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Thread: Beltfighting

  1. #1
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    Default Beltfighting

    I did not write this. Rather a student found it on a martial arts website and sent it to me. The concept is interesting.

    ************************************************

    Beltfighting

    The belt is among the finest of all improvised weapons. It is legal, always readily available, and devastatingly effective. It can be used at ranges from four feet to six inches, it is incredibly quick, and will leave welts or lacerations wherever it hits. Whipped in a blur and swung in a tight figure-8, the belt becomes an intimidating weapon. In skilled hands, it can easily defeat a knife, a club, or multiple unarmed opponents. It is a popular weapon, having been used in streetfights and barroom brawls for decades. It is often pulled in situations where a weapon is required, but drawing a knife or gun might be considered too extreme — while it is possible to kill with a belt, it is difficult to do so accidentally. To observe a beautiful display of beltfighting, you can rent Fist of Legend starring Jet Li (he uses the belt in many of his films).

    BELT SELECTION:

    There are two basic styles of belt — light and heavy. You will need to decide which style to favor, but you should strive for proficiency with both. The belts you choose should be comfortable, flexible, durable, stylish, and able to clear your belt loops without binding or snagging.

    Examples of light belt would include thin leather dress belts and web belts with roller buckles. The belt should be durable as well as flexible. The buckle should be bare metal rather than encased in leather or other material. Square buckles with sharp corners should be favored over smooth rounded buckles. The thicker and heavier the buckle is, the more effective your strikes will be. Light belts are very quick; are effective for snapping at the face and hands; and are good for wraps, traps, and locks.

    Heavy belts are typically wide leather belts, such as garrison or western style, fitted with a substantial buckle fashioned from brass, silver, or pewter. Optimally, the buckle should weigh about a pound. Large, square brass buckles, such as are found on garrison belts, may be sharpened along the edges or just at the corners (using a file and sandpaper, before honing with a whetstone). Whatever buckle you choose should be securely fixed to the belt. If it is simply held in place by a pair of snaps, stitching or super glue may be in order to prevent it from unexpectedly flying away. The heavy belt may not be as quick or as flexible as the light belt, and it is ill suited for fancy techniques, but the oversized buckle can be counted upon to deliver debilitating crushing blows. Used correctly, it can break bones with every strike.

    Some people favor concho belts, which can do damage along their entire length. The ones that are segmented have the best flexibility. Concho belts, however, must be worn outside the belt loops to prevent snagging.

    I have seen belts fashioned from motorcycle drive chains. These are often chrome plated and fitted with a special buckle. While these belts are indeed effective bludgeons, they are uncomfortable, inflexible, highly visible, and far too heavy for daily wear. . . besides, they make you look like a cartoon character.

    Every month, your belts should be examined for wear. Belts that are exhibiting cracking or dry rot should be replaced.

    DRAWING:

    First, be aware that pouches, holsters, and clips (for knives or pagers) that depend on your belt for support may prevent your belt from being pulled free. Clips will invariably snag, but pouches and sheaths may simply drop to the ground. If you intend to use your belt as a weapon, and would like to be able to draw it quickly, do not attach anything to it.

    You should be able to unbuckle and pull free your belt quickly with one hand. This will take hours of practice to perfect, so you can do so in a single fluid motion. Once freed, you will be grasping the buckle end. While the leather end can be used to slap with, and can even do significant damage if fitted with a decorative metal tip, it is advised to use the buckle as your primary striking surface. It is important to practice readying your belt less than a second after it has been drawn. Only after having gained proficiency at instantly drawing and readying your belt can it be relied upon to protect you.

    RANGE:

    The belt can be used at a variety of ranges, depending upon how many times it is wrapped around one’s hand. Wrapped not at all, but simply grasped in the hand, a size 36 belt gives you an effective range of approximately one yard beyond your outstretched arm. Wrapped once, the range will be reduced to about 30", depending upon factors such as hand width and tightness of wrap. Wrapped twice, range will be reduced to about 24", which is optimal for most defensive applications, giving you a good balance between range and control. Wrapped five or six times, you will have a leather boxing glove with a short blackjack attached.

