The monkey knife fight

Many years ago one of my best friends took an exclusive bodyguarding course. Very high level, a little hush-hush, real serious stuff. The first class was kind of interesting. At one point the instructor had them sitting around and asked them if they thought they could beat up Mike Tyson. It was a class full of hard-nosed, realistic types, and they all said no. My friend, having the double blessing of being Finnish and of the same rough and tumble martial arts school as me, said yes, he figured he could beat up Mike Tyson. I suppose the instructor might have smiled at this. Being a crazy whack job like all such instructors, it was probably a knowing smile. I imagine that he could read my friend pretty good, and knew what was coming. The rest of the class, reportedly, smirked at the cocky young fool. The instructor asked my…

Continue reading

Completely unexpected WTF Wednesday

Short post today. My bike commute, during a sudden and vicious thunderstorm, was interrupted by the sudden need to go ass over teakettle slightly after meeting a car. The driver of the car was one of those sharp fellows who think that stop signs are only meant for occasional use. He was also of the opinion that stopping to check on a downed cyclist was an action requiring a courage to be found only in the rarest of men. So instead of being in a thoughtful and writerly mood, I’m damp, sore, grumpy and nursing a headache. And trying not to wonder if my damaged bike will indeed make the 15km trip back home. It’s a hell of a long walk otherwise. I’m taking it as a sign that I need to give up this foolishness of a holding a graveyard day job. Hell, I should probably finally give up…

Continue reading

Sorry, was this your knife?

A few years ago I was doing my BC AST (advanced security training) course. It’s required in order to carry and use handcuffs at work. As part of the course, we were given more thorough lessons on the legalities of correct use of force. With this extra knowledge, we were then assumed able to make use of a different set of self-defense and compliance skills. One of those skills was defense against knife attacks. Our instructor was a rangy cowboy of a man, with decades of experience as a sheriff and multiple black belts. Tough guy, good instructor. He grabbed a training knife and asked who in the class had martial arts training. I put my hand up. I know how this drill is supposed to go. I’ve done it myself. What you do is pick the cocky tough guy with solid martial arts training, and tell him to defend…

Continue reading

Live by the sword…

There’s just something about a sword in the hand. I think Ridolfo Capo Ferro had it right when he said it was a perfect weapon for self defence. Shorter weapons lend themselves to nasty uses. Longer weapons are awkward, and best suited for war. He figured only the sword was really suited to “civil discourse.” He had a point that is still applicable today, if not practical. We tend to focus on knives and handguns for self defense, and they sure do work. Rifles have replaced pikes and spears, and they work for self defense as well…and are a bit too awkward for daily use. Knives and handguns also lend themselves well to nefarious uses. But Capo Ferro’s idea of self defense was a little different than ours, and maybe we’ve missed out a little. Working as a bouncer, you quickly develop a sense for trouble. You have to. Your…

Continue reading

Self defense, minus the ninja attacks

The best self-defense lesson I ever learned was from a woman who asked me to teach her a few things. She lived in a sketchy part of a sketchy city. We had a few days together, and she knew my background. Her background was in medicine. She said she’d had some bad run-ins, and would love to learn a few martial arts things. Things that might help her out if problems came up again. I said sure, I could do that. Might help if she told me about some of the problems she had run into before. She related her most recent episode. She was driving along when some guy in apparent distress flagged her down. She stopped and rolled her window down. The guy punched her, reached through the window and grabbed her. She grabbed one of the knives she kept handy in her car and stabbed the guy…

Continue reading