Knife sheath

Some of you may know my affinity for what I believe to be the most functional self-defense knife, the Craig Douglas designed Clinchpick. I have carried one almost everyday for over twelve years. It fits the niche of a knife that can be used in the real world for a specific fighting purpose better than anything I have seen.

One problem I had with it was the original sheath that came with it was developed with speed and ease of access/deployment in mind, and less about concealment. A later sheath that did a great job of dealing with this is the one from Dark Star Gear. I have used that extensively since it first came out (I was probably one of the first handful of people who had one). It is much better than the original, and it is super comfortable to use because it has some flex on the belt. The drawback for some people though is that shirts can drag on it while accessing it fouling the draw, or the concealment is still a bit compromised.

When Tony Mayer of JM Custom Kydex asked me if there was any improvements I could think of for a Clinchpick carry mode, I realized it was my opportunity to maybe take care of this need. So I designed one with some input from Tony, and the result is exactly what I wanted. The access and deployment of the blade is still there, but it is extremely concealable and is set up so clothing rarely interferes. I am very happy that we pulled it off.

And now you can buy it for yourself. Here is the direct link:

And here is a short video where I go over some of the features of the sheath, as well as some tips on setting it up:

Just show up

When I started my Martial Arts/Self-defense odyssey some 40 years ago, I was obsessed with getting better and I thought the main way to do so was train a lot and with a lot of instructors. Just find the best teachers, and do whatever it takes to be able to train with them. As a ridiculously poor college student, I was scrimping pennies and selling blood and plasma to get enough money to make monthly trips to southern California to train with top people for an entire weekend, from Friday night to late Sunday afternoon. Then when I got back, my life revolved around blocking out time to train and practice what I learned, and even to teach. I passed up going to parties at times, or seeing cool local bands like the Gin Blossoms at local clubs, or even ticking off women I was dating who could not understand why I could not meet them at the bar on Tuesday night because I had a three hour session of sparring and hitting the thai pads. I even quit my part time job at Kentucky Fried Chicken, where I had worked for four years and could write my own schedule, because it was starting to interfere with my workouts.

Then after a bit of maturity and seasoning by life, I realized that pathway was not available or even applicable to most people, myself included. Getting married, having kids, having to work to make money and keep a roof over my family’s head or food on the table tended to take needed time and energy away from training. So I began to realize that the way to long term success had more to do with consistency, and the idea that just putting time in and punching the clock allowed you to make that trip down mastery while staying in the real world. If all you could do was go to the gym once a week, then go to the gym once a week no matter what, and put in 100% effort. And that would keep you moving down the path. It might take you far longer to get “good” than your buddy who goes to the gym five days a week, but who cares? His journey is his, and your journey is yours. The important thing is to keep going.

Now, I still think this plan is correct, but as I continue down this road, I realized it lacks some nuance. The part I think I fell down conceptually on is the effort aspect. While putting in 100% is ideal, the fact is that life has a tendency to get in the way. After a really tough day at your job, with clients yelling at you, and your boss riding your posterior, and worrying about how your kid is doing in school, and why your wife has seemed so distant the past few weeks, can you truly put in that full effort? Of course not, it is impossible for almost anyone.

So I have come to the conclusion that the only realistic way to get better at almost anything is this – JUST SHOW UP. Go and show up at the gym, or the golf course, or pick up that musical instrument, or get to the shooting range, and do the best you can. If one day the best you can muster is just going through the motions, fine. Don’t let that impact the effort to go to the next session. Again, just show up. Put in the maximum effort that you can muster, and keep at it. You might be going through a long plateau or valley where it seems like you will never get better or have total focus, but that day will come AS LONG AS YOU KEEP SHOWING UP. The day you don’t show up is the only day of failure. And more importantly, each day you miss makes it easier to get knocked off that journey to mastery.

This is not an excuse to be lazy. It is not a get out of jail free card to excuse you from putting in the work. Not at all. You are still trying as hard as you can, but you accept that some days the best you can do is 20% effort. Keep plugging away, and you will improve in time. Don’t quit.

Old School BJJ

Anytime I hear or read about someone talking about the supposed difference between self-defense oriented BJJ and competition oriented BJJ, I throw up a little in my mouth. Rather than write a lot to explain why, I will show you why I have that perspective. Watch this:

What kind of jiu-jitsu was that? Self-defense? Or sport? Here is the answer – yes, to both. It is just jiu-jitsu, the way it has been trained for 90+ years.

This was how I practiced for years with Professor Megaton Dias. This video was filmed around 1994 and most of it was shot in the old Boys and Girls club backroom south of Bethany Home Road. No windows, no A/C, and not much mercy from the instructor! Please tell me what parts of that were sport only, or were self-defense only. You won’t be able to, because Jiu-Jitsu encompasses all of it.

BJJ is like guitar playing. If you can truly play the guitar, then you can play different things without a problem. It does not take much to play a hard rock riff or solo like Eddie Van Halen, or a jazz line like Pat Metheny, or a classical part like Andres Segovia if you are already good at guitar playing and understand the underlying principles. It is all guitar. The techniques to play one of those are fundamentally the same as one of the others. You may certainly concentrate on one, and not pay much attention to the others, but that is solely on the individual, not the methodology or system.

Further, look at the video again. Note how part of it was filmed at a local karate school that Mega gave a workshop at. Look at the flooring. Carpet, not mats, and thin carpet at that, laid directly on concrete. But wait! That must mean the jiu-jitsu cannot work, because there are no mats. And yet, there they are, doing the techniques with no issue. We also sparred with all the lights off, and sparred in the parking lot. We even had Vale Tudo Friday nights, where we put on gloves and trained.

Note also that how we generally ended up on the ground – by being taken there. No guard pulls, no starting on the knees. We fought for the takedown and continued the fight. And you see the results – that often the fight is ended right away within seconds. THAT is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

So please forgive me when people who have quite literally never ever spent one minute on BJJ mats try to tell me how my art is not about true “fighting”. And all that is why I just laugh when people who have never trained tell me that “fighting on the ground will get you killed in the street”.