PasaiDai Bunkai – escape and throw from double wrist grab

Sensei asked that the black belts write up two techniques demonstrating Bunka. Since I already keep a martial notebook – I am going to cheat for this second one and use my write – up of a Bunkai he showed me last month for Pasai-Dai. I am choosing this one since – like the other technique I wrote up – it also starts from an escape from being grabbed, only this time from the front.

In the Pasai-Dai kata there is a move representing a response to a double-handed wrist grab from the front. The arms are drawn up and out breaking the attackers grip, while at the same time you strike him in the sternum with your knee. From there things get interesting.


You close with your attacker, going chest to chest, and wrap up his arms with your own. I believe this technique works best on an attacker of similar size – plus or minus maybe 30-35% of your body weight; I have been thrown hard this way by someone 6 inches shorter and fifty pounds lighter than myself.

The throw can be turned into a reap or a hip throw depending on the specific energies going into the attack and response – but in either case the thrower needs to be aware that they have the attackers hands bound up – which can make for an incredibly high hard fall. In other words don’t be an ass – when training the technique let the person out on the way to the ground a bit early so they can break fall.


Another interesting part of this throw is that you can hold the person with their arms bound up, and your hips turned to avoid a groin strike giving them a moment to calm down while you have a quiet few words with them. Then if they don’t calm down you can throw them to the ground and pin them there as needed. So it’s a throw for calming down someone you don’t want to hurt if you don’t have to.

Not my favorite technique – but I thought it was interesting enough to record and come back to and practice. The weird arm entanglement looks like it would be ineffective or hard to get to – but when the technique was shown to me I found it was unexpected and effective at locking up my upper body and my normal responses.

Response to “come along” grab of the arm

Several weeks ago my Sensei asked all the black belts to generate a lesson plan taking a bunkai (hidden teaching) from one of the Kata and turn it into a lesson.

This is a move from Pinan San-dan kata that I constantly hear people say is not any sort of useful technique. I got the idea I am showing here from Nakiyama’s book on defense against multiple assailants – but he also shows another use of this technique to defend against a knife in his “Defense against Armed Assailants” book. The entire series is excellent.


Basically when your arm is grabbed from the side, or from behind, one response is to anchor your hand to your hip. Mechanically coupling your arm to your hip then lets you bring the power of shifting your hips to bear on the arm, generating techniques for breaking the attackers grip, off balancing the attacker, or even throwing them. If possible technique should be timed when it will maximally off balance the person grabbing you – like between their steps. This technique is especially useful for with uneven or slippery ground, or stairs. If possible step into the hip twist for extra power. You want their grip fighting the momentum of your entire body.

In the even that the attacker holds on during the twist – they may open themselves as a taget for a back fist to the face or shove outwards. Ideally the strike / shove will continue to unbalance them, while it opens distance for escape or counter attack.

Moving the machine shop

Moving your machine shop is like a reverse barn building, only in this case your friends show up and start taking things apart. In this picture Joel and Ben are about to lift the head off of my mill.


It was a long weekend – but we broke down my machine shop and moved it 1200 kilometers into Ben’s shop. Having shops and a lab is awesome, but they do sort of keep one foot nailed to your home base. Ben is being nice and taking care of the machining equipment for a few years, enabling me to be more mobile and do some traveling.

Ben recorded the move – so we have this video.

If this all seems like some high testosterone weekend – it was quite the opposite. I spent as much time making flowers from gravel on the driveway with one of Ben’s daughters as working on the equipment. Sure – that was mostly so ben could work on things undistracted, but I actually had a lot of fun. Getting older is both fun and weird.

Böker Gnome Training Blade

While the glue was drying on the kitchen knife trainers I am making – I decided to make a trainer for the small knife I sometimes carry. It is a Böker Gnome. It is only 4 inches long in total, with a 2.125 inch blade length, so you can carry it anywhere – but it is a tiny knife.


Working with small knives is always different, as they tend to just disappear in your hand. The Gnome has that same property of being hard to see – yet its curving blade feels like an extension of your hand. It should be interesting to train with – especially to defend against.

Wooden Kitchen training Knives – (part one)

I’ve wanted a set of wooden kitchen knives for a while now. All the training blades I have ever run across were all patterned after crazy blades meant for poking holes in, or cutting, other people; basically large combat or hunting blades.

For knife work, I figure that if I ever have to defend myself form a knife attack, it is way more likely that my attacker will be using a weapon of opportunity than pulling out some crazy combat or hunting knife. Conversely, kitchen knives seem like a good pattern to practice basic knife attacks – as they are easily found most homes. So I am making a set of kitchen patterned training knives.

I started with some holly that I had harvested a few years ago.


The piece of holly I started with was fairly thick – so after cutting out a knot
I planed the rough cut stock flat on both sides, cut the stock in half, and then planed it flat and to the desired thickness.


From there I traced the pattern of the pattern of the knife in question onto the wood. I tried and pick a location and alignment with the grain that will work best for the knife pattern in question.


The next step is gluing on the handle scales. Holly is a very white wood, so I am glueing on American cherry scales. I’m hoping after a few coats of linseed oil it will finish off nicely. The scales are taking forever to add since each side takes a day for the glue to dry.

The changing face of prototyping

Cleaning up the shop I found my clay and wax working tools hadn’t been used in years! Not that long ago – just 8-10 years ago – before cheap access to 3D printers – and I used to have to make my initial physical prototype concept mockups by sculpting them from clay or wax.

Looking in the boxes is a weird dichotomy. On the one hand it seems like such a long time ago in the building of my skillsets, but against the backdrop of my life it seems like I was just carving up models.


The icing on the cake was I then uncovered a wall of boxes of parts scavenged form old electronics from the days before you could easily order parts. While I do feel old now – my shop is much cleaner.

Thing a Week No 1. The Crowbar Rack

It is that time again, time to spring clean the project list, and that means Thing a Week is back! To get started – this weeks project is a crowbar rack.


If you are wondering why you would need a crowbar rack – you have obviously never had a multi hour crowbar hunt with your visiting father looking for the right one. Ok, being serious – crowbars are weird. You only need them once or twice a year – but when you need one you really need one. Having one of the right size also usually makes the job in question significantly easier.

Dad’s not going to be visiting for a while, but I am moving my machine shop next weekend and figured I would want to know where my crowbars and cats paws were.

(If the “Thing a Week” idea sounds familiar – I blatantly ripped the idea off from
Jonathan Coulton a few years ago. Its an amazing tool. )