Monday, 21 December 2009

The law is an ass (99.9% of the time)

Its amazing how the press can twist things by how they word headlines. I was watching Fox News this morning. When the Amercians have adverts we get a bit that pops up from Sky News listing the latest headlines (I'd rather have the Amercian adverts, the ones by the drugs companies are hilarious when the voice comes on at the end quickly listing all the terrible sounding side effects). The headline that caught my eye was something along the lines of "Tories to legalise killing burglars.

Now, anyone who knows me can tell you I am the most politically incorrect person you could want to meet, I hate all that tripe; & they'd also tell you that my political views are somewhere to the right of Ghengis Khan! If it was up to me shoplifters would hve a fair trial, & then lose their right hand, car thieves would be kneecapped, & burglars would just get marched around the back of the court & stoned to death by their victims! I HATE THIEVES!

Now the trouble with this touchy feely politically correct socialist government we've been unlucky enough to be saddled with for what feels like an eternity, is that they've let the human rights brigade & the folks who think that all criminals are simply misguided souls who need a cuddle & a bit of education mess things up for the rest of us. We now have a society where repeat offenders get a slap on the wrist for offences that make your skin crawl. The thing is that the majority of politicians come from nice upper-middle class backgrounds, & they simply don't understand the reality of life outside of the nice places they live. They get advised by senior policemen, who at their level of seniority are often very much removed from the reality on the street, & at that level are political animals too; so I suspect they very often feed the politicians exactly what they think will move their agendas on a bit further.

I spent many years working around the scum of the earth, & I got to know some of the folks who are repeat offenders, & who burglarise houses & businesses. The truth is that they are for the most part armed when they go on their little escapades. They might not be carrying something specifically AS a weapon, but they wouldn't think twice about stabbing you with the screwdriver they brought to help gain entry to your house, or smash your face in with the crow bar they brought to 'encourage' your door or window to open! A case that comes to mind is a few years back I'd been invited to do a seminar for an instructor in England. This chap is a bit politically correct, & was telling me how he didn't teach knife defence & he told his students that if they needed those skills they were going to the wrong places! The next day the front page of the local paper carried the headline about a homeowner in his town having been found dead with his throat slit after he disturbed a burglar. The burglar had even used a knife from the guys own garage! The first thing I did was stick that right under his nose!

When I teach seminars the questions I get hit most with are usually ones about the law on self defence. People these days are scared stiff that should they lift their hand to stop some poor deprived unemployed smack addicted toerag from stabbing them in the throat THEY'LL be the ones who end up getting nailed for it. They have a point. You just have to look at all the instances of people getting hauled through the courts for defending themselves. We have a problem in this country that the minority of people can make the most noise. The minority of people in the pressure groups that have the ear of the media & the politicians are the ones who bend the way policy is made, & the judicial system works. The majority of folks in the UK are sick to death of the scum getting away with anything. I wrote an article a while back for a different website where I pointed to two separate court cases; in one of them a guy had gotten 12 years for VAT evasion (& had been threatened by the judge with another 10 if he didn't allow his house & all his assets to be sold off), yet in another where someone had been robbed by a gang member in a horrific attack the scumbag had been let off as the judge dismissed the case because the victim was 'too believable' in the witness stand! In the UK the government has allowed the law to go all to hell & money is more valuable to them than your life. If you don't pay them tax they'll crucify you, but go out & rob & cause misery to people & you'll get off pretty lightly.

The problems are multiple. Firstly the young police seem to be very quick to make poor decisions & not use common sense & 'discression'. The older police I remember from when I started working doors were great; they used common sense for things & their discression when dealing with incidents. Now the police very often just charge everyone & let the PF (in Scotland) & courts sort things out. The British police have historically been given a great deal of leeway & encouraged to use 'discression' when charging people with offenses. This doesn't seem to happen so often these days. I found this out myself when I got charged with assault after what was a clear cut case of assault on me by one of the biggest druggie scumbags in the area. Another instructor I know was charged with assault after stopping two local well known troublemakers from attacking his wife! In that instance he was lucky, & the local sherrif who heard the case castigated the police & PF telling them "this man should never have been brought before me, he defended his wife like any real man would do". Next problem is that the government listens to the wrong people & is scared that some pressure group will make loads of noise in the media if it decides to start getting tough on the right people. It's quite simple, the politicians need to stop listening to the human rights/prisoners rights (insert your politically correct warm & fuzzy pressure group here) & listen to the majority of the population. One thing someone said to me once was along the lines of "the advice given to people by the police & government these days is to just hand over their valuables if they're robbed, & not to physically resist if they're attacked. Could you imagine what would have been said if the government of the time had said this just after WW2? Could you imagine what the servicemen who had fought the Nazis would have said if they'd been told to hand their belongings over to some little thug?". This has stuck with me, we need to stop trying to make people into a population of sheep!

