Germany and weapons for self-defense

It took longer than I thought, but here it is:
Expect more of this around the EU soon and in the short term, it is anything but a good thing. For more background, read my articles on the Paris terrorist attacks and the Brussels terrorist attacks first. They are long, but they give you the information you need to understand the factors at play here in Europe. These are radically different from those in the US.
Germany and weapons for self-defense

Frauke Petry wants all Germans to have weapons for self-defense


Some thoughts.
  • I am not against civilian weapon carry. Self-defense is a basic human right and weapons are tools for that. My issues aren’t with the principle, but with the execution.
  • I talked to one of my German students two days ago and he confirmed that Germans are arming themselves. I’ll bet a sizeable amount of money that if we could get the numbers, aside of the 50% increase in small firearms licenses, a multiple of that number of people are carrying (legal or otherwise) non-firearm weapons.
  • People are scared and it’s not unreasonable for them to be so. They now realize they are on their own and safety is something they also have to provide for themselves. They can’t only rely on the police for that. Scared people + weapons = bad combination. Scared people who never used weapons before and who live in a country where owning a weapon has been frowned upon and made difficult for decades + weapons = even worse combination.
  • The previous does not mean those people shouldn’t be allowed to carry effective tools for self-defense. My point is that I don’t hear Frau Petry mention anything about training or responsible use. The only thing you hear is “we want you to have a weapon so you can defend yourself.” She doesn’t add “and we’ll fund training and awareness campaigns so you know how to use your weapons and not be a danger to others or yourself.” That’s neglecting a critical safety factor when people who are scared, untrained and unaccustomed to living in a weapons culture suddenly all arm themselves. You can expect a shitload of problems as a result, including more blood in the streets.
  • For my US friends: don’t bring up the 2nd amendment. It is at this stage irrelevant to this discussion in EU countries. If you think any EU country will quickly change its constitution in that regard, you are sadly uninformed or delusional. Nothing shy of a post-civil war context would do that, and even then.

Germany and weapons for self-defense

For my German readers, I would suggest the following:

  • Read up on what self-defense actually means. Start with reading this book and then read this one. Then read both books again. If self-defense and weapons are new to you, the information in those books will fill you in on critical aspects you need to know before getting a weapon. You’ll learn what is important vs. what is Hollywood nonsense.
  • It’s not just about weapons. True self-defense requires a layered approach and lethal force is only one layer, hopefully the one you need the least often. It needs to be there, but you need to work just as hard on all those other layers as you will need them more often. They also prevent the situation from escalating to lethal force being necessary, which is equally important. Again, read the previous two books to learn more about this.
  • Get good training and keep it up. A weapon does not do magic tricks. It doesn’t make you invincible, nor does it make the bad guy go “Poof!” and disappear. Like any tool, you need to learn how to use it first and then keep on practicing. Find good training in your area and then keep up regular practice. That gives you the skill necessary to use your weapon should you need it, but keeps that skill alive over time. If there is no good training near you, spend money and travel until you can get it. You are making the choice to carry the tools that give you power over life and death. If that isn’t serious enough for you to get the training you need, then you have no business carrying that weapon.
  • Be smart and stay cool. If you strap on a weapon every time you go outside, do all you can to not get in a situation where you need to use it. Yes, it gives you more options to defend yourself, but that comes at a price. Using deadly force is not like in the movies and the consequences are not only for you, but also your family as well as the family of the person you killed. Those consequences also never go away, ever. So as much as possible, stay out of trouble. Especially if you are already scared. Read this article for some information on that.
  • Germany is changing, change with it. Like I said, there is the spectacular increase in legally owned weapons, but there will also be a huge increase in people carrying illegally or weapons that masquerade as tools. This means your society is changing into a weapons culture at an accelerated rate and you need to adapt to that. For instance: whenever you are in an argument with somebody, whenever there is a conflict, the odds are good the other person is armed. People are emotional, irrational beings, they don’t think clearly when they are emotional. An emotional person with a weapon who is upset with you and you escalating the argument is not a good thing, especially if you are armed too. So adapt your behavior along with the society you now suddenly find yourself in. Heinlein’s quote is relevant here:

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

Stay safe and good luck.

