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Old July 15, 2014, 01:04 PM   #1
Cosmoline
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Some Medieval Thoughts On Close Quarters And Firearms

I've been training this past year in the old system of German longsword and messer drawn from Talhoffer and Liechtenauer. It's a lot of fun and surprisingly difficult. And I'm getting into the earlier I:33 sword and buckler system shortly. But one thing that strikes me about all of these medieval combat systems is how they make a point of incorporating wrestling into their arts. Sword fights always contain the option to wrestle or use the sword in what to modern eyes seem unconventional ways, such as pommel strikes or half-swording.

This got me thinking about how few modern shooting methods incorporate wrestling into their techniques. With some exceptions, the line between firearm based martial arts and open hand arts seems needlessly thick. I can envision many real life scenarios where because of threat reduction or physical circumstances, the firearm is no longer a viable tool. For the medieval swordsmen, if it wasn't going to save your life in the next few seconds, it was therefore an impediment to be dropped. So they might truly throw their blade to the side in order to concentrate both hands on wrestling--sometimes even if the foe was still armed. Kind of a radical idea, esp. if applied to firearms. But again it's not difficult to imagine scenarios where fiddling with the handgun is going to cost you vital time as your foe moves in for the kill or is already stabbing you.

But just as the sword is a lever, the handgun is a heavy weight that can be used to beat someone. And the rifle is a spear. But I'm not aware of any modern system where shooting from a stance flows into wrestling, as sword strikes flowed into ringen. Anyone heard of any?
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Old July 15, 2014, 01:52 PM   #2
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This got me thinking about how few modern shooting methods incorporate wrestling into their techniques.
The way I see it, the whole point of having a gun is so you DON"T have to resort to physical combat.

"God made man, Sam Colt made them equal".
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Old July 15, 2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Thought about this one

Funny, I had a discussion with my wife about why I decided to carry a gun. In short, getting old, and the distance I can close on/engage a target is getting much shorter.

My father is an international rated martial artist within Ashihara Karate. If you want to take the time. Mart and Ashihara in Google will likely get you close. He is 7th degree and in charge of the hemisphere as far as promotions and training.

He is one of my many instructors.

That being said, I am well versed in not only armed, but un-armed combat styles. Which includes swords, knives, weapons of many types. Training includes my 10 years in the military.


What do I still train? All the defensive moves used to separate multiple targets as well as the ones to move either a target or myself to a distance, or a flank. And I make sure I am good with any weapon carried.

A gun is a ranged weapon, it is a dis-advantage at grappling range. Get your range, or the flank, or both. A hand-gun is a poor club, and not better at all than any other hand to hand training you may have. You have the added problem of it potentially becoming a fight over the gun.

I would suggest at grappling range, to get your hips low, and be ready to offset an open hand push to gain flank and distance at the same time. Practice weak side, because, where is your gun?
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Old July 15, 2014, 04:45 PM   #4
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There are a bunch of instructors teaching EXTREAM CLOSE QUARTERS type gunfighting. The art of the handgun as a martial arts system has been taught for years.

Im sure a simple Google searce will turn up a few.

Years ago i taught at a little place in Colorado called Valhalla with Rob Pincus. 3d mannequins as contact distance targets were common in a few of the courses
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Old July 15, 2014, 05:03 PM   #5
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Your post brings to mind the firearm retention techniques I was trained in as a LEO. Many were intended to off-balance or joint lock an assailant while protecting your weapon.
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Old July 15, 2014, 05:07 PM   #6
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The idea of the rifle being more important as a club or as a stick to hold a knife was common not so many years ago. When my father went through boot camp in the Navy in 1944, he was taught that if his bayonet got stuck in an opponent and he couldn't get it out that he should shoot it out, the assumption being among his trainers that at close quarters he would use the bayonet in preference to firing a shot. His question, the same that most of us would ask, was "why would you be using your bayonet if you still had a round left?" Not that he dared ask such a question. I gather the boot camp instructors in those days didn't encourage questions.
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Old July 15, 2014, 06:15 PM   #7
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the handgun is a heavy weight that can be used to beat someone
Only if it's a Ruger GP100 or such. They CAN be used as a club/rock.

But most polymer ones are not much good at that.

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Old July 15, 2014, 07:38 PM   #8
4V50 Gary
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Have you been to the Frazier Arms Historical Museum in Louisville, KY? They do (choreographed) swordplay.
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Old July 15, 2014, 08:02 PM   #9
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the problem with the gun based martial arts systems, at least as ive seen in the gun magazines, in order to actually be able to do anything with it, you have to be extremely fit.
i dont mean 'i can do the 10 pushups in a minute like my doctor says" i mean, you gotta be able to do the pushup routine for the coast guard, and the chin up as well.
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Old July 15, 2014, 08:18 PM   #10
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A firearm is a weapon that is used at range. By that I mean that it is designed to be used at a distance that insulates one from hand to hand combat. At hand to hand range it can be argued that an edged weapon (e.g. the Roman gladius) is as lethal as a firearm, and that seems certainly true for an axe, for which one strike usually was found to terminate the conflict. If you have a gun and the other guy does not you should not be close to him. Historically, the same was true for the bow; archers never wanted to be within range of an axe, mace, or sword.
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Old July 15, 2014, 08:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
the problem with the gun based martial arts systems, at least as ive seen in the gun magazines, in order to actually be able to do anything with it, you have to be extremely fit.
i dont mean 'i can do the 10 pushups in a minute like my doctor says" i mean, you gotta be able to do the pushup routine for the coast guard, and the chin up as well.
But isnt that true of any "martial art"?
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Old July 16, 2014, 12:05 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input! The idea of protecting your gun with your off hand or just switching to an open hands system is what we've got now, more or less. It's the transitional issues that interest me. For example last night we were sparring with a move called "travelling through," where we meet in a bind, I smash up hard with the crossguard, keep the sword going and eventually have it dangling from my left hand over my back as I do a high-low takedown, then flip it around, grab the blade in my right hand, and skewer the foe on the ground. Works better than you might imagine, but it seems to me that division between shooting and melee fighting in our current systems make that kind of fluid incorporation of the firearm more difficult. The most recent complete system was probably bayonet and buttplate combat, which flowed back and forth from shooting at least in theory. And while kind of questionable in modern combat for obvious reasons, for those not in combat it's not a bad idea to be able to switch quickly both because of the prospect of a surprise grapple and because you may have to reduce your defensive force to stay on the law side of things.

Quote:
At hand to hand range it can be argued that an edged weapon (e.g. the Roman gladius) is as lethal as a firearm,
That's truer than most realize. The things you can do with a sword are shocking, and the speed even from a slow old man is faster than all but the very best gun draws. It's probably just as well so few people know how to cut with blades in combat anymore.

Just so we're clear, this is the kind of sword fighting I'm referring to, not the fun nerf stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38sVdx7nzhQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln94E9AGYTc
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Last edited by Cosmoline; July 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM.
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Old July 16, 2014, 12:20 PM   #13
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That's truer than most realize. The things you can do with a sword are shocking, and the speed even from a slow old man is faster than all but the very best gun draws. It's probably just as well so few people know how to cut with blades in combat anymore.
Armed or un-armed, it is crazy how many times I have seen someone over-extend and expose their flank. Plenty of good martial arts systems teach you to use that. It really doesn't take much as far as fast movement, it takes accurate movement and confidence in technique. As with any system, practice lots.

You got the 1st step, think about what could happen.
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Old July 17, 2014, 06:23 AM   #14
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This is the kind of sword fighting I'm referring to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I_Ds2ytz4o
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Old July 17, 2014, 08:58 AM   #15
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Just reading these post makes me tired.

I'll stick to my revolver thank you.

But have a vision of people walking around Walmart carrying swords strikes me a kind of funny.

Still I bet I can draw and fire my revolver faster then you can draw a sword.
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Old July 17, 2014, 09:54 AM   #16
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As mentioned, a lot of training is offered today around close quarters and "gun grappling." Look for a course called ECQC taught by a former narcotics officer who goes by the Internet name of "South Narc." He's considered the real pioneer in the field.

As an aside, there's an article in the latest American Handgunner from Tom Givens of Rangemaser, who's had 60-something civilian students in gunfights, with all but two winning. None of those cases involved extreme close quarters or any gun grappling.

