Monday, 22 November 2010

Charity Self Defence Course

My little boy Eli is Autistic & has epilepsy. He goes to a riding for the disabled centre called 'the Brae', & he is NEVER happier & more content than when he's on the back of 'Roley' the horse, & his laughter when he gets to trot would make the most miserable of days sunny. The Brae gets no government funding, & exists purely from private donations & grants; so we've decided to put on a self defence workshop in aid of 'The Brae'.

The workshop is open to women of any age, & you don't need to be physically fit or strong to be able to do the workshop. We'll be teaching you how to counter some of the most common methods of violent assault that you encounter in the UK. No rubbish that just doesn't really happen (wrist grabs & all that sort of unrealistic garbage taight by instructors who have NO actual experience of violence or conflict) just common methods used by criminals & thugs in the real world.

The workshop is running from 2pm - 5pm on Saturday 11th of December, & costs only £10. Think about it, £10 for insurance that could just save your life; & it goes to a worthy cause that brings a MASSIVE amount of joy to disabled children. It really doesn't get much better than that does it?

ComTech Bowie Knife Combatives Workshop

Hi folks, sorry for the silence again. It's been BUSY around here. I've been off doing seminars in England, taking Tactical Edge & ComTech to Manchester, Stratford upon Avon, Cambridge, Wellingborough, Crowborough, & Cambridge. Andrew Niven had me over to Leipzig in Germany for two days of seminars, & I've been back at Combat Ready in Edinburgh for my 2ic Marcus Houston.

Our Christmas seminar this year is going to be exploring the combative use of the Bowie Knife using the ComTech American Bladecraft developed by my friend & teacher Master at Arms James A Keating. The ComTech Bowie system is THE MOST EFFECTIVE method of Bowie training available, I've seen them all; & there's NOTHING comes close to MAAJAK's system. This is probably due to his encyclopedic knowledge of both Eastern & Western blade systems, & his experience actually applying that knowledge & training. The ComTech Bowie system is comparitively simple compared to the SE Asian blade systems, but the two methods compliment each other beautifully. The Bowie is a very easy system for someone with no prior bladecraft training to pick up with relative ease compared to the Oriental systems.

Our yearly Christmas seminar is a little something we do to thank our students & friends for their support, & it's completely free. So if you'd like the only opportunity to learn ComTech Bowie from Master at Arms Keatings European Representitve & Affiliate you'd be more than welcome to come & join in. The workshop is at 'the BEST defence', 6 Guthrie Port, Arbroath, DD11 4AP from 12 - 4pm omn December 12th 2010.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The SARcomb

My friend Spencer Reiter (SAR Knives/SAR Global Tools) sent me a couple of his Titanium Combs to play with. These are functional combs for those of you with hair, but they're also excellent adaptive defensive tools.
The two that arrived are his 'Hornet' comb, & his Ringed comb. The grip on the Hornet comb is based on the grip & hilt of his Hornet knife. The Hornet comb is very effective in a front grip, with the 'tail'on it causing an immense amount of pain with very little effort. When applied with a pinch grip it causes an great deal of pain as its dug into flesh. What most folks won't appreciate without seeing is just how effective this would be using the teeth to rip against bare flesh. I started playing with them against a tough cardboard box, & they ripped through it like it wasn't there! I'd hazard a guess that they'd be VERY effective against hands & face!
The Ringed comb is particularly comfortable in a reverse grip, & the tail on the ring is very effective as a thrusting device, & the teeth can be used for 'cover & slash' type movements.
The combs come with kydex sheaths, & I really can't recommend them enough. If you're concerned about your personal safety, but live in a 'non permissive environment' they'd be right up you alley. Spencer can be contacted via his blog

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Tactical Edge Battle Camp


I've had a few students & instructors speak to me over the past couple of years about the possibility of doing a camp. They had heard about the legendary 'Riddle of Steel' in the USA, of which I'm delighted to have been a part of, & wondered if we could do something similar.

Well our first one isn't going to be in the middle of the wilderness, its going to be in the middle of Edinburgh; hosted by Marcus Houston at his gym 'Combat Ready'.

