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A Brief Discussion on the Nature of Real Violence and Combatives

December 18, 2012

One of the many topics of conversation that has arisen in the campfire time, at the end of training days during recent classes has been the nature of aggressive violence and its application across the spectrum of interpersonal conflict, from unarmed defense to gunfighting.


Before the conversation can begin however, a brief look at my personal history in the relevant areas is necessary, to help frame the discussion. I’m not an ex-convict, and have never spent a day in prison (although I once spent a week in jail before the charges were dropped….fortunately, there was no violence or jailhouse rape involved), so I can’t discuss prison fighting techniques that only ex-cons are privy to, other than based on discussions with ex-cons, jailers/corrections officers, and videos on YouTube. So, don’t expect some lengthy dissertation on “prison shanking methods” and “jailhouse jiu-jitsu.”


Around the time I turned 7 or 8, at the insistence of my former OSS agent grandfather, I started training in Judo. He’d picked up the sport during his original training, on the suggestion of certain famous trainers, and stayed serious about it well into his fifties. At 10 or 11, he decided I needed to know how to deliver, and more importantly, take a punch. While I was apparently, a preternaturally gifted judoka, boxing required a much greater effort on my part. Not because it was physically or mentally more challenging (it wasn’t), but because I had apparently already learned how to take a punch pretty well. Even at a young age, I would gladly eat punches just to try and land one or two of my own. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work particularly well, over the length of an amateur boxing bout, against a kid with faster, heavier hands. I got knocked on my ass….a lot…and lost a lot of fights on points. The judo background also got me in trouble a lot, because when I’d start getting hurt, like any boxer, I’d clinch. Unlike most modern boxers though, I’d instantly revert to judo, and start using foot sweeps and hip tosses. That shit hasn’t been legal in boxing since like 1900….


My last two years in high school, I had the opportunity to get serious about Dan Inosanto’s style of Jeet Kune Do, with a heavy emphasis on the Filipino martial arts of arnis and escrima. My instructor in that was also a long-time student of Bob Orlando and Willem De Thours, of Indonesian silat and kuntao fame. The heavy emphasis in that school on edged-weapons work seemed, to my adolescent mind, of particular value to my rapidly impending Ranger career (because, you know, Rangers get in lots of knife duels….yeah, anyway….).


When I was at Ft. Benning, in infantry OSUT, we did the early 1990s standard hand-to-hand training: the basic blows of lead jab, rear straight, edge-of-hand blow, palm heel smash, elbow smash, and knee strike, plus the front toe kick. We also got instruction (particularly bad instruction actually) in some basic throws and takedowns, such as the hip toss, shoulder throw (seoi nage was my go-to move in judo against taller opponents in randori), cross-hock takedowns (o-soto-gari in judo), and a version of tomoe nage, strangely referred to as the “overhead throw,” that was taught in a notably bad manner (I’ve also been a long-time fan of tomoe nage. I used it in some force-on-force training a couple years ago, and just about put a buddy into a curb face-first. He’s a reader, so maybe he’ll comment on the experience). We also did the requisite rifle-bayonet training, including pugil stick training. In reality though, the single best piece of combatives advice the drill sergeants gave, back then, was “You now know enough combatives to get your ass kicked by the rednecks across the river in Phenix City.”


At RIP, our sole combatives training (at least for my class, I’ve heard other classes did more, and some did none) consisted of being woken up by the RIs at 0200 several times, and ordered into the hallways, where we did bayonet fighting drills in our skivvies for an hour or two. When I actually got to the Regiment, there was little time or interest for combatives training from the chain-of-command. Understandably so, considering the amount of training required just to meet our mission-essential task training demands. Nevertheless, there were always lots of guys around, with a variety of training and competition backgrounds, to train with, on your own time. In my first platoon alone, we had two other judoka (besides myself), a dozen or so high school and collegiate wrestlers, a bare-knuckle karate competitor, two muay Thai fighters (one who had actually fought in Thailand), and remarkably, a Sambo fighter. Our platoon sergeant at the time was also a collegiate boxer once upon a time, who’d gone to the Olympic trials. Additionally, between bar fights (officially, a reason for instant release for standards from the Regiment. Unofficially……), barracks fights, and NCOs regularly instructing to junior enlisted guys to “go!” there was a lot of opportunity to develop and/or refine, a personal combatives system.


