15 September 2016

New Freedom Farm Grand Opening

We will be there and hope to see you there.  It is all about the Veterans.

07 September 2016

Recognizing furtive movement

02 September 2016

The difference between education & training

The best way I have found to explain this to people is by asking this simple question:  Do you want your kids to have sex education or sex training? Now, let's talk about this in relation to personal protection.

When it comes to being in the business of personal protection, I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.  It makes it easy for people to find out about what I do, which sometimes makes me money.  The problem is that people have unlimited access to Youtube videos and the ability to purchase books that they cannot otherwise find locally.  Add that to all the experts on the forums and you get people who have educated themselves with information from people that they will probably never meet in person.  It makes me feel like my buddy who is a doctor feels about Web MD.  He figures at least people have to come to him to get their prescriptions since they can now diagnose themselves, usually incorrectly.  More and more his time spent with patients is spent dispelling the crap they found on the internet.  Often, I feel the same way.

Anyone who has spent anytime dealing with violence for a living will tell you that the the best laid plan goes out the window after first contact (like getting punched in the face).

A perfect example would be all the videos showing gun disarms.  If anyone has knowledge of someone being able to execute a gun disarm in real life, please let me know.  It all comes down to time and opportunity.  If someone is holding a gun on you, they will probably be outside of lunge range.  If they have not shot you, they probably don't plan to.  It is also likely that they do not practice keeping their finger outside of the trigger, so you trying a Steven Segal move could cause you to get shot.

Then there is the plethora of knife defenses that look like a dance.  They have no resemblance to any edged weapons attack that I or anyone else doing reality based self-defense is aware of.  Here is something to look for, if their defense against a knife that is visible in their attacker's hand is using a knife they just happen to have in their hand....turn it off.

As I have suggested many times, watch videos of violent attacks over and over. Slow them down if you can, watch them on mute so you can concentrate on the visual information.  Get a buddy and reenact what you have seen and see what works.  Heck, let's make it even easier.  Spend $50 on some inexpensive boxing gloves and headgear.  Practice defending against full speed roundhouse punches. You know, since that that is the #1 attack you are most likely to see in the street. Once you get good at not getting knocked out, try controlling and counter attacking the attacker after not getting hit so they cannot hit you anymore.  While doing so make sure you have control of the hand they swung, because most people who are cut/stabbed will tell you they never saw the weapon and thought they were being punched.

In closing, don't be so overwhelmed with all the possibilities you find in videos and books of what could happen, this can cause you to be blind to the things that will happen.  This is not a sport.  It is a part of life..or death.

29 August 2016

Knuckles 101 Part II- Preemptive and Infight Striking

The following information is for educational purposes only.  Striking someone with any object could cause possible serious physical injury or death.

In Knuckles 101 Part 1- Selection, Carry, Deployment, & Use we only glanced over "use" so here is the follow up to further discuss striking with knuckles.  

Alpha Innovations Jaw Jackers
No matter the type of altercation someone always has to make the first physical move.  In the historical use of knuckles, it was usually the guy with the knuckles who probably struck first and last.  As I mentioned in Part I, the users of knuckles, saps, and jacks on both sides of the law had the the luxury of testing things out more than we do these days.   A cop wanted to take the wind out of a drunk's sails to drag him to the call box, and the mugger just wanted to be able to rob someone without them putting up a fight.  

Knuckles are a different tool than others because they are "on" your hand instead of just in it.  This has both pros and cons.  The pro is that muscles contract under stress so your hand is going to clinch around the knuckles during a fight so you will not drop them. Then there is the con, more likely, people will be wearing them improperly as rings and they will not be able to get them off after the hand swells from use.  That is if they slid on and off easily to begin with.  

For our purposes, we will discuss the use of knuckles in two different scenarios; preemptive striking and infight striking.  An easy definition of preemptive striking is one that is thrown first because you know a fight is eminent.  Whether you have a weapon or not, you know in your heart that you better make it good because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.   

