Monday, 20 August 2012

Fighting the English Commando!

            Many of the self-defence books I have on file originate from the Second World War era and are interesting on many levels. One particular book stands out, however, since it was written by the germans. "ABWEHR ENGLISCHER GANGSTER-METHODEN" translates roughly as “Defence against English Hoodlum Methods”. It is an interesting book, and while the author was trying his best, it is fairly obvious he doesn’t have much idea.

            I discuss the many problems with the two-handed cross-block in my book. The author of this book uses two-handed blocks extensively. Throwing your hands up to protect your face is a fairly natural reaction so there is some merit in trying to use it for self-defence. The cross-block takes a natural reaction and tries to make it rigid and mechanical, which slows it down. Here we see the classic cross-block against an overhead stab. Good job this Tommy has a dagger, if he had been using the standard issue 17” sword bayonet he would have stabbed Fritz in the face. The text instructs the German Soldier to defend with the cross-block and counter attack with a kick to the shin. The photos often create the impression that these two actions happen at the same time. Try blocking a powerful overhead thrust while standing on one leg.

            If someone tries to stab you in the neck the text tells you to duck forward and kick them in the leg. In the dark, with a hand clamped over your mouth.

            Judging from the books I have a frequent occurrence during the Second World War was being bear-hugged or having someone stand in front of you with their hands on your throat. The German counter to a frontal strangle is not one I have seen anywhere else. More commonly you see the rising wedge, descending elbows or the cross-grip and rotate. This rather reminds me of James T Kirk’s favourite double handed smash!

            Fritz has thrown up both hands to protect from a karate chop and now counter-attacks with a spear-hand to the throat. This would be a logical sequence if it were not for the fact that the spear-hand is a technique that requires more practice and conditioning than most individuals receive. As a distraction technique against the eyes this may work. Against any harder target there is a real chance of injuring the fingers. Fritz should cup his hand a little so that if his fingers do bend they have a chance of bending the right way.

            Lastly, one of the all-time hall of fame impractical self-defence techniques. Put your hand up in front of your eyes to stop someone poking them with two fingers. The photo seems to imply you should do this while on one leg, but we will be charitable and assume the kick comes afterwards. If someone comes running towards you from fifteen feet away with two fingers held up ready, you may have time to get you hand in front of your nose. The finger jab is usually a close range, very fast distraction technique, not to forget that commandos would attack at night. If someone attempts an eyejab, move your head to one side while knocking their hand in the other. Do this against any attack to this region, don’t wait to see if it is an eyejab. 

The Books


Police Search Light

            Sometime back I was reading a book on either Kubotan or Yawara sticks for police used. The author was stressing the fact that while searching as suspect the weapon could be kept in hand ready for instant use should the suspect make an aggressive move. It occurred to me that this author had actually missed a trick here. A suspect’s pockets can be full of all sorts of nasty things including infected needles, so initially examining the interior with a stick like object rather than your tender flesh isn’t a bad idea. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if one end of that stick mounted a small magnet. That train of thought reminded me that some models of pocket torch have a magnet on their base, allowing them to be stuck onto metal surfaces such as car bodywork. A small torch is quite a handy thing to have while searching a suspect too.

            My original idea evolved into a small torch with a magnet mounted at one end. It needed to be robust enough to be used as a striking weapon like a Kongo. It needed to be slender and long enough that it could be used like a wand to search suspects. Thin but long would also facilitate many of the Kubotan lock and restraint techniques. Unlike many of the available compact flashlights it would need a switch or button so that it could easily switched on and off without changing grip. Given that many cops use flashlights in an “icepick”-style grip there might be virtue in giving the design dual controls. The obvious place to carry such a tool is a breast or sleeve pocket so the light should probably have penclip too.

            A relatively new innovation in tactical flashlights are crenulated bezels. The first examples of these I saw looked rather like cookie-cutters and I was a little dubious since they seemed designed to increase the severity of damage without contributing much to the self-defence capabilities of the flashlight. I could see some immoral lawyer claiming it caused cruel and unnecessary damage. There now seem to be a wider variety of more sensible designs. I like the three-pronged example on the left. If the flashlight is placed bezel down it would cast quite a bit of light over the surface that it was standing on, which might be useful.

            I have another potential application for this compact police light. Arrests often degenerate into cop and suspect rolling around on the ground. Your gun is of little use in such a situation. It may provide the suspect with a weapon to use against you. This is why some cops are trained to eject their magazine and render the pistol incapable of firing if things become a wrestling match. There are ways to use a nightstick in ground fighting, but the chances are you dropped that or it is on your belt and difficult to draw. In such situations the compact police light I suggest, carried in a breast pocket and accessible with either hand could prove very useful.