A Great Question!
It's a question that we went back and forth with for awhile ourselves many moons ago. The "how" and "why" of our conclusions may be of some interest. Whether or not anyone agrees with them, well at the least you'll fully understand the basis for them.
The question is this:
Why does Fairbairn stress the straight thumb in line with the barrel, even for one handed shooting?
Years ago when we first began our attempt to sort out the mechanics, methods and reasoning behind this type of shooting we had the exact same question! It really is an excellent question.
We need a little history here. When a group of us started to "experiement" with this method of shooting we had all been indoctrinated and trained in one or both of the prevailing "practical" shooting methods extant. One being the "cutting edge method" of the time, that owing to Jeff Cooper and the methods being taught at Gunsite. The other being the fairly standard FBI clone known as the "Practical Pistol Course". Most police recruit training of this period emphasized the PPC tactical course of fire over any other method, including the much touted "Weaver". Full sight alignment, "positive" grip with a two-hand "isoceles", barricade firing with both single and double action(most departments carried wheel guns) all done at varying distancesand various battery firing positions. The only time ANYTHING approaching "instinct" shooting was even mentioed was at the six foot range distance when passing commentary went something like......."Maybe you won't be able to get the gun all the way up, so..............."
This was the prevailing situation at that time for those interested in "combat" or "practical" shooting either by vocation or hobby. To make matters worse, MOST if not all "civilian" instruction STILL was based on the old "Olympic" style of competitve target work.
Now REMEMBER this was at a time when specially trained units like ESU or SWAT were still in their infancy! And William Shatner's ONLY claim to fame was as Captain Kirk. When cops went on a job they were fully expected to handle it. ONLY the most EXTREME situations were responded to by "something" resembling a special tactics unit. At BEST most departments had only a semi-organized squad of "hats and bats", and that was it. So the street cop responded to EVERY type of call and was FULLY expected to handle whatever emergency arose.
So that gamut runs from Bank alarms, to convenience store robberies, to building, warehouse and residential searches, from alleyways and stairwells to rooftops and basements. Sometimes you creep and sometimes you run. Sometimes you know there's a potential threat, sometimes it just leaps out at you. Sometimes there is plenty of light(good and bad), sometimes just a dim streetlight near an alleyway that YOU have to clean out. Sometimes, and more often than not, there is NO real light, just dark. And shadows!
Search a warehouse for a suspect and you may get shot from a distance, from behind cover or concealment. Search an apartment building or private residence for a suspect and you may get shot from "sneezing" distance. You may see the threat and "prepare' yourself, or maybe the threat just SPRINGS out at you. Maybe the badguy is in front of you, maybe he's lurking and creeping just there behind you.
Maybe it's a car stop gone bad. Maybe it's a "nut" who approaches YOU while you're in a patrol unit sipping coffee and shooting the shit with your partner. Maybe you're off duty.
The point is this: In the real world ANYTHING can and probably WILL happen. As bad as it gets, is about as BAD as it WILL GET.
Now add THIS: Will you be wounded, injured, or in someway incapacitated, less than at optimum ability. Will you be firing your duty weapon, or will you be using your "back up" or has the shit degenerated to the degree that you have to use your last ditch "hide out" piece. I've known situations where an officer has HAD to grab and use one of the "downed" perps weapons, to save his wounded partners life. What POSITION will you be in when all hell breaks loose? Maybe you CAN'T run for cover, maybe there is NO cover. You can do everything RIGHT and still die, and you can do everything WRONG and survive. Life's kinda crazy that way.
The obvious part of this, at least to an open-minded and "thinking" individual is that it IS impossible to train and/or prepare for EVERY situation, every contingency. Can't BE DONE.
What CAN be done is to figure out what method or system of training will GIVE YOU the BEST all around overall preparation for survival.
The "PPC" wasn't the answer, and neither was Copper's "Modern Pistolcraft". Something was missing.
A round about way to answer a single question, huh? Well without understanding the genesis or the seed that all of this begins with and the "base" of experience that FORCED certain questions to be asked and answered the whole point will be missed. The "straw man" arguements will flair up, and the whole "thing" will turn into a pile of shit. And NO one will learn a goddamn thing.