Infight striking is pretty self-explanatory.  It is striking during a fight in progress.  
In MCS, we talk about default vs intentional targeting.  Intentional targeting is obviously much easier when the other fella is standing still and or not expecting it.  Neither of these things exist during the fight.  Fighting is like sex in that there are only so many ways that two people fit together at contact distance.  Therefore it only makes sense to familiarize yourself with the positions you are most likely to end up in, and take note as to which targets present themselves in these positions.  

Face it, you can hit anybody just about anywhere on their body when your hands are covered with metal to get their attention.  The specific targeting here has been chosen specifically because they are also effective with the open hand.

Strike to the Zygomatic Arch
Zygomatic Arch- this is one of my favorite targets.  If I have not mentioned it yet, now would be a good time.  I have never hit anyone with a pair of knuckles.  That said I have used palm smashes ( not the whole palm, the base of your palm, about the last 2-3 inches).  Take that part of your palm and push it up under your cheekbone (Zygomatic Arch) and you find it fits there like a puzzle piece.  A strike to this area rocks the head backwards.  This is a great shot for gaining distance and backing people up.  This strike is likely to cause a fracture, especially with knuckles.  The skeletal structure here is relatively weak and forms the bottom of the orbital socket.

C-Clamp Choke- obviously not a strike, but I love it anyway.  Can be done open
C-Clamp Choke using knuckles
handed by hooking your thumb on the inside of the windpipe while using your two middle fingers to hook the carotid artery and squeezing them together.  This is an airway and a blood choke.  It also has the added benefit of moving the windpipe out of the natural anatomical position that allows normal breathing.  If you have small or weak hands doing the choke with knuckles (or a sturdy pen) increases effectiveness. 

Temple-  with or without knuckles, most will agree that a strike to the temple can
Strike to the temple

cause death.  

Strike to eye socket
Eye socket- attacking the eye in any fashion could result in loss of that eye.  Even if you control where your strike and how hard you strike, you cannot control the internal damage.  

Forehead (knuckle dusting)-  where the term  knuckle dusters came from.  The
"Knuckledusting" across the forehead
skin on the head is pretty tight and prone to ripping and tearing when contact with the striking object continues after the initial impact. This is what makes this so effective, the possibility exists for there to actually be four separate impacts and rips from one strike.  Some may have heard of the "veil of blood" concept in their study of edged weapons.  The idea is to rip the forehead open so that blood flows into the eyes effecting eye sight.  The same thing could be achieved here.  Strike is done at an angle across the forehead. Of all the strikes shown and discussed, I believe this is the one that knuckles standout in comparison to other impact weapons.

Striking the ribs and intercostal muscles
Ribs-  once you are to the outside of your attacker, his ribs are wide open to you.  In the picture you can see that I am using a hammer fist to take advantage of the top of the pinkie side knuckle, the same things could be done with thumb side knuckle. Not only would this do more damage to bone, but it would also do a good job at causing trauma to the intercostal muscles between the ribs.

Collarbone- a hammer fist can break or dislocate the collarbone, making the entire arm useless.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of targets or strikes using knuckles.  Please feel free to share your comments.  As always, we appreciate your feedback.

Gear Review- The Wilderness' Halfway Decent Glasses Case

Disclosure- I was provided with the following product in return for my review.

OK, that being said, when I first began blogging and reviewing products, I reached out to the brands that I had already been using.  The Wilderness was at the top of the list.  Since probably about 1998, I had been wearing one of their instructors belts under my gun belt, working both SWAT and patrol.  Also being a slave to tactical fashion, I also wore it off duty.  A review of the belt I have been wearing since 2005 is coming soon.  But today we are going to talk about the Halfway Decent Glasses Case.

For those of you who may not be familiar, The Wilderness is a small family run company in Phoenix AZ.  All products are made in the USA.

