Thursday, June 17, 2010


As human beings we are multi-dimensional. There are many facets to us, and within those facets we can also express many temperaments. We are also different things to different people: husband to one; brother to another; instructor to one; student to another. In the same manner, it is vital that our martial skills be similarly multi-dimesional.

When I taught ninjutsu for Duncan-sensei at the Queens Village Pistol and Rifle Club, I believed I was multi-dimensional because I taught students the use of traditional weapons (tanto, hanbo, kusari, jo, and bo) in addition to various approaches to unarmed combat. I was, however, rudely awakened by Sensei when he unceremoniously informed me that I'd also better get skilled in the use of firearms -- and soon! (See prior post.)

At the time I was smug in my ability to effectively engage in defensive unarmed combat. The handgunners at the Club were smug in their ability to shoot us at 35 feet (if they ever had to.)

I quickly got over my smugness when I undertook extensive firearms training and eventually became certified as an NRA Pistol Instructor. (Regrettably, the Club's handgunners never saw the wisdom of becoming trained in unarmed combat skills. Perhaps they wore their guns in the shower.)

The point is, never rely on only one -- or even two -- defense systems. One or two systems are not enough. Understand that thugs and felons are allowed to practice martial arts in the prisons, so they're criminally-motivated and they're combatively-trained. Your Tae-Bo or Cardio-Kickboxing workouts are not going to save you.

Navaja students must learn to integrate unarmed combat into their knifework. Savate works very nicely. My fencing friends should also study knife or cane arts in addition to their epee, saber, and smallsword disciplines. Traditional martial artists should also explore boxing or military combatives, the use of chemical sprays, and expandable batons.

And everyone -- political leanings notwithstanding -- should have a fundamental working understanding of firearms use.

Don't become complacent with your current skills, no matter how masterfully you perform them -- and don't neglect to develop The Other Side of the Coin!