Have you ever been in the checkout
line at a grocery store and spied people’s keys? Some people just have this
huge mass of keychain fobs. Informing anyone within sight who is paying attention
where they like to vacation,
stay at San
Francisco hotels or Chicago
hotels, their favorite rock band or country singer, what kind of car they
drive or loudly proclaiming they are a sarcastic person (if you can read this,
you are too close to me…)
Sometimes even the type of handgun
they own. Too much information
Well, you can do that too, or
you can have something pretty cool on there that can, as advertised, enable you
to punch like a “Karate Master.” That seems rather far-fetched until you
realize how powerful this thing really is.
What is this magical thing?
A small, indestructible and
incredibly powerful, Defensive Impact Tool parading as a keychain that can be
passed off as some sort of massage device? You think it’s too good to be true?
Well, I touched on the Stinger in the “Cheapskate” as well as the
“Fistloads” articles but I hope this can go a little more in-depth and give
the Stinger some more coverage.
I am coming from the point of
view that I don’t think punching is something that should be the focus of
extreme hand to hand combat. It is not that the punch is ineffective. Punching
can be very effective! With that effectiveness comes a higher risk of injury.
Boxers tape their hands to protect them; they do not tape their hands to protect
And Professional Boxers still
occasionally break their hands even though they take a lot of
precautions…their hands are their money and they take care of them. You should
value your life as much as they value their money. You cannot walk around with
your hands taped up in daily life. You should take this as a warning sign that
perhaps punching should not be the focus of hand techniques when we are talking
I know, I know, people are
going to say, “You don’t know how to punch Don!” Well, think what you
want, I was not really talking about me, I was talking about Amateur and
Professional Boxers who have broken their hands.
I’m a realist, I
think, simply, if a Professional Boxer can break their hand I most certainly
Then there are all of the horror stories of people in Karate who have
conditioned their hands; they have weaponized
their hands…conditioned them for what? So they cannot write or do any fine
movements with them anymore? They sure do have awesome weapons, but taken to an
extreme, that is what your hands are going to be and that’s all they are going
to be, weapons. They’re no longer hands; they become clubs that cannot serve
as the delicate and wonderful gifts we have been endowed with.
I have broken knuckles in the
past that’s why people can claim I’m too “stupid” to know how to punch
“correctly.” I don’t look at it that way, I look at it like this, bad
things happen. I don’t care who you are or how good you are, bad things can
happen. Since we have to reside in the real world we have weapons and other
things that we should be carrying. You don’t want to break your hand(s), as
that can be a deadly deficit in a fight. Especially when we are talking about
the very real possibility of multiple attackers…
This is not Okinawa, we
don’t have to condition our hands to punch armor and have a telling effect on
So, I have basically discarded
the clenched (closed) fist punch as a primary tool for my Self-preservation for
all of these reasons. Does that mean that I won’t punch in a fight? Of course
not! I punched so much in the past that it might very well come out in a panic
on the street! That’s my own realistic self-assessment of what I might do
As a primary natural weapon, I
advocate the hammerfist. Which is a clenched (closed) fist. Instead of striking
with the knuckles, you strike with the bottom of the hand, like a hammer. So,
there is the possibility that I might end up firing a punch at someone as well
in a fight when my head turns to mush and I don’t have time to think, my hand
is already in the closed position and I only react. I might very well resort
back to something I have done a lot in the past. Old habits are indeed hard to
I am a firm advocate of open
handed hacking, chopping with the edge of the hand. Also the Tiger Claw and Chin
Jab, palm heels…you get the idea. The hammerfist, all of these are more geared
to what I need for modern Self-defense.
Now that I have basically condemned the punch, I’m going to tell you how to really protect your hand if you know how to punch and you believe that the closed fist in your personal repertoire is simply so valuable that could never think of discarding it.
The Comtech Stinger is an
incredibly effective force multiplier for someone who wishes to punch.
Understand that this website is not about you following me, it is about you finding things here that help YOU to survive. I don’t want to be your Pied Piper of Self-defense, I want you to take certain ideas and concepts and then run with them. You should grow with what you learn here! So, if you are a puncher, this is the keychain device for you.
I’m not so arrogant that I
am going to sit here and pontificate and tell you not to punch if you are really
good at it and comfortable with it.
This was my segue into an
awesome tool, “The Push Dagger that is not a knife,” The Comtech Stinger.
It’s been about ten years
since Comtech created their “Weapon Specificity” Series of training
videotapes. In that Series was the excellent material on the Spyderco Civilian,
Automatic Knives and Balisongs, Axes and Tomahawks, Combative Whip and the Push
Knife or Push Dagger tape.
