’t know about you, but my main goal is to stay safe (and yes, to keep my loved ones safe and sound as well).

If I were with my family on the street and someone attacked, then I don’t think I’d have the option of running away. I’d have to stay and protect. This makes sense, right?

Well, if I were alone ... it would be a completely different story.

I could ... and would ... without hesitation ... RUN AWAY!

If there were any chance of me being successful, I’d get out of the danger zone as quickly as possible.

No loss of face. No bruised ego.

I am a martial arts expert. My main goal is not necessarily to parade my skills ... it’s to stay safe. (I feel the need to emphasize that point over and over again.)

If the best way to stay safe is to escape ... to run as fast as I can ... then I am out of there.

I stay and fight, if I have to.

What If You Have to Stay and Fight?

OK, I am going to give you a second chance at my first technique:

The attacker approaches. He (or she) is ready to fight. To attack -- to get involved in a real street fight.

As the bad guy reaches you, I want you to assess the situation. Quickly. You are looking for one main objective. Can you push or shove this person into something or over something, or hard enough for you to ... you guessed it ... turn, and run away?

[Still the main goal, eh?]

Taking the Street Fight to The Next Level

OK, let’s say the shove and run won’t work. No chairs to push your enemy into. No lawn statues around.

Maybe you have to take it to the next level?

Could you kick your enemy’s shin ... and then run away?

Maybe one solid punch and then an escape?

If your goal is to stay safe, then your first priority should always be to get to safety. Your ego can’t get involved. And let me guarantee, a true martial arts master would never hesitate to ... avoid a fight.

Would you like to know more about street fighting? If you have to ... if you can’t get away, then you’ll have to be ready ...

This Free ebooklet will help you to be ready for any street fight -- any attack.

Download Free - "Street Fighting Tips #1 - Ready for Anyone and Anything".

Keith Pascal has been a full-time martial-arts writer for eight years and a martial-arts teacher for 25 years.

Keith Pascal - EzineArticles Expert Author

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another Overhand Right Video

This one is a small screen on a page promoting self defense videos. I know zip about the product, but the video on the page is priceless.

The lesson? If you're dancing, dance. If you're fighting, fight. Don't confuse the two.

Here's the link:
Overhand Right

Also, you can expect a post on Friday, but after that it will be catch-as-catch-can for a couple of weeks. The WARSKYL conference is scheduled for Saturday, worship on Sunday & a few days with family, & then we stop for two days in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky for Court Days where we will be vendors (my new job as self-employed guy).

Monday, October 6, 2008

On the Horizon

Is persecution on the horizon for the Church in America? If the civil authority makes war on Christians, what is the role of the Christian Martialist? Or what if the civil leaders sit back and allow private third parties to ravage Christian churches and homes, as is happening in India and other places, today?

I don't know all the answers, but I suppose I should start looking for them. I sent out the following email this morning (Note, the user removed the first video from youtube, but I found another source and it works for now):

In 1980 American Christians started to view their candidates messianically. They voted for Reagan because they wanted him to save America from liberal incursions. In '88 Reagan passed the mantle to Bush I, and in 2000 I received emails -- from a Baptist minister -- saying that anyone who did not vote for Bush II was doing NOTHING to rescue America.

How long before the other side started to play the game of Messianic politics? How long before they would take a title (Alpha & Omega) that belongs to Jesus alone and apply it to their political leader? Well, here it is, and it ain't pretty. In fact, it's more than a little disturbing.

These young men are compared to the Hitler Youth. Interesting comparison. Another parallel is that Hitler was elected on a platform that promised socialized health insurance to all.

(Note not in original email: Did you notice that this Obama worship service took place on a Sunday?)

George W. Bush created Homeland Security, and it is a travesty. His supporters said it was necessary for our protection. What they did not think about was that this engine of tyranny might fall into the hands of the people pictured above.

Sadly, some Christians will read this, view the videos and think, "All the more reason to vote for McCain/Palin." They are missing the point. Republican statism is just as evil as Democratic statism. The Democrats in the videos are just being more consistent in expressing their statist faith.

Weep for America. She is reaping the harvest of seeds sown long ago.

As I watch American politics go to Hell, I thank God that by His grace, I am a subject of the King. "He can't be impeached, and He's not going to resign." (end of e-mail)

Words to live by:

If you can keep
--your conscience clear,
--your powder dry,
--your edge keen, and
--your bowels open,
you will acquit yourself well in the day of battle. ;-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

WARSKYL Conference Update, 2

Continued from "WARSKYL Conference Update" and "WARSKYL Conference Announcement"

I've been working on the PowerPoint presentation for the conference, today. It certainly is time-consuming. As I do so, though, I am seeing what a value this will be, not only for you Christian Martialist males, but also for your womenfolk, as well.

