ECQ Knife Defense Takedown

Craig Douglas posted this refinement of the Underhook and Bicep Tie clinch in knife defense at the Shivworks Alumni page here:


The Hook N Ties are my favored Enhanced Close Quarters clinch as they are conducive to many takedowns. Seeing this refinement Craig offered, I saw a great opening for combining knife defense with a leg sweep takedown based in the same body mechanics and postural manipulation this position provides.

Here they are:

Front and back views:


Some description on the mechanics from the back view, showing how the underhook and postural mechanics work:



Double Sleeve Footsweep

…from Travis Stevens:

My thinking on foot sweeps has changed. Once I thought they were quite timing and skill dependent, and so more for a specialist to focus on than for the average practitioner of sele protection.

But frankly they are no more skill dependent than other takedowns, and require less strength and body commitment in the throw as an added bonus. Nor are they more skill- or timing dependent than the ground maneuvers we promote and count on for self defense such as mount and guard escapes or modified spider guard.

So Do the Judo. Adding foot and leg attacks to ones repertoire will pay tremendous dividends in terms of efficient and effective takedowns.

Give Yourself a Hand

Neck Fracture of the Fourth Metacarpal Bone.png

Boxer’s Fracture is a colloquial term for a fracture of one of the metacarpal bones of the hand. Classically, the fracture occurs transversely across the metacarpal neck, after the patient strikes an object with a closed fist. Alternate terms include scrapper’s fracture or bar room fracture. ”  


When I teach striking for self defense and defensive tactics I advise against striking the head with a closed fist, for various reasons related to safety and tactical performance – and in defensive tactics, sometimes the simple optics of the act. I’ve seen too many folks in the aftermath of fights dealing with hand injuries, including officers who punched resisting suspects in the head, to not take the potential for a hand injury lightly.

Outside of that personal experience, a cursory review of available popular information shows that a particular class of fracture of the hand is literally referred to as a “Boxer’s Fracture.”

And  Googling “MMA fighters and broken hands” or “boxers and broken hands,” one notices that even the best trained, most highly skilled professional fighters also occasionally have problems with them – sometimes even when wearing gloves

Things that make you go hmmm….


But thinking on those old-timey  bare knuckle boxers, they  didn’t bust their hands up like this, did they? And their fights could go on for forty or even seventy or more rounds! How could they fight that long, with bare knuckles, and not hurt their hands?

Well, seems they boxed very differently than the sport is conducted today, with a particular array of techniques and approaches to striking .


Bare knuckle boxing is still being conducted, and has even been offered as a potential alternative to gloved boxing due to the inherent danger of hitting people hard and repeatedly in the head when wearing padded hand protection.

What about self defense? In an unarmed scuffle, if you are at all tough, a broken hand will not likely mean that you will be unable to continue fighting, or even prevail in the encounter, so isn’t the point kind of moot?

Well, no. The essential nature of self defense is not, and should never be confused with, mano-a-mano fisticuffs, in either the ring or the street.

Self defense includes so many other elements and potentials that must be taken into account if we are engaging with appropriately integrated and transdisciplinary combatives. An empty hand fight, or resistive arrest could go to weapons at any time, as some change in the nature of the confrontation could necessitate a need for a fighting tool: lethal or less lethal. And while I may be fine continuing to pummel someone’s face with my own mangled hand, I’m not so sure I’d want to be attempting to access a Taser,  or knife, or draw and manipulate a pistol, or attempt to retain my weapon with that self-same damaged hand. Particularly because the very need to deploy such a tool means that the stakes of the confrontation have just gone way up – not to mention the stress that goes with that turn of events.

And now let’s say during this continuing confrontation, I have a weapons’ malfunction. While I may still be able to fire a pistol with a broken hand,  do I really want to be trying to clear, say, a double feed induced from a poor grip, with one?

Even a reload could be problematic…

Going further, should I incur other injuries from the now lethal threat, how will my ability to treat them be impacted by having a broken hand? Self-application of tourniquets and getting them tight enough is tough enough without the additional difficulty induced by a hand injury.

And what if I had to administer aid to another? A friend, or loved one?

Not to mention the issue of blood borne pathogens. One of the marked disconnects in the defensive communities’ understanding of real life confrontations is the need to be concerned for bleeding on the part of an assailant and ourselves. Punching people in the head and face seem to cause more bleeding from both the target and the abraded or split knuckles of the striker. While at times some bleeding may be unavoidable, given the choice to use tactics less likely to result in the rapid introduction of nasty contaminants into an already chaotic and uncontrolled encounter, it would seem the better option.

Mindful of all these things, I’ve reconsidered relying on  techniques that have a recognized propensity for causing hand injuries, even to very experienced fighters when they have been without gloves, and even when some of those fighters are wearing them, in favor of those other options.

Initiation to the Art of War

In the continuing effort to introduce readers to the deeper history of jujutsu (jiu-jitsu), this is an interesting piece, that should give an insight into the “first” jujutsu school: the Takenouchi-ryu.

Available via PDF download:

Initiation to the Art of War: A Preliminary Text of the Takenouchi School.

See also from the same author:

Art of Gentleness: Concepts and Origins of Japanese Jujutsu

The author notes that with judo and aikido, jujutsu-related arts are of the “greatest overseas impact” of traditional Japanese arts to the world; while in some sense BJJ might be seen as “basically just judo” in this equation, I think it has become a different expression of jujutsu in itself, even returned to Japanese shores, and should be counted in this company as well.

The Other Three Corners…

What we really should be building toward is being multi-dimensional tacticians.

Ever notice that most teaching and writing in the tactical and self defense fields is far more about the training than about utilizing that training appropriately and effectively?

Often this revolves around building physical and technical skills, and a mental attitude geared more to self development and personal fulfillment rather than personal protection.

It’s modern pop-sport-psychology. Kind of the Tactical Tony Robbins approach…

Of course, being serious about training and committed to being skilled, being fit, and being mentally resilient are necessary fundamentals, and it is important to have quality teachers across multiple disciplines as we endeavor to achieve a comprehensive approach.

But that is still really only one or two dimensions when it comes to actual field or street application and performance.  We cannot define the latter via measures solely relegated to things like A-zone hits and how fast they are achieved, to who taps who, or punches thrown and punches landed. Those are measures for closed, highly regulated systems not reflective of the open, kinetic environments which present with an array of very different psychological stressors. I’ve known very highly technically skilled people to perform poorly under uncertain, rapidly evolving, and highly stressful tactical situations, and I’ve known people with lesser mat and range skills perform brilliantly under the same.

So don’t be one dimensional. And don’t expect that courses that teach or measure solely physical and technical performance are teaching anything more than just that, a critical but single dimension.

We have to go beyond that, and do so early in our training trajectory.

Confucius said:

“I never try to make people open up [to the world of learning] unless they already have a pent up excitement about it. Then if I give them one corner [of a problem or point of study], if they do not come back to me with the other three corners I will not involve myself with them again.”

(In Analects)

It’s up to us to bring the other Three Corners back…