    Wrapping the belt around your hand will both prevent droppage and protect the knuckles against cuts or impact; however, such wrapping effectively attaches the belt to your hand, and you could be yanked off balance if the belt is grabbed by your opponent — even if you release your grasp. I recommend wrapping your hand only twice, before swinging the belt so viciously that few adversaries would have the courage to attempt to snatch it.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Part 2

    BASIC MOVEMENTS:

    The Japanese have an entire fighting style devoted solely to using the belt as a weapon, known as obijutsu, and the belt is one of the traditional weapons of the eclectic Korean style known as hapkido. It takes at least five years for a skilled martial artist to achieve true mastery. I could devote an entire volume to all the various aspects of beltfighting, but that would go way beyond the scope of this project. Marines, bikers, cowboys, and other violent individuals familiar with streetfighting seldom rely on fancy tricks that take years of practice to perform properly — they favor simple techniques that show immediate results with a minimum of preparation. Since self-defense techniques have much more in common with streetfighting than classical martial arts, we shall focus primarily upon the quick and nasty moves. If you have never used a flexible weapon before and are nervous about injuring yourself with the buckle, you can either remove the buckle or use a length of rope until you become more comfortable (wussy). The belt is far safer to use than the nunchaku, manrikikusari, or kusari-fundo.

    1. THE FIGURE-8: This is the first movement you should learn. After wrapping your hand once or twice, slowly swing the buckle in a wide horizontal figure eight in front of your body. After you feel comfortable doing this, you can swing the buckle in the same pattern on either side of your body as well. Next, you can practice tightening and loosening the pattern. After that, you can practice vertical figure-8s and alternate between swinging the belt far from and close to your body. Finally, you can increase your speed. The figure-8 is the most efficient pattern for introductory beltfighting, being easily learned and intimidating to face. It forms a whirling shield of pain from which dozens of attacks can be initiated without warning.

    Some self-defense "experts" advocate whipping one’s belt in a circular motion over one’s head to deter assailants, but that is silly as well as ineffective.

    2. FLAGELLATION: When practicing or fighting with flexible weapons, you will occasionally hit yourself — this is an eventuality, and is to be expected. In practice, you will learn to redirect a missed swing or rebounding buckle so that it misses you, wraps harmlessly around your arm, or strikes a low-injury area at reduced speed.

    You should practice swinging your belt back and forth horizontally, allowing it to wrap around your body and strike your back. By wrapping and unwrapping your hand, you can see how the buckle will impact you at various ranges, so you have a better idea of what to expect. Remember, the buckle’s velocity will be considerably reduced after passing the apex of its swing. With practice, you can learn to redirect missed swings, sidestep them, or allow the belt to wrap harmlessly around your forearm without striking you. In the event that you cannot avoid being struck, chances are the impact will not result in injury if you’ve been training properly.



    3. RANGE ADJUSTMENT: While practicing attacks from the figure-8 pattern versus your imaginary opponent, you should also practice extending and shortening your range by wrapping and unwrapping your hand "on the fly." This is done one-handed, and results in a nearly instant adjustment. Maximum range is used for snagging wrists and ankles, snapping into the face, or keeping a knife wielder at a safe distance. A single wrap gives you a better grip, and is good for keeping multiple opponents at bay. A double wrap gives you the best grip, and is good for serious fighting at close range. Additional wraps make your grip increasingly uncomfortable as well as drastically reducing your range, but this might be necessary for certain applications, such as grappling or sapping.



