The Equalizer - What role do weapons serve?

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by Taipan, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Other than throwing stars, I think chucks are the most over glorified tactical weapon of any kind in Combat Arts. They were kind of fun to play with back in the day, though.

    Illegal here.
     
  2. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    I haven't bothered to look at the videos, and from the informed comments of others here, glad I didn't. My experience is that these usually appeal to young, inexperienced, wanna be's who can be easily impressed.

    But this first line of the post is worth exploring. One answer is that weapons increase the lethality and range of one's hand movements. Sometimes they follow the same hand motions as empty hand techniques, sometimes the motions are unique to the weapon. Usually, though, they do follow the same biomechanical principles.

    Weapons can be defensive or offensive in design. Blades, while can be used defensively by a skilled user, are primarily offensive in nature. "The sword is not a tool to defend oneself with; it's purpose is to defeat the enemy." (paraphrasing from memory.) Bricks and rocks are limited in their defensive attributes. (Though as threats, can forestall possible attack.)

    Pikes and long spears are standoff defensive weapons by design. Pepper spray and shields are also mainly defensive in nature, as is the jutte and to a lesser extent, the sai. I would say wood staffs such as the bo, as well as kali/escrima sticks, can be used for both.

    Another role: A number of weapons, due to their mass, develop strength, especially in the arms. Due to required momentum generation they also strengthen the torso and develop sound biomechanics.

    I have found that working with weapons improves one's concentration and penalizes carelessness. I have never kicked or elbowed myself, but do admit to ripping my side and banging my knee while using weapons. I know one fellow who shish-ka-bobbed himself with a sword. Weapons are dangerous and teach/deserve respect for their capabilities. They are seldom forgiving.

    These are simply a few random thoughts on the subject that, hopefully, can turn this thread into something useful.
     
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  3. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Green Belt

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    I notice firearms are absent from your post, though pepper spray, another modern weapon, is included. How would you classify a firearm?
     
  4. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    For this discussion, I define defensive as stopping an attack in progress and offensive as stopping the attacker, rendering him incapable of further attack. (of course, accomplishing the second also takes care of the first)

    Most all long range weapons are offensive, meant to take someone down and out. Death is the expected outcome. One doesn't execute a kesa giri with a katana, or fire an army colt .45 just hoping to just wound an opponent and persuade him to go home. When drawing such weapons, we must assume the intent is to kill.

    With defensive weapons, like pepper spray, the intent is to just persuade the attacker to go away, or give you time to get away.
     
  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're using a weapon as an equalizer, you're doing it wrong. You don't ever want the fight to be equal...
     
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  6. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Green Belt

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    Facts. A US military officer once said that if our people are ever in a fair fight, their leadership has failed them.
     
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  7. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Fair fights are for tournaments. The proper answer to a real fight is overwhelming force.
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’ve been practicing with sharp swords for years. Never have I come close to shish- kebabing myself. How does one do that?

    I did manage to run a spearhead through my own T-shirt one time. Thankfully it was hanging away from my torso at the time.

    But you make good observations here, particularly the comment on penalizing carelessness. Having practiced with sharps, I am very aware of everything that I am doing. It makes you very aware.
     
  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    Using a right, single hand, reverse grip (so the end of the tsuka - grip, is facing forward) and stabbing to the rear along the right side.

    He was an experienced black belt, but....as the saying goes - even monkeys fall out of trees. I didn't see it myself, but heard about it from those who were at the dojo that night. It was a clean stab with a foot of blade sticking out the back. Luckily, it only went thru the fleshy part of his side. He went to the hospital still impaled. Sorry I missed that!

    While many iaido schools train with dulled aluminum blades (iaito), ours always used live blades (shinken). In my 3 years of training twice a week, every week, I never saw anyone cut. Situational awareness and discipline required! No cowboys allowed in that dojo, run by one of the very top guys (from Japan) in the USA.
     
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  10. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Green Belt

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    I'm not sure I agree... I draw a subtle distinction between "intending to kill" and "willing to kill." In the one real fight I've been in, I grabbed a gun when my opponent grabbed a blade. In doing so, I recognized that I may have to shoot my opponent in order to protect myself and his original target, but I did not want to, and if I did have to (thankfully I didn't), I certainly didn't want him to die.

