Author: Ustaz Hussein
There are a few things in life that are generally indisputable: winning feels great, Salmon is the greatest fish on earth, women are fabulous, and a Rolex is a man’s best friend…well, after his Glock. The Glock part is precisely where martial artists like to argue a lot and differ in what a “martial art” actually is. And some even go so far as to say gunfighting isn’t a martial art and guns have no place in the civilized violence of the martial arts dojo. My personal opinion is simple: these people are either incredibly naive or just plain full of shit. And I only have one thing to say to all of them: the sword was the king of weapons until humans found a faster, less dangerous way to murder each other with firearms, so martial artists…please get over it. Gunfighting is the ultimate martial art. It has replaced swordfighting as the best way to kill an enemy on the battlefield, it pushed aside knifefighting for close-quarter combat and it will reign supreme until we devise a more effective way to kill each other in the future. These are my top four reasons why gunfighting is the supreme martial art and how martial arts can make gunfighting even MORE effective than gun-only people could ever be.
- Equality – Gunfighting is a great equalizer because man, woman, and child are all equally as dangerous when they are holding a gun to your head. That skinny chick you left at the altar for the Victoria Secret model you met at Sparky’s Steakhouse last month, yeah, boom! you’re dead. That kid you called Sweetboy Charlie last week and pushed to the floor with one finger while pouring
your mango juice over his face, yeah, boom! you’re dead. Everyone is equal in this game and that power will never be relinquished by the bullied or jilted of the world in favor of an Emerson Karambit they’ll probably never learn how to use properly anyway. Gunfighting is a skill that is much easier to acquire than knifefighting and much less emotionally and physically involved so it has much more appeal to the masses than any other martial art will ever have. And guess what, if you’re missing wearing a cool black belt…gunbelt suppliers have you covered!
- Better stopping power – Gunfighting is a very effective way to stop another human from doing something they shouldn’t do. Contrary to many knifers opinions and feelings, knives are not that effective in putting down aggressive determined attackers. A knife in the hand of a highly-skilled knifer is very effective…but how many of us are actually out there? Not much compared to the average Ahmed and Jenny walking down the street oblivious to everything. A knife or sword requires a lot more practice to be used effectively to kill another person…or it needs time to keep slicing and stabbing until the victim is dead. Two or three shots on an attacker will almost always be more effective than two or three knife attacks on an attacker if the weapon is being used by a person without a high level of skill. The gun will always win in terms of stopping power by virtue of its ability to smash through a human and what they are wearing. I can’t say the same thing for a knife because I’ve had trouble slashing people wearing winter coats and they didn’t know they were slashed! In fact, it took multiple slashes, stabs, and a knee to the gut to actually stop my attacker. This is just one incident that leads me to conclude that my knife is definitely not the ultimate weapon I thought it was. I’m not saying knives aren’t effective killing tools…they are very effective. But they require a lot more in terms of skill, training, and involvement by the user in order to maximize their effectiveness. A gun is far less demanding and has a lot more stopping power, faster. Hence, I advise people that want to invest in longterm study of Silat to start with the knife as a practical weapon because it’s cheap and available everywhere on earth then move on to gunfighting. And those who are just interested in a fast self-defense course to focus on getting a concealed-carry license (if legal in their area) otherwise get a good close-combat training program and learn to take people out fast, then get some kind of counter-knife training to compliment it.
Blunt force options – When I say the word “gunfighting” don’t just assume I’m talking about shooting people. Remember the word “fight” in the word “gunfighting” and that means the blunt impact of a kilo of steel hitting someone in the head is a very effective gunfighting technique in close-quarters. People rarely think of firearms as blunt force weapons for combat but I can assure you…they are awesome! Not every situation requires you to actually use the gun to shoot another person. A gun can be used for several reasons: to intimidate, to maim, to kill, and as an impact weapon. And I dare say, the butt of the S&W on the left is a far superior impact weapon when doing the classic Silat/FMA martial art arm strikes than the usual plastic keychain striker that people carry. Another issue to concern oneself with in street altercations is the frequent use of strength inducing drugs that many criminals take prior to committing crimes. Almost all the street criminals that ended up in my ambulance involved in gunfights, knifefights or hand to hand violence tested positive for some sort of drug. Illegal drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine can give the user incredible strength for a short period of time and reduce their sensitivity to cuts, bruises, punches or restraints. Hence, paramedics and police usually work together to take down, restrain and sometimes chemically restrain these types of individuals. I remember one call where we tried to take down a 6 foot 5 African drug dealer who was pumped on methamphetamine, completely naked and armed with a crowbar. Two paramedics and five police officers later (never mind the baseball bat wielding militia that gathered) we were still not confident enough to take him down in a face to face fight. Instead, we opted to have me talk to him and keep his attention facing forward while the cops doubled back and snuck up behind him for the takedown. Drug addicts are always unpredictable, but with the right combo of meth, fentanyl, coke or ice…they can be fucking deadly even to a highly trained person. A slash on the arm definitely won’t stop them, but a kilo of solid steel slammed into their face repeatedly will. And if you really have to go bladed against these types, forget the tactical knife, go find a broadsword!
