The Flexible Weapon
First of all, I have to say something very important. There is nothing that I can type out here that will convince someone who thinks Flexible Weapons are nonsense. So, any critic can pick this apart and call it nonsense.
Also, there is nothing I can type and no drawing I can modify or picture I can take that can compare with the video material available from James Keating and Comtech. If you are serious about this stuff, purchase the material. I am not going to get involved in debates about "overpriced" videotapes or anything like that. The material is what it is. Period. The material is excellent.
In a world where an adult has to pay almost $10.00 to see a movie in a theater, the logical human being would think that $40.00 to $55.00 for an hour of video material, something that if you actually get off the couch and apply could be yours for a lifetime. Something that could save your life. Itís priceless.
If you go see some movie with a hot chick in it, you are never going to have her, youíre spending your money to go think about having something you never will. If you fancy yourself Jackie Chan, know that you are never going to be him. People spend money on that. I have actually watched people on Internet Discussion Forums condemn a James Keating or a Kelly Worden for the price of their instructional materials, and then they do a movie review on some movie. Itís your money, do what you want. However, donít come back and complain about prices for something that will actually TEACH you something instead of merely being mindless entertainment.
Now, that is out of the way. Here comes the shameless plug for a company/"school" that is not my employer, but he is my friend.
Comtech. Get the Bandana Tapes, get "The Legacy of Steel" tapes. I think they are simply excellent. They are going to give you more than this article ever could. Iím just giving you some random ideas in these articles along with nuggets of gold. You click on my site, you take a pan in your hand. You stick it in the water, come up with some stuff and you sift through to find a nugget of gold. Thatís the way I look at it anyway..."The Legacy of Steel" tapes are not necessarily "instructional," it is a two-tape series on Keatingís Riddle of Steel Seminars. An "Insiderís Look." Yet, there are some truly spectacular moments on film and part of it IS instructional in nature.
The Legacy of Steel, and some cloth too
In these two tapes, you are going to see some sneaky Bladecraft, and you are going to see some of the best Western Bladecraft ever, including The Deadly Backcut.
That is not the focus now, however... You are going to see Robert Langford, Comtech Instructor, teach some Bandana. And you are going to see;#1 The Lowline Blowout.#2 If the Blowout fails, going inside and outside.#3 Then against an attacker in reverse grip, inside and outside.#4 Using the Bandana as a distraction/flail.
A great package, you get alot of material. In the "Bandana Tapes," there is also alot of important information. Information that goes beyond the Bandana Vs. Knife material.
The Lethal Art of Compartmentalization
Keating once said in an Issue of The Comtech Excellerator (If I remember correctly)..."Donít judge the world by your own shitty standards..."Well, some may take offense at that. Some may sit and twiddle their thumbs and ignore realities and ignore things that can save their life. Or the life of a loved one.
Donít be arrogant or ignorant. Open your eyes...break out of the box that so many people wish for you to remain inside.
Compartmentalization is lethal to YOU. You put yourself in Houdiniís Box, you better be Harry Houdini.
I have watched people in various discussions truly believe that their empty hand skills are going to save the day against sharpened pieces of steel in the street. I have seen some of the same people say, "A Bandana? Are you stupid?"
No, some of us are not stupid, because we can think outside of a box. Itís not just a Bandana. Itís a concept.
A Scenario (#1) Youíre late for work, you work at night like I do. You walk outside to the car and you notice that one tire is so low, you are not going to make it to work without some air. There is a gas station down the street...You hop in the car, warm it up a bit, and youíre off! You are going down the street and you make the turn onto the main road, and you see the gas station sign. You pull in.
You hop out of the car, youíre digging for change (Air is not "free" where I live, you have to pay for it, itís not a "service" provided by a gas station anymore for free). You find your fifty-cents. You place it in the machine and you pick up the hose and you go down to one knee beside the tire.
The thing is bent and screwed up where some people have ran over it, etc., youíre having a hard time getting the air in the tire. You see all sorts of headlights going all over the place. That is normal. High traffic area...In a flash, you see a pair of tennis shoes coming around the back of your car...you come up on your feet, the guy is rushing you and he is almost around the car, he puts his palm on the car to make it around faster, for some traction...Youíre up, you have the hose and the assembly on the end that is a bit heavier, you have it in both hands. He swipes at you with a carpet knife, and you redirect it past you and you slap him on the right side of the face with the heavy metal end and he stumbles to the side and the carpet knife he was carrying clatters on the blacktop. You then take another shot and come back at him, back-handed and hit him on the opposite side of the head, then do a circular, looping action and you come straight up into his groin.
