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Catching Up

A large number of readers got emails today that their copies of The Guerrilla Gunfighter: Clandestine Carry Pistol, had shipped. They went out yesterday.

The remaining outstanding orders (this is you, if you didn’t get a notice today, and have an outstanding order more than three days old), will be shipping the first of next week. Of course, me being me, by “first” of next week, I mean some time between Monday and Wednesday…

To be forthright, I really never expected book sales to be anywhere near as successful as they have been. While I’m not making the NYT Bestsellers List any time soon, I genuinely believed, when I wrote the first Reluctant Partisan book, that I might sell 50 or 60 copies. Each succeeding book has only slightly raised those expectations. So, finding myself in a position where there are orders for a book that are two-plus months overdue is mind-numbing and more than a little bewildering as well.

My books are reasonably expensive, because of the amount of content, but until you’ve read them, you don’t know that. It is simply a matter of sticker shock. I get that. We certainly don’t lose money on the books, but we don’t make a particularly grand amount off each book either, especially when you factor in the cost of printing, shipping, my time handling them and packaging them, and then shipping them to you, the reader.

I could probably have them drop-shipped from a printer, but that doesn’t work for me. When an issue arises with shipping–lost orders, missing orders, hang-ups at Customs, etc–I am responsible. Drop shipping them, or having someone else do the handling for them, as we did when Sam over at Forward Observer was taking care of that for us, meant that when something went wrong, I sort of had to either hand if off to him, or go, “Well, gee….I don’t know what happened…Sorry, I guess?”

Now, although it sort of complicates things a little bit, I, and I alone, am responsible. I can take that responsibility, knowing that ultimately, I really am at fault.

If you have an outstanding order that you feel is overdue, please email me directly. I don’t get to my email as frequently as most of you, but I WILL get to it eventually, I promise.

We’ve had more than a little difficulty with overseas shipping. To send books to Europe, for example, actually costs me more for shipping than you pay for the books. Now, I will do that, but…I need to know to expect it, and we probably need to work something out to take some of the bite out of that (generally, I offer a barter arrangement instead of you paying for the books).

We’ve had books disappear in the mays of international shipping. As a general thing, I don’t know if that is because they are getting confiscated at your nation’s Customs, or if the fucking air mail plane went down somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle (in at least two cases I can recall, the order disappeared under the seat of my truck on the way to the Post Office, to be found weeks or months later…). If you have an overseas order and it hasn’t reached you, email me. I will figure it out and we will make it right, somehow.

If you have a stateside order, and it hasn’t been shipped, or it has been shipped, and you haven’t received it yet, email me. We will figure it out. It may take me a while, but I WILL get it sorted out. I’m old, slow, broken, and have been hit in the head a lot, and been too close to too many breaching charges. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m a pretty fair ax. I’ll get you taken care of, somehow.

Do us both a favor though? Don’t send me hate email. I will generally ignore it, if the tone is rude. Foul language I can–obviously–deal with. A rude tone just pisses me off. If I don’t ignore it, I will use that age-old Southern tool of sarcasm, and be super polite, just so you know you were being a douche canoe. But….I will still do everything in my power to make it right. So, email me. We’ll figure it out.

 

 

 

Again, if you have an outstanding order, more than three days old, it should be shipping sometime the first of next week. Thank you for your patience, and again, I apologize for any inconveniences because of the delays.

 

In the meantime, here’s a review from somebody who has started reading their copy of The Guerrilla Gunfighter: Clandestine Carry Pistol:

A Brief Statement about the new book….

Assuming I get the orders out on time next week, as planned, there are a couple of articles half-written that will be posted right after that happens.

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The Guerrilla Gunfighter: Clandestine Carry Pistol book

Folks, I announced it on the MG Facebook page a week or two ago, but haven’t been online since, to announce it here. The new book IS finally shipping. For those that pre-ordered, thanks for your faith and patience.

I am getting them out as quickly as I can get them from the printer, get them packaged, and then to the post office. (For the record, other books are also going out as fast as possible)

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Since it was brought to my attention, on the FB page, that at least some blog readers are unaware of it, yes, I have written a book. In fact, I’ve written FOUR of them. Ordering information can be found at the top of the page, under the “Warhammer Six Press Books” tab.

 

As a word of caution though, I will repeat what I put there: this is a side thing for us. I have a day job, three kids, a wife who is in school, and a farm to run. I’m busier than the proverbial one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest. I don’t even get online more than once or twice a month, most of the time. We don’t have Internet at home, and using my phone for it is a pain in the ass, because we are pretty rural and service is shoddy. I WILL get your orders out, and you will get them. I promise. Just don’t expect it to be as fast as Amazon. 🙂 I sat on the living room floor last night, after the kids went to bed, and packaged orders to send out today.