Then, in 1995, then-LTC Stan McChrystal (Yes, THAT McChrystal), as commander of the 2d Ranger Battalion, put the wheels in motion for a battalion-wide combatives training program, under the leadership of then-SSG Matt Larsen. The program that resulted, based solidly in Gracie family style Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with a lot of other stuff blended in over the years, was quickly adopted throughout the Ranger Regiment, and then Army-wide. Despite the very vocal protests of a lot of people both within the military (typically, “This is taking away from more valuable training tasks!” with some merit), and from outside (typically, “This is sport fighting that has no use for war-fighting” from people whose war-fighting experience consisted of watching John Wayne movies, with far less merit), the system that would evolve into the Modern Army Combatives Program/MACP (and the Special Operations Combatives Program/SOCP, with more emphasis on getting your weapons back into the fight), has continued, for one very good reason. It works, remarkably well. It is, inarguably, the most successful combatives training program the United States Army has ever undertaken. As part of the establishment of the Army Combatives School at Ft. Benning, now SFC Larsen (retired), was tasked with reviewing and recording the experiences of soldiers engaged in hand-to-hand combat with enemy personnel under the program. These AARs have demonstrated both the importance of combatives training in the modern battlespace, as well as the effectiveness of the MACP.


I spent a large portion of my military career training in “Ranger Ju-Jitsu” (as it was originally referred to), and have continued to train in “Jitz” as time and location allowed, both under coaches, and on my own, ever since. However, while I have been involved in numerous use-of-force scenarios since leaving the military, I have not been involved in a fight, outside of the line of duty, in almost 15 years.


Alright, personal history aside, here’s some common lessons I’ve tried to impart in those discussions, that typically end up being very physical…


1) If you’re in a fight, shoot the bad guy(s). It’s not a karate movie, and you’re not Bruce Lee. Man is a tool user. We don’t have thick hide to protect us, our skeletal structures are relatively fragile, and we possess neither fangs, nor claws (Shaolin monks apparently excepted…). God, or nature, depending on your personal belief system, designed us to use tools to protect ourselves from danger.


Nevertheless, the root word of “gunfight” is not “gun.” It is “fight.” If you can’t fight without a gun, you may never get the chance to get the gun into the fight. Those fat slob, gun-store commandos who wink knowingly, as they pat the tricked-out, custom 1911A1 on their hip, in the $400 custom leather Yaqui slide holster, and claim “I don’t need to fight. I’ll just shoot him!” are fucking stupid. He will end up getting fed that weapon by someone in a real fight. You need to know how to fight, at least well enough to stay alive long enough to get your gun out.


2) If you can’t shoot the bad guy, for whatever reason (no time, no space, good guys on the other side of the bad guy, your Kalashnikov malfunctions, whatever….), hit him in the face with your gun. Preferably the muzzle end, fixed with a very sharp muzzle device (I am a big fan of the YHM Phantom for that reason…and it’s really good for busting car windows out when needed). If you’re British, like Max Velocity, stick him with your bayonet (sorry, brother, had to go there….). If you can’t hit him with your weapon, stab him. If you can’t stab him, hit him, hard, preferably with a heavy, solid object (like a brick…not an Algebra book….although speaking from experience, those work really well too, if you lay the bound edge alongside the dude’s temple….). Hit him first, hit him hard, and hit him repeatedly, until he is no longer threat, whatever that means, given the circumstances (METT-TC).


3) If you do carry an edged-tool as an anti-personnel device, I’m going to do you the favor of letting you know the super-secret, classified top secret, ninja-approved method of using a knife in a fight. Like any “especially effective, patented, known only to a selected few” fighting technique, this one goes back to antiquity. In this case to the Legions of Ancient Rome. Are you ready for this super-secret, deadly effective method? Are you sure? Completely ready for this life-changing revelation?


Put the pointy end in the soft spot.


As the centurions taught their legionnaires, “point beats edge, every time.” It doesn’t matter if you use a Kabar or a Sykes-Fairbairn dagger, a Roman Gladius or a Benchmade folder, a $500 handmade, custom fighting knife, or a shiv you ground out of a toothbrush handle. It doesn’t matter if you use the overhand grip, reverse grip, ice-pick grip, fencer’s grip, or super kung-fu patented octopus grip. Crash into the dude and start pumping holes into him., repeatedly (in my ever present interest in intellectual honesty…while I’ve been cut by knives a couple of times in fights–always by guys using a cut-and-slash method, and never effectively–before buddies blind-sided the knifers with chairs, and while I’ve seen more than a few guys that were seriously fucked up by knives in fights, I’ve actually never used a knife in a fight…so, take it for what it’s worth).