    That's why the term "shoot to stop" exists. Outside of certain elite military units (e.g. SAS, SEALs), very few agencies actually shoot to kill. Rather, they shoot for center mass because it's an effective way to stop an aggressive action, and because, if the situation has escalated to that point, death is an acceptable outcome, if not necessarily desired.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    One of the cardinal rules is to never ask a question, unless you're prepared to hear the answer. Perfect case in point.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    This is unnecessarily rude, and isn't very friendly.
     
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  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Which one? That's a good quote. Wondering if it's apocryphal or if someone actually said it.
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    This begs the question, if you are using overwhelming force, at what point is it no longer self defense?
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Pretty much at the point where they no longer pose a threat. Overwhelming force isn't really an issue, IMO. I can use overwhelming force without ever having to injure someone if I outclass them enough. If I don't, that "overwhelming force" is just using everything that's necessary to survive, trying not to give up an opening they can use. You keep going until the threat is ended.

    I think the distinction being made (carried from a military-oriented comment) was that you're looking for something to make it unfair in your favor, whatever that might be. I don't think the concept is foreign to competition, though rules and classing make an attempt to create fair-ish fights.
     
  16. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Green Belt

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    Not one any of us would likely know. My dad worked for defense suppliers for a long time, and, in a meeting he attended, he heard some officer say that. He later told me about it when we were discussing a lot of the concepts in this thread, but in the context of armed conflict and asymmetric warfare, as opposed to small-scale/individual combat.
     
  17. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Valid question. And very difficult to really answer, given the infinite variety of circumstances. In general, I'd say 'when the attacker stops being a threat.'
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Makes sense, and I really appreciate the thoughtful answer. I can totally see your point where there are no weapons, or even where non-lethal weapons, are involved. In the case of most weapons, sharp ones, pointy ones, or ones that fire projectiles, overwhelming force is often pretty definitive, regardless of whether you are exercising sound judgement or not.

    What prompted the question is actually something I heard about in the news just this morning. For the second time in a week, the Seattle PD shot and killed someone, and when I read the term "overwhelming force" it reminded me of how cops approach situations. And I have to say, sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes, it just seems like cops were the wrong tool for the job.

    First time, last week (2/9/21) a guy shoots two people, killing one of them, and then later points the gun at the cops who shoot him.

    This time, just last night, a guy was "in distress" (the phrase used in multiple articles), was walking down a deserted street (for those that don't know, the Seattle waterfront right now is pretty well deserted after dark, particularly in that area south of the ferry terminal) carrying a kitchen knife he had used to cut himself. They don't say he was a threat to others, though clearly he was a threat to himself. According to the articles I've read, the cops tried to use non-lethal force and that "didn't work". The man then "came at them" so they shot him and killed him.

    Police: Officers fatally shoot man armed with knife near Seattle Waterfront

    My point in bringing these two up is that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. These are two very different situations, where in one a person ended up dead because cops got involved, not in spite of it. In other words, the cops engineered a "self defense" situation where they then used overwhelming force with a predictable outcome.

    In my opinion, if your version of overwhelming force includes a gun, once you feel threatened, you will probably end up killing someone or being killed yourself. This is true whether you are right or wrong.
     
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  19. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    At the point when the threat has stopped.
     
  20. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Not necessarily. I've seen a couple studies (of the records search kind) that showed drawing a gun could end a confrontation without a shot ever being fired roughly 75% of the time. Likely because if it's obvious you've got overwhelming force, the other side probably has the sense to realize it. At which point self-preservation encourages them to stop.

    That's because sometimes they are. In an ideal world, calls involving mental health issues would be handled by someone actually trained to deal with mental health emergencies. Some police forces are making some moves in this direction, but it's a long way from being fully implemented even in those areas.

    Saying they "engineered" the situation makes it sound as if their goal was to kill this man. I really doubt that's true.

    That assumes that your version of overwhelming force has no options other than shooting someone. That's an unwarranted assumption. A gun is absolutely an option in my response to a threat. It has been for lots and lots of years. But it's not the only option, and I haven't had to shoot anyone.123
     
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