You’ve heard the old axiom, “Never bring a knife to a gun fight?” or the “21 foot rule,” well consider this for a minutes, what happens if you have a concealed carry weapon permit (CCW) but you are surprised by an attacker before you can pull out your gun or knife? Likely you have lost any advantage your weapons training afforded you and you will have to default to your fighting skills.


I’ll give a couple of examples of knife vs gun and knife vs sword for your perusal. The case I am trying to make is you should learn how to fight with your hands and feet (kenpo, karate, kung fu, muay thai, tae kwon do…) or even wrestling, jiu-jitsu (Japanese or Brazilian, or even a sport like mma, kick boxing, or boxing) for close in fighting. But first are the two examples.



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YouTube Channel for My Self Defense Blog

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: HEMA, martial arts
19 Feb 2017


I would like to announce and explain about the “MySelfDefenseBlog” YouTube channel in this post. You know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, well in this light – a video is worth ten-thousand words. I have had a youtube channel for years that I’ve used occasionally, but now after watching HEMA (historical european martial arts) videos for the last couple of years, a light bulb went off in my head – hey I can do that!


In this post I will discuss the evolution of the blog to vlog on youtube while retaining the blog. Also the strengths and weaknesses of each medium and what the goals are for me as I evolve as a martial artist – dabbling into HEMA.


First here is the youtube channel: MySelfDefenseBlog. One sample video:


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Way back when I was a kid watching Batman and Robin, I was trying to figure out how to throw a knockout punch. I figured from watching the shows that you had to pull your hand way back and swing as hard as you could! My childhood version of fighting was a bit off but I did know that knocking someone out was a good way to win a fight or in self-defense, live to fight another day.


But on this website for years I have focused on those who did not know how to fight, trying to uplift them and motivate them to learn how to fight, but if not that – at least take a short-term self-defense course. So in a manner of speaking I have dumbed down this website. Well as I get older I realize that I am not helping anyone by showing a few good moves and telling people that they can do this with a self-defense class. Perhaps but likely not.


So today’s topic of how to throw a knockout punch is a good example. For self-defense I would have told people to throw an eye shot or half-fist to the throat or a kick to the groin if someone attacked them. Now what would I do? I would just knockout the offending attacker and be done with it.


Is knocking someone out hard? For me? No. For an untrained fighter? Yes. An untrained fighter will need an edge to survive an attack. For me it is unlucky for the attacker to pick me as a victim because likely he will not realize I can fight and give me advantages. But even if he does not, (give me advantages) my go to move is to knock him out and figure out what happened later.


Today I’m starting to develop my youtube channel for My Self-Defense Bog, (MySelfDefenseBlog) where I can upload short videos showing some moves. The videos will be short and to the point at hand. Here is the first in that effort. I’ll go into more detail below after.

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Under: Opinion polls
19 Oct 2016


Now I know that this is not the most interesting subject but I had of dose of this in college statistics classes (3) for my undergrad and graduate degree. In business, statistics are mostly used for continuous process improvement or validating supply and product variances. But I would dare to say that the way most of us know about polling is during the political seasons. :(


In this article I will give an overview of opinion polls and the parts that might make a difference in determining accuracy. While I am no expert, I have been exposed and understand the concepts. I will have one really good link that will explain this very well and three videos that are nice visual aids.


One of my pet peeves with opinion polling is that the confidence interval is not published as the sample size and margin of error. Typically one can have anywhere from 90% to 99% confidence interval – a huge difference this can be as important or more important than the margin of error! And this information is not easily available. But the media perpetuates the myth that the margin of error is the only (or certainly implies it is the main) factor to look for in polling data.


Here are the parts of a sample:

  • Survey questions
    • not too complex
    • not bias
  • Methods to reach sample population
    • landline phone
    • mobile phone
    • in person
    • via internet
  • Random survey of sample population
    • you cannot select the people – that is not random (for instance all subscribers of a liberal newspaper)
    • does it include ethnic, religious, young, middle aged, old, and other variances in the population?
    • If it is not random or not representative of the population – it is not valid (sample error)
  • Margin of error
    • How likely your samples will answer how you predict in the range
    • a +/- 3% margin of error has a 6 point range that likely can overlap with some of the other candidates
  • Confidence interval
    • How confident your survey results range will be be as predicted
    • a 90% confidence interval says that 10% of the time – the results can fall outside of the margin of error


Here is an good article entitled, “Why polls can be wrong…” and below are the videos if you like your information delivered audio/visually.



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You live in a city or country where you cannot carry a gun and your car breaks down. Your cell phone is out of juice but you see a store a couple of blocks down the street. Earlier in the day you had attended martial arts training and still have a trunk full of weapons. Now you see a bunch of guys approaching talking garbage.


I know this is a contrived situation but I had to figure out a way that one might legally have spears, staffs,  swords, daggers, clubs, tomahawks, and such to talk about the differences in fighting methods. Before we get going into this discussion I would like to mention my expertise is with unarmed combat (Kenpo Karate or Eastern Martial Arts (EMA) if you will). While I have always had an idea how to use improvised weapons (I understand Kenpo staff fighting methods) , I’ve only started practicing improvised weapons and historical European weapons (HEMA) in the last year or two.


I’ll will try to limit this discussion to the differences I see at each distance. To start lets take an unrealistic view of how an unarmed man might fight a long sword attack. :)




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One of the fighter’s dilemmas is what happens when you grow old? I’ve written about this before but I want to take a slightly different tact other than entertaining the thought that old men will fight as good as young men. This is a case of diminishing returns. The older a man gets – the more his skill, strength, and stamina leaves him.


Specifically someone used to fighting any kind of sport karate (point sparring, continuous sparring, full contact or kick boxing, and even mma) will notice all of the hungry young pups giving the oldsters a run for their money. If an older fighter has not made the transition from fighter to coach at some point – what will be left? That is the point of this article. But first watch an old guy letting his gloves do the talking. I don’t know if there is any colorful language as these are not English speakers.



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We hear a lot about how caring liberals are and how mean conservatives are regarding the Syrian refugee issue. This is probably fodder for tonight’s debate. For a long time this was difficult for me as a Christian because on the one hand, wanting to help people in dire straights (the reason we accept refugee’s) and the other hand, not wanting any more un-vetted refugee’s from war torn areas that we have no guarantee would give priority to victims of Genocide, Rape, and Slavery!


For me the question was answered when 56 of 10,801 Syrian refugees accepted by the US, were Christian. So considering the additional risk of ISIS seeding terrorists (no 2 year vetting) into the Muslim refugees – I would like to the US stop accepting any refugees from that war torn region. If the US is not going to favor arguably the most affected victims of the Syrian crisis (those being killed off for their Christian beliefs) then that is a deal breaker for me. I see no reason to risk American lives with any ISIS terrorists entering our country with Muslim refugees.


I’ll link to the genocide story here.


That is my opinion after careful consideration.


I totally understand if you don’t want to take my opinion – so I suggest you do your own homework. I welcome both pro and con opinions so long as they are civil, no cussing, no name calling… – just your opinion and any arguments. I welcome civil discourse and the only reasonable way good people can start to understand opposing points of view.

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