The Reality of Weapons
by, 12-16-2011 at 21:41 (8882 Views)
Can we really use "unarmed" techniques in self defense?
My Bujinkan teachers in Japan always stress that this art was built around the reality of weapons. We use them, we train to go against them and even though we do unarmed stuff most of the time, there is always a connection with weapons. This art was not meant to be used at a tournament. And in Japan, a entire class openly carried twin swords.
I have been thinking of something for a long time and kind of want to throw it out here.
The following is a work by Darren Laur on the knife. http://members.shaw.ca/tmanifold/edged_weapon.htm Most shocking is the following section.
Please note that these were police officers who are used to detecting trouble and consider the fact that people may use weapons on them. And they probably have some experience with real fighting and unarmed training sessions. Add in the fact that this was only a training session and not as stressful as a real fight. Despite the fact that someone made an effort to flash the knife during the scenario and scream about it, only 3 out of 85 could tell that the guy had one before it was used on them."I'm a big believer in, "don't tell me, show me" so in early 1992 I conducted an empirical video research study. I had 85 police officers participate in a scenario based training session where unknown to them they would be attacked with a knife. The attacker, who was dressed in a combative suit, was told that during mid way of the contact, they were to pull a knife that they had been concealing, flash it directly at the officer saying "I'm going to kill you pig" and then engage the officer physically. The results were remarkable: - 3/85 saw the knife prior to contact - 10/85 realized that they were being stabbed repeatedly during the scenario - 72/85 did not realize that they were being assaulted with a knife until the scenario was over, and the officers were advised to look at their uniforms to see the simulated thrusts and slices left behind by the chalked training knives."
So I take this to mean that there really is no "Unarmed" techniques in self defense. By that I mean you can't have something you would do if the guy has a knife and something else that you would do if he did not have one. Because you probably will not be able to tell if he has one or not. And this is not even taking into account the idea that the guy may not show you the knife before he uses it on you.
Kelly McMann, writing as Jim Grover, lists the following techniques being taught in today's prisons that all revolve around the idea of hiding the knife before sticking it in the other guy; The Smash and Slash, The Jailyard, The Jackknife and the Slap and Tap. In fact, the only technique he mentions that does not hide the knife is called Bulldogging. You can read about them on page 163-165 of his book, "Street Smarts, Firearms and Personal Security."
These are the slang terms given to these techniques in prison. So they are known and practiced by criminals. If you are talking about self defense you can't ignore the reality that the most likely to try to kill you with a knife are training so that they make you think they don't have a knife.
So I think we can throw out the idea that you can go into a battle in either a 'unarmed' or 'armed' mindset. The law and morality will not let you treat a guy who throws punches at you with the same amount of force that you would if you knew he had a knife. But you can't treat him as if he were just going to try to punch you. You have to assume that he may have a weapon and will pull it at some point- if it is not already hidden in his hand.
So far, a lot of folks may be asking what is the point. All of this may be something you have heard already. But my point is that a lot of artists seem to look at combat like it was a tennis match. You throw something, then maybe the other guys throws something.
Well, when I look at Hatsumi I see pool. To be more exact, I see Hatsumi as a pool shark. Once he has the shot, the other guy never gets a chance to make another. He clears the table and the other guy is just along for the ride. If they guy has a knife, he never gets to use the thing. He can't touch Hatsumi with anything. Hatsumi controls his entire body so that a hand of the other guy can't reach him. For unarmed stuff, a guy who can scratch you, and not much else, is not a credible threat. But if the guy has hidden a knife in his hand, then that scratch can kill. Hatsumi does not let him get that hand anywhere near him.
But I see a lot of Bujinkan folks that seem to be doing taijutsu as if it were a tennis match. Instead of luring in a committed attack and then taking control of the guy (or gaining distance away from the guy), it is a case of give and take. And you don't want to do that with a knife. In some cases I see Bujinkan members allow touches to them that can't do much damage as long as it is merely an unarmed situation. But as I said, you can't assume that you will know that it is an unarmed situation.
So I think more Bujinkan members should take a look at what Hatsumi does and try to watch for what I am talking about. If you look for it, it will become clear. Hatsumi is playing pool, not tennis. A guy had a knife would never be able to use it on him because he always moves in such way that he would be safe from it.
People might want to read more about knife fighting realities and how much they rely on surprise and deception by reading Marc MacYoung's web site at www.nononsenseselfdefense.com. He was also the guy who first drew contrasts with fighting and the way a pool shark works. But once you read it, and take a good, long look at Hatsumi, I really hope that I see a lot less tennis going on in the dojo.
Please note that I am not talking about using a weapon on someone else. I am talking about the fact that the other guy might have one. If you only train to go against unarmed opponents in your sparring and training, you will probably do as you have trained when you go against someone who has a knife and those habits will likely get you killed. Certain people on certain sites seem to not understand that and take it to mean that we will use weapons on someone who legally can't be attacked with a weapon. I do not know if they really do not understand, or they are trying to confuse the issue.
When you think about facing a potential knife, things change a lot. You don't want to "take" a hit to get in a better hit. If he has no weapon, great. But if you are wrong you lose big time. Instead of blocks and taking hits you probably want to think about getting off the line of attack or maybe just get the hell away from there.
And your purpose is not to defeat someone else. Your job is to survive. Ever think about running? How about not getting into trouble in the first place? When you look at how much trouble could be avoided by just walking away, it is amazing. People don't just pull a knife and attack- not often. In most cases people need to work themselves up to start a fight. During the fight they then pull the knife. What if you apologized and walked away quickly as soon as that little dance started? Yes, you may look like a pussy. You may look like you are scared. But are you going to let your fear control you? I am talking about the fear of looking like a pussy. Being scared of someone who might pull a knife is just common sense. But putting your ass on the line just so people don't think badly of you is complete idiocy and gives power to them and to your fears.
Right now in England they are having a lot of news about knife crimes. Part of the problem, according to a friend of mine on the police there, is that it is considered "cool" to be carrying a knife. They keep trying certain bans to stop the problem, but until the perception among young idiots change, they are not going to do much.
Maybe this will not happen in America. We do have guns. But guns tend to lift things up to the criminal level if you are caught with them. Many knives could be passed off as tools if it becomes a problem with police, but still fill the posturing fantasy of unstable young bozos. And even if it is not popular to carry a knife, you may still hit the lottery so to speak.
If you go up against someone who only trains for unarmed, one on one attacks, has about the same amount of training time and his techniques-strategy reflect this outlook then you will probably fail against him when playing to his strengths. But if you face a knife without being prepared for it you will lose a lot more than against the unarmed guy.