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THE Leadership Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Tokyo Japan

Feb 15, 2023

What would you do if a parcel delivery staff and three confederates suddenly pushed past you and overpowered you when you opened the door?  What would you do if a lunatic neighbour broke into your house armed with a hammer and started attacking your whole family?  The recent deaths of 90 year old Kinuyo Oshio during a home invasion by the Luffy Gang and hearing about long-time Tokyo resident and friend, Bill Bishop and his entire family being killed by a lunatic neighbour, make this a reality we haven’t had to confront before.  We are leaders, so how should we lead our families to protect ourselves from this type of crime?  If you are quite a logical type and think that statistically, this would never happen to you or if you are squeamish about handing out severe physical violence to home invaders, then stop one now. It is a choice to defend yourself and your family or to submit to being tied up and robbed. For those who are wondering about options, based on my 52 years of karate training, here are my ideas on what we can do the protect our families. 

The Luffy gang weapon of choice is that razor sharp, box cutter.  They look for older, weaker people living in mansion buildings and individual homes with no parcel locker system.  If you cannot install such a system, here are some alternatives.  Install camera systems at the entrance to you house, so that the gang know they are being recorded, to dissuade them from choosing you as their next victim. If that can’t be done and it is just the door protecting you from the criminals, don’t open the door.  Tell them to leave the parcel in front of the door and you will retrieve it later.  If they say you have to sign for it, tell them to leave a slip with the delivery company name and phone number on it and you will arrange for the parcel to be received later.  If they are legitimate delivery staff this will be simple for them and if they are criminals, they will give up and go find someone else to rob.

The Luffy gang technique is to recruit amateurs unknown to each other, have them burst through the doorway en masse and overpower you.  They tie you up, threaten you or actually cut you up with the box cutter to find out where the valuables are located and then ransack your house.  The gang leader Luffy has also assured them they can kill you if they need to and as we see, this is what happened with Oshio san. Guns are obviously out of contention in Japan, so what can we do?  

Some self-defense weapons I like are a not too heavy hammer, nunchaku and a Bokuto or heavy wooden sword.  The Bokuto and nunchaku are distance weapons, which help against assailants armed with knives, boxcutters or hammers.  The nunchaku is very compact and can be used in close quarters, whereas the Bokuto needs some space to wield. For the nunchaku, the primary target should be the outside of the knees, so that you both deny them mobility and you place them in a large amount of stress and pain.  The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is what we want to damage, so they cannot stand.  We go after both knees too, so they are taken out as a threat until the police arrive.

For the Bokuto, the wrists and forearm are the initial target so that they cannot hold their weapon and the secondary target again is the outside of the knees.  The hammer is a close range weapon and the primary target should be the sternum, that part of the chest from the solar plexus up to the throat.  A hammer blow to the sternum is extremely painful and they feel it every time they breathe. This will stun them long enough for you to hit them in the secondary target, which again will be the outside of the knees.  

I don’t recommend the face or temple for attack, because there is a good chance you will kill the assailant and find yourself in the dock facing a murder charge.  That target zone is also high and they may be able to avoid the swing, absorb the blow on their arm or lean back out of the way, because they have good vision of the trajectory.  The knee area though is down low and quite hard for them to see what you are doing when you suddenly drop down out of their eyeline, until they feel immense pain in the knee joint and discover they cannot support their body weight anymore.

We don’t need flashy Bruce Lee style whipping technique for the nunchaku.  Just simple practice to fling the extended wooden section at around knee height is enough.  The same with the Bokuto.  We don’t need to be Miyamoto Musashi, we just need to practice striking in front around where the arm and wrist will be on the assailant.  The key to strike is to push through the strike hard, backing it up with your body weight, so that it penetrates deeply, rather than resulting in a shallow, flicking type of strike.  Remember, if we are going to hit them anywhere, then we have to disable them.   If you can hit them hard enough to break their wrist or forearm then that is helpful to reduce the threat.  

The hammer uses the same technique we would use to drive a nail – let the weapon’s concentrated force do the work.  However, don’t practice by drawing the hammer back too far.  This will signal what is coming and the interval between drawing back and striking makes you vulnerable to counter-attack. Practice striking in close quarters with a short sharp forward strike, back up with your weight, rather than pulling back first.  Remember you can hit them more than once and as they recoil in pain, this provides some more distance to take a bigger swing going forward.  Once you start hitting, don’t stop until you can take out their knees.

If you have nothing to hand, another weapon I like Katei Gaho, that very thick magazine you can buy anywhere.  Roll it up very tightly.  We use the ends of the magazine as the weapon and the action is like a tennis backhand swing where you come across our body and then jam the end into the assailant. The secret is to get the body weight behind it for maximum effectiveness. We hold the magazine in the middle so that we can use either end.  Try jamming it as hard as you can into a desk or hard surface and you will quickly see why this is such a powerful attack weapon.  The target is this case is the temple, face area, solar plexus, throat and groin.  You have to hit hard when you use it and don’t stop with just one blow.  Our objective is to escape from them and call the police.

If there is no alternative, we can use our hands as weapons, if we know what we are doing.  If you don’t know what you are doing, then don’t bother, as you will only get yourself into trouble. Apart from aiming at the throat, I don’t recommend striking with the fist itself trying to punch them in the face.  Invariably we will break one of the bones in our hand on their hard head or elbow and then we lose access to one of our weapons.  We can use our fingers into their eyes as a way to distract them before we deliver the main blow.  I don’t mean to try and poke them in the eye with the one finger, but to hit the eye area with all the fingers of one hand in a top down, flailing motion.  Try it against a wall and you will surprised at how much hitting power this technique has. The eye area is very sensitive, so there is more than enough power in this technique to force them back and off balance. Also, there is a better chance of making contact with the eyes this way, whereas a single eye poke attempt may miss. This eye attack opens up a chance to punch them in the throat or kick them in the groin.  The kick we use is like the kick we see football players doing, called the punt kick and it has the same strong follow through rising action.  Again, our objective is to escape from them and call the police.

When striking the face, I like to use the heel of the palm, that thick fleshy bit where the hand connects to the wrist.  The target is the base of the nose just above the teeth.  This is a very sensitive area. A slam of the heel palm there will drive their weight up and back and again provide a clear shot at a throat or groin attack.

Finally, let’s look at the Armageddon scenario. Things are totally desperate and you absolutely believe you are going to be murdered right there and then.  Now, every Japanese home has a set of razor sharp Hocho or cutting knives for cooking.  If you get to this point of having to use a Hocho, then don’t use the knives for wildly slashing about, they are better for thrusting.  Pick a large thick knife, get both hands on the knife handle and your full body weight behind it when you thrust.  Don’t try anything fancy like you see so-called knife fighters doing in the movies.  Keep it simple, don’t run at them, don’t over-reach, but move in quickly and aim below the belt area, where it is very hard to defend against.  You will probably have to use multiple thrusts because arms and hands will get in the way, but don’t stop. If you survive their attack, you will be in court to face assault or murder charges, but that is better than being dead.  I may be wrong, but I believe if Bill Bishop, his wife and daughter had retreated to the kitchen and each armed themselves with Hocho and faced their lunatic neighbour assailant together, they may all still be alive today.

Of course, none of this is guaranteed to work, but at least it gives you an idea of what are some options other than surrender and hoping they don’t kill you after they have tied you up.  Naturally, these techniques do require practice.  The most important thing though is to generate the mindset for survival and to be prepared to defend yourself with everything you have when it gets real.  If it is to be, it is up to me. If it is “me” or “them”, I choose “me”.