March 2, 2015

Surviving A Gunfight with Lt. Bob Stasch of the Chicago PD

Our friend Darrin Cook over at Big Stick Combat has a great blog where he brings many great perspectives and opinions to the martial arts self defense realm.  He is a realist and seems to have common sense hence why he often posts about 21st century combat; ie. gun defense. 

It has been my experience that the overwhelming majority of folks involved in the martial arts have about 0-5% knowledge base when it comes to guns.  That is an all encompassing statement (obviously I am ignoring variable demographics) but in all reality the majority of people I run across have not even fired a weapon before let alone know what to do if faced with an armed opponent (weapons are more and more prevalent in assault cases).  So when Darrin shares a great clip like this one I tend to listen and learn. 

Lt. Bob Stasch has survived  14 gun fights in his nearly 35 years of service on the Chicago Police force.  Few individuals have such experience and are alive to speak of it.  I have included the video interview and also provided the highlights from the interview (thanks to Darrin):



  • Go for head shots instead of center-of-mass shots, especially at very close range, where most gunfights occur.
  • Practice shooting a 6-inch paper plate. If you can hit the plate, you can hit the head.
  • Most of his gunfights were under 12 feet.
  • Train for instinctive, point shooting instead of aimed shooting.
  • In most instances, your off hand is occupied doing something else –be prepared to shoot one-handed.
  • Carry a minimum of 2 extra magazines.
  • Carry a backup weapon in case your gun malfunctions or you’re disarmed.
  • Lieutenant Stasch likes a lightweight .38 revolver as a backup.
  • He carries a Sig Sauer P220 in .45 because of the feel in the hand “The key to being a good handgun shooter is to have a weapon that’s an extension of your hand. Don’t get the gun that people recommend –get the gun that feels right in your hand. Go to a gun store and pick up every gun with your eyes closed, pick the one that feels like a 6th finger.”

 Lt. Stasch's findings are congruent with the NYPD's SOP 9 study on combat cases: click here to be redirected.

Food for thought here no matter what your opinion of firearms is.  Are you prepared? 

March 1, 2015

Do MMA (BJJ) Gyms Have a Sexual Harassment Problem?

Inappropriate in Yoga and martial arts!
Nursing the hangover of what can only be called "WOW... WTF was that?!?!?!?" 14 second submission of Cat Zingano via Ronda Rousey, Jake Rossen also dropped a great article over at ESPN entitled "Do MMA Gyms Have a Sexual Harassment Problem?"  Highlighting what seems to be an ever present cloud hanging over the martial arts community with both male and female instructors abusing positions and relationships within various martial arts schools albeit mixed martial arts (MMA), Judo, traditional martial academies, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) schools.

Click here to read the entire article:

"I believe a Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor's influence on a student is stronger than a doctor, psychologist or lawyer," says Rener Gracie, a member of the legendary martial arts family and a head instructor at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California. "They put students in impossible scenarios where they have no answer and then teach them the solution. It puts them in a position of being a purveyor of absolute truth and effectiveness. And if this instructor has this degree of truthful knowledge, they must have same answers for life."

(Solid point, but an interesting choice for a quote considering one of Rener's affiliate schools just had a female instructor arrested for alleged molestation crimes)

   In 2013, New Hampshire instructor Aldo Batista dos Santos was charged with multiple counts of felonious sexual assault against a teenage student. A mistrial was declared in August 2014 when a relative of the alleged victim began screaming at dos Santos' lawyer during cross-examination. Dos Santos was subsequently found guilty in a December jury trial.
   "He created an atmosphere where you weren't allowed to question him," says a former male student at dos Santos' academy who asked not to be identified. "When the case broke, he said the student was just trying to sue him for money. But it's a criminal trial."

"It's a situation where you have someone in a high position who isn't often questioned," says AnnMaria De Mars, Ph.D., Rousey's mother and a longtime judo practitioner. "People assume if you can stand up for yourself physically, you can also stand up for yourself emotionally, but that isn't always the case. You can have someone good at a sport that isn't that self-confident."
   Unlike most sports, jiu-jitsu, judo, and other ground arts have mixed-gender practices. Because men far outnumber women, training with the opposite sex becomes a necessity, and female coaches are scarce. As more young women seek out training for recreational or professional goals, few expect the situation Rousey spoke out against -- that they would someday need protection against their own instructor.


I realize there is no one, simple, easy answer to such a complex and variable problem that is not only a part of our own microcosm but in reality is quite a problem throughout society.  But two common aspects I have seen in the majority of these cases are; 1- No oversight from anybody, and I mostly direct this towards parents.  Where are the parents in all this?  A martial arts dojo is NOT a daycare/babysitter.  WHY are you not watching and involved in every aspect possible when your child is in such a situation with ANY adult??  Time to buck up and take some responsibility parents. 
   Secondly an awful lot of these academies are part of chain / affiliate academies.  The economic drive to open multiple schools and subsequently the pressure to fill them with competent instructors and paying students seems to over ride the common sense thought process, or as my grandfather used to simply put it... "You're getting too big for your britches."  Again a lack of control and oversight coupled with poor, quick character judgements by business owners/head instructors.  In my humble opinion there is too many Mc - Academies which carry the names of famous instructors, but don't necessarily extort their morals and lifestyle. 


