Monday, December 19, 2016

Two Sword Fighting - Estilo Macabebe

GME Leo M. Giron who introduced
Bahala Na to the US. He served as a
secret operative under Gen. Macarthur.
I addressed the two sword fighting style on the most recent edition of The Geek Block. Specifically I spoke of the Estilo Macabebe, a Bahala Na fighting style. The first video tells a bit of history, in the second you will see the actual style. It's beautiful. The sweeping movements are very effective but were originally used to intimidate.     

This is a style that was born of a need within a lifestyle which is the way all martial arts and fighting styles begin. (The only excepting being light sabers which has an actual choreography and style you can now learn. For reals. I saw a light saber "master" on Mythbusters.)

Two sword fighting styles are not common, certainly not as common as single blades. I believe that's simply because they didn't have a necessity in many lifestyles. Weaponry is native to an area because it suits the area and, again, the lifestyle of the people. Nunchucks are from rice farming, the yawara from Buddhist symbolism, the sai from farming, tonfa from milling and a bo staff is just a big stick. (See pics) The Macabebe carried two bamboo poles and they learned to use them in self defense, not the other way around. They didn't look for a way to defend themselves and picked up two poles.

Look at the lifestyle of your character and their culture. Are they in a profession that requires the use of both hands? If they learn it as cultural tradition, what in their culture called for that? Every martial art and fighting style has a specific purpose that fits that culture.  

 Light "Sabery" (Yes, really)

Nunchuck in rice farming

Yawara in hand of Buddha

Bo Staff


Tonfa in milling

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sword Forging

Now THIS is a Santa Claus! Bam!
After last week's post on blades, I thought it would be a good idea to show how some are made. Of the many different sword making videos I watched, these are my favorite.

The first URL is from a Korean website. It shows old word sword making start to finish. It is specifically for the making of this Korean blade but the video is chocked full of great details that you can put in your scene.

The second is from the History Channels Forged in Fire series which, like all History Channel series, rocks. This one has a quick overview of forges through the ages.

The final is History Channel's, History Of Swords : Ancient Killing Weapon. It's awesome and a more exhaustive view of sword making as well as swords themselves.

Before you dive in to the pile of swords, which I super don't suggest, I wanted to wish you all, my fearless readers, a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and wonderful holiday season however and whatever you celebrate. I can't say enough how grateful I am for you. 

As you are out and about, walk with your head up, shoulders back, pay attention to your surroundings. Make eye contact with strangers and heaven help, get off your phone!!!! Know where you are parked. Don't carry so much that you don't have a hand free and if possible, go with a friend. Self defense begins before defense of the self is necessary.

(Soap box dismantled.) See you in January. Enjoy...

Quick and Dirty Sword Making - 3 min  (URL)

 History Channel's Forged in Fire: History of the Forge

History Of Swords : Ancient Killing Weapon

May you write fearlessly and never forget that God is a warrior. He has fought for you to the death and to the life.

Exodus 14:14 "The LORD will fight for you. You need only to be still."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Last week our featured FightWriter, Lisa Godfrees asked a question about knife fighting. I thought this week I should give examples of how an attack would go between educated knife fighters. In every one note the body positioning and the use of both hands. All of these are courtesy of Houston Stick Fighting Association who are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. And, with trained fighters, that's often the case. They are kind, gentle folk ... until the scenario demands otherwise. 

Video #1 - Attention FANTASY WRITERS, this video is not only a great example for a scene with short swords, but it shows how the art of judo came to be. If you are a fantasy writer and have a battle scene, you need to know judo. The Japanese art comes directly from the battle field and sword play. 

After de-swording an opponent, the dominant fighter would try to throw their opponent in such a way that he landed flat on his back. The weight of armor is especially heavy on the chest so if placed flat one's the back, it takes maneuvering to get back to one's feet. In that amount of time, the downed opponent would be dispatched. That is why throws were created. They used the weight of armor against the fighter to put them in a vulnerable position. In modern judo, the concept is the same: use the opponent's mass against them. 

