Flashlights, Folders, Firearms and The Filipino Martial Arts
By Guro David Battaglia - September 19, 2011
What “Father Time”is taking away can be recaptured with technology and training.
As I've grown older my body has stiffened and my mind has dulled, a bit. I hope the light doesn't grow dim too soon. Good news! Dim light won't be a problem when I carry my Surefire E-2 Defender flashlight. The E-2 is a sleek, two cell, lithium battery powered, key ring able, or pocket- clippable flashlight. This wonderful piece of technology provides a blinding white light and an aluminum pocket stick. I combine the technology with my Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) training, to increase my odds of successfully defending myself.
The effect of bright white light on an attacker is profound. I will be able to render the attacker temporarily sightless. The attacker's reaction is similar to being eye-jabbed. Forward aggression stops, knees buckle, and the head turns away. I can step off the line of attack and issue verbal commands. Stop! Don't! Leave me alone! If the attacker stops I will continue to create distance. The attacker is stunned, but receives no permanent injuries.
Should the bright light, my verbal commands, and my attempt to retreat fail, I still have options. My FMA training has taught me how to use a pocket stick for self-defense. This is valuable to me because I'm a small, aging male. Most attackers I've dealt with were bigger, stronger, and younger than me. The E-2 is a nice tool to offset my attacker's advantages.
I practice accessing my flashlight under duress. However, the best tactic is to have the flashlight on my key ring and in my hand.
Follow the light my friends, follow the light.
Staying sharp as I age is important to me. No worries with Benchmade knives, they're sharp and they stay sharp. A knife is a wonderful tool. It's more likely I'll use my knife for utility than for self-defense.
Using a knife for self-defense is the use of deadly force. I must understand when this is legally justifiable. I've studied my state's penal code regarding the justified use of physical force and deadly physical force. Also, I've spoken to criminal defense attorneys and a public defender to better understand.
I've become aware carrying a knife, even a pocket knife, is considered carrying a weapon, with intent to use. In my pocket it's a concealed weapon. I understand the possible legal cnsequences of carrying a pocket knife.
If I find myself facing two able-bodied attackers intent on causing me grave bodily harm or death, a disparity of force exists. Basically, this means to me the two attackers have the avantage of numbers and/or size. The attackers have put me in a deadly force situation. It's likely both attackers would be able to severely injure or kill me. Again, largely due to their number, and/or size.
Unfortunately, I did face this situation. It turned out there were four attackers, I only saw three.
The fourth was a short teenage female. My view of her was blocked by a male closer to my size. The other two males were huge, compared to me. My first instinct was to run. However, I felt by running I would induce the “pounce mentality”. I have arthritic knees and don't feel I could have outrun them. I was forced to walk straight toward them. However, I edged over to the side to avoid being in the center of them. I put my had on my knife in my waist and raised my flashlight to flash the closest male. I could hear them saying, “Should we get him? Yea, let's get him.” I put on my best warrior face and advanced forward. The first two large males mus have thought I had a gun. They backed up against the wall of my building and kept shaking their heads no. I passed them without incident and approached the third male. My flashlight was close to my sternum and pointed directly in his eyes. As he kept trying to goad his buddies in to attacking me, he never looked directly at me. As I passed him without incident is when I noticed the female. She was goading the other two on as well. If anyone would have flinched, I was going to let go a flurry of bright light and pocket stick type strikes.
I would have drawn my knife but possibly not opened it. The one problem with this is, though the knife would remain closed, I still was using a knife. Thankfully, no one flinched and I passed the remaining two without incident. I lowered my flashlight and kept my and on my knife, still in my waistband. Unknown to me, my student saw what was happening and stopped his ruck directly acroos from us. I knew a vehicle had stopped, but didn't know it was my student. I proceeded to my car, got in, locked the doors, and drove away.
If I had to use force, it's likely the police would be involved. My attorney friend advises calling 911, so the attackers can receive help if injured by me. “Also, he says, “Make no statements, other than I was forced to defend my life (only if true).” I must truly fear for my life. “If the police want to arrest you, go peacefully. Make no statements. Silence is a right and doesn't prove guilt of a crime. Make no statements. Tell the police you want your attorney. Make no statements. Call me (attorney) and let me handle it.”
Even if I'm cleared of any criminal charges in a criminal court, I can still be sued in a civil court. Believe it or not, my attackers can sue me for the injuries I caused them while defending my life against them. NOT FAIR!
“A folder in the pocket is better than two knives at home.” “Silence is golden”.
Explosiveness, power, speed, and a terrifying battle cry have been tougher to maintain as I've aged. However, all these attributes are found in defensive firearms study.
Plenty of “firearm workouts”, conditioning, and mental mind set go in to mastering this “American martial art of equalization.”
If I'm literally “under the gun” it's unlikely an Asian martial art exclusively will save my life. The ability to move and draw and move and shoot are my best chance for survival. I like the Pekiti Tersia footwork for this.
If an attacker has decided to shoot me. It's likely I'll be shot. However, if the attacker is an unskilled marksman, creating distance increases my odds of survival.
“God made men. Samuel Colt made them equal.” Mostly, I agree with this quote. However, during a defensive pistol course the instructor asked if anyone ever visualized themselves fighting while hurt. Me and another person raised our hands. I've actually fought hurt. I was not mentally prepared for his next question. “Have you two ever visualized yourselves continuing to fight with half your faces blown off?” We both lowered our hands. The question blew me away. I was on mental imagery overload. The class was told of a soldier who had half his face blown off and continued to fight. The soldier survived.
Maybe all men are equal in certain ways. I'm not one-hundred percent sure if I could continue to fight with half my face blown off. I don't know if I would be that soldiers equal until it happened. I hope it never does.
Once again using a firearm is using deadly force. Know what the legal justified use of deadly physical force is in your state.
Deploying a weapon, retaining a weapon, FMA footwork, and combining close quarter self-defense (corto) are benefits FMA training. Getting off the line of attack and striking a target at a distance (largo mano) is an important FMA principle.
For me the FMA is the rope that ties together empty hand skills, blunt and edged weapons skills, and firearm skills. I find FMA skills coupled with technology offer the best layered self-defense options for me.