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"Self-defense" is a right and a responsibility.

Below are two articles I feel are an important contribution to the current situation in this country. I am a firm believer, due to real-deal, living personal experience with the agents of repression, in the right to defend oneself from harm.
Don't get it twisted: I'm NOT down with political adventurism, random attacks on people I disagree with politically, or public posturing with loaded weapons. But I also see that the progressive community is woefully unprepared for the increasing repression coming from the government and its right-wing allies; mostly due to its general unwillingness to face the issue realistically, practice good strategy, and promote self-preservation; especially amongst the youth. Remember, "freedom" is only a concern of the living!
The Jacksonville Anarchist Black Cross teaches and advocates armed self-defense. I personally teach and advocate unarmed self-defense. Feel free to contact Jacksonville ABC ( jaxabcf@attbi.com) or myself ( gregoryclewis@yahoo.com) for more info.

The Revolutionary Politics of Self Defense

Right wing militia and other racist organizations are growing more and more proficient in the knowledge and use of tactical combat techniques, while the modern revolutionary movements remain defenseless. The hypothetical question needs to be raised that if a conflict broke out next week, would we be ready to defend ourselves? One thing is certain, those right wing racist organizations who are presently offering tactical training classes legally throughout America would be a great many steps ahead of us all.

The reality of the situation is that tactical combat and self defense training is not something that can be mastered in a week or even a year. Our training needs to be consistent to the point where the drills become as neuromuscular reactions (or hence, that we are able to use technique without even thinking about it). This is when proficiency begins and it can take a great period of time to even reach this point. The point is that these right wing militia and other racist organizations have been in serious training for a long period of time while many of us still see the concept as being premature.

Another point is that there is a definite and obvious relationship that exists between firearms and revolution. As George Jackson put it, "Our history teaches us that the successful liberation struggle requires as armed people, a whole people, actively participating in the struggle for their liberty!" The fact that there has never been a successful revolution without at least some show of force makes, for the serious revolutionary, firearms training a definite and living reality.
Firearms training in present day revolutionary movements has often been perceived as being premature or as an invitation for police repression. Examples are often sighted of MOVE and the Black Panther Party. The focus of these organizations was to make a political statement by a show of arms. Patrolling neighborhoods and acting as a revolutionary police force differs greatly from carrying concealed weapons for personal protection. Not to criticize these organizations for their actions, for under the right political climate they could serve a valuable purpose; however this is not what is meant by our advocation of self defense.

Private ownership of firearms in America for anything but hunting or sport (even throughout many revolutionary circles) has been stigmatized and made to appear illegitimate and illegal. The reality is that in every state it is legal to own and use a firearm lethally in defense of a life. For obvious reasons this has been portrayed as something that is socially unacceptable and illegal. For that and many other reasons people have become almost completely dependent on government agencies for protection. This is no accident, for as crime and violence are being exploited throughout the media, we have let the government step in. They have been more than happy to provide us with their solutions because a dependent, defenseless people is an enslaved people.
Crime is the number one fear in America today. It's growth and hype is being consistently trumped up by the news media in an effective effort to gratify the fears of the general population. this fear has pervaded the lifestyles of all social classes and like clockwork has resulted in the call for more police on the streets. The anarchist and other revolutionary arguments towards the abolition of police and prison has only served to confirm the possibility of the majority of Americans worst nightmares because the police and prison systems have been presented as their only alternative to crime.
Personal protection and tactical self defense training as viable alternatives to crime should be taught within the community on all levels. Firearms training is only one aspect of the whole. People need to understand the concepts of armed and unarmed defense, rape prevention, securing a home, as well as dealing with the legal system. People need to know when to use the appropriate level of force, the characteristics of a stress situation, dealing with the aftermath and so on.
A moral and social standard should be set in which the hows and whens of self defense are understood throughout the community. The act itself, of teaching self defense within the community should be looked at as a revolutionary means of empowerment. Through self defense, people will be given their own means of self determination as well as a way to stand up and fight back. This in turn weakens our dependence on government agencies for protection and brings us one step closer to the realization of our dreams.


Introduction to Karate means "empty hand".

This is the introduction to the companion manual to the instructional video "Karate means 'empty hand': Practical Self-Defense for the 21st Century". It should be used as a supplement to the video, as well as to actual 'floor time' at one of my seminars, which I strongly recommend you attend prior to utilizing the video or this book (contact me for more information).

What separates this video and manual from others on the market today is the fact that, besides affordability, it is specifically aimed at those like myself who seek true freedom, justice, and equality in their lifetime.

