Knee on Belly (Uki Gatame)


Good video example of the utility of jiujitsu for professionals. This security guard takes down a wilding attacker and effectively controls him using the “knee to belly” pin, or uki gatame (浮固).

Note he is able to monitor both of the man’s hands, and his surroundings. Should the security officer decide to disengage, he simply needs to stand up and away – in environments where weapons and other concerns are present, or where there is no need to detain or control a subject, this is often the better course of action. Though not a solidly dominant position in jiujitsu, knee to belly is positionally advantageous. It’s advantage lies in its mobility and the ease with which you can transition to other methods or positions, or disengage.

When an encounter is not one-on-one, is not based on positional dominance-to-submission, and where situational awareness is of no concern – in other words, like when playing jiujitsu – things like knee to belly are often more tactically sound.

On the other hand, where positional dominance is warranted or a necessity, transitioning to a mount or other dominant top control would be in order. In jiujitsu, and judo if you want to go to groundwork, the nature of the sport aspect of the game demands this, as knee on belly would not be a strong position against a skilled opponent.

But we must remember the two things are different. 

This is particularly true if as an instructor you are teaching self defense or police or security professionals. Take care not to conflate competition methods with controlling or combative jiujitsu in defensive or tactical encounters.

The art is big enough for more than one approach. Apply common sense to what makes sense under varying conditions.











Ends of the Earth

Th article posted below caught my eye when browsing today. I re-post it not as a political statement or position,  but rather as an observation on people.

“The people saying these things are STUPID!” some might say. It’s actually just the opposite: these people are highly intelligent, knowledgable experts in their fields. All the more reason to consider their theories – and the outcomes.

“LIARS! They’re damn liars!” others would say – usually those with opposing politics. I don’t think these people are liars – well, most of them, anyway. This is not to deny the pecuniary interest some might have in these theories, or the attainment of positions of prestige. That only adds more cause for concern, though.

Instead I think what is evident here is belief systems. That is a universal human trait. And mostly you can’t argue with a belief system.

Tying it in with our topics here at IHW, I think this is a cautionary note. To add a drop of doubt to the elixir of expert advice offered by the Martial Masters, Black Belts, and Combatives Instructors you hold dear.


18 Spectacularly  Wrong Predictions Made around the the First Earth Day

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day in the 1970, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 47th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 17 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

MP: Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded in the next few days with media hype, and claims like this from the 2017 Earth Day website:

Global sea levels are rising at an alarmingly fast rate — 6.7 inches in the last century alone and going higher. Surface temperatures are setting new heat records about each year. The ice sheets continue to decline, glaciers are in retreat globally, and our oceans are more acidic than ever. We could go on…which is a whole other problem.

The majority of scientists are in agreement that human contributions to the greenhouse effect are the root cause. Essentially, gases in the atmosphere – such as methane and CO2 – trap heat and block it from escaping our planet.

So what happens next? More droughts and heat waves, which can have devastating effects on the poorest countries and communities. Hurricanes will intensify and occur more frequently. Sea levels could rise up to four feet by 2100 – and that’s a conservative estimate among experts.

Reality Check/Inconvenient Facts:

1. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Annual Report for 2016, we’re actually in the longest major hurricane drought in US history of 11 years (and counting):

The last major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) to make landfall in the US was Wilma on November October 24, 2005. This major hurricane drought [of more than 11 years] surpassed the previous record of eight years from 1861-1868 when no major hurricane struck the coast of the United States. On average, a major hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. about once every three years.

2. The frequency of hurricanes in the US has been declining, see top chart above that shows the hurricane count (all Categories 1 to 5) in the first seven years of each decade back to the 1850s, based on NOAA data here. In the seven years between 2010 and 2016, there were only eight hurricanes (all Category 1 and 2), which is the lowest number of hurricanes during the first seven years of any decade in the history of NOAA’s data back to 1850. It’s also far lower than the previous low of 14 hurricanes during the period from 1900 to 1906.

3. What you probably won’t hear about from the Earth Day supporters is the amazing “decarbonization” of the United States over the last decade or so, as the falling CO2 emissions in the bottom chart above illustrate, even as CO2 emissions from energy consumption have been rising throughout most of the rest of the world. Energy-related carbon emissions in the US have been falling since the 2007 peak, and were at their lowest level last year in nearly a quarter century, going back to 1992. And the environmentalists and the “Earth Day” movement really had very little to do with this amazing “greening” of America. Rather, it’s mostly because of hydraulic fracturing and the increasing substitution of natural gas for coal as a fuel source for electric power, see related CD post here.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers.”

Cops Need to Know how to Fight…

Another good example of why police need to know how to fight. Notice the suspect is savvy enough to open his hands to prevent injury with the slam – I’ve seen more than one cop fail to do this and injure their hands on falls. It’s a slick technique, unfortunately “Big LE”  – regardless of nation – fails to take note.