The group of men that formed the core of our "cadre" so to speak were mostly cops drawn together initially by interests in other areas than firearms. Most I had met thru my martial arts training, some were from the "iron" pit(what a shithole, I loved it), some we met at competitive "practical" matches. We had at one time or another guys from local, state, and federal agencies. A tremendous amount of experience and the desire to really "train" was the bond(not the shaker joints and sundries). A rare quality for cops in those days.
So we weren't stumbling in the dark here. We had the access, time, opportunity and means(most of us were single and making a pretty good payday) to really travel, and train. And....get in a whole helluva lot of range time. There was one point where at any given time I had several 5 gallon pails filled with spent brass in my trunk waiting for their weekly drop off at my buddy who was a reloading fanatic. With no real responsibilty in life you can live PRETTY LARGE(right Boyoo?).
Frank Behlert(remember him?) still had his old shop on Lehigh Ave. in Union. That was a great hub of activity and a great place to meet all sorts of interesting characters. It was also one of the first places that really took an actice role in pushing the "practical" shooting matches in the metro area.
Now when some street "cherries" or FNG's get out of the academy and hit the streets they clam up tighter than an asshole in a bath house. Sometimes it is good to just shut the fuck up and keep your eyes and ears open. But by the same token, if you don't ask you don't learn. So when ever a dicey situation arose I would always "debrief"(sometimes that took on a WHOLE 'nother meaning) myself and sort out what went "good", what went "bad", what could have been done better and what could have hit the fan. If I needed to question something I did. Still do.
Alot of the older cops were really playing the old "salty dawg". 30 years and a wake up and the papers were in and off to Florida they went. Probably to drop dead of heart failure in a year. Life sucks and then you die, or life sucks, you relocate to Florida and THEN you die. Doesn't matter, end result the same.
Still these guys were a TREMENDOUS source of knowledge. On a whole RANGE of "police" related subjects. Most, if not all of these men were combat vets of WWII or Korea. So when I had a question I asked. If my screwy facial expression betrayed my disbelief at the answer, I usually heard the following refrain(if I had a dime......),"Listen wet nose, that's the square, the real deal, just remember I got more time in the shithouse than you have on the road"......followed invariably by......."So just shut the FUCK up and learn". Well as things go, I never did learn to shut the fuck up, but I did learn.
"They teach you what they teach in the academy 'cause they got to".............................."The street has it's own rules, and only the street really knows what the hell those are". Rule # 1 - CYA. Rule # 2 - Never EVER forget rule # 1.
So where does this lead us? Well, this attitude between what is "percieved" as real and what really is REAL caused us to constantly question, examine, and re-examine everything we were "taught" to do against everything we "really" DID.
The bulbs really began flashing when we got hold of a copy of "Kill or Get Killed" followed by "Shooting to Live". At first we all, myself included, looked at these old pictures, drawings and "dust covered" verbiage as absolutely outdated, "know what I did during the BIG ONE..............." bullshit! But "Get Tough" had my sincere interest. One of those old timers I mentioned had been a US Navy "landing force" instructor during the "BIG ONE". I had seen him in action for real, unflitered "Lucky Strike" hanging out the side if his mouth and wreaking holy havoc on some young "puffy chested" bucks. It was a thing of beauty! I on the other was "fighting" these guys and looked like I was "rode hard and put away wet".
Something didn't add up. The methods my tour sargeant used WERE right out of "Get Tough", even how he handled a "nightstick" and BOY he did that with relish(remember NO ONE knew what a camcorder was!). Maybe there was something to this "Farburn" guy. I mean, up to this point "Fairbairn" was a good tan we got during "I & I" down at LBI. And "Applegate"? Sheeet, that was the entrance to an orchard, right?
So then we ACTUALLY started READING these texts. Really trying to keep an open mind. After ALL if "Guru" Jeff said it was so, well damn youngin' IT'S SO!
