Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Last night Dissaster, Liz, and I watched a sneak preview of Hotel Rwanda at the Broadway Center Theater in S.L.C. I rate it 4 (out of 5) stars. Hotel Rwanda is the true story of a man who invited more than 1,000 refugees to stay in his hotel during a period in which nearly 1 million people were killed in Rwanda.

A decade after violent ethnic struggle exploded in Rwanda, resulting in the deaths of nearly a million Rwandans, and the mass exodus of millions more, the country is still beset by poverty and need. You can help the United Nations Foundation help those who are suffering by making a donation at the U.N.'s International Fund for Rwanda website.

Assault on Precinct 13

On Sunday I saw Assault on Precinct 13 with one of my best friends, John, at the Megaplex 12 in the Gateway Mall. John has been one of my best friends for the past 7 years. I met him when we both worked at Albertsons in S.L.C. back in 1997. He moved to Italy back in summer of 2002, to marry his fiance, Caterina. He just got back last month. He is a manager in training for Gastronomy, the company that owns some of Utah's finest restaurants. He is one of the few guys (outside of the Black Ops Security Specialists guys that I work with at Green Street) that I trust to watch my back in Security. He's short, but he's a black belt in Walt Bayless Combat Jiu-Jitsu and he trains in boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing.

Assault on Precinct 13 is a remake of a John Carpenter film. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke did a good job. I don't really care for John Leguizamo. The movies plot was probably a little more believable back in 1976 when the police didn't have all of the high tech weapons and equipment that they have today.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom

Last week I finished reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. My brother sent it to me for Christmas (thanks, Peter). It was on my Wish List at I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Here is an excerpt that sums up the book:
"There are five people you meet in heaven," the Blue Man suddenly said. "Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understandingyour life on earth."

Eddie looked confused.

"People think of heaven as a paradise garden, a place where they can float on clouds and laze in rivers and mountains. But scenery without solace is meaningless."

"This is the greatest gift God can give you: to understand what happened in your life. To have it explained. It is the peace you have been searching for."

Eddie coughed, trying to bring up his voice. He was tired of being silent.

"I am your first person, Edward. When I died, my life was illuminated by five others, and then I came here to wait for you, to stand in your line, to tell you my story, which becomes part of yours. There will be others for you too. Some you knew, maybe some you didn't. But they all crossed your path before they died. And they altered it forever."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Facing an Edged Weapon - The Real Vs. The Psychological Threat

The following article is written by Tim Larkin for Dragon Door Publications:


Author's note:

During the past year I had the privilege of meeting John Du Cane and corresponding with Pavel Tsatsouline on conditioning my spec ops clients for their mission profiles. Both John and Pavel invited me to submit an article on hand-to-weapon combat training for the Dragon Door website and I am happy to oblige.

This article addresses the threat posed by edged weapons. It was originally written for a journal after the 9/11 attacks. I think you'll find it interesting and useful if facing a life-threatening confrontation.

-Tim Larkin

The terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon have brought to light that there are times when regular people are going to face inescapable violent confrontations. The weapons of choice this time were box cutters and knives with blades under 4 inches (Leatherman tools according to reports). No special plastic guns, no exotic explosive devices, just simple tools you can purchase at any hardware store.

Yet these simple devices were enough to hold off 60-80 people in 3 of the 4 doomed airliners. Passengers on United Flight 93 took action and seemingly thwarted the efforts of the terrorists. Although unable to save themselves, these heroes most certainly saved lives by denying the terrorists yet another high profile target and forced the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania.

I place all the blame for these actions on those zealots who committed the atrocious attacks. Their paymasters and so-called leaders soon will pay the piper. But I do think it is critical that we all take a close look at edged weapons and learn the do's and don'ts when you face an attacker wielding them.

The Real Threat Of An Edged Weapon

You need to understand that knives, razors and other edged weapons enjoy a tremendous psychological intimidation factor. Most people assume you are doomed if you try to attack a knife wielding thug. That's not always the case if you possess just a little knowledge of the true dangers of edged weapons.

The true threat posed by any edged weapon is penetration of the blade into your body. Any blade piercing more than 2 inches into your body can rapidly produce lethal results. Vital organs, major arteries and veins all are in danger when the blade penetrates the body.

The Roman Legions conquered the world realizing this fact. The famous military tactician and historian Vegetius writes of how the Romans would make fun of their much larger opponents who would slash and hack with the edge of their weapons rather than stab and thrust. The smaller Romans found these much larger, more physically powerful foes easy prey to the straight thrusts of their short swords.