You won't hear me telling students to rely the police or to even contact them. Indeed, the police will contact you; they will be a part of the process of successful self-defense on the street whether you like it or not. What I will give you are some tools and jewels for dealing with that when (not if) it happens.

Another thing I will say is that if you are an activist in the so-called "movement" in the United States (in particular; but anywhere really), the days of peaceful, legal protest are rapidly coming to an end. The militarization of the police (as seen in the war of drugs and in large demonstrations such as the WTO in Seattle and the FTAA in Miami), the passage of the Patriot Act, and the general "terrorist under every rock" paranoia promoted by the government and the corporate media, along with the actual terrorist threat from right-wing/fundamentalist Islam, the fascist movement (both secular and Christian) in Europe and America, the criminal element in the 'hood, and the state itself (and those who support it; regardless of whatever regime is currently in power), makes training and proficiency in hand to hand combat, blunt/bladed weapons, and firearms mandatory for any serious community organizer.

As Dr. Huey P. Newton pointed out correctly "politics is war without bloodshed; war is politics with bloodshed", meaning concretely that as contradictions between the classes and amongst the people within each class sharpen, dialogue and debate are replaced with assaults, bombings, and gunfire. This does not mean you have to abandon your commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict and non-violent methods of civil disobedience and social change (where applicable), but it does mean that you need a full arsenal of concepts and strategies that allow you to live to fight another day and make your opponents think twice before challenging you physically.

Self-defense has been extremely important in my life, especially as a person of color. My journey in the martial arts began due in large part to being regularly attacked because of how I look, how I speak, how I used to dress, how I was a klutz and had asthma, the fact that my dad was not around, and my mother was white. To this day, there are people who hate on me for some of the same reasons.

What I teach is more rooted in my understanding of the real living struggles of the oppressed generally, rather than any ideological posturing. Historically, traditional Okinawan karate was refined in the struggle of peasants against Japanese invaders and the sell out king who disarmed them in the 1600's. Later, Japanese-adapted karate was used by some elements of the population against American soldiers during the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War 2.
In this country you have the legacy of the Deacons for Defense, the BPP (as well as the Brown Berets, Puerto Rican Independence Movement, AIM, etc) and the Black Liberation Army. Most of them, probably all of them, advocated and/or taught some form of unarmed (and armed) self-defense to anyone willing to learn.

And then there's the reality of domestic violence; this is something Franz Fanon (author of "The Wretched of the Earth") actually touched on indirectly when he wrote about how the oppressed will attack each other if they are unable to attack their enemies. This goes on amongst men and women daily in this country, regardless of sexual preference. People of color are the targets and victims of violence more often than white people are; often at the hands of other persons of color; people who look like us and speak our language(s). Sad, but true.

The reactionaries are light years ahead of the forces of progress on this subject. Groups like the KKK, American Front skinheads, and the National Alliance train in both hand to hand and in firearms. There is an entire industry devoted to teaching middle class white America, both civilians and cops, how to fight back against terrorists, car-jackers, street gangs, serial rapists, etc.
Thankfully, there are small groups of progressive folks like Home Alive in Seattle and Girl Army in Oakland who teach self-defense in a way that is not about patriotism, racism, xenophobia, or personality cults around a fighting style or teacher.

Many of those who are progressive, anarchists in particular, often fail to deal with "what is" and try to leap directly to "what they wish to be". Some progressives grew up bourgeois and sheltered, and never have been placed in a situation where their lives were truly in immediate peril (until they got involved in radical politics). Or they got their first education in the concept of self-defense from someone who used the words and the overall concept to justify targeting them for abuse.
There are still those out there who subscribe to the ideology of "redemptive suffering", a pacifist politico-religious doctrine advocated by Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi; that somehow those who do evil to the most defenseless segments of the population will finally 'come to their senses' or 'repent' for their sins against humanity because of the willingness of a few nonviolent martyrs to be brutalized.
Those who advocate nonviolent resistance have been jailed and killed in numbers equal to or greater than those who, as Malcolm X put it, "stop singing and come out swinging". Proclaiming yourself to have sole ownership of the 'moral high ground' or 'the truth' in a situation only leads to alienation from those around you and execution at the hands of your enemies, with help from those around you who you alienated. Jesus is a prime example.