UPDATE

I received some comments on my Facebook page re. the nature of the “small firearms license” in Germany. Apparently it wasn’t clear in the text above and I fixed the one sentence where I think the misunderstanding started. So here’s what I meant:

I am well aware that the license is for blank guns and pepper spray as opposed to firearms.

I am well aware of the strict German gun laws.

I’m not talking about the kind of weapons people are picking up. I’m talking about the fact that massive numbers of German citizens are picking up weapons in a very short time frame. That, combined with the fact that a populist politician is calling for people to carry firearms. These two points together are what this article is about.

Webcast 003: Interview with Loren W. Christensen, Part 2

Here’s, as promised, Part 2 of the interview I did with Loren W. Christensen. If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

Let’s jump right in, here’s the second part:

 

Content guide:

1. Q&A Sports based striking techniques for self-defense.

The Fighter’s Guide To Hard-Core Heavy Bag Training

The Fighters VIDEO Guide to Hard-Core Heavy Bag Training

Solo Training: The Martial Artist’s Guide to Training Alone

Solo Training 2: The Martial Artist’s Guide to Building the Core for Stronger, Faster, and More Effective Grappling, Kicking, and Punching

Solo Training 3: 50 And Older

Lawrence A. Kane

Self-Defense Against A Dog Attack

 

2. On traditional arts and vital points. 10min, 18sec

Brutal Art of Ripping, Poking & Pressing

The Brutal Art of Ripping, Poking & Pressing Vital Targets: The Video

Combat Sanshou: The Punishing Chinese Fighting Art, Part 2: Kicking (features the “bicycle kick”)

 

3. 90% of fights go to the ground? 16min, 50 sec.

The myth of 90 percent of fights end up on the ground

 

4. Principles to use against multiple attackers.  23min, 40sec.

 

5. When is his next novel coming out? 26min30sec.

Dukkha: The Suffering (A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller)

Dukkha Reverb: A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller

Dukkha Unloaded: A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller

Dukkha: Hungry Ghosts: A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller

Old Ed

Old Ed 2

 

6. Final words.

Loren’s site

Loren .W. Christensen books and videos

Loren on Facebook

 

A special thanks to the people on my Facebook page for the questions. Sorry I couldn’t get to all of them, but we were at the 30 min. mark already. There will be more interviews along the line, so you’ll get another shot in the near future.

 

Webcast 002: Interview with Loren W. Christensen, Part 1

Here’s the second webcast, this time an interview with my mentor and co-author, Loren W. Christensen. The interview lasted over an hour, but my recording software freaked out after a while and the second half had no sound. I managed to save the first half, which is what you see here and which is also why it ends so abruptly.

Loren graciously agreed to redo that last part and I’ll put it online in a few days, so stay tuned for more.

I’m still figuring out how to improve audio and video quality, so bear with me as I iron out the kinks. In the mean time, here’s part 1:

 

Content guide:

1. Introduction and training regimen

Some information about Loren’s background and his current training regimen.

Loren .W. Christensen books and videos

Solo Training 2: The Martial Artist’s Guide to Building the Core for Stronger, Faster and More Effective Grappling, Kicking and Punching

Remy Presas

 

2. Training advice to young martial artists. 19min.

 

3. Training advice for martial artists in their 40s and 50s. 22min, 32sec

Solo Training 3: 50 And Older

 

4. Which books Loren is writing now and what he has planned.  27min, 50sec.

Loren .W. Christensen books and videos

Old Ed

Old Ed 2

 

UPDATE:

Part 2 is live now, check it out here.

The Dallas police shooting and what the future holds

What happened in Dallas is not the first time LEOs were targeted and certainly not the last. But it is one of the most impressive incidents in the way it was apparently planned and then executed so effectively. IMHO, Dallas will be later seen as a tipping point for many changes, in society and law enforcement as well, that will only become apparent later on. These changes will not be positive. In many ways, the escalation towards a breakdown of the system is already picking up speed. Two points I want to highlight about this:

 

1) Ignorant opinions and worldwide broadcasting at everybody’s fingertips.