In this video, my professor, Eddie Avelar, is "de-sworded." What follows is judo. You will see that he takes a blow but in armor it wouldn't be lethal. Without armor it would be injurious but not deadly. By the way, stick work translates to blade work as well as hand to hand defense.

Video #2 - Actual short swords

Video #3 - Dagger fight. Notice that the knives keep moving and although one fighter, Daniel, keeps his knife as an extension of his forearm in a ready position, when he strikes it moves at angles with his wrist. You will also see him switch grips from forward to reverse. (Remember what that is? If not, see last week's post Featured FightWriter: Lisa Godfrees)

Video #4 - General Grievous. Ok, not really. But each opponent has a stick in each hand.

Video #5 - Tomahawk. This video is especially good because it's slow. You can really break down the body movements.   

      Remember, serve the story. These videos give you the bones of an accurate scene, but if the skin overwhelms them, you've defeated the purpose. Your scene should never be so technical that a reader must do research to follow them. So, know what's right but, above all, write. Create snapshots of what is most interesting about a real scene. 
      While knife fighters are gaging one another's distance and there's more dancing than striking, put in visceral details, the surrounding smells, sounds, the feeling of being a god. That is a bit of what's it's like to fight this way. You feel greater than yourself. Everything else disappears except that moment and even that moment seems to stand alone in time. There's no fear, no emotion at all. There's just a mouth-watering fury that makes your eye teeth feel longer. 
     Don't just let your reader read. Make them a part of the scene. Make them feel the subtle shift in the air as the blade just misses their cheek. 

Until the next time at, get blood on your pages.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Featured FightWriter: Lisa Godfrees

Featured FightWriter: Lisa Godfrees
Lisa Godfrees (Gedfrides)

Lisa writes: I have a question for you. I LOVE the show Dark Matter (Have you seen it?) but it drives me crazy in all the fight scenes where people continually spin away from each other and the other person waits patiently for them to spin all the way around before attacking again. Why would you turn your back on an opponent during a fight?

That is an excellent observation, Lisa. You are a warrior at heart. Ok, let's look at the scene she sent.

This question comes at the perfect time as I did blade work last week. Ok, where to start. First, let's look at what's right. From the get-go, each woman keeps her eye on her opponent as she takes her weapon in hand. That is crazy important and Knifey Stuff 101. If I drop my practice knife while training, I watch my coach while I pick it up. If I don't, he'll "get" me! Also, I handle it as a real blade at all times. So, I don't hand it to anyone blade first nor do I ever hold it that way. That's not in the video. I'm just telling ya.

Also, they both have legit grips on their knives. (Just the actual grip - how the hand holds the handle.) You can hold the handle forward (straight) or reverse (I call it "stabby style"). You can make all the basic slashes/cuts using either grip. The reverse grip is handy for hooking things like a stick being swung at you. If you use a forward grip, the stick will slide off and be active again. "Stabby style," and you maintain more control over the stick in the hook you've created with the blade and your arm.

Lastly, the choreography is lovely. Which, sadly, leads us to the negative points. That's all it is, choreography. The scene director was keeping it visually interesting. In a real knife fight between two educated fighters, you won't have all that spinning. It's wasted motion and good fighting is efficient. You move as little as possible and make every move count.

That said, if somebody comes spinning at you with a knife, just get out of the way. Don't try to take them down. To do so you'd have to attack their trunk or legs which would put the blade above your eye line and that is never good. Unless of course you could manage to take them down while also containing their arms which would be perilous as there is a knife ablazin'. On a side note, if you feel you need to spin in order for your blade to be deadly, you need to change knives. Nowish.

It's also important to know that blades aren't a straight extension of your forearm. They move and change angles constantly because THE BLADE KEEPS MOVING at all times. You keep it going even when you stab. You stab, retract, stab, retract, etc., etc., boom, boom, boom. The only exception being a warning strike. In that case, you make a non lethal strike i.e. to the top of the arm, as the first woman did, then back off. Otherwise, that sucker keeps flashing at all angles.

