View Full Version : Machete is the weapon of choice for gangs in my neighborhood
01-15-2005, 10:31 PM
After the second brutal machete attack in the news the Washington Post ran this article:
N.Va. Gangs Sharpen Means of Intimidation
By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page C01
The former gang member recalls watching them spread the newly purchased machetes from Springfield Mall on the bed and marvel at their sexiness. With reggae music booming in the background, the South Side Locos gang members began touching the steel blades and gripping the black handles.
They wanted revenge. One of their own, a 16-year-old boy, had just been brutally attacked in the Alexandria area by machete-wielding rivals in Mara Salvatrucha, the dominant gang in Northern Virginia. He had lost four fingers trying to shield his head from the blows, an incident so gruesome, audacious -- and seemingly new -- that it galvanized the Washington region to the surging gang populations.
The machete attack in May also inflamed an already tense gang rivalry, inciting South Side Locos members to match MS-13 with equal menace and buy their own machetes. The long, curving knives -- bought and sold at many military surplus and hardware stores largely for clearing brush -- have joined baseball bats as weapons of choice for Northern Virginia gangs.,,,
That May attack was a few blocks from my home, and I suspect the South Side Locos of being the gang that's moved into my apartment complex. Wheee!
01-16-2005, 01:31 AM
Wow, that's pretty scary! Gang members swinging sexy machetes? :(
Hmmmm.... I wonder how well our knife defense would work against machetes. They are obviously very long, almost more like swords than knives. Defending any kind of stab might be hard because of then length of the weapon, but I guess it's most likely that the attacker will swing it at you, trying to slash you. In that case the block and counter could probably still work, but I guess it would be hard to attempt a cavalier, since you might be cut by the weapon. So maybe just block, counter, then try to run like hell.
01-16-2005, 08:15 AM
As long as they're only attacking each other with these things I'm probably safe. But still.... YIKES!
01-16-2005, 05:13 PM
Well, a machete is not something you can concel too well, so I bet they just bring them out of the trunk for special events like revenge attacks and such...
and Giantkiller is correct that when holding a machete people rarely will stab, it fosters more of an overhead hacking motion.
It is the primary root weapon for Escrima, so good escrima stick work is generally aimed at eventually being a machetee. Many of the primary defenses from Escrima work great against this type of short sword.
01-16-2005, 10:08 PM
Here in San Diego, I can recall a couple of mentions of machetes. On the news, I've heard of one robbery with one, one attack in a parking lot with one (ended in non-lethal head injuries), and one time a liquor store owner pulling one on a thief (actually, I don't remember if this happened here or not). A guy came into the store and pulled out a gun. One clerk rushed the robber and basically got him in a clinch. The other clerk runs up with a machete and starts hacking the guy on the back. The robber flees. Fortunately for him, he was hacked multiple times with the dull side of the machete, which still has to be pretty painful.
When I was in high school, I saw some SUV full of guys speeding by and one guy startes yelling at some other group and brandishing a big machete out of the window.
Theres a couple things about machetes that make them a common gang weapon. For one thing, they're an extraordinary buy as far as weapons go. For like ten bucks, you can get a really sturdy knife with great chopping power. They're really intimidating. They have good reach and power. They can be used at different ranges- chopping at long range, hacking at mid range, and shorter hacks, draw cuts, saw cuts and pommel strikes at close range. And they are a very intuitive weapon. Just having one in your hand gives you confidence and a feeling of power. Also, some groups associate themselves with them. I was not surprised when I read that there was reggae music in the background.
01-17-2005, 01:34 PM
What are the primary defenses of Escrima that would work against a machete? Anything you could describe? Would they work if the defender is unarmed?
Get inside. Like baseball bat/club defense, control arm/ take down and take away. Or stay the hell away outside his swinging radius and run.
01-17-2005, 02:44 PM
There are several. Most Machete weilding attackers come in at 45 degrees with a #1 strike. The inside defense is much like against a hook. left hand counters inside, right arm strikes, step inside and do a turn to left as you strike. If you have the space or the correct angle, you can also step to the outside (left), press the attack away with left hand (pak sau), and punch. But outside you have to also dodge the blade! just as KMSF discribes above!
If the hack is a #2 then the defense is much like against a back hand. Primary defense is like the second one mentioned above. or if the angle is ok, you can go to the outside (right)as well, but this time with right pak and left strike. From this position, maybe switch left hand to control attackers arm and roll right hand over into a hammer fist or fak sau (forearm strike with ulna as edge).
Since they have a weapon I would strike the throat or eye for good measure.
Once practiced, you can then add sticking to the weapon arm and guiding it along its curved tracectory as you move in to pin that arm. This is more difficult as it requires better timing.
In Latosa Escrima we generally practice a prefered counter measure, then also practice all possible variations. So with above using Pak sau, you would practice using the left pak and right strike going inside and outside of all 4 attack angles, then again with right pak. This way if you do not move or guess wrong, you are practiced in the motion you end up with.
And as everyone knows, once you proform the first counter strike, it is a good idea to control the weapon hand as you continue to strike or lock up the attacker. We like to throw them down or into a knee, which I have seen also in KM magazine advertising :D
There are many more....
01-18-2005, 01:10 PM
Thanks for the tips. I do feel better now that a defense been couched in achievable and practical terms. An overhead arm is an overhead arm (the person who lost fingers recently had been defending his head) and going inside seems like a great tactic. Besides being too close for a blade to do its job, it would also freak out the attacker. These kids probably don't have much in their scripts
I think krav training will also keep me from pausing while I think \"Holy crap! Look at the size of that blade!!!!\"
01-18-2005, 02:44 PM
I guess baseball bat stick defense could work, but I wonder how likely it might be that the machete would swing around as you are defending and might hit you in the back. If it's really sharp, even if it hit you slightly, it could still injure you, although it's obviously better than having your head hacked off!
