In this excerpt from The Complete Michael D. Echanis Collection, hwa rang do supreme grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee's most famous student comments on what you need to know about stick combat, the human anatomy and improvised weapons!

The stick is probably the most available “field expedient” weapon to which a soldier has access. As a combat weapon, it becomes usable for everything from riot or prisoner control to an extremely lethal close-quarters-combat weapon. At one moment, the stick can be a cane and the next it can be breaking a man’s wrist, arm or neck. In this context, we will primarily deal with the stick and its use in combat as a weapon for survival. Various sizes and different techniques will give you a basis for evaluation and readjustment so that each technique will conform to you and your mental/physical abilities. Michael Echanis on Stick Combat vs. Knife Combat One important factor in your evaluation of the stick as a weapon — in contrast and in comparison to the knife — is the stick’s focus of attack on the bony protrusions and nerve centers of the human anatomy. The knife cuts and slashes veins, arteries, muscles and tendons of the body.


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Michael Echanis on Stick Combat and the Human Anatomy In the study of close-quarters combat and its scientific application of technique during actual attack, the focus of mental/physical contact must be directed to vital portions of the human anatomy. By simple and correct application of technique and mental focus of power, the smallest man can become a lethal weapon to the largest of assailants. A weapon in the hand of a trained individual is the integral difference between a lethal and a nonlethal close-quarters-combat technique. Michael Echanis on Improvised Weapons An example of applying common sense to this type of situation is the use of an ashtray as a lethal weapon in close-quarters combat. The edge of the glass curvature — the outer portion of the weapon — becomes the focus point of attack when directed to bony protrusions of the enemy’s anatomy such as finger joints, knuckles and bony portions of the upper hand, wrist, elbow, collarbone, jawbone, bridge of the nose or temple. A well-focused strike with this simple, commonly found weapon will deliver a disabling or extremely lethal blow in a crucial self-defense situation. The writing pen or a hardwood pencil is another example of a simple, commonly found weapon, which can be a lifesaving factor in certain life-or-death situations, such as in the face of physical violence or rape. There are many methods to injure an assailant with merely a pen, hardwood pencil, a set of keys or a comb — such as a direct thrust into the eyes, throat, jugular vein or clavicle region of the enemy. These harsh methods of reaction are necessary in life-or-death, hand-to-hand combat encounters. Only those who are willing to remain calm and act decisively will survive these types of violent encounters. Michael Echanis on How Stick-Combat Training Can Influence Use of Improvised Weapons The keys to mastering survival in close-quarters combat is common sense, being aware of readily available natural and man-made weapons in your immediate surroundings, and knowing their application of attack to vital areas of the human anatomy. It can be as simple as throwing hot coffee in the eyes of the enemy to gain that split second needed for reaction. The stick is invaluable in the sense of “common sense” and its application of attack to the anatomy of the enemy. To move forward with your study of stick combat, pick up your copy of The Complete Michael D. Echanis Collection, which features the following:
  • a vital striking chart detailing critical points of the human anatomy for effective stick combat
  • using the baton in stick combat
  • using the double short stick (also known as the "bone breaker") in stick combat
  • a special chapter on cane techniques demonstrated by hwa rang do's supreme grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee
  • and much more!
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Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
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Looking to buy some weights to gain some strength?

Looking at Dumbbell, Kettlebells or Weighted bar? How about an all in one that won't just save you some good amount of money but also space? Look no further, we bring you the GRIPBELL!

Let's face it, when we do want to work on some strength building, we don't want to go around shopping for 20 different weight equipment things. That would just not want us to even do any sort of strength training. But what if we only needed a few, a few that can do the things we want without having 20 things lay around? That's where the GRIPBELL comes in. Let me clarify with you first, these are not some heavy duty, muscle exploding weights, they are for building the level of strength we as martial artists want without going crazy and insane in bulk sizing!

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Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: StevensTKD@aol.com or go to www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com

Having partners at or above your skill level is important for improving in your martial arts training. At some point, however, you will probably find yourself with a shortage of skilled partners, especially if you are an instructor.

This can happen for any number of reasons: students can move away, change their work schedules, start a family, etc., and just like that, you find that you're the highest-ranked student, or sole instructor, in your gym or dojo. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you take advantage of it, even working exclusively with lower-ranking classmates or students can improve your skills.

I used to host a twice-a-week training session at my dojo where I invited mostly black belts from other schools (as well as a few of my advanced students) to come and run drills. It was a blast. These were tough two- to three-hour sessions where I got to work with fighters of all different sizes, speeds, and technique preferences. My sparring improved dramatically over the next few months, and I don't think I've ever been in better shape. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. And as the old saying goes, "You gotta work with what ya got." So, make it hard on yourself.

I like to set handicaps when fighting my students. Specifically, I focus on forcing myself to work on improving my weak areas. Is you right leg weaker than the left? Then only kick with the right leg when sparring your students. Not much of an inside fighter? Don't kick at all. Training with partners of lesser skill not only helps you improve your weak points but gives them an opportunity to improve as well by working on strategy. It's also great for building their confidence. It can also be a low-cost opportunity to test new techniques and combinations, which benefits you as well.

In grappling, just like sparring, there is little benefit to wrapping lower ranking classmates into pretzels over and over, for them or you. Instead, let your partner put you in a bad situation. Let them get the mount; help them sink in that choke or armbar. If you start standing, such as in judo, allow your partner to get the superior grip before attempting a throw. This way you will get comfortable working out of a weaker position and your less-experienced partner can perfect their technique (and get experience using multiple techniques, if you get out of their first one).

You might think that giving advantages like these to students who may be far beneath your skill level is much of a challenge. Trust me, you'll reconsider that sentiment when you wind up sparring a 6'5" novice with zero control over his strength after deciding to only use your weak leg, or have a 250-pound green belt lying across your diaphragm trying to get an armlock after you let them get the pin. Remember, this is exactly what you signed up for: a challenge.

If you find yourself at the top of the heap without partners who are sufficiently challenging, there is no need to despair. Use it as a low-stress opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop avenues to help your less experienced classmates and students to grow. You may even be surprised. One day they might present more of a challenge than you ever imagined!
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