Most politicians have never experienced a true violent attack. Most politicians have no knowledge of the realities of defensive combat; you can't expect them to they're politicians not defensive tactics instructors. This means that they are swayed by perception V's reality. This is one reason why we're a country where a decent law abiding person cannot carry anything to defend themselves with. In the UK there are no provisions for defensive weapons- all weapons are offensive. The truth is that these laws only affect the decent law abiding people; the people who are the problem (ie the criminals) don't care that something is illegal to do- they're criminals & crime is what they do! The truth of it is that for many people being able to lawfully carry a canister of pepper spray, an impact tool of some sort, or an ASP baton, would be very welcome. As soon as I say something like that I always get some nice politically correct person telling me "ah but if you carry a weapon you're more likely to have it taken off you & used against you". Lets get it straight- this is a load of rubbish! There IS NO EVIDENCE that this is true. This old chesnut was originally perpetuated by the anti-gun lobby in the USA as a scare tactic, & was totally shredded by the NRA. It is a myth. A recent bit of research into rape showed that "forceful physical resistance is an extremely successful strategy. The completed rape fell to 14% when the rapist was met with violent phsyical force. Striking was more successful than pushing or wrestling". "Women who used guns or knives in self defence were raped less than 1% of the time. Defensive use of edged or projectile weapons reduced the rate of injury to statistical insignificance". Its a fact that armed self defence beats unarmed self defence every day of the week. I'm not advocating that if someone is gobbing off at you or gives you a little shove you should be able to pull a Rambo Knife on them, but if you truely believe that you are in real physical danger (especially if the bad guy is armed) is it not reasonable that you be allowed to realistically have a chance of stopping the attacker from being able to harm you?

Politicians & the judicial system have got to get it into their heads that a victim DID NOT CHOOSE to be attacked or burgled. If a burglar gets killed in someones house it SHOULD be viewed as "tough luck Joe", as if the burglar HAD NOT chosen to break into the persons home they would not have placed themselves in the situation that got them killed. The person who gets set upon by a gang of chavs who want to kick him or her senseless for amusement, or who want to rob them SHOULD NOT have to worry about the ramifications of saving themselves from injury. This country needs to be less 'progressive' & more realistic about dealing with the criminal underbelly that we have allowed to grow unchecked. Many places in the USA have a 'Castle Doctrine' where you are lawfully allowed to use lethal force if you are confronted by an intruder in your home. Now, some do-gooder will claim that this sort of thing will ake it more likely that burglars will go out armed & will be quicker to harm people who disturb them. Here's my answer to any airheads who say this THE BURGLARS ARE ALREADY MORE OFTEN THAN NOT ARMED & ARE ALREADY DOING THIS YOU IDIOT!.

Any political party which TRUELY looks like they're going to do away with the namby-pamby cotton gloves treatment of chavs & thugs, & make the law protect those who stand up to the bullies & sociopaths of society, will be onto a winner. I'll certainly vote for them!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Mini Workshop for Edinburgh TE/KM

Thanks to Marcus Houston for inviting me through to do a mini workshop for his classes on Tuesday. After a quick warm-up we started on the work for the night. I wanted to explore a particular movement using the elbow to effect a limb destruction at close range, & to look at the different places we could take it. We started off just drilling the entry, then we explored how we could use it by adding in different movements like low line levers, takedowns etc. Half way through the class we broke from that theme & looked at some methods for defending with one arm disabled. Then we worked a bit of baton defence, looking at the impact weapon version of 'returning blades'. After this we looked at an active attack & went back to out original technique & concept, marrying it to an effective strip & finisher using the weapon.
A big thanks to all his students for a great night, & thanks for the nice comments & emails.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Blademaster seminar

Yesterday we held our annual free Christmas seminar, which is open to any interested martial artists. The seminar had a great turn out, with martial arts students from all over Scotland pitching up in Arbroath.

The concepts behind the seminar was to take a few of the Bladecraft drills we use, & to put them under the microscope; seeing how the drills functionalise into real fighting skills, & also how they can teach us a great deal more than knife skills.

We started with a quick warm up using 'tapping'. Tapping is a good line familiarisation drill, & familiarises the beginner with the thrusting triangle. I always emphasise that in my view it ISN'T a practical 'fighting exercise', but is great fun & a good attribute building drill. Once everyone had warmed up we went into Banda Banda. We started with the basic drill which is purely counter-offensive, then we added in some counter attacks to the drill, finally adding in low line levers. We then looked at using Banda Banda unarmed as a matrix teaching disarms, & looked at applying it with impact tools like a flashlight or Stinger.