This is going to be a packed weekends training. We'll be working through a massive amount of material from Tactical Edge & ComTech, working through Unarmed combatives, Drawpoint, Bowie, Asian Bladecraft, Single stick, Double stick, Stinger, Short stick, Cane, Bandanna, Weapons defence........a tactical buffet from which to stuff yourself silly.

Combat Ready is in central Edinburgh, & is about a 5 minute walk from the city centre. The course is residential, we'll be staying in the gym so we can train late so you just need your training gear & sleeping bag. There are hotels & B&B's nearby for those wanting more creature comforts. All are welcome, the camp is open to anyone; & its the perfect chance for Tactical Edge students from our Tactical Edge classes around the UK to get together for some training under the founder of Tactical Edge & some of the first & second generation Instructors. Contact Marcus Houston at for booking details. The camp is £100, & includes a Grading at the end.

Tactical Edge Counter Knife Seminar- after action report

This seminar was a follow on to the last Counter Knife seminar we did in Edinburgh for Marcus Houston. The last seminar we worked on situationals, & we concentrated on 'threat positions'. This time we worked soley on skill development to work against the 'active attacker'- that is someone who is actively stabbing or cutting. We started off using Hubud as our base of movement. For training purposes Hubud is a great 'fight simulator' & allows us to train our applications in a matrix of movement. We went through how we could aquire the knife hand reliably, & then through our 'quick strips'. We then added in strikes & takedowns to complete the mix.
We then looked at using the same movement to 'strip & retain' & bring us to a position of negotiation. One thing to bear in mind is that the strip & retain movements you see on dvd's where the weapon is stripped & then used against the attacker would in reality see you charged & very probably convicted. Once the weapon is out of the attackers hand the "immediate threat to life & limb" has ceased, so in most situations you would not be justified in using the weapon to fillet your attacker. Hence the reason we were emphasising the use of negotiating positions where we can stop the attack, or take a human shield if there are multiple attackers.
After this we moved onto using the same techniques as a 'returning blade' where the weapon is retained in the attackers hand. We changed the base drill to power passing as we changed to low line thrusts, & looked at how we could aquire the same techniques in this drill. We looked at some use of the environment around us, & how it could be used to enhance our techniques.
Our next Counter Knife seminar will take everything we've covered & work purely on situational training, so keep up the drills & develop those skills!

Sorry for the silence

Sorry for the silence of late, it's been a while since I posted anything. Things have been very busy with work & family stuff. I'm back from my latest training trip to the USA. I went for a week but then the trolls under Iceland decided to start shoveling coal on their fires & I ended up with two weeks training with Unkle Jim.

Having the two weeks made a MASSIVE difference to me. The week where I got stuck Jims student Jay very kindly put me up at his house, & I have to give out a massive thanks to Jay & his tribe for looking after me & making me so welcome.

Jay has been a long time student of Jim, & he now teaches Kung Fu from his home to a hand picked tribe. I had a great time meeting his guys & doing a little training with them. The next time I head over Jays Kung Fu Temple should have been built outside his house, which will be very impressive. Jays tribe are a great bunch, & the training is very relaxed; & everyone stays after for good food & good times. Jay & his brother are Tattoo artists & run a Tattoo Studio in Walla Walla- - & Jay very kindly slotted me in to get some work done; so I finally got my Tactical Edge logo done on my back. These guys do great work, & I'm delighted with my new ink.

Having two weeks training with Jim made a massive difference to how much I got through & retained. We spent a lot of time working on double stick in the developmental & attribute building mode; & the relationship between double stick & empty hands, knife, single stick etc.

Jim is an absolute devil when it comes to the use of trapping in close range engagements, he can tie you up like a pretzel as he beats on you, & then shoot you out in a crumpled heap from some weird angle. So it was great to have extra time to work with him on trapping skills, as thats a personal area of interest for me that I want to develop more.

