“I’m not going to attempt to teach you any advanced hand-to-hand combat. If you come on anyone or anything and I’m not there to handle them don’t screw around. Use a gun or a blade.” Alex showed Morgan the Fairbairn-Sykes commando knife in his hand. It looked like a long double-edged dagger. And was very sharp. “This one’s yours.”
“But I can–”
Alex interrupted her. “I don’t care what you might’ve picked up from Chuck Norris,” he paused to emphasize, “or Jason Statham movies.” He but a rubber-guard on the blade and handed the knife to Morgan hilt first. “We’ll start with this — the basics — then I’ll show you how to shoot.” He pulled a hard rubber training knife from his belt and gestured to the middle of the room. “Use a forehand grip for better control and reach – it’ll keep an attacker off you.” Alex demonstrated that and several other moves. “If it comes to grips don’t wrestle over the knife — yours or theirs except to block it away from you. But if you’re slipping and they’re getting in, try to redirect so the blade goes into the fleshy part of your arm, shoulder, thigh or those love handles.”
“I don’t have love ha–”
“The point is literally if you are going to get stuck then make it a flesh wound not something that incapacitates you. When the blade goes in, most fighters excepting the most hard-core relax a bit. They think they have you. And that’s when you hit them as hard as you can. Don’t think you can get a pressure point that will give you leverage to take them down. Punch them.” Alex walked to the side of the net and picked up a towel draped over a chair. He grabbed a bottle of water and tossed it to Morgan then continued.
“Pressure points don’t work in real fights. Yes. There are pain compliance points on the body that can cause you a lot of grief if someone puts pressure on them. But you have to hold them very still to be effective. The second problem is adrenaline. If you try a pressure point attack on someone in a fight, they might not even feel it because the adrenaline will dull any pain they should be feeling. Adrenaline will also affect your ability to apply anything that requires fine motor movement. That’s why amateurs who may know some of the mechanics of how to fight, get their ass kicked in a real fight. The part of your brain that handles fine motor movement goes into shutdown the moment you get scared or excited. It takes experience to learn how to deal with that and negate the effect.” Alex moved over to one of the full body dummies he had brought in and set up. “There are structural weak points on the body, and attacks on these do work in real fights. A hard punch to the point of the jaw will knock most people out. A kick to the liver hurts so much it will incapacitate someone for several minutes. Joint locks like kneebars and choke holds all attack parts of the body with those weaknesses. These really do work but take skill to apply.”
His leg snapped out in a reverse roundhouse striking the dummy in the side just over the hip. Returning to his stance, he hit the dummy three times in the face faster than Morgan could count to two. He then gave a quick front snap kick to its crotch. “For men, a hard blow to the balls does tend to end fights if it lands cleanly. But it’s not the ‘that-will-end-the-fight’ strike it’s made out to be. Hardly. First, most people really do not want to be kicked there, and they will go to extraordinary measures to protect that area. Secondly, even after a very hard shot, most men get between three and five seconds before the pain sets in so badly they’re incapacitated. Any athlete that has played contact sports for a while will know this and can keep going until the pain hits him. Guys who don’t know about the three seconds grace period often go down the moment they get hit because even the initial pain is frightening. Just in case you think three seconds isn’t very much time.” Morgan barely blinked and Alex had punched the dummy three more times in the head; twice with a spinning back fist strike. Each blow rocked the dummy on its heavy base. “That might look cool, but you can’t punch real people in the head with impunity. If you hit someone in the mouth, then you could easily get a bit of tooth lodged in your hand. It not only hurts—it sure as hell does—but the cut can get infected easily because human mouths are basically dance clubs for various kinds of disgusting bacterium. But if you plant your strike here.” He tapped his chin then his cheek and temple. “You stand a good chance of stunning them. I’ve been knocked cold four times. Each time when I came to I immediately felt intensely ill, and it took me several minutes before I even knew where I was. If it had happened in a street fight, I would not have jumped up to defend myself or anyone else for that matter at that point unless you count vomiting on someone’s shoes. Just keep that in mind.”
He massaged his fists. “Punches generate a lot of force if thrown correctly and if you hit one of the harder parts of the head. Like the forehead. Your hand is full of small bones, and the human skull is basically one huge bone. More so for some than others. Breaking your hand is easy. So, expect it to hurt. It’s not like what you see in the movies and on television.”
* * *
It was their fourth session at the range in two days.
“Squeeze gently but firmly. Even pressure.”
Morgan squinted along the sights of the Sig Sauer P226 MK25 pistol at the target the silhouette of a man 25 feet away.
“Imagine the trigger is a nipple, touch it lovingly but with determination.” Alex paused and apologized “Sorry that slipped out… I’ve only trained other men.”
Morgan lowered the gun to her side. “Where do you get these little sayings of yours?”
“A training sergeant taught me. He was quite the breast man.” Alex held his hand out, and Morgan gave him the pistol. In a smooth motion, he raised it downrange and quickly tripped off the fifteen rounds in the clip. Punching the button next to him brought the target to them. Fourteen of the shots were in a four-inch cluster just right of center mass. Right where the heart would be. The fifteenth was just below where the nose would be. “Sergeant Dixon knew what he was doing. It worked with me.” Alex ejected the clip.
Morgan took the target and laid it over the ammo table in front of them. She tapped the single bullet hole in the head.
“Oh, that.” Alex inserted a clip and safed the gun. “That’s for people I dislike who talk too much.” He clipped a new target on, pressed the button sending it back down the range and handed the gun to Morgan. “Here you go. Now feel its stiffness; like they get in the cold. But also, when she’s warming up. Breathe in. Let it out then give it a steady pull.”
Alex picked up the spotter binoculars and looked at the target. A hole had appeared in the chest, heart high and dead on. “Take a look.” He handed them to Morgan who looked at what she had just done. “Told you,” said Alex.