View Full Version : Western/Eastern (swords, part 3)

August 6, 2000, 04:43 PM
Dragontooth hits it on the head with these:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>(1) there is no "super" weapon or martial art
(2) no weapon fills all niches, best to choose for the situation
(3) training/aptitude of the user makes all the difference[/quote]

I'd like to post a fourth (maybe a subset of #3): Desire.

I once got the snot kicked out of me by a little gal who had absolutely zero training, but a firm determination to put me in a hurt locker.

A fellow officer was an ISKA registered kick-boxer with several wins under his belt, when a young man decided that Kevin had come to his house to take away his kids. It took four of us to get that young father under control. Again, no training, but a fervent desire to hurt someone.


August 6, 2000, 09:00 PM
Messer LawDog, i think you've revised it:

(1) there is no "super" weapon or martial art
(2) no weapon fills all niches, best to choose for the situation
(3) training/aptitude of the user determines effective use
(4) desire (adrenaline?) makes all the difference in the world

i was going to add a few other horror stories of short scary people who kick butt. they all happen to involve close relatives or friends; on the off chance they'll read this post, i'll keep my mouth shut right up. i prefer to remain in one piece, thank you :)

btw i mentioned the nata before, which is a japanese hunting knife used for wild boar. the naginata (lit. long-nata) is essentially a nata with an expanded handle: http://www.by-the-sword.com/w1020gt. there seems to be a linearity between knife-sword-spear ... this would explain the success of the assegai, which is an evolution along this line, albeit from spear-sword-knife.

all i do is aikido (flip people over and roll on the floor). i hope those with substantial edged weapons experience such as LawDog and KOG et al can clear this thread up before it becomes anything like the 9mm vs .45 threads :D

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 07, 2000).]

August 7, 2000, 12:01 AM
insomniac at work ... another post from yours truly.
speaking of linearity, the legions of the roman republic and the takeda clan developed similar battlefield doctrines:

(1) skirmish line.
legions: light infantry with javelins (called "velites").
takeda clan: light cavalry with bows and katana (called the "wind").
both engaged in missile fire, and disordered the enemy line.

(2) first attack line.
legions: medium infantry with javelins, swords and shields (called "hastati").
takeda clan: heavy infantry with long spears,(called the "forest").
both served to pin an enemy in place.

(3) second attack line.
legions: medium infantry with javelins, swords and shields (called "principes").
takeda clan: heavy cavalry with naginata and katana (called the "fire").
both used shock to punch holes or roll back the enemy line.

(4) reserve.
legions: heavy infantry with spears and shields (called "triarii").
takeda clan: honor guard (called the "mountain").
both secured the battlefield, or covered a retreat.

these two successful armies of east and west, centuries and continents removed, evolved similar tactical doctrines. note that primary reliance was not on gladius and katana; it was on combined arms.

in pre-marian legions, in maneuvering they needed their pila (javelins) in a spear role to hold off enemy cavalry. in closing with the enemy they threw their javelins at the enemy line right before they charged, multiplying the impact of the weapon. their large shields dissipated the impact of their own charge, increasing survival rates at the forefront, maintaining greater unit cohesion. their use of the gladius at close quarters where spears were at an disadvantage was the final touch to what was then a military revolution in the west.

samurai troops had much more of a fluid battlefield to contend with; they operated much as the cohorts of the post-marian legions, albeit with much greater flexibility. unlike the roman legions, who went in a straight line from standoff distance to close quarters, samurai forces didn’t necessarily have a stable front line. they engaged in skirmishing with bows; as formations were very mobile, a primary concern was to pin enemy units down. a charge with spears, then naginata, and then close quarters combat against disordered units with katana did the job.

(sorry i didn't explain what pre/post-marian means, i hope it's ok)
so now we have 3 stages, with varying equipment needs:

(a) distance combat (bows, javelins)
(b) shock combat (polearms, heavy armor, large shields)
(c) melee combat (swords, shields)

DangerDave made it clear that european noblemen with their rapiers did not have to contend with (a) and (b), whereas japanese samurai did with all of (a) (b) and (c). we don’t see (b) on the current battlefield because firearms have a monopoly on both distance and shock combat, but certainly if (c) is all we have to contend with, we can forget about polearms just as we've dispensed with heavy armor, and concentrate on the needs of close quarters engagement:

- balancing reach with turning speed
- balancing thrust with slashing characteristics
- balancing light weight with sufficient mass to keep an edge

then it all becomes a point of finding which weapons fulfill these three needs for the individual. some weapons, like the katana, will find greater acceptance than others due to the versatility attained in design. workmanship will determine the potential of the weapon, training and aptitude will make that potential come alive ... as well as maybe a "burning desire to kick butt", pointed out by LawDog. i’m just happy i have such a wide selection of weaponry to choose from in this day and age :D

sorry about the long post ... hope you had fun reading :)

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 07, 2000).]

August 7, 2000, 12:04 AM

oda nobunaga’s refinement over the takeda clan by the way, was to fuse (1) (2) and (3) into the same line, with muskets and spearmen. his was essentially the army of gustavus adolphus, using massed firepower to disorder, pin down, and then blow apart an enemy line. nobunaga also turned (4) into (3) ... turning his reserve into his shock unit. in the early days the oda clan was one of the poorest (few samurai retainers, not many levies) ... nobunaga therefore used LOTS of muskets, unthinkable where "dancing with death" using katana in close-quarters combat to finish a battle was revered.

nobunaga, by the way, was nuts. he didn’t even keep a reserve. he fought his battles heavily outnumbered. he was a madman ... but oh he was a brilliant madman. he used those muskets and blew away the takeda away at nagashino in 1575 LOL and after that everyone else besides.

then again, TFL is supposed to be about guns, isn’t it? :D

speaking of which i haven’t gone beyond rudimentary knife training ... I piece everything i write on this thread from what i’ve read, and from talking to friends and acquaintances who have stick and sword experience. i hope i haven’t made serious errors in reasoning ... sucks to be a jackass, but it sucks even more to not know, it so point it out, please.

have a good night everyone :) i need to shut up and get some sleep

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 07, 2000).]

August 7, 2000, 02:22 AM
This is a SHAG* on my part, but I think the lineage generally goes from a knife, to tying the knife to the end of a pole (the spear), and then extending the knife blade (sword).

I think this may have to do with the material used to make the weapons--either it's not technically feasible to make a sword (in the case of flint) or it's not economically feasible (three spears versus one sword from the same amount of steel or bronze).

Plus, spears have uses outside that of war. The pruning tool, fish gaff, pitchfork or boar spear is very effective both in time of war and time of peace.

As far as modern close-in melee battlefield combat goes, my personal favorite edged weapon would have to be a good tomahawk. They're light enough to stay with you all day--which is no small consideration considering the amount of gear the normal grunt now packs--the lightness also gives them speed during use and they're very handy survival tools when you're not using them to inflict nasty injuries.

Just my $.02 worth. :)


*Scientific Hairy-A**ed Guess.

[This message has been edited by LawDog (edited August 07, 2000).]

August 7, 2000, 03:33 AM
hehehe ... sleepless me

the aztecs made some very nice war swords from obsidian flakes embedded in wooden clubs ... the cretans developed very slender cast bronze swords. there's always been enough material to make a sword anywhere in the world, provided you're not too choosy about design.

the linearity i was talking about was actually in terms of how use of existing weapons evolved as engagement distances changed (hoplite sword to gladius, nata to naginata) and not in how weapons became invented ... i should have been more clear on it. thank you LawDog :o by the way in early china it started from a single-edged knife, to tying the knife to a stick sideways to make a short halbred, then tying it to a very long stick to make a halbred. shang dynasty motifs show the progression in weaponry. as the chinese were an agricultural rather than a hunting/fishing society, their early weapons basically looked like what they were in peacetime: scythes for chopping rice stalks.

there is a point to be made for spears though ... in societies where massed combat never developed, swords don't exist, do they? between hunting spears and woodaxes there doesn't seem to be a need for anything like a sword unless you start developing along military lines.

tomahawk? nice choice LawDog :) i'd still take a nata or dao (partial to asian weapons) ... but i'm looking at some pictures here of some work by Daniel Winkler; he did the some of the weapons in "The Last of The Mohicans" http://www.pentimento.com/fl113.jpg catalog at http://www.pentimento.com/fl113.htm ... that tomahawk btw costs $1200! (japanese magazine review in my hand as i type) ... nothing costs as much as quality *sigh*

good night (really this time) everyone :)

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 07, 2000).]