I believe in self-defense by any means necessary, but what I specialize in is unarmed self-defense and the use of improvised weapons. In an age of tighter control on handguns, knives, and specialty blunt force weapons (sap gloves, brass knuckles, etc) and longer prison sentences for their use (even if its justified), it makes more sense in my opinion. At the same time, it is good to be well rounded in the use of tools other than your bare hands and I study in that direction.

Philosophically, I believe as Gichin Funakoshi (the founder of the Shotokan style of Karate) did, that "karate is for the development of character".

If you can control yourself, then no one else can control you. If you cannot control yourself, then someone else will control you.

Improvised and filed expedient weapons. 16.May.2004 17:21


If you cannot afford to(or legally) buy guns but agree that a threat exists, there are several alternatives good enoguh for defending your own home. One is modern compound bows drawing at least 50 pounds. In six months of practice with bowsite and stablilzer with an old bow that can be gotten for $25, you can be accurate to 40 years+with projectiles that cut through body armor like it was made of toilet paper.

Crossbows are effective and even easier to aim, but are very slow to load and will be ruined if you try to store them cocked(or "set"). The US Army Improvised Munition Handbooks, sold by Loompanic mostly to people curious about things that go boom, also include good instructions for makign improvised pistols, rifles, and shotguns from common hardware store pipe. They also instruct you in choosing the pipe and test firing by string from behind a barricade (at least 5 times) before firing from the shoulder.

In close, a machete makes an effective sword, as people the world over have found out. Stabbing weapons, BTW, again sail right through body armor except the ceramic stop plates over chest and back in SWAT armor. Also, don't forget your PEPPER SPRAY for all those less-than-lethal possibilites to escape one or two opponents with minimum escalation-get some now! Usually but not alway, you opponent will recover within hours with minimal damage-if he doesn't, well, he just found out what its like when his buddies abuse the stuff. Sometimes pepper spray doesn't work, so be prepared to escalate in that case. in every video I've seen of a cop getting a snoot foll of O.C., however, it stopped him and limited him to trying to call in someone else, which can be stopped by getting his radio and his cellphone. If he's in a car, break off his antenna.

Guns, BTW can be bought used and without an ID check in places like Ebay, using prepaid debit cards for electronic currency under bogus or real(depending on legal situation)names. Bolt action rifles and pump shotguns can sometimes be found under $100, much like compound bows. All those fncy recordkeeping requirements apply only to guns sold by licensed dealers in most places-that's the famous "gun show loophole."

If you are good with tools and heard that martial law had just been implemented, you coulod have a shotgun in an hour this way. Of course, if you've nver shot a gun before it may do little good. Whether you intend to use armed or unarmed defense if the Patriot Act strats beign seriously used against movement activists, you need to practice and train NOW!

In addition, have plans rehearsed for dealing both with raids and seiges, keep a stock of nonperishable food if you can eat it, plenty of water-and a "go bag" containing emergency food, water, raingear, firemaking, and a survival blanket plus money, transit and so on ready to go at all times. Keep a pair of shoes in the bedroom as well-and a coat in cold weather. If you spot trouble coming you have a good chance of quietly slipping away to fight another day.

Question 16.May.2004 17:50


Are you (the original poster) offering to teach karate, then, or are you offering to give away tapes? From my experience, learning martial arts from a tape doesn't work very well, you really need a good teacher.

Ebay 16.May.2004 17:52


Ebay listings for guns are for gun parts, presumably due to restrictions on "mail order guns." As a result, guns are stripped down for parts which are then sold seperately. As a result, you will need to buy the appropriate parts and put it together. The serial numbered "receiver' or frame will be the one part teh seller can't legally send you through the mail, but if you are good with tools you can make one. Even the intricate M16 lower receivers have been made by some home machinists-it just takes a lot of time on a milling machine(also available from auctions). If you are making improvised arms, a good barrel that can cost less than $10 provides a lot more strength-and rifling. A shotgun, of course, is the one case where any strong tube will do. If you don't have a felony conviction or live in Washington DC or some other such "no posession" zone, homemade guns and parts guns are legal. Of course, when DHS comes to sent you to Guantanimo for something you said about HLS, you aren't going to care one bit about the legality of your weapon-only its effectiveness and your own skill with it.

Ads for complete weapons can be found in publications such as Shotgun News. When you meet face to face in a state that doesn't restrict gun sales, you don't need ID if the seller is NOT a dealer. The use of the mail is verboten, but I don't know about other shipping outfits. All those gun laws are one reason I have long preferred compound bows, which easily pierce body armor and have all the range you need inside the house or around it. BTW, use only aluminum arrows with compound bows, as wooden ones can break and go into your arm!

