Choose Your Weapon


(Written by Waysun Johnny Tsai):

waysun johnny tsai

Waysun Johnny Tsai

It seems that Martial arts have gone from traditional to MMA ring fighting and back to “reality” based training (which includes a lot of traditional and some MMA).

Reality/street defense instructors are popping up everywhere, as are MMA gyms. Many teach both at the same locations. Some traditional schools have added their own version of reality based training and MMA to boost revenue and stay afloat in these tough economic times.

What makes me nervous is a lot of Knife fighting instructors that seem to be popping up. Many only teach enough to get somebody serious injured, maimed and or killed. While there are exceptions,[pay] the majority of the instructors have never been in a real “knife fight” and IF they have, not much more than one fight, which hardly qualifies them to teach such lethal force tactics.

I also feel that many of these trainers and their dvds have encouraged more civilians to carry blades for self defense purposes. This means there are a lot more “blades and knife swinging action heroes” on the streets today than there has ever been in the past. Very dangerous times indeed.

Just as there are alot of “Tap Out T-Shirt wearing people” waiting to try out their new take down in a bar, there are many people carrying “tactical” blades waiting to pull them.

I meet a lot of these tough guys at my booth at gun and knife shows. They see my impact weapons and say things like, “I prefer to fight with a knife”, then proceed to flash their blades.

Scary, stupid, stuff.

Now don’t get me wrong, I usually have more than one EDC (every day carry) blade on me, I use them to open boxes and such.

I keep a Rat Cutlery RC-6 in my trunk on my duty belt as part of my survival kit, along with a tactical flashlight, canteen, ponchos, compass, first aid kit etc.

If forced to deploy lethal force, and I had no choice, I would use one in a life and death situation. But, only if I had no other option. And, there are always options.

Keep in mind, there is a HUGE difference in learning knife defense and how to survive a knife attack, and training to precisely cut a guy 57 times in all of his major arteries before he touches the ground.

I bounced and did high profile security for 12 years, even in the seediest of locations, I never had to pull a knife and cut anyone. I had traditional discipline and knew that I did not need to. I caught and stopped myself from reaching for my blade once, after that I stopped carrying knives on the job.

In my humble opinion, for civilians, improvised and impact weapons are the way to go.

There are many, legal to carry EDC options.

When one is considering his or her choice of EDC impact weapons, one must also consider the 4 fighting ranges and what might work best in All Range Combat (ARC).

For example, the collapsible baton such as the Smith & Wesson is a great choice for Military, Leo and security guards, as long as they are trained on how to deploy them in all four ranges. Civilians will need to check the weapon laws in their area before taking these on a jog with them.

Tactical is the big cool word today. Some blogger coined the term “Tacticool”. However, when it comes to EDC flashlights, tactical lights really do have function.

One such tactical light is the BLACKHAWK Gladius Maximus. It’s ultra bright, having more than enough Lumens to temporarily blind an attacker with its strobe feature. Plus, it’s a fist full of metal that has a built in shock spring system (for weapon mounts) so it won’t break on impact in a self defense scenario.

waysun johnny tsai using tactical weapon

Some tactical flashlights such as the HELLFIGHTER by Dark Ops have a wicked glass breaker/skull crusher bezel, that will send the bad guy to the reeling to the ground in pain. Flashlights are legal and if needed one can come up with dozens of reasons to keep a flashlight on their person or in their vehicle. I have taken several on planes without any hassle.

Kubotons are making a comeback! They can be found in various colors of aluminum, plastics and exotic hard woods. Thinner versions of Kubotons called the “Tactical Stylus” have become available as well. They are great for impact, compliance techniques, come alongs, joint manipulations and even groundwork. Laws do vary and TSA or security posts will most likely take your away if you try to get on a plane with one. My wife has to take her Kuboton off of her keychain every time she goes to work, which can lead to not having it at hand when needed.

COLDSTEEL Knives makes a inexpensive product called the Sharkie. It’s a Sharpie type of marker can be used like a Kuboton. I think this works great as a training tool. It will give and take one hell of an impact. But, due to it’s size (think cigar case) round tips, and inferior use as a marker, I would not carry one. Plus, it has a shark with teeth on it, which may raise an eyebrow at check points.

Many who know me, know that I have been a big advocate of the Tactical Pen. I have released 3 DVDs teaching one how to use pens as last-ditch impact weapons. Working closely with knife companies that manufacture tactical pens like Schrade and Benchmade, I have had the opportunity to attend huge trade shows; like the 2010 SHOT Show earlier this year in Las Vegas.

I was the Shrade Tactical Pen spokesperson at the Taylor Brands Booth. We gave away several hundred copies of an exclusive DVD that I filmed for the Schrade pen.

This show provided me with the opportunity to meet roughly a thousand people including LEO, military, combat trainers and martial artists who carry tactical pens. People were showing me their pens by Mil-Tac, Tuff-Writer, Rick Hinderer Knives, Benchmade, Smith & Wesson, Schrade and more! One U.S. Marshal even went into detail of how he dragged a fugitive out of his car using his tactical pen for a wrist lock!

CUMA RAM tactical pen weapon pink passion

The pen pictured in this article is that of my own design. It is a USA made product called The C.U.M.A. RAM.

C.U.M.A. being the name of the system I developed and RAM is a part of D.W. RAM manufacturing. I like the word Ram because, I am an Aries, which is the greek god of war, so it all fits together nicely for a fighting pen.

I own just about every tactical pen out there. Minus a couple of color variations. With the research that I have done, I have found the tactical pen to be my favorite improvised/impact weapon. It works with all ranges. Every BJJ practitioner that I have given one to loves it.

It adds an extra level of “ouch”.

In closing, I suggest you don’t just buy products based on my opinion. Visit your local police uniform shop or Sport, Gun, Knife show.

Put some of these different items in your hands and see what feels good to you.

Choose your weapon wisely, it might just save your life.


About Waysun Johnny Tsai

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SEMINARS, TRAINING, DVDS OR THE C.U.M.A. RAM TACTICAL PEN. Please Contact Waysun Johnny Tsai at 773-227-1888 or visit

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