The position in which the women are holding their knives - not gripping - is kind of legit. My coach's "ready" stance is with his knife above his head. The other coaches each hold blades their own ways, often out to the side. But, you wouldn't want to ever hold the knife with both hands. You need one arm to defend. And you don't want to stand so sideways that your knife has to travel so far. You stand more squarely, one foot slightly forward.

Finally, if the second woman wanted to stab the first so badly, why did she elbow her then kick her away? If she could elbow her in the back, she could slash the side of the neck especially with a reverse grip. But, for that matter, why didn't the first woman just shoot the second Indiana Jones style? Also, I love that the poison wasn't activated until the first woman spoke of it. That is handy! Oh, and you are super right, Lisa, you never turn your back on your opponent. Ever.

HOWEVER AND ABOVE ALL, it was interesting to watch and really that's what matters. A real fight scene would have been less frenetic and way more bloody neither of which would have suited the scene or the show. (Knife slashes are mega gross. I cannot stress that enough.) The only people who see the flaws in this scene are the knife fighters and they are few and far between. And, I really doubt they would be so offended they'd stop watching the show. So, flaws and all, I put this in the "kinda cool," pile.

Thank you so much, Lisa, for sending this in! Until the next time at, get blood on your pages! And, if you want to be the featured FightWriter, send your question through the form on the left. I'll do my best to answer it or find somebody who can. I'm kinda waiting for somebody to send something that requires ME to do a video. (Insert impish grin.)

Lisa Godfrees is fascinated with creatures that don't exist, especially Jackalopes. She was a forensic scientist for over a decade and still testifies as a technical expert in the court room. She is a light programmer extraordinaire, incredibly punny, an oxford comma enthusiast (LIKE ALL RATIONAL THINKERS), mom of two, wife of one, hybrid homeschool parent and self-proclaimed data junkie. She's also the author of about a half dozen great short stories featured in anthologies as well as the co-author of Mind Writer. Check out her site, her blog and her new book!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Site Is Part of the Fight

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu assures that if a leader treats his
soldiers as sons they will follow him into the deepest valley. Why the deepest valley? Because a valley is a notoriously bad place to do battle. So much so that going there required more than skill from a fighter. In that sort of landscape, every physical and tactical advantage can quickly be lost. All the army would have left would be what they would need above all: trust in their commander. 

The environment in which a battle takes place can change the entire battle. It can immediately impart advantage or impose disadvantage. It determines the weaponry, the battle strategy, the vehicles of war, the style of fighting and can just as easily render each and every one of those ineffective. It can make numbers irrelevant, physical strength inconsequential and training inapplicable. To me, it’s importance is second only to the reason the fight is taking place. (See post  The WHY Changes the Fight)

The Lord of the Rings gives us a great example of how the site affects the fight. The stronghold of Helm's Deep was defended by 2,000 men of Rohan against more than 10,000 troops of Saruman. Watch this movie clip (sorry, book purists) and notice how each side uses the construction of the castle to their advantage. 

Ok, how did the construction of the fortress mitigate the number of Saruman's forces? They had to use ladders to climb the wall. And, as only one creature could climb at the time, the Rohirrim only had to battle a few at a go versus the entire lot at once. Legolas and Gimli found them to be easy pickings.

Speaking of ladders, why do you suppose Saruman chose to use them and diminish his power of numbers rather than employing more aggressive siege weaponry? (Ladders are considered siege weaponry. Yes, bunk beds come with siege weaponry.) They could have used a trebuchet to launch flaming pots of oil and a mangonel to attack the wall both of which would have protected troop numbers. Instead, the Orcs used a battering ram, explosives, ladders and those crazy long spears all of which have to be used in close proximity.