Danger Dave
August 7, 2000, 06:47 AM
Get some sleep, Dragontooth! I can't keep up with your posts!

Good point about the sword developing with the need for a close quarters combat weapon. Did they use mass close quarters warfare in the Phillipines, though? Did they have steel weapons before the Spaniards came a callin'? I don't know much about their tribal history, I just can't think of an exception (and there always is one). But, from what little I know about their style of fighting, I think you could think of their swords as either sharp sticks or long knives, rather than swords. Their techniques seem to be geared more towards ritual/single combat than the massed formations of the battlefield (probably one of the reasons the Filipino martial arts are so useful for self-defense).

Whatever, just a thought: swords were definitely developed for one purpose, in every culture. Fighting other people. I think that was the big revolution of the sword that changed cultures around the world. Spears, staffs, knives, bows & arrows, clubs, etc, etc. all had their beginnings for use in hunting, skinning and other daily tasks. The sword didn't become the weapon of choice (and it still isn't in some cultures like the Kalihari Bushmen) until our primary fight for survival became a competition not with nature, but with other humans.

I bet if we did some research on some timelines, we'd find some close connections between the appearance of the sword and improvements in farming technology that allowed the formation of cities...

August 7, 2000, 12:33 PM
I'd like to take a class on the kama one of these days, I'm thinking that the techniques would transfer to the tomahawk quite nicely.

Anything to get an advantage. ;)

Not only does the sword seem to appear only when a culture transitions to warfare, but has anyone else noticed how quickly the sword becomes a symbol of the nobility?


August 7, 2000, 01:09 PM
I think certain weapons evolved simply to add the touch of speciality. You can kill an animal with a dagger but that dagger on the end of a stick makes a more efficient weapon. But just because the weapon is more efficient doesn't necessarily mean it's more "deadly" as the operator must be up to par.

A person with a Swiss army knife could defeat someone with a katana, though I don't think the odds are even close. But if you had an idiot with a katana and a highly skilled person with a Swiss army knife there might be a chance.

One just has to use that Swiss army knife in the proper range, up close, while the katana wielder must keep the opponent at a distance; proper range must be observed.

"Multi-purpose" weapons is kind of a misnomer in a way. One can use a machete as a skinning/whittling/utility knife and also for chopping and as a short sword weapon. It's a "multi-purpose" weapon but it doesn't accel at all of it's purposes. A katana is an excellent head-lopper but I don't think it would be too easy to slice your chicken breasts for dinner and it doesn't thrust quite like a rapie, though it can be done.

I do think some weaponry, especially in Chinese arts, do seem kind of ridiculous. I'm guessing that maybe someone just picked up something in an emergency fight and kicked some butt with it so people saw that and tried to make it a standard weapon. I do wonder how much of their weaponry is authentic and not just a product of wushu for flash and demonstration purposes.

Training differences, katana vs machete and Filipino outlook. In Filipino arts, most people know of escrima and arnis but not kali. In Kali, one learns angles of attack that are used regardless of the weapon. So, whether it's a barong, stick, kris, staff, empty hand, they are all used pretty much the same way.

Makes it nice because you only have to learn the knife and you learn it all, unlike some arts where the empty hand techniques have nothing to do with the weapon technique and the weapon stuff is often just for show. Another difference with Filipino arts is the use of rhythm in the form of drums for developing timing.

There are two-handed uses of the kampilan but most usage is close range, single-handed with a knife in the other hand; similar to rapier techniques with rapier and main gauche, picked up from the Spanish.

Filipino arts did deal with mass combat and had metalurgy before the Spanish came. Kali was excellent because it allowed a bunch of people in the tribe to learn how to fight really quickly because it's based on learning principles rather than individual techniques. Also, in the culture, the knife is highly regarded as a regular daily item. Knives were more like large knives or short swords that were used as tools and weapons.

Kali is the "mother" art and is based on the blade. Escrima and arnis, are offshoots of kali much like karate and judo are offshoots of juijitsu. Kali is based on knife techniques while escrima and arnis are based mostly on stick use. They're basically all very similar with some style differences and predominance in weapon choice.

My guess is that somebody trained in kali and then preferred the use of the stick and adapted some techniques specifically for it and then called it their own, etc; much the way most arts are developed.

When the Spanish came, kali was outlawed among the people; sounds familiar, eh? So, the people hid the kali movements in the form of dance. Many people who do Filipino dance, do not know that they are practicing kali to a certain extent. The Spanish had no idea that this was going on right in front of them at the time.

There was a lot of dueling style fighting, "death matches". Usual death stick was a piece of rattan shaped like a triangle so that it had an "edge". Matches would last 20 minutes, usually about 3 seconds of it being actually fighting; supposedly 3 clicks of a stick and someone was down.

As a side note, the kris, found in many cultures, was used against the Spanish as a specialization. The Spanish wore steel plate armor on the front and back held together by leather straps.

The wavy blade of the kris was used by inserting the blade flat into the open sides just behind the breast plate or rear plate. The blade was then turned sideways, edge exposed, and pulled out. The waves could then slice as the knife was pulled out.

Someone mentioned "will". Remember what happened to the FBI in Florida a few years back? I definitely think this plays a big part. Technique or no technique, if someone wants to kick*ass, they just might. Sometimes people just freeze up no matter what belt or what championships they've won.

I do see swords displayed as a mark of nobility. Happened in feudal Japan, and the aforementioned Filipino Kampilan was usually only wielded by the head of the tribe. I think the same thing occured with nobility in Europe. Probably due to the expense and the poor couldn't afford swords, sounds familiar.

The kama. Didn't that start out as a wheat cutter or something like that? I also thought the tomohawk was an import from the euros and the Indians used it as a weapon. Good close quarters weapon, can be thrown, and is an excellent tool.

August 7, 2000, 01:31 PM

You and I need to sit down and talk face-to-face for a few hours! : )

Two points I'd like to raise (since you did all the work already):

1. Certainly Marius should be given the credit for transforming the Roman army from a militia to a professional (or mercenary) one. But, I think that the transformation was much more gradual than commonly perceived. Also, there were periods of stagnation. The army of Scipio Africanus was much more advanced and combined operationally than, say, the armies of Julius Caesar. The Romans did not integrate the various arms, particularly cavalry (back to the way Scipio Africanus did) until the legions were overwhelmed by the Germanic Cavalry outside Adrianople.

2. Aztec obsidian sword, while certainly a fearsome weapon, was not designed to kill at all. Aztec "flower" wars were heavily religious and ritualistic. The main goal of wars was often to capture one's noble equal in combat and to sacrifice him. As such, these weapons (including swords) were designed to wound arms and legs and to immobilize the opponent, so that he could be captured. Katanas or rapiers had an entirely different purpose altogether.

I've trained in Aikido (Aikikai-affiliated), so I am familiar with the concept of Omote and Ura (though nowadays, it means more "right" and "left" rather than "open" and "secret." Talk about a ritualistic martial arts!