It's not all about fighting -- although we will spend time on physical methods of defense. Here are some of the things we'll cover:

  • Attendees will learn how & when violent predators normally attack;
  • They will learn practical steps that one can take to become a less attractive target to predators;
  • They will learn 7 warning signals that indicate a stranger (or acquaintance) may mean them harm;
  • They will learn how to overcome denial & indecision;
  • They will learn practical techniques to manage fear & adrenaline stress;
  • They will learn and practice the response to a potentially violent predator that may convince him to leave them alone;
  • They will learn and practice a reflex-based defense to the most common street ambush techniques;
  • They will also learn and practice a handful of simple, brutal and effective defense methods as developed by some of the greatest hand-to-hand combat experts the world has ever seen.

I'm looking forward to seeing as many Christian Martialists as possible there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Elements of Punching, 3

Continued from "Elements of Punching, 2"

This discussion originated with a question about why certain martial arts/self defense instructors say that it takes months or years to learn to punch effectively. I've shown that some of the reason lies in the necessity of training the body's coordination to develop speed and power.

Some of the Eastern arts, slow down the student's development by elevating form over function. The teach traditional punches which are less effective. Roger Koo of Koo Self Defense comments:

The instructor of those arts is always correcting the student for perfection. At Koo Self Defense, we are not concerned with how pretty the students can look, but by how much power they can generate, and that they are not hurting themselves in the process.

Koo trains his students to punch by devoting 20-30 minutes of every one-hour training session to power punching heavy bags, body shields and focus mitts. The student learns to feel the effectiveness of his punches and make his own corrections. This accelerates the learning curve.

Master Koo says,

That is why the training at Koo Self Defense is Self Corrective, If you punch, or kick wrong you will feel it. Koo Self Defense beginners are taught techniques considered by most martial art organizations to be for advanced students only. For example, what we explained earlier in about other martial arts teaching boxing punches to only Brown Belts above. The round punch (hook) for instance, which is the same punch most street attackers would use, is taught from day one at Koo Self Defense, allowing the student to cultivate this technique from the very beginning rather withholding it until he or she has reached the so called advanced level. As well as using the bare knuckle which takes some time to develop the proper wrist conditioning, our beginners are also taught to deliver the hook using their palms. This is very effective especially for women and children. Within one month of training, all beginners have doubled their hand power.

So, my prescription for the short path to speed and power is to use the training exercises I gave you in "Elements of Punching, 2" and then spend significant time beating the stuffing out of a heavy bag or body shield.

Also, did you notice what he said about hitting with the palm? That leads right into my next point.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Confrontational Types, 5

Continued from "Confrontational Types, 4"

In my original post, "Confrontational Types", I listed the 4 primary types and said, "I might also add a fifth, psychopath." Into this catch-all category, I put stalkers, serial killers & serial rapists (who, if not caught in time, may turn into serial killers), child molesters, what Dan Korem calls random actors (i.e., killers of the Columbine or New Hope variety), and terrorists.

You can think of the serial rapist and serial killer as variations of the true orc. They will generally approach in the same way, try to catch their prey off-guard and ambush him/her. The difference is that these are the ones who will often try to lure or take their victims to a secondary location.

I dealt with the danger of allowing yourself to be taken to a secondary location in "Kidnap Survival Tactic: Do The Opposite". There is one scenario I did not address in that post: what to do if he has a gun.

He points the handgun and says, "Keep quiet and get in the van." From the beginning, you must realize that no matter how frightened you are, your least safe option is to do as he says. He wants to take you away because wherever you are is too close to other people.

Further, he likely does not want to attract attention to himself by discharging a firearm in that place. Therefore, your best tactic is to put distance between yourself and the the orc. Weave back and forth as you run -- it makes you a more difficult target, in case he does decide to fire.

As you run, put cover between you and him (parked cars, utility poles, etc.)Also, the farther away you get, the less likely he will be able to hit you.

At close quarters, a knife can be even more dangerous than a firearm, because he can use it silently, and thus not draw attention to himself. But the knife is effective only out to arm's length. Therefore, distance is once again the best solution. Run like the wind.

If he's close enough to use the knife, I might try an offensive tactic before running away (I'm old, heavy, and I never was a fast runner). A poke to the eyes followed by a half-fist to the throat would probably give me time for a few seconds head-start.

And don't forget that he wants to take you away quietly. As you run, yell or scream for all you're worth.