Well, consider the landscape of Helm's Deep. The valley was surrounded by high hills. Rolling a lot of large equipment through that landscape would have been difficult even for Orcs. They chose to use their energy to carry what was more portable. (A battering ram can be carried in pieces easier than larger items.) So, the terrain chose the weapons more than Saruman did.

Also, I'm not sure if you could tell, but there was only one entry point into the actual fortress. Those inside had to fight off no more than the number able to bottle neck through it. In another scene you would have seen the Rohirrim ride on horseback through the bottle neck onto the raised pathway leading to the outside, knocking off Orcs as they went. Again, they only had to battle a few at the time versus the entire army.

How did Saruman's forces use the construction to their advantage? They attacked through the culvert. Destroying it took down the entire wall. And, the thing about a wall is that it only works if it's up.

Terrain and building construct aren't the only ways a site can effect a fight. Climate of the location can as well. Wooden rifle stocks are effected by all climate extremes. Arrows aren’t as precise in mountain winds. Cold can alter the viscosity in machinery lubrication. Heat can warp equipment. And, any severe weather condition can ruin even the best laid plans.

But, above all, climate can effect a soldier. It can be mortally wounding at worst. But, even if it simply causes physical discomfort, that alone effects mood which can directly effect physical stamina and therefore the ability to use one's skills. A tired body will betray a tireless mind.  

The size of an area can change matters as well. A narrow corridor does a great disservice to weapons that require circular momentum i.e. nunchucks (which I have a lesson in soon - insert giddy giggle). A thickly wooded area with low branches isn’t the best for a fighter of great size. And, a clearing isn’t optimal for a small fighter who could use a buffer.
(How different would this Bruce Lee scene be if the two were in a narrow hallway? Very. But still, epic!!!)

When crafting your fight scene, consider the physical space and environment in which it happens: 

* How much of it is usable? Is it limited by walls, furniture, boulders, chasms or shoal filled rivers? 
* What roll does the terrain play? Is it rocky, steep, iced over? Can a horse traverse it? Can a human? Is it a buffer or a hinderance?
*  What about the climate? Does it effect weaponry or morale? What clothing is best suited for it? Will your hero regret wearing chain mail? 
*  Can the surroundings be a part of battle strategy and a comrade to your hero? Or is it a tool for the opposition?

The site can change the fight. Don’t just make a battle scene. Make the scene part of the battle. After all, it can be the decision maker and strategy breaker.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

Also, Happy Thanksgiving. I never imagined this blog would exist much less be what it has become. It is the brainchild of you all. I'm extremely thankful for all of you that read, respond, and make requests from this site. In two months, your numbers are edging, at this writing, on 10,000 from all parts of the globe. God bless you. And, as I say to all my fighter friends before they get into the ring, may God keep you safe and make you dangerous!

(This video has nothing to do with the post, I just like it. It's a Minecraft recreation of the fortress of Rohan. It has the caves and everything. :) )

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The WHY Changes the Fight

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu advises, “to a surroundedenemy, you must leave a way of escape.” Why? Because it changes why the enemy is fighting, and the why changes the fight. The skill of the soldiers won’t change. The weaponry and terrain will remain the same. However, without an exit, without an alternative to certain death, the enemy no longer fights to win. He fights to survive. And, to survive, one is more likely to fight to the death. 

 The whys surrounding a fight are the MOST important considerations in crafting a fight scene. They make the reader aware of what’s at stake, how much there is to lose or to gain which, in turn, determines and explains the speed, style and ferocity of the fight. The whys can also impart advantage and negate a disparity of size and skill in an opponent as well.  

  At the surface, there may be many reasons why your character is fighting. But, dig deeper and you will see that quite often they all connect to one. In the case of Sun Tzu’s opponents, why do they fight differently once surrounded? It’s not for survival. In that moment, when they see no way of escape, it's not the desire to live that drives them. It is the fear of death, of what lies beyond life, of how their death will impact the people who make their lives worth living. 