Because they knew slashes and hacks RARELY killed, regardless how powerful the blow. The Romans would trade a 12-inch long slash for a 2-inch stab any day.

Why Most Attackers Won't Stab You At First

So what does this history lesson have to do with the gang-banger with a Ginsu who's trapped you in an alley? Well seems like times haven't changed - according to the Department of Justice statistics on edged weapons assault the first 3-5 strikes in an edged weapon attack are SLASHES and more importantly these first strikes were not lethal in nature!

Many studies have been done not only on the criminal use of edged weapons but also on the military use of edged weapons in combat. The conclusions are the same: there is a strong innate revulsion by the majority of the human population to stabbing edged weapons into another human.

There are many psychological reasons given for this aversion to penetration but what you need to know is that this little known fact can save your life in a lethal confrontation with an edged weapon. Secondly you must know the difference between �

A "Knife Fighter" And Fighting With A Knife

First off let's be real clear - if you ever face an attacker who pulls a knife and you can escape to safety - then RUN. Leave the Hollywood hero crap to the actors in the action films (actually it's their stuntmen). If you can get away, then do it. For the purposes of this article we are assuming you can't avoid a confrontation.

Most knife wielders would be put in the category of a knife fighter. A "knife fighter" is an attacker who focuses solely on the weapon he grips in his hand. It's his ultimate tool of intimidation and if he did not possess the knife he would feel weaponless. A person trained to "fight with a knife" realizes the knife is just a tool and that he has a myriad of effective body weapons available to him whether he possesses the knife or not.

Very few people are trained to fight with a knife, so in 99f the cases you'll likely face a knife fighter. The advantages to you come with the understanding that your danger comes not from the knife itself, but from the brain of the attacker holding the knife.

Weapons Systems Of The Human Body

Think of the body as a set of weapons systems. Your primary weapon system is your brain; your secondary weapon system is your body. Every other weapon you can think of: knife, club, or firearm is ancillary, or useless without the first 2 systems in place.

Without the brain you can't command the finger to pull the trigger, or thrust the knife, or swing the club. So it only makes sense that your mission in a life and death situation is to shut down your attacker's brain or central nervous system (CNS). That is your guarantee to defeating your attacker as this diagram clearly shows:

No CNS = No Body = No Knife = NO THREAT

Facing an edged weapon threat, you now know you have a high likelihood of facing a slashing attack first (non-lethal). Also, when you face an attacker who is focused on the knife giving him his power, he'll focus on using the knife to fend off your attack rather than protect his central nervous system. So your focus needs to be on attacking his primary weapon system while he focuses on using his ancillary weapon (knife) against you. Which leads us to �

How To Take Out Your Knife-Brandishing Attacker

Quick review on the principles covered so far:
  • Stabs are lethal / slashes or cuts rarely are lethal.
  • Most knife attacks initially are slashing attacks.
  • You need to focus on destroying the knife fighter's C.N.S.
So how do you get to the attacker's central nervous system? I'm about to present a simple set of strikes that are combat proven, extremely effective, and deceptively simple to execute. No speed or strength is required to execute any of them just your sheer determination.

As there are numerous methods of attacks, I am in no way implying this is the ONLY way to handle this type of attack. I've trained hundreds of clients successfully with these methods and received numerous testimonials as to the effectiveness of this approach.

One Proven Approach

First you need to close distance, no good if you stand off and dance in and out with an attacker with an edged weapon. That allows him to slice and dice you at will. You need to be close. Your focus is not on the knife but on his neck. Your target is his CNS.

The body weapons of choice are your forearms. That 3 inches of bone below the break of your wrist is your body's own personal piece of lead pipe. The hand has approximately 72 bones in it and can easily break or fracture if not properly set. The forearm needs no special position and is extremely powerful striking weapon.

As you quickly close distance you merely attack with full downward circle strikes. Imagine your arms rotating in front of your body like two propellers - your left rotates clockwise your right counter clockwise. The striking surfaces of your wrists rotate 6 to 8 inches in front of your torso. This attack not only provides protection of your torso area but also generates incredible striking power for this assault as you rush in.

This is a violent assault designed to strike the assailant in multiple targets of his body. Your first strikes will hit his arms and rapidly advance up his body. With your focus on his neck you will soon find yourself well beyond his knife and in his center core.