4) Real fights, in my not inconsiderable experience as both a participant and a spectator, occur in one of three ways:


a) In the first case, neither participant is particularly interested in being in the fight, and has no real emotional investment in being there. In these cases, they tend to stand as far apart as possible, and kind of lob ineffectual, half-assed “punches” at each other. Think of the “kangaroo boxing” you saw in high school fights. In this type of fight, it really doesn’t matter if you know how to fight or not. The guy who gets lucky and actually manages to land a relatively solid hit will be acclaimed as the winner, but it will be more a result of luck than any sort of skill. If you are concerned about being in this kind of fight, quit reading my blog, immediately, go grab your school books, and finish your geometry homework before your parents catch you on the internet.


b) In the second case, while one party IS dedicated to fucking up the other guy, but the other guy doesn’t really know if he wants to be there or not (probably not). Like the first, it really doesn’t matter if either guy really knows how to fight or not, because the guy who has already decided to fuck up the other guy WILL win, by going right over the top of the “Nancy” who is still trying to make up his mind, regardless of skill or technical ability. This is the real reason the prodigal “streetfighter” is able to clean the floor with the 100th degree black belt in “who-flung-poo” kung-fu. It’s not because the “deadly streetfighter” knows some secret “gutterfighting” technique that the Chinatown special doesn’t. It’s just that the streetfighter has already decided he’s going to cripple, maim, or kill the sissy in the silk pajamas.


c) The third type of fight is really the only one worth training to fight. This occurs when both parties are fully vested in being there, and both have every intention of killing or at an absolute minimum, permanently crippling, the other guy. In this type of fight, only two things really matter: physical strength (are you strong enough to throw the other guy through the wall?) and technical ability (do you know how to throw a solid punch? Do you know HOW to throw the other guy through the wall?). This type of fight resembles one thing: two freight trains in a head-on collision. It’s not going to be pretty, and there won’t be any back-and-forth sparring shit going on. It’s going to be loud, fast, and brutal, and the stronger guy, who can hit harder, and faster, and do the most damage (hint: a guy hitting the brick wall, face-first, does a lot more damage than any punch or kick you can even dream of throwing) first, will win.


5) So, all of those in mind, here’s a breakdown of the John Mosby system of combatives:


a) Shoot the motherfucker in the face. If you’re in a hand-to-hand fight, you either seriously fucked up, or your tactics suck (same, same, really….). If you can’t shoot him, shove your muzzle through the back of his mouth, stab him (in the soft spots) repeatedly, or just wreak havoc and discontent on him–left, right, left, right, left, right. If you crash into a dude, going 90mph, striking fast, and legitimately trying to take his head off, one of three things will happen:


b) You’ll either knock him flat the fuck out, or at least ass-over-teakettle. In either case, you’ve either won, or you’ve now created the necessary time and space to get a gun into the fight and shoot him in the face, as in sub-section a) above.


c) He’ll get his hands up, to protect his head. In that case, you drop levels, as you continue to move in, and start punching him the solar plexus, guts, ribs, and nuts, until he goes down. I’ve yet to see ANYONE take a solid right cross to the dick and stay on his feet.


c) He’ll grab hold of you, like a boxer hitting the clinch, to try and stop you from hurting him anymore. In that case, you either shift to hitting him with hooks and uppercuts, elbows, knees, and headbutts, or you toss, or trip him, and send him to the pavement, headfirst. If you’re really good, he’ll go down by himself, and you can either get a gun and shoot him in the face, as in a) above, or you can dance a waltz on his forehead. If you’re like me, it’s a 50/50 proposition that you’ll go down with him. As long as you manage to land on top, that’s okay, because you’ve still got the opportunity to beat on him, or to get a gun in the fight and shoot him in the face, as in a) above (seeing a pattern here, yet?). If you end up on the bottom though, you’d damned sure better know at least the rudiments of some groundfighting escapes and reversals, or he’s going to beat the shit out of you.


That’s it really. Sure, there’s some specific takedowns I teach, practice, and use (double leg, high single, shoulder throw from the clinch, hip throw from the clinch, o-soto-gari, and others. Always used from the clinch. Not off a feeder punch that’s held out there, like they teach in too many karate classes and in old-school Army combatives training). There are some specific escapes and reversals I teach, practice, and use (generally, two or three from the “bottom” of each of the “dominant body positions” is more than adequate in my experience, unless you’re fighting a professional MMA fighter, in which case, you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, should have shot the motherfucker in the face before he got that close!). There’s a really effective, specific counter-edged weapons method I use (Google “Red Zone Knife Defense”) that is by far, the most effective method I’ve seen demonstrated or been taught, ever, by anyone. It really helps to know how to use physics, biomechanics, and technique to get your ass behind your punches to hit really hard (I highly recommend you look into Rodney King’s “Crazy Monkey Boxing” if you’re not an experienced pugilist). All of that however, is details. While God IS found in the details, I’m not Him, and those are all beyond the scope of a short blog article. So, now, to finish, a short FAQ section, to put the silly shit to rest, before it starts.