    4. THE SLAP: This technique has a low potential for inflicting serious injury, and is ideal for times when only moderate use of force is required. The buckle end is grasped in the hand, and either the extended or doubled leather strap is used to strike with. This will leave welts when swung with force, but will neither break bones nor maim. A concho belt used in this manner can draw blood. Anywhere on the body can be struck with an extended or doubled strap, but strikes to the face and exposed flesh yield the best results. The belt is not wrapped around the hand for this technique — range is reduced by folding the belt in half (doubling) and striking with the extended midsection.



    5. THE HORIZONTAL SWING: This is the most common attack, as it is simple and effective. The buckle is swung at the target along a straight horizontal plane, from either the outside or the inside, as hard as possible. The buckle will streak towards the target, impacting it with great force. The target can be struck repeatedly, in a rapid back and forth motion, incredibly fast — it is actually possible to strike an assailant four times in one second using this technique. The horizontal power-swing to the head is the most devastating move in beltfighting — a light belt can maim, and a heavy belt can kill.



    Horizontal swings can be directed along declining planes, like targeting the rungs of a ladder. The uppermost rung would encompass the head of a standing opponent, the next lowest rung would be the shoulder and upper arm region, the rung beneath would be the elbows and extended hands, the rung beneath that would be the groin and lowered hands, and the bottommost rung would be the knee and shinbone region.



    The buckle of a light belt will leave contusions and small lacerations, and the buckle of a heavy belt will do the same thing, only more severely — often cracking bone and ripping large gouges out of exposed flesh. If you miss with the buckle, the strap will impact your target and the buckle will wrap around, striking at reduced speed. It is imperative that you repeatedly practice striking targets at various distances until you gain familiarity with your weapon, otherwise, it will be far less effective in your hands. Pumpkins. melons, water jugs, and styrofoam heads all make excellent targets. It is possible (though unlikely) that the buckle may rebound at you, so be prepared to dodge if necessary.



    6. THE SNAP: To do this, the belt can be held at your side or in front of you with the buckle hanging downwards. The belt can be fully extended, doubled, tripled, or (with thin belts) even concealed in the hand. Suddenly, with a flick of the wrist or quick movement of the lower arm, the buckle shoots directly towards your opponent in a straight line. As it impacts, it is immediately snapped back and readied once again.



    This technique is primarily used to surprise and disorient an opponent. It has little risk of serious injury due to its low power, but is difficult to defend against. The primary targets are the face, hands, and groin. The snap takes time to perfect, but it is worth the effort — a master can repeatedly strike targets the size of a quarter, allowing him to pluck out an eye at will.



    7. THE OVERHAND SWING: This can be a powerful attack, but it is easy to injure yourself if you miss. The belt comes up from behind you, over your head, and comes crashing down on your opponent at a high rate of speed. The primary target is the top of the head, though the face and hands can also be struck. If you overextend, the buckle will hit the back of his head at reduced speed. If you miss, you will need to sidestep to avoid inadvertently striking your knee or shin. If you crack your own shinbone, you will find yourself at a grave disadvantage. After sidestepping, you can redirect the belt to strike again. This move is dangerous, and requires hours of practice to perform safely.



    8. THE UNDERHAND SWING: This is a good move because it is usually unexpected. The belt comes up from the floor behind you, swinging with increasing speed upwards into the target area. Targets include the groin, the hands, and the underside of the jaw. This is a difficult swing to master, primarily due to difficulties in targeting. The underhand swing is as dangerous as the overhand swing if you miss, due to the fact that you can inadvertently strike yourself in the head. This swing takes hours of practice to perform safely.



    9. DIAGONAL SWINGS: These are usually implemented without warning from the figure-8 pattern, which is suddenly greatly expanded as the attack is initiated. After you have mastered all the previous techniques, you can feel free to use diagonal attacks in combinations with horizontal and vertical ones. This gives you a great deal of versatility.