Before even the facts are in, Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the internet explode with everybody having an opinion on what happened in Dallas, regardless of it being based on facts or relevant experience/knowledge. This goes viral and both misinformation and disinformation spreads like wildfire. The problem is that people act upon this mis(dis)information. When they do so in sufficient numbers, you get protests that get out of control and riots. A society cannot function when there is constant and increasing civil unrest and riots. There will be a reaction from the authorities. If that us deemed lacking by the majority of people who aren’t activists and don’t riot, but are on the receiving end of the property and personal damage of such actions, things will get interesting. IOW, there will be a response, sooner or later.
The second part of this point is that people no longer recognize how strong the influence of mass-media is. E.g.: The Nazi’s (and eventually the Allies) understood that well, as perhaps one of the first in history. It’s worth studying their propaganda machine and comparing it to what you see nowadays from activists.
Most of all, go read reactions to Dallas on social media. There is an impressive number of “Fuck the pigs” and “they got it coming” and “now whites know how it feels.” No matter how you slice it, that’s hate speech and it is not innocent or without consequence.
E.g.: from a discussion I had with Marc MacYoung
 
Worth watching, in the light of that Antifa video. This is where it leads to.
The key segments are visiting the church, the prisoners and then the dinner party at the end. The talk of reconciliation goes smoothly until the woman starts voicing her opinion. Notice how the men cautiously respond then.
The other point is the statement that the people aren’t ready for democracy. That a dictator is better for the current situation…
BTW, I was in the Army then and vividly remembered when our commando troopers were slaughtered and mutilated. General Dallaire knew full well what was going on. He let it happen. He refused to send help. This still isn’t forgotten over here.
 
Now look up Radio Mille Collines… 
This was about 25 years ago, before the internet and social media: media used effectively to spread mis- and disinformation to whip an entire population into a frenzy.
100 days later, at least 500.00 people were slaughtered
That’s the power of media manipulation.
Now consider that radio is a very old and (by today’s standards) ineffective medium. The internet and in particular social media are so much more effective, there is no comparison…
Does this mean we need to abolish free speech? No.
It means speech is not necessarily innocent or without consequence. If you think writing “kill the police!” is justified, understand that you’re contributing to an escalation that leads to only one thing: bloodshed and lots of it.
Which leads me to the next point…
 

2) Broken societies suck for everybody.

In 1993, during the Russian Constitutional Crisis, I was in Moscow for a competition. By that time, the Soviet system had already been broken for a while and the consequences were felt by the population. Some experiences from that trip:
  • We stayed at what was once a fancy hotel. When I went to the bathroom and flipped on the light, dozens of cockroaches ran for cover.
  • Breakfast at the hotel was a green egg, bread that had bite marks from small animals in it and portions were very small. I saw cats walking in and out of the kitchen more than once.
  • The hotel staff had made it very clear that we shouldn’t go out at night, because we would not return alive.
  • On our daily bus ride to the stadium, each time I saw a crowd of several hundred people gathered at an open space. When I asked our translator what was going on, this was his explanation:
It’s a trading fair. You show up with whatever you can find and spare (a plastic bag, half a shoe, a piece of metal, etc.) and try to trade up until you have something you need, can use or can actually sell.
This is one example of what you can experience in a broken society: food scarcity, only basic medical services, limited or no public services and much more.
There was no civil war in Russia at that time. But there were many, many problems that turned daily life into a struggle for survival the likes recent generations in Western democracies have no clue about. The Rwandan massacre is at the other end of that scale: attempting to slaughter an entire ethnic group.
My point is that the dynamics at work to create such events are now so much easier to manipulate than ever before in human history.
Yet very few activists seem to consider the potentially negative consequences of their actions.
In those that do, I’ve seen an alarming rise of “The means justify the end” rhetoric. What they fail to understand, having never seen the consequences of a breakdown in society, is how it affects not just the “enemy”, but everybody else too. That includes innocent people and their own family and friends.
Because there will be a reaction.
In the US, it will be most likely two-part:
– The government will respond. It cannot let instability go on for too long or it loses legitimacy and power. Read this for an example of what happened not too long after I left Moscow, when the government, civilians and the military clashed… For a fictional example, I highly recommend The Siege. When the terrorist attacks here in Brussels happened, in part, this became a realty for us. Like Bruce Willis says in the movie: the military is not a scalpel, it’s an axe.
– Non-activist citizens will respond. Do a count of all the riots that happened in the last five years in the US. Then try to do an estimate of the property damage that resulted from that, bystanders getting injured, medical bills following, etc. One riot influences the lives of hundreds of people who have nothing to do with it. Multiply that number by the amount of riots…
In a difficult economy, imagine the consequences for all those people who were already having difficulty making ends meet. They are pissed off and increasingly ready to take action to defend themselves, their property and way of life. Though they often don’t publicly state their intentions, they are actively preparing to meet violence with violence by getting weapons, organizing, stocking up on supplies, etc. This is no longer limited to the prepper community, it has spread widely into the civilian population.
That is just one example. There are many, many more.
Actions have consequences. Whether you like it or not.