This little Series was great!
Well, in the Push Dagger tape, there was this little section on the Stinger, or
as James called it at the time, “The Walla-Walla Stinger.” Walla-Walla is
the general area where Comtech was/is located.
All of the positive attributes
of the Push Dagger were extracted and the result was The Stinger. The negative
aspects of the Push Knife or Push Dagger are:
Legalities. Push Knives and Push Daggers, because of their configuration
and unique appearance, have been the targets of many deadly weapon statutes in
various jurisdictions. These were fighting knives for Gamblers and other people
in The Old West. The Push Dagger earned its nefarious reputation during this
time and it has never been able to shake that reputation. The Push Dagger, when
you look at it historically, is very similar to The Bowie Knife in that respect.
It was legislated against because it was popular and effective.
Attitudes and Opinions. Punching someone with a Stinger is much more
likely to be looked upon as “legitimate Self-defense” than literally
punching holes in someone with a Push Knife/Dagger.
Exposure. While striking someone with a Stinger might draw blood in cases
of striking them in the head and face…there is no doubt a knife will draw much
more blood. With that drawing of blood comes the possibility of exposure to
infected blood. The Stinger is so effective; you can defend yourself without
even hitting to the face or head.
The Stinger is much more
“legal” in a wider variety of areas, much more “Court and people
friendly” and carries with it the added bonus of not having to draw blood when
targeting the limbs and trunk of an attacker.
So, what do you lose by using
a Stinger instead of a Push Knife in some form?
Well, you lose the ability to
cut the other person and poke holes in their internal organs. That is a deficit,
but it is a deficit that modern day realities might dictate to you whether you
like it or not. All depends on where you live and what chances you wish to take.
Like the Push Knife/Dagger and
excellent Self-defense knives like Fred Perrin’s LaGriffe, with a Stinger, you
can still carry a bag of groceries and have something in your hand that is
effective should you be attacked. If you have a bag of groceries in your hand
and you are confronted and you see that there is going to be an altercation, you
can simply swing the bag up and let it slip into the other person’s face then
strike them, straight, direct and powerfully. By all means, you should practice
this so you develop that clenching power of squeezing your fingers together
while they are outstretched so you do not lose your Stinger and then practice
clenching them quickly to strike.
Hand strength is a very
important attribute for all aspects of Self-defense. Practice carrying a bag of
groceries with your lower two fingers (Ring finger and “pinky.”) and over a
matter of a few weeks, it will seem less of a task and your fingers will become
stronger. A gallon of milk carried in the same way. Get used to utilizing your
hands as a human being. Quit thinking, “strength and power comes from a
fist” and start to examine just how strong the curling power of just a single
finger can be. You might be amazed after a few weeks…
If you are carrying a bag of
groceries and you do this when you are attacked, the other person is going to
have to do something and it is that momentary distraction that you must
capitalize on. If their hand(s) goes up to swat the bag of groceries away, you
can blast their centerline and really “put the hurt” on someone with a
You can grab onto the other
person’s clothing. All of these things are a reality with the Stinger. These
things are important because violent conflict in close quarters is totally
Now, if you some skill at
Boxing, Karate or any number of Martial disciplines, you can really take
advantage of the Stinger. Why not have one on your keys and one in your pocket?
Why not have one in your pocket and one in a neck sheath? They are small and
they weigh nothing.
I am so “corrupted” when
it comes to unarmed combat, that’s a fact. If I have two Stingers, one in each
hand and I get one hand in the attacker’s face and start “aggravating” him
with that hand and pushing him backwards or something, that other hand of mine
with a Stinger in it can take his air from him, solar plexus shot. If I think
the situation only warrants some sort of minimal-damaging, “pain compliance”
or something, I can push the Stinger into the sternum as I do this and run
someone backwards into a wall or car. I’m not a big believer in “pain
compliance,” but there are certain things that you can really cause tons of
pain with and the Comtech Stinger is one of them. You could just push, grind and
shake the tip of the Stinger right into the bone and really inflict massive
amounts of pain on someone.
Double punches and double,
“U” punches in some traditional styles of Karate would be “fight ending”
follow up techniques with two Stingers. The fight would be over.
Let’s say that a Father
somewhere is really dreading the day that his little girl goes off to college.
He has never really “raised” his little girl in a “tactical” manner but
she is now going to be miles away from Daddy’s protection.
What if the college has a
stupid, “Zero Tolerance Policy” on “anything that is designed to be a
I’ll tell you what I think.
If I were that Father, I would tell my child to break that Campus Rule, even if
it were the law. The reason being, they have no right doing this anyway. Just
because you want a better education does not mean you should have to sign away
your right to life and that really is what we are talking about here.
