Kyuzo Mifune Judo Clip - Amazing balance and body control shown by Sensei Mifune.  Well worth the 6 minutes.  “The greatest judo technician ever, after Kano”?  You decide.  Dude floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

The  Best Exercise There is, Hands Down - I totally agree with Mark Sisson on this account. When in doubt, DO SOMETHING.    As Alfred Adler said: “Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”

More on Sucker Punches -   How do you defend against this?  Other than being hyper
 vigilant, what could stop this kind of attack. You walk out of a store with your
girlfriend/spouse take a few steps and some dude walking behind you just punches
you in the head?  Crazy.

You Have The Right To Stay Out of Jail- Interesting infographic.  Now I’m a strong
believer in law & order and a friend of LEOs, but I’ve been told by several in the profession that the appropriate answer any time an Officer asks “Can I search your car?” or “Can I come in?” is “NO”.  Once you’ve given them permission, all sorts of bad things can happen that you’ve just given up your rights to prevent.    

Here’s a hypothetical example.  Let’s say you are a Concealed Carry Permit holder in the Commonwealth of PA.   And you inadvertently leave a firearm in your vehicle, but then cross state lines into one of our neighboring  States that don’t provide reciprocity
(ex. Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Maryland) or may have legislated
onerous regs (magazine capacity limits, hollow point bans etc.).  You are pulled over for speeding, during which the Officer asks to search your car.  You, thinking that you
have nothing to hide and want to be helpful, say “Sure”. They find the firearm with an “illegal” high capacity magazine and hollow points, and you my friend, are hosed. 
Why risk it?  Just say “NO”, while being polite and non-suspicious/nervous.  (Of course there’s always the case where you knowingly carry concealed in a jurisdiction or state where you aren’t “officially” licensed and come into contact with law enforcement. 
That can lead to a pretty high pucker factor.)

Interesting statistics shared over at the Low Tech Combat site in an article on “The King Hit” (or sucker punch as we’d call it here in the US).  Whether it’s from the Knockout Game or just not paying attention at the local adult watering hole, getting hit when you’re unprepared is bad news.

But I hadn’t seen this type of data before (from 175 attacks reported from 2005 – 2011):

  • 99% of attacks committed by men (not much of surprise here)
  • 96% of victims were men (also not surprising)
  • 49% of attackers were aged 18-23 (ritual hierarchical monkey dance?)
  • 94% of attackers were with friends or in a group (status, reputation, ego; plus it’s not just you vs. him, you have his buddies to worry about)
  • 82% of attacks occurred on a Friday or Saturday night (good time to stay home)
  • 71% of attacks were between the hours of 10 pm – 4 am (go home and go to bed early! Nothing good happens after 10 pm)
  • 12% of king hits resulted in death (scary)
 So stay alert out there. 

As the karate maxims say “The eye must see all sides, the ear must listen in all directions”

An interesting article in the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine (Volume 10, Issue 1, pp. 1-3, March 2003), although dated, gives some interesting insights into knife attacks

This UK study indicates that 1/3 of assault victims attending the hospital were injured with a knife.  Most have superficial slash-type wounds.  Majority of injuries are to the face, with fewer affecting the upper limb and trunk.    This part is curious, since you would think that there would be slashes on the hands/arms from defensive shielding.  Maybe these were surprise attacks and/or the victims were diminished (or at least unaware or clueless).  11% have multiple wounds, the average number being three – so if you can’t run away or escape, then your best bet is to try and capture or immobilize the weapon bearing limb.  The longer it’s free and swinging at you, the more you’ll get cut.

To better understand the patterns of injury, the researchers then gave untrained soldiers a knife and asked them to attack a human-sized target.   Their attacks followed 3 basic lines -  The Angle 1- a 45o downward diagonal slash from high R to low L (from the attacker’s perspective); Angle 12 – straight down vertical from top of head to belt buckle; and Angle 3 – a horizontal slash from R to L.   These are not too surprising (especially if they attackers were Right-handed).  Most attacks, whether from a club, bottle, knife, or empty hand, are going to come from this quadrant, so understand defenses in that direction (if not all directions). 