If you get a shipped notice, for your orders: the Post Office has been taking between one and two weeks to actually deliver them. If it’s been three-plus weeks from a shipping notice, and you haven’t received them, by all means, email me and cuss me. Any less than that, and you’ll probably just get a “they’re on the way, I promise,” response.

I do not normally send out tracking numbers. That’s because I drop off a bundle of packages at the Post Office, on my lunch, and they give me a long receipt with the order on them. They have tracking numbers, but only the city/state where they were sent to. Sorry for any inconvenience.

 

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I did an email interview with a reader for his blog, apparently. I haven’t got a link to where he is posting the responses yet, but one of the questions he asked was about the focus on this blog, towards Security issues, and if I thought other things were important also, and would I consider writing on some of those. I’ve also had students in classes who have heard stories and seen pictures of our farm, ask the same question.

Since the new book is done finally, I can hopefully, after I get caught up more on shipping books, start doing some articles on those topics, helping to dispel–like I’ve tried to do for security-related issues–some of the bullshit prevalent in the “Prepper/Survival” community regarding living off-grid and prepping for a disruption of “normal” services.

 

John

 

Update

The new book, Guerrilla Gunfighter, Volume One: Clandestine Carry Pistol, was supposed to start shipping 1SEP18. For those that pre-ordered the book, please accept my apologies, it has been delayed. My editorial readers got it back to me later than anticipated, with a few more suggested changes than I expected. It should be at the printers this week though, so shipping by end of next week (in my defense….I did say it might end up delayed a week or two…and according to one editorial reader: “Dude, they won’t mind. This is going to be worth the wait.”)

I’ve been making the necessary changes, but I will admit, I did take the weekend off from it to spend with the family and clan.

 

Also, I’ve been off the Internet for most of the last two months, because of family stuff. If you sent me an email and I didn’t respond, I am sorting through them. It just takes awhile, because I have a lot of emails, and even more so, a lot more important things to deal with that take precedence over strangers from the Internet. If you ordered books and they haven’t arrived, rest assured, they’re on their way. If they’re a month or two behind, it’s not because I didn’t ship them. It’s because they got lost in transit. Get ahold of me–by email–and I will remedy the situation. Don’t freak the fuck out though if it takes a while for me to get back to you. Under normal circumstances, because I actually LIVE this stuff, I only get online once a week or so. Under some circumstances, it may be longer than that.

 

Thanks for your understanding.

New Book

Per the request of a number of readers, I am announcing a pre-sale event for the new book. The new book is titled Guerrilla Gunfighter, Volume One: Clandestine Carry Pistol. This is the Clandestine Carry Pistol course, in book form, with a great deal more information. The book so far, which is at the editor now, runs just over 300 pages (which is largely unheard of in a pistol training book). The book covers the usual “Here is how you shoot a pistol,” content, but then goes on to put that content into context, illustrating and discussing different contextual applications of those core skills. It also includes a complete training program-of-instruction (POI), and a sustained practice program, as well as in-depth discussion of fighting mindset development, weapon and support gear selection and set-up, and optimization of sub-prime weapon choices, when you have to run whatever happens to be available.

Release date for the book is 1SEP18. While I encourage pre-order, at the reduced price (final price will be based on final page count and printing costs), recognize that if you do pre-order you should not expect the book to ship before 1SEP (miracles do occur though), and there is always a chance that final publication may be delayed slightly, if unforeseen problems arise.

http://warhammersixpress-com.3dcartstores.com/Guerrilla-Gunfighter-Volume-One-Clandestine-Carry-Pistol-_p_17.html

–John

Advanced Skills

(This is a reprint of an article I first posted back in January. It is a critical point that people are still not getting. There is no point in trying to run super-duper, high-speed, dynamic, operator drills, if you can’t even execute the bare fundamental skills FIRST, without the stressors added. I spent three hours yesterday, and two hours this morning doing nothing but shooting small groups with my Glock 17, at gradually increasing speeds. I finished this morning, by shooting 75 rounds, at an average of .35 second splits, into half of a 3×5 index card at 5 meters. Not because it is fun (actually, it is painful and it sucks), but because being able to make every round go where it needs to go, at speed, is pretty fucking important, even if it isn’t the coolest of cool guy drills to just stand there and do the same thing, over and over and over, for magazine after magazine after magazine. Tomorrow? I’ll do the same thing, at 10 yards. Focus on the basics. Those are the advanced skills. –JM)

My buddy, Paul Sharp, of Straight-Blast Gym—Illinois, and proprietor of Sharp Defense, posted the following on Social Media:

When people start talking about advanced techniques my eyes cross. There are no advanced techniques. There are fundamentals honed to perfection through conscious effort. Then there is the application of those fundamentals against ever increasing challenges. The mechanics don’t change, our understanding grows so we’re able to apply the technique against higher and higher levels of resistance. As we advance we face greater resistance and better opponents which causes our understanding of the hows, when’s and why’s to advance. The mechanics remain the same. We become advanced.

Sugar Ray Leonard’s jab wasn’t magically different. His ability to hit anyone he faced at a world class level with his jab was the difference between basic and advanced.

During his seminar JJ Machado taught us all the same guard recovery technique. A guard recovery technique I had been taught my first month of jiujitsu. His ability to apply that technique against the best grapplers in the world is the difference between basic and advanced.

Bruce Gray presented my duty pistol, (a DAO S&W 4586), from a duty rig and hit the A zone of a target that was 25 yards away in a little over 1 second. He used the same draw stroke, mount, and trigger press he had been teaching me. He didn’t teach an advanced drawstroke or trigger press. His ability to make hits in those times with less than optimal equipment was the advanced understanding and application of the technique.

The point is; there is no secret sauce aka advanced techniques. There is advanced application and there is only one way to get there. High level coaching, and practice.

This is something I’ve discussed in rifle and pistol classes for a long time now.

One of the hardest things for me as a teacher is expressing to people that the “basics,” or “fundamentals” we are doing ARE the advanced, high-speed shit. I can demonstrate a drill, in exactly the way I showed the students how to do it, and explain, step-by-step that I am doing it exactly how I just demonstrated and explained it. Invariably, someone will then ask me to show them what I did different…

For fuck’s sake, dude….

There are four basic aspects to using a gun in the anti-personnel role:

  1. You need to be able to hit what you need to hit, in order to elicit the desired response, as many times as you need to hit it, in order to elicit that response.
  2. You need to be able to get the gun into the fight soon enough to make a difference.
  3. You need to avoid shooting anyone or anything that is not doing anything that warrants shooting.
  4. You need to be composed enough to make good, appropriately correct decisions, in order to achieve 1,2, and 3.

 

There are no secret squirrel techniques to running a gun. Anyone that tries to sell you that shit, like some bad, 1990s TRS full-page magazine advertisement, needs to be beat about the head and shoulders with something dense and damaging.

In the example above, what I did different, is that I have performed the skills of that drill hundreds of thousands of times over the last three decades. I’ve done it in the morning, afternoon, and in the middle of the night. I’ve done it refreshed and well-nourished, and I’ve done it after parachuting into the darkness, and then humping a ruck for 15+ kilometers, through the woods, to get to the range.

The difference is not in the technique. It’s in the practiced application thereof.

 

Let’s look at how we develop the four aspects above.