Gotta go. I need to test out some new Mini-14 magazines.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

August 8, 2000, 02:02 AM
i'd like to thank everyone for their fabulous posts. it's amazing all the different directions this and the other related threads go, and still retain connectivity. like i've said before, it's an honor hearing from all the "long beards" in this forum :)

LawDog, KOG ... the kama is a rice sickle. it's also identical to the short halbreds of the shang dynasty of china and therefore the "first" real contact weapon used in northeast asia in battle. once swords were developed, the kama fell into disuse as a weapon, and went back to the farm. an example of swords to plowshares ... well kind of :)

the shimazu clan of western japan conquered the ryuchu islands during the 17th century. the ryuchu (ryukyu) kingdom, centered on okinawa, was an independent trading kingdom, kind of like what venice was during the renaissance. the shimazu immediately banned weapons use by the ryuchus, as the spanish did in the philippines. however, unlike the filipinos whom KOG eloquently points out maintained the knowledge of their arts, the major hand-to-hand and weapon styles in okinawa were lost. foremost was "udontei" (roughly "the art of the strong right arm") which in its purest form was passed only from king to crown prince. it was a stand-up art along the lines of aikido, which enabled total control of an opponent with just the arms without breaking stride.

thus the okinawans had to re-invent their arts ... into what we now know as okinawan karate, away from the gung-fu style centered on two-edged sword use. they resorted to tonfa (pestles), nunchaku (rice threshers), and kama (sickles) ... their use of kama, unlike the other two, however can trace its origins back to the old shang dynasty. kusarigama (lit. chain-sickles) found in ninja movies are a mainland japanese invention.

i wanted to include a link to a pic, but can't find one after several searches ... anytime you're in the library please look up a book on ancient chinese history (preferably those ones with lots of pictures for kids) and it should be there in the first 5 pages or something. in the meantime, please look at this: http://www.tigerclaw.com/products/weapons/Tonfa.htm the wooden kama on the right are the closest in design to the shang dynasty short halbreds. they had something of a "toothed" point and were intended to deal with the scale armor (small square metal platelets tied together) that was the mainstay of chinese armies for thousands of years.

KOG, thank you for the history lesson :) i know much more about the filipino arts now ... my discussion with my pinoy weapons expert, aka my gf's younger brother, was rather cursory ... i'll have to shake him down for more information (probably bribe him with food or something).

Skorzeny, point well taken about adrianople ... there's also the defeat of crassus at carrhae. both instances were of roman legions unable to use their shields in shock combat: the visigoths simply ran them over at adrianople on horsees, and the parthians never let the legions come close and shot them down with arrows. that ended up with the legions evolving under general belisarius into the cataphracts of the justinian era ... big guys on big horses with chainmail, long shields, bows, spears, maces, axes, and swords (how DID they ever carry all that stuff!?) ... kind of like what the samurai were, mounted with a variety of weapons (albeit much heavier).

does this mean mobility counts more than ability to withstand stand-up combat? one thing to note is that katana use in duels ends up incorporating a lot of "bounding" movements. opinions?

on another sidenote, do any of you have preferences on folding knives?

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 08, 2000).]

Danger Dave
August 8, 2000, 07:17 AM
KOG, thanks for the info. Was Phillipine tribal warfare a mass combat, complete with formations, missile weapons, etc. or more of a melee, where two tribes clash at close range, everyone picking an individual opponent?
BTW, I remember reading an article a few years ago - prior to WWII, there were Kali stick-fighting matches in Hawaii. They had an interview with the last known surviving fighter, who had fought several matches & killed 2 or 3 opponents in the ring. Although killing your opponent wasn't the objective in the match, it was just that dangerous. Interesting reading!

Dragontooth, you said:
"Does this mean mobility counts more than ability to withstand stand-up combat? one thing to note is that katana use in duels ends up incorporating a lot of "bounding" movements. opinions?"
Depends... Mobility is extremely important in fighting, especially once weapons come into play (think about having your feet glued to the floor and having a 5 yr old with a Whiffle bat taking swings at you - ouch). There are a few styles of fighting that focus on ground fighting (BJJ, wrestling, etc.), but they're geared for one-on-one unarmed combat, not a battlefield (not intended as a slam on grappling). All the "stand-up" fighting styles (not combat sports) I've been exposed to share at least one common factor - somewhere in their arsenal are techniques designed specifically to limit your opponents mobility (eg leg kicks, sweeps, weapon strikes to the feet or legs, stomps, throws, takedowns, etc). A lot of stand up fighting involves not only attacking your opponent, but attacking his balance and mobility as well. For example, one of my favorite tactics is to lead in with a hard side kick to the lead hip or shoulder - this "plants" my opponent by putting his weight on his back foot, while I step into punching range (it also lets him feel a solid kick somewhere that isn't padded - never underestimate the power of intimidation).

Nobody can withstand trading blows toe-to-toe for very long. A big reason for this is that offense is always ahead of defense - action is faster than reaction so nobody can block everything, and no one ever invented a perfect armor. You get somebody still enough, you can find a weakness (I recall a scene from Excalibur where 2 knights hold down a fallen knight while a third splits his breastplate with an axe). Armor is really the last line of defense - if a blow reaches your armor, you've failed to both block and avoid it, as well as failing to keep your opponent so concerned with your offense that he doesn't attack. The only time when being more mobile than your opponent isn't very important is when both foes are equally immobile or when the defenses are vastly superior to the offense. Examples would be grappling, or during seige warfare when the defenses form a complete 360 degree perimeter (impossible in single combat). The biggest problem with a lack of mobility is that you can't change the situation - you can't move your offense or defense as the situation changes, and you can't break the engagement and run if things don't look good. Once your mobility is gone, you're in it for the duration, for better or worse.

August 8, 2000, 12:16 PM
I'm not quite sure of all the specifics to how the Filipinos fought their battles, I'll have to ask my instructor and see if he knows. My guess is that it was semi-organized but probably for the most part, clash and thrash. I think there was some missile play in the form or archery, but I'm not sure.

I've heard of such matches in Hawaii back then as well. Not something I'd want to be in. The "winner" was usually crippled at the least. Nothing like the stick fighting matches you see today; if you hit someone with a stick and you aren't breaking anything, you aren't hitting right.

Mobility is very important. DangerDave was right on with his explanations. Mobility can make up for lack of being able to handle a blow. Most women, heck a lot of men even, probably aren't going to be able to handle a right cross, yet they can outmanuever their opponent to gain an advantage.

In kali, triangular footwork and mobility are paramount because of the use of heavy weapons. If the blade or stick is coming at you, the most important thing is to get out of it's way while you counter attack because if you screw up with your counter, the blade will hit you; if you're out of the way, hopefully, it won't. Plus, one hand is always there as a safety factor in case things really go wrong.

I definitely wouldn't want to trade blows in a fight; the tougher person is going to be better off and just my luck, that won't be me. In sports like boxing, kick boxing, open fights, etc., trading blows is kind of part of the game. If a boxer dodged his opponent and did all sorts of parrys, the crowd isn't going to go for that.

In the street, who cares? You just want to survive whatever way possible. Mobility allows you to gain an advantage like getting to the outside or behind your opponent and as I mentioned allows some room for mistakes.

If person A jabs and person B just says, "I'll block it and stay where I'm at", person B better make sure they block it or they're getting hit. If B deflects the blow while at the same time moving out of the way, chances are their moving out of the way will keep them from getting hit and the deflection is there for additional safety and/or as a "bridge" to attack A.

Plus, B is being on the defensive with a block. They're better off hitting back because they're already behind in the fight and have to catch up. If they block and then strike, that's two moves compared to A's one. If B can move out of the way and strike they don't need to worry about a block.

My preference for folding knives is simply to have one. I hope I never have to use it as a weapon but I do use it all the time as a tool. I like Spyderco products and usually carry an Endura.

I like the Endura because it works, it's simple, and if I lose it/break it I'm not going to cry like I would if I lost/broke a $150 knife. Sometimes, I carry a Benchmade mini AFCK, but my complaint with Benchmade products is their smaller models have blades that are too thin.

I'm still looking at some other knives because I prefer locking liner systems or some of the new locking systems. However, those type of knives usually cost more. The key is to find a knife that's comfortable for everyday use and wears well on your pocket. As long as you stay with major brands like Spyderco, Benchmade, Microtech, Gerber, any non-Pakistani rip-off, you're well-off.