When you become familiar with weapons, you will find you hope you never have to use it (except for practice) but that you are ready if worst comes to worst, which is damned important when you live in a country that rounds people up for detention without trial in camps. hmmm-seems like my people(part Native American) have seen this before...

Finding a good dojo... 16.May.2004 22:45


...can be difficult these days. Anyone wanting to learn the martial arts would be well advised to sit in and observe a class at any potential school. Many of those run in the US are run with the main concerns being profit for the owner and the physical aspects with barely a nod to any of the philosophy or mental discipline that should accompany learning any martial art. Also look into learning one of the more flexible arts like Jeet Kune Do as opposed to styles that are hung up on inflexible fighting forms that only work well against someone who knows the same style you do. And although it is tempting, don't get too hung up on schools that teach a lot of weapon forms, you probably won't find yourself able to put your hands on a broadsword, chain whip or katana when the need arises.

Self Defense Advocate 17.May.2004 05:46


What? You don't believe in the "magic" phone?
You know that device that when a criminal is trying to kill you or your family, you pick up the "magic" phone and a big strong armed police man will magically appear.

Didn't think so.

Firearm safety and the right, and what is to be done 17.May.2004 12:41


One thing the right has on us is they have a practical program for education around firearm safety. I grew up in a household that was pro-union, never voted for Republicans, and understood who owns us. Firearm safety means that the firearm is always treated like it is loaded, as most accidents are the result of "unloaded" firearms. Conversely, the left liberal types always point to the supposed accidents in the home. If we stack the deaths by armed trigger happy policemen and the accidental deaths by firearms, we all know which would produce the largest number.

My own concerns with saftey is not with a shotgun "accidentally" going off, but with anyone, including the pig, who would be happy to steal a weapon and use it in a crime, or frame an activist with one. This is the real reason to lock them up, as a trigger lock does not address the issue.

There are many gun clubs that are not political, but based on the social affinity that comes with a hobby. It is when those who are armed become political, just as those who are polical become armed, when the State becomes concerned. Considering the size of the anti-gun lobby, I'd say they are very concerned; many of the city ordinances prohibiting carrying or display of firearms was a result of the activity of the BPP. The left talks a lot of about free speech, the right to organize a union, to protest, etc., but when the state is no longer deterred from eliminating all of it by the fact that at least a few casualtiies will result, then the bill of rights is toilet paper. Arguments about the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment are moot, when you have nothing to enforce your rights against the state to make the argument.

a little rumor 18.May.2004 04:52


Disclaimer : As my lawyers and I are well aware that advocating violence in any form, including self defense, against any agents of the State whatsoever is a serious felony, this is offered for informational purposes only, and should not under any circumstances be interpreted or construed as such an incitement to violence, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you go up against a serious U.S. armed force, you will be seriously outgunned, period, end of story. Now, I am most definitely in the pro Second Amendment camp, but you must be realistic. Believe me, there are new technologies out there such as infrasound that render even Army grade infantry utterly useless and unable to even pick up firearms, much less aim them, as they void their bowels and shake helplessly in agony long after the sound cannon is turned off, allowing the Fedgoons to swoop on in and effortlessly mop up resistance. Not to mention that these troops will be equipped with light weaponry that can hit you before you even have a clue that you are in their sights, at night, under dense cover...we're talking 1000+ yards here, and we haven't even yet approached the topics of air support and medium artillery. That said, there is one commonly avaliable, cheap milsurp handgun out there that packs a hell of a whallop for close combat against antagonists equipped with body armor, is extremely accurate, and is very durable...the Czecheslovakian CZ52. It was designed for the 7.62 x 25 Tokarev round, which was more or less designed to penetrate multiple layers of winter clothing in Northern Europe. However, there is Eastern European military ammunition out there for sale that was severely "hopped up" in the potency department for these pistols, and the pistols themselves have a unique internal "rolling cam" mechanism that absorbs most of the recoil of what is a shockingly loud and intense blast from what is in essence a light machine gun round. The round will easily penetrate a car door, a telephone pole...and up to level III body armor. Ballistics tests have confirmed this, and for those that worry about "over-penetration", HP and other types of ammo have been developed due to the popularity of the CZ52. The rumor among cops who know about the '52 is that the entire Royal Hong Kong Police Department had to retrofit with new vests back in the 90's when the mafias over there found out about these hand cannons, and even that wasn't enough.

They cost $150-200 at most gun shows...see Google for more info.