Train hard, train safe, and train often.

The Friday, January 31, 2014 edition of “The Daily Collegian” (Penn State’s student newspaper) featured a front page article titled “Police, university officials discuss reaction plan to school shooting”.  Some assorted thoughts follow.

When responding to an “active shooting”, the article says that “The officers follow three steps.  Their first preference is to force the shooter to surrender.  If that fails, they are trained to barricade and incapacitate the threat.”  Keep in mind that ~ 43% of active shooting events are over BEFORE the police arrive.  The cold, hard facts are that YOU are responsible for YOU.  The police aren’t going to magically appear to save you.  Chances are very strong that they won’t arrive in time.  So what’s your plan to survive?

I’ve discussed previously Penn State’s “5 outs” program.  In this article they refer to a “SAFE” acronym, which stands for

S – Search for a safe place

A – Alert authorities

F – Find a place to hide

E – End the threat

My opinion is that this may be an adequate response if you have no other options and can’t reach any kind of exit.  But a better response is to get the heck out of the building as quickly as you can.  The “duck and hide” mentality is a nanny-state response that wants to enforce helplessness on people and reduce their willingness and ability to take care of themselves.  How much better would it be if individuals had both the means and ability to protect themselves (and others) at all times?

Another consideration is the type of attack.  Is it a solo shooter, such as a disgruntled student/co-worker/mentally ill person?  Or is it a coordinated terrorist attack (some LE and counter-terrorist specialists feel that schools are being studied as targets due to the emotional response guaranteed to transpire from such an event.  Farfetched?  Spend some time studying the terrorist attack at Beslan where 334 hostages were killed, 186 of them children.)  

Terrorists know that the standard protocol is to barricade the building.  That’s exactly what they’re looking for so that they can ensure maximum media coverage for the final carnage.  It’s not like they’re waiting to have their demands met or have a point to their “negotiations”.   Similar considerations for a mall scenario, such as those that have happened overseas (ex. Kenya, Mumbai).  It never ends well for the folks that have made the choice to hide inside and wait to be rescued. 

So what’s the right response?  That’s up to you.  Be informed, be intelligent, and be prepared.  Take personal accountability for the safety of you and your family. 

Whether you think it’s an increasing or decreasing trend is not important, the fact is that the “Knockout” game exists and LE has been aware of it prior to the recent rash of publicity.  And as Dan Djurdjevic points out in this article, the worst effects may not necessarily be caused by the punch, but by the victim striking his/her head on the ground/curb.  As I’ve mentioned previously, the most common cause of death in a street fight is hitting your head on the ground.  
I recommend you read the entire Djurdjevic article and also watch the video (because they provide insight to the environmental/social conditions that led to the outcomes).  He has some interesting comments on how these scenarios are different from a“relatively safe” MMA bout.

In general, two important concepts to keep in mind:

1) Awareness -  As we say in karate, “the eye must see all sides; the ear must listen in all directions.”  Don’t walk, jog, or drive with your hoodie up, your ear buds screaming, texting your BFFs about how great the hot yoga class was and how you’re looking forward to
that guava and quinoa smoothie.  Pay Attention! Get your eyes up and use them.  Look around (yes, even behind you) and far ahead. If something doesn’t look/feel right, trust your instinct and get out of Dodge as fast as you can.  
Now I have to confess that I also need to continually practice this.  As recently as a week ago, while attending a local high school event, my good friend TB ghosted up on me in
the lobby full of people as I was waiting for the show to begin and rightly chastised me for my lack of situational awareness (never even saw him coming).  Of course this was in a
school where it’s always safe, so not to worry, right?  Good thing I had several “accessories” on my person that could have aided in my protection if necessary, but point being, I let someone get close enough to sucker punch me without even noticing him.   Bad, bad, bad.

2) Preparedness -  Being prepared doesn’t just mean having the skills necessary to
protect yourself as well as supplemental training with weapons if desired.  It means being prepared to run if necessary. Are you physically fit enough to run more than a dozen feet?   How about 100 yds?  Could you climb over a wall if necessary?  General physical preparedness goes a long way.   You don’t have to be a studly CrossFit games kind of guy/gal, but at least be able to move and manipulate your body thru space enough to save your life if necessary.  And if you have a family, do you have enough skills and are you in enough shape to defend them?  If not you, then who will?  
Being prepared also means being prepared not to go to stupid places with stupid people who do stupid things.  Crowded bars with drunken people, “bad” sections of town, walking down alleys alone late at night?   Prepare yourself with some common sense.  If you watched the video you could see how that crowd kind of morphed thru the parking lot, people taking videos with their cell phones, following the chaos. Nothing beneficial was going to happen, and although everyone wants to rubberneck and watch the train wreck, all those cues should be the first sign to beat feet and boogie home. 
All for now

Was cruising thru James Keating’s MAAJAK World
and happened to see this great video, a historical review of the training and use of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting knife.  

Some thoughts:

a) There are those that discount the merits of this style of knife due to the handle design. 
The handle is round which makes indexing of the blade difficult for edge awareness and orientation.  This is very true IF you feel the primary purpose of this blade is for
slashing/cutting purposes.  Then edge awareness is critical.  But as outlined in the video, one of the primary strategies for this blade design was the use of the point/tip.  It has a
needle tip which means it’s designed for piercing/stabbing. Therefore it’s perhaps less critical to quickly index the handle so that the edge is properly oriented.  The change to a
flatter, more elliptical handle was an important evolution into the Applegate-Fairbairn fighting knife.

b) Sheonage or “4-corners throw” – Trooper Scott describes a defensive training scenario which results in a broken arm for the “doubter”.  This sounds like a variation of the “Sheonage”or 4-corners throw.  No doubt effective (as described), but generally frowned upon as a standard knife defense vs. a downward stab/slash, since your average FMA player would retract and cut the blocking arm or redirect and attack another target.  
But in historical context, you have to realize that they weren’t training to defend against the average FMA player or really anyone with much knife savvy at all. They were training against the average draftee with little or no blade awareness that was relying on this
weapon as a backup or last resort.  And we have to remember that on the street (vs. competition or dojo) we’re not always facing a “trained” attacker.  But in many ways that’s even more dangerous.

c) Interesting description of the sentry removal technique as “a bit of a messy job”.  That may be a classic Brit understatement.

Lessons learned from this recent incident in NASCAR truck racing.  Key event is approx. 50 seconds into this video:

1) The open hand slap is an effective technique.  There are
many that prefer the slap vs. the punch as an offensive technique.   Much less risk to hurting your hand on someone’s cranium.   Anyone can apply it without specialized training or hand conditioning. 
2)The preferred angle of attack on the jaw is from back to front.  This makes it most susceptible to break or dislocate.

3) Don’t piss off the girlfriend.  If you do piss off the girlfriend, don’t block with your

Although you can’t always be prepared for an altercation
(surprise does happen), there are some things that you can do to facilitate a better outcome if your situation suddenly goes bad in a hurry.   

One habit to ingrain is the position of your hands.  As
Guro Crafty says “hands are more useful when they’re up” (actually his is a more colorful variation, but we’ll leave that for another time).   By assuming a classic “interview stance” with the body bladed, dominant
leg (& weapon) usually in the rear, and one or both hands up and open in a  non-threatening manner, this does several things.   

a)  Provides a barrier if necessary between the opponent and your head/torso/duty
b) Puts one/both of your empty hand weapons closer to your opponent, reducing your time
to contact if necessary. 
c) Gets your hands up in a non-threatening manner and puts them in a closer position to
block/parry/intercept an attack.

As Matt Powell from Pramek discusses in this video, practice your responses – blocks, strikes, counters - from a variety of starting points with one or both hands up. Make sure
they are open hands, since posturing with fists in a classic “boxing”pose is perceived as aggressive by an opponent (and/or bystanders) and can escalate things that may otherwise be talked down.  I’m not a huge proponent in having the hands together or crossed, but as
Matt discusses, there are ways to do it successfully.