A treat this trip was to make the Oregon Knife Show in Eugene. Jim, myself, Big Jay & Dan left Walla Walla at 4am for the looooooooong drive to Eugene. The first part of the trip was stunning as we drove down the Columbia river. The knife show was a hoot, & it was great to meet Sal Glasser & his wife Gail from Spyderco; who's knives I own a bunch of. I met some great knifemakers, & bought about a ton of sharp pointy stuff. I also met some of my USN bretheren from across the pond which was really nice. We're hoping to make the Oregon show a yearly thing now.

All in all, it was the best training trip I've made yet.........absolutely fantastic. Thanks to Jim, Jay, BJ, Frankie, Ryan, Randall & the rest of the crew for a GREAT trip.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The dreaded kubotan

The Kubotan is an effective & simple impact tool. Unfortunately for Darren Day it's also got him in trouble with the law.

Darren Day apparantly had a Kubotan in his possession when searched by the police, & the constable searching him had a martial arts background & charged him with possession of an offensive weapon.

I am generally a huge supporter of the police. They have a difficult job to do which is often thankless, & much of what they do goes unreported & is done without fanfare leading people to think they're 'not doing anything' at times. In this instance I think they've made an error in judgement for a number of reasons.

One thing that British Police have always had, & in the past used to great effect was 'Discretion'. Unlike some countries they wouldn't just rack up a huge list of small charges on anyone & everyone just for the hell of it. If you were obviously a decent person & not a local scally they would often let you off with small misdemeanors with just a warning. They'd save their time & effort for people more deserving. This seems to be something that is sadly changing.

The newspapers have as usual hyped the Kubotan up to be some evil form of deadly ninja fang of death, & this does no-one ANY favors. The reality is that Tak Kubota originally marketed the Kubotan as a NON LETHAL SELF DEFENCE TOOL......not a 'weapon that is lethal with the right training' as one of the papers reported. The Kubotan training manuals I have entirely consist of control & restraint methods, with escape techniques added in for civilian use. Can the Kubotan be used to apply lethal force? Of course it can, but so could a sturdy pen, or short piece of wooden dowel, or cigar holder, or flashlight........anything shaped like a short stick. The Yawara used in some Japanese Bujutsu systems has both non-lethal & lethal applications; but lets be honest & realistic, if a bad guy wants to cause serious harm to people there are MUCH easier ways to do it than with a Kubotan.

I personally think that the officer who charged him is being a little over-zealous. The Kubotan is singularly ill conceived as an 'offensive' weapon, it would be ineffective as a muggers tool. If I wanted to mug someone I'd rather have a pool ball in a sock, or a proper baton, or a knife! The police officer could quite rightly point out that under UK law there are no provisions for 'defensive weapons' & thus all weapons are offensive, so he was simply applying the law. I just think that a bit of discretion should have been employed, & a simple 5" plastic rod on a keyring should have been overlooked or a warning given. It wasn't like they were dealing with a local chav with a long history of muggings & violent crimes.

I think its time that the government in the UK realises that the decent law abiding people in the UK should have the right under law to carry something to defend themselves with. It seems to me that politicians find it difficult to use logic, & have no knowledge of the real world. In the real world criminals & societies predators are very often armed, & they hunt in packs. An impliment like a kubotan is a 'force multiplier' that allows someone with a small amount of training to have at least a small chance of avoiding injury & escaping from predators. In the real world it is unreasonable to tell the public to just hand over their valuables in the hope that the bad guy just goes away, because often they don't! Your capitulation leads to an escalation, & turns into a beating, rape or murder anyway. In the real world you don't have your own personal policeman to look after you, & when you're attacked & you call 999 you're going to take a hammering while waiting for the cavalry. In the real world we need to wake up & give the decent law abiding people the right to carry something simple & suited to defensive use like kubotans, stingers, DTL's etc.

Remember though, its the mindset & training that is important- NOT THE TOOL. So as much as you can be charged for posession of a Kubotan (my god, that piece of plastic rod on your keyring looks SO frightening, better ban them before there's a kubotan massicre somewhere) remember that you can use a good sturdy pen, flashlight, piece of wood.....or a zillion other things in the same way.

Please though, if anyone from 'the powers that be' reads this- lets have some sanity. Lets look at modern society in the UK realistically & give the decent folks here the right to carry something to protect themselves with without the fear of arrest.