The Dallas police shooting and what the future holds

Conclusion

This article isn’t about police brutality, racism, slavery or anything else. Those are not the issues to bring up in this particular discussion. In essence, I’m writing about cause and effect. You can trace it back to slavery or European history if you want, that’s still not the point.
The point is:
What do we do now?
There is a clear path to a breakdown of society. Some people, with or without realizing it, are choosing to take it.
I would suggest choosing another path and acting accordingly.
Or you might one day find yourself very much in need of self-defense skills that go way beyond anything you have considered ever before.

How not to train the leg kick

I’m busy working on the leg kick book and came across this video below. It features an unknown genius who tries to train the leg kick on a hard object that has no ability to move upon impact. You can imagine the rest…

Let’s just say this isn’t the smartest thing to do…

I think we can safely say Jean-Claude Van Damme is to blame for this thing still going on. For those of you who didn’t see the movie, here’s the relevant scene:

The movie had a bunch more nonsense that no true muay Thai fighter would ever do, but the tree kicking scene spoke to the imagination of youngsters all over the world and started leading a life of its own. To be clear, there is no upside to train the leg kick this way, none at all.

You can still find videos of Thai’s kicking banana trees, but mostly, this is a training relic from the past. Nowadays, virtually all gyms use heavy bags, which are both more practical and versatile to train the leg kick on.

The worst offender I’ve seen was in this video here in which a fighter (or trainer, I don’t remember) tries to show off hitting a wooden pole:

Please don’t do that. Ever.

The only thing this does is damage joints, bones and ligaments in the long run. He mitigates some of it by rolling his arms and legs to take the brunt of the impact on the muscle as opposed to the bone, but his shoulders, hips and knees still take a beating.

When I started training some 30 years ago, I did a lot of this kind of stuff. My teacher was hardcore into body conditioning and we’d hit and kick wooden poles like this or concrete pillars. Let me put it this way: osteoarthritis sucks and this guy is heading straight towards it. If he’s unlucky, it will be there before he hits 40, with an ever decreasing quality of daily life from then on out.

If you want to train the leg kick effectively in a safe manner: kick the heavy bag and the kicking shield. Do so regularly and build up the power of the kick gradually. For most people, that is the safest way to condition the shins while you also develop good technique.

how not to train the leg kick

Damaging your shins, not a good idea..

 

Just a quick update on my leg kick book, this is the current chapter list:

Introduction.

Chapter 1: Fundamental principles.

Chapter 2: The weapon.

Chapter 3: The lead arm.

Chapter 4: The rear arm.

Chapter 5: The hips.

Chapter 6: The torso.

Chapter 7: The legs.

Chapter 8: Variations.

Chapter 9: Footwork.

Chapter 10: Conditioning.

Chapter 11: Drills.

Chapter 12: Combinations.

Chapter 13: How to defend against the leg kick.

Chapter 14: Basic tactics.

Chapter 15: Advanced strategies.

Chapter 16: Case studies.

Chapter 17: Troubleshooting your leg kick.

I have seven chapters left to finish, with 4 of those already half-written. Some chapters might still get lumped together or get deleted depending on how things go. Writing a book can be a bit weird like that sometimes. Once that’s done, I can shoot the pictures and if possible do some videos too, as a bonus.

If you want to be notified for the release, sign up for my notification list here. Don’t forget to click the link in the confirmation mail you’ll receive right after signing up, or you won’t be on the list.