Now here's the "bitch" in the whole thing............Pretty much EVERY reason WEF and Colonel Rex GAVE for the validity of the methods(THEY ARE DIFFERENT BOYS & GIRLS) were exactly what we all knew were "missing" from the "practical" shooting we were doing. The difference in a nutshell......."How you are SUPPOSSED to do it, and how you REALLY do IT".
Yes, if I have the "drop" on a suspected badman, like on a hinky title 39 stop when YOU KNOW the shit is just hanging in front of that fan READY to go SPLAT all over everyone, then YES, ALL the "rules" get followed. If I had to arrest a suspect on a felony warrany or who was a known "A & D" then yes......ALL the rules got followed. In those situations assessing, finding and moving to real "cover"(as opposed to just concealment) was viable, actually anything else was STUPID. If that was NOT an option then covering the skel from a stable picture perfect "Weaver" or "isoceles" with positive sight alignment and all things neat and tidy was the way to go. ANYTHING else would have been STUPID.
BUT...................then there were those multitude of OTHER TIMES.
SEE there is a HUGE difference between having "IT" your way, playing your "game", ACTING by your rules and being forced to "REACT" to someone else's "gamebook". You get forced into playing the other guy's game and you're probably gonna lose. Especially when the rules change constantly.
So let's answer this "job" together. Straight up and no bullshit. You're working the graveyard tour mid-week. From your experience you figure that this tour on this day is usually pretty quiet. So it's around 3:00 am, you have made your "beat" rounds, done your shift reports, answered a few calls, shitcanned them and now need a little "resting of the eyes". You coop up. Oh YEA, it's winter time. Snow, ice, and it's bone chilling cold out. Just as you find that "comfortable" position and settle in the radio goes bananas. Two seperate confirmed alarms at a warehouse that has been hit several times before. OFF to the races you GO!
No siren, just the overheads, a couple of blocks away you go "silent". You make a cursory pass in the unit and spot the probable position of enrty (an open window, in JANUARY). Maybe. Maybe these guys followed the "rules" and immediately left a second avenue of escape available to them. Maybe you get a back up unit, maybe you don't. Doesn't matter, you gotta roll with punches and you got a JOB to do. The warehouse is HUGE, completely dark, multi-level with more "nooks and crannies" than a Thomas's muffin. And it's BEEN months since YOU answered a call here (or maybe never) so the layout is NOT "fresh" in your mind.
You approach the window cautiously and realize that the snowy, slushy, muddy ground beneath has a distinct set of LARGE boot prints, NO, wait, TWO sets of distinct footprints. Let's see.........okay the window has been jimmied. Pretty secure industrial window. These pry marks were done by something pretty big and pretty sharp. Keep that in mind.
Enough bullshit, time to go into the "party".
Let's stop for a moment and take stock of our situation:
1. NO light, either inside(if we could even find them) or OUTSIDE.2. At least two potential threats.3. Unknown area of operation. Little if any idea of how the joint is layed out.4. At least one perp is armed with something big, and sharp. At the LEAST.5. Have other officers to worry about.6. Cold as a sonofabitch. Stiff, wearing winter uniform, can't move all that well. Adrenalin pumping like a MOTHER. 7. Why didn't I become a dentist like Mama wanted?
So you go IN. Your partner or your back up takes the "shit catcher" position at the rear, you handle the "flush". C'mon now, in you GO...................................
I know what I've done in those situation, I know what OTHERS have done in those situations, and I KNOW how we were TRAINED to do it, and MOST importantly, I know how it was REALLY handled. Here's the "rub"............pretty much everything WEF states in Shooting to Live is EXACTLY what I have seen, and experienced BOTH in my OWN actions and those of others. ALL well trained, diligent and "good" cops, knew their business. AND this was before we EVER heard of these methods or researched these sources.
SEE...........................THIS was the MISSING link that we all KNEW, but COULDN'T really pin down. This was IT. You can forget the "stats", the "percents", ignore the over SIX decades of emprical knowledge from agencies all over the WORLD including the FBI, the DOJ, and virtually every major department throughout the free world( not even to mention a worldwide conflagration then went on FOR years). Forget all of that. I KNOW what my "instinct" was and what was the "instinct" of a host of others in similar situations. Does that make it RIGHT or WRONG? Does it matter? It is what it is. Kinda like death and taxes, or at least death. You can talk up a storm about it, still is what it is.