  1. You need to be able to hit what you need to hit, in order to elicit the desired response, as many times as you need to hit it, in order to elicit that response.At a very basic level, this is what basic marksmanship training and practice is about. If you can’t hit an appropriately sized target, you’re not going to achieve #1. I’ve seen a lot of “instructors” and “experts” who considered any hit on a silhouette as “adequate.” Thing is, it MIGHT be. If you are confronted with an uncommitted mugger, at conversational distance, even one hit might be enough to stop him from doing whatever he is doing that warrants you shooting him.
    In the acid-rain washed, dystopian future that we are living in however, that may not be adequate. What if the bad guy is wearing a Semtex waistcoat, shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” and shooting up a shopping mall? Your one hit on his silhouette may very well hit that vest and blow it, him, other bystanders, and you to Hell. That is what some would call a “bad outcome.” In a case like that, what you are going to “need to hit” is his brainbox, to shut him down, before he can trigger the bomb.
    Or, the bad guy may be a drug-fueled berserk that spent the last five years throwing around heavy pig iron in the pen, and your one round in his silhouette hurt him less than his former cellmate ass-raping him did, so he isn’t going to stop. Now, you need to either centerpunch that dude’s head, get a lot more than one hit on him, or get ready to give up your virginity.
    You want to be able to hit what you need to hit, in order to elicit the desired response, as many times as you need to hit it, in order to elicit that response? You need to be able to get precision hits, at varying distances, under any conditions. Above, I mentioned being able to run a particular drill under any circumstances. That’s what needs to happen. Too often, when I discuss dry-fire practice with people, they bitch about not having time, or how their wife nags them when they take the time.
    That’s actually beneficial. You think your wife stresses you out when she bitches at you? Try staring down the muzzle of a gun, and listening to rounds zip past your head. Use that stress to add value to your dry practice. Get up twenty minutes earlier and do it. Oh, you’ll be tired? Great. That makes it MORE effective. If you can do it tired, doing it well-rested is cake.
    You were going to go to the range today, but it was snowing, and -20F? AWESOME! Get your ass to the range! You think bad shit only happens in fair weather?
    There is nothing advanced about marksmanship. It’s simply being able to execute basic marksmanship and gunhandling, under any circumstances.
  2. You need to be able to get the gun into the fight soon enough to make a difference.You want a super-reliable, fast, resilient draw from concealment? Take twenty minutes a day, and grab the timer. Set your par time, and beat it for twenty or thirty reps. Every. Single. Day. For the next year. And then do it again, for another year. Then repeat.
    In a Clandestine Carry Pistol class, almost invariably, everyone manages a sub-1.25 second draw to first round hit (and the ones that don’t get it within 1.5 seconds) to an index card, at 10 meters. You know how big an index card is? Roughly the same size as the “instant incapacitation” zone in the center of the human head. It takes most classes about half an hour to get there. And, by half an hour, I mean something like 200 repetitions of the draw, on the timer, getting faster and more efficient.
    You want to master the carbine? Don’t go take ANOTHER class. Take what you’ve already learned, from a reputable trainer, and practice it. You’re solid in your positions, and can consistently get hits out to 600 meters? Great! Now, work on getting into position faster, and getting your hits sooner. One of the things we work on in my carbine class is going from “standing ready” to getting a hit, on a reduced silhouette, from the prone, at 100 and 200 meters, from the prone…in less than 2.5 seconds. You know what? Something like 95% of students manage it within twenty minutes.
    Of course, in that twenty minutes, they’ve done well over 100 repetitions on the timer. I don’t need to add silly shit like burpees to “get their heart rate accelerated.” It’s already a smoker. You know what though? They also learn, quickly, that they can hit that metric, even when they are physically exhausted.
  3. You need to avoid shooting anyone or anything that is not doing anything that warrants shooting.I’ve heard a lot of shit in recent years about “Big Boy Rules,” from would-be tough guy trainers. They seem to think that “safety” is a range issue, and could form training scars. Fucking retards, the lot of them…and I say that as a guy who once questioned a team leader on left and right safety limits, on a range.
    “Gee, Sergeant, it seems like in a real fight, we would be more worried about where the enemy is, and less about where the left and right limits are. What if the enemy maneuvers over there?”
    “Hey, Ranger Mosby. Who is over there right now?”
    “Third Platoon, Sergeant.”
    “That’s right, Ranger. Where do you think Third Platoon would be, if this was a real fight, and those were bad guys, instead of cardboard targets downrange?”
    “Over there, Sergea…..Oh.”
    “Yeah, dumbass. Oh. Safety is even more important in combat than on the range. Let’s make it harder for the enemy, not easier.”

    You know what “Big Boy Rules” are? They are understanding—not just “knowing,” but UNDERSTANDING–the fundamental safe firearms handling rules, and adhering to them in a mature, reasoned manner, no matter what. And yes, they apply in real fights, just like they do on the range, at the gun store counter, and in your living room. Don’t be a fucking idiot.

  4. You need to be composed enough to make good, appropriately correct decisions, in order to achieve 1,2, and 3.This is where “advanced” skill comes in when we are talking about shooting and gunfighting. 1, 2, and 3, above are basics. They are no different for experienced, “expert” shooters and gunfighters than for the new guy at the range, with his very first gun, and his NRA Basic Safety Course certificate tucked into his range bag.
    The difference is that the dude with 100,000 rounds downrange in an organized, planned, developed training regimen, has the ability to execute those three aspects without putting a lot of conscious thought into the process. That gives him the brain space to think about other things, like what is happening in the battlespace around him. THAT, in turn, allows him to make good decisions, in regards to 1, 2, and 3, and the synergistic relationship between them.

    “Shit, that dude needs to be shot, right now…but…I’m armed only with my pistol, and he’s 100 yards away, with an AK….I can’t make that shot on demand…I suppose I could try anyway…but there is a family with kids huddling under that table, on the other side of him…if I miss….okay, fuck it, I’m going to maneuver over there, behind that aisle of shelves, and then sprint up closer to him…that will give me a safer angle, and I KNOW I can make that shot from there. Let’s roll!”

