Knives are the oldest tools known to mankind. The knife has been a part of every culture in history. It is no wonder that the knife would become a favorite for personal protection. Martial arts in Indonesia have long practiced the art of knife fighting in its many forms. The Indonesians have a particular fondness for the knife. Steve Gartin has been intimately involved with the knife industry since 1980 and graduated from a 20 year course with Indonesian blademaster, Willem de Thouars. Steve has melded the Indonesian KunTao Silat knife fighting methods he learned from Willem de Thouars into a program that Americans can learn at home by video and incorporate into their American lifestyle.

Civillian Self-Defense                             


Martial Arts for the Civilian

copyright 1994 Chas Clements

Martial Arts is usually thought of as a practice for the warriors of the King. Who needs it more than the civilian Citizen?

My Fellow Americans! In case most of you have not noticed, you do not belong to an Ee-lite military fighting force, you can't become a Reserve Police Officer and carry your 'piece' with you and you don't live in a place that allows you to 'go forth armed'. Well, What's a Mother to Do??

The long time martial arts practitioner, certainly the police and the judiciary, and the private security forces would have you trust to the intentions of your fellow man and fight with your hands. Yeah, Right- I don't eat with my hands, why should I fight with them. My Daddy told me that a grown man should be armed and expect the same from others, it makes for a polite society. Noone enslaves an armed man or steals his property, they don't rape and abuse an armed woman, there is not an abused armed minority- the terms are mutually exclusive.

Who better to trust with arms than the 'moral citizen'; flower of our system- producer of riches, protector of the weak, holding the treasure of our society for posterity? No law of morality attaches to the out-law. He has made his choice to live as not respecting our covenant- no protection of that law should accrue to the bastard.

The citizens choices about weapons seem to be restricted to three; concealed weapons, tools used as weapons, weapons of opportunity (battlefield pickups). Well Friends, that has been true since the Hideyoshi sword hunts, George III's disarming of Ireland and before. The King wants his safety- and so do His men. If you'll take the Kings' shilling, you'll do the Kings' work- if that is the disarming of your family and friends, so be it. The citizen is then called upon to be a more devious martial artist- he must be able to defend himself from the professional as well as from his fellows.

A concealed weapon is the usual first choice because it is simplest, your' only enemy is Authority- if you live a circumspect life, you may carry anything you care to do and never have contact with someone to whom carrying a weapon is an offense in itself. A deliberate weapon is a psychological and philosophical statement. It settles you in the posture of martial intent- I will defend myself and my loved ones to the death (preferably; his). It accepts the responsibility of any adult citizen for his/her actions. It gives you the edge of the proper tool for the job at hand. It removes the fear of the smaller and weaker of us for the size and youth and strength of the common predators.

Some of the common concealed weapons are guns, fighting blades, blackjacks & truncheons and gas or blinding weapons. The prejudice in favor of guns/gas is a matter of intent to agress from a convenient distance. That is a convenience that you pay for dearly! They are hard to 'hide' or disguise. Ususally they are volatile in themselves; heat sensitive, explosive under compression, easy to ignite or set off, easy to use by fools. We're not really talking about arming to confront an active enemy, as one would belt on a fighting pistol- we're speaking to carrying something day in and day out for a common non-agressive citizen to defend himself with against the predators.

Remember that in the function of the combative distance, the military wants to engage from the farthest distance, the Police from the middle distance, but the mugger is right up next to you. Your weapon must function best in the short distance, leave the defense of Czechoslovakia to our European troops.

The concealed dagger; double-edged, stout entering point, razor sharp with a secure grip has been the choice of living civilians for a long time. It affords all the edge you can get on a good piece of steel, defence against an armored opponent, and a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach that you're doing the right thing.

For the 'thump & pump' crowd, a walking stick about the size of a point shortened pool cue with a lovely decorative head. Even dogs understand the implications of a stout stick in the hands of a determined defender. It isn't by accident that travelers since farthest antiquity carried a long staff and a good stout knife.

When we conceal our weapon as a tool, it is good to designate that object as a weapon only and not utilize it as an actual tool. It gives the psychological posture of the Warrior. Hammers, knives, steelyards, wrenches, ballpoint pens-wooden pencils, typewriter roller, letter opener, 'decorative' office objects, clipboard/briefcase, the list is limited only by your concientious application of martial intent to your surroundings. Your martial technique is strengthened by your familarity with your weapon in its identity as a tool.

It is good to practice daily in your martial mind with the objects of your life. When assaults come, the bandit has chosen the time for predation. He sets the tone of the confrontation with his weapon of choice. He thinks that he can win or he wouldn't have chosen You. If you have the familiarity of constant usage, the availa bility in common life and the muscle/mind training of martial defense, your instinctive choices will be right and your dear old ass will survive. 

The ability to fight with any object that may come to opportunity is a difficult and dangerous journey. Combat proficiency with any weapon is a matter of serious practice and intent, but; the study of multiple weapons art, the training of the intention to be able to look around for something appropriate while simultaneously fending off any opponent who is armed with his best choice in weaponry, and the arrogance of walking naked in public are beyond my comprehension. It is an interesting scholarly diversion but not sufficient to stake my families' life on. Even the most proficient martial teachers that I know carry things about the body.

The arrogance of weapons that wound is the supposition of a civilian that he has the resources of a military or police organization. The military seeks to wound the enemy so that he will tie up resources of military capital. The police shoot the same cartridge for convenience. The electronic weapons (body-field disruptors) don't work on everybody, all the time. They seem to either electrocute people, or piss them off- with some other reactions in the middle. The gas weapons are indiscriminate (can come back on you) and many people are minimally affected by them.

The civilian can't call back-up, he can't expect members of his 'organization' to defend himself and his family- he has none. His actions must be definitive in the situation at hand. His morals are not in question- his intent is not malicious and he must be able to resolve vicious attack from multiple opponents. His choice of weapon must have the options of a fight ending technical application. Big pistols or shotguns, long sharp knives and heavy clubs seem to work adequately if one is to judge by historical example. Composite weapons; stick & chain, blade or weight & chain, specialty weapons such as skin attack weapons or poison are best left to the devices of real specialists. If you need them, you're leading a weird life.


Steve Gartin

(c) Copyright 2003 KunTao Silat