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Swords and Machetes
How to Defend against the Most Common Homeless Weapon & the Coming of the Machete Virus: 11/24/21
© 2022 James LaFond
In Portland, I have seen two people bearing swords. Yeti Waters recently noted a man menacing the world in general with a sword, slid a machete that happened to be under his car seat under his coat, and approached the man in order to get him to move off away from a school child. The man backed down and was later shot dead by the police in another incident.
Swords were developed to permit rich men to defend themselves against ax and club wielding mobs on the battle field and rock and knife wielding thugs in urban centers. The sword is a second tier battle field weapon, inferior to a myriad of pole arms, including the staff.
When considering defense against the sword or machete, it is best to recall this fact and deploy a superior weapon like a chair, a rake, a hoe, a pitchfork, a staff, a Dodge Charger with a 498 Hemmy, a destrier, a tractor or pickup truck, a shovel or a halbred.
Barring such practical tools being at hand there are three more portable contingencies:
-A jacket, shirt or coat in the left hand
-A stick or umbrella in the right hand
-A knife in the right hand and a lack of attachment to and concern for the fate of your left hand, or, better yet, a coat in that left hand.
There are some fortunate realities that should help you:
-Almost no one who carries a sword knows how to use the sword,
-Most swords have not been sharpened,
-Many swords are not full tang and will break at the handle when you get whacked with it,
-Most sword wielders place two hands on it, which is always a mistake, especially in a sword fight. Musashi murdered some 60 lesser Japs, according to him, in large measure because they placed two hands on their swords and he used his in one hand.
There are some pitfalls to facing men with long blades:
-Machetes are always sharp,
-Jap style swords are often sharp-and pointy as well,
-They are usually either insane or terrified, which increases the likelihood that they will deliver a stroke.
The best thing you can do skill wise to learn how to deal with a sword, is contact stick-fighting, as you will gain intimate knowledge of the time and measure, if not the forensics, of the edged extension weapon. Keep in mind that the stick fighter is taught to stroke with his stick as if it is a blade to keep him from breaking or bruising his own thumb.
The best offensive weapon likely to be available to stop a sword-nut from menacing another person is a chair or bar stool inside or trash bin, can or basket outside.
The cardboard and plastic sheeting littering homeless areas or your own backpack, could make likely defensive and offensive shields.
The best defensive weapon against a machete or sword is the full-length umbrella [I have done a video on this] and/or the coat or jacket in hand.
For buying time the umbrella and jacket duel-wielded is ideal.
For aggressively neutralizing a rampaging swordsmen the jacket paired with a knife is ideal.
For disarming the swordsmen the axe handle or simple stick is idea. Almost no one who trains the sword in martial arts or bases their use on movies, understands the concept of the swordsman’s hand as the prime target. Stick fighting is based on the weapon hand as the prime target.
A wiffle ball bat or baseball bat wielded in one hand, or better yet a baseball glove on the left hand and a bat in the right hand, will be superior to most sword use, if you are trained and he is not.
If you are unarmed and faced with a swordsman, unzip your coat or jacket at least to minimize torso cuts and catch the odd stab.
Throw something, anything in his face, to get his hips locked up.
Tackle him high, especially if he holds the sword in the Japanese fashion. If it is a sharp sword, throw your left hand high to catch the cut obliquely. It will be a fucking mess, but will mostly carve down alongside the outer bone to the elbow and not hit an artery, just blood return veins.
If he is holding the bottom of the handle with his lead cross arm across his chest, and the top of the grip near the hilt with his high backhand, then wrap your left arm high and right arm mid-torso, pin his cross arm between your chest and his, and drive him to a wall, car or the pavement.
If he has a shorter sword, like a Bowie, and he is at all active with the empty hand, get the hell away from him before you get butchered.
If you happen to grab the blade, bend it side ways without wrapping your fingers, holding the blade between your palm and the flattened fingers. Practice grabbing a dull sword blade, a ruler, or shelf molding to train this flat grip.
If he seems prone to stab with a longer blade, the coat in hand is your best friend. Get him to pierce it and then wrap his blade up and close.
A broom is an ideal weapon against the sword. Slap at his sword hand and blade with the side of the bristles and stab at his eyes with the dirty end of the bristles alternately. Try doing this one-handed with a right hand lead to keep your neck and heart off line, keeping the left hand as a last line of defense. If you are not strong enough to do this one-handed hold the very end of the broom handle with your left hand, with your right hand a foot down the handle, giving your lead hand clearance against all but the longest swords.