My biggest pet-peeve with folding knives and fixed blade knives in general is that many of them are designed for style rather than use.

I get a kick out of knives that are marketed as "fighting/tactical" knives yet the designer/maker obviously never decided to try any such uses with them. Fake saw teeth, funky blade shapes, are all questionable. Biggest peeve is with hand protection.

Many knives don't have a suitable "guard" to protect your index finger when held point forward. I prefer single guards, to allow thumb on top, and/or at least a finger notch to protect the hand and prevent it from sliding forward.

There's one knife in particular I can think of that's touted as a tactical knife that was designed by a well-known maker and produced by a company. Pretty knife, well constructed, but not well-designed for "tactical" purposes.

I'd pay $100 to see the designer stab something with it because when they do, they're hand is slipping off the handle and onto the blade. Not trying to knock these artisans, I just wish they put more thought into some of the designs before marketing them as "fighting" knives.

August 8, 2000, 01:47 PM
i'd kissed my last couple of folding knives goodbye and i was looking for a replacement. i was looking at http://www.speed-techknives.com for their interesting locking system. i'll probably get something in a few weeks. from somebody ... ANYBODY ... i miss having something with an edge.

to keep it on track with the rapier-katana discussion, there's a company in japan called "nihon lejin" in the nagoya area that runs something called the "tohken tomono kai" (lit. swordblade friendship association) with about 30,000 members ... they produce a monthly newsletter called "tohken knife joho" that deals with "authentic" katana, antiques and newly forged ones. the phone # is (stick country code for japan before each) (058)274-1960, fax # (058)273-7369. language WILL be a problem, but it's worth looking at for aficionados who want to try to circumvent middlemen.

speaking of which, anyone know a good maker of chinese swords? i'm also trying to track down "watoh" blade makers through a taiwanese friend, and see if i can get my hands on the ching dynasty manual that shows how chinese fought with the katana. that's a quest and a half *sigh*

KOG by the way, you've sold me on kali. i'll look for an instructor first thing when i return to hawai'i.

DangerDave, i did a few years of taekwondo as a kid before i went to aikido. i learned to love shin kicks right below the knee :) i was a strange kid way back when ...

i see that the thread has expanded to

(1) eastern vs western
(2) massed battle vs dueling
(3) armed vs unarmed
(4) forms vs fighting

it just gets more complicated by the day :D

it's been nice on hearing a crituque of techniques. as aikido is a non-striking art, i've had only a couple of times where techniques have worked outside of the dojo. people tend to do strange things like throw beer bottles at you(!)

i'd still like to see this thread get hammered out into a series of definitions (i'm a researcher, i like neatness) ... since there's a general consensus on practicality over tradition, i'd think that it wouldn't be too hard ... imagine if a serious katana aficionado was present(!) ... speaking of which "shin-ken" (lit. "real sword") also phonetically means "divine sword". a sword, mirror, and jewel are the three symbols of divinity handed down to the emperor of japan from the shinto gods he traces his lineage back to. (i think the curvature in the katana is supposed to represents the crescent moon) this might help explain why the katana kept the general shape it did all these years, and why techniques were developed for it instead of it being made to evolve drastically for the techniques at vogue in a given era.

August 9, 2000, 08:55 AM

Who are you? Are you reading my mind? Just a couple of days ago, I (prompted by all this thread) went back to my personal library and re-read about Belisarius and Narses!

Intereting thing about Belisarius is that he always fought in a stategic offensive, but in a tactical defensive (usually on heavily fortified and prepared grounds). As you pointed out, his army (15,000-20,000 men at its height) was based on cavalry, but one with firepower in the form of bows and arrows.

Mobility is a wonderful thing, but only if the commanding general makes a good use of it. Clearly, in a head-on pitched battle, the side with better armor and arms will win. However, if the commander makes a good use of the mobility in tactical, operational and strategic senses, the thickness of armor won't matter much.

The one overwhelming advantage that mobility provides, by the way, is the ability to pick and choose when to fight. It allows one to engage and disengage in relative safety.

Using a personal combat analogy, this is the reason why I will NEVER go to the ground in a real fight. Certainly I will utilize my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Shoot wrestling skills IF I am forced to the ground, but if I can help it, I will stay on my feet and look for an opportunity to disengage and escape. Any time I stay engaged, I risk a Pyrrhic victory (prosecution, law suits, injury etc.) at best and the ultimate defeat (death) at worst.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

August 9, 2000, 11:26 AM
Skorzeny has a good point about mobility. You can attack like an animal; go in score a few, then retreat, etc, at least you have the option. I too wouldn't go to the ground fighting stuff unless taken there and once there, I'll be gouging, clawing, biting so I can get out; not to look pretty doing an leg lock.

Not a knock on BJJ or groundfighting, but most of that is for the sport and not for the street. You're not going to play the chess game and try to get people in arm bars, etc. I guess you can, I wouldn't. I can see doing a takedown, but once the bad guy is there, I'm not going to go down with him if I can help it, I'll either stomp on him and/or run.

If there are multiple opponents or objects like firehydrants and broken bottles, rolling on the ground isn't going to be too fun. You definitely are damned if you do and don't. If you "win" you'll get the lawsuits and the worry that the perp will come looking for you. If you lose, you could lose your life.

Dragontooth73, in regards to kali, I like it and have trained in it for a long time. I'm obviously biased and for me it makes the most sense in practicality and ease of learning. It has everything from weapon use, to grappling, kicking, whatever. Most importantly, the training is different with emphasis on full-contact stuff and hitting pads rather than hitting air and forms.

However, I think a person can be pretty well-off with whatever they train in as long as it's realistic and they keep a proper perspective. I first started out in kali/jkd/escrima and then took a brief stint in hapkido and other arts to look around.

I remember my first night of sparring in hapkido. I was a lowly white belt and I sparred with a guy who was a brown belt. He came in thinking, "oh, I'll show this little white belt up", not knowing I had trained for 3 years prior. I really beat on him and he got a nice side kick to the throat which, to this day, he remembers me by. Not to brag about me, only to show that everyone has to be modest about this stuff.

The other thing is, one must fight the way they train and train the way they want to fight. When the UFC crap came out, all I saw was a fixed tournament with kickboxers, boxers, etc trying to wrestle when they had/didn't train to be wrestlers.

They let someone else dictate the fight and instead of sticking to their gameplan, fell right into their opponents'. After that, everyone that wasn't in BJJ, thought that the art they trained in was now crap. Again, not trying to knock BJJ or grappling at all, just to point out that you can use whatever you train in effectively if you yourself are effective at what you do.

Finding a good kali instructor may or may not be easy. There are a lot of flaky people out there, many teaching without certification or consent of their teacher which to me shows a great lack of respect. So be it, it happens with all the arts, everyone trying to make a name for themself.

I guess I'd look for the same things I'd look for in a karate school. If they're money hungry and want you to buy this and that, don't have full-contact, ridiculous contracts, belts, etc, I would avoid it. Perhaps ask your friend if you'll show you some stuff.

For Chinese swords, you might try www.kriscutlery.com (http://www.kriscutlery.com) They make nice blades with good steel and they are sharp. Other than that, you'll probably have to look at some custom knife makers because most of the Chinese blades I see are demo blades that have poor construction and steel.

I've seen the Speedtech knives and they're pretty nice. The steel they use is good and the design is pretty good. Too expensive for my taste as a carry knife. The other thing I don't like is that it would be easy to accidentally press the lock release button and close it on your fingers.

August 9, 2000, 04:08 PM
Actually, KOG, I would have to disagree with you somewhat on a couple of points.

First of all, the UFC wasn't "crap." The practitioners of striking arts learned a valuable lesson from it, which was that one must be proficient in all ranges of combat (kicking, punching, trapping/clinch, grappling) to win a fight. Most of the strikers were one-dimensional and were made easy victims by grapplers, who usually came ahead in one-dimensional fighter vs. one-dimensional fighter contests (then there are weapons to consider in real-life among other things).