One of my favorite things about this company is they always seem to come up with simple gear to solve simple problems.  In this case, that is making a halfway decent eyeglass case.  As the story goes, a frustrated customer asked for just that. the customer complained that regular store bought ones did not hold up, and that the tactical ones often resemble that, the "tactical" ones look like ticks about to explode.

Since I had to memorize the eye chart to get into the police department, I can tell you that having my glasses and keeping them in one piece is a big deal for me.  I had the same experiences as the frustrated customer.

I would describe The Wilderness eyeglass case as sort of a sleeve.  This is accomplished by the use
Belt loop that also wraps around to secure one end of the case.
of tough 1000D Cordura exterior and a sheer (smooth) nylon interior that does not hold onto grit and grime that can scratch your glasses.  Between the two layers is quality foam that not only protects your glasses but also allows the case to float in water.  Also inside with the foam is a flexible polymer lining which makes the case resilient to being crushed without adding bulk.  On the outside is The Wilderness' signature belt loop that allows you to attach the case to just about anything.  Personally, I like this because it allows them to be attached to my belt vertically and not horizontally.  The latter takes up too much real estate.  The whole thing is topped off with a heavy duty YKK zipper.

For the most part my case is shoved into the Bag Of Evil and forgotten about until I need to switch out my glasses from regular to sunglasses.  The Halfway Decent Glasses case might seem a bit of an overkill for a glasses case until you look up what your last set of glasses cost you.

Overall it is American Made, simple, and a bombproof solution to an every day carry problem.  The case comes in two sizes.  Small for most glasses, and a Large for bigger wrap around eye protection. Check it out.

24 August 2016

Video- Striking with knuckles

I will also be writing an article, but here is a quick video for primer.  Remember, this is for educational purposes only.  Striking someone with any item can cause serious permanent physical injury or death.

23 August 2016

Knuckles 101 Part I Selection, Carry, Deployment, & Use

The following article is for informational purposes only.  With few exceptions, the impact tool commonly known as brass knuckles or knuckle dusters are prohibited for carry by state and local laws.

There are basically only two types of weapons; edged and impact, both by design and improvised.  Even a bullet is a hybrid that goes really fast.  The three primary ways to cause trauma to the human body are burning, cutting, and crushing.  Injuries, both from accidents or from interpersonal violence, are largely from contact with objects and surfaces, usually  blunt force trauma.  These injuries effect mostly the central nervous systems and the structural system of the body.

The study of Combative Anatomy reveals that the fastest way to stop the aggressive action of another is by counter attacking their central nervous system with personal weapons i.e.; fists, elbows, and knees or impact weapons such as pens, flashlights, knuckle dusters, saps, and blackjacks.

For the sake of this article we will be focusing on the use of "brass knuckles" or "knuckle dusters".  Their effectiveness comes not from the weight of the material they are constructed out of, but more so their ability to concentrate energy on a small area increasing trauma by taking advantage of efficient or "natural striking".  More on that later.

Selection- collecting "knuckles" is a great pastime for close quarter combat weapon enthusiasts.  There are many designs available, both old and new.  Years ago I designed what I consider the perfect set of knuckles called the Jaw Jacker, which are still available from Alpha Innovations.  They are made out of polymer, and have rounded protrusions on the top of each of the four knuckles and on the top (thumb side) and bottom (pinkie side).  Also incorporated into the design is an innovative "leaf spring" that flexes during contact during a strike.

Classic knuckles are made of just about any metal available to the maker at the time, brass
Knucks recovered from a suspect I picked up on a warrant.
He told me he had been using them to jack other drug dealers.
Notice the padding added after he injured his hand using them
the first time trying to wear them as rings. They are too big on me
and he was much smaller than I am.
obviously being very common.

Many often complain that they have never been able to find knuckles that fit them. This is because they are trying to wear them as “rings”.   This is not how they were intended to be used.  They are intended to be worn between the first and second knuckle placing the palm brace in the meat of your hand.