Overall, swords are hard to use with two hands and are easily frustrated with fabric shields like drapes and coats.
The knife is deadlier by far at arm’s reach.
Machetes are likely to be used to kill more often than other long blades, especially when wielded by humans who have most recently evolved from Homo Erectus and have little or no Neanderthal DNA.
Chemical weapons like Wasp & Hornet spray are a good option here. But must be paired with more urgent means of close defense in case this triggers a charge.
In case of a machete attack, be more wary about going after a machete man than a swordsman and keep your hands close to your neck and face, only extending after he has come in and cut you. He is unlikely to kill or dissable you with the first stroke.
the combat space
‘What Kind of Knife Should I Carry?’
book of nightmares
logic of steel
the fighting edge
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Jeremy Bentham     Feb 24, 2022

Sage advice as usual, James. However, as a ‘chemical weapon’ for warding off a sword/machete attack, I must recommend pepper spray (OC) over hornet spray. Hornet spray works superbly for killing wasps and hornets, but it is much less effective at incapacitating humans than pepper spray. Paradoxically hornet spray is also a poison (a weak version of nerve gas), so if you spray enough in a person’s eyes to impair his vison you could cause permanent damage. Something you may have to answer for in court, especially if you were to use hornet killer in anything but a lethal force situation. Pepper spray on the other hand has been proven to produce no permanent injury, even though it can make a person’s eyes swell shut and his face feel like it’s on fire. Thus you can legally employ pepper spray to ward off less-than-lethal assaults. Such as someone cocking his fist and threatening to punch you in the mouth. If you live in North America there seems little reason to resort to a ‘field expedient’ like hornet killer when pepper spray is so readily available. Pepper spray is legal for civilians to possess without a permit in most of the 50 states and territories of the U.S. of A. Even in Canada civilians are allowed to purchase the bear repellant version of the spray. Finally any of the pocket-size OC projectors available in the USA will be a much simpler matter to carry on one’s person than a big can of bug spray, eh? They’re inexpensive too. OC works by causing extreme pain when it makes contact with a mucous membrane. So for best effect be sure to give your assailant a face-full (eyes, nose and mouth). If he’s naked, spray his junk. Keep in mind that OC won’t paralyze or knock out an attacker; while he will be in extreme discomfort and probably have impaired vision, he will still be able to move around and swing his arms or pull a trigger. So once you’ve given some goon a dose of the hot sauce, don’t stand still admiring your work. The projectors that shoot out a fog or stream are the most versatile and effective for civilian street defense. The projectors that shoot out a gel or foam work less well as they often produce a delayed effect, plus the foam is easier for the target to evade or deflect. Cops have told me they have had suspects swat the gel out of the way. One advantage of the gel though is that it is less likely to cause ‘collateral damage’. It’s less likely to be blown back in your face by a strong wind. Won’t get in the ventilation system indoors either. Here's an example of the effective use of OC from Israel: Who knew being an anti-circumcision activist would provoke such hostile opposition?
Brian Jewell     Mar 15, 2022

I feel the need to weigh in on this. I agree with Jeremy. When I was working as a trainer for J— H— training the new Protective Service Officers for the hospital, we primarily taught the proper use of the asp and OC spray. I already know how little you regard the collapsible baton, so I won’t revisit that here. Being a trainer, I was required to be sprayed in the eyes every two years. I’ve actually lost count around how many times I’ve been sprayed. Somewhere between five and ten maybe. I know for a fact it hurts like hell and seals your eyes completely shut. Very effective. I do have two different schools of thought on what to do, or rather say, after you’ve sprayed someone. The first is to keep you mouth shut and just move at an angle away from the person you sprayed so they can’t attack you by following your voice or lunging to where they last saw you. The second school of thought says to yell and tell them to stay where they are and to get on the ground. Obviously, this comes from “security” or “law enforcement” logic. I’m assuming most people reading this aren’t law enforcement. I prefer the stay silent advice. However, I think if you do yell, make it sound like the other person is the aggressor. As a regular citizen I would yell something like “Stop hurting me” or “get away from me” even if I have the upper hand because this is what witnesses will remember hearing. One sad thing I’ve learned from my former place of employment is that perception matters more than reality.
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