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Six Irrefutable Laws of Weapons Fighting: As Applied to Impact Weapons & Blades

The Law of Preparedness: Fortes Fortuna Paramus 

An armed attack means it is show time!  What you do now will make all the difference to your survival.  Are you prepared?  You could end up severely injured or even dead or you can take decisive action to counter attack and manoeuvre your way through the situation by reversing the roles from being a victim to becoming the hunter.  Anything could be coming at you: slashes, stabs, bludgeoned strikes and thrusts.  Whatever approach you decide to use, be sure you are doing something offensive, while applying forward pressure and do it fast.  To freeze or hesitate is a fatal recipe for disaster.  Do not become a soft target.  If you are forced to fight, learn to cheat and fight dirty.  There will be no one there to help you and no room for fair play and good sportsmanship.  Many self defence teachers espouse either 100% success or 100% failure when musing over the subject of countering an edged weapon or a baseball bat attack.  There are many things you can proactively learn to help you deal with such an attack, but it needs to be said that you could do everything right and still get killed.  This is how severe these attacks can be.  However, with that said, fortune does favour the one who is more prepared in advance of such a situation!  Assess the situation (if you can run, then run), move fast, hit first, hit hard and escape to safety!       

The Law of Multiplying the Force: Peace Through Greater Fire Power 

In a violent street assault where your life or the life of a loved one is threatened and by that I mean where you stand to either die or sustain serious bodily harm, you must learn to multiply the force necessary with weapons or improvised weapons in order to survive and escape the violent ordeal at hand!  You must develop the mindset to be more ruthless than your enemy by offering greater violence than the violence offered by your attacker.  This is succinctly put in one of my favourite maxims: Peace through greater fire power!   

The Law of the Weapons Continuum: In the Hands of the Lion Tamer a Chair is Not a Chair Anymore

There is a distinction within military and police circles between heavily armed and lightly armed individuals.  Very few of us will ever get a chance to fire a missile, an RPG or even a sniper rifle.  In fact few will ever shoot a hand gun on a range let alone at a person.  For unarmed civilians under the pressure immediate threat of a street attack, the use of the improvised weapon proves to be an invaluable “ace up your sleeve” survival tactic.  Improvised weapons are all around you.  Practice identifying improved weapons in your day to day environment.  For instance, a copper pipe left in a back alley can easily equate to a stick; a broken bottle can be used as a slashing a stabbing tool; a handful of loose change can be used as projectiles and a chair or trash can lid can fend off attackers and be used as blunt trauma weapons.  Improvised weapons can be used to throw, stab, slash, batter, smite and shield.  Do not be a soft target!  If you are going to fight, be decisive and fight dirty.  Think, move fast, find an equaliser and hit hard!  The modern warrior – urban, suburban and rural - survives his day-to-day battles inside a weapons continuum loosely listed here: 

1.    Empty Hand

2.    Improvised Weapons

3.    Knives

4.    Impact Weapons

5.    Handguns

6.    Long Guns

7.    RPGs and Anti Tank Weapons

8.    Chemical & Biological Weapons

9.    Missiles

10. Nuclear Warfare 

Most of us will only ever be subjected to the first four or five categories listed.  The purpose of this continuum is to point out that yes, there is a weapons continuum.  

The Law of Realistic Scenarios: Define Your Training Strategy 

Being able to defend against and also being able to use weapons such as sticks and knives will give you many advantages on the street and the battlefield.  The stick or impact weapon is one of the oldest weapons known to mankind and gives you a noticeable extension and striking advantage which will enable you to keep your attacker at bay.  The use of the stick as a self defence tool must blend in with normal everyday things in order not to attract too much attention.  Collapsible walking sticks, umbrellas and large flash lights are some of the most common items that can be used to create an extension very efficiently in all out combat.  Your strikes can be full power follow through motions, short retractable motions, circular or thrusting motions.  The knife on the other hand allows for a more “stealth-like” concealment, a lethal cutting edge for slashing, hacking and thrusting movements and a pommel end for devastating impact strikes.    The chances of ever being in a knife-on-knife engagement or a stick-on-stick fight are practically non-existent.  However, situations that you are more likely to face are empty hand vs. the knife, empty hand vs. the stick, stick vs. knife, knife vs. stick, stick vs. empty hand or knife vs. empty hand.  Although the last two options are blatantly “politically incorrect”, what happens when your attacker and/or attackers happen to be over six feet five, weigh in at over 280 pounds and are bent on your destruction? These scenarios statistically provide a more representative reflection of a real world street assault when weapons are in play.    Here are five steps to help develop your strategy for countering a weapons assault: 

