Friday, November 26, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained.....

This is both hilarious and pathetic at the same time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review - Unarmed Against The Knife

"Unarmed Against The Knife" by Oscar Diaz-Cobo Copyright 1982

Where to begin? When this book came up in another thread a couple of weeks ago, I had never read it. Considering the number of knife-fighting books that I have read over the last 15 years or so, I had pretty much decided to never really spend too much time reading any more knife-fighting books.

I should have stuck to my original plan.

Look, I have to admit, I have seen worse books.

So, enough jokes and cracking on this book. Let's look at some of the plusses of the book and there really are a few.

Let's cover two things that are never covered in other books of this type. Firstly, physical conditioning. There is a short chapter (about 4 pages) on physical & "mental" conditioning. Nothing too outlandish, some isometric exercises, pushups, grip training, and even some basic hand conditioning routines. He even brings up practicing to yell when you attack a knife wielding opponent, so as to 'psyche youreself up' while at the same time trying to 'psyche out' your attacker. Also, practice putting on a 'mean' face for the same reasons.

He then finishes up the chapter with 'hypnotic visualization'. "Practice visualizing yourself destroying your opponent". This should give you an idea of how the rest of the book is going to go.

The second thing he covers is actually rather practical and as I said above is never covered in knife-fighting books.
Basic first aid if you or a friend are injured. Again, nothing spectacular, just some solid, reasonable advice.

These two items, taken together are an example of the books most basic flaw. Every time the author gives you something useful, he manages to follow it up with something that just leaves you shaking your head.

A lot of his unarmed defenses aginst knife attacks are actually very practical. Fight dirty, throw shit in your attackers face, pick up a garbage can cover (remember the book is 28 years old, this is before most trash cans were made of plastic). Attack the attackers knifehand/arm, and then close with him and just tear the shit out of him by going for the throat or eyes. Finger jabs, hammerfists, EOH blows, knees, a LOT of good stuff. But then he starts going into some overdone footwork, and man let me tell you, this guy must be part vampire because there are more than a few pictures of him biting his attacker. Not that it isn't a good tactic if the opportunity presents itself, but he seems to have a predeliction towards using his choppers.

Another problem is all his defenses seem to be predicated on his attacker pulling their blade out and letting him know that they're coming. In the chapter on improvised weapons (and as I said above, some of his stuff is quite practical) he shows a woman using her umbrella in a two-handed bayonet style, and ramminig the metal tip into her attackers face. The problem comes from the fact that the attacker is crouched down behind a tree, on a residential block, in broad daylight, with a Kabar exposed in his hand.

Now look, I know sometimes the pictures are just staged badly, but it is a recurring problem in this book.

One of the worst techniques in the book involves the attacker having come up behind his victim, put a knife up against the guys' right kidney area, and wrapped his left forearm around the victims mouth. The victim then turns toward his attacker by spinning to his right, ie: turning INTO the point of the knife at his right kidney.

You do the math.

OK, to sum up, while there are a lot of things in this book done right, there are, in my opinion, just as many done wrong.
Which is why I cannot recommend this book. The fact is, if you are able to separate the good info from the bad info, you don't NEED this book. If you are a newbie, and relatively inexperienced at unarmed knife defenses , you won't be able to segregate the wheat from the chaff, and you might just get yourself killed.

Take a pass on this one guys, it's just not worth it.

BTW, anybody want to buy slightly used

NOTE: This is a slightly edited version of a review originally published in another online forum in 2006.

Review - Colt TrailScout

I know it's not very "tactical", and the blade is even 420J2 (eww!). However, it is one well made knife. Most of you who have been around the forums for any length of time know that I have always been a Knife Nut. A few years ago I stopped buying expensive knives and even sold off or gave away most of my old collection. The word collection being the operative word here. While I still have a couple of old quality blades that I decided to keep for sentimental reasons, most of my EDC's and real utility users are now practical, and dare I say it, CHEAP!

I mess it up, who cares.
I lose it, who cares.

These days I can afford to replace whatever I damage or lose because it no longer costs me an arm-and-a-leg to get a new one.

This does not mean I buy junk. It means I've taken everything I've learned about knives over the last 30 years or so and finally managed to put it to good use for me instead of for every knife retailer and custom/semicustom maker in America.