I would instruct her as to how
to break that law in a very covert way, however. This might appear
“criminal” to some people; it might appear to be “dishonest” or to teach
young people the “wrong way to go about life.”
What lesson is taught by
disarming people, especially women, and making them more subject to rape? What
about maiming and crippling injury and death? How can you be teaching that this
is the wrong way to go about living when the alternative might be death? Why do
we do this? It’s a philosophical question better left to some other venue.
I’m just telling you that I think anything that restricts people from
effective Self-defense is abysmal.
Instructing a young person in
how to do this is very simple. Following the Government Rule of “Need to
Know.” No one should know about anything she carries, not her boyfriend or
best friend – no one that could turn on her in the heat of a disagreement,
The Campus Police cannot
protect people on campus; it’s that simple, it’s not like rapists are
running around with a placard that says, “Hey! I’m a rapist! Arrest me!”
It’s absurd. Those people
lurk in and around campuses all the time because they know the pickings are
easy! Ted Bundy immediately comes to mind, doesn’t he? They know about “Zero
Tolerance Policies” and they know this gives them a lot of protection from an
irate young Lady that they might want to rape.
The only woman that escaped
Ted Bundy’s Volkswagen Beetle was one that fought back. It’s documented,
look it up. I don’t “think” this is true, it is a fact.
Teach your child to keep their
mouth shut and to be secretive about such things. Teach them tactical awareness
and to always have things like this on hand, on their person.
Now, how would you teach them
to use it?
First of all, strength.
Knowledge and demonstrable skill is very important, but you do have to have some
strength. Simple exercises with dumbbells, focusing on the triceps muscles and
any High School age young woman can develop awesome ability in three to six
months if they have a Father that has some experience in fisticuffs.
Depending on how “serious”
and dedicated the young Lady might be, it could take up to a year and this
should be the focus along with hardcore hand to hand combat tactics. But with
the Stinger, it transfers so much power from your body and focuses it on a very
small spot. It is a fast road to power, after one month of simple weightlifting;
almost any woman would hit with stunning power if at the end of that punch a
Stinger is present. The power to break bone and damage internal organs is always
present when you can punch hard; the Stinger is a fast road to that sort of
power. For those that already have power, the Stinger is not only effective, it
The thought of being hit with
one of these things full-power makes me cringe.
A friend of mine has a Stinger
and he showed it to his Instructor. The Instructor was of the opinion that he
could do more with his hands, not just punching, but a host of other things.
As I explained to this friend
of mine, this is the problem with Martial Arts. People do not understand that
sometimes you are going to be behind the curve and you are going to be playing
catch up from the beginning of the fight.
The truth is, you might
already be knocked half senseless.
What you can do on the mat
when you are at the top of your game is impressive, what you can do when
you’re seeing stars and wondering what the hell just clanged you is even more
important. Watch a Pro-Boxer really get belted and how they hit back when they
are not at the top of their game, the punch they launch is not quite as powerful
when they are covering up and trying to get their own strike in. This is where
something like the Stinger can make a huge difference in who goes home. The
Stinger can make up for the diminished strength you might experience.
The Stinger comes in many
different colors, this is only a small sample. So, E-mail James Keating and see
what he has if you are interested in them!
Also, these sheaths, suitable
for neck, pocket or keyring carry were made by Knifemaker Mickey Yurco and they
are absolutely top notch sheaths! They are well executed, minimalist and 100%
secure and I highly recommend them.
I eagerly opened the package
sent to me by a friend. Greedily, I then slipped this Chinook out of the
In case you have not noticed,
I really like knives and gadgets, right? Some people like coins and some like
stamps (both of which I appreciate but I am hardly a Numismatist or Philatelist,
respectively. Although I have been called other big words by much smaller
I remember handling a Chinook
months ago at a local Dealer. I remember hefting it and being surprised at the
weight. I have heard a lot of people going on and on about how heavy it is. And
that’s a valid criticism. I don’t know that this is the knife you want to
wear in an Armani suit, but most people that are saying these things are wearing
Dockers or jeans or something and then, it gets strange to me. Heft used to mean
“quality.” Titanium has taken away the heft equals quality feeling to a lot
If you wear your jeans Gangsta
Style, well, go ahead and carry a pocketknife bonehead! (You’re
gonna get it confiscated, you’re gonna get it confiscated!) In the
immortal words of Denis Leary, “Pull up
So, to recap, if you wear a suit or pants worn with your crack showing, a Chinook in the pocket might not be your first choice.