Also, having been in lots of street fights in my youth, I can tell you that "typical" fights often involve tackling, clinching and "rolling on the ground." Often, assaults start up-close without room or time for deploying kicks or punches.

Now, eye-gouging and other "dirty" techniques are a fine idea. However, let me tell you right now that if someone knocks or tackles you down in a surprise, mounts you and starts punching away at your face, you will not be able to simply reach up and gouge your opponent's eyes (mostly likely, you will be busy covering up your face or turtling).

What BJJ and other grappling arts (Judo, Shooto, Catch, etc.) teach is an ability to positionally dominate your opponent as well as to be able to reverse yourself from bad positions. Note that once in a superior position, you are in a much better situation to use "dirty" techniques and escape.
Armbars, leglocks and such have their roles in such cases. They are often used when reversals from bad positions are difficult. For example, I once grappled with a national-level wrestler. This guy took me down in a nano-second and got into my guard and started to choke the heck out of me with his bare hands. There was no way I could reverse him because of his incredible base. So, I took one of his stretched arms and arm-locked him. If it were purely up to me, I'd rather have reversed him and mounted him. But, since that was not possible, I took the second best course and went for a submission (or bone-breaking in real life).

Remember that BJJ teaches you "position first, submission second." People who chase submissions and give up positions will be in a world of hurt, both on the mat and in real life.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

August 9, 2000, 04:21 PM
Whenever I've had to fight a male subject (as a peace officer) we've hit the ground. I think it has to do with the fact that standing on two feet isn't a real steady platform--plus there's always been something underfoot. And men seem to want to open a bar-fight or a alley scrap with a tackle.

Just based on my experience, some form of groundfighting should be in everyones 'combat toolbox'.


August 9, 2000, 05:55 PM
Well, Skorzeny, I have to kind of disagree with you on some points as well. The UFC, like many fights, was fixed. I have nothing against the Gracies at all, they're good at what they do, but they made sure that the people Royce fought, he could beat. I've heard this outed by Kathy Long and others. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Maybe it was jealousy by others and the rumor mill started. But, if you think for a moment that fights are never fixed, well, that's your opinion.

The Gracies have been doing this particular game for a long time so naturally they're one of the best at it. There would be no sense in "selling" your art if you got beat. The quality of the fighters in the UFC was un-impressive to say the least. I'm not saying that I'm all a bad*ss or am going to step in there, but the karate guys, boxers and kickboxers, etc looked like they learned how to throw a punch/kick the day before the match.

They promoted this as "no rules" fighting, yet there were rules. The striker is at a disadvantage beforehand because there are targets they aren't allowed to hit, techniques they aren't allowed to use. If this were a real no-holds-barred contest, where were the weapons? Where were the groin grabs, eye jabs, bites?

I don't think you'd see a real pentjak silat or kali/escrima person in there as many of their "weapons" are eliminated by not allowing those knives, sticks, jabs, gouges, and bites.

Yes, a lot of strikers and traditional stylists may have gotten an "eye-opener" not only in well-roundedness, but also to stick to your guns so to speak and not let someone else dictate the fight. Why would a boxer try to wrestle if they haven't trained that way. They would have been better of jabbing and crossing when people shot in.

This isn't a new concept. Bruce Lee popularized the "cross-training" concept with martial arts but many arts and individuals have practiced this for years. Bruce Lee saw the benefits or taking the bits and pieces he liked from different arts.

How would Royce do in a kickboxing match against someone like Stan The Man, a younger Chai Surisute or a boxing match with Mike Tyson? I don't think he'd do very well and I guess he could be labeled as not very well-rounded and may get an "eye-opener" with regards to those games. Since he'd be unable to use his takedowns and submissions, he might not be in too good of shape.

I don't discount the merits of grappling or any art. What I thought was "crap" was that the UFC basically "told" everyone that all other arts sucked because they all lost to someone who knew BJJ. As if the kickboxer, TKD stylists, boxers, etc were representative samples of the population of those arts.

I guess with my 10+ years in kali/jkd which includes some grappling but not a specialization in grappling, I'm going to get my *ss kicked by everyone. Maybe so, but whatever one studies, no matter how good one gets, they can always get their *ss kicked by someone badder than they are.

My point being that whatever art you study, you just have to be realistic and hopefully use what you learn, I didn't see that in the UFC except from Royce. I do think there's a benefit to researching other arts and as a student of kali/jkd, I can't deny that. At the same time, you could be a jack of all trades, master of none and know too much for your own good. I'm being attacked, should I use punches, kicks, or take downs?

I don't view the UFC as being non-one-dimensional. I saw it as a submission wrestling contest, not a "no-holds-barred" contest. Being "one-dimensional" isn't necessarily bad/good. If someone is good at say kickboxing, does that necessarily mean that they're going to be beat by a grappler all the time? Maybe yes, maybe no and if so, is that in the ring or on the street?

If the kickboxer or other martial artist is going to be the loser for being "one dimensional", then I guess grappling is the ultimate art and that all the other arts should be discontinued, the books/videos burned, the teachers forced not to teach anymore. Why should anyone teach karate or kickboxing, etc if grappling will beat them all the time?

I saw my share of fights as a youth as well and I agree that a lot of it is the tackling, rolling, etc; heck, the same in adult life. The fights start up close, therein lies part of the problem. If you are the type that just has to be the kickboxer, boxer, you shouldn't let someone get upclose in your personal space. No you can't control all the environment, but you either have the choice of not letting the perp get up in your face and/or learning some grappling to help you out.

In reference to takedowns and locks in a street fight. The description of you and the wrestler and your end result is something I probably would have done.

However, what about weapons? I'm taking into account that the "street fight" is a life-threatening situation where some perp or perps are attacking with weapons, not without. I sparred once with a BJJ guy and purposely let him take me down to prove a point. As soon as he got me down, I pulled out my Endura and "stabbed" him. He then said, "you can't do that", okay I guess not, I'll leave my knife at home.

If there are multiple opponents, holding someone in an armbar is probably not a good idea while his friends kick you in the face. Now, if you were to pop the arm and then get up and go for the others, that's a different story.

I guess I should have been more specific as to the individual situation instead of generalizing. If one of your friends all of sudden is belligerent because he had too much to drink, giving him an eye jab and a kick to the groin probably isn't the coolest thing to do. There are some times when grappling/striking is and isn't a good idea, everything has it's place.

BTW, I'm not trying to flame anyone or anything, don't want this to become a pissing match.

[This message has been edited by KOG (edited August 09, 2000).]

George Hill
August 9, 2000, 07:15 PM
Ive spent enough time in Central America and Mexico and even South America to have studied the Incas and Aztecs in good detail. I am not an expert - but you can say I have seen a few things.

The Aztecs were the most feared warriors of the era in these regions. Incas were Narly too - but paled when compaired to the Aztecs.
The warfare there was HUGE. Large scale.
When they captured enemy it was by the BATTALIONS. Individually there was no room for mere wounding. They killed with relish.

As for those captives... they were herded to the nearest temple where they were ritually sacrificed one at a time. These sacrifices often lasted for DAYS and the temples literally ran with blood.

Enemy leaders were often skinned and there skins worn as a costume by some priest type.

Nasty stuff.

Oh - those swords... they could cut a man in two. Hefting one illustrates that they do not just inflict pain and suffering - they were ment to kill. No doubt.

You might laugh in the face of FEAR... but unless your armed, its a nervous, unconvincing, little laugh.

August 9, 2000, 09:24 PM
never hefted an aztec obsidian sword. as a result, i didn't apprectiate the killing power of it fully til George Hill brought it up. just for fun i could try to make a replica in hawai'i using obsidian :) one of the (few) advantages of living on a volcanic island chain.

