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‘The Mohave War Club’
The Clubbers by Manny Silva, The Backwoodsman Nov/Dec 2018
My favorite working class magazine remains the Backwoodsman and Manny Silva provided us with both an historical overview of the Mohave war club, an epitaph for survival skills pioneer Paul Campbell, but also an excellent guide on carving your own war club.
The basic Mohave war club, called a halyawhai, is shaped like a 14-inch potato masher and Paul believed that it was used primarily to thrust into the face. And that the forensics of the weapon suggest an oversized tactical flashlight to the modern survivalist. Polynesian societies used short stone clubs, and since the Mohave are Pacific Coast Indians one wonders if there was a culture exchange.
I can confirm the thrusting hypothesis from practice with similar blunt instruments in full contact sparring and bag work. I would add that the thrust to the face is the opening stroke and that the finishing stroke would be a chopping hammer motion to the head or face. My preferred method of fighting with such a weapon is to thrust to the face and then chop down on the shoulder. This can be done straight on with the thrust to a vertical shoulder smash.
Advance this drill by thrusting for the face from too far out, then using an inward chop block with club assisted by an empty hand roof-eve-parry, then feint another thrust in an upward arc, as suggested by Paul in his interview with Manny, then step out right on the balls of your right foot as you stab inward to the side of his head and face. Such stabs will miss half the time so practice redondoing down with a back hand vertical slash to his face, shoulder chest of hands.
Your potato masher strokes are:
-Rising face thrust with supinated grip, preferable behind a lunge.
-Rising face thrust with thumb up grip, which does not lock you in as much as the supinated stroke but tends to be shorter range and arc upward, missing the chin, so that this thrust should be aimed at the solar plexus. This works good on the run.
Both of the above strokes should be accompanied by alternately shielding with the left hand to protect your own head and checking his right hand.
-Inward head thrust with a pronated hand, off the ball of the foot, ideally accompanied by a checking hand to his shoulder or core.
-In inward chop block with empty hand assist.
-A rising roof block with empty hand eve assist.
-A vertical smash to clavicle or head.
-A vertical slash with looping follow through to return to high guard [Redondo].
One could butt stroke with this weapon with some authority, but I would limit this to binds with an empty hand assist. In free flow one can simply pull in the stroking elbow to make for an excellent backhand chop.
Try integrated all of the above strokes with a slow jogging footwork to replicate warfare in open country, then switch to standard stick-fighting mobility and knife motion patterns to arrive at a doctrine for this short heavy club which fits your body type.
The longer heavy club, called a tokyeta was 2 inches thick [which is the maxim girth for stick fighting] and 2 feet long, which is a prime tactical length. This was said to be used by the strongest warriors. In my opinion, the best use of the yokyeta would be as a parrying and roof blocking stick in the left hand for bridging distance and fending off with the shorter halyawhai employed to score the decisive strokes.
Being a Bad Man in a Worse World
Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival
Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting
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