In almost all cases, fear is at the root of every why. And that is NOT a bad thing.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Many fights have been fought for other reasons such as love or honor. A mother will fight like an animal out of love for her child. Soldiers will fight for their country out of honor. I agree that is absolutely part of why they enter the fray, but that's not why they fight. When the sun glints off the blade, when the bullets cut through the air, the mother fights out of fear of losing the child, of the child being disabled, of the child being in pain, of how that event will impact their child’s future, their siblings’ futures or their own. And, the soldier fights for fear of their family losing freedom, of their family losing them, of evil triumphing, of everything changing, of everything staying the same.

  Even if your character is seemingly lacking in emotion (not counting robots or Vulcans here) and is genuinely psychotic, that is the result of one of three things: physical illness, substance use, mental illness. In the case of the last two, substance (drug) abuse can be due to covering up pain, which is connected to the fear of feeling that pain again or whatever originally caused that pain. In the case of mental illness, that can be the result of chronic fear and a means of self preservation in the face of it.

 Even when a fight response is immediate, one of survival instinct i.e. fight, flight, freeze, when there is seemingly no time for emotion to be attached, fear is there. It’s what raises the hairs on the backs of our necks before we even realize we have reason to be afraid. It is by no means a hallmark of cowardice or frailty. Heeded wisely, and utilized correctly, fear is the greatest of gifts, the most formidable of allies. It defends us, it warns us, it teaches us and it can make us into something no other emotion can. We would all do well to listen to its call more often. (If you haven't read The Gift of Fear, do so.)

Remember, without fear, there is no bravery! If you remember nothing else from this post, remember that. Bravery does not exist without fear. Every single time you find yourself avoiding something because of fear, ask yourself if the Lord is blessing you with the opportunity to be brave. 

Every fighter is afraid. Every single one. As Cus D'Amato, legendary coach of Mike Tyson said,"The figher's that's gone into the ring and hasn't experienced fear is either a liar or a psychopath." 
However, do not make the common mistake of allowing fear, or any emotion, to invade the action of a fight scene. One does not feel emotion in the throes of a fight. What does continue into the fray are the physical effects of the emotions that preceded it. In a previous post, Scene of the Attack a guest recounted being attacked by a half dozen people. She noted that she only felt fear for a split second. What she felt while being beaten was something very different.  

  Another common error is assuming that any emotion will give a character skills they didn’t previously possess. Adrenaline may give you greater strength and a hefty dose of chutzpah, but it will not give you a new history. So, if your character suddenly wields a weapon to protect a loved one, do not give them the ability to skillfully use it unless they have training. And, if they have training, the reader should be made aware of the fact.  

 Ok, so we know that a why can change a fight and that why is almost always rooted in fear - which isn't a bad thing. Wouldn't that make all fights look the same since they are all rooted in the same emotion? No. Fear is a common emotion, but the response it brings out is unique to the person feeling it. How your character chooses to use that fear is what will make the difference. 

 What does this look like on paper? Well, here are a couple examples of a character’s fight changing as their why changes. All the whys are rooted in fear. But, as what causes that fear adjusts, so does the physical response:

Held at gunpoint, a man freezes, wide-eyed (fear of death). Seeing the thug look at his baby in the stroller beside him, he clenches his fists, flares his nostrils and lunges for the gun (fear of losing his child).

On Black Friday, a quiet pre-school teacher, allows another shopper to snatch a deeply discounted iPad out of her hands and makes no attempt to retrieve it (fear of retribution). Five years later, during a zombie apocalypse, a man attempts to steal a can of beans from her and she stabs him in the face (fear of hunger which will make her weak, which will make her slow, which could mean her death or worse, becoming a zombie).

  Remember, no fight simply happens. There is always a why driving it, and that why is generally rooted in fear and that is NOT a bad thing. Be sure that your reader knows the why and the fear clinging to it. Make the fight fit that fear and both must suit the character. Dig deep, go beyond the surface, be real, be vulnerable, make your character shake, scream, charge, cower, bear arms, bear teeth and drag the reader right along side them. 