Okay. So, comparing what I knew to be relevant in my experience and having seen first hand, as well as thru various first person accounts, the reasoning that WEF outlined as WELL as the method of use and mode of INSTRUCTION made a great deal of sense to me, as well as others whose opinions I had grown to respect. What we HAD experienced was IN that little old manual.
The task NOW was to do more research and to make these methods come alive. That meant studying as much material as we could find on this topic, and then understanding it and perfecting it.
BUT, you may ask, what about the "instinct" part. Didn't you KNOW this already? Yes, we did KNOW how many(certainly not all) individuals will react when placed in sudden life and death emergency situations. The JOB was to rip this method apart, find any flaws, find any strengths, and to make it fully our own. ONLY then, once we really KNEW what the hell we were doing(and talking about), could we DECIDE if it offered any REAL solutions to us. ANYTHING less than FULLY studying, inculcating and UNDERSTANDING the method would constitute INTELLECTUAL FRAUD in terms of any real incisive and HONEST comparison with any other "method".
How the hell do you judge something without that mind-set.
During this period(mid to late 70's) there were a growing number of "experts" entering the field. Cooper first and foremost, then names like Taylor, Farnam, Ayoob, and many others. For the most part, all "towed" the party line. Weaver was IT. Everything else was outdated, outmoded and "old" fashioned. Well, at this point I started collecting EVERYTHING I could about shooting. Everything. From the oldest manuals and books to the most up to date. Magazine upon magazine, and of course continued ACTUAL training. What I was constantly learning was really eye opening.
Studying McGivern, Hatcher, Roper, Nichols, Weston, Gaylord, Askins, Jordan, "old" works by Copper, and so many other men and other sources like Leatherneck and the Infantry Journal, old issues of the American Rifleman was astonishing. My research collection has NEVER stopped growing. I don't "stop" learning, but more on that later.
The only contemporary voice getting a little play in the popular gun journals was Brad Steiner. Much of what he wrote reflected what I had known to be true based on MY experience. There really WAS a gap and a need for methods that dealt specifically with CLOSE QUARTERS GUN BATTLES. The only really close quarters method being bantered about at this time was the "speed rock". Steiner's contemporary articles were very interesting and he stirred alot of resentment and controversy.
I remember one slam made aginst Steiner and John McSweeny by Mas Ayoob. It concerned the use of a mirror to check and adjust firing poistion, alignment and so forth. This was a method advocated by MANY "old timers" as a tried and true way of DAILY practice away from the range. Easy. Simple. No "brainer". Everyone has a mirror. Made perfect sense to me. And it WORKED. Great! Well, Ayoob likened this to "mental" masturbation. I'm not really one to mince words, it's usually(not always) better to just speak plainly. I couldn't help but wonder what the reaction of men like Paul Weston of the NYPD(who advocated this mirror training highly) or "Jelly" Bryce would have been to that comment. I also pondered what Brad Steiner's reaction, and perhaps more SO, John McSweeny's reaction would have been to Mr. Ayoob had he made that comment nose to nose instead of in print. Basically, what Ayoob was saying, thinly veiled as it was, was, you're a "jerk off".
Where were we? Oh YEA.............................................................
What to do with ALL of this information, both new and "old". Well, logically the thing to do was to look at the most basic problems presented by any situation and BUILD from there.
Easy enough. Right? Well, actually no......................................
First thing we did was to DEFINE the terms that we would use. When so and so said this, made this statement, what did he REALLY mean? When Shooter A talks about this to Shooter B are they REALLY understanding the terms being USED. Or is one party ASSUMING he knows what a certain phrase or descriptive term means. Damn, w're back to that logical foundation jammy again. Let's see................I stop some guy on the street and tell him in NO uncertain terms that I LOVE his wife, and always will. As a matter of fact, I have loved her for years. The man may be pretty shocked, he would have a right to be, maybe even take a swing at me. But, if we defined what was really said, well, the situation changes. The guy's wife is MY sister. And yes, I love her deeply, always have, and always will. Before any honest up front dialogue seeks to edify we should make sure we're on the same page. That was job 1. As I said anything less is intellectual fraud.