    10. FANCY STUFF: In addition to smacking and slapping, the belt can also be used to trap, bind, block, throw, snag, and choke. These moves take years of practice to master, and are beyond the scope of this project. One technique that I will share is the simple block. To perform a block, the belt is grasped with both hands at shoulder length apart. There should be slack in the belt, allowing it to bang loosely between where it is grasped. To block a stick attack, the belt is suddenly raised into the proper position (either horizontal or vertical) and pulled taut. It will block almost as well as a rigid staff. With practice, the stick (or arm) can actually be trapped by wrapping the blocking belt around it and pulling in a spinning motion that will throw most assailants off balance. If you have mastered all the prior techniques and wish to learn more, consider obtaining some good books on ninjutsu (of which there are few — you’ll need to be very selective). Be wary of unknown "ninjutsu masters" offering instruction, as becoming a ninja is a popular delusion among the freakishly deranged. If you feel you must attend classes, make sure your instructor is reputable.

    *****************************************
    Kinda interesting application for that Wilderness instructor belt :D :D :D
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  3. #3
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    Good subject Gabe.

    I practice with a neck whip [ flexible weapon ] made of 8 kangaroo hide plaits over a rawhide core. It's 50 inches in length and a quarter inch thick with two "poppers" at the striking end.

    It's carried regularly doubled and tucked into the waist so the two ends just stick out to be grabbed and accessed to use immediately from concealed.

    It's like a small hand bullwhip, custom made by Scott Homschek of Pa. I met Scott this year at the Riddle of Steel with James Keating on the Snake River. We practiced one day for a few hours with nylon rope trainers hitting small square pieces of styrofoam that were thrown in front of you by a partner, then swapped off.

    Since I have had mine, I have practiced enough to be able to pull it out and from the poppers on the ground it can deliver a strike to anothers head area to the front from 2-6 feet. Redirects are immediate from there to the sides or one can from the same start strike either side of them.

    Overhands are tougher to get good at. I like the idea it comes from below eye level and snaps up into the target area. Most will not see it coming. It takes nary a movement to get it to pop so there isn't much to give away what you are going to do before it happens.

    It's main goal is to distract, deter, not so much to stop anyone.
    Practice with it for disarms, it can also be coiled to make a good size loop to trap incoming limbs or deflect/parry limbs as you have written above, throw it around the aggressors head and yank him around and to the ground.

    You can snap this like a towel in the boys locker room [ everyone remember those days in HS? ]. Multiple snaps are quick, one after the other, reloading on the fly for another while you move off center.

    It's very intuitive, lightweight, easily concealed and accessed and can be brought onto planes. Some wear them as belts in smaller lengths, othrs will coil it around their neck. It has an "eye" at one end that accepts the "poppers" so it can be secured and not fall off but easily accesed with a quick tug either from below under a sweatshirt or out the top of the neck.

    Flexibles are "in" for me if I have to fly. Figured I'd get up to speed with it if and when I take a plane ride anywhere in the future.

    It looks like something a kid would make in arts and crafts. Thats exactly what I'll tell the TSA if they were to search and find it. It won't set metal detectors off and with just a few hours of pratice and some prior experience in snapping towels can be effective in that venue or more likely, to trap/parry as you have menitoned with the belt example above.

    You can parry and then garrotte the person to effect compliance, or if you were able to get it around the opponents neck, possible throw them or at least take them off balance. It's not something a thug or mugger would have seen before and may by some time if accessed as he will be wonderign what that is you have in the hand.

    Used like a belts options above in your scenarios, it works.

    Course, it doesn't have a buckle to damage someone like the belts.

    For an idea of what they look like, go here------------

    http://www.realfighting.com/issue6/productsframe.html

    Gabe, you are listed on their main page with other instructors so I'm sure you are aware of this sites offerings.

    The standard "neck whip" is shorter than my custom. If you take a look see at the whips, mine is a heavy double custom in it's length. The heavy doubles were offered as standard items after I had him make mine and Scott feels the heavy double is better at it's intended purpose at this time.