Skorzeny ... no i am not a telepath :) ... honestly when you mentioned adrianople it leads to belisarius. he developed the doctrine he did because he always fought with an undersized force ... that he did as good as he did under justinian and theodora is a miracle. constantinople should have burned under them both.

seems after 3 threads the focus goes to unarmed combat. the subtle shift to a multi-dimensional perspective rather than an "east vs. west" slagging match is proof of the wisdom of "long beards" :)

still looking for that perfect folding knife ... looking at sebenzas, sifus ... my assumption is that defense is a "layered" phenomenon over distance (firearms-polearms-wrestling) ... i wonder if there are "nodes" of convergence where a common apex can be identified?

is the "toothed" point found in japanese weapons, developed for punching through armor, a superior design innovation? is the japanese spear, a slender 12" non-pronged point with a triangular cross section developed, again, for punching armor, markedly better than other spearpoint designs?

those are examples ... i'm sure the unarmed combat discussion here also has "nodes" (to be found in JKD theory, maybe) ... anyone have an idea on what they could be?

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 09, 2000).]

August 9, 2000, 11:44 PM
Dragontooth73, one thing about obsidian is that it can be flaked really, really thin, thus producing a nice cutting edge. The downside to that is that it's also more brittle; same applies to steel.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the yari, the triangular shaped spear point, and the hira zukuri/yori toshi were the styles of blades for piercing armor; not the clipped/toothed/chiseled shape you see on popular on "Americanized" tantos.

Good luck in your quest for the perfect knife. I gave up, I've come to the conclusion that I have to make my own and unfortunately lack the time to do so. There are plenty of decent workable designs out there but I don't know about the "perfect" one.

Chris Reeve makes nice knives with a nice price tag. I couldn't see myself carrying one of his fine pieces because I'd be devastated if I lost it or for some reason had it confiscated.

Not quite sure what you are referring to in reference to "nodes". Common misconception is that JKD is about un-armed combat.

Personally, I'd rather be armed in combat than unarmed. It has it's consequences as there is no guarantee that you are better off but I think it adds an advantage. There is the problem of liability and lawsuits, etc.

Unarmed combat may seem more convenient and macho, but I think you might fight an uphill battle against an armed foe and no matter how good your unarmed skills are, there's no guarantee that you'll be victorious even against an unarmed attacker.

August 10, 2000, 12:00 AM
The Chris Reeve's Sebenza has a very unique locking system that is, imho, better than liner locks. I have an EDI Genesis, but my brother has a Sebenza. I can induce my liner lock on my Genesis to collapse, but I have been unable to do it on my brother's Sebenza. The Sebenza is probably considered the best "production" folding knife.

August 10, 2000, 09:04 AM

I certainly agree that the early UFCs were not "real" street fights. But certainly you must agree that they were more real than Tae Kwon Do or Karate tournaments? Or boxing matches, for that matter? Unless you go to the underground, you will not be able to see actual organized street fight tournaments (BTW, I have seen actual underground tournaments and guess what? Those fighters train in grappling as well as striking).

Also, I disagree that these were submission wrestling matches. You could strike (standing up, on your knees, on the ground). Heck, you could stomp guys in the head on the ground in the early UFCs. Some of the early UFC strikers were quite accomplished. Patrick Smith, for example, was the winner of the Sabake challenge (full-contact Karate). The reason they lost to Royce Gracie (and to other grapplers like Shoot fighters and Judoka) wasn't because they TRIED to wrestler with the grapplers. They lost BECAUSE they were FORCED to grapple due to the limitation of their training. I used to think that I could punch or kick and knock out a grappler during his "shoot-in," but realized how foolish that line of thinking was. Grapplers can often shoot-in in a split-second before the opponent can react with a well-placed punch or kick. Often, punching or kicking also creates an imbalance (a gap) that allows a grappler to shoot-in. Let's look at it this way. Boxers train to stand up and exchange punches at a distance (punching range) and yet even they clinch (quite unwittingly sometimes) multiple times during a match. It is because clinching is often a safer way to avoid strikes than simply standing there or backing away.

As for the "dirty" techniques, it is true that they were NOT represented much (though at one point, one fighter punched another fighter in the groin repeatedly), but dirty techniques help/hiner grapplers as much as strikers. You still didn't address my point about being able to be in a superior position before you can actually use dirty techniques. Paul Vunak is a master of these "dirty" techniques (Kina Mutai) and he always ensures that he is safe from similar attacks before he uses these. Again, you still do not address my point about somebody mounting you and punching your face away (how are you going to eye gouge or nut-grab when you are busy covering your face?).

Again, I agree that one ought to include weapons training into one's combative system. But it has to be done systematically and sequentially. Look at the Dog Brothers. They are some of the most realistic stick fighting trainers and even they discovered that there are clinching and grappling in stick fighting.

Your example of "knifing" a BJJ practitioner is telling. You assume that only YOU have the knife. What if the BJJ practitioner has a knife too? What if he takes you down, mounts you and then takes out a knife? What? You think that you can "out-knife" him while on the bottom with possibly one or both of your arms trapped and quite possibly unable to reach your pocket knife?

Furthermore, why do you keep assuming that a grappling practitioner is simply going to "hold" any submission technique? While these techniques can be practiced safely by holding out for a "tap" or submission, a minor increase in velocity, power and positioning will break limbs in a split-second.

People often say that BJJ is useless in multiple-opponent scenarios. But let me ask you this? If you are trapped by, say, four people and cannot escape, is Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Arnis or whatever else going to save you? Absolutely not! Any kind of UNarmed martial art system is the self-defense method of the very last kind, to be utilized when you cannot escape and cannot find an equalizer (gun, knife, stick, etc.).

Lastly, let me make it clear that I am in no way advocating BJJ or any other grappling art as the be-all and end-all of combative systems. Note the fact I stated earlier that I would NEVER go to the ground if I can help it in a real fight. I'd rather stay on my feet and look for an opportunity to disengage and escape. However, fights often don't go as I planned (in fact, I don't even PLAN to be in a fight, period).

Having trained in a variety of stand-up striking and weapons arts since I was five years old, I wish I had known some form of grappling (BJJ, Judo, Sambo, whatever) in all those fights I was in during my youth. It certainly would've helped when I was being headlocked in ground (much more than a jump side kick, a reverse punch or a perfectly executed Sinawali).


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

August 10, 2000, 12:24 PM
Skorzeny, perhaps I came off too harsh in my previous statements. Let me try to address your questions.

Do I think the UFC is more "realistic" than boxing/kick boxing matches. Realistic as to a real fight? Yes, to a certain degree, but there are still rules. Again, I'm taking into account that the street fight is a life/death situation.

I've heard of some "underground" fights that some of my friends have gone to but never witnessed any myself. They told me that one of their guys had to throw in the towel and the fight stopped. There were rules, in a real street, there is no throwing in the towel; either someone beats you to you're unconscious or dead.

The only way you are going to get "real", no-rules fighting are the old Filipino stick fighting matches were the winner was the person who killed the other guy, the older pentjak silat matches where again, the loser died, or Greecian era wrestling with the same results; I wouldn't be surprised if you could find something like that in some remote part of the world.

So, again what I'm trying to say is that I disliked the marketing part the UFC promoted with their "no-rules" label; it's kind of like the marketing used by the show, "Survivor".

The reason I felt that the UFC was a submission wrestling match was that, even though you could strike, the best striking techniques were limited. Yes, I'm sure there were some grappling techniques that were limited as well and the grappler can throw the same strikes.

But, I saw the advantage to the grappler because often times someone would be in a guillatine hold and it would have been really easy to just throw an uppercut to the groin but the striker wasn't allowed to do that; maybe they were allowed to do so but I didn't see it, that'd be the striker's fault. Other times, someone was belly-to-belly on top of someone and it would be easy to take an eye out.

Plus, the fact that in the early ones the people weren't well-rounded. I saw them trying to promote grappling as if all the grappler would do is grapple and the striker as all they would do is strike. In that situation, the strikers would not be able to use some of their tools.

It's like saying, "who's the better athlete, Michael Jordan, or that Armstrong guy who just won the Tour de France". Each is a specialist in their own right. Michael Jordan probably won't be able to ride the bike like Armstrong and Armstrong probably can't slam like Jordan.

