Archie's Tools #2

Iron Fist Archie's Fighting Tools (Part 2)

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Archie at 62
Archie at 73
The Demo
Looking Glass
Only One You
Tools #1
Tools #2
During our last visit with Master Archibeque, he emphasized the essence of martial arts lies in natural movement under challenging circumstances.  I struggled with the concept, and he knew it. By way of explanation, he argued that his execution was so natural, he could defend himself completely, using any object I might put into his hands.  The point he was trying to make was that a complete martial artist should be able to adapt spontaneously to any situation, without weakening his or her defense.  Cementing the lesson, "Archie" proved his point with a series of convincing defenses, using such diverse objects as a film canister, a hammer, and a dust pan.  Our lesson ended at that point. As we parted, Master Archibeque insisted I return only when I had a "challenge that truly tested" his concept.  Fortunately, I had several weeks to conjure up an appropriate response. This meant finding something from our everyday environment that Archie would have to use as a convincing defensive weapon. It would have to be something which bore no resemblance to any ordinary martial arts weapon.


Photograph #1:


Master Archibeque, ever the comedian, accepts the challenge but not until confirming the hat met his personal fashion standards


At our next meeting, his first words were, "Did you remember to bring the challenge?"

On that day, several students were in attendance. I did not want to present the challenge in a setting that might embarrass Archie. Before I could raise an objection, he had already turned to his students and announced, "Bill is going to see if I can defend myself with some off-the-wall piece of junk. I told him that if I failed, he could have my Red Belt."

He turned toward me, "Well?"

I reached into my bag, then pulled out a baseball cap. Walking up to Archie, I placed the cap on his head. I gave the ground rule as, "You have to use the cap to set up your defense, and it's got to be on top of your head when you begin."






Photographs #2a-d (Sequence):

As the author applies a collar choke, Archie removes the hat, using the leading edge to attack the author's septum. Note the unique hand position employed in removing the hat.


Archie was silent, and before he could respond, I pulled him into a lapel choke hold. In what seemed to be a single motion, he removed the hat, rolled it over, and pressed it forcibly to my septum pressure point. The intense pain caused me to release the choke instantly.

"Now...Throw a punch!," he commanded.



Photographs #3a-d (Sequence):

Reacting to an incoming punch, Archie "creases" the bill of his cap, then drives it like a spike into his opponent's carotid artery/reflex.




I obliged, and as my fist approached his head, his left hand checked the incoming punch, while the hat jumped into his right hand. Without flipping it over, he sliced with the bill of the cap into my carotid artery/reflex.

He was beginning to convince me that the challenge was won.

I tried to up the ante, "O.K. old's one thing to do a pressure point release, but quite another to use the hat itself to incapacitate the attacker. I raise the stakes, anything short of incapacitation means the challenge is lost.

Master Archibeque turned to his students, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "What can you do, some people just need convincing?"






Photographs #4a-e (Sequence):

Despite efforts to distract him, Archie removes the hat, then snares the attacker's head (see closeup), consummating the technique by snapping the opponent's head backwards.


This time, I attacked forcefully, digging my thumbs into his throat, expecting to break his concentration.

He reached for the hat, as he did in the first sequence, but this time, I pulled my head back to guard my pressure points.

Archie was way ahead of me as he hooked the cap under my chin, and snapped my head rearward. I will say it again, he "snapped" my head backward, nearly separating it from my shoulders.

The students stood up and applauded. Once again, the moment was Archie's.

As always, we parted like the good friends we are. He told me to think carefully about what he had said and done, and added that he would discuss it further with me when we next met.

He was true to his word. When I next visited, he turned to the class and announced, "Now it's Bill's turn to answer my challenge."

"You gave me a hat...I will give you my headband."

He pulled the handkerchief that held his hair, and tossed it my way. Turning, he put an attack knife into the hands of one of his students. My mind was blank, as the student stood before me, then moved quickly forward with the tip of the knife headed for my midsection.

Pouring forth from some unseen well, was a reaction I had never before known. I reached the headband high above the knife, then snapped it hard, downward into the attacker's grip.








    Photographs #5a-f (Sequence): Re-enacting his response to Archie's challenge, the author uses a headband to "snap" the knife out of an attacker's hand. Following up, he finishes the attacker by "snapping" the headband a second time, into the attacker's face.

I and the attacker both stood, momentarily stunned, staring at the knife, sticking into the ground inches from his foot. During the moment of hesitation, I stepped into him, using the same headband to snap his head back, just as Archie had done with the hat.

The attack was defeated.

Helping the student off the ground, I turned to face Master Archibeque. His knowing smile and nod of approval signaled for all present that the lesson had been learned.

For once, the day was mine! 

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