Q: “But, SSG Mosby! My karate/kung-fu/wushu/Jeet Kune Do instructor told me that punching someone in the head will break your hands, and then you’ll get beat, because you won’t be able to hit him anymore! What about palm heel strikes, shuto strikes (edge-of-hand blows for the English speakers amongst us), and stuff like that?”


A: I’ve heard that shit since I started Judo as a kid, and I have, in fact, seen a couple of guys end up with broken hands after punching some dude in the grape in a fight. I however, have managed to never break a hand punching anyone, so I don’t know how much of a concern it actually is. Further, of the broken hands I’ve seen, none lost their fights, and in fact, didn’t even realize they’d fucked up their hand until well after the fight was over.


However, if you are worried about the fragility of your delicate mitts, by all means, use a palm heel strike instead of a fist. Or use an edge-of-hand blow (I did crack a dude’s collarbone that way once. Contrary to what the old 1950s era Combatives field manual claimed however, it did not prevent him from returning the favor by punching me in the head, repeatedly). I don’t give a shit. Just make sure you hit him hard, hit him fast, and continue hitting him until he is no longer a threat, whatever that means under the circumstances (I read once that a writer uses repetition as a literary device was trying to emphasize a point….get it?).


Q: “What about the super-deadly Fairbairn/Applegate/Sykes/Biddle/Nelson World War Two Combatives stuff? That shit was for real! It was so deadly, they taught it to OSS agents who were going to get dropped behind Nazi lines!”


A: Number one, my grandfather was an OSS agent, and got all that training. He also knew Major Fairbairn and Colonel Applegate, socially. Yes, he taught me all the stuff he was taught (I assume. He might have left some shit out, I wouldn’t know for sure). Yet, he was also the one who insisted that I needed to take up judo and boxing. Why was that?


All those self-proclaimed experts on WW2 combatives, who deride the value of “sport fighting” probably need to go back and re-read “Get Tough” (by Fairbairn) and “Kill or Get Killed” (by Applegate). Both authors took great pains to explain, explicitly, that the reason they taught their “gutterfighting” techniques was not because they were superior to the parent martial arts, but because they had a limited amount of time to teach guys, on their way to war, a minimal amount of stuff that might keep them alive, and they didn’t have time to teach the entire arts.


Q: “Yeah, well, my guru/master/teacher/instructor, is a 999th-degree black belt in “what-the-fuck-ever” and explained that the techniques in our art are far too dangerous to practice full-force, so they won’t let us use it in competitions, but it’s much more dangerous than all that UFC sport stuff, because we use all the stuff that is “illegal” in the UFC rules.”


A: Alright, Tinkerbell……I accept that you are a precious butterfly, and privy to secrets that the rest of us mere mortals don’t have access to. But, let me ask you this: What makes you think that a guy who is willing, and able, to take repeated punches to the head from a dude who bench-presses 300+ pounds, and can literally, fold a 100-lb heavy bag in half, is going to be reduced to a sobbing puddle of blubbering nothing by your “lethal” “gutterfighting” tricks? Oh, you’re going to bite him? I bit a guy in a fight once, because he was getting ready to stomp on my skull, and the only thing I could reach was his calf, with my teeth. It worked….for about two seconds. Then he went ahead and knocked me flat the fuck out by stomping on my skull. Oh, but you’re going to bite his ear/eye/lip/finger/whatever? Alright….ear: I can get the fucker stitched back on, after I beat you to death for biting my ear. Eye? That’s just weird…..How the fuck do you bite a dude’s eye (seriously, I once had a guy try and convince me that he’d bite my eye….). Lip: GAY. Finger: I actually had my finger bitten in a fight once. So I punched the guy in the eye until he let go, then I punched him in the mouth a couple of times with the bitten hand.


Oh, you’re going to gouge eyes, or grab nuts (not quite as gay. I did it once, and it worked really well to make enough space for me to get a better shot in)? Any junior high wrestler, with six months on the mats, has been eye-gouged, fish-hooked, and hit in the nuts enough to know it’s not the end of the world, or the fight.