    Having 1, 2, and 3 well-developed, allows 4 to happen. It can range from the rather extreme example above, to simply making the decision that, “Hey, this dude might need to get shot here in a sec….I’m gonna go ahead and get my hand on my gun, just in case…” It might even be…”That dude might need to be shot here in a sec…but I know my limits and my capabilities, so I don’t need to go to guns just yet. Let’s let this play out for a minute and see what develops…”

There are no advanced techniques, but, as Paul pointed out in his comment, “…there is advanced application.” You’ll know you’re advanced when you can do it without trying so hard. You’ll know you’re advanced, when you’re thinking about what you’re going to do, three steps ahead of where you are now. You’ll know you’re advanced when you no longer worry about being advanced.

Quit looking for the “Secret Scrolls of Knowledge of the Sect of Secret Squirrels,” and follow Paul’s suggestion: “Do the work.”

Combatives Concepts


(I know a couple of my local guys are going to be reading this. Pay attention, because this is going to become a regular feature of our weekly range sessions.–John)

 

(I have finally gotten caught up on a number of projects. I am currently finishing the new book. I should be able to resume somewhat more regular posting in the not-too-distant future.)

“1-1. Combatives, the art of hand-to-hand combat, bridges the gap between physical training and tactics. The products of a good physical training plan—strength, endurance, and flexibility—must be directed toward the mission, and Soldiers must be prepared to use different levels of force in an environment where the intensity of a conflict changes quickly. Many military operations, such as peacekeeping missions or noncombatant evacuations, may restrict the use of lethal force. Combatives training prepares the Soldier to use the appropriate amount of force for any situation.

1-2. Combatives training includes arduous physical training that is mentally demanding and carries over to other military pursuits. This training produces Soldiers who–

  • Understand controlled aggression and remain focused while under duress.
  • Possess the skills requisite to the mission, at all levels in the spectrum of force.
  • Have the attributes that make up the Warrior Ethos—personal courage, self-confidence, self-discipline, and esprit de corps.

–US Army TC 3-22.150 Combatives, 31MAR2017

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog, and in both of the Reluctant Partisan books, extolling the virtues of the combat sports, like boxing, muay Thai, Brazilian Jujutsu, Judo, and wrestling, as the basis for valid combatives training. I’ve ridiculed, to no small degree, the training methods of most Krav Maga and “traditional” martial arts schools available.

To be clear, those criticisms generally remain valid.

Nevertheless, as an older friend from the SOF community pointed out to me in a conversation a few weeks ago, there exists an awful lot of both verified citations and anecdotal evidence of successful hand-to-hand encounters by American fighting men over the years, by soldiers, sailors, and Marines, that predate the contemporary implementation of MMA-based combatives programs. How is that possible?

First of all, let’s get it out of the way: all other things being equal, untutored enthusiasm will always be bested by schooled expertise. Fortunately for many folks, all other things are seldom equal. Contrary to the ads in the back of 1980s adventure magazines like Gung-Ho, New Breed, and Soldier of Fortune, there really isn’t any martial art—outside of combat shooting—that will allow the 90lb woman to wreck her 225lb, ex-convict, powerlifting, Golden Gloves boxing rapist. It’s not gonna happen. It never has happened. It’s bullshit.

On the other hand, there are a whole lot of examples, including verified citation accounts, of 165-185lb cornfed Marines, beating 110# Japanese Imperial Army soldiers to death with rocks, steel pot helmets, entrenching tools, and Kabar knives. This, despite the fact that the IJA soldiers presumably had considerably more judo training (since it was part of primary school curricula) than the Marines had. Size and strength really do matter.

The same thing of course, can be said to apply to examples of big, athletic American soldiers in the GWOT, when they beat the shit out of an Iraqi insurgent and kill or capture him in unarmed combat. The current Modern Army Combatives Program’s emphasis on jujutsu sure doesn’t hurt, but it’s hard to specifically quantify how critical the MACP training was, when the GI outweighs his opponent by 40-50 pounds—before you add the weight of body armor and LBE.

One of the things that gets pointed out in these discussions of course, is that the “old-timers” were simply harder than modern Americans. To a degree this is probably true. The dude in the trenches of World War One, crushing Hun heads with his improvised mace probably wasn’t spending a lot of time in high school discussing his feelings in some sociology class. The Confederate soldiers screaming his rebel yell as he closed with his cousin in Union blue at Gettysburg, Chickamauga, or Shiloh, had probably split enough wood that he had a pretty solid grasp of how to turn that old Springfield into a pretty goddamned effective club. He was too busy doing hard physical labor to be posting selfies on Instagram.