You said that strikers were "forced" to wrestle due to limitations in their training. You are looking at the other side of the coin which I unfortunately didn't address. If a pure fencer goes into the UFC, he is limited because of A. no weapons allowed in there, and B. he lacks unarmed combat skills.

Grapplers can shoot in a split-second, I don't doubt that. But how long does it take to throw a good punch? Certainly no-longer than a split second.

Punching and kicking can leave a gap where you are exposed, yes. Grappling can also leave a "gap" in that once the shoot commences, you've committed yourself. If you sprawl or move out of the way, you could find yourself with your opponent on top of or behind you.

We, kali practitioners, just happen to look at it differently because of our training. Strikers like karate, boxing learn different techniques for a specific action. Someone throws a punch and you have a technique that deals with a punch. We deal with mobility, position, and handling angles of attack. It doesn't matter if it was a punch, kick, stick, knife, shoot, we deal with it as an angle of attack, if we didn't deal with it before it came, and go from there.

So, I see it as the strikers were unprepared because their training didn't have a technique that specifically dealed with a shoot, whereas we do not deal with a technique/response to a specific situation but a much broader one. Not that we're immune from being taken down or shot in upon, but just that we have a different outlook on the situation.

The problem was I saw the boxers, kickboxers standing around waiting/watching what the grappler was going to do. I think that's part of the problem with striking arts. They sit there and size each other up and trade blows while the grapplers go in and "duke it out" so to speak.

Traditional Muay Thai is nothing like the way we see "kickboxing" today. Those competitors clash in right away, they don't waste any time and they beat on each other; hence one of the reasons they have a short career.

You are correct in that in a boxing match a clinch is a smart thing to go to when in trouble. You could also look at the fact that if that clinch were standing up or on the ground, you could do a Mike Tyson and have earios for breakfast or be a buzzard and gouge the eyes. I realize the dirty techniques can help the grapplers just as much as the strikers. I think the strikers have a slight advantage as that should be their specialty.

As far as being taken down, mounted and being beat on, believe me, I know what that's like. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) this has happened to me before as part of our training.

I definitely prefer not to be on the ground if I have a choice. We do do grappling in our system; it comes from the JKD/Jun fan aspect. My first instructor, Ernie Franco (fondly missed), I think enjoyed way too much showing us the grappling stuff. I'm no means what I call a "grappler" but I think I know enough to get me out of a situation, hopefully.

In pure Indonesian and Filipino arts, there's dumog, harimau, and other aspects but I think much of the grappling is avoided due to the emphasis on weapons; bearing in mind that the knife is very rooted in such cultures. Thus, my present teacher is not all too hot on it much but we still do it.

I do recall at times grappling with a much larger opponent in which the strike, unless to the eyes, groin, etc, in a real situation probably isn't going to do much but they sometimes can't do anything about you upsetting their BOS and having them fall.

A good technique for someone small like me that I like to do is to shoot in for a single-leg, grab the leg and use it to swing around (kind of like swinging on a pole) and get behind. They are very vulnerable at this point.

What to do when mounted. Whether in the guard or full mount, one can try the grappling reversals or the "whatever works" method. The latter is pinching, grabbing, biting, when the opportunity arises. When being hit upon by a barrage of punches, cover up and/or parry.

You can hit/grab the armpit, nipple area, fingers, gun tings, the groin is still available to be grabbed. You can also reach up grab the torso (clinch) and pull it down to get the head in range. The better solution is to roll it over if possible and or go for a lock like you mentioned.

In regards to my encounter with the BJJ guy. I don't doubt that I'd be in trouble if he had a knife. If he had a knife, the fact that he knew BJJ wouldn't make too much of a difference then because if he were armed with a knife I'd already be in a heap of trouble.

I would have obviously tried to use the knife ahead of time before he got in and I'd think he'd try to do the same. I merely represented it as a point that his mind was in the "game" and not a real life situation.

I did the same with a TKD friend of mine. He went forward to throw a roundhouse kick to my head while I stepped out and threw an eye jab and knocked his glasses off. He said the same thing, "you can't do that" and he just wasn't being realistic and did what he did in tournaments; beautiful kick, though.

This is true with boxers, kickboxers, TKD people, grapplers, everyone. I think that often times that people train for matches, matches where there are rules and referees, that somehow, subconsciously that gets ingrained in their training.

A boxer hits a guy, he goes down, and the ref steps in. In real life, I would hope that once the guy is down, you finish to make sure the guy never gets up. That's all I'm saying is that there needs to be the mindset that there's the game and then there's real life. You can have both, both just have to be used at the proper time.

This applies to grapplers as well. There's such an emphasis on going in and taking down your opponent that one might forget if the guy has a knife in his hand. You hold the hold until the tap out.

I know that the joint/bone can be popped quickly, but I wonder how much of the training, that involves holding the hold, gets "ingrained" so that one might just hold that hold too long, long enough to get kicked in the head by some other perp, instead of snapping it.

Obviously, one can't practice snapping the bones/joints in practice so what I'm saying is that it's sometimes hard to transfer the gym practice to the street in it's entirety.

There are also times within the grappling in which strikes can make your job much easier, something that usually isn't done in say wrestling. When I studied judo for a brief period, the thing I didn't like was it was all about, "we have to get ready to compete in this upcoming tournament". There were plenty of times where I would have liked to pop the opponent in the groin.

It sometimes reminds me of the trapping game in wing chun gung fu. Yes, you can sit there and play the game and try to out-trap the guy. But if I did a bong sau to a back knuckle off his punch and he tried to lop sau my back knuckle, I have to think, "wait a minute, this guy knows what he's doing, if I play the game he could be better than me, so I better cheat". So, what I'm saying is that the "game" aspect can sometimes over-ride the desire to "cheat" in the fight.

I do agree with you that if faced with multiple opponents that know matter what you know/don't know, you're screwed without some sort of equalizer and even if you have an equalizer you're still pretty much screwed. Like you, I hope never to be in a serious fight and would try to get out of the situation ASAP; I've got no reason to be macho but lots of reasons to live.

I know that you didn't say that grappling was the -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- and I apologize for making it sound as such. I merely was trying to state that I don't care for "those" out there that do think it's the -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-.

I saw the "grappling movement" as not one of, "hey, it might be wise to do what Bruce, Gene Labell, Wally Jay and others have said over the years and get some grappling to get more well-rounded", but one of "your art stinks, has no use, if you aren't grappling, you are going to get killed".

I think all the arts have some uses, some out-dated, some not. I think that's how the arts came about in that someone felt certain techniques/concepts were right for them and other people wanted to learn it so they taught others. The smaller Indonesian guy might say, I can't overpower the larger Dutch guy, so I'll kick him with a knife between my toes.

I too wish I discovered kali/jkd or wrestling, full-contact arts earlier in life but at the same time I'm glad I didn't get stuck in some chain, "we'll give you your blackbelt in 2 years school".

BTW, how'd the mini-14 mags work out? I hope they were factory or PMI. Regards.

August 10, 2000, 12:34 PM
pack sausage, carrots, sprouts, garlic in aluminium foil. add black bean sauce and a touch of chili sauce. wrap and place in hot coals. wait 10-15 min.

just thought i'd put down a campfire recipe since this thread was heating up :) it actually does work well btw. for fish recipes i prefer to get some soy sauce, add peeled garlic cloves to it, let it sit for a month. then mix in chopped ginger and a dash of sugar. ANYWAYS

Incursion thank you. i've been looking at gerbers, sebenzas, anc a couple of others, and i think i'm partial to the sebenzas now. i'll keep on thinking til i really come to a decision.