Seriously. All that shit is cool. It’s like a flash-bang grenade. It’ll work for about a second, just long enough for you to slip in a more substantial method of causing serious hurt. Using it as your “fail-safe, go-to techniques” however, is going to get you seriously fucked up. I don’t care if you want to box, do muay Thai, wrestle, do judo, or jiu-jitsu. I don’t care if you want to do Krav Maga, or kung-fu, or karate, or fucking Tae Bo. Seriously. All I will say is this: If you’ve never hit a dude, using the methods and techniques you are training to use, full-force, and witnessed that it actually does what it’s supposed to do….you’re playing patty-cake. Now, if you’re only going to get in fights with guys who don’t really want to be there, and are not invested in the fight? Shit, Billy Blanks is the guru! Against a juiced-up, Type-A alpha male dude, wearing full kit and packing an M4 or MP5? You’d better KNOW your shit will do what it’s supposed to do.


Q: “But John, if you advocate ‘left, right, left, right, left, right, where does the grappling stuff come in?”


A: I got asked this in a recent class, by a very earnest young man. It was a valid question. I proceeded to demonstrate why it was important to know takedowns and grappling, without hurting him (actually, his response, after being on the receiving end of a takedown, knee-drop, and a rain of simulated blows to his brain pan was simply, “That was fucking cool!” Good kid–and I know his dad is reading this, so I hope he’ll tell the young man again how impressed I was with his attitude during the entire class).


Here’s another reason why I (and the Army actually) emphasizes the importance of grappling methods in combatives….All of my training, from combatives, to gunfighting, to TC3, to evasion-survival fieldcraft, to SUT, is predicated on real-world experience, and worst-case scenarios. If I train to defeat the top 1% of bad guys out there, the other 99% is fucking easy (not an original thought of mine, as I know several readers will quickly realize). Have you ever tried to throw a punch/chin-jab/or other punch-type strike against a dude kitted up in MICH helmet and rifle-plate body armor on, possibly with a protective mask/gas mask on? You’ll wish you’d learned to grapple pretty quickly the first time your money-maker punch bounces off some dude’s plate carrier, as he caves your skull in with his muzzle…


Q: “Yeah, but that grappling shit won’t work against multiple assailants!”


A: I love the stupidity of this argument. Number one, the best defense against multiple assailants is a bunch of buddies with M4s. If that’s not an option, at least having an M4 is a good start. If that fails, and you have to go unarmed against multiple assailants? Yeah, you’re probably pretty much fucked, unless you’re Morehei Ueshiba, and they’re all your aikido students who are doing a choreographed series of simple attacks. However, if I was in that situation now(I’ve been in that situation once…I thought I had a table full of Ranger buddies behind me when I started shit-talking a table of guys in a bar….My buddies had gone to dance with some girls….I proceeded to get the ever-loving shit kicked out of me until they came crashing through the crowd to rescue my dumbass….), I’d rather grab one guy and control him, to try and keep him between me and his buddies, while I proceeded to kick the shit out of him, then use him to make enough space to escape….Actually, I’d probably rather just run like a scared bitch, but my NEXT choice would damned sure be grappling-centric.



Anyway….some thoughts that were percolating on a very popular, very….sacred to some folks….subject.



Nous Defions!


John Mosby


Somewhere in the mountains

From → Uncategorized

  1. danrshaw permalink

    My grandfather taught me one thing he learned in his war. A person running at you,screaming their head off with a bayonet on the end of his fifle will get to you a lot quicker than you can imagine and just his quick “suicidal” attack can throw off you shot because your mind is telling you to get out of dodge instead of aiming your weapon and firing.

    That and your article made me realize I want to be the crazy sob charing to inflict as much damage as possible before getting my butt kicked (that is if I haven’t shot him in the face in the first place)

  2. big d permalink

    I did judo as a kid, and was lucky enough to practice jujitsu as a adult. during college I did some bouncing. Mr Mosby is speaking church when he says hit the other guy a lot, and hard. Only ever had to hit some one more then a few times. And he got the secret nija foo face to bumper style. Freaking hurt the SOB and move on. Make your mind up before the fight to destroy your enemy.

  3. Disciple of Night permalink

    Very enlightening, as always. I’d like to hear more stories about this grandfather of yours. I’ve considered getting back into a practical, real-world martial art style once I get my gun training solidified.

  4. Dan permalink

    Not really an expert at fighting…..cleaned up the aftermath of quite a few though over the years in
    ER. My take on the matter for the most part is that the tools used are secondary to the person.

    The guy who wins most often is the guy who decides FIRST that violence is appropriate and then
    actually uses violence. Thinking about it is great in philosophy class….thinking about it real world
    gets your clock cleaned by the guy who stopped thinking and started doing. Wanna win? Get in
    the biggest hardest lick first with whatever it is your gonna use to fight with.

