Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Martial Arts Magazine

My good friend Scott Baltic is now publishing "WMA Illustrated". This magazine is dedicated to the practitioners of Western Martial Arts.

Scott is himself a practicing student of WMA and wants to get more information about Western Martial arts out to both current students of these arts and to those who have no idea that such a thing exists.

The first issue of the magazine is now available and includes articles on the use of the halberd, Western knife fighting and the early history of boxing.

You can purchase the first issue of the magazine by sending $6.00 plus $2.00 for shipping to Gallowglass Academy, PO Box 201, Leaf River, IL 61047

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Wildfires!

The current situation in southern California again highlights the need to be ready in case of emergency.

I heard on the news about a woman who was told to evacuate but had no gas in her car. I had to wonder why she had not put gas her in her car sometime in the last week with the threat of fires coming towards where she lived.

Also, don't forget to prepare to move your pets when you need to leave your home in an emergency! Many people prepare for themselves and don't think of buying extra food and saving water for their pets.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

“Tomahawks: Traditional to Tactical” by David Grant, $15.00
Published by Paladin Press. Retail customers may order directly by calling toll free to 1-800-392-2400. All other inquiries should be made to 1-303-443-7250.

Reviewed by C. Allen Reed

In this slim volume the author sets out to discuss some of the history of the tomahawk and then lays out what to look for in a modern tomahawk, either traditional or tactical.

In his introduction, Grant outlines the history and background of how the tomahawk came to be a quintessentially American weapon.

The first chapter is dedicated to the pipe tomahawk. These tomahawks were made to include a pipe for smoking tobacco. The pipe tomahawk was more often than not a ritual item sold to the American Indian by white traders. Grant pictures and describes half a dozen historical pipe tomahawks.

The second chapter is titled “Modern Masters”. Here Grant discusses four of what he feels are the best makers of modern hand-made tomahawks. The author catalogs each maker’s hand forged tomahawks and gives the details of each maker’s various models.

In the third chapter, Grant turns to three vendors who make and sell production models of traditional tomahawks. Again, Grant lists and pictures various models made by these vendors.

With the fourth chapter, Grant looks at the life of Peter LaGana, who developed the tactical tomahawk for use during the Vietnam War. LaGana was a former Marine and veteran of World War II who was descended from Iroquois Indians. LaGana developed his tomahawk and tried, without success, to interest the US Army Special Forces in issuing it to their troops. He was able to get the Marine Corps interested enough to permit him to give a demonstration against live opponents. Ultimately, the Marines did not officially adopt the tomahawk, but LaGana started selling his tomahawk to soldiers privately, and it became a great hit for close-quarter combat in the jungles of Vietnam.

The fifth chapter gets to the heart of the material in this book when Grant discusses how and why to choose a tactical tomahawk. Here the author discusses everything from whether you should choose a tomahawk with a back spike or a hammer poll, weight and length options, and how to carry a tomahawk.

In the sixth chapter, Grant catalogs various makers of modern tactical tomahawks. When discussing each maker’s tomahawks, the author tells you how and what each tomahawk is made from, as well as the length and weight of each model.

The final tomahawk that Grant lists in this chapter is a training tomahawk made by Jeremy Bays and sold through Woodland Archery. I can personally testify to how well made and versatile this training tomahawk is when practicing your techniques with a tomahawk. I currently own two of these training tomahawks and use them with my own students.

The seventh and last chapter of the book is very short. In it, Grant shows pictures of two human skulls in the Smithsonian Institution collections that are believed to have tomahawk wounds.

Grant finishes the book up with a bibliography for more information about the history and use of the tomahawk. He also includes a list of website URL’s or email addresses for the vendors he discusses in the book.

I feel that this book will help anyone who is interested in purchasing and using a tomahawk whether for fun or into combat.

The only thing I see that could have been included by Grant is more information on how to train with a tomahawk. The author mentions Cold Steel in Chapter Three, when discussing modern makers of traditional tomahawks, but does not mention that the same company sells a video tape on training with a tomahawk.

He could also have included information about other books and videos that are available on training with a tomahawk, such as those by James Keating or Dwight McLemore.