KOG, the "toothed" point found on katana is an armor-puncher. early samurai armor was entirely scaled as it was on mainland asia; the solid breastplates came much later (and were inspired by portuguese design) ... the toothed point hooks in between the scales nicely without snapping, as opposed to a thin rapier point.

it's a shame that budoh in japan has degenerated over time. i mention specifically the three-centuries "peace" of the tokunagas, which made battlefield techniques impossible to practice; the meiji restoration, and the emphasis on "scientific" western innovations in warfare; and the second world war, which devastated large parts of japanese culture.

old jujutsu, was part of the "six disciplines" ... spear, bow, sword, riding, hand-to-hand, and writing (to read military manuals and to be cultured at the imperial court ... tea-culture and the merits of concentration it brought were introduced later under hideyoshi). jujutsu was never intended to be used outside of this context ... part of the reason going to ground isn't encouraged is that old jujutsu was meant to be used wearing armor. rolling about on a battlefield doing leglocks in the midst of all that wreckage wasn't the idea.

KOG's use of a knife was exactly how the tanto should have been used by a dismounted samurai. Skorzeny's use of grappling is the perfect solution to a samurai who'd just lost his weapon facing a spear-wielding ashigaru. i don't see a real discrepancy between the two.

KOG, sorry if my language slips ... i simultaneously translate between languages so i end up garbling things sometimes. a "node" is here defined as a point where several previously irreconcilable factors converege into a single principle. for example, between rapier, katana, and barong, agreeing on the need for a strong thrusting potential would be a "node".

i wish i could contribute something substantial to the "to goto ground or not" but i do aikido ... i flip people and roll on the ground :) i've got a fire extinguisher for this thread though ... one canister or two? :D

August 10, 2000, 11:17 PM
I don't really know much about this kind of thing, but I just wanted to thank you guys for posting all of this wonderful info. I have learned a ton off of these last three threads. It has been very educational.

August 11, 2000, 12:54 AM

It appears, in the main, that we agree about more things than we disagree.

I especially appreciate the tone and the general conclusions of your last post.

I do have a couple of MINOR disagreements. For example, yes a punch can be thrown in less than a split second (or less time than a shoot-in). However, let's look at it this way. Once a shoot-in is initiated, there is some lag time on the part of the striker (because he has to 1) recognize the threat, 2) make a conscious decision to counter the threat and 3) launch the punch or the kick. I would argue that the whole process takes more than a split-second.

Now, why won't it work in reverse (a punch against a grappler)? Because, punching has a very specific and narrow maximal/minimal range (kicking is even worse in this regard). If you are either outside or inside it, you cannot be hurt. Plus, punching requires that you strike a relatively small part of your opponent's body with a pretty small part of your own body. On the contrary, a shoot-in has a much greater "circular error probability."

In addition, once a puncher punches once successfully, he usually has to keep punching or striking reliably and accurately to win the fight. In a grappler-vs-striker context, a grappler needs to successfully shoot-in once. Once in clinch, the grappler has the upper edge and will win, barring any act of stupidity on his part.

I have seen punchers successfully punch once or even two or three times but still fail to finish the fight. I have yet to see a grappler clinch successfully with a striker and not be able to finish the fight in his favor (note that this is all in "pure" grappling vs. "pure" striking context).

BTW, I like JKD quite a bit. Very scientific, very useful and very practical. Also, like BJJ, it is in a constant state of flux (for the better). I think JKD and BJJ make an excellent combination. Throw in Kali/Arnis/Escrima and shooting skills, and you got a very well-balanced, well-trained fighter.

Last point: Judo has largely become a sport (just like Tae Kwon Do) - people go where the fame and money are (the Olympics, for example). Systems like Sambo and BJJ, however, retain their more combative aspects. Sambo is made up of 1) sports Sambo, 2) unarmed self-defense Sambo and 3) military non-firearms weapon Sambo (mostly spades and such). BJJ is made up of 1) sports BJJ, 2) Vale Tudo ("no-holds barred" fighting) and 3) street fighting. Judo used to have different Kata's (sports ones, self-defense ones and "traditional," almost ceremonial ones), but unfortunately most American Judoka only teach/practice sports Katas.

I would like to note, by the way, that sports techniques should not be denigrated. Awe-inspiring "dirty" techniques and death moves are all fine and dandy, except they can't be practiced dynamically (full-force, fully-resisting and unpredictable opponent). What can't be practiced dynamically cannot be easily and effectively applied in stressful "real" situations. After all, do you train Kali by actually stabbing people? Therein lies the value of UFC and other similar events - "minimum" rules compared to most other events.

Afterall, even Filippino "death matches" were not completely rule-free. I doubt it was socially acceptable to show up with an AK-47, kill your opponent and say "I am the God of Kali knife-fighting." We are all subject to the social and cultural forces that shape us whether we are competing in sports or fighting for our lives. There is hardly anything in life that is "rule"- or custom- or "culture"-free.


For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

August 11, 2000, 02:58 AM
well honestly ... i can say that the heat in this thread comes from erudite, well-rounded individuals with much experience. Skorzeny, KOG, thank you both.

having said that, i'll add my $.02 cents ... i trained in aikido at the main dojo in shinjuku ward, tokyo, still run by the ueshibas. from the (all-too-brief) time i've spent there and then emerging into the "real" world, i learned to expect a couple of quick hits fast. i also learned to expect instinct and a steady pulse to serve me better than expecting to be able to use the traditional forms.

i've heard quite a number of dojomates in awe of the ueshiba legacy and espouse how much of a "superior" art aikido was. i remained unconvinced, and now after reading this i am more so than ever. before i left japan i'd acquired a number of texts on gung-fu, and also on the "experimental" variants of karate. i'm still mulling them over. being comparatively young has its advantages.

having said that, i'm beginning to think common sense is prevailing in this thread. i'd expected a traditionalist stance from somebody, anybody, but what i'm reading is a very informed discussion of views. thanks to all of you.

KOG, i'd forgot to mention i have an obsidian arrowhead on my desk. i'm familiar with its properties. i collect gemstones in my free time so i've had a number of pieces for years. if i ever get around to it i'll get a few slabs from someplace and chisel some blades out :)

Skorzeny, i think you've just described an ideal system. jkd/bjj/kali sounds like an excellent regimen for developing character :) i'd add excercises from either yoga or certain gung fu disciplines for breathing and flexibility; there's an interesting text (in japanese) that i got from last year that makes a study of the impact of controlled breathing on martial arts. i just hope i can distill it enough and then translate it for posting here.

anyways ... everyone have a good night :) oh and those recipes do really work so try them sometimes :D

August 24, 2000, 08:24 AM
I just wanted to add my observation about early UFC. When Keith Hackney faced Royce he stopped Royce's shootingh in at least twice and maybe three times cold.

His problem, IMHO, was that he didn't have any trained responese for stopping someone that way...he had no follow up techniques.

At least once Hackney stopped Royce shooting in by simply palming Royce's head..if he had turned that in palm strike/block into a head crank...or a powerful strike to head or spine, royce would have been in a world of hurt. BTW Royce ended up on all fours with his weight on his hands, from shooting in, so he was in no position to counter or evade.

Not meant as a flame. IMO the Roryce vs Hackney match was the most interesting.

BTW It seemed to me that you only had a few basic ways to lose in the early UFC someone would get in the mount or guard postion and then strangle or apply submission hold to you OR head blows. One of the conclusions I drew from the UFC was that you need to protect your head/neck area from both blows and strangles. Which might sound simplistic or self evident, but I have attended more than a couple different seminars for self defense not to mention at least 3 different "dojos" and none of them stressed that basic fact.

August 24, 2000, 08:26 AM
double tap

[This message has been edited by Glamdring (edited August 24, 2000).]

August 25, 2000, 12:13 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Glamdring:
double tap

[This message has been edited by Glamdring (edited August 24, 2000).][/quote]

Back to "will" as a "weapon." The RVN beat the snot out of the US with SKS's tied up in rags. The wood stocks had been buried and eaten away by the stuff in the ground. We couldn't beat them with jets, napalm, USO show, shiploads of beer and steak, and rotating the troops out of country after twelve months. You need to want the victory.

Rich Lucibella
August 25, 2000, 08:17 AM
Thread closed in favor of Part IV.