After Banda Banda we looked at my personal favorite drill, Punyo Sumbrada. We broke it down into sections, & then analysed these movements. We then took the wonderful opening movement & applied it in a variety of ways. We looked at knife methods utilising methods found in Punyo Sumbrada, & then looked at some unarmed applications that can be conceptualised from it.

After this we turned to the Bowie, & looked at how the 7 count Back-cut matrix can be applied using a folding knife held in 'front grip edge up'. I explained why the back-cut is such a powerful method compared to a normal draw-cut using the edge, & got the students to use the No6 back-cut as an opening defence coming from low line concealment.

Finally we looked at how folders can be used initially as an impact weapon, & then opened by using the attackers own body. Much knife work is done in almost a 'duelling' manner, with the defender standing in guard with their weapon drawn. The truth is that we will most often need to get a weapon out & into the fight whilst being attacked. We spoke about the use of things like the 'wave' feature to open a folder, & also looked at ballistic opening methods. We spoke about the pro's & con's of the various methods; & then drilled a failure drill where we haven't managed to open the weapon, so we engage using it as an impact weapon using the Banda Banda matrix we'd drilled at the beginning, then crashing in to point blank we used the opponents body to open the blade into an instant cut or thrust. After a couple of applications I demonstrated how it was actually more difficult to achieve with the trainer than with the live blade. Doing it with a trainer sees a few failures, as you simply can't pierce the flesh with a trainer. I showed that doing it with a live blade on a piece of rubber mat I got a successful result every single time, & showed how effective the resulting cut or thrust could be also.

Yes.......I know that in the UK we're not allowed to carry anything with which to defend ourselves from the criminals & thugs who don't give a toss that it's illegal to carry a weapon because they're criminals & thats what criminals do- commit crimes! I don't think it's a fair or realistic attitude to have, & I'm pretty confident that I could destroy anyone in a logical debate over it. Lets face facts, since handguns were banned in the UK gun crime has increased an insane 400%. We live in an increasingly violent society where only the bad guys are armed, making the good decent folks easy pickings. In the UK we're lawfully allowed to carry a sub 3" non locking folder as a tool, but not with a view to using it for self defence. I would hedge my bets that if you happened to use one to defend your life from an armed attacker (& you can lawfully use up to & including lethal force if you are convinced there is an immediate threat to your life) you would get a very rough time in court & from the press. This is why it is vital to step outside the box & use conceptual thinking when you're doing bladecraft! The methods we train in with the blade give you powerful methods you can use with improvised defensive tools. They supercharge your unarmed attributes to you can more effectively defend against weapons as you have superior line familiarity & hand to eye co-ordination; & they teach you the correct way to engage an armed opponent. In this day & age we travel a great deal, & it's important to realise that some of the places we travel to do allow you to carry a defensive tool, so it makes sense to be proficient with them.

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the seminar, & we'll be kicking off in 2010 with some good ones.

Sorry, been busy

Sorry folks, things have been hectic in the Davies household with flu bugs doing the rounds. Normal service has kind of been resumed now. Whats happened over the past few weeks? Well, we took part in a really successful seminar to celebrate the promotion to 9th Degree Grandmaster of my friend Tom MacCallum. Grandmaster MacCallum is Scotlands first ITF TaeKwon-Do Grandmaster, & he's one of the few people I've met who is what I consider the true embodyment of what a Martial Arts Master is supposed to be like. Over the years I've met & trained under MANY masters from various arts, & most of them have been egocentric control freaks. GM MacCallum is a humble & friendly man, but as well as being genuinely humble & self-affacing he is a tough guy. The seminar saw Masters Wallace & Hutton present various aspects of TaeKwon-Do training, & Master Wallace gave the students a look at the old style training methods that he put us through back in the 80's. Yours truely took the students through applied self defence.
We were in Livingston teaching a Tactical Edge combatives seminar for John McIllvaney at his fantastic facility there. This was a fundamental introduction to Tactical Edge's methods & concepts for a group of instructors & blackbelts from other arts. We explored the use of various striking methods, our basic Limb Destruction & its use, self defence against common attacks, & some knife defence. I got some great feedback from the course, with one participant emailing me & writing "I took part yesterday in your seminar in Livingston & would just like to say that it is the most impressive combat art that I've ever seen. I study in the Korean art of Kuk Sul Won & have total respect for what you do. Your skills are the most impressive I have seen & would like to learn some more if you're doing a seminar anytime soon". I have to admit that I was very flattered, & its the sort of thing any instructor loves to hear; so I must have done a decent job, hahaha.
The 'Create your own adventure' seminar at the Energy Gym in Edinburgh for Marcus Houston was a massive success & was absolutely mobbed. Stupidly both myself & Marcus forgot to get a group photo- DOH! We allowed the folks on the seminar to decide what we trained in, & the participants had us doing a variety of interesting stuff; from Drawpoint drills through to Double Stick to unarmed combatives.
So a big thanks to everyone who has come on our seminars over the past couple of months, & we have some great new stuff lined up for next year.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Edinburgh Seminar & Grading Nov 7th 09

