A Texan walks into a bar with a sword on his hip…

…and gets arrested.

20170609_093644
Decisions, decisions, decisions.

There has been a lot of talk about the changes to Texas law concerning larger knives. I wrote an article recently on the subject, as I am excited that in Texas, the Bowie knife will no longer be considered illegal. Mostly. We have been allowed to purchase and own them, but we had to leave them at home.

There have been headlines like “Texas slashes knife restrictions” and so on. In some of the Left leaning websites, there was a certain disrespect being shown to those who would be happy about these changes. They included talk of carrying a spear everywhere and strapping a katana on their hip.

The old knife rules will still apply if you will be carrying a blade in certain places. Nothing over 5.5″ at schools, places of worship, or 51% establishments (businesses where 51% or more of their income is from the sale of alcohol). If you decide to bring a restricted knife into these places, it is a Class C Misdemeanor. All that I can find on this is there is a fine of up to $500, but no mention of jail time.

 

20170207_115943
Kershaw Black Horse (My EDC)

 

For me, this is all pretty simple. I can, and will, continue to carry my EDC knife. On occasions where it will be legal and venues where it will not scare the sheep, I might dust off the Bowie. The swords will be staying at home because I don’t want to deal with the hassle of busybodies thinking that they need to cause problems for me because of choosing to exercise the new laws which go into effect on September 1st of this year. However, for actual legal advice, consult an attorney. But please remember, just because it is legal to carry does not mean that someone will not call the Police. Be smart. One look at the sad state of our society as it stands should be enough to tell you that someone is going to have a problem with you carrying something that they don’t think you need to carry. And that sucks because I really want to carry my Gurkha Kukri every day.

As always, likes, shares, and subscriptions to this site are greatly appreciated!

 

Tacti-cool or Practi-cool

A couple of years ago, my Wife purchased a cane for me. I didn’t need one at the time, but it was a safe bet that I would like it because it was no ordinary cane, it was an ax cane!

FB_IMG_1499979022701
Ever so Tacti-cool!

The edge is sharp as heck and the polymer construction makes it very sturdy. It is awesome! Even with the changes coming to laws here in Texas, this will still be illegal to take with me anywhere. Also, any of my Texas people who are overly excited about the law change, please note it is a little more complicated than it sounds. You still won’t be able to go everywhere you want with a Bowie knife on your hip. More on that in the coming weeks though…

As you know, provided you read this blog, I have had a couple of episodes of gout. Gout is no joke, the pain is really terrible, and depending on the joint affected, mobility becomes a challenge.

Obviously, working in a school, the Tacti-cool cane was out of the question. So, a hobbly trip to Wal-Mart and I had a much less cool cane, but much more useful.

ba81ad8e-747a-4ff2-9931-6256100aaba8_1.7e83d6a34a455fded4eed1317b875e6a
Not cool at all, but…

 

Sometimes you have to be realistic. Even when you want to be stubborn.

In the event I needed to protect myself or my Family, I would be able to hurt someone really bad with the ax, but would definitely be stopped by the Police before any such incident occurred. While inflicting severe damage to a bad guy with the practical cane would be more difficult, it is still doable, no one will think twice if they see me hobbling around with it. I will just look old. And grumpy.

Sometimes we need to look at practicality and opt for the less cool looking option. And while I am on the subject, trying to look tactical will just get you some attention, and probably not the kind of attention you want.

As always, likes, shares, and subscriptions are deeply appreciated!

Prioritize Reality

Recently I wrote an article and mentioned, just as an example, the way martial artists will bicker over minutia such as the proper way an attacker will hold a knife. This led to some follow-up emails. Most were friendly, some were whatta ya mean by this? 

So, I want to address this in a little more detail today. I hope some find this helpful!

When you attend a self-defense class, you might spend some time working on defense against a knife attack. There are two ways that they will emphasize the attacker’s grasp on the knife.

20170705_130655
Hand Under the Blade

 

20170705_130611
Hand Over the Blade

 

As to which option will be used by the dreaded untrained attacker, well, that changes from school to school. I suppose it matters what school the attacker was untrained in. Edges are sharp and points are pointy. If the person holding the knife knows this, they can cut, stab, and possibly kill you. I had lunch once with a professed knife expert who managed to scatter corn all over the table as he struggled to cut it off of the cob. When I sliced the corn off of the cob on my plate and lost no kernels at all, he asked me, in utter amazement, how I did that. I told him that I let the knife to do the heavy lifting. He gave a confused look and continued talking about his amazing skills. But, I digress.

