If you’re a student of self-defense, learning how to wield ancient weapons and defend against them is impractical. Why? Because it’s unlikely you’ll face a Greek spear or a Japanese katana outside the dojo. It’s much more practical to acquire a working knowledge of edged weapons and firearms and concentrate on how to neutralize them. The pankration approach to weapons defense teaches you to always assume your assailant is armed while you look for subtle clues about what he’s actually carrying. If he’s wearing a coat in hot weather or has one hand behind his back or in a pocket, he might be concealing a handgun. Regardless of how good you are at gun disarms, you should resort to using such a technique only if you think all other alternatives—avoidance, de-escalation and escape—are futile.


To learn more about Jim Arvanitis’ take on empty-hand self-defense, pick up a copy of the September 2011 issue of Black Belt magazine.

Knife defense is just as serious, sometimes even more so. Your chances of not getting cut are slim. Therefore, your goal should be to keep from being stabbed and to prevent your attacker from slicing a major artery. Empty-hand techniques against weapons are clearly the last resort. When you practice defense, similar principles apply to both endeavors. You must move off the line of attack and simultaneously perform a hand defense. If your opponent’s weapon is a handgun and you’re close enough to touch it, you can take it. That often entails gripping the end of the barrel and twisting it away from you, then applying a joint manipulation to make it easier to remove it from his grasp. Once it’s in your possession, you can strike him or move into a safety zone while holding him at gunpoint. Knife assaults can be static—such as when the blade is held against a part of your body—or in motion—such as when he’s slashing at you from various angles. You must strive to immobilize the weapon hand (without gripping the blade) or disarm the assailant. Either way, once the immediate threat is neutralized, strike with speed and ferocity until he’s incapacitated. Pankration teaches a multitude of techniques for finishing the fight at this point, whether it’s standing or on the ground.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Bruce Lee's "10,000 Kicks" Challenge – Complete 10,000 Kicks in 10 Days and Feed The Children

Bruce Lee's secret to self-mastery is hidden in the following quote, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Discipline, dedication and perfect repetition over time are the keys to mastery. To get results like Bruce Lee we need to train like Bruce Lee.

Keep Reading Show less

If there's a martial artist in your life who's hard to shop for, look no further than this list of the best holiday gifts from the world's leading magazine of martial arts.

The holidays are right around the corner and there's no better time to shop for the ninjas in your family! Black Belt Magazine doesn't just provide the history and current events of the martial arts world, we can equip you with all the best products too. From beautiful belt displays, to stylish gloves, to collector's edition books, keep reading to check out this list of the top five gifts to kick under the tree this year.

Keep Reading Show less

Half human. Half vampire. Experience the sharper, darker, and slicker Blade now in 4K Ultra HD! Click to see more!

The martial arts action classic Blade is back in 4K Ultra HD, and it will make you feel like you are watching Wesley Snipes in person! The film is available for purchase TODAY (December 1st), but you have a chance to win the Digital Movie courtesy of Black Belt Magazine. All you have to do is share this article on your social media page and tag Black Belt Magazine and the appropriate page for Blade or Warner Bros.

On Facebook, tag @Black Belt Magazine and @BladeFilmsOfficial. On Instagram, tag @BlackBeltMag and @WarnerBrosEntertainment. On Twitter, tag @Black_Belt_Mag and @WBHomeENT for a chance to win! You must also include the hashtag #Blade4K to be eligible to win the FREE download.

Keep Reading Show less

A thoughtful question from Mitch Mitchell, an affiliate coach of American Frontier Rough and Tumble, prompted me to commit to paper some observations regarding two common tools/weapons of the frontier. First, the exchange that led to all this:

Question: "Am I on the right track or holding my danged knife wrong?"

My reply: "Bowie designs are manifold. My personal preference falls toward a flat-spine knife with a half-guard because a spine-side guard or broken spine jams up my thumb on a sincere stab in a saber grip. For me, anyway, a nice, straight, full-power stab with a hammer grip on the high line is impossible, and anyway it is a wrist killer."

Mitchell's question is a common one that can lead us one step closer to weapons wisdom. First, I will point out that discovering that certain tactics and grips are wrist killers is possible only when we invest time in hard training with hard targets. If we stick with mirror play, shadow play or tit-for-tat flow drills with a partner using mock weapons, we likely will never stumble on the realities that make certain tactics ill-advised. As they say, train real to find real.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter