An Animal Whos Body Parts Extend Outwards From The Center John Styers

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John Styers

Most people only came into contact with the work of John Styers through the book “Cold Steel”.

It is important to remember that this book primarily outlines a BASIC close combat instruction course. The elements covered in this system include bayonet, knife, stick, and unarmed combat. Styers developed this “system” for BASIC training.

The framework of all these methods remains CONSISTENT throughout. The basics of using the bayonet, knife, unarmed combat, and even stick work are ALL the same.

Pay particular attention to the “stance” used for the bayonet, knife, and for unarmed engagement. SAME attitude. The ‘body’ mechanics involved in all the methods presented are basically ALL similar. This in itself demonstrates “genius”.

What we see in “Cold Steel” is NOT the STYERS method! It is a “system” developed by STYERS for use in BASIC training. John Styers was a man of both great knowledge and SKILL in a number of hand-to-hand combat.

Those who knew Styers personally have told us of his immense interest, knowledge and proven skill in a number of close combat methods. From the “French” style of bayonet fighting to “Russian” knife fighting, to boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and of course “dirty” fighting.

As for the STYERS blade work as depicted in “Cold Steel”, it should also be remembered that this was only a SMALL part of Styers’ overall skill and prowess in KNIFE FIGHTING. Again this was a system of BASIC TRAINING!

Other sources demonstrate this quite demonstrably. The man was a MASTER of knife work.

Now the knife system taught in “Cold Steel” is excellent. The “problems” often cited by others have MUCH MORE to do with a lack of understanding of the tactics and techniques as “they” present them than with any practical flaws in the STYERS method.

ON TO THE METHOD ………………………………………

First, Styers trained men for BATTLES on the battlefield! NOT for a “duel”. He assumed (correctly) that in the so-called “fog” of war, people will revert to pure “animal” instinct and immediately strike to “kill”. Think about this! During the frenzy of real combat, you and your enemy are REDUCED to fighting with knives. Men kill and get killed all around you. YOUR natural instinct for SURVIVAL will grab you by the throat. You will grab that blade as strong as you can (your LIFE NOW depends on THIS ONLY WEAPON) and GO DIRECTLY IN FOR THE KILL! duel”, you are going to KILL, survive and move on to your next threat or target. Styers KNEW what a true “kill or be killed” fight was. He realized that in this plight most men will instinctively grab their knives, either in an “overhand” or “ice pick” grip or an “underhanded” type of “hammer grip”. They will ATTACK with a determined DEATH intent. THAT IS THE BASIS of the Styers Method!

Now the “elements” of the Styers method rest on BODY position, ARM position, and KNIFE position.

This is where so many “experts” go completely OFF THE TRACK. Forget about any “technique”, thrust, slash or “whatever”. WITHOUT the BASICS of proper BODY, ARM and KNIFE position, all the “technique” in the world is MEANINGLESS!

Without a REAL understanding of Styer’s BASIC tactics and what MUST be done to make it EFFECTIVE, THIS all becomes NO MORE than two men trying to cut and stab each other. THIS IS NOT what Styers had in mind.

On to “meat & potatoes”:

1. Attitude-

Whether you assume the “Styers” position from a “classic” fencer’s stance, as Styers demonstrates (for continuity) or simply pull forward (lead leg) back (real leg) one pace, as long as your UPPER torso remains square and your body rests” jumpy” on your legs you do well. BALANCE should rest on your midpoint and the back heel ELEVATED. Toes and knees pointing forward!

IMPORTANT: Body SQUARED. Torso RIGHT. Chin WITHDRAWN. BALANCE central. Rear HEEL RAISED.

2. Arm Position-

Grabbing the BLADE: Blade vertical to the ground. Thumb EXTENDED along the back strap. Slightly upward CANT or “cocking” of the blade.

Weapon with hand and arm: pulled in. Upper arm slightly back from vertical. Elbow tucked in, not away from the side. FOREARM raised in an airplane EVEN with opponents THROAT/EYES. Weapon hand MUST NOT break the lateral surface of the upper body! THIS IS KEY!

Clumsy hand: Pulled inward, like a hand carrying a weapon.

COMMON MISTAKES:

Incorrect foot placement.