And all this finally brings me back to the Colt TrailScout. First of all I paid less than the price you see listed at the website that is hosting the picture I linked to above.
This is, as I said, one well made knife. I've never been a fan of 420J2 steel, but apparently somebody finally figured out how to get decent edge-holding abilities out of it. I've tried it on everything from cardboard, to a London Broil, whittled wood, cut nylon and cotton rope/cord and duct tape just to give you an example because there was other stuff but I just can't think of it right now.

The handle appears to be cast aluminum with a checkered heavy rubber slip on coating that fits into a pre-machined portion of the handle. The grip is excellent without being too tacky. One of the things I like best about this knife is the heavy half-guard that actually keeps your fingers from sliding up onto the blade during a thrust. No I haven't been going around stabbing people, or even any cheap rump roasts from the butchers. Pine 1x12"s and old duffel bags filled with old rags and wrapped in duct tape have proven to me that my fingers and tendons are safe if I ever have to jab this knife into anything solid.

Hell, it even works in Reverse-grip edge out for all you pickle fans out there.

Finally, the sheath. Again, not at all tactical, but made of a thick Nylon material with a stiff plastic liner. The stitching is well done, and the retention snap and strap are both solid as a rock. You'd have a problem getting it out in hurry for Self Defense, but you'd never have to worry about losing it in the woods or doing some work at a construction site. If you want to make it "tactical" though, just go buy yourself some Kydex, read some articles, and make yourself a "tactical" sheath.

So there you have it, solid, reliable, and with plenty of potential for SD.

And with the money you save, you can actually go out and enjoy your life, instead of sitting home and trying to save every last penny you can, just so you can buy the latest Self Defense Wonder Knife that'll cost you so much money, that you'll be afraid to carry and use it for fear of scratching the blade

NOTE: This is a sllightlty edited version of a Review I published online at a small forum in 2006)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Americane - The Review

At 58 pages long, a lot of people might feel that this manual was too short. They would have complained that a lot of specific scenarios were left out, and not covered.
To that I say BULLSHIT!
This Manual covers just the right amount of material, and is in keeping with the basic simplicity of Close Combat. I've been through FMA schools and seminars, and I've bought tapes and books galore. I've seen material that was good, bad and in-between, but this Manual gets right to the heart of what it is we do.
No fancy maneuvers, no complicated footwork, and you don't need to be young athletic guy to pull the majority of this material off.

The book starts off with how Ralph and Josh came up with the idea for this Manual, and then moves on to what it hopes to achieve. Which is simply to provide the reader with the information that he needs to use a common cane or walking stick to protect himself from an unprovoked assault. They quickly go on to explain which type/style of cane they feel is the best for SD usage. They also however explain how you can compensate to some degree if for some reason you choose another style.

The Manual then goes on to explain and describe the methods of grip and style. Not to be too specific, because I don't want to give everything away, but primarily we're talking about the Bonafant (Reverse) grip, and two styles of two-handed grip. The Largo Mano, and the Bayonet. Through pictorial sequences and written descriptions, they proceed to demonstrate the various strikes for each style, and use some scenario specific uses.
This also includes the incorporation of kicks and strikes in conjunction with the cane techniques, as well as ways for transitioning from one grip style to another.

The manual also includes some basic training sequences (or katas if you will) , as well as the almost obligatory anatomical chart indicating which parts of the body are the most vulnerable to the various attacks. There is a section on footwork, training drills, and training equipment that will help you develop your ability to use the common cane to protect yourself.

Now, believe me when I say that after knowing and training with Ralph for close to 10 years now, there was very little in this Manual that I hadn't been hit with (both literally as well as figuratively) before. As I stated at the beginning of this review, I've gone through literally dozens of books, Manuals, and tapes on stickfighting, and In my opinion, this short Manual has, as they say, everything you need, and nothing you don't.

So what the fuck are you waiting for. Google up and get a damned copy already!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stickfighting For Real People

If you're reading this Blog you probably have a pretty good idea of where my interests lay. This book has been a long time coming, and I'm eagerly awaiting it's delivery. If you have an interest in Stickfighting using a common everyday walking cane, this is the book for you.
My early MA training was in Doce Pares Escrima, so don't think I'm cracking on FMA stick methods. It's just that it's a lot easier to walk around with a cane/walkingstick than it is with a 26 to 30 inch length of rattan.

Available from at

Don't pass this one up.