Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Just a Piece of Cloth, a Dirty Old Rag! by James A Keating

I had saved this article to my harddrive... I forgot where I saved it from. When and if i I find the site, I will post the link. But in the meantime, here's the article by James Keating.

It's Just a Piece of Cloth, a Dirty Old Rag! by James Albert Keating

Just a Piece of Cloth

Staying alive in 2005 is the general idea, right? One must be creative in this endeavor. The common place items of mayhem are all too readily recognized by a host of eyes, cameras and snoopy neighbors. It will become even harder by 2006 to stay out of a fix. Because more and more places are putting total bans on all weapons. Knives, palmers, knucks, and of course, good old GUNS! (Even airguns now). Sadly, the common man carries no weapon (as the law dictates), yet the criminal who cares naught for law, life or limb is usually quite well armed. What an advantage the criminal has! Yet carry an illegal weapon for your personal protection and fall prey to the constabulary and ye shall pay dearly as ye did at the hands of the thug! Alas the common man is caught between the proverbial "rock and a hard spot". My advice? Prepare now, be proactive, NOT reactive!

It's not a question of "if", but of "when". Ya know what I'm saying? By having a plan and being able to act upon it in time of need is worth a lot when death comes courting.

In such instances one must act swiftly. As swift as thought in all truth. It's wondeful to maintain a high level of empty handed fighting ability. From Karate to Kung Fu and everything in between - I think they are all great. But, we as a species are a "tool using" animal. And thats a fact. You can't change a tire, brush your teeth or catch food without some type of tool. Indeed the realm of tools extends into those tools we call "weapons" as well. A weapon is just a tool, a tool of personal defence. You'll use tools of every type throughout a normal day. But, when someone comes to harm or to kill you, you mean you WON'T ? Such a mindset goes against all logic, yet many feel compelled to play such a game rather than circumvent it's limitations.

Already some of you readers are asking "but how do we get around these barriers". The answer is simple, learn about the kerchief, bandanna and scarf ! Therein lies a treasure trove of effective and unexpected personal defense techniques. In the Filipino pantheon of fighting skills this would fall into the catagory of "flexible weapons". The Kerchief is called "PANU". No matter whether your a gentleman in a business suit or a farmer in overalls, all men can easily carry some version of the trusty bandanna. Beyond the area of interest that we all share (self defense) there lies an even deeper layer of knowledge and survival related skills which are all associted with the kerchief-bandanna. To fully grasp just how valuable a bandanna is you must begin "living" with one on a daily basis. It becomes an exercise in creativity. And no airport yet takes away yer snotrag, kerchief or scarf, not yet anyway. It is a damn good weapon with many secrets to share with those who are willing to do the time learning it's underlying concepts. Let us get to it, shall we?

The Weaponization of Cloth

In this section let us address the aspects which make the humble piece of cloth (bandanna) into an effective personal defense alternative. Once you savvy these elements

you can begin practicing, planning and preparing your floppy fighting friend. One of the main benefits of employing a bandanna in your own defense when being assaulted is that it offers you superior leverage over an adversary (when it's used properly). That leverage boost may not seem like much of a step up past the mere empty hand, but it is! Leverage isn't anything mystical or too marvelous, just simple science at work. It's another reason why I prefer "fighting sciences" over "fighting arts". Art of any kind is always unique and one of a kind, difficult to replicate... Science on the other hand is intended to be replicated, science is all about the rules and laws which govern our existence in this universe. Look to science for answers to your combat conundrums every bit as much as you might a dojo, kwoon or boxing gym.

The cloth serves as a distraction, when this part is mastered one can confuse, anger and dismay an opponent with your cloth. By now many of you are probably saying "crap", this is no more than big talk. Distraction and leverage won't halt a determined opponent. Ah, you are so right my friend, but here's the part I need to clue you all in on. The critical part that makes the whole damn thing "kick-in".... The bandanna is loaded! Oh my gosh! This changes everything! The weaponization of your harmless gentlemans kerchief has jumped into a new zone of respect getting prowess. By loading the bandanna - kerchief - scarf properly with a pre-designated object ( a large coin will do or a small stone found along the roadside) you can surprise a would be assailant and take the lead from there to either escape or continue fighting. Keep in mind, this is about "surviving", not a sports-mentality where winning and losing are factors. There is only ONE factor, SURVIVE / ESCAPE!

Some believe that by putting a knot into the center area of the bandanna it will increase one's ability to use the cloth to choke and to damage to trachea. This is often associated with the cult of the Thugees (who worshipped the many armed Goddess "Kali"). The used a cloth called the "Rhumal" to strangle the victims. The Thugs were not permitted to draw blood, so by strangulation of their opponents they kept their vows chaste. Often their attacks were covert, closer to assassination than combat.

But, they do indeed leave us a legacy regarding the deadliness of the flexible weapon family. For that I thank them and their ilk. In the Filipino methods if a knot is used, it's usually on one end of the cloth, not in the center.

Avoid slick cloth like nylon. The only thing that comes close to nylon is silk, real silk. And that is excellent stuff, go for it if you can. Otherwise a simple cotton bandanna or kerchief will do just fine. (But, so will a necktie, a pet leash or a strap from your briefcase. Are you getting my drift here dear readers? (Think Concept over technique).

I had one guy tell about his training in "Manriki"...... a big old chain w/ weights on the end. Oh yes, it's effective, but such a gadget is steel, big, heavy and VERY weapon-like. HOW will that blend in? You may as well carry a damn illegal pistol then if you are willing to carry a chain. So, if you have been schooled in Manriki, then make those skills more suited to today by transferring your abilities from a chain to perhaps a stout dress belt. Ah yes, there ya go! Now you are thinking, the juices are stirring!