There you can use your forearms strikes to:
  1. Crush his windpipe; the windpipe has the consistency of copper tubing and easily crushes, or...
  2. Strike the vagus nerve (follow the neck from the earlobes down, this nerve runs up and down that line on either side). You'll know when you hit the nerve, it is an instant knock out, his eyes roll straight up, his knees buckle, and your attacker collapses straight down in a lump, or...
  3. You can also use your thumbs to gouge out his eyes. Simply open-hand slap him on the ears and place your thumbs in the sockets and gouge.
Any one of these three strikes will take out his central nervous system and immediately allow you to control or kill him as the circumstances dictate.

You'll notice I didn't discuss what happened with the knife. During that confrontation you probably received a couple of cuts or slashes and you may need stitches� but you're ALIVE and he's either dead or out of commission. Most likely you never felt the cuts or slashes because you were focused on your mission TAKE HIM OUT. Your wounds can be healed. You can go home and kiss your kids goodnight.

Final Notes

This is just one of a myriad of possible ways I teach normal guys as well as the most highly trained commandos how to take out an attacker with edged weapons. The main focus is to maintain the offensive state of mind in a high threat environment. Focus on what you'll do to your attacker rather than trying to defend against what he is trying to do to you.

Make no mistake, edged weapons are very dangerous but you can increase your chances of victory in an unavoidable life or death scenario using the above principles. Don't get caught up with the martial arts knife fighter scenarios. It is highly unlikely you'll ever meet a highly trained martial artist or well-trained operator who fights with a knife.

It is far more likely you'll be dealing with a criminal who is use to everyone cowering when he pulls his knife. Imagine his surprise when you decide NOT to play his game.


As Special Warfare Intelligence Officer for the Naval admiral in charge of all SEAL Teams, Mr. Larkin used his extensive martial arts and combat sports background to help rewrite the way the US Special Operations Community learned hand-to-hand combat.

Uniquely proficient at teaching his concepts to both SEAL operatives and "ordinary" civilians, Mr. Larkin now uses his Target Focused Training Program, a principles-based system founded on his more than 20 years of research and experience, to provide a broad range of non-military clients with highly effective, combat-based training for their 'everyday' protection.

While he has a long list of CEO's, VIP's, and celebrities who demand confidentiality, some of the organizations who have utilized his training include: US Navy SEAL Teams, US Army Special Forces, FBI Hostage Rescue Team, US Depts of Treasury and Energy, US Marshals, Illinois State Police, and Ford, Mobil, Norwest Bank, Sony and Oracle Corporations.

Mr. Larkin is in constant demand by the media because of his dynamic interviews and unique ability to clearly explain his subject to all audiences. He recently returned from Mexico City where he lectured and demonstrated to the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, an international organization composed of many of the world's top young business leaders.

For more information on protecting yourself in an life-threatening situation and the close-combat training secrets of our elite military instructors, opt-in to his free newsletter at Tim Larkin's site.

Monday, January 10, 2005

A Tender Heart

In 1993 I moved to upstate New York to live with my mom (My parents got divorced when I was 3 years old. I lived with my dad until 1993, when I was 17). So for the last half of my Senior year of High School I went to King's Way Christian Academy, the private school that was in the same building as the Baptist church that we went to, Central Baptist Church. My mom taught 2nd & 3rd grade there. During one of my free periods, I would do P.E. (Physical Education) for my mom's class. I took the pastor's wife's class, the Kindergarten and 1st grade kids, to P.E. during my other free period. I also played with them before and after school. I loved those kids. During my graduation speech, I talked about how I loved the kids and I was going to miss them.

A few months ago, my mom sent me a letter that Brother Jeff Smith, a member of our church, had sent to me after I graduated. Here it is:

June 16, 1993

Dear Bro. Andrew,

Thought I would drop you a quick line of congratulations again on graduating from High School. I appreciate the testimony you gave when you recieved your diploma. The Lord has bleesed you with a tender heart Andrew and you might not understand the benefits of having a tender heart right now. But I can guarantee you one thing, you keep Jesus first and foremost in your life, you keep your heart and life right before God and one day you'll really appreciate the tender heart God has blessed you with. The world will try and harden you if you allow it to and if you let it, it will be one of the biggest mistakes you may ever make.

God bless you Andrew as you endeavor to serve the Lord. Shelly, I and the kids will be praying for you, hang in there with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sincerely your friends and co-laborers,
Bro. Jeff Smith and Family
1 Thess 2:12

I am happy to say that I haven't let the world harden my heart. I am glad that God has blessed me with a tender heart and I'll never let anyone harden it!