By the time the knife is in your line of sight, you have either not been paying attention, or you have missed all of those exit signs on the highway to hell.

Here is where my red flags are:

20170705_130748
Nothing in my Hands (I Promise)

 

When you can’t see both hands, you need to do something. Exactly what that is will depend on you and your training, but this is the point to focus your attention on. I want to be able to see both of your hands. To me, if one is hidden, you are a threat until I know otherwise.

This is why I say that the arguments over hand positioning of the knife are trivialities. There are a series of events leading up to that moment, and until you reach a certain point, there are opportunities to turn things around.

As always, likes, shares, and subscriptions to this site are deeply appreciated!

Protecting Your Kids

Today I will be answering the questions which came to me from many different people via email that all boiled down to one thing – How can I keep my kids safe?

To give a really blunt answer, you can’t. There is nothing you can do that will keep your child 100% safe from all possible danger in this world. You will be able to breathe a lot easier if you give in to the undeniable fact that your child will get bumps, bruises, strains, sprains, infections, contusions, abrasions, colds, cases of flu, and maybe even fractures, concussions and broken bones – even if your parenting is flawless. These are things that happen in life. Your child might get bullied or be a bully at some point. Kids will keep secrets from you, tell lies, and convince themselves that you could never understand what they are going through. You did the same thing growing up.

Having said that, there is a lot that you can do to improve the odds of your child making it successfully and safely through childhood and into adulthood. What follows is a series of ideas you can implement that should give you some peace of mind.

Get Your Head Out of Your Apps

I stole the term from Alain Burrese, but it is the perfect term for this.

So many people cannot get their face away from their phone to see what is going on around them that it is tantamount to the real zombie apocalypse.

When you are with your child, actually be with your child. If you are not aware, there are so many things that can go horribly wrong. The simple act of paying attention can make a world of difference. As I write this, there is a news story about a woman whose baby drowned in the bath while she was looking at Facebook.

If your social media “newsfeed” is of greater importance than your child, then you are an idiot. Put it away, especially in public. You will survive waiting until you are home to see what political rant your friends have posted. Social media is one of the least important things you will do in your day, the time you give your kid is the most important of all, so treat it as such.

Nothing Off-Limits

By the time your kid is a teen, you need to be sure that there are no topics that are off-limits. Being a parent does not mean you will always be comfortable with what is said to you. It is vital to keep those lines of communication open and be sure that your child knows that nothing is off-limits to tell me does not mean that you will not be upset, it means that they do not have to feel the need to hide things from you.

And I need to stress that I am not condoning the snowflake mentality that thinks you need to be your child’s friend, you still need to be the parent, you are there to provide and guide and protect and teach.

The teaching part of the parenting job can be hard. It involves making sure that your kid knows that lessons learned by screwing up are harder than those learned by listening to your elders. It means there are times you will want to scream at your kid about their stupidity, but instead go pick them up from a party where they got drunk and called you instead of trying to drive home or let one of their equally drunk friends drive them. You will want to read them the riot act over being drunk, but you need to also see that calling you to pick them up was the better option in front of them.

They have to be able to come to you.

Instead of Stranger Danger, Just Danger

In looking at the numbers, a child is more likely to be abducted by someone they know. In the majority of child abductions, it is by a parent who did not/could not get legal custody. Children are molested more by relatives and people that are known to them than by strangers. Stranger Danger taglines sell classes to parents who are genuinely concerned but place the focus on an area where there is less risk. If your kid knows not to go anywhere with strangers and knows to not let them approach and what to do if they try to approach, then you can start to spend some time making your kid aware of other dangers, behavioral red flags that show something isn’t right. And be sure to teach them that these red flags can come from anywhere, not just strangers.

Best Practices

Throughout their childhood, you can provide them with the habit of best practices. For a child to not place themselves in a situation of being alone with an adult is an example. When I teach, as an example I will use my after school program, the students are taught from day one that the first person there will stand outside of the room holding the door open until a couple more students arrive. I do this because it reinforces the idea that they need to avoid situations of being alone with an adult. If I allowed them to wait inside the room alone with me, they might transfer the fact of being safe when alone with me into situations of being safe when alone with another adult, and that is certainly not a best practice. Things like this should be as common as look both ways before crossing the street, but they are not. Take the time to be sure your child grows up using best practices regarding safety.

This list is incomplete, but it will, I hope, provide a point of departure for you to begin considering how to address the ways of keeping your child safe that are within your power.

As always, likes, shares and subscribing to this site is always appreciated!

Is Any Training Better Than No Training?

I had a person this week find offense with something I say quite often – Any training is better than no training. It is a statement that I am willing and prepared to defend. And so it will be our topic this week.

It is often ignored in the martial arts that a person with no training can seriously injure or kill you. Listen in on a group of martial artists as they pontificate on knife attacks (for example) and you will eventually hear someone say that a trained knife fighter would never hold a knife that way. The implication, of course, is that because the speaker is trained, the incorrect hold on the knife makes it a less effective cutting or stabbing tool, which is complete and utter nonsense. The fact is that if a person is trained in a certain style, there will be particular ways things are done, and certain methods, such as a specific way of holding a knife will be standard, and other methods are set aside. This practice is also why so many martial arts styles and systems are most effective against their own style (but that is a looooong talk for another day). But sharp things can cut you and pointy things can stab you even if the methods of implementing them are subpar.

Having said that, I need to bring up the context in which I make the comment at hand here. I do a lot of teaching to and talking with people who are afraid of the rise in terrorist attacks and other incidents of sudden violence. And my advice is always to get some training, with me or with someone else, but start training. This training will give you several benefits that outweigh any stylistic concerns.

For a start, training will give you a plan. If you have no plan at all for what to do when the bad guy comes, then you will be stuck trying to improvise. You are not John Wick or Jamie Lannister, you cannot improvise in these types of situations without at least some basic training, and even then it is a bad idea. Having a plan will give you a measure of confidence as well. And you will need that to start moving again after you are shocked that violence has come knocking.

The next point to consider; training in any method of self-defense is going to involve you getting away from your computer and on your feet and moving around. As I mentioned in Fighting Fit this is absolutely necessary to your plans for personal safety. No plan is going to work if you are not fit enough to carry it out.

And another point to think about, training gives you a chance to see if you can do what the style or school advertises. The instructor might be able to do something really fancy and impress you, but if you cannot replicate his success, then you will be able to clearly see that you need different training more suited to your specific abilities.

So while I freely admit that an untrained attacker can do serious damage and possibly even kill you, this should never be your excuse to not go through some form of training for protecting yourself and those you love. I also admit there are some really questionable martial arts schools out there, but in time you will be able to see what is real and what is not. Get started somewhere. A journey of a thousand miles and all.

I hope this helps and as always, subscriptions, likes, and shares are deeply appreciated!

Gun Control: Lullabies, Legends, and Lies

There was a high-profile shooting yesterday which brought out the typical news media routine of spin the back story on the shooter and deflect the incident into a conversation on gun control, or as they want to call it now gun safety or ending gun violence. The problem starts with a lack of understanding personal responsibility, the shooter decided to do this himself. It turns out he was from the political Left in this country, he was a Bernie supporter and a socialist, a social media ranter against any and all things Trump, and he was a Left-leaning news junkie. This information was all downplayed and the reporting was directed in the direction of gun control. Today, I am going to just present a few facts because there is a metric ton of fact that is ignored whenever the topic turns to gun control.

Shortly after the shootings, the Governor of Virginia made a very inaccurate (and ridiculous) statement that we lose 93 million Americans every day to gun violence. Unless we are bringing in many more refugees than they are publicly claiming, everyone in the U.S.A. would be dead in just a few days at that rate. In fact, if I may be permitted to use a more factual terminology, and call it gun-related deaths, even if the Governor meant to say 93 deaths per day, he would have still been incorrect. He would have been much closer to the truth, but in our time, facts don’t mean as much as agendas.

So, undisputed fact – there are right at 30,000 gun-related deaths per year in the U.S.A. Statistically speaking, 0.000000925% of the population of the U.S.A. dies per year from gun-related causes. On a personal level, each loss is tragic. At a recent shooting at North Lake College in Irving, I lost a former student. I know. But even the 30,000 number needs to be dissected to see a clear picture and notice the media spin.