  Be the writer that's not afraid to embrace fear. Why not? What are you afraid of?

If you aren't afraid, you aren't brave.

  Until the next round at, get blood on your pages.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Liver Punches

In my humble opinion, one most under-appreciated strikes is one to the liver. It will absolutely bring down an opponent and, if hard enough, will cause them to lose consciousness. Granted, a hard blow to just about any organ can do that as the sudden trauma causes a cascade of bad events effecting heart rate and blood vessel dilation. 

The liver, however, is especially vulnerable. It's the largest internal organ, about 3 pounds, sits in the abdomen, facing an opponent, and is slightly exposed under the ribs. Strangely, it takes a second or two, but when the liver is struck hard enough the body WILL go down and not simply from the debilitating pain. It simply can't help itself. Here's why:

The reason for the (body) collapse is, when your blood pressure’s going down, your body tries to instinctively control the blood pressure, and if it can’t raise the heart rate or restrict the blood vessels, it puts the body in a supine position so that it can maintain some blood flow to the brain. Because if you lose blood pressure to the brain, obviously it’s not compatible with life.

If you have a great disparity in size between characters, a blow to the right side of the abdomen will bring the larger opponent down 100% of the time. However, be certain the severity of the strike matches the size of the opponent. Larger bodies have more muscle and fat. You have to be certain you account for the greater mass. Also, if you make that larger fighter a lefty the scenario will be more plausible as a fighter who engages with his right shoulder forward puts the liver front and center. (Remember, the power hand is always back.)

I've attached three videos. The first is Bas Rutten's liver shot (punch). Bas is a legend in MMA, a member of the UFC Hall of Fame and a warrior for Christ. If you love fighting and you don't know Bas, you should. Bas isn't the one teaching in the video for some reason, but know the technique is his! And, you do need to know how to do it because it is not simply a strike to the side. Most of that is protected by the ribs. You have to make contact with the abs just below the ribs which is pretty darn tricky.  

The second is a kick to the liver known as the Bas Rutten Special! The third is a heavy weight taking a liver shot that I added just to prove to you that heavy weights will hit the mat as well. Notice that in each the fighter not only goes down but curls into a fetal position. This isn't just due to pain but also the body's natural response to protect itself. In other words, a liver punch generally doesn't make somebody fall flat on his back. Don't make that mistake.  

So, go back and take another look at that fight scene. Be sure the liver is available and not covered by armor, mail or the ilk. Get in close, strike fast, strike hard, and upwardly precise. Give the recipient a moment or two, then let the debilitating pain hit and drop them to the ground in a crescent shaped heap. Rest assured, the giver of said present will have time to escape, dispatch or simply stand back and enjoy the moment like a "Bas". (I LOVE that guy!)


 Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Featured Fightwriter: Linda Kozar

If two people are fighting on land and they tumble into the water, how do the dynamics change in terms of punches? If there’s a knife, wouldn’t the water slow things down? I would imagine it would effect how well you are able to see your opponent as well. How would something like that go?

WOW! I have never once imagined that scenario. This is a good question that I really had to sit and think about, as well as get some consult, as there are a ton of variables. There will be many "ifs" in this post.

With any fight, the three most important factors are why, where and who, in that order. (I will address that in upcoming posts.) 

First, the why. If this fight is between two people who don’t actually want to hurt each other beyond a busted lip and black eye, it will be far different than if one’s life is on the line. But, any time a fight goes into the water, the level of danger increases drastically even if it’s just horse play. As such, I think it’s best to end it quickly. (I’m a huge fan of efficient/lazy fighting.) So, we’ll address the scenario two ways for two whys. One, a combatant wants to be alpha. Two, a combatant wants to kill. I will also address weaponry for the latter.