My Grandpa Has Passed Away

Saturday night/ Sunday morining after I got off work, I got an email from my Aunt Beverly saying that my grandpa was close to death. I got another email from her at around 7:00 A.M., saying that my Grandpa had passed away. He was on oxygen and then he fell asleep before passing away. He has been suffering from Alzheimers disease for several years now. The last time I saw him, his memory was really bad and it seemed like he was really frustrated because he couldn't remember things. I am very sad that he has passed away, but he was in a lot of mental anguish because of Alzheimers and I pray that he has found peace now.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Working at Green Street

I started working at Green Street Friday night (I quit working at Shaggy's after 1 night of working for $8/hour - I'm worth a lot more than that). I had met Lang, the Security Lead there, when Fate and I went there for a birthday party a few weeks ago. I called him up last week and asked if he was hiring. He said yes. We talked a little bit and then he told me I could start working Fridays and Saturdays. I worked Friday and Saturday night. They have a good crew there. Lang and John, the Assisant Security Lead, were really impressed with the job I did. The manager is a sweet and gorgeous lady. I'm glad I'm working at Green Street.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rough Men

"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

-George Orwell

This is another poem by Russ Vaughn, a Vietnam veteran.

Rough Men

There’s a character trait that’s decided by fate
Comes "sadly" to many, far too faint, far too late.
They won’t face the aggressor, stand up to his ire
They have not the will to fight his fire with fire.
So they bend over backwards to see all sides as fair,
Till they’re faced with dragon breath fire in their hair.
Like our brethren in France, who’d know better than we,
Yet seem never to learn, seem doomed never to see.

Yes, it seems there are some who’re determined by fate,
To possess not the courage to step up to the plate,
Who shrink from all threat because nothing’s worth war.
But how can they know lest they’ve been there before?
Thank God some have courage, the will, yes, the grace,
To stand for the shirkers, stand strong in their place.
Thank God we have stalwarts who’ll stand for us all,
Who will rise to the challenge at their nation’s call.

The faint-hearted, who fear, whose reaction is flight,
Have no comprehension of those who will fight.
To hide their own trepidation they attempt to demean
The rough men, who defend them, as barbaric, obscene.
Yet these rough men stand ready, hard weapons to hand,
To put placaters behind them, draw a line in the sand,
To preserve for the peaceniks what they won’t defend,
So their own unearned freedom won’t perish, won’t end.

To appeasers, rough men are coarse government tools.
To rough men, appeasers are dumb delusional fools.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Wounded Soldier Defends Rumsfield

Baldilocks referred me to a post in Banty Rooster's blog about a wounded soldier (he lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion) who defended Rumsfield when Rumsfield visited him at the hospital in Iraq. Here is what the soldier said to Rumsfield:
"Mr. Rumsfeld, I want you to know, that you are doing a fantastic job. I know that you are taking a lot of heat for the problems with getting armor for vehicles. I want you to know that things are vastly improved. Our vehicles are great, and I have never searched through junk piles for scrap metal."
You should read the full post. This soldier also recieved a D.O.D. Coin from Rumsfield.

By the way, if you are interested in helping protect our soldiers, the Soldiers' Angels website is accepting donations to buy Kevlar blankets for our soldiers. Attaching Kevlar blankets to the doors and floors of un-armored Humvees provides significant additional protection from I.E.D.s as well as an additional degree of protection from direct fire. Many Humvees currently patrolling in Iraq are equipped with only vinyl doors and windows and aluminum flooring. You can donate at the Soldiers' Angels website to help protect our soldiers.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Ocean's Twelve & Blade: Trinity

On Thursday, Dissaster and I saw Ocean's Twelve. I give it 3.5 (out of 5) stars. It wasn't as good as Ocean's Eleven, but it was worth watching.

Fate, Dissaster, Jennifer ("Little Jen"), and I saw Blade: Trinity a few weeks ago with a friend of ours. I give it 3 (out of 5) stars. I was expecting it to be 4 stars. It was poorly written and I've seen Wesley Snipes do better acting. It would have been 2.5 stars if it wasn't for Jessica Beil.

New Year's Eve 2005

Last night (N.Y.E.) I worked Security at Cello's from 11:00 P.M.-5:30 A.M. Cello's is an American & Italian restaurant in downtown S.L.C. {60 W 200 S - (801) 364-1140}. The owners of Cello's sometimes have after-hours private parties on Saturdays from 1:30-5:00 A.M. We did a private party last night because it was New Year's Eve. I run Security at these private parties. I usually work by myself or with a friend of the owners. Last night we had some guys from Black Ops Security {Lang Meeks - (801) 867-4348} help us out. There were no fights and I only had to kick one guy out for being too drunk. I didn't really want to work N.Y.E., but they needed me and I needed the money. Happy New Year!!!