Monday, November 16, 2009


A long time ago, I wrote a spy novel. You can still buy it on Amazon, and I encourage you to, because I need the money.

The novel concerned the training of CIA case officers. One scene, in particular, was based on a real conversation I once had with a guy who said he had trained CIA case officers in hand-to-hand combat.

... The instructor was a former inner-city street cop. God forbid, I thought, looking at his brute face, you should ever find yourself on the business end of his nightstick. He called himself the Bulldog, and his eyes lit up demonically every time he described the satisfying sound of a miscreant crumpling in agony to the ground. He told us to line up against the wall. “How many of y’all have studied martial arts?” he asked. “Ju-doo, Ay-kee-doo, that sorta stuff?” About a third of the class raised their hands. “Well, you get into a real fight, that stuff ain’t gonna be no use to you.”

He explained: “Someone’s comin’ at you with a broken-off beer bottle, you better believe me, you’ll forget everything you ever learned about acting like a crouching crane or a hidden lizard.” He raised his arms like wings, wrists limp, in an absurd parody of a crane, and snorted. “Tunnel vision. They call it that for a reason. You see that mother comin’ at you and you’ll lose your fine motor skills and your depth perception. Everything’ll look like a tunnel. And the only thing you’ll see in that tunnel’s a broken-off beer bottle. Biggest damn beer bottle in history. I promise it.”

The reptilian brain takes over and the panic reflex kicks in, he said. People with no experience of violence can no more remember how to administer a roundhouse kick or precision jab than they could invoke Jedi mind control. The advantage will always be to the opponent accustomed to violence. Looking at the Bulldog as he lazily masticated his gum and slapped his fist against his palm, I knew he spoke the truth.

That day we learned one crude tactic and practiced it a thousand times: It was a single blow to the brachial plexus. The advantage to the system was precisely that it was crude; there was nothing to remember by way of proper form or technique, just a good solid club to the complex of nerves at the base of the neck, and if you could remember it, a thumping kick to the nerve bundle between the foot and shins. ...

Now, I hadn't thought much about hand-to-hand combat when I wrote that scene. It sounded good when he said it.

In retrospect, though, I wonder. A club to the brachial plexus? If you're only going to learn one crude technique, I can't see how that would be the best one. It's not really the easiest or most obvious target if you're trying to strike a fatal or an incapacitating blow, is it?

I have since then been kicked in the shins a lot -- really a lot -- but it's never remotely deterred me. Getting punched in the nose, on the other hand, sobers me up pretty fast. I'm not sure there is a particularly sensitive nerve bundle between the foot and shins; and if there is, it's not easy to hit. Someone would have done it to me by now if it were.

I suspect what he said about tunnel vision, the reptilian brain and fine motor coordination was probably right, though.

Anyway, please buy the book. I'd really like it if you did that.


  1. Actually, neck stuns delivered with the forearm used to be a very common tactic in LEO h-t-h training, until some alleged perpetrator died -- not from the stun itself, but from hitting his head on the curb before the officer could restrain him. It works extra well if the striking arm happens to be holding a P24 baton, but the ACLU takes a dim view of that, apparently.

    I teach it as a basic self-defense technique because it is easy to do, unless your opponent is significantly taller than you. If he has stubble and you're in short sleeves, expect some beard rash too.

    The stuff about tunnel vision is right on, and well documented.

    1. I'm now not sure the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be searching for this info for my mission. Sbobet

  2. Hi Hakko, what's LEO h-t-h training?

  3. Law Enforcement Officer hand to hand training.

  4. Don't you remember? I already bought about a thousand of them!? And I read each and every one of them......

  5. I'm not too sure about any nerve plexi(?) at the join of foot and ankle. It's not a target I've ever been specifically shown. If I'm kicking low (and that's all you'll ever see me do these days), I'm trying to compromise the knee or hit some target like the inguinal crease (kua) or the bladder/groin. I also like to step on feet, which is exceedingly ungentlemanly of me, but most effective. Of course if one is wearing heels - which I rarely do and the photos will never come to light - then stomping on the instep of the foot delivers lots of extra hurty goodness.

  6. I just read your book and loved it. That's how I found my way to your blog...or maybe through Glenn Reynolds. I'll read your other books in the next few months.
    So there, you have a fan and hopefully the few cents that you earn from my buying your books will help keep you kicking ass in Turkey.

  7. Hi, I read your blogs daily. Your writing style is awesome, keep
    it up!

    Here is my homepage ... rental vacation homes

  8. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .
    net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using WordPress on various websites for about a
    year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about blogengine.
    net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it?

    Any help would be really appreciated!

    My web page - visit the next site

  9. Thanks for sharing yοur thoughts аbout
    seismіsm. Rеgards

    Hеre is my blog: 888 Poκеr Bonuѕ **

  10. Ηello there! I ѕimply want tо offer yοu а huge thumbs up for
    your eхcellent іnformatiοn you've got right here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.

    Feel free to visit my weblog ... WebRead

  11. Thanks for finally writing about > "DEFEND YOURSELF IN HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT: A TIP FROM A GUY WHO (MAYBE) TRAINED CIA RECRUITS" < Liked it!

    Here is my web-site :: übersetzung niederländisch deutsch sätze

  12. I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great. Agen Sbobet Agen Ibcbet

  13. What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say. Ibcbet Sbobet Casino