Get in the car and leave... Now, some would say, "Why didnít you see them coming? Jeff Cooperís Color Code dontcha know..."Yeah, bullshit too, O.K.? Letís get in the REAL WORLD for a moment where people work for a living, their kids get sick, they get late for work, they have flat tires...you know? Sometimes, everything goes wrong. I really donít care who you are, at one time or another in your life, you are going to have your head up your ass not paying attention or, the other guy is going to be very skilled at what HE does for a living. If you can walk out of your Motherís Funeral and still be aware of everything around you, in your grief, youíre a far better "Tactical Guy" than I am.
Sometimes, you are confronted with people that know how to hide, and hide their actions...very well. Sometimes, no matter how vigilant you are, you will miss something. Anything can happen.
What I try to impress on people is, a concept. If you put a Bandana in someoneís hands and you say, "Letís work through some of this material." Some people will say, "Iím never going to carry a Bandana..." Or you will put a belt in someoneís hands and they will say, "Iím never going to have a belt, Iím not going to remove my belt..." Or, "I donít wear a belt."
If you have open eyes, wear your pants so they fit in such a way that you do not need the belt. The belt can teach you things, the Bandana can teach you things. They are similar, yet, very different.
Scenario #2 "Yeah, well, I need a tow truck at the 3700 Block of Crescent Street..."So, youíre on a payphone. I donít own a Cell Phone, so again, letís get in the REAL WORLD where not everyone is the same. In any event, what if your Cell Phone does not work, might have to use a payphone, right? Simple.
Youíre on the phone and a man walks up, youíre on hold with a Towing Company, and the guy starts asking you for change.
"I used all I had for this phone call, sorry man..." And then he asks, "Well, what about a dollar, huh? Can I have a dollar?"
"No man, sorry...I donít have anymore money..."Then the guy gets pissed and he shoves you...and youíre like, "Back off asshole...back off..." And you kick him square in the groin...he doubles up and goes to the cement.
You see him reach in his pocket, he is curled up but he is reaching, and you see the flash of a knife. You yank the phone receiver free from the phone and using it, you start whipping his knife hand and head with it. You basically have what many people call a Speedo. A Speedo is a speedometer cable, usually worn through the belt loops. A vicious streetfighting weapon with a bad to the bone reputation.
Then you just stomp on the arm that would slash you and you break it and run like hell. Simple, right?
Critic Suppression O.K., I can hear some groans now. "Youíre going to destroy a payphone?" Yeah, you better believe I would if my life depended on it, or if I thought for a moment that I could have a greater degree of safety by doing so.
"You canít tear one of those receivers free...come on..." Do you know how many times I have stopped to use a payphone and I found one without a receiver? Sometimes, you see them lying a few feet away as well. Pissed off boyfriends and vandals often do this. Have you ever looked at one? The end of the metal, flexible housing that the wires are encased in, when ripped free, on every one I have ever seen, has left a very sharp piece unraveled. It would tear someone to shreds if used with force.
The receiver is designed to be held by the human hand, it is a good handle. You have a vicious steel whip in your hand that has a sharp "popper" on the end. Or, you could take your chances and grab it by that end and beat the attacker with the heavier end, the receiver.
Or...you could use it in both of your hands, and the receiver hanging off one end to strike with as well. Use your imagination. Think outside the box.
So, the Bandana or Belt can become an airhose or a metal phone cord, right? It makes no sense in scenario #1 to drop an improvised weapon [the airhose] in order to draw a weapon, no matter how "deadly" or more effective the weapon is. The only exception to that is, if you were confronted with an attacker that had a firearm and you had a firearm and I would STILL hit them in the face with the airhose! Metsubushi, remember? Connect the dots, simple math, addition, 1+1=2.
Without going in-depth into scenarios again, just imagine what is around you every day. If you are in the garage, and you are working on something, you might have an extension cord on the table. Maybe you have one in your hand. You never know. Whatever you can pick up that has similar attributes to dedicated Flexible Weapons can be pressed into service.
What if you are a woman living alone and you have studied with a boyfriend or an Instructor in some of these methods. What if everything goes wrong and someone does in fact make silent entry into your home? What if you are drying your hair and you cannot hear the glass break in the door? You have a hairdryer in your hand. It is a weapon if you know how to use it. So is the Curling Iron, and if it is on, itís hot as hell too. You have a Flexible Weapon and a Bludgeon in both cases.
The power of the Flexible Weapon when it is used to snare or snag limbs has to be felt in order to be believed, it truly is eye-opening. Quite frankly, I was amazed when I started using Flexible Weapons some time ago.
When you learn to snag punches alaí Comtech Bandana Tape, you will be amazed. You might think, "Hey, this is staged..." Until you then take something similar and do it to a training partner. The stuff works and it can be a segue into many things.
The #1 Snag you will learn in some of the material is somewhat loose as all of these techniques usually are. Relaxed. As the punch comes in, you have the Bandana [or belt, etc.] in both hands and you use a circular motion and you come down on the forearm and you give them a pull. The results are more than "good," theyíre excellent.
The movement is almost like the lowline blowout I spoke of earlier, but in the blowout [against a knife] you snap the Bandana taut at the last second. That gives added power. If you wish to snag a punch, you do not want the punch to be repelled, you want to snag it. You give them a pull and since they have a certain amount of forward energy anyway, it works very well.
It works almost on the principle of the Arm Drag in Wrestling, it is leverage. The Flexible Weapon gives you alot of leverage. A force multiplier.
This is covered in Vol. II of Comtechís Bandana material. As well as parrying, compression and striking. It is really must-have material for anyone interested in Flexible Weapons.
Keating addresses punches, kicks and strangles as well as other rather nasty maneuvers in this volume. He also covers not only counters to these attacks but how you can add your own empty hand material in the movements.
Vol. I is more Counter Edged Weapons. The Legacy of Steel is many things with some excellent Counter Edged Weapons material.
I hesitated writing about Flexible Weapons in general again because I knew it would end up being a review of Comtechís material. I have to tell you though, I have to be honest. I could sit here and type for three days and never give you what an hour of video will do. You simply have to see how fluid the method is and then get up and dedicate some time to it, in order to see the beauty and effectiveness of it.
I would be doing the interested reader/practitioner a great disservice by NOT telling them to get this material. I think if you are interested in this genre of weapons/methods, you simply have to have this stuff.
I will try to describe a sequence of fluid movement from Vol. II. As the attacker punches, your Bandana is vertical. If the attacker is punching with his right hand, your left hand will be high and your right low, Bandana vertical...keep that in mind. Keating goes to great lengths to impress upon the viewer NOT to use a flesh on flesh block, but to use the Bandana. And he shows the difference in the power that a simple piece of cloth can produce. As the parry occurs, and you move the Bandana to the right, your left hand drops into a hammerfist and pounds down on the incoming limb, this is the "compression" I spoke of earlier. Your right fist or elbow can then come right across and as Keating points out, the parry and compression has a tendency to impel the attacker into your other hand or elbow. It is fluid and destructive. It can end right there. Especially if you add in lowline kicking like Sikaran.
Moving from these movements into chokes and controls is natural and it is covered as well. What I want to do is encourage you to get the material, and this is an unsolicited testimonial for the material. Iím not being reimbursed in any way whatsoever. Iím telling the interested person to purchase it for their own good, not mine. Iím taking the time to compose this because I think the material is that valuable and I am giving you a taste of it in the written word to hopefully whet your appetite.
The Big Picture
This is the important part that I want to touch on once again. Concentration on a Bandana is the wrong way to consider this as a method. If you read the articles on my website, you will see reoccurring themes and you will see a commonality, a thread running through them. From the Sjambok Article to the Metsubushi Article, from the Metsubushi Article to this one. This is incredibly important for anyone who wishes to never be unarmed or at a loss for something to counter an assault with. For another example, the whole ancient and primarily Western Concept of Cloak & Dagger can be approached as the name suggests. As only a method to be used with a knife. Or, you can expand that to using the Cloak [jacket or coat] solo for defense. The infamous "Blanket Party" is viable as well. There are so many things around you that can be used. A pillow case and a blanket in a Hotel Room, possibly in another country where you cannot possess weapons of any kind. Open your mind. The lines begin to blur and you will begin to see a very clear picture on the other side once you clear away all of the little sub-categories that even I have to use in order to have some structure on this website. The articles can be stand-alone, or in many cases, they can be strung together in a cohesive manner.
Metsubushi, as a concept, is found in Cloak & Dagger, both are found in Flexible Weapons. You see? Concentration on one does not necessarily mean success in all. You have to explore. YOU have to find the common links that make up the chain.
Camping, Hiking and Fishing
In some places, you cannot carry anything! I know in most State Parks where I live, there are definite prohibitions against weapons. Not ALL of the Parks, but the ones closer to urban areas are definitely places where you will be arrested or at least hassled for anything remotely resembling a weapon.
I could place pictures of my CaneMasters Canes here, or perhaps my Cold Steel Lahti. Or Estwing Hatchets, Cold Steel Tomahawks or Cold Steel Shovel. This is an article on Flexible Weapons though...