So we did a thorough job of defining the terms we used and what they meant.
Now we ruthlessly went about tearing apart everything on both sides of the hill.
What does the REALITY of the street teach us, and how do we find REAL useful solutions to those problems presented.
AND, here's the REAL catch...............................how does all of this tie in to the LEAST common denominator. In other words what is the MOST basic overall approach to these problems, taking into account first and foremost the least in ability, skill, experience and knowledge. If we can begin to build on that, then we have something really worthwhile.
So here are the "problems":
1. Visibility. Perfect to zero.
2. Extreme close range sudden violence. Unprepared. Reactive. Prepared. Active.
3. Enagaging adversaries at varying distances and/or heights/360 degrees. Close/medium/long range. Effective transition. Active and reactive.
4. Ability to manuever and fire.
5. Ability to effect fire on a moving target.
6. Ability to fire from dis-advantage or awkward positions.
7. Ability to fire from cover and/or concealment. Two different tactical problems.
8. Ability to fire with both hands. Tandem-strong and weak. Single-strong and weak.
9. Ability to fire when vision is impaired.
10. Ability to transition from weapon to weapon.
11. Emergency reloading and malfunction clearing.
12. The MUST DO shot.
We did NOT address specific tactical problems. This list was designed for the MOST basic overall components facing every type of "shooter" regardless of "job" specificity. A six three 200lb. police tactical officer could face these "problems" in the same way that a 5 foot five 100lb. housewife may have to. Sounds silly? Think about it.
How we put together the syllabus-
No forced or awkward positions or manuevers.Everything based to the GREATEST extent possible on gross motor skill, natural body dynamics, and "instinctive" action/reaction. takes into account next to worst case scenario and works from there(worst case being you're already dead).
The entire system should be as seamless as possible. One component dovetailing with another. Not just a "grouping" of techniques independent of one another. As general as possible to cover the greatest number of contingencies. Weak offhand shooting is composed of the EXACT same mechanics as TWO HANDED braced firing. The fundamentals are EASILY retainable and apply throughout the entire shooting system. The grip on the draw is the same grip for firing. The grip when running, climbing, jumping is the same for drawing and firing. The grip when prone is the same when kneeling is the same whenusing braced barricade, is the same when using the "pop out" and fire. This is a bad thing under the stress of real world violence?
The system? That we have to be another long winded thread(if I survive this one). But for many of you, it won't be what you think or what you have "pidgeonholed".
Okay. First. Re-read all these parts over again. Really put some effort into understanding what is being said here.
Fairbairn admonishes us to extend the thumb along the "slide release"(for clarification). Mentions it several times. WE DON'T teach that grip as part of the basic syllabus. We practiced it alot and some liked it and some did not. BUT that's NOT the issue here.
The grip as advocated by WEF is particular to the weapon shown, NOT to WEF. Many gunners of the period in many different manuals and sources advocate the same grip for THAT weapon. For the .45 ACP. It was almost de rigueur. Did it help some achieve the standards for it that WEF set forth, MOST certainly. For others it was a far less successful venture. Some improved with practice, others did not.
Now we have to find out why? Colonel Applegate had HIS answer and we had ours(more on that later) BUT still we wanted to understand why WEF advocated it and what we might have been missing.