How does any of this relate to our specific context though? Well, let’s start by acknowledging that none of us are 1850s farm kids. Most modern Americans do not experience the type of lifestyle that provides them the intrinsic understanding of biomechanics that a life of incessant physical labor provides (some modern trades may come close, but even then, it’s not exactly the same. I’ll touch on this again below). We NEED at least some solid grounding in how to move our bodies in combatives, to elicit the best effect.

The above quote from TC 3-22.150 does illustrate some of the contextual tie-in though. In the current context, unarmed combatives, and the related disciplines of what I will refer to as “contact weapons” is generally going to be at least as important as our gunfighting ability. That statement may come as a shock to some folks, coming from a “gun guy,” but it’s simply the truth. The reality is that right now, and for the foreseeable future, unless you are running covert/clandestine commando raids targeted at assassinating your political rivals in your community (and we’re really not at that point yet, as far as I can tell, although I increasingly doubt it is far off), there are far more situations that you are going to resolve efficiently without your gun than you will with your gun.

So, I stand by the idea that some form of combatives training is essential. Boxing, Jitz, Judo, wrestling, and the other combat sports are, inarguably, the standard by which other systems and disciplines will be measured.

Why?

Simplest answer: for the same reason that we do Force-on-Force training with Sims guns: it allows us to authenticate the value of what we’ve learned. Nothing will build more confidence in your ability to choke a motherfucker out…like choking a motherfucker out. Nothing will build more confidence in your ability to knock a dude out, like knocking a dude out. You may be “confident” that your “tiger claw” to the face will “blind and disorient” your opponent, but you don’t KNOW it, and you can’t KNOW it, because you can’t DO it, if you value your training partners. Lots of women KNOW that kicking a man in the balls will drop him to the pavement like a sack of potatoes. Unfortunately for them, most men have been hit in the balls, and while it does, indeed hurt like a bitch, most of the time it’s not going to ACTUALLY drop us. See the correlation?

The other value of the combat sports is that in the process of actually DOING these techniques, we get to experience the variables of executing specific techniques against an actual resisting opponent. Since no two opponents’ resistance will ever be exactly the same, (nor, in fact, will the same opponent ever resist a technique in the exact same way twice) this resistance then makes our training “alive,” to use the buzzword of the 1990s martial arts world. We get to learn how to modify the techniques, in real time…kind of like when we’re using our combat shooting techniques in the shoothouse or in a scenario, during FoF, versus on the square range.

For guys who received Army basic training hand-to-hand combat training in the 1980s and 1990s at least, think back to learning the shoulder throw, over-the-shoulder throw, and the hip throw, as examples. Or think of how you learned the block against a punch, followed by a reverse punch type thing. It resembled a typical dojo martial arts class of the era, except we were in a sawdust-filled ring of sandbags, and our “gi” was woodland pattern camouflage BDUs. The closest we got to “alive” training was when they’d toss two soldiers in the pit and tell them to “wrestle!” It usually ended up being more “wrasslin’” than wrestling, unless one of the soldiers had wrestled in high school or college, and then the other poor schmuck just got a tutorial on how to get his ass tied into a pretzel (I did judo, and had zero exposure to wrestling in high school. I got tied into a pretzel by the wrestlers about 75% of the time, unless I could get a grip on their blouse.)

Here’s the thing though: those techniques are all basically the same techniques that you use in judo and MMA. What’s the difference? The aliveness aspect.

I’ve got a lot of old martial arts/combatives books on my shelves. I’ve got the old World War Two combatives manuals by Fairbairn (“Get Tough!”) and Applegate (“Kill or Get Killed!”). I’ve got the old editions of FM21-150 from 1943 (“Unarmed Defense for the American Soldier”), the 1950s (“Hand-to-Hand Combat” reprinted by several publishers, including the now-defunct Paladin Press as “Deal the First Deadly Blow!”), and the 1992 edition (“Combatives”), as well as the 2003 and later editions of the MACP manuals. While the demonstrating illustrations have changed from comical line drawings (that may have been more useful than the contemporary photos, actually) to very stiff, dojo-like photos in the ‘50s, back through the line drawings (albeit less comical) in the ‘92 edition, to the contemporary photo illustrations, the basic, underlying techniques are basically the same.

What’s the difference? The aliveness aspect. Anatomically modern humans (“Cro-Magnons”) have been engaged in hand-to-hand combat as long as there have been anatomically modern humans. There are no “new” techniques. There’s really not even any “new” applications of them. The “trick” to learning them is learning them in a way that allows you to actually practice them, and then use them, under pressure, against a resisting opponent.

One of the leading lights of 1970s military combatives was the late Michael Echanis. While his history and life story are the subject of a lot of controversy, that I am in no position to comment on, his books were famous (hell, probably still are in some martial arts circles, honestly). He had articles by him and about him in military and paramilitary magazines, and in the martial arts magazines of the day. If you can overlook the fashion choices (the 1970s hair I can get. I can even understand the black BDUs and jump boots. That’s not that different than dudes today rocking multicams to attend a shooting course, when they couldn’t tell you the difference between a M203 and a DD214. At least Echanis had SOME verifiable combat record…Those fucking muttonchops though…..).

In his “green book,” in the “Special Forces/Ramger-UDT/SEAL Hand-to-Hand Combat/Special Weapons/Special Tactics Series” entitled “Knife Self-Defense For Combat,” (to be clear, the green book was about unarmed defense against the knife. The infamous “black book” was the one on actually using a knife, and was completely unavailable for decades), he has a page where he lists “4 Basic Rules in Unarmed Self-Defense Against a Weapons Attack.”

These movements and actions must be executed in this exact chronological order:

  1. Clear your body of the weapon’s line of fire and angle of attack.
  2. Stabilize and control the weapon, breaking the base of the enemy’s balance, utilizing low kicking and sweeping, joint locking and breaking, spinning and jerking the enemy off-balance.
  3. Disarm the weapon. Utilizing joint-breaking, throwing and tearing, the unarmed soldier focuses his counterattack and mental concentration upon the weapon, never losing control or ‘feel’ for the weapon, his primary concern being this one factor, giving lethality to his assailant’s attack.
  4. Neutralize the enemy. Once the assailant has been disarmed, the enemy must be neutralized and physical control must be maintained.

No matter how proficient the unarmed expert becomes at disarming and armed assailant, he will remain vulnerable to even the smallest weapons expert.”

Contrast that with the principles expressed in a program like the Red Zone Knife Defense program. The fundamental principles are the same. Get out of the way of the knife, and get control of the weapon-bearing limb, then disrupt his base, before either taking the weapon away or running like a raped ape.

Of course, the techniques illustrated in Echanis’ book are the same ridiculous, over-the-top complex locks and throws and disarms you’d expect from a martial arts book from the 1970s, ‘80s, or ‘90s, but you know what? If you take away the stationary, compliant uke, and start from the two-on-one of the Red Zone program? Most of the locks and counters can actually work, even against a resisting opponent. They just have to be practiced against a resisting opponent, and you actually have to follow Echanis’ outline above. Let’s put it into “Mosby speak.”

1. Move the fuck out of the way of the pointy part of the knife and check the arm with both hands, a la Red Zone, establishing the two-on-one, and crash to close with the dude, gaining positive control on his arm.

2. Start beating the shit out of anything you can hit on the dude, without losing control of his knife arm: stomp on his feet and ankles, knee him in the dick, kidneys, floating ribs, head butt him, bite his fucking ear off, try and rip his carotid out with your teeth, etc. Whatever. Keep him off-balance in the meantime by jerking on his arm, lifting his arm and shoulder, etc.

3. When he weakens, or gets discombobulated, or you feel him off-balance, or loose in the knife arm, slap your lock on, toss him with a throw, arm drag to take his back, etc. Put him on the ground, and/or take the weapon away.

4. When he hits the ground, tap dance on his dental work, use his head to score a field goal, or, well, execute some sort of restraint hold/joint lock if that’s what floats your boat, or is contextually the most appropriate.

The thing is, what is specifically going to work is going to vary based on a whole host of factors. I’ve done the Red Zone Defense enough in training (I’ve only had people try to stab or cut me twice. In one case, he did cut me, on the arm, so I backed up and threw a chair at him. The other time, I threw a half-empty whiskey bottle at the guy, and was lucky enough to hit him square in the chest, before he got close enough to actually cut me.), that I’ve done really basic stuff, where I just “softened” the dude up enough to shove him away and make space to run away, I’ve gotten enough positive control to access my own weapon and shoot from retention, and I’ve managed to pull off some pretty fancy joint-lock disarms. I didn’t specifically look for any of them. I’d just trained enough different things that when something popped up, I was able to take what was offered.
The biggest problem with older combatives teaching methods, and most dojo teaching methods isn’t that the basic technical knowledge is lacking. There’s a finite number of ways to move a human body, with four limbs, a head and a torso, through space, in order to make forceful contact with a similarly constructed human body. It’s all been done before, and it’s pretty universally understood knowledge. The problem arises with the lack of understanding about spatial dynamics in real fights. Real fights end up as wrasslin’ matches, to one degree or another, because of the inherent violence and aggression of two people colliding at “I’m going to fuck you up” velocities. Throws and takedowns and joint locks don’t work at non-contact distances. They work AFTER the collision has occurred.

