Urban Warfare, as projected by Hollywood and Social Media, includes taking kickboxing classes, and being street tough. My forewarning to you all is, anyone who is the polar of a manifest is always a fraud, and likely trying to sell you something. Remember the tough guy at the party talking big and oozing bravado? Probably not so tough when it’s time to bug out. He’s probably great for a few harsh words and a couple punches, but useless on the defence front. See the guy drinking a beer, laughing it up, and laid back strut through the crowd?- yeah him. Bet you $10 he’s more prepared in a life threatening situation than the obvious.
James Bond popularized Free Running, and Jason Bourne set the trend for MMA. However many people take these courses with intent to learn and sport it. A marginalized few take these courses to educate, prepare, and upgrade their current skill set for actual combat and safety. A large part of combat that people forget is studying and upgrading their intellect. Here’s a few books I recommend to get the inside scoop on protective services, hiding, escape and evasion, and more:
1) SOE Syllabus: Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare. This is the equivalent to the old testament. It is the ultimate spy vs. spy book for a few different reasons: it is a real WWII training manual; it covers topics such as HHC (Hand to Hand Combat); disguises (how cool is that?); and tips and tricks to detecting deceptive behaviour and so forth. FYI this training guide has been banned in North America for resale, but can be found on Amazon and shipped into Canada or the US.
2) Get Tough! – by WE Fairbairn. I am a fan of Fairbairn for couple reasons: his books are accurate and sure even for todays modern fighting; he has his own brand of knife. Get Tough is based off of, yet again, WWII HHC, and has some pretty enticing graphics to ensure you want to practice what you learn here. It focuses primarily on fighting techniques, and less on disguise :) This would essentially be the new testament to the previous.
3) On Combat: The Psychology & Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace – by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I am a die hard Dave Grossman fan, not only because he has mentored me in the past, but because his writings really speak the truth and do not romanticize combat. He has several other books, however this particular one really captures the essence of battle, hardship, torture, and how war truly rewrites your DNA and can corrupt and kill the soul.
4) On War – by Carl Von Clausewitz. This is an excellent book discussing tact and strategy including the importance and difference between the two. Often people run to Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, which is equally as brilliant, however this one being less poetic, is more “hardened” and less for the business side of war, and more for the analytic. Excellent read.
5) The Special Forces Guide to Escape & Evasion – by William Fowler. This read covers several of the important details including information on how to behave if you are caught in action, your rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention, disguises, communication, survival (wilderness and hostage), human behaviour, emotional devastation and coping, and more.
6) Verbal Judo – by George Thompson. This book is “ok” by combat standards but great by civilian standards! It’s sort of the “introduction” to understanding verbal games people play. Excellent for handling difficult people at the office, family members, etc…
When studying HHC, it’s important to note “why” you are taking it and research the different kinds of Martial Arts, Mixed Martial Arts, Defense Classes, and Hand to Hand Combat- because all of these are different, and many people are unaware.
MA- Martial Arts, implies one skilled martial art being learned, typically implies no harm to your attacker, but rather based off of submission or knock out
MMA- Mixed Martial Arts implies that a composite of two or more MA’s in one learned defense, typically implies no harm to the attacker but rather submission or knock out
Defense Classes – is non MA/MMA/HHC/Military, and focuses’ on self defense, typically a community taught course on basics
HHC – Hand to Hand Combat implies military training such as Bogwa, Samba, Krav Maga, however all are with intent to harm your attacker
It’s great to couple training with another stress relief exercise. Sometimes practicing MMA or the like can bring more stress because it is so intense. This is where it is important to focus on being mindful, disciplined, peaceful, and safe. However it’s not always possible. Taking yoga, or practicing breathing exercises and meditation in addition to this can help your regiment be more well rounded.