First we have to remember that "Shooting to Live" was written in it's original form(we have the manual) as a manual for the SMP. An organized UNIFORM police agency. "Shooting to live" is an expanded version of the original SMP manual. Why is that important? Because the SMP, like most agencies issued a specific "duty" weapon. A standard pistol. That was the .45 ACP. But that wasn't all! The .380 ACP was ALSO issued and for a VERY pertinent reason. The use of the thumb extended grip advocated for the .45 ACP had more to do with the DESIGN of the weapon than with anything else. The angle between grip and barrel is such that a full "convulsive"(there's that term again) grip with thumb wrapped DOWN will effect the horizontal barrel to floor alignment that is so important to ALL forms of accurate shooting. MORE so in the method taught by WEF. The thumb extension helped seat the weapon from backstrap to muzzle in a "better" way for THAT gun. A full "fisted' grip tended to drop the muzzle DOWN. Also, WEF had fairly large hands and a great grip. He also realized this and adjusted accordingly. Officer's with smaller hands who could NOT adjust or use the .45 ACP were issued the smaller .380 ACP. Now notice the line drawing on pg. 19 of STL. These drawings were made directly from still photos. Look at how far the thumb is extended in the picture. I have fairly normal size hands and a fair grip, and my thumb doesn't come near to that position. I am certainly NOT alone in this problem. WEF recignized it too, THAT is why he issued smaller pistols for some officers.
Again, this manual was done before the second world war and done with the STANDARD issue .45 ACP or .380 ACP in mind as a UNIFORM piece of ordinance. WEF use of the extended thumb index was also obvious in his method of firing both the M1 A1 carbine and the Thompson sub-machin gun. He liked this method.
Colonel Applegate had different ideas. His duties exposed him to a VAST number of handguns that WOULD be used in combat in varying countries. From the Luger to the Walther, from a Colt revolver to an automatic, from a Browning to a Mauser. Applegate sought A SINGLE method of battle firing that was applicable to ANY handgun, anywhere in the world. THIS is why Colonel Applegate advocated the "point shoulder" locked wrist, convulsive grip method. That system alone would allow anyone to grab ANY handgun and be able to fire with effect(his words-Man Killing Accuracy). Since each design had a different angle between handle and muzzle, differing weight, balance, muzzle length, sight aperture and so on he devised a singular method to ADAPT to a GREAT number of handguns. That is GENIUS! So on this point I disagree with WEF's approach. How about all the other shootists? Like Bill Jordan. Look at his grip, about as tight fisted and convulsive as you can get. And he is one of many that took a differing approach from what is shown in STL. All I want to do is keep it to the MOST basic FIRST. MOST BASIC FIRST. MOST BASIC FIRST! M O S T B A S I C F I R S T !
Was Applegate completely HAPPY with what he taught during WWII. NO, he wasn't. He told us personally that he would have taught FULLY sighted fire FIRST, then "point shoulder" if he had to do it again. YEP! NOTHING is written in stone!
There are other SOLID reasons behind the differences between WEF and Applegate, as well as others extant during this time. But, hell all that's in the past. Who cares, right?
Okey dokey. Back to WEF and the extended thumb. NOW.......try this............even if you like the extended thumb for your .45 replace that auto with another auto, large/medium/small frame. How's the "feel", bet you adjust with each differing piece.
Now grab a wheel gun. Try it WITH THAT! Hmmmmmmm.....how's that working out? No, not the Model 29 S&W, the small frame two inch......try that. Well I don't see HOW that extended thumb grip works AT ALL with a revolver. Not for double action most certainly!
SO now what? How about this...........You carry a primary duty weapon that is a large frame auto. Okay. You also carry a small frame "snubby" on your ankle....the "just in case" gun. And, maybe a Beretta .25 as your "oh SHIT" gonna be late for dinner piece. THREE different guns, three DIFFERENT grips and THREE differing "feels". Or look down the firing line at people who are looking to YOU for instruction. All shapes and sizes, all different in so many ways, and probably all preferring a different handgun. Damn, you HAVE to find the most fundamental starting point.
My answer? A strong, natural and (dare I say it) convulsive grip. The same GRIP you have used since INFANCY to hold and use tools and objects, to make a fist, to lift weights, etc. etc.
Opposable thumb. Simple. This is THE most basic action possible. Everyone can do it. Everyone understands IT. And it is APPLICABLE across the board for a GREAT variety of hand types, builds, disabilities and WEAPONS. It can be used for any size autoloader or any size wheel gun.