It might also be hard to do a takeaway with a long blade like that. And I wonder if it could happen that, in the heat of the moment, you end up trying to reach for the blade and grab it, instinctively thinking about doing a stick takeaway, because that's what we usually practice.
Overhead stick defense might be too risky, it seems like it could easily happen that the machete would slide along the side of your body, cutting into you.
What Cali describes sounds similar to our regular knife defense. If the swing comes from the side and you can get in it seems like that could work also, especially if you are early, since the blade would be pointing away from you at first and then it might not matter how long it is. It may be better to do that if possible, so you don't have to suddenly change your usual defense and end up getting confused and make a potentially deadly mistake.
Hey John, are you out there? Is there any \"official\" Krav Maga machete defense? :) Would you do baseball bat or regular knife?
01-19-2005, 10:18 AM
So I just wanted to clarify a few things.... In EBMAS (WT and Escrima) we always practice a universal counter with strikes as our primary defense. From there we have options based on the how the senerio unfolds. Then we also have specific counters to specific attacks. These require that you recognize the attack, label it, and apply the answer. So when answering questions on the internet we have to assume the nature of the attack, its angle, and its weapon are all recognized. If I am suddenly under attack I have one answer(OK, maybe three or 4 :lol: ) but if I am threatened, then I have time to use more options. So in refernce to Machete i assume the guys threaten me first, then attack from a reasonable distance.
Alot of Escrima practces disarms. These moves are usually somewhat complicated and look like J Jitsu joint locks, and usually won't ever work unless the guy goes along with it. What Most people forget is you must disable before disarm, this is how you make the bad guy go along with it!!. You may practice the disarm as a counter of in itself but in real life you should strike and block first, then disarm once they are stunned.
The disarms that we practice in Latosa Escrima and EBMAS involve controling the hand , Wrist and Arm in locks and/or getting leverage of the weapon at the butt or close to the handle. Machetes have a large flat side which can also be leveraged against. The Vine Disarm is very effective in this regard. With the inside swing counter, Right heel palm to chin as left hand blocks attackers forearm. Then you left hand circles around their arm in a vine disarm. Your arm will be pressing against the flat side of the blade and if they hold on to weapon that arm gets locked. And you keep pressing that chin back as you turn and throw. If they let go of the weapon then the vine disarm worked! and you continue around into a strike with that hand or pull that arm as you throw them to the ground. If the disarm doesn't make them let go, then you can slid back to grab the hand or wrist to control the weapon, or even slide to the back of the blade aay from edgeand pull it out of their hand that way. Just some examples, there are many more.
Another avenue is to kick low to knee or shin. Most people forget about the legs when holding a weapon. a good low stop kick can upset their balance and give you an edge in timing the counter to the strike. Especially good if they start closer to you.
As an Arborist and Gardner I have alot of experince with the machete. They come from the store dull, and this is actually the safest way to use it. It will only cut when swung correctly. If it bounces of a tree trunk into your leg it is less likely to cut you. I imagine these Gangsters are sharpening them. The guy who lost his fingers may have had his hands on his head for protection and not out trying to block the attackes. But even sharp these thing are large and not easily swung, so if you can stop the swing and control the arm, the cutts should not be that bad.
but then again, if they cut the right spot, or put some time in practicing hacking apart refirgerator boxes and office furniture, it could get real scary...
01-19-2005, 10:36 AM
Which attack are you talking about? If it's overhead or coming in at x>45, do overhead defense. If it's less, do baseball bat or dead side baseball bat.
The emphasis should not be on intangibles: if the dull side of the machete comes back and strikes you, or if it swings around and slices your ear or your temple when executing baseball bat, or if it maims your tricep.
If you're training these techniques in your class, you should understand that there is strong likelihood that you will have to operate after sustaining nasty injuries.
Cali briefly mentions this point in his most recent post, but always keep in mind one of Krav's essential implications of an attack involving bladed/pointed weapons: assume you're going to get cut up! If you can't run/kick, find a shield. If those aren't options, burst in deep, strike brutally, control weapon and takeaway, or bludgeon the guy enough to run away.
At the end of the day, if you ever get attacked with a machete, and you execute defense A when technically you should have executed defense B (both of which imply bursting in deep with violence in mind), AND you're able to survive the altercation, it shouldn't matter what any of us thinks.
Do you think we'll chastise you for it?
01-19-2005, 01:33 PM
No, I'm not worried that anyone will \"chastise\" me, I was simply wondering which would be the recommended technique to do in the event of such an attack. I'm assuming I can't run or pick up any weapon. So in that case, would the regular knife defense still work and might it even be safer to attempt to do a 360 type block and counter instead of a stick defense?
The scary part of doing the stick defense is that if you are unable to get in deep, you might end up defending against the weapon itself, which is okay if it's a stick, but real bad if it's a machete. So, if you can't get in deep enough, but can't retreat either, would the knife defense be safer? It might also be more instinctive to do, because that's the defense we usually practice in class against a knife and the machete is obviously similar to a knife in appearance, just longer.
We haven't actually trained this in class, it just came up here, that's why I'm asking. Just wondering if there is any \"official\" Krav Maga defense for that situation. So, you are saying to do stick defense, but what Cali described sounded more like our 360 block, but of course that's also a different system.
Just wondering if anyone has tried out in training (or real life, even better) which defense would work best.
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