Since I posted about the Vietnam tomahawk yesterday some comments about using one may be in order. This is going to be very brief and only touch on a few selected topics. If you really want to know about armed and unarmed combat purchase my book. Three hundred or so pages of text and over a hundred illustrations are going to cover far more information than a blog can or should. In this post I will mainly be covering aspects unique to the tomahawk.
As I have often stated in my book and this blog avoiding or neutralizing a threat should come before counter-attacking. If you can evade or avoid the assault using the techniques in my book or other skills you have acquired, do so. You may still have to block or parry his initial attacks. Virtually all parts of the tomahawk can be used to block or parry. The edge, the backspike, side of the head and shaft can all be used to defend. If you hit an incoming attack with the edge or backspike that may be the end of the fight. Most blocks and parries will be executed with the shaft, however. The axe bit and backspike form an angle with the shaft and this characteristic can work for you or against you. On the positive side, the head can be used to hook or control a foe. On the downside, if you catch a blow below the head it can knock the weapon right out of your hands. Wherever possible attempt to parry and block with the sides of the head or shaft. This also applies to the use of similar shaped weapons such as hammers, Kama and many entrenching tools.
The short length of the shaft and the backspike prevent the use of certain offensive techniques. You have to be aware of what part of you is behind the weapon as well as what is in front. Yes, I am a little wary of a weapon that nearly killed me the first time I used it! You can use the double headed nature of the weapon to advantage, however. If you miss a target, step forward and bring the weapon back. What the edge misses going one way the spike may hit on the way back.
Primary offensive method with a tomahawk is to swing it. Try to do this without pulling the weapon back first or making any other telegraphic moves. A technique worth practicing is the thrust, something that many people will not think of when using a tomahawk. It may lack sharp edges but the top of a tomahawk head is still a hard substantial lump of metal. Drive it into the eyes, nose, teeth, chin or throat and use the opportunity created for a follow up attack. The butt of the shaft is also a useful weapon. If you cannot bring the head into play use the butt to employ your Kongo techniques.
The tomahawk can also be used two-handed. Grip the butt end of the shaft with one hand and below the head with the other. The section of shaft between your hands can be used to defend, and is a much stronger defence than if the weapon is held single handed. This is the “Bumper Guard” I describe in my book. This section of shaft can also be used offensively. Drive it into his throat, up under his chin or into his nose or eyes. Either end can be used to strike with this hold. The axe edge can still be pressed into a target or used to slice, while the backspike can stab or rip.
When LaGana was first marketing the Vietnam Tomahawk he often demonstrated it as a missile. Funny thing. If you suggest throwing a knife someone almost by reflex will bleat something about “throwing your weapon away”. Suggest throwing a tomahawk or entrenching tool and the usual response is “Cool!” Imagine you are in a certain hot dusty country. You are investigating a deserted building for intelligence materials. While your buddy gets distracted by the contents of a desk you decide to break open a nearby cupboard, so approach it, tomahawk in hand. Suddenly the cupboard door swings open to reveal it is the entrance to a concealed room. A sleepy terrorist with an AKM is stepping out and is as surprised to see you as you are to see him. As his hand goes for the safety lever on the right side of the rifle you throw your tomahawk right at his head, buying yourself enough time to draw your pistol and fire first. Sometimes throwing your weapon is a good move if it lets you bring a better weapon into action.
I’ve heard that the Russians have conducted experiments. Shoot at someone with a rifle and they will fire back. Throw an entrenching tool at them and it is claimed they will drop their rifle trying to avoid it. Then you can shoot them with your rifle. Not sure how reliable and how often this will be true, but it is interesting.