The Spyderco Chinook Specs:
Blade Steel CPM(T) 440V
Blade Thickness 5/32"
Diameter of Blade Hole
Hardness (RC) 56-57
Length Blade 3 3/4"
Length Closed 4 7/8"
Length Cutting Edge 3 5/16"
Length Overall 8 9/16"
Weight 7.25 Oz.
The first thing I did after
hefting the Chinook, opening and closing it several times, letting it roll and
spin to reverse grip and back to forward, edge out to edge in – all of the
neat little manipulations I like to do to get an overall feel for a knife… I
grabbed a focus mitt.
I just slipped my left hand
into the straps of the mitt and proceeded to blast the mitt with my other hand,
with the butt of the Chinook. While this might seem rather silly to some people,
if you think about the dynamics of violent altercations, sometimes you end up
grabbing the person and pounding on them. You know, real fighting, no B.S.
The focus mitt being retained
through the straps on the back of it becomes the clothing of another person, or
perhaps the back of their neck or their arm. You’re grabbing them and blasting
them with the other hand.
You can hit very hard with the
Chinook and you have a really excellent grip to do so, it is secure in the hand.
The loud POP! of the focus mitt tells the tale.
Using hammerfists and reverse
hammerfists on my other arm, lightly, provided some excellent feedback as to
what could be expected if I were to strike flesh and bone with the same power as
I did with the Chinook on the focus mitt.
A lot of things are paid lip
service when it comes to using knives for Self-defense. We hear a lot about
pommel (butt – punyo) striking to knock people out and that’s all true, you
can damage someone with the butt of a knife. It is, after all, metal and
whatnot. The Chinook just has a lot more “authority” when it comes to that.
After the weight and the
overall feel of the knife, you notice that this knife is built like a tank.
Sort of like a spin on the
Oldsmobile commercials of yesteryear, “This is not your Father’s Spyderco.”
No, the blade thickness on
this knife is not like your average Spyderco, this knife is massive. Personally,
the Bowie blade profile of the Chinook reminds me a lot of the famous USMC Kabar.
But that’s just me. So, if the idea of a strong – folding – Kabar is
attractive to you, this might be the pocketknife for you. It’s shorter and the
profile is a bit stubbier, but it reminds me of the Kabar and you don’t get
any more “American” than that.
You look at the spine of the
blade and you tell me, fairly heavy-duty, wouldn’t you say?
The Spyderco Chinook has a
massive blade and locking system. When you open this folder, it has a SNAP! That
is usually found when you handle large, Custom, liner locking folders.
The SpyderHole on this folder
appears to be larger than your average Spyderco’s thumb-opening device. The
Chinook’s is more like the Spyderco Military that makes it easier to open in
my opinion. The G10 scales are scalloped so the thumb can easily reach the
SpyderHole, another very nice touch.
The Chinook is very secure in
the hand. The G10 scales offer a good purchase, grippy.
The Chinook almost has a
bird’s beak pommel (in effect) to make sure the knife will withdraw well and
keeps the knife in hand on a hard slash or chop. The front of the Chinook flares
a bit to inhibit the hand sliding up on a hard thrust. Combine those two
attributes with the slight palm swell and you have quite a grip.
The grip, although it has
those attributes, still feels generic enough to be used in reverse grip with
either edge facing out or in.
So many people like to do
this. That’s fine. Use your imagination because your brain is the most
powerful tool and weapon you have at your disposal. Understand, as Kelly McCann
points out in some of his excellent material, that you can paint yourself into
hopeless situations. Don’t wallow in negativity, just create real-life
scenarios and respond to them naturally. There are no set “Kata” or
“Sequences” per se, there are ideas and concepts of movement that will work.
But sometimes people write me and they say, “Well, I was reading your article
and what if someone did this?” Or that, or the other… Don’t get bogged
down by that sort of thing.
Understand that when I give
you a “problem” in the form of a
scenario and then I give you an “answer”
in one of these articles, that is not set in stone. It is YOU who will decide the conflict’s outcome in most cases and if YOU
do not take an active role in deciding the outcome, the attacker will.
So, when I give you a scenario
and present that as a problem then give you an answer, don’t take that and
practice that as the only answer
because every situation will be different. It’s only an example
of how something could happen.
You are walking to your
vehicle. You have your handy Stinger in your left hand with your car keys and
you have a bag of groceries hanging from the lower two fingers of that hand and
a bag of groceries hanging from the other hand.