Secondly, where the fight is happening changes everything. The depth of water and the solidity of the bottom change not only the style of fighting but can also impede vision. If the bottom is sand and shifting or rocks and unstable, it will be difficult to strike because each shift of weight will cause a shift in your base, where you make contact with the ground. And if you have silt beneath you, vision below will be minimal.

And then there's waves and/or current to consider both of which would be another opponent to fight as they push, pull and slam you under. Never mind what may below tearing at you as you go. I will make it easy and say it’s all happening in a pool with depths of hip level and over the head. However, what I suggest can work for just about anything if you get a good grip and move as needed to keep your base or stability. Never fight a current by the way. Hold on and move with it. Use it to your advantage.

And, thirdly, who is fighting is pretty darn important. The level of experience, size and strength play key rolls. Remember, the average person doesn’t know how to fight. They don’t even know how to throw a proper punch. For this scenario, we’ll say same height, one of experience, one not. Do not presume that no actual fight training equals unwillingness to fight or an inability to inflict damage. From what I've seen, the most willing to fight are folks that don't actually know how.

Ok, waist deep water, hand to hand, you can punch away if you'd like. The water will lessen the force of the punch only as much as the water impedes torque in the hips. (See post Size Disparity, Punches and Kicks. Movement of the hips is key.) If the goal is to dispatch, a punch to the throat can prove successful. Do it quickly then push kick them away from you. Not only does that create distance, but it also gives you something to push off of to get you moving through the water. 

However, just to be the alpha, there's a hold that really does the trick. It's much less effort than punching, which I'm all for. My coach teaches it to flight attendants. (Mind your manners on planes.) I don't know that it has a name. We'll call it the "angry flight attendant." It is painful and very controlling. 

Hold your jaw. Let the web of your hand be across your chin, your thumb down one jaw-line, fingers down the other. Now, leave your thumb in place but let your fingers come down to your neck and rest on the carotid artery. Curve your fingers and dig in, then push hard with your thumb. Your head will turn. Where the head goes, the body follows. So, turn the head of your opponent and drive it in the direction you want your opponent to go. I suggest out of the water. This isn't something you will hold onto for minutes. This is an immediate establishment of dominance. 

When you practice this on someone else, (you know you will) please be easy especially with the fingers on your neck. It hurts. Also, if you do it enough times, even easy, it can give you a headache. Your fingers are restricting blood flow.

As far as deep water, you want to keep your head above it, obviously. If you grab your opponent or vice versa, staying up won't be easy. Likely you will both sink. So it's a good idea keep a safe distance from their arms. Unless they play water polo, they probably won't attack and pull you under with their legs. (Have you seen what goes on under the water in that sport? It's mayhem!)

If you just want the jerk to leave you alone and establish your dominance, you can lay back in the water and kick them in the face. This keeps you buoyant with safe distance while positioning your legs near the surface out of the deeper drag of water. If they grab your foot, you can push away with the other and/or kick them in the face again. Since you're on your back you're not going to be pulled under easily. If they do grab one or both ankles and you can't kick, you can twist out of their grip the same way you do a wrist grab. Just swing each leg around quickly in succession. I do it in jiujitsu all the time with foot attackers so I know it works. To stay afloat, you might need to do one foot at a time. The video demos the wrists but it's the same motion and concept with the feet. 

You also have the option of letting them hold your feet, thinking they have the upper hand, and quickly pulling your knees into your chest. (I've also done this. If you practice a few times you will be able to do it so that your head doesn't go under at all.) The motion pulls you and your opponent toward one another. When you make contact with them, sit up and palm strike in one fluid motion. It's highly effective.(And will get you thrown out of the water park. Just saying.)

If your opponent intends to dispatch you, you better do it first. You can accomplish this by grabbing their wind pipe and ripping outward. (Yes, that's really a thing.) You really have to grab it. Imagine their trachea is a banana you're trying to squish. Get a grip and push them away with your legs. Even if the slipperiness causes you to slip off and not dislodge the trachea, you will have damaged it significantly. If you collapse it, you've won. The trachea is very sticky. If the sides touch, they will not un-stick without aid.