If the skills you currently possess are not suited for play in the real world of crime, combat, courts, cops and barristers then yer crusiing for a bruising mate.

It's about today, yesterday is gone. Your new travel pal for the next few weeks is the humble CLOTH. Know it, get used to it, meditate upon it, experiment some and quietly prepare yourself.

Again, let us retrace a few steps: The Bandanna can be a: distraction, a sling, a sap, it can entangle, provide leverage, works well in all ranges and interacts well w/ all environments and authorities. Gee, for a "low-visibility" personal defense item, does it get any better than this? Your experimentation and diligence are critical components in your path to covert self defense mastery. All self defense skills are good. But in this world, intelligent self defense is part of todays formula to total victory.

Our philosophy at Combat Technologies Inc is this: Win in the street, Win in the courts, Win the hearts and minds of the many. Only then can total victory be yours.

The Maximization of Cloth

In the manifestation of this skill one will study different ways to snap, wrap, trap and entangle the opponent. You are taught both high-line and low-line applications.

You are shown how the bandanna is applied against the body's "lever points". The bandanna and your empty hand arts must work as a team.

How can you make the most out of this humble "Cloth"? How else can this simple, yet highly versatile rag be employed into our service? In this case the survival mind must take the lead. So let's have a look at some of the other applications you might consider when becoming a professional "Bandanna Man". The Bandanna is protection.

Protection from air born particulates, from the blazing sun and the freezing cold. It's part hat and part collar. It's a facial wipe and a something to bind a shapened spike of wood to a longer pole if need be. It's whatever your creativity says that it is!

Considering Cloth as Cure

It can serve as sling for broken wing, as plug and patch for bloody scratch or a tourniquet, when things get wet........ What role can this wonderous cloth not play?

Learning to "tie-off"! Yes, if you are ever wounded and find your blood gushing out, is an important skill to know. Use one hand and your teeth to secure the knot, be sure to loosen the tourinquet once in awhile also.

There are so, so many uses, applications and techniques coming from this humble cloth it fairly boggles the mind. Live with this tool, see for yourself. Gee, I dunno why I need have you prove this as true at all. It's only worked for countless generations of people on every continent on Earth for thousands of years. The truly good things stay with all cultures for all time. The humble cloth is one of those things. Now let it defend you from unwanted aggression. A little work and study is all it takes and VOILA!

It shall be yours! In the process, you'll no doubt come up with a whole bunch of new applications and uses yourself.

The Secret of the Cloth:

Concept versus Technique

It is of the utmost criticality that you grasp the idea of conceptual thinking. Only then can you truly tap into the survival mindset. Technique and ritual are oft times impediments to true performance. So by seeing beyond cultures, techniques and styles we can then begin dealing with what actually lies at the foundation of fighting, for all people, for all animals....... It's all the same really.

The kerchief, scarf or bandanna are part of a bigger picture of personal defensive development. I only wish you to be aware of this. (you'll thank me later).

The bullwhip, the length of rope, the buntot pagi (ray-tail), scarf, belt, sarong are all versions of the same art of using flexible weapons.

Each varies slightly from the other, but generally the concepts remain alike. Thus by knowing one path you intuitively know the others as well. We are not here to champion one arts methods over an another. Nor are we here to learn an entire curriculum of study. But by knowing that it is CONCEPT ye seek and not the over-vaunted technique or technical side ....you are already well ahead of the pack! Carry on then!

Example:

If I place a common wooden chair before you, what will you see? Is it just a chair to you? If so, then you are a linear type of a thinker. If this chair before you has possibilities as perhaps firewood, a stool,a weapon and yes of course a chair.... then Bravo! Then no doubt you are a concept man and are not bound to thinking "in da box". You'll do fine in the fray I'd reckon! Be intuitive, instinctual and intensive in your quest for this knowledge. If opportunity presents itself, by all means come train with me, we will discover this wonderful method together. I love thinking outta the box with others, great stuff comes from such mind-meld training sessions. In a few hours you'll have it down!

Common Cloth / Common Sense:

By this I am referring to those elements which cause us to possess common sense. It is the wellspring from which creativity in combat draws from. The bandanna is NOT a knife, it is NOT a pistol or bludgeon. Don't expect it to be. Be clever, use it for what it is. Know your limitations, know your strengths and know the enemy. Then aye, ye can venture forth in confidence. Put aside all martial art spawned fantasy. If you seek truth in combat, then let it begin with common sense. A truer sensei never existed!

There is an old saying from asia which asks: "Who is wiser than all the sages and Buddhas? ..... The answer of course, is YOU !

Conceptual Learning RESOURCES and Help Getting Started:

James A. Keating: The "Comtech Fighting Bandanna Volumes I and II" / http://www.jamesakeating.com/instructional6.html / (DVD)

Ron Baliki / Cold Steel Inc: "Sarong Fighting Volumes I and II" / http://www.coldsteel.com / (DVD) / This set is available from Keating as well.

James A. Keating / "Covert Weapons Vol I" / http://www.shomertec.com / (VHS-DVD)

Edgar Sulite: "Knife Defense" / Unique Publications-Videos / availability uncertain (VHS)

Good luck and thanx for reading!
Sincerely,
Master At Arms: James Albert Keating
Questions or orders email below:
comtech@bmi.net

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