From the Oldest Book on Judo…

More from the “know your history” files. Some interesting stuff from the oldest published book on Judo:

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 10.10.16 PM
Sumitomo Arima’s Judo, Japanese Physical Culture, Being a Further Exposition of Jujitsu and Similar Arts. 
CHAPTER II, HISTORY OF JUDO, starts with a thumbnail sketch of judo/jujitsu history that has largely been forgotten, not just by modern jiujitsu folks but by judoka as well. It should shed some light on the debate between competition and self defense, which existed in the judo/jujitsu world long before the current one going on in the BJJ world, and covered the same territory.
Note this was written at a time of high martial ardor in Japan after their victory in the Russo-Japanese war.
“Self-defense being natural to everybody, there is perhaps no country where the art of fighting unarmed, whatever its form, is unknown, but perhaps in no country has the art made such remarkable progress as in Japan. In the feudal days of this country there existed various schools of such art, being known by the different names of jujitsu, taijitsu, yawara, wajitsu, toride, kogusoku, kempo, hakuda, kumiuchi, shuhaku, judo, etc. They are so intermingled with one another that any correct discrimination between them is almost impossible: for instance, one being nominally different from but virtually analogous to another, while the other varies from its namesake as regards its essential points.  We may, however, state that, of these, toride and kogusoku are intended for the arrest of persons, while jujitsu and judo make it a specialty either to floor or kill one’s opponent and kempo and hakuda to kick and strike. Generally speaking, they may all be described as the art either of fighting with an armed or unarmed enemy, oneself utterly unarmed, or of engaging by means of a small weapon an enemy armed with a large one.”
(p. 5)
A fascinating set of advice appears in CHAPTER IV. ACTUAL CONTEST. Here it is clear the author is speaking of “actual fights.” Note the drift away from practical combat was already being criticized over a hundred years ago!

Judo owes its origin to a desire to emerge victorious from an actual contest. As already stated, it rapidly progressed to being used on the battlefield, where by its aid the weak could conquer the strong.  But this means gradually became an end by itself, and those tricks of judo, which are rather remote from practical use, became very popular in recent times. The mental attitude of a contestant in an actual fight, however, ought not to be different from that already stated in the preceding chapter. That is, you should perform the trick appropriate to the conditions confronting you. As already mentioned this state of mind is not easy to attain.  The following precautions will therefore e found useful :–

1. Calmly survey the conditions of the opponent and yourself and the environments.(sic)
2. Quick judgment and speedy action are essential for the purpose of forestalling the opponent.
3. According to circumstances, atewaza (trick of making the opponent faint temporarily) is preferable to nagewaza or katame-waza, especially when you are confronted by a number of antagonists.
4. Notice whether your antagonist is armed or not.
5. You may assist your art by briskly shouting at an opponent.
6. When you are suddenly placed in a dangerous position, you must determine to fall with your enemy.
7. Don’t be off guard after you have obtained a victory.
In real circumstances being off your guard constitutes your greatest enemy. When you travel in dangerous places, you must be careful in every respect. Whether your enemy is armed or not or whether he intends to fall upon you suddenly, will all be clearly known to you if you are very attentive.”

Guerilla Approach and the “Industry”

Pistols are designed for close quarters. Inherent with all close quarter fights is the possibility of hand to hand combat. Although you don’t need to be a Jiu-Jitsu master, grappling should still frame your approach with marksmanship exercises.’


Been enjoying the blog at Guerrilla Approach. Besides the above common sense  advice, there are a lot observations on training in general.

This one is golden, regarding “too much Internet” on firing lines.  Oh it’s on the mats, too.

He skewers the status quo in other posts, including in this one on Tactical Maturity.  Just because you actually have a background, which of course isn’t always the case these days in the community of “inexperienced experts,” it doesn’t mean you have achieved any maturity in your subject matter. More people seem more interested in arriving rather than the journey. I’ve directly witnessed several examples recently, people who’ve barely done the work, and barely done the job, setting themselves up as instructors and guides for others with apparently not an ounce of self-awareness or self-reflection.

In the martial arts world, especially in arts like jiujitsu, which prides itself on being pressure tested whether in direct competition or in practical application, the idea of a “fake black belt” is roundly criticized, with “dojo storming” being acceptable and even applauded in such cases, and publicly posted and “liked” with the “instructors” openly derided.

Apparently not so in the tactical world…

On Boyd at


Sonshi, if you aren’t aware, is the Japanese pronunciation of Sun Zi/Sun Tzu. Boyd, in turn, was steeped in Sun Zi. James Holmes, a former professor of strategy at the US Naval War College, wrote an article posted here. 

The article is dated, but it’s focus is still relevant. I’ve been delving again into these teachings as they have applied recently in some tactical stuff.

Some excerpts, with my commentary in italics:

“The combatant who was best able to adapt to an environment that was perpetually in flux, and thus to keep his opponent off-balance, would enjoy a nearly insuperable edge in battle.”

Adaptability comes from Situational Awareness (SA) wedded to ability. Both are important, but SA is more important.

Combat “…hinged on getting your opponent in a position where he was already reacting to something you had done, then making a quick change in altitude, speed, or direction that would put you in position to make the kill. The ability to cause and react to changes – “fast transients,” [Boyd] called them – was decisive.”

Boyd was talking about air-to-air combat, but we can apply this teaching in general terms to things like position, whether in a fire and maneuver or even ground fighting context. In this realm is where skill plugs in.

“Boyd further codified his thinking as “energy maneuverability theory.” …he developed a technique for comparing the performance characteristics of fighter aircraft throughout their operating envelopes. This allowed him to determine at what altitude, speed, and g force one aircraft would have an advantage over another flown by a comparably skilled pilot.”

Think of it as “positional maneuverability theory” and its applications to close combat should be obvious…

“In the frenzied environment of combat, whoever could observe his surroundings, orient to new circumstances, make a decision, and act most swiftly would win. The winner would sow disorientation in the loser by getting “inside” his decision cycle, thus outwitting and outmaneuvering him. Brute force was a secondary concern.”

Force and skill are part of the calculation, but again, secondary to observation and in particular orientation. A close struggle with an adversary armed with a knife is different from one with an unarmed person, is different from a struggle where one person isn’t aware the other is armed… Training strategies that do not include such variables aren’t complete.