NOW!!!!! READ THIS.............................Did I EVER SAY IT WAS THE ONLY OR BEST METHOD? NO, I did NOT! I only said it was the MOST basic!
What I did say was that it was the most basic, simple, accessible GRIP to USE as a FOUNDATION. Get something SOLID under your belt NOW, then work towards whatever method and/or goal you wish. AND all the MORE power to you!
My philosophy in a nutshell: I could teach you very effective techniques that would take a bit of time to master. But along with that I can teach you something you can USE right now when you leave here and cross that deserted parking lot. Master BASICS first and then the sky's the limit. Even WEF said given more time he would have taught different methods. Ernie Cates when he set up the USMC close combat program with Nakabyashi choose his basics carefully. he told me that rule one was: The part of the hand with NO hair is the palm! At it's core that's all I'm saying.
I'm sure I've missed some salient points (combat draw and some other issues), but I've wasted a whole day on this and I'm pretty wasted by now. I did my best to offer sound reasoning. That's all I can do. This line of thought can be applied to just about anything, certainly all aspects of armed and unarmed close-combat.
Copyright 2003 www.thetruthaboutselfdefense.com ©
Carl Cestari began his study of the martial arts with judo at the age of 7 under the direction of Yoshisada Yonezuka. During the past forty plus years Carl has dedicated his life to studying the martial arts, hand to hand combat systems, history and religion. He is continually improving himself through his studies. What makes Carl unique is his combination of martial arts, law enforcement, military and real world experience. Carl has been exposed to a multitude of people with a wide variety experience. The following is a list of some of Carl's ranks and honors.
Shinan (Founder) Tekkenryu jujutsu
Ryokudan (6th degree) Koshinkai Karate under John Burrelle
Godan (5th degree) Jujutsu under Clarke of the World Jujutsu Fedaration (now defunct)
Sandan (3rd degree) Nippon Kempo under Narabu Sada
Nidan (2nd degree) Judo under Masafumi Suzuki
Shodan (1st degree) Judo under Yoshisada Yonezuka
Shodan (1st degree) Shukokai Karate under Kimura, Kadachi and Yonezuka
Shodan (1st degree) Daitoryu Aikijujutsu
Instructors Certificate- Charles Nelson System of Self Defense under Charlie Nelson
Tai-Chi for the Masses--and Others
Kuang Ping was the T'ai-chi set favored by Yang Lu-Chan, the man who brought forward the "Yang" style in the mid-1800's, now so popular throughout the world. Kuang Ping is what the man trained with himself. The popular "Yang" set was/is something for the masses--not for the aficinado, the athlete, the martial artist.
Is Aikido a Martial Art ?
Sensei Henry Ellis Co-Author of the new book Positive Aikido.- 2005. A direct student from 1957 of the legendary master Kenshiro Abbe Sensi 1915 - 1985..
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Capturing the spirit of old Japan and recognised by its deadly curvature, the samurai sword is widely recognised throughout the world as the most deadly of all Japanese weaponry. Although gaining modern fame and notoriety in modern epic cinema in such films as The Last Samurai and the Kill Bill series by Quentin Tarantino, samurai swords have long being an iconic symbol of Japan and its history.
The Shocking Truth About Stun Guns
If you are outside the world of law enforcement, chances are you haven't had much "hands on" work with stun guns. Stun guns are as popular today as they have ever been and with the newer smaller packages like cell phone/stun guns, their popularity continues to grow. But before you deploy a stun gun, there are a few misconceptions you may not know about.
Real Life Self-Defense Starts From...
"Nicky Bats" was an "old school" kinda guy. He was "street" thru and thru. He was a hard bark tough as nails S.O.B. He was a survivor. His definition of "success" in life was dying peacefully at a ripe old age of natural causes, not dying on some frozen blood-soaked battlefield in Korea after being over run by a human swarm of Chi-Coms. Not winding up in a landfill dead of lead poisoning and not dying in some filthy gutter with your innards spilling out from a gaping knife wound.