- You don’t need to fight – The biggest disaster modern hobby/entertainment martial arts has put into the curriculum of systems is the desire to fight with other human beings in close-combat. Hollywood makes you love it, Game of Thrones glorifies it, and Rambo makes all the girls go gaga for sexy tough guys. Martial artists see everything as a fight between them and a bad man somewhere in an alley for a wallet or a misspoken word that angered a bully. But the truth of the matter is fighting in the real world usually entails risking your life against a psychotic wackjob only to face legal misery afterwards if you’re in the West or fugitive status in the East while you try and evade the corrupt (well mostly) legal system and escape to a neighbouring country before flying home. There is little fun in it, hence my nagging at all my students not to get involved in problems unless it’s really necessary and then…consider your environment. Sometimes it’s better just to wash off the blood and quietly go back to the hotel instead of calling the Eritrean police so they can “help” you in your self-defence situation. Wisdom is half of survival. With firearms, you can keep that distance and control other humans without actually getting close enough for them to do the same to you and that is far more effective than your mano a mano or knife techniques. The ability to intimidate and control from a distance is such a superior bargaining position that only a determined fool could resist and tell me that they prefer being close and risking their lives. That type of “martial arts is my hand” type of talk is what I usually hear from people who never fought anyone before. They have a glorified image in their mind of the noble martial artist defeating all odds to take out the bad people empty handed.
The reality is you’re a fool for risking your life when you don’t need to. Martial arts is about winning in combat, not doing it nicely so it looks great. Ghengis Khan forced Chinese engineers to adapt their siege crossbows so they could be used on horseback by his mounted warriors so he could invade the Western lands. The Ottoman Janissaries, famous warriors skilled in close-combat, always opted for crossbow, rifle or projectile weapons first before engaging in man to man fighting. All men of action, real martial artists, throughout the ages have valued the power of projectile weapons and later guns, over hand to hand combat. Because every man of action wants to get back to his wives, daughters, and sons instead of bleeding to death in battle just for the sake of being a noble martial artist. Better to shoot your enemy in the back of the head and be done with it. Winning is what the real warrior desires, not nobility. Even the Prophet Muhamad (SAWS), an experienced warrior and veteran of over two dozen battles, said, “Verily, power is in shooting.” (Sahih Muslim) And this is coming from an expert swordsman and a man known to all of the Arabs of his time as the best wrestler in single combat in the Arabian Peninsula. Verily, power is in shooting my dear reader.
Genghis Khan would have murdered all of California to get his hands on something like this. The Zigana Full-auto from Turkey…awesome beast!
These are my main four reasons why I believe that gunfighting is the greatest martial art, but I don’t want anyone to think I disbelieve in other martial arts, I don’t. I think emptyhand martial arts and Knifefighting are an integral aspect of close-quarter combat training in the 21st century. And mandatory for survival. Those skills have saved my life on multiple occasions. But the gun is the primary weapon of a modern martial artist, followed by a knife and then a stick, and lastly, the naked hand. The knife also integrates very well with the gun in close-quarters, and many of the principles can overlap making for more potent gunfighting techniques. Another issue to note is that anyone who trains shooting exclusively without having knowledge of combatives and knifefighting is also incomplete and at a serious disadvantage. Any tactical instructor worth their salt will mention this to you. Within arms reach…a knife is as dangerous as a gun, maybe even more, if the person is a skilled knifer from a knife-based martial arts system like Silat Sharaf or from straight-up prison training, if they can get close to you…get ready to bleed. FBI statistics for 2012 state: of the 52,901 officers who were assaulted, 13.2 percent of the officers were assaulted with knives or other edged weapons VS 9.8 percent of officers who were attacked with firearms and injured (FBI UCR 2012). So essentially, knives are still dangerous as hell in close quarters even if you’re armed with a gun. But if you know the knifer’s capabilities, train for it, and have solid hand to hand skills, your chances increase exponentially if you have to face someone like this one day. Knives are also the most common weapons readily available to you EVERYWHERE in the world where guns are not available, which is mostly all countries on earth. So environment will also influence your carry and training options a lot. And last but not least, if you’re in for the long haul, training-wise, get certified in proven edged-weapon based tactics. You might just end up seeing your kids a bit longer because of it.
Martial arts is about survival and winning so you get home to your family. The more you know about the weapon systems that will be deployed against you the higher your chances of defeating them when you encounter them on the street. So don’t get stuck in fantasy ideas of nobility and man to man combat, just shoot the fucker in the heart and go home to your family. That’s nobler than any street fight you can ever get in to.