To start with, you need to subtract 15% of the 30,000. That is the number that are from justified actions. Bad guys sometimes refuse to be taken in by the Police, or at times leave the Officers with no other option. In some cases, a home invader chose the home of an armed citizen and paid the price for the crime. Justifiable shootings happen, but anti-gun politicians think it is okay to lump these shootings in with the rest.

Next, take out 65% because those are suicides. Taking guns away because of potential suicides is pointless because if a person wants to die, they will find a way to make it happen, and the entire availability of guns effect on the suicide rate is propaganda.

You have to take out another 3% for accidental discharge. Guns, in spite of Hollywood jargon, do not just go off. The trigger has to be pulled, or there has to be a faulty engineering which allows a gun to fire when dropped.

So we are left with 17% of that 30,000 who are killed by the mentally ill, criminals, gang members, and druggies. Thirty thousand out of over three hundred million will not give you those drastic infographics that make America out to be the murder capitol of the world, which we are not.

In the end, we are left with just over 5,000 deaths per year that are the victims of gun violence, out of a Nation of over 300,000,000. And 25% of those deaths come from just four cities! Chicago, of course, takes the top honors followed by Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington D.C. And while we are here, I should probably point out that these cities have very strict gun control laws.

And this is a point where I will make note of the glaring fallacy that the media wants you to ignore – gun control leaves only the law-abiding citizens defenseless. The criminals don’t care one bit about the gun laws. Need proof, search out the number of shootings that occur in Gun Free Zones.

If you are on the political Left, and you wonder why people on the Political Right will not budge on gun control, no matter how you change the terminology, look at Australia. In a moment of weakness and emotion, they allowed themselves to be stripped of every means of personal self-defense. Now, the politicians there, who are safe behind their armed security force, are telling the populace that in the event of a terrorist attack, they should Run, Hide Tell, and if found in hiding, Beg. 

In my humble opinion, we owe it to those, who lost their lives in generations past to secure and maintain our freedom, to preserve and defend that freedom. You have the option to believe the BS and the lies and the spin. I think the truth in the debate is pretty telling. But so is the constant intentional misdirection of the political Left. So, in closing, I would like to recommend that you open a history book and read it.

As always, subscriptions, likes, shares and follows are deeply appreciated!

 

Knife Law Changes Coming to Texas

In Texas, there are some possible changes coming to laws that affect how we are able to defend ourselves and our loved ones from the various threats we might face. I have been asked and will give my thoughts on the topic. I’m not good at blindly following the typical party line answers, so I am sure that there are people on both sides who will find something wrong with what I present here, but that is okay. I love honest debate and dialogue. No one hurts my feelings when they disagree with me.

Illegal Knives

House Bill 1935 removes the illegal knives term from State laws. Once this is signed, many things change. Under current law, in Texas, it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade longer than five-and-a-half inches. And there are no legal to carry double-edged blades of any length.

I have been joking with my Wife that starting September 1st, I will be the one taking too long to get ready to go out (as I try to decide which knife goes best with my outfit).

20170609_093644
Decisions, decisions, decisions.

There have been the usual scare tactics of claiming that everyone will be walking around with a sword on their hip (and really…would that necessarily be a bad thing?). In truth, I don’t think many people will be walking around with a sword on their hip. Those scare lines are about as silly as when Texas was shifting to legal open carry of firearms. People were freaking out that we were going to be subjected to old west shootouts every day, and it didn’t happen. Most people who concealed carried before the law change continued to conceal carry after. As protected as I am sure  I would feel with my Gurkha Kukri on my hip every day, I am just as sure I would also be harassed by ignorant busybodies. The possible feeling of security would be replaced by hassles from people who think there must be uniformity of thought, and such people are never placated. So, I use the what they don’t know won’t hurt them philosophy.

In the end, in my opinion, this new law will do two things that I think make a lot of sense. First, it will make it legal to carry a blade that it was already legal to own. Going to jail for carrying something that is legal to own, even when you were not committing any crime does not make sense to me in a free society, which we still are (at least for the time being). And second, it makes Texas finally allowed to embrace a symbol of our heritage – the Bowie knife. I never understood why in Texas, of all places, it was illegal to carry a Bowie knife.

So, there are my thoughts on the topic. Let me know what you think. As always, likes follows and shares are appreciated!