Fun Games for Children Training in Martial Arts
Keeping children interested in their Martial Arts training requires an element of fun and games. Traditionalists are usually only concerned with the discipline and structure of their training, but incorporating fun games involving proper techniques will add to the value of training and keep the kids interested.
Fairbairn on the Fairbairn Method
Something for our shooting "enthusiasts" -
"Will this work so that I can use it instinctively in vital combat against an opponent who is determined to prevent me from doing so, and who is striving to eliminate me by fair means or foul". ~ Rex Applegate
Martial Training as a Timeless Portal
Thanks to several centuries of enlightened teachings by extraordinary men in the martial disciplines, we don't have to be restricted to lives of getting and spending, waiting in quiet desperation for the pain to cease.
A Few Things Everyone Should Know to Keep Themselves Safe
The following are a few thoughts about how to decrease your chances of being a victim of a violent crime. I know a lot of times we focus on the nuts and bolts of a fight and we assume most of us know these things and this information is common knowledge for some of you, but it some times it's always good to review.
5 Steps to Choosing the Right Martial Art for You
One of the questions I get asked most frequently, in several different variations is about which martial art an individual should study. Generally which martial art, and more importantly which school to choose are fundamental decisions someone should make. My answer is usually something along the lines of, "choose the school and the system that you are going to stick with and stay with it for the rest of your life."
Choosing a Self Defense / Martial Arts School: A Parents Guide
"Daddy, I want to take Karate!"
Most people have only been exposed to John Styers work through the book "Cold Steel".
Samurai - The Honourable & The Treacherous
The Japanese Samurai were warriors. Highly trained, skilled and efficient killers. Indeed, for many years the Samurai were the law of the land, a class of citizens above all except their Daimyo and the imperial Shogun. The samurai inhabited and roamed a land which was governed by the sword, and the samurai were masters of the sword.
Aikido Philosophy: An Oriental Concept of Energy, Self, and Mind
Just as an aside. For those who would "box" us in to specific "category".........
How To Defend Against A Knife - Dont Use The Stuff Taught In The Dojo!
Defences against Knife attacks, Firstly if at all possible get yourself and anyone else out of the potential danger area.....RUN AWAY.
The Fallacy and the Myth
It's always amusing when "know it alls" dismiss certain methods out of hand as being useless or "unworkable". One "victim" of this line of thinking is the "cross arm" or "X" block (for lack of a better term).
Samurai Armor Part 1
The first prototype for Japanese samurai armor came about in the form of the yoroi during the Gempei War of 1181-1185. The weight of the yoroi was around 60lb. The upper-body armor of the samurai was known as the 'Do'. This comprised of the 'Sode', the suspended shoulder and upper-arm protection plates. The Sode had hoops by which silk cord was tied and then fixed to the back of the armor in an 'agemaki' / decorative knotted tassel. Guards were also placed over the shoulder cords, and a leather plate placed across the bow cords to prevent them from been cut or becoming ensnared during a skirmish.
COMBATIVES A Rose by Any Other Name?....Part 2
The advent of World War One (the war to END all wars) brought warfare into a new and foreboding era of man to man killing and slaughter. Air power, mechanized warfare, chemical warfare and the general widespread use of machine guns changed the face of battle almost completely. However the solitary fact remained that in the end it was STILL man against man in a desperate, brutal and deadly struggle for survival. The static and stagnant lines created by entrenched warfare demanded new and innovative tactics and strategies. Among these was the advent of "raiding" parties. Small groups of lightly armed men who ventured out into "no man's land" for the purpose of recon, probing, intelligence, prisoner grabs, and psychological "demoralization" missions. The nature of fighting under these conditions became popularized as "trench warfare". This was close-in knife to belly hand to hand combat. All manner of expedient, purpose designed and improvised close-combat weaponry was employed. While technological advances were being made in all other forms of warfare, this particularly nasty and vicious man to man fighting reverted to the most barbaric, primitive and bloody "methods" imaginable. Just as it has been since Cain slew Abel and how it WILL be until the last two humans clench fists or seize stones in raging anger during the final melee of the Apocalypse.
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