Leaning over or against the opponent.

Chin/head THROW out.

WEAPON HAND EXTENDED and/or SPLAYED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

READ THAT AGAIN!

Knife LEVEL with ground and NOT AIM at opponents EYES/THROAT!

Spread out of hand to the side.

Now the WHY’S that make this method succeed or FAIL.

Try this experiment first (THIS IS SOMETHING YOU MUST DO). Don’t even talk about this “method” if you have NOT honestly followed this example:

Grab a REALLY SHARP FIGHTING KNIFE.

EXTEND IT to FULL arm’s length with the shoulder “turned” in for extra reach.

Tell your training partner to DISTANCE the weapon to a SPAN where he feels at combative “SAFE” range. Have someone measure that distance.

RETRACT your weapon arm to a 3/4 extension and repeat. Have someone measure that distance.

CONTINUE to pull in to a semi-bent position of 90 degrees and repeat.

NOW pull the weapon back to the hip and do it all over again.

COMPARE the measurements at each “distance”. MOST people REMAIN pretty consistent with the ACTUAL “measured” safety distance from the tip of the weapon. THEY WILL ALMOST always move inward as YOUR arm moves back BUT the “measured” distance remains very small between ALL given positions.

THAT is the KEY to Styers.

Extend your arm and blade all the way out. Your partner maintains that critical safety zone FROM the tip of your very real and sharp blade. CAN YOU EASILY cut or push it from that position? Not really. A dedicated BODY lunge or step is about all you could do to close the “gap”. Too slow.

NOW-Pull that arm all the way in so that it barely breaks the lateral plane of the body. AGAIN, your training partner will have a CLEAR tendency to KEEP the measured distance from the safety zone, but HE will move in. The actual measured distance between it and the tip will vary little. HIS safety zone is STILL his safety zone.

What has changed is your ABILITY to REACH HIM in the fastest, most NON-telegraphic way.

FROM the RETRACTED arm position, SQUARED TORSO and BALANCED stance you can perform the fastest, cobra-like attacks or counter-attacks with a large amount of REACH.

ANY position other than this one taken by your enemy WILL put him at a SERIOUS disadvantage. He will almost ALWAYS offer YOU something, while YOU offer NOTHING.

His range and speed are affected by HIS position. Your range and speed are IMPROVED by yours.

IMPORTANT OF BLADE POSITION: Keep the blade tip FIRST at the angle shown. WHY? At that angle it is MUCH more difficult for the opponent to estimate the size and length of your blade. May seem like a SMALL “point”, but in a real KNIFE fight I USE anything that CAN give me an edge.

TECHNOLOGY:

ALL you REALLY need is a thrust, a snap-slash (DO NOT use the back snap cut!), a “stop-hit” and the “hand-cut”. The step over and stitch is also useful.

If “In-Quartata and Passata-soto” are NOT comfortable for you, DO NOT use them! Since BOTH moves are INTENDED to be “defensive” counterattacks against an overly committed attack, they are NOT mandatory.

The FIVE moves mentioned above are MORE than enough. PRACTICE THEM forward, backward, and flanking left and right. I personally do NOT train the “back” snapcut on the “snap slash” because I know of an incident in real combat where the blade was released from the grip on the “return” when the target reflexively shrugged their shoulder up after taking the first slash across the right temple and eyes. This is the story I’ve heard, so I won’t comment further.

GOALS: As far as “goals” go…. well the BEST real advice I can give is just GO FOR MEAT! If you see skin, GO FOR IT!

Fingers, hands, wrists, throat/neck and face. The “step over and cross” MUST be saved for the coup.

The influence of John Styer was only really worn AFTER World War II. His methods were developed during the Korean War era, long after his discharge from the USMC.

AND…………………….His job as a FLAG salesman put him in contact with military bases and militaries across the country!

There are more anecdotes and more info but this is enough for now.

I always get a “kick” when guys reject different methods and/or ideas outright. Then when I ask them to “show me” they get the WHOLE DAMN thing WRONG! Of course it looks like SHIT. BECAUSE YOU DO IT LIKE SHIT!

Okay, I hope some of you have a useful insight.

Copyright 2003 thetruthaboutselfdefense.com ©

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