    Broken hands don’t hurt….till later. A lot of injuries don’t hurt….till later.
    You can die because you hurt the other guy but didn’t stop him cause he
    didn’t feel that hurt till after he punched your ticket for the final ride.

    And from hearing quite a few stories…..the fight seldom lasts for long.
    Aerobic capacity is important….especially if you are fighting someone
    equal to you and it goes to the ground. Otherwise strength, speed and
    accuracy of action make the bigger difference.

  5. Randall Bartlett permalink

    Interesting developments hereabouts….

    Great blog. Headed your way soon, for good, but a bit south of you. Will be rolling up the road behind me. Cheers.


  6. greatlakesurvival permalink

    “Alright, Tinkerbell” – thanks for the chuckle and making me almost spit my morning coffee all over the screen.

    In regard to the ground fighting and “biting”. Hopefully this is more of an echo of what you said than anything.

    I was taught to fight on the ground to get out of the situation as quickly and violently as possible, because it doesn’t take too long before bad guy A, has buddies that are kicking the crap out of you in a bar. In war, I don’t know, never been.

    That being said, it’s been helpful to have a basic skill set within BJJ combined with proper application of the Filipino art of Kina Mutai (controlled/uninterrupted biting and eye gouging). Example, uninterrupted bite to the side of the face where the guy’s face is hanging off when you let up, enabled by a naked choke.

    Without the naked choke or controlled grap, the bite will not work, and will piss him off (like you said), while he’s on top pounding your skull in.

    Some guys have pioneered a good blend of violent but useful techniques that might work for others. I believe Dan Inosanto and subsequently Paul Vunak did a good job of giving the most useful application of an uninterrupted bite, with respect to having a good understanding of BJJ. Combining the basics of those two arts seemed to give the common guy a leg up (in a short amount of training time) to maybe survive a ground fight and get back on his feet to put the boots to the bad guy.

    Spending years earning belts in an art has it’s place, but the truth is, that proper respect needs to be given to the hoolagan who has learned from the school of hard knocks in the local hole in the wall bar. It’s just fact.

    I like the realistic approach to fighting taken in the article. Thanks.

  7. robroysimmons permalink

    I’m a survivor not a fighter, but I’ve broken from a few multiple attackers scenarios in my life. When you are the skinniest quietest man in the bunch the natural tendency for mouthy idiots is to single you out, you do the math. I always used something that I now find out someone labled the wedge, attack one side of one person than run like a mofo or rejoin your group. I’ve seen this demonstrated on the net by someone that put it into a method.

    And Mos should differentiate between the running the mouth bar fight from gunfight without a gun fight. Ft. Sill (shithole) 1982 my mouthy “buddy” initiates a verbal battle with a rather large “doggy” takes it out to the parking lot stands there runs mouth some more two large “doggies” knock jarhead down crack orbital bones above eyes with cowboy boots. Two other mopes attempt the same on me first by trying to grab me which is stupid so I wedged broke their hold and wailed the fuck out of both, even the third person in our group was impressed by my “craziness.”

    I only wrote that because Mos was flipping back and forth between kinetic scenario and bar fight scenario, and bar fighting is stupid. But otherwise a great bit of info, but don’t teach a “system” and then put said teachee into a barfight run my mouth mindset.

    • I don’t differentiate between the two types of fights, because there is no difference (okay, perhaps in the moral sense there are some vast differences, but in the application/physical aspects, there are none). It doesn’t matter if the fight is between two guys in the alley behind the bar, two rifle squad-sized elements in the Hindu Kush, or the Armies of Revelations, on the fields of Meggido, the fundamentals of warfare are applicable. Violence is violence, and it is all the same at its root (both physically and metaphorically). I agree, morally, getting in barfights is stupid. Do I regret the ones I got into in my 20s? Not really, but I haven’t been in any in my 30s, and doubt I’ll get into any in my 40s…..I’ve long held the policy, shared with everyone I’ve ever gone out in public with (including HH6)….”If you get in an altercation, I will bail you out of it, or do everything in my power to do so. However….if you CAUSED the altercation through stupidity or ego, once I’m done kicking the shit out of the other person, I’m going to kick the shit out of you as well.”

      • robroysimmons permalink

        Sorry I’m an ass who quibbles the details. I was placing barfights ironically or stupidly with Miyamoto Musashi and his philosophy from the “Book of Five Rings.”

        Enjoy Xmas though I’m not sure Randians take time for Xmas and its message.