If one was to wear knuckles ring style and had the occasion to strike a hard surface, it would likely result in the fracture of one or more fingers or other bones of the hand.  For those who have been unfortunate enough to experience hand fractures from striking people or objects, they will tell you just how fast the swelling begins.  Sometimes almost instantly.  If this were to occur, the knuckles would be stuck on your hand and would most likely have to be cut off.

Today, many of us who make the carrying of weapons part of our daily routine will probably never have the time or opportunity to use them.  Unless you happen to have something in your hand at the time of the attack, your initial response will be open handed, and from there most likely a handgun if so armed. As a matter of fact, I am of the mind that if you have to use any force at all during a situation that your awareness and avoidance skills have failed you.  Of course this is not accurate for the cop on the street who is initiating contact.

The good guys and bad guys of the past who led to the outlawing of once commonplace tools of knuckles, saps, and jacks used them often.  My point is that had it been common practice to wear them as rings there would be more stories about injuries to the user than that of the effect on the person struck.

So for academic purposes only, a set of knuckles should be selected based on how well they fit between your first two knuckles as well as the palm brace in your hand.  Ideally they would not be too big or too small for your hand…but just right.  Too small and they would be hard to put on.  Too big and they will give your fingers too much room to move around increasing the possibility of injury.

Jaw Jacker designed by George F Matheis Jr and manufactured
by Alpha Innovations.  This is the original prototype.  Production
models are black.
Carry- another reason why they were not worn as rings was because they were most often carried in the strong side pockets of the trousers or jackets.  I would imagine they were sometimes carried in the strong side back pocket for convenience.  As a general rule, tools for dealing with people problems should be carried between the pocket seams to the front.  Accessing gear behind the seams can be difficult from disadvantaged positions such as sitting in a vehicle or on the ground.  There is no doubt that many robbers carried them alone, but the cops of old carried them in support of their pistol, along with the jack, sap, or baton.  The ability to slip them on an off in the pocket one handed was important.  If you try to wear them as rings you will find that unless your hands are quite small you need your other hand to seat them.  The ability to slip them on quickly was important to cops and robbers alike.  The ability to quickly drop them back in the pocket before retrieving handcuffs was as crucial for the police as being able to ditch them somewhere was to the criminal.

Deployment- as with all weapons, the how and when to deploy is the missing link in the use of knuckles, more so now and them.  A cop could punch a fella in the face without repercussions and two guys could go at each other without the law becoming involved.  In both cases, the gentlemen of old were probably more prone to entering a physical conversation with a set of knuckles already in hand. That is not the world we live in today.  If you happen to live in a place where knuckles are legal or you improvise by using a large carabiner, you better be justified.

Probably got it right by accident.
Use- the #1 thing to consider with use of knuckles is that they seldom resulted in death.  The police of yesteryear did not have to concern themselves with ineffectual "green zone”"strikes on large muscle groups with impact weapons.  They used the knuckles, saps, jacks, and batons for a shot to the head, collar bone. or elbow to gain enough time to drag ne'er-do- wells back to the call box to wait on for the wagon.  Many talk about using the jab along with knuckles.  The only way this works is if you and the other person you are in close patterned movement such as seen in boxing.   As soon as you rush toward them or they rush towards you, human anatomy and physiology dictates your arms will swing.  This is why the roundhouse or hay maker is the most common first strike during a fight.  It is also why trained "knife fighters" who drone on and on about how you should stab in a fight will frantically swing when forced backwards.  Human nature takes over and the arms go out to the side for balance.  This hard wired natural protective response takes precedence over the attack from the front.  Deep down inside we know that it is better to be standing up during a fight than flat on our back.  If you have the time and opportunity to use knuckles offensively as a preemptive strike, you may be able to jab.  More likely you will be using your knuckles in fight and hammer fisting and "dusting" your attacker.  Check back soon for Part II- Knuckles 101 Efficient Striking later this week.