Still, how much of a data point is that? If you have the time and health to train, those hand to hand skills are well worth having. Having a gun or getting to a gun in time isn't always possible.
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Old July 17, 2014, 12:52 PM   #17
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Thanks! I hadn't heard of ECQC before. But gun grappling tends to focus on disarming. Not on the question of what you do when YOU are armed with a firearm, but shooting, for legal or technical reasons, is no longer the best option. And it's that transition I'm particularly interested in. I'm using swords as the example, not really advocating their use now. With medieval combat they shift in and out of grappling with great fluidity. You move from sword to wrestling and back to sword in a single encounter. But we really don't seem to do that with firearms. It's either grapple or shoot, or grapple to get rid of the gun. And not much notion of the critical transitions or when to execute them. Or reviving something like pistol whipping, which I understand is frowned upon these days but would fit in with the issues I'm contemplating here. Just as the longsword becomes a bashing tool, the handgun becomes a bashing tool. Some of those goofy sharp muzzle brakes start to actually look like interesting options.

Put it more simply, we seem to teach how to draw and fire, but not how to holster and wrestle. Even though there are scenarios when that may be necessary. The bum rush by some nutcase, for example. You draw, warn, and he puts up his hands but still comes at you, frothing at the mouth. Can't really shoot an unarmed man without major complications, and maybe he's just mentally challenged. So where's the training for THAT MOMENT? When you realize you have a tool that cannot be used in its intended role. The swordsmen knew exactly what to do--if the tool no longer helped it was shifted aside or used in some other way. And much effort was made to ensure these transitions were seamless and fast. That's what I'm after. You have a hammer in your hand, expecting nails, but suddenly need to use the epoxy.
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Old July 17, 2014, 01:14 PM   #18
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Do look up "South Narc," he's got a curriculum running the gamut from managing potential threats before the actual fight (including de-escalation) to the full-on fight.

I think most trainers would say that you aren't justified in shooting, the gun shouldn't be out in the first place. Holstering in the middle of a fight sounds like a tough proposition. Managing the crazy bum if he doesn't deserve shooting should come with awareness, pepper spray, hands on (I know that's easier to say than do). The ECQC stuff is more about getting the gun in play in a hands-on fight if you haven't had a chance to draw or something changed and now you NEED to draw.
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Old July 20, 2014, 10:59 PM   #19
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This is a just for fun post. I’m not advocating a thing.

Quote:
-When you realize you have a tool that cannot be used in its intended role.
I am unrepentant about liking the movie 'Freebie and the Bean' with Alan Arkin and James Caan. One seen has the two cops facing a large drunken lout tearing up the lobby of a hotel. They draw on the guy and say something line "okay, it’s all over now" to which the lout turns on them and says something like “Oh boy! Cops!” and starts coming toward them. The one cop says to the other as he holsters his gun preparing to meet the lout "you know these things just aren’t any good unless you’re going to use them.”

For ‘close quarters’ maybe you want a handgun with a bayonet (they have been pictured and discussed on this site) or a 1911 with a skull cracker spike on the mainspring housing. I found info on the later in a couple different places.

http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/chiva...strikegun2.jpg

http://beta.ar15.com/archive/topic.h...5&f=49&t=45738

An explanation of the above from the forum is:
Quote:
It was a custom gun built by Allan Zita on an STI hi-cap frame called the Strike Pistol. It had a muzzle shield to prevent the slide from being pushed out of battery, shields to prevent contact with the hammer and a spike on the mainspring housing for crushing skulls.

It was featured in the July/August 1994 American Handgunner in an article by Mark Lonsdale.
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Old July 21, 2014, 02:08 AM   #20
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Still I bet I can draw and fire my revolver faster then you can draw a sword.
I don't know, I use to carry a cane sword and I could draw it in a single slashing motion as it comes out of the cane across a neck in a pretty fast motion, or just smash your gun hand with the metal head of the cane. You have to remember they are 3 1/2 feet long.

The common defense for a revolver is to grab the cylinder and make the gun non functional or for a semi-auto to press the front of the slide in and take the pistol out of battery both methods disarm you while your attacker stabs you to death.

Jim

Not sure these qualify as pocket knives (LOL)

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Old July 21, 2014, 11:39 AM   #21
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Dale--ten points for the Freebie and the Bean reference! That's right along the lines I'm thinking of. The German concept is called "wrestling on the blade." We need "wrestling on the gun." To flow in and out of firearm use without either shooting when we don't want to or having our firearm taken away and used against us. I'm going to keep poking around the sources to see what's out there. Somebody must have developed this more.

Jim--that top one looks like a medieval messer. There's a whole system of fighting based around that blade. Here are some in slow motion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHEs2m0IXAk
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Old July 21, 2014, 11:59 AM   #22
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I don't know, I use to carry a cane sword and I could draw it in a single slashing motion as it comes out of the cane across a neck in a pretty fast motion, or just smash your gun hand with the metal head of the cane.
Years of watching Gene Barry as 'Bat Masterson' have programmed me to respect this opinion.
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Old July 21, 2014, 12:16 PM   #23
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Thanks Cosmo, if you run out of ammo you may want to try this.

Sorry but it's in Russian (LOL)

Jim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNr47D5ovuM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MAae791NWA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDofosaRUPc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmQk3DnTcSs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eTx9WbqmoI


This is a good tactic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fjMpn7JCJ0
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Old July 21, 2014, 09:38 PM   #24
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While I understand and appreciate the sword, and the skill needed to really good, and how devastating one can be, I don't see much use for it in the real world we live in, today. However, some of skill of sword play can be transferred to the Bowie Knife and IMHO the Bowie can still be a viable backup for the handgun or even without the handgun if one cannot carry a handgun for whatever reason.

I have see a few training videos where there was gun grappling at extreme close ranges involved where a back up fixed blade knife could have been employed with the weak hand, and a large Bowie can be carried easier then a lot of guns, in an inside the pants scabbard. Unfortunately, it is not always lawful to do so.

I do carry a Bowie on the off side sometimes in my home state, because we don't have a blade length law. Sometimes it's a 10-1/2 inch Bowie, Sometimes a smaller knife like my Dozier with a 5.5 inch blade. However, I prefer the big Bowie, as it is a much better weapon, and can be employed in a non lethal manner if one can manage it, same as a baton to a certain extent. I can carry a large Bowie more comfortably then a lot of handguns, so I do, on the opposite side, at times.
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Old July 21, 2014, 10:24 PM   #25
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Actually, the blade still has a place, it's all part of the continuum of force that someone may need to resort to.

In light of using a weapon, such as a rifle, as a combative tool, the military does teach it. It's clearly presented in bayonet training and drills. When you are too close to shoot someone, then you have to resort to strikes, parries, and slashes to create the distance needed to point the weapon accurately enough to discharge it. We say a pistol is what you use to fight to get to a rifle, a knife is what you may need to get to your pistol. A bare hand strike or move to get out of a grappling encounter is what you may need to use to get to the knife.

There is no guarantee that an encounter will happen at a distance YOU select. It sometimes happens at the distance or contact point the opponent decides to initiate the encounter. Being aware is nice, but being trained in response means you can push off the grappler, create distance, and then choose the level of force needed.

It's especially necessary for those who can't always carry a firearm or who can't discharge it in close quarters with other citizens close at hand. Being unable to respond to a less than "firearm" level of force is often very necessary. It's even required for LEO's in their circumstances - and limiting the response to only shooting someone doesn't seem a good choice given the much larger variety of circumstances human conflict can come up with.

There is a very good reason why you do see other items carried by some - they are not only good tools, they are weapons to be used in the right circumstances. A Sharpy or metal ink pen can be used as a impact weapon against the eyes or temple, knives can cut hands and wrists to reduce grip, belts can be used as striking weapons, as well as a heavy object contained in a hankerchief used as a sap.

This is a firearms forum, tho, so the focus is entirely on drawing and shooting the opponent. Which is exactly why it's an extremely limited view of conflict and how to handle it. Lethal force might be necessary, but how it is delivered isn't always just the one option that someone would like to imagine. In the history of man weapons have been used for thousands of years, the firearm has effectively be available less than 150. Putting all your training in one tool and focusing on it alone isn't going to address all situations.
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