Marcus Houston hosted me for a seminar Yesterday (7th Nov) for his Krav & TE students. I have to say I really REALLY enjoyed the seminar. The format was very different to normal, as the people on the seminar could choose the subjects we covered. I explained to the participants why I'd chosen to do that, & that it had simply been because when Marcus had booked the seminar & asked me what I wanted to do I'd been ill & feeling like crap & just couldn't think of something a bit different, so I thought "sod it" & decided to be lazy & let them decide what we were doing, haha.
The course was great fun, because there was so much change & flow in it. We started with a request for Hubud. So we went through Hubud on both sides, then looked at using the 'double tap' switch. Then we looked at unarmed applications of the Hubud drill, & then how we could use the drill as a 'fight simulator' to allow us to practice our disarms in a flow of movement.

The guys then decided on some Drawpoint, so we did the 3 Drawpoint drills & finished with applying Drawpoint not with the knife but with an impact tool.

Bear then asked about something I'd spoken about on the Improvised Weapons course, the use of a credit card as a defensive tool, so we spoke about that & I demo'd it, but it wasn't something we could actively practice there & then (unless everyone wanted to mutilate their credit cards).

We then had a request for some multiple opponent work, so we worked on 2 v's 1 with one of the 2 BG's being armed with a knife. We explored how we could use the OODA Loop against the BG's, & exploit some of the nervous systems weaknesses to succeed using a pre-emptive attack.

After this we explored Heaven Six, & flowed into Heaven & Earth, & then Earth Six. We then worked the Heaven Six movement s an unarmed technique. Jim Keating always says to me "everything is Heaven Six", & he's right.

We finished off with a bit of work using foot pins, sectors & sweeps.

After the course some of the guys were going forward for Grading. The performance was good, with only a few rough spots which were picked up on, & should be put right for next time- or else:o)

Marcus & I had a brain fart & forgot to get a course photo, which was very silly because it was mobbed with folks from Marcus' classes, a few from my class, & guys from John Mac's classes. It was a VERY busy course. We did remember to get a pic of the folks who graded afterwards though.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Arbroath Class grading

A big well done to the members of the Arbroath Tactical Edge class who were eligible for grading on Sunday. A huge effort was put in by everyone.

Colleen Simpson- Basic 1
Laura Fraser- Basic 1
Barry Carle- Basic 1
Damian Luczkowski- Basic 1
Craig Dickenson- Basic 4
Paul Johnstone- Basic 4
Ching Wa Chung- Intermediate 2
Dianna Chung- Intermediate 2
Gareth Louch- Intermediate 2
Carl Dickenson- Advanced 1.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

ComTech Bowie Instructors Course

This is a FIRST!!!!
Master at Arms James A Keating created the legendary Combat Technologies Bowie System. It is an elegently simple but VERY effective edged weapons system that is quick & easy to learn & great fun. It has a different flavour to the Filipino Bladearts, as it is a Euro-American fighting system.
I've been given permission by my friend & teacher Master at Arms James A Keating, to run a UK based Bowie Instructor Certification. This is a fantastic chance to become part of the ComTech family & one of the first ComTech Bowie Instructors in Europe!
The Bowie Instructors Course is usually only available every now & again at MAAJAK's studio in the USA, & this is the first time it's been available outwith there. I'm a personal student of James Keating, a Certified ComTech Instructor & Bowie Instructor, & his European Representitive.
This course is perfect for Martial Arts Instructors who are looking for a great edged weapons system to add into their syllabus, & the course is managable even by Instructors with no prior edged weapons background. The Bowie system has a unique flavour & is totally different to the edged weapons arts generally available in the UK. The course would also be perfect for Military Combatives Instructors looking for a really effective yet quick & easy to learn edged weapons programme.
The course has been provisionally slotted in for the last weekend in Feb 2010. If you're interested contact me.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Congratulations to Montrose Tactical Edge students who graded tonight

A big well done going out to the Students from Montrose Tactical Edge group who graded tonight. Taking their first step on the ladder were :

Grant Macpherson
Laura Southern
Ralph Phillips
Joe Riley
Chris Gilchrist
Ian Lamont

Everyone performed brilliantly! It's amazing to think how far you've come on in such a short time; watching everyone's striking on the pads, takedowns, & situational defences against clothing grabs & throat grabs you would have thought everyone had been training twice as long. A great job people!