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Learn Universal Knife / Stick / Bat / Gun Disarming Skills!

Unarmed & Dangerous Vol.1-2
MAA Keating presents a series of universal disarms useful against both short (knife, pistol) and long (stick, longarm) weapons. Powerful stuff including live fire demonstrations. (Note: Both volumes of the series are on a single DVD)

Muto: Unarmed Vs. Sword Techniques
Copyright Pete Kautz 2007/19

For many years now I've been following reports of sword-related crime around the world. The one thing that so many (90% plus of these terrible events have in common is the "dime store" variety katana (Japanese sword) used.

German Longswords and Italian rapiers almost never seem to be what's reported in the paper. It's the katana time and again!

What IS it about these things??? Too many Highlander re-runs? Are they just cursed?

Heck, I don't know. For whatever reason they seem to fuel the fantasy's of "street swordsmen" everywhere. For $20 anyone can have delusions of being an urban samurai who's honor rests in the soul of his aluminum alloy katana...

What I do know, however, is that the art the Japanese call muto (Unarmed vs. Sword) has more relevance today than one would expect in the 21st century. While many styles teach defense tactics versus knife wielding attackers, few teach defense against large machetes let alone a full-sized sword!

Other styles that had unarmed techniques against a swordsman like Judo have since dropped them from their curriculums. As that art progressed into a modern Olympic sport, things like sword defenses, leg locks, and striking to the vital points were relegated to being quaint antiquities. But look at old Judo books, you'll see it was all part of the art at one time.

One art that still teaches aspects of muto is Ninjitsu. If you look at most of the books published by reputable authors in the 80's like Stephen Hayes this was a technique you'd see at some point. As a training method, it gets the student out of the mindset of standing in place and blocking, and instead forces them to flow and move their body in response to the sword.

You will also find muto practiced in Aikido / Aikijutsu and of course in traditional Japanese sword schools. Though they may all use slightly different technical methods you can break the overall concept of muto into four phases:

Evade - You get away from the sharp thing and don't let it hit you

Enter - You use timing and footwork to get inside the weapon's arc

Control - You control the attacker's hands and / or the hilt of the sword

Counter - You throw, disarm, or reverse the sword back at the attacker

For example, as an attacker swings forehand at your head, you slip back out of range so he misses. As the attacker returns with a backhand slash you spring forward, controlling his hands and the hilt of his sword. Winding your right hand between his hands and using your left hand for leverage on the hilt, you twist and reverse the blade at stomach level. The effect of this done quickly is that the attacker will be struck with his own sword before he knows what's going on.

If you know universal disarms as taught by Mr. Keating then you'll see how they apply here, and they work like a charm!

The speed and surprise factor of these techniques is part of their effectiveness. Who would imagine that a sword can be reversed so easily? In this sense the attacker's overconfidence since they have a weapon and you do not adds to their downfall.

Practice of muto techniques is a great warm up and requires little gear other than some form of padded stick or sword (hey, you're gonna' get hit at some point in training...) and headgear so the attacker doesn't have to pull his blows to the head short. Not that they should be "swinging for left-field" or anything, more as a precaution.

Start of with basic cuts and combinations delivered while in motion. Don't do this as a stationary quick-twitch exercise. Instead work on evading and entering against someone who's dynamically attacking.  Don't stand there in range, instead try to force the attacker to close the distance to have to hit you.

This will make a big difference, especially against an amateur swordsman. While an expert can gauge range while in motion, the novice will have a harder time with this and subsequently it should make your entries a lot easier. The unskilled swordsman will often make big chambering motions as they enter that betray their attacks as well as making them easier to enter on and control.

It was said that the techniques of muto were not meant to make a trick of taking an opponent's sword. It was a skill you acquired of not allowing someone to slash you when you didn't have a sword and the willingness to do so.

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz

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