  8. Ed Foster permalink

    I boxed as a kid, wrestled in High School and College, took several year of a few different martial arts. I was in the Corps, have been in bar fights, and other fights. I have even had a guy try to rob me at knife point when I had an arm in a cast.
    Mosby is right. If you are in an unarmed fight. You have to be mean nasty and agressive, and take the fight to the other guy. Eye gouges, and stuff work, if you hit them. It is not always easy to hit them, when they are moving and you are moving too. It is easier to just make a fist and hit the guy, and keep hitting them.
    Always walk away if you can, if you can’t walk away. Then you need to be a mean nasty caged tiger, some idiot just opened the cage on.
    A good thing to do if unarmed, is go at them hard, hit them and keep hiting them, eye gouge, throat shots, choke them, whatever it takes. I have bit and have been biten in fights.
    An even better approach is arm yourself, a big stick, a rock, a knife, a gun all give you an advantage. Do what you have to do to win.
    The most important thing is your mind set, know you will do what is needed to win.
    That said, don’t be the macho I’m tough guy, that runs his mouth. That is just asking for it, and if you ask for it, someone will give it to you.

  9. DAN III permalink

    I was out walking my dog one morning on the rural road that runs in front of the house. Was getting ready to go to the gym after the walk. My EDC weapons that morning were lacking and I only had my Surefire flashlight and my yellow, Don’t Tread On Me emblazoned coffee mug.

    An oncoming, speeding car nearly ran over me and my Katie. Flashing him with the Surefire he swerved and avoided hitting us. He went down the road and returned to our location. Popping his head out of his door he yelled at me “What the fuck is YOUR problem” ?

    Long story short….I told him what my “problem” was. He got out of the car, slammed a hand on my shoulder and I, in turn, planted my “Don’t Tread On Me” mug center-mass on his face causing his lower teeth to hitch a ride on his lower lip. Anyway I was fined by the State Police and the local court for smacking this asshole, who BTW, was driving on a suspended license.

    Anyway, moral of the story is two-fold:
    1. Anything you have in your hands can be a weapon (my now $500.00 mug didn’t break. I use it every day.)
    2. The courts and the cops are not there to protect the righteous and liberty. They are there to subjugate us.

    Smacking an asshole with a Dont Tread On Me coffee mug. How appropriate.


  10. Jake's dad permalink

    He still talks about it. It made a lifelong impression on him. Many thanks.

  11. hungry hunter permalink

    Thank you Mr. Mosby for your blog. I just found it this week and have found it very enlightening. There’s so much useful info herehat it’s hard to process it all at once. I also appreciate the no nonsense writing style.

    I’ve always been one to use the avoidance fighting style and luckily it has worked so far. I have been looking to get my son into a martial art and am leaning towards BJJ and/or boxing.

    Once again, thank you.

  12. Blake permalink

    Awesome article. This is something I’ve been saying for YEARS, it ain’t the style in the fighter, its the fighter in the style. You must have the proper MINDSET to use whatever art you know effectively. We talk in our school about the “dojo” black belt vs the “warrior” black belt. Have you actually trained with Inosanto? I’ve had the opportunity to work with him several times, he is truly an inspiration. Things like neck strikes, groin strikes, and the like do wonders at giving you a window of opportunity, but your next strikes better be some heavy fucking hands aimed at whatever isn’t covered by something thick, like a vest or helmet. I still don’t think anything is as effective as a well placed stomp to the face of a downed opponent.
    I’ve been doing a Kajukenbo based art for 10 years, and in the last 3 have incorporated BJJ and Judo. The way I see it, for 99% of all the guys you meet, a Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu is good enough. Continued training beyond that is just to sharpen the skills.
    We had a situation about a month ago with this new kid training in the BJJ. This kid is the spitting image of Steve Erkel. He’s at game stop and some punk starts cursing him out saying he cut him in line for no reason. Anyway, erkel is walking to his car, and hears foot steps, turns around to see this big guy standing there screaming, “oh you got a problem?” He charges, as many street fighters do, and whips the biggest hay maker to which erkel ducks under, takes his back and gives a basic foot trip, landing on top of this guy and smashing his face into the concrete. He then finishes with a rear naked choke, while the guy’s girlfriend is screaming you’re going to kill him! As he’s telling the story, he just keeps saying “I was so scared I was going to get arrested so I ran away”. But you see even with the Gracies, no matter what style they’re against, several punches are thrown, if one doesn’t connect, now you’re clinching. The basics of judo, a few good chokes, and you’re good to go.

