Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mike Blackgrave - The Bad Guy aka PIPER

What is PIPER? This is a question asked within various knife communities. Is it a bastardized FMA or Silat system as so many of the internet experts profess? Or is it a contrived notion of a mad mongoose in a far off hemisphere? In all actuality it is neither. It for a lack of a better term is the bad guy. Yes that's right the bad guy. PIPER is a case study on how the bad guy thinks, reacts, moves, attacks. It isn't based on a system, rather it is built on the premise of what South African good guys face on a daily basis in the streets of Cape Town, Johanesburg, Durban and many more. Now most people will never believe that there can be this much danger in such a small country, but I assure you there is. People must remember that before 1994 this country was under apartheid rule. During this time life was extremely hard for the down trodden. They, like anyone did what they felt was right to survive the tide.

As in this country, often times survival leads to a violent and gang like mentality. The strength in numbers mindset takes hold and once your in your there for life. This is where the violence becomes old hat. The gangs of South Africa like gangs everywhere are fiercely loyal and take their work seriously. Gone are the days of banging for survival. Now the gangs bang for pure profit. They look at what they do as their career. They understand that the circumstances that surround them make it next to impossible for a poor kid from soweto to crack the infrastructure of success due to his disadvantaged nature i.e. black and dirt poor. While apartheid has been officially crushed the sentiments still remain in tact on some levels thus feeding the gang frenzy and the violent nature to which they do their work.

The mad mongoose I made light of in the opening stanza is none other than Nigel February the man behind the PIPER madness, and a highly misunderstood, misquoted bloke at that. It seems people take umbrage with Nigel for speaking his mind and talking of truth as it pertains to the dilemmas of violence in his home country of South Africa. He never loses his cool and starts flame wars via the net but rather, he discusses the truth as he knows it. I have known him for quiet a while and not once have I heard him say anything derogatory about any other system of knife. On the contrary, I have heard him praise some as top notch and those he finds lacking he simply refuses to disrespect or talk bad about as he knows this does nothing but flame the fires. To each their own is a motto he covets ... although it is voiced in far different words than afore mentioned.

PIPER was built for the good guys. It is nothing more than that. It is not a set sequence of technique that one simply learns from a template or from a give and take lesson. Nigel put this together by studying the bad guy. He grew up in rough ways and endured much as a youth, and perhaps saw far to much at a young age that pushed him into this undertaking. By studying the criminals of Cape Town and how they moved he understood the danger that they place the average person in and how inept the average citizen was at preserving his own existence under such duress.

This knowledge was the seed to PIPER. PIPER has now grown in South Africa under the protection of Nigel and his Master guardians. They realize that to defeat violent action, violent action must be understood by being able to not only perpetrate like motion and violence but using that same mindset to build ways to defeat it and survive it. The PIPER way is now spreading, slowly but surely in the hands of good guys who understand violence and have survived violence. Piper is not intended to be the same everywhere. It is a blueprint of study. It is up to the individuals who hold the PIPER knowledge to make the effort to fit it to the situation at hand. Criminals are criminals that much is true, but not all employ the blade the same way as their South African brethren. PIPER addresses this, and as Nigel tells me constantly "Bro PIPER is the bad guy..the study of him, take it and study your bad guys..find how the method can destroy the intent of the attacker". That's it in a nut shell folks..that is PIPER.

The quirky individualistic movement that each PIPER player brings to the table is unique and deadly. As I said PIPER is not based on rote movement where you and I are doing the exact same thing on a feeder / receiver basis. For the most part knife in America, especially FMA (which I love) is based on the concept of the duel. The progression is based off of abecedarios and often times assumed that the enemy knows and will react just as it drilled in class. The same applies for the so called knife defense. PIPER does not work this way at all, this is why it is feared and loathed, blasphemed and spit on by a vast majority of the so called knife greats of the western world.

PIPER forces you to react, and by reacting wrong in training one can attempt to fix the PIPER problem...if there is such a thing. I find that the standard fma defenses work only if the motion remains akin to what is comfortable, hence a feeder/receiver base. What doesn't get addressed is the ambush, how do we come out of that mode where we are behind the timing? How do we hit combat mode while under duress. I know how but teaching it is something different as every person rarely buys into the premise of the work.

The fact is the people learning PIPER understand that they will be hit..if you can get them comfortable with that idea the rest will happen if the time and the effort in training is put forth ( a rare commodity indeed). Most students will refuse that they can or will be hit, they revert back to the status of invincible, especially those who have been fed that only one way is absolute truth. That's why PIPER is a threat, a threat to reality, a threat to self and a threat to innate laziness. Most people will never study the bad guy, in their mind why should they? They don't get it, they can't imagine a good guy ever stooping to the depths of shit to study why this happens, how this happens and to whom this happens. The box of truth gets deeper and deeper.

So in closing look at PIPER as a gift. If you empty your cup and open your mind truth will always find it's way out of the box. The entire premise of PIPER lies in the study of the bad guy, your bad guy. The motion and action of PIPER can then be tweaked to fit each and every individual who chooses to pursue it. It is nothing more and nothing less. It cannot be compared because comparing is not in the PIPER mindset. In fact it doesn't even come into conversation because it is a waste of time and effort. The PIPER brethren (of which I am blessed to say I belong, although a pup) simply look at what they do as crucial to their everyday survival. In feeling this way they find it pertinent to pass on what they have discovered to those interested and in need so that they may find the ways via the PIPER to deal with the bad guys near them.

An empty cup and an open mind coupled with a firm desire to understand the violent nature of others are tools to be polished and placed firmly in the personal tool box. Use them when needed but always use them!

Mike Blackgrave
SEAMOK Tactical Solutions.

For further info, please contact Amo Guro Mike Blackgrave via:

NOTE:  My deepest gratitude to Amo Guro Blackgrave for his kind permission in allowing me to repost this.

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