1.    Define you environment:

·         Urban

·         Suburban

·         Rural 

2.    The choice of weapon and its deployment (early, mid & late phase):

·         Expandable baton

·         Collapsible walking stick

·         Cane

·         Long flashlight

·         Fixed blade

·         Tactical folder

·         Concealed neck knife

3.    Defining the enemy’s carry points

·                   Beltline

·                   Pockets

·                   Jacket

·                   Boot carry

·                   Lunge and reach  

4.    Choice of Training Weapons

·         Rattan sticks

·         Padded sticks

·         Aluminium knife (fixed and folder)

·         Padded knives

·         Hard rubber/moulded plastic 

5.    Training Methodologies to Develop Skill

·         Solo practice in the air

·         Solo practice against pads, heavy bags, tyres, posts & B.O.B.

·         Partner skill developing drills 6.    Functional Drills for Combat Effectiveness

·         Isolated replication drills against a reactive partner

·         Combat Scenarios against an un-cooperative partner   

The Law of Body Mechanics: Torque Your Body From Your Ankle, Knee, Hip & Shoulder 

Striking is broken down into three main categories: Power Follow Through Strikes, Hit & Retract Strikes and Circular Strikes.  Strikes should be economical in their delivery without forsaking full-on power.  Body mechanics, which emphasise “torso rotation”, are an intrinsic attribute that are responsible for maximum power in your strikes.  Make sure that you swing your weapon from the elbow to the wrist while pivoting your ankle, knee, hip and shoulder behind each striking movement.  The empty hand needs to be alive, in the “window of combat” (a rectangle outlined by the top of your shoulders down to the hips) ready and waiting to strike, grab, block, parry, pass and push your adversary. 

The Law of Force Protection: Convention & Wisdom Means Little in the Face of Real Combat 

A controversial subject, empty hand defence against any weapon is troublesome and your chances of coming out on top are significantly lowered.  However, lack of a “go to hell” plan will only breed anxiety and panic, while having a contingency strategy will empower you and lay the ground work for your survival and escape. The continuum of action spans from early phase (pre- draw), mid phase (static presentation of the weapon) to late phase (dynamically attacking). Remember, do not freeze!  Try to overcome the initial shock of the attack and react forcefully with forward pressure.  In order to negate your attacker’s intention you must:

1.    React Immediately

2.    Realise Escape is Your Primary Goal

3.    Keep It Simple, But Not Too Simple

4.    Attack the Attack

5.    Go For the Head 

It has to be said that most street fights occur between five feet and in-your-face.  Even if you carry a weapon the chances of deploying it without first utilising your empty hand skills are next to nil.  Please don’t misinterpret this- you only fight empty handed to transition to some sort of equaliser that parallels the threat at hand.  This could be a knife, a chair, an impact weapon such as a baton or simply the environment around you like the nearest wall.  Of course most Western democracies will permit you to employ only that force necessary against any given threat.  This means any violence that you use must be justified in a court of law and parallel the immediate circumstances.  Fearing for your life or the lives of others may be a justified excuse, but bear this in mind- while righteousness is on your side you may still face legal consequences for any injuries that you may cause.  However, when in the face of lethal danger you may be better off being tried by 12 rather than being carried by six- the choice is yours.    


Joe Hubbard’s professional background is represented by a collective body of experience that spans over more than two decades of operational security know-how, close protection operations and close quarter combatives training. He is a highly sought out personal protection specialist who has authored five instructional DVDs and has written articles in international martial arts magazines such as Martial Arts Illustrated, Combat, Black Belt UK and Budo International. As a respected self-defence instructor, Joe has proven experience teaching many elite operatives that include former Special Forces operators, U.S. Marines, UK law enforcement, private corporations and responsible private citizens. As a licensed close protection operative, he has been trained in force protection tactics, counter-terrorism, tactical first aid, counter-surveillance, IED awareness and personal protection. Joe also holds many accredited instructor certifications and multiple black belts in martial arts systems comprised of unarmed combatives, ground fighting, knife/counter knife, stick fighting and fire arms.





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