Attention Three Harmonies Students

There will be no class March 3-10th.  See on the 12th!  Go Bucks!! 

February 22, 2015

Your Triangles Suck... Here Is Rigan Machado To Help

Random rare Youtube find... I stand to be corrected but I believe this is a copy of the DVD that accompanied Rigan Machado's "The Triangle" book, coauthored by David Meyer, that has been long out of print.  Regardless this is a 90 minute tutorial gold mine of information for martial artists of all backgrounds.  Mastering the triangle choke will make you a more versatile martial artist.  Here is pretty much every detail of how to get into and finish the triangle choke from every conceivable position:


2015 Chinese New Year With Mike Martello

Miss all of you
Happy year of the Sheep / Goat!  I can think of no better way to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year then with my good friend and teacher Mike Martello.  He has been on my mind a lot lately as I was watching an Anthony Bourdain "The Layover" in Taiwan the other night, and sure enough if there wasn't Mike's old training crew under Wang Jie featured!  Then as mentioned in the previous post Feidor Laview brought back some great memories with the Miao Dao. 

Though I know I have posted these clips before, it has been seven years since this film was taken here in Seattle where we hosted Mike a couple of times.   Unfortunately this is the last film I have of Mike and us together.  He died in 2009 prior to returning stateside for another round of lessons.

There is pure gold in these clips regardless of what style you train.  Sadly the majority of us will never, ever reach even a quarter of what Mike attained prior to his premature death.  Study and learn. 

Miss you Mike...









Feidor S. Laview, Mike Martello, A Miao Dao, and Respect

Respect is one of the most overused, cliche words in the English pantheon, especially in the computer age.  That is why when folks like Feidor S. Laview and my student Cheryl show such unbridled, honest respect I feel the need to highlight such acts. 

My new Taiji student Cheryl was kind enough to ask if I minded her showing some of what I have taught her to a class of senior citizens she teaches weekly.  I was flabbergasted and humbled by this simple, yet often overlooked request in the martial arts.  Traditionally in most Asian Martial Arts you were forbidden to teach or show what you learned to anyone outside of your training family.  Now days that rule is a bit more lax, but it is refreshing none the less when a student asks out of respect. 
Miss you Mike

Similarly a gentleman I have never met Feidor S. Laview writes the Seagraves Journey, a web serial that has been described by David Schrock as:
“A turbulent, occasionally psychedelic, ride dotted by beautiful pools of reflection.”

As part of his research for Wu Ming, one of his characters whom uses a Miao Dao (a specific long sabre from the Chinese Martial realm) Feidor stumbled across my postings about my old teacher  Mike Martello who was an expert in the Miao Dao.  Long story short Feidor was kind enough and respectable enough to ask my permission to post a nice write up on the origin of the weapon and his research.  Much respect Feidor, and excellent writing!  

Click here to check out his post.

February 18, 2015

Royce Gracie Chimes In on PED's In Mixed Martial Arts

It is scientifically impossible to prove whether continuously being choked out, or PED's (performance enhancing drugs) are the root cause for such ignorant and naive statements to come from Royce Gracie, but here is what he offered to MMAFighting.com on the recent subject of PED's in MMA:

“It shows that the system is working,” “You’re trying to look at the bad side, I’m looking at the good side. Instead of trying to encourage people, ‘Oh, let’s ban MMA because everybody is doing drugs, let’s ban NASCAR because they’re advertising drinking and driving.’ Let’s look at the good side. The system is working. Let’s not try to put down the fighters because one fighter made a mistake, decided to party and do whatever.”
“How many people got caught [recently]? Five?” Gracie said. “Five of how many we have in the sport all over the world? I don’t think it’s a problem.”
“I feel like the system works,” Gracie said. “It’s good. Let’s not think of the bad side, let’s think it’s the good side. It works.
“The system works. That’s why they’re getting caught.”

First of all his analogy is not only completely wrong, it is ignorant.  NASCAR drivers are not drinking prior to racing.  To the best of my limited redneck knowledge this has not been an issue since bootleg days.
Secondly it is sad and pathetic to see Royce Gracie, who many consider an ambassador for MMA and the UFC, not only take PED's but also make ignorant statements like the one above.

In my day to day conversations it has become brilliantly clear that this naivety is pervasive in both our culture and the martial art/sport realm.  People honestly believe the majority of MMA fighters are "clean," which to me means they do not take ANYTHING, EVER.  Yet you push the conversation with folks and you quickly find out what they mean is... the majority of MMA fighters know how to cycle properly so they don't get caught.  For example the argument being that Anderson Silva was recovering from a serious injury (leg break) and therefore was off his normal juice - clean cycle, hence his timing was off, the result being popping hot on several tests.

It is becoming abhorrently apparent to me that this is the nature of our culture / race.  We will lie, cheat, and steal to justify our own end.  Shame on me for thinking the martial arts were immune to such cancer.  I sincerely hope that the mixed martial arts world works to fix this.