5 Self defense blades you must know inside & out

“Everything is a Knife.”

That’s the good news & the bad news.

First the bad news,

The opponent is always armed.

Even if they don’t realize it…

…they always have lethal weapons at their fingertips.

Do you trust your opponent not to use them?

The Good News!

You are always armed,

…If you understand how to use the tools at your disposal.

Here’s a quick checklist of self defense blades you should be familiar with:

1. Pocket Knife. – The obvious one.

2. Pens. – There is very little difference between a knife and a pen.

3. Fingers. – These are great for cutting, ripping and tearing. With a little work you’ll think about your fingers the same way you would a knife.

4. Elbows and Knees. – These are more great tools for slicing and dicing.

5. Corners & Edges. – You find these everywhere. Doorways, Counters, Benches etc And they’re great for. The only difference is you bring the opponent to the blade instead of bringing the blade to the opponent.

To use these weapons you must understand them.

To protect yourself from them you must understand them as well.

Learn how to use ALL the tools at your disposal with Clear’s Kun Tao Silat.

Get started here:



Action Beats Reaction Problem & Self Defense solution

The Action Beats Reaction Problem is actually on your side most of the time in a physical altercation if you are the attacker / offending party. But, as stated in my last post in America we are desirous of a self defense method where we have the legal, moral and ethical high ground as well as being able to competently defend ourselves.

This puts the average person at quite a disadvantage because it forces most of us to react to an action that has already been taken by an aggressor.

The reality of the Action Beats Reaction Problem is that it is only a problem for those who are stuck in a fist fighting mindset for self defense. If you are going to stand toe to toe with an attacker and they attack and you react then you are probably going to get hit first, second and most likely last because against a serious threat the fight is now over!

Ponder the next question for a moment before you read on. When does your self defense method kick in? If it is near the point of physical contact then you are almost always going to be late to the party and so will almost always lose in a serious confrontation. The reason for this is because a real criminal attacker will begin attacking as soon as they think they can reach you with as much suddenness and as viciously as they can with everything they have.

If you are not already attacking before the criminal can open fire on you then you are almost certainly going to lose the battle/war for your safety and maybe your life!

For a Clear’s Silat student self defense begins by applying Action beats Reaction and solving the physical Action Beats Reaction Problem. The first step is to keep as much distance between you and a potential attacker as humanly possible. Awareness is the first tool and the first Action. The second Action is avoidance. Keep distance between you and a possible attacker so that they can never physically reach you without it being obvious to you well in advance that they are trying to get close to you and may well be planning to attack. Awareness and avoidance are key.

Of course a serious attacker will continue to approach you and even if they are hiding their actions it will become more and more obvious what their intentions are.

This is where the Action Beats Reaction Problem becomes a little more crucial to understand. It is really important that you work to keep the potential attacker at a distance so that they are forced to reveal themselves before physically being able to reach you.

At this point you want to utilize deterrence skills. One type of deterrence is to throw your fists up. But, this simply communicates that you are willing or worse yet desiring to fight which, although possibly a good physical self defense tactic, fails to work within the desired legal and moral self defense constraints that our society tends to require opening you up to criminal and civil liability. (By the way, I am not a lawyer/attorney and I am not giving you legal advice here. Please seek out appropriate legal counsel from a certified attorney for such things.)

Instead of throwing our fists up Clear’s Silat stylists will tend to hold up our arms and Open Hands in a back off / stay away / what do you want / keep your distance sort of posture that we refer to as Clear’s Silat Welcoming Posture #1. This gives us a certain positional advantage and helps keep the distance including expanding the area that we can refer to as our personal space. We hold our hands up high enough that an attacker cannot reach our body without stepping underneath our hands and that our hands can not be easily reached either. This helps to make it very difficult for an attacker to attack and reach us with any force without telegraphing their intent from over several feet away.

Another part of solving the Action Beats Reaction Problem is that we are moving our arms a bit and we are also moving our body a bit in the same way that someone yelling get back would emphasize and punctuate their words with their body or in a slight swaying waving motion if you have had the benefit of physically training it.

Constant motion  is a key to solving the Action Beats Reaction Problem. So that we are in Action first even though we are not aggressively attacking we are ready in the same way that animals in nature are ready to strike before striking. Because our hands are up in the air with the hands open the communication of our bodies to the would be attacker is much more of a “Back Off / Get Away!” message than a “Come on let’s do it!” message. Come on and fight may not be easily defended in a court of law but “I do not want this get away from me” is typically considered an appropriate social response to unwanted aggression.

The good news is the same movement that communicates this message is also the same movement that really effectively puts you in constant motion and in a completely ready position for effective physical self defense.

Action Beats Reaction – Self Defense Principle

Action Beats Reaction is a fairly simple principle to understand and apply. If two people are within reach of one another, in a stationary position, the one who moves first wins.

Following is a drill that illustrates the Action Beats Reaction principle quite well.

Partner A holds a finger less than 3 inches from the chest of Partner B and demonstrates that they can easily touch Partner B without hindrance at full speed. Partner B holds an arm out to the side several feet away from Partner A’s hand but that is clearly visible to Partner A. Partner B gets to move first and has to traverse several feet to get to Partner A’s hand. As soon as Partner A can tell that Partner B is moving they touch Partner B’s chest as fast as they can. Partner A’ hand only has to travel 3 inches.

Partner B’s hand has to travel several feet but Partner B gets to act first.

Partner A only gets to react.

If I am Partner B I only move when Partner A is standing still.

It would seem that Partner A still has the advantage since they only have to move 3 inches but the vast majority of the time Partner B will win the contest and if Partner B moves well and when Partner A is least ready and most still then most of the time Partner A will not move at all.

Several feet to several inches is quite a contrast and illustrates why the Action Beats Reaction principle is so important to understand and apply.

In a self defense situation where you are already within reach Action Beats Reaction is a very important principle to know and apply because it can truly give you a serious advantage even when you start out at quite a disadvantage. If I stick my finger in a would be attacker’s eye before he even realizes I have moved then he is already hurt and I am on my way to my next move by the time he is responding. You can imagine the surprise and disorientation that the person who is playing catchup is feeling because they were caught before they could respond. Although this does not guarantee victory it certainly lends itself heavily to it.

Part of the reason that Action Beats Reaction works is that for most people it takes the mind the better part of half a second or longer to realize what has happened in a situation. In the jungle this principle is fairly simple to apply. Strike first with lethal intent. Kill or be Killed.

But, for self defense in America Action Beats Reaction must be used differently in order to follow the law of our civilized society as opposed to the law of the jungle. Responding to every situation with a strike first and kill or be killed manner will eventually cause you to be incarcerated without parole. In most places in the civilized world there is a civic duty to avoid conflict when possible and although the law allows for self defense it does not allow the defender to be aggressively proactively offensive. Essentially and unfortunately, the criminal gets the opportunity to attack us first and then we can respond in order for most self defense to be legal. In a real self defense situation this actually causes Action Beats Reaction to work against the law abiding person and makes it what I call the Action Beats Reaction Problem.

In my next post I will post our Clear’s Silat basic solution to this problem and how to legally use Action Beats Reaction for self defense. There is also some very nice video footage of our solution and approach to this problem on our Self Defense Tactics for the street video. Our approach to the self defense legal reality on American streets is really the primary difference between Clear’s Silat as it is practiced in the United States and Silat as it is practiced in its true form in the jungles from which it originates.