My primary methods of knife defense come from karate and Krav Maga. Karate, as my base art, informs how I generate power and manage distance. Krav Maga is a very street ready, scenario based system. I like what they both offer.
Despite the amount of training I’ve done, I prefer to be honest with myself: the knife is one of the deadliest tools ever created. The probability of getting cut, stabbed, and killed is very high no matter what, especially if the bad guy doesn’t want anything more than to hurt you.
That’s why when a resource comes onto my radar about dagger defense, I make sure to watch it and learn whatever I can.
Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming is a highly respected Gongfu and Chin Na practitioner. He has published many dvds and books surrounding the Chinese arts. In this particular dvd, Dr. Yang breaks down multiple traditional ways for managing a knife attack. He covers how to:
- Distance and angle the body away from attack
- Use nearby items like belts and chairs as defense
- Utilize punching and kicking defense techniques
- Utilize Chin Na techniques
- Utilize Shuai Jiao wrestling type techniques
In each section Dr. Yang discusses particular defense methods, demonstrates their use, and then has his students come out and attempt the defense. During the student practice sessions Dr. Yang steps in and offers corrections, citing problems the viewer may encounter along the way.
Here’s a video sneak peak at the quality and content of the video:
My Impressions of the DVD
For some reason a lot of martial arts products tend to be grossly overpriced for what you get. Sure, the content is a bit rare and certainly valuable, but I have some dvds that cost $30-$40 for 40 minutes of content. That’s pricey!
This dvd, while $39.95 in price, comes with over 3 hours of content. It’s not a lot of filler either. There is valuable discussion, demonstration, and a whole bunch of practice so you can observe the right and wrong ways to go about the techniques. The value-for-dollar is definitely high with this video.
As for the techniques themselves – most of them have a solid, logical foundation. For my taste, there was a lot more grabbing and manipulating than I care to do. Perhaps it’s the Krav Maga influence, but I’ve always believed in quick and rapid response striking keeping the knife away from the body while not resorting to excessive entanglement.
I personally believe a dvd like this one would certainly be worth the investment, especially if you pair it with a military or Filipino based knife system.
In regards to the host Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming:
I find him to be very pleasant and knowledgeable. He has a kind way about him that helps keep the students safe and positive during their training experience. Unlike a lot of “street pros”, Dr. Yang never talks down to the viewer or makes them feel embarassed for not knowing more about self defense. It’s a pleasure listening to him share information and thoughts about handling the dagger.
Add It To Your Library
If you’d like to add more knowledge of knife self defense to your repertoire, this is a solid and well thought out resource. Grab it here.
Here in the Northeast U.S. things are starting to turn cold. That means a lot of my physical fitness is going to take place in the dojo or my apartment.
As such, I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting perspectives on ways to enhance physical activity and keep away those winter doldrums. That’s why I was pretty pumped when I got a chance to read The Warrior Fitness Guide to Striking Power, by Jonathan Haas.
The WF Guide promises low tech fitness routines specifically suited for practitioners of striking arts. I definitely fit that target audience.
Found Within the Pages
This ebook is focused on a select few tools that you can utilize to enhance your training. The author spends the first part of the book going over fitness basics and the importance of breathing, posture, and good habit development. He also introduces the reader to a handful of valuable principles and studies on the topic of training routines and method.
For those inclined to get active right away, don’t worry – the author provides the needed information in a brief and easily digestible manner. He seems to know that the focus of the book is on action and moves the pace of the book along nicely.
After the initial exercise theory, the reader is introduced to the following low tech training tools:
- The Sledgehammer
- The Medicine Ball
- Resistance Bands
- Empty Hand Bodyweight
By keeping things very fundamental, the author stays focused on the dynamics of the body and how each exercise closely relates to martial art movement. He shows how to isolate the muscles and rotational components that are often used in striking techniques, along with means of strengthening posture and impact transmission.
I consider this book a timely and valuable addition to my information library. In a style like karate, striking power and speed are always high on the priority list. Furthermore, the methods described by the author keep the same spirit as Hojo Undo in classical karate, practiced for generations and made a mainstay in many karate styles.
Western practitioners don’t have easy access to chiishi and kongo ken, but they can easily obtain the items used by Haas.
Another positive aspect of the book is the images. Although I would certainly enjoy video or extensive image series of each exercise in order to ensure proper technique, the images provided are clear and of good quality.
At 53 pages, this book is a manageable size and could even be printed for travel and dojo use.
I’m not a fitness buff, but I am a fitness enthusiast and am always on the prowl for ways to improve my art. As such, I feel like this book’s tone and content was right for me. If you’re in a similar boat it might be right for you as well.
As martial artists we often get bogged down in details. Techniques, training, research…it’s all very technical and thick.
Every now and then it’s fun to explore the ‘what ifs’ of martial arts. Luckily, for those times, we have authors like Sarah Gerdes and novels like Chambers.
Chambers is a martial arts mystery whereupon two teens are thrust into their father’s world of unusual artifacts, double crosses, and historical intrigue.
When Ms. Gerdes asked me if I might be interested in giving the book a read, I was happy to agree. The martial arts world is filled with spiritual and magical possibilities if we give ourselves permission to enjoy them (if only from time to time). When I found out that this book was interlaced with historical flavor from 15th Century China (an area and time not my specialty), I knew I’d be able to enjoy the read.
The story begins…
with two protagonists, Cage and Mia, who are a brother/sister team. They are both teens and exhibit some classic American qualities. Cage is a fiery martial arts student who is fairly confident in his own greatness. Mia is a very self-assured soccer player, aware of her budding attractiveness but often underplaying it.
The two find themselves mixed up in a scuffle between their dad and his boss, and before they realize the scope of their situation, they find themselves transported to a distant time and place – Ming Dynasty China, face to face with the 14 year old emporer.
As you can imagine, there is significant “fish out of water” elements to the story as the youngsters attempt to find their dad and save him (without altering history).
This book is good for…
any martial artist who wants to let imagination take over. The story is threaded with tidbits of real history and real training (the author is a martial artist herself), but for the most part raw action and magic rule the day. Cage exhibits skills well beyond his years and commands some intriguing powers as the story develops.
I think the best readership for this book is the teenage bracket, although adults (like myself) can certainly enjoy it. The mindsets and situations faced would speak most clearly to a teenager, especially one who is starting a martial art and is experiencing all the vast possibilities and unknown benefits that comes with it. Romances, conflict, and martial encounters (often with large groups of baddies) keep the pages turning and the story progressing.
The good news is…
if you like this book, there will be more to come. Ms. Gerdes plans to create a total of 5 novels in the series, following the adventures of Cage and Mia as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of their father’s research. Furthermore, Chambers has been optioned by Warp Entertainment and producer Lucas Foster with plans to adapt the book into a movie. Certainly the scale and far-off-setting of the story will translate well onto the silver screen.
Right now Chambers is available via Kindle (which you can use on any Kindle ereader or PC via the free Kindle software), Nook from Barnes and Noble, and for Apple products. The price is extremely manageable at $2.99 a copy.