    I was never into flexibles until I ran into Scott this year. I like em now though.;)

    Brownie
    Last edited by B0486; 01-09-2004 at 03:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    Weren't only the Jarheads that did that, back in the early 60's it was just about standard for us to do so, same thing.Sharpen the lip on the buckle, and tuck just a little extra of the belt inside, so you could get one wrap around your hand, have seen some realy nasty cuts inflicted with them.

    brownie,have you ever seen the whip fights that used to take place in Aussie land, saw 2 guys square off once, it wasn't pretty, as I remember the whips were made of kangaroo hide
    All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.

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  5. #5
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    Hi Dave,

    I have seen video of the fights with the whips. They were wearing fencing masks and heavy suits and took to whipping each other hard. From the small clips I saw of it, they were hitting very hard shots to the others bodies. Great sounds roll off them on the vids I saw.

    I believe they hold similair events in Texas at some get together as well [ from memory of visiting whip sites as well ]. Not something you want to get tagged with, I know that much.

    I think the best whips are made of kangaroo plaites [ from the whip sites I have visited on the net ] but I'm not that up to speed on bullwhips as others may be.

    I have a good friend met through LR, Ark training with JAK who lives in that area who has purchased 1000.00 custom bullwhips and he can make them move continuously, striking anything he pleases. Lots of practice to get to that point of course. They sound like gunfire going off. First time I heard the whips crack, it was "duck and cover". Everyone had a great laugh with that one.

    Brownie
    Last edited by B0486; 01-09-2004 at 04:34 PM.

  6. #6
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    I reviewed James Keating's "Combat Bandanna" tapes, techniques for which would work with any flexible length of belt, rope, chain, etc.
    ©Phil Elmore

    Publisher, The Martialist
    The Magazine For Those Who Fight Unfairly

    FLASHLIGHT FIGHTING: THE ONLY
    TORCH PRIMER YOU'LL EVER NEED

  7. #7
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    Phil,

    That tape is certainly relevant here and a good place to start with any flexible weapons ideas.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Brownie

  8. #8
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    This is cool stuff. I'm going to see about getting one of the neck whips and play with it a while.

    I remember wayyy back when in the days of my mis-spent youth I once disarmed a nunchaku wielding BG with my belt. I think it was more a matter of luck than intended outcomes, but it sure saved me a beating....and it didn't hurt the rep either. ;)
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  9. #9
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    When I was in high school there was this mentally deranged dolt -- I suppose he was mildly retarded, legitimately -- who was quite large and used to bully his way around the neighborhood. I fought him more than once (these were minor fights that ended in him crying and going home; like any bully he did not like to meet resistance).

    Jeremy (it's funny how you remember their names after so many years) went through a period in which he would take off his belt and use it to whip people with the buckle. He tried that on me once and I just caught the belt. We played tug-of-war until he finally snatched it back and ran away.
    ©Phil Elmore

    Publisher, The Martialist
    The Magazine For Those Who Fight Unfairly

    FLASHLIGHT FIGHTING: THE ONLY
    TORCH PRIMER YOU'LL EVER NEED

  10. #10
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    Gabe,
    It's funny, the article says to "beware of ninjutsu masters", but that is where I leaned how to use a belt. We used to practice with them in class, and also with the kusari-fundo and the kyoketsu shoge, which use similiar movements. The techniques we used were the same as the one's in the article. It's all good stuff, and a great weapon. It can also be used to strike with, by having the belt in both hands, coming either from straight on or from below, stiking the eye area, nose area or neck. As you do the strike, use forward bodyweight momentum and at the moment of impact with the target, pull the belt taught as when doing the block. After impact is made, continue the forward momentum taking the head back and, in the same movement, down to the ground. Very devestating. This technique works particularly well by striking under the nose and then using the nose as a "hook" when you shove the head back and then down.
    **Spero optimus instruo pro pessimus**

    **Out of destruction rises opportunity. We are only defeated when we give up. Never, ever give up. (Phil 4:13)**

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