    As for the breaking hand on someone’s head, this is where the traditional styles can have some benefit. I end every workout with push ups with my knuckles on some cinder blocks. If you hit a heavy bag, do it without gloves. Punch a makiwara. All this stuff will make your hands into boulders. The only time I’ve seen people break a hand punching, is if they had soft computer hands. Most people who have worked for a living (think construction workers, mechanics) have hands so thick and calloused I don’t think they could break them if they tried.

  13. Anon permalink

    I’ve taken martial arts on and off since I was 9, the one I found that has done me the most good was Wing Chun, What I found particularly helpful was the blocks and counter-attacks it taught and those have been the ones I used the most as well as a small amount of throws. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than a few good beatings and I’ve dished out a few too.

    Your grandfather sounds like the true embodiment of a warrior and without trying to sound like a lickspittle, it seems that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. A merry Christmas to you, your family and to everyone else too.

    – A “cousin” from across the Pond.

  14. JustARandomGuy permalink

    …”Crash into the dude and start pumping holes into him., repeatedly…”

    Like this?

    I’m sorry- I know that contributes nothing of worth to this discussion, but that’s literally the first thing that popped into my head when I read that.
    Yeah, I know, DW is ghey….

  15. Juan Del Norte permalink

    Yeah, I’m the guy that John dumped on his face with the Judo-type toss. I was wearing a paintball mask at the time (it being FoF training and all) and the inside of it cut my head a little bit but other than that I was okay (though I got the impression that John could have made my face hit the curb a LOT harder, in which case I might very well have not been okay). Somehow I’d managed to get my arms all tangled up so even as I watched the ground rush up to meet my noggin all I could do was think “This is gonna suck!” and prepare to take the hit to the head. Good times!

    I’ve not been in a fist fight since Jr. High but I too have never hurt my fist by punching dudes in the head. That said, I don’t think I really hurt the heads that I was punching all that much either so perhaps that was the issue.

    Lots of great humor and info in the article above. Keep it coming!


    • Juan, you’re the shit, brother! Remember the double-leg earlier in the day too? HH6 says hi! We’ll see you tomorrow or Wednesday, AM.

  16. David Bowser permalink

    I concur with your article. I have seen guys that have trained karate, taikwondo, San Soo, kung fu etc. Then they come to our MMA gym and get their ass handed to them! Why?? Because basically that shit doesn’t work. You can’t train those techniques full speed. To be any good at them you need to practice for years. There is nothing wrong with any of the arts I mentioned. They all have good points. Add them like tools to your tool box. I grew up a scrapper and won most of my fights. I became a renowned bouncer downtown Minneapolis. They said I knocked out more gang bangers than the Minneapolis police. LOL! anyway my point being I was a pretty capable guy in a fight. I started MMA training at the age of 40. I had 4 amateur fights. I have been training for five years in Muy thai, wrestling as it pertains to MMA, Brazilian Jui Jitsu (blue belt), boxing, some judo for the clinch and wall fighting. I remember my first sparring session. I weighed 245 of solid cut muscle and had 12 years of bouncing under my belt. my opponent was a 155 lb. amateur fighter. I thought I was going to have my way….. the guy mopped the floor with me! He out struck me, took me down at will, held me down, controlled me, submitted me etc. for 3 five min rounds. It was an eye opener. He beat me with knowledge and technique. I never stopped going. It teaches you to hit as well as getting comfortable with being hit. My suggestion for anyone would be to go to a Local “reputable” MMA gym. I thought I knew how to fight, I was humbled. One needs to know how to fight when you don’t have a gun. I think MMA is a great platform for it. There are some disadvantages to MMA when It comes to fighting someone who may have an edged weapon. You don’t want to automatically double leg someone who is hiding a drawn knife. But I still think its a great platform.

  17. Jack Greyback permalink

    Great article, I’ve fallen into the age category that I’m too old to fight fair and too young to die.

    I recently took a knife seminar from Steve Tarani at Southern Exposure in Florida. And he teaches some very simple but effective knife defense techniques that really taught me a lot. We were actively and aggressively trying to stab each other (with training knives) at distances from 21 feet (Tueller drill) to actual face to face touching distance with a variety of attacks (left/right handed, straight in, overhead, slashing, etc.), defending by stepping off the X, deflecting attack to go to pistol or counter attack with open hand or our own knife. It was so worthwhile that I’ve determined that I’m going back every year, just to stay sharp. The reason I posted is that I’ve looked at the Red Zone knife defense videos, and what I’ve learned seemed way simpler, and more effective. JMHO. About me: retired US Army MP, some judo, jujitsu, kung fu, TKD experience, but old and crippled now.

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