You see this person coming
around the back of the car out of nowhere and I promise you this, don’t buy
into too much “awareness” propaganda, OK? I am 100% in favor of proper
mindset and situational/environmental awareness to avoid danger – or to see it
coming in time to respond to it. The important thing is, you see it coming if at
all possible. It does not mean you will see it coming every time. Criminals go
to great lengths to attack when Police are not around and to be treacherous in
The person comes right up
between your car and the one next to it. Watch how they move, you won’t have
long to make a decision. Surely, some people move fast and perhaps
“predatory” to get to their vehicle, but I think you will know if they mean
you harm. Before they can possibly reach you, glance back quickly and make sure
his friend is not behind you. If there are mirrors or the angle is right and you
can use the glass on the cars to “Check your Six,” do that instead of
glancing back and practice this every day in real life so you know how to do it
So, now you have this bag of
groceries resting on the roof of your car where you were then going to unlock
the car (your car was locked, right?) so you reach up and grab a can of
vegetables with your right hand and throw it right at his face. Then the left
hand sweeps the whole bag and that goes in his face. Just bombard the cretin,
don’t try to figure out fancy solutions to simple problems – simply FIGHT HIM. Do you have any idea how stunning it would be to be hit
in the face with an 8-ounce can of food? I’m not kidding, it seems rather
silly, but if you think about it – it’s not.
When he covers up, straight
left punch with the Stinger to whatever is available. Might be his right or left
arm as he is covering up from getting hit with a can of vegetables, etc., or you
might straight blast him in the sternum with the Stinger. Where you hit him
doesn’t matter, the fact you start hitting him effectively is what counts. If
you can punch hard, I believe you could break someone’s bones with a Stinger
Just remember that anything
else around you can be used in a pinch and everyday objects can add even more
effectiveness to the devices you carry for Self-defense.
So, now the guy might be half doubled over, might be leaning on your car or another and you see him reach frantically into his pocket or for the waistband. Both of these are the warning signs that he is going for a weapon. Inside pockets, inside the jacket, movement to waistband.
So, you pull this folder out
and you simply hammerfist this attacker at the nape of the neck, on the upper
arms, on the lower arm, HIT HIM. Make
it impossible for him to do anything meaningful against you because he is being beaten
down. I know this sounds horrible to some of you, but this is the reality of
street survival, none of it is pretty.
Lowline kicking to get him
down to size, see what he was reaching for and act accordingly. If you see the
butt of a handgun, step on it and make it impossible for him to grab it, knock
him out. Grab him by the lapel with your left hand holding the Stinger and pull
him into a strike to the head with the butt end of that folding knife.
If the person is still viable
or his friend shows up after all of this, now might be the time to open the
folder and prepare for the worst. Furthermore, if you are licensed to carry a
concealed handgun, you may have already done so when the attacker started going
for the pockets or waistband of his clothing.
But the reality is, not
everyone lives in a jurisdiction where concealed carry of a handgun is an
option. So, I don’t think a valid criticism of all of this would be, “But I
would just pull my gun.” Yeah, you might, if you have one.
Now, this is all very
realistic and it can happen in seconds and it takes a thinking person to be able
to do all of this. You don’t have to go up on a mountain for eight months
until you figure it all out, but you do have to be a thinking Human Unit. You
don’t have to be a Karate Master or anything else, you just have to have
situational awareness, a thinking mind, be clear and deliberate in your actions
and be ready, willing and able to survive.
The Chinook is a wonderful
expedient Yawara Stick. It is rock solid in the hand, people complain about the
weight and it is a very heavy folder – but there is strength in that
heaviness. And it is only really “heavy” when you compare it to knives like
a Spyderco Endura with a Zytel body, etc.
It packs quite a punch and
even with my wide hands, there is enough sticking out of both sides of the fist
to make it quite attractive as a “pocketstick.”
And the Spyderco Chinook is
not the only folder that can be used this way! But this happens to be an
attribute of that folder.
I was speaking with James the
other day, wishing him and he remarked that there might be a lighter version of
the Chinook coming out soon, about two ounces lighter as a matter of fact. That
sounds friendlier to some people out there. Pretty good, innovation and
listening to Customer Feedback, etc. Spyderco is a good company and James is a
fine Designer. As you can see by these tools. (Spyderco does not make the
Stinger, for the record, but it was designed by James Keating.)
There are so many pieces of
junk being sold on the market; the fear factor is quite real. Everyone has some
twist on a weapon for Self-defense. Marketed to a scared public that is eager to
eat that up. Little screaming sirens (“Personal Alarms”) marketed as
Self-defense items when everyone knows that no one even pays any attention to a
screaming car alarm anymore.
“Oh look at this,
Marge! I have my Personal Alarm, I’m very safe now!”
Get a grip.
Get a Stinger, get a few of
them, they don’t cost that much. And maybe even the Spyderco Chinook.
They’re both tough.
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