Street Safe III, Vol. 1: By Paul Vunak. The sub-title is "Brutal Solutions".
Paul Vunak and RBSD gets brought up quite a bit, and I've done reviews of both Rick Tew's CMS and Systema. Today, I'm re-reviewing the material Paul Vunak has put out, as I've gained proficiency in Judo, Brazilian Jujitsu, boxing, and Karate, (not Krotty). I have limited familiarity with RBSD and as such, am only presenting my opinion based upon my study of the martial arts listed in the previous sentence.
Part I: Actual Techniques Demonstrated and Advice Given
The first thing that Vunak does is talk about how this tape is meant for worst case scenarios. This tape is hinted towards people with an anti-grapple fear, as he mentions "on the ground" as the worst-case scenario, along with multiple attackers and weapons. He claims to be teaching a secret Filipino martial art called "Kena Muay Thai", (he doesn't spell it, so it sounds like "Keena Muay Thai"). He says that he learned it from Dan Inasanto, who learned it from an Old Phillipino Master, and that Dan has only taught this art to about five people. It is the deadly "uninterrupted art of biting and eye-gouging".
His first piece of advice after his introduction is that for any of the scenarios you are about to see, you will need an "equalizer". By this, he means a weapon. He recommends carrying around a folding knife with a hip pocket protector, or some other weapon at all times.
With this weapon handy, the first demonstrated technique is the "Armora" This is a series of seven strikes with a weapon that make a "force field that protects you". These seven strikes are an X-pattern going both ways, a horizontal strike, an outward strike with the butt of the stick that turns over into a regular attack, a downward strike to the toes, an upward strike at the groin, and another horizontal strike. According to him, they do not have to be repeated in that pattern, but can be 'compartmentalized' into any variety.
The next drill he shows is called "Serrata". It's a series of five strikes that are the same as the above 'Armora' drill, but without the downward and upward strikes. The idea is to use two weapons in the five movement pattern, and with the weaker hand that's holding a weapon, only stab with it after making an attack with the main hand.
With the 'Serrata' drill, he explains the concept of the attacks as "defanging the snake." The idea is that there should be no blocking or disarms in the fight, the attacks to the hands and wrist should make the person let go of the weapon rather than attempting a disarm per se'. The drill is involves your partner practicing the five strikes against you while you use one of the five strikes to hit his wrist, (Vunak's partner is wearing huge gloves on), with a weapon. The drill should teach you to "see an attack as a target rather than as something you block."
His next scene involves him versus a knife attack w/o a weapon. He gets gored. He then explains that against a man armed with a knife, if you don't have a weapon, you're dead. So, get a weapon. In his next scenario, he takes a pool ball and throws it at the person with a knife, and then grabs a pool stick and hits him over the head with it and runs out. He emphasizes running away.
(They are inside a bar and the defender is wearing what looks like a full face mask like a motorcycle helmet).
His next drill is a variation of chi sao involving a knife. He has the partner attack with a knife while the other person 'guides' the knife around away from the body. The drill is done using a female partner guides the blade without getting hit once.
His final piece of the weapon segment is knife fighting. The partner has oversized gloves and headgear w/ face protection. The idea is again 'defanging the snake', focusing on hitting the hand while feinting to the head and body.
His next piece is the "fighting multiple opponents" piece. He states that anyone who thinks they can take out two or more skilled fighters is deluding themselves. He says that this is why he places such an emphasis on getting weapons and using them in altercations. His scenario involves him with his wife going into a bar, when two drunks stop them. He tells his wife to get out her knife. As they approach, the wife begins stabbing wildly at the attacker, and Vunak beats his attacker up empty handed.
His next multiple attacker scenario is in an open space, two on one w/o weapons. His advice is to keep one opponent inbetween the other one to prevent them from both attacking you at the same time. His next scenario involves putting on boxing gloves and attacking. Again, he runs around keeping the opponents between each other and pops them.
Part II: My thoughts on his advice and what he demonstrated. The Griping.
A.) The most annoying thing is that Vunak uses terminology that sounds like LARPing, particularly when he talks about the "force field" technique that he demonstrates. There are a lot of subtleties to what Vunak is doing in those movements as far as how he strikes to prevent himself from being exposed and using his footwork to generate momentum into the strikes. However, he only briefly mentions this and does not break it down in any useful fashion. His purpose is to give strikes that will be better than random flailing at a target, but without a systematic breakdown of how to properly apply the strikes, it seems pointless as most people will just resort back to random flailing.
B.) His mention of secret techniques never seen before except for now in a video that can be purchased by anyone is laughable. Come on, there aren't any secrets to eyegouging or biting.
C.) In line with Point A, the knife sparring that he shows will be craptacular for anyone to practice if they don't already know the basics of knife fighting.
D.) Some of his advice is dubious. He says that when people knife fight, they headhunt. From most stab wounds I've seen in photos and videos, it appears that when people get attacked with a knife, the assailant will attack pretty much anywhere.
E.) In line with this, this is because most people don't square off and duel with knives, as he seems to be stating with, "When two gang members fight with knives, they go for the heads", generally, the attacks are done and the person being knived doesn't realize it until they have already been hit with the knife.
F.) His scene with his wife pulling out a knife and stabbing her attacker before he attacked her is legally very dubious, along with Vunak's beating of his opponent. The scenario is realistic because both of the 'attackers' hadn't actually attacked and had their hands down, making his unarmed assault a cake walk. I'm pretty sure that a police investigation with two people kniving and kneeing two other people who were not threatening or attacking them would be considered assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, or actual homicide. This seems to be a problem with most RBSD. Think of a paranoid Phil Elmore attacking and killing a bum and you've got the correct mental picture for what the scene looks like.
G.) Hopefully he's taken up boxing since this video. His punches and his students reactions and punches were awful.
H.) This brings me to my biggest gripe. He's obviously marketing this video to people who want to learn martial arts w/o the hard work required. He never mentions, "You should take up boxing and learn how to punch for this drill" or "You should find a FMA instructor to learn these drills" or "You should find a good grappling coach to teach you how to ground fight". Instead, he continually reinforces that a good week worth of drilling is sufficient for the purpose and that watching his videos alone will save you.
I.) The Chi Sao drill he shows needs more aliveness, he obviously wasn't trying to hit the woman with any force.
Random Gripes not related:
The person in charge of special effects annoyed me with his presentation. There were random words flashing in and out whenever Vunak talked, along with alternating angles and fades from monochrome to color. It looked like something a high school student would do on media, not a professional studio.
* Vunak has one viscious mullet.
* Vunak has permanent sweat pits, no matter what he wears. At the beginning of every tape, he's got sweat stains galore.
* Vunak has a really hot wife. (I don't, hence, I gripe).
Part III: The good stuff
Vunak's main advice is pretty solid. If you're in a fight where the other person has a weapon, get the hell out of there. If you can't, get a weapon. If you can't do either, evade the attacker until you can leave. Don't get cornered in a multiple attacker scenario. Always look for a weapon and a way out. If you're fighting multiple attackers w/o a weapon, you're screwed. Weapon disarms are low percentage and usually don't work.
Part IV: Overall evaluation
I can save you 70 bucks and tell you that the good stuff you read above will summarize what you need to know watching this video. The rest of it is not of much use w/o finding a good instructor to show you how to do the movements properly.
Part two of the Street Safe Series will probably be reviewed and read tomorrow, as I'm getting tired. Criticism and thoughts welcome.