Also, of note, if you can get someone to scream while underwater, cha-ching! Screaming will deplete their oxygen. If they can't take a breath relatively quickly, game over.  

Weaponry in deep water needs to be used at close range. Knives for obvious reasons, the water creates drag and lessons force. That applies to bullets as well. You need to be within five feet or so. This video explains that. (The pic is the link.)So now, when you go to the movies and you see people shot from great distance underwater, you can stand up tell everyone in the audience that the scene is scientifically inaccurate. Moviegoers LOVE that.

Bear in mind that if you wound someone, the water will cloud and impede vision. So, you need to strike and get away in the case they too have a weapon they’ve yet to brandish. You can use your foot to push against them and propel you each from the other. If you are in full clothing, all of this is going to be a real pain. I’ve swum in open water in jeans and tennis shoes. It’s exhausting. If I was fighting and thrown into deep water, I’d kick my shoes off pretty quick.

I hope that answers it for you, Linda. If not, email me and we’ll sort this scuffle out. Thank you so much for writing in! Until the next round at Fightwrite. net, get blood on your pages.

Linda Kozar:

 Linda Kozar, is a successful author of over 16 books, speaker, and radio host of Chat Noir Mystery & Suspense and Network Coordinator for the Along Came A Writer Network on BlogTalk Radio. Founder, former president, and current board member of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers, she was the recipient of ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award 2007. She is currently a PR Director for the Christian Authors Network and is a member of Chi Libris, ACFW, RWA, AWSA, and CAN. Linda and her husband of 28 years, Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, wonderful son-in-law and their spunky Jack Russell Terrier, Gypsy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ear is the result of a blunt trauma to the ear or repeated
Boxer at Rest, Greece, ca. 300 BC

 roughing such as you have in rugby, wrestling, jiujitsu and judo. The pericardium of the ear separates from the cartilage and swelling occurs as blood fills the space. If not drained, within 7-10 days it will harden and cause the ear to look puffy, misshapen and have the appearance that some liken to a cauliflower. As one might imagine, this condition hurts quite a bit. I know from experience and mine was only puffy. However, after hardening, it doesn’t hurt a bit.
Stele of Glaukotas, Greece, ca. 470-460 BC
The name Glaukatos means - he with blue ears

It is completely reasonable for the warriors in your story to have cauliflower ears even if they fight in full armor. While wearing a helmet, if one is hit hard on the side of the head enough, the ear would likely be traumatized. Also, the repeated putting on and taking off of a tight helmet would just as easily, over time, cause it as well. If undrained and allowed to harden, the effected cartilage is more brittle and easier to tear. (I know, gross. I have seen an ear nearly torn away because of the condition.)

Greece ca. 510-500 BC - cauliflower ears on both
The first line of defense is ice and compression. If fluid remains, it will need to be removed. This can be done with a syringe or blade. The latter should be done by a doctor as it increases risk of infection. (Oh, I can hear the wheels in your brains turning with the word, "infection".) Once drained, you have to keep the area sandwiched so the fluid can't get back in there. An older remedy is to sew a large button into the ear cartilage. True story. Don't believe me, talk to any rugby player over fifty.

Here's a video on cauliflower ear care from JiuJitsuHustle.  

Here are some pics of cauliflower ears, a torn ear, as well as a video of one being drained. Consider yourself warned.

I saw this fight. The girl's ear was literally flapping as she moved.
The fight was stopped due to the injury for fear her ear would
be torn off. 

Injuries offer great opportunities for us writers. Also, injuries are just plain life for warriors whether they do battle on a field or in a ring. If your character fights or trains to fight regularly, they will either have an injury, will just have healed from one or is about to get another! And, they won't let that stop them. Check the index for more ideas for injuries and the opportunities they offer.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!