Do you see something in this picture [below] that would be considered illegal or something you could even be hassled for? I doubt if a Park Ranger would even give you the Hairy Eyeball over this. All he is going to see is an assortment of rather harmless objects that a Hiker/Camper would carry. A pair of compact binoculars, a SAK Swiss Champ, A Gerber Fire-starter, a G.I. Aluminum Carabiner and a doubled length of knotted rope about 2.5 feet in length.
You could use the Carabiner as a pair of improvised knuckles or a fistload. Or you could place it on the end of the rope and have a weighted end for striking as shown in the picture below, an improvised Manrikigusari.
At the end of "The Garrotte" article, I placed a modified [collage] illustration from the U.S. Armyís current Combatives Manual. Two of the sequences are from the section of the manual known as, "Improvised Weapons" and the weapon is listed as a three-foot piece of rope. The other illustration in the same collage is a Sentry Removal Technique from the same manual.
The Mad Dash for a Bandaid
It has been a rather humbling experience to find that so many people like my website. It has also been encouraging. I cannot tell you how many people have E-mailed me, it is probably over a half dozen easily, on thoughts about being safer on an Airliner.
I was also hesitant to write about that because quite frankly, I donít want it to appear to someone who is hysterical in a position of authority to mistake my words...and ideas as being somehow "helping" criminals. I support NO crime. I only support GOOD people. Simple as that. I have no use whatsoever for criminals.
I place the answer to the request in this article because this is where it belongs. Belts and shoe laces can never be banned. If arrested, you lose these things because they are usually strong enough for you to kill yourself with. Thatís a hint. You can take out a hostile attacker with these things. Thatís the major point to be made. A good leather belt, replacing your white shoe laces with white 550 ParaCord or black with black...even knowing how to use your shoes!
I hope no one would accuse me of "cashing in" on the current tragedy that has befallen this Great Nation. However, these criminals used box cutters as far as we know. Do you know how much armor your average tennis shoe, especially a high top athletic shoe, would give you against someone armed with a weapon like that?
Now, I take a step back in time to various Internet Discussion Forums and the stuff people condemn without thinking. First it was all of the people, some of them active in Filipino Martial Arts, who blasted James Keating for the Bandana Material. Not knowing that the Bandana [panyo] has been taught by Grandmaster Edgar Sulite [RIP] as well as others. People run their mouth about everything and they spend so much time running their mouth, they have nothing else to offer usually. To those I say, clear your mind and your ass will follow, with all due respect.
Where am I going with this? O.K., Iíll tell you. In the 1980s, Guro Dan Inosanto had a series of videotapes out on The Filipino Arts. In one part, he just gave a taste of using shoes for Self-defense, yes, on the hands. Amazing, isnít it?
So many people have remarked, "Now who in the hell is going to put their shoes on their hands and fight like that? Are you stupid?" Well, I would put forth the radical idea that if you are stuck in an aluminum tube, weaponless, with despicable, cowardly bastards who are going to use box cutters...can you finish this sentence for yourself? Take the damned shoes off in the "quiet time" and use them. Prepare for battle. On the street, there is almost a zero chance of being able to pull this off, in another environment, guess what? It is GOLDEN.
Breaking someoneís fingers or wrist oftentimes leads to them dropping a weapon in the effected hand. Very simple, yes? You could then pummel them unconscious or kill them if need be. But for that moment in time, you have armor on your hands and you can do amazing things. I challenge any critic to grab their training partner, take a small training knife and go through some simple movements and let your partner put his tennis shoes on his hands. Watch what happens if he knows what he is doing. But remember, weíre not speaking about knives with large blades or with particularly strong blades either. The soles of shoes are only going to absorb so many slashes from brittle steel blades that are toilet paper thin before the blade breaks. If you can cover up and attack, you can negate their attack. And you can defeat them. Especially if you have other people helping you by throwing blankets over the attacker(s), etc. Goes back to Metsubushi and Flexible Weapons once again.
Another angle I am getting at is...you have a belt on, depending on the season, perhaps a light jacket or coat with you. Do not discard them, they are minor armor and powerful weapons at your disposal if need be. What if you have replaced shoe laces with ParaCord? You have two improvised tools that you can hand to other people to deal with scumbag, cowardly criminals. One from each shoe. See?
Standard disclaimer applies, do not hurt yourself or misuse the information. Some very simple things can be very powerful and you should approach them with the utmost caution. Seek Professional Instruction please. Use safety equipment if you train.
Use your head.
[Drawings are altered from U.S. Army Combatives Manual, Public Domain]
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