So, how do we learn, or teach, the ability to actually execute these skills, in the wrasslin’ match? How do we practice the “alive” portion? Well, the most common answer—and it’s not incorrect—is sparring/rolling/randori/freeplay. Whatever you call it, it is about allowing the students to actually practice against random attacks from a fully resisting opponent/attacker.

Just as important however—and more important from the perspective of actually learning to execute different techniques is “context drilling,” or “situational sparring.” This is the foundation of how I teach combatives. We set up a situation that commonly occurs in the conversation of the fight: a clinch, being stuck in a given position following a takedown, etc. Then, we practice two or three basic techniques that can be applied from that position. Then we practice applying those techniques, against incrementally increasing pressure, before finally starting in the given situation, and allowing the opponent to do whatever they can to stop the student from succeeding, and the student is allowed to use whatever of the techniques practiced that they can make work, and can use what they need to to set up the technique.

Anybody who’s ever taken a decent jitz class understands how this works: let’s look at a basic reversal from guard. We might start by learning and practicing a sweep from guard, and an armlock from guard, and a choke from guard. Then, we’ll drill each of those, against increasing resistance. Finally, I’ll turn the students loose, with the dude who has guard trying to achieve any of the three, while his partner has to prevent any of the three from occurring.

Well, the same teaching/learning method can be utilized in the standing clinch, even against weapons. Maybe we start with the two-on-one, and practice an arm drag to take the back, an arm bar takedown or a bent arm lock disarm, a la Echanis, or some variation of a foot sweep takedown off the two-on-one. We drill each of those, with increasing resistance. Finally, we see which the student can pull off against a resisting opponent who is allowed to move and resist. It’s a pretty common occurrence, when I’ve taught using this method, that, if the student gets a half-dozen attempts, he’ll end up successfully pulling off all three, at least once, even if he has a professed favorite that he tries to go back to.

For those readers that subscribe to the monthly training drill, consider the drill we did some time back that worked on fighting to the gun…it is the same basic drill we are describing here (and don’t worry, we have some more fun ones like that coming up on the schedule).

Conclusion

The reality is, there are a lot of situations, even in the context of a collapsing civilization, that are better solved with restraint and unarmed combatives than with a firearm. Having a solid basis in how to fight—which is, contrary to the egos of many men, not particularly common these days—is a critical survival skill in this context. While legitimate instruction in boxing, jitz, judo, or other combat sports is increasingly available, there’s no harm in sticking to more “traditional” martial arts either, despite the very vocal protests of many of us with combat sports backgrounds. The key is understanding the shortcomings inherent in the traditional training protocols, and overcoming it, through effective training methods. Ironically of course, when you do, what you will see, pretty quickly, is that your karate, taekwondo, kungfu, Krav maga, whatever…starts looking an awful lot like boxing, jitz, and MMA. That’s because when you are using solid training methods, the basics are all the same, and against resistance, there’s a finite number of things that actually work. It’s kind of the same thing as the dude who goes to a rifle class, expecting to learn some really high-speed, cool-guy shit, and then realizes that the trainer is teaching the same basic skills, he’s just having you do them faster, and more efficiently. There are no “super secret, advanced martial arts techniques” that actually work. There are just the basics, applied at an advanced level (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).

(In the second part of this article, we’ll talk about the application of contact weapons in this context.)

Outstanding Book Orders

I’ve gotten a lot of emails recently, righteously demanding information about their outstanding book orders. I am going to try and curb that a little, by offering some more information.

“Warhammer Six Press” is a one-man show. By that, I mean, when we get orders in on the website, we normally have a young lady, the teenage daughter of one of our people, who transcribes the information, and helps my wife and myself pack book orders, sitting on our living room floor.

Late last month, Pastor Joe Fox, of Viking Preparedness, released a video review of the Reluctant Partisan books. (Here) That resulted in an unusually high number of orders over the course of a couple of days. We are not “back ordered,” in that we have ample copies of the books on hand to fulfill the orders. We are however, backlogged on shipping orders, trying to get them out as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind however, that this is not our “job” as such. It is a sideline.

I have a wife, two children, a farm, and a day job. We are working through them as fast as possible.

We are, finally, past the biggest hump. It looks like all outstanding books SHOULD be shipped out no later than the middle of next week.

Thank you for your consideration, and I apologize for any inconvenience that may result from this.

John