One Mind, Any Weapon

Jim Wagner
Do criminals always attack with knives, clubs, and guns? You’d think so by the training weapons that most martial arts schools use for self-defense training: rubber knives, padded sticks, and wooden or hard plastic pistols. Yet, the reality is that there are hundreds of different tools of destruction that criminals face, and which you may face.

First, let’s separate the weapons that criminals use into three distinct categories: edged weapons, impact weapons, and firearms. An edged weapon that a criminal may use can be a broken beer bottle, a sharp piece of wood, or even the tip of a bronze Eiffel Tower souvenir. An impact weapon attack can be with a baseball bat, crowbar, or frying pan. When it comes to committing a crime with a firearm it can be with a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun or assault rifle.

Second, we never want to condition our minds to only defend ourselves with a limited set of weapons. I used the word “defend,” but that also encompasses also being proficient in using them. After all, “a good defense is a good offense.” Therefore, I have adopted, and I recommend you do the same, the fighting philosophy and moto of the instructors who teach the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, known by its acronym MCMAP and pronounced mick-map, and that is ONE MIND ANY WEAPON.

For nine years, from 1993 to 2002, I trained U.S. Marine units at various camps on a regular basis. One of the groups I trained was the L.I.N.E. (Linear Involuntary Neurological Overriding Engagement) instructors at Camp Pendleton, California. LINE Combatives, which was what the instructors called it, while most Marines just called it “Combatives,” was the hand-to-hand combat system taught by the U.S. Marine Corps from 1989 to 2001, until it was replaced by MCMAP in 2002 by Marine Corps Order 1500.54. As a token of their appreciation for teaching them my own techniques and tactics, they presented me with an instructor sweatshirt that bore the motto 'one mind any weapon', along with a fist, a M-16A2, a Ka-bar combat knife, and rifle.


Jim Wagner

Here I am (right), when I was a police S.W.A.T. officer with the Costa Mesa Police Department (California) at the Military Operations Urban Terrain (M.O.U.T.) facility at Camp Pendleton giving a briefing to law enforcement and military “aggressors” who will hunt, capture, or kill snipers during a 12-hour training exercise.

One Mind Any Weapon

Jim Wagner

I am teaching these sniper students how to fight with their sniper rifles if they are forced to use them in a hand-to-hand combat situation. Although scout sniper teams also carry an assault rifle, pistols, and knives, they adhere to ONE MIND ANY WEAPON.

Toy Weapons

Jim Wagner

These are just a few of the items, toys, that I bought for one dollar each at a discount store to use them in self-defense training and scenarios. Exposing students to a wide variety of weapon instills ONE MIND ANY WEAPON.

One of my best sources for buying training weapons is at a dollar store, or a euro store if I’m teaching in Europe, and they have a variety of names. In the toy section of the store I often find toys that I can use in my weapons training and scenarios: toy tools, toy cooking pans, toy knives and guns. Come Halloween time I buy plastic chains, weapons that are accessories to costumes, and even severed limbs for those terrorism scenarios that begin just after a “bomb blast.” I’ve even bought some Styrofoam grave headstones that I have set up outside of the training facility and told my students, “That will be you in the grave one day if you don’t master your war craft.”

If you want to go the extra step in realism, then add a little paint here and there, along with scratches and stains, to make the weapon appear aged or dirty. Smear a little stage blood on it, and it will look like it had just been used on a previous “victim.”

Of course, you still need to train with the stereotype weapons, such as knives, sticks, and guns, but occasionally use a “screwdriver,” a “cooking pot,” or a “syringe” to condition yourself, or those you teach, for ONE MIND ANY WEAPON. It’s one thing saying it, but quite another thing actually doing it.


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