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Tape 1: Fundamentals of Unarmed Combat.

Tape 2: Lesser Known Blows of Close Combat. (Advanced Strike's)
Each tape is approximately 55 minutes long.
I'm going to go into more details than I normally would in a video review, since
these tapes have been unavailable for some time. There is more in the series bu
t these are all I have.
TAPE 1: Fundamentals of Unarmed Combat.
Cestari begins this tape by addressing Distance, Momentum, and Balance.
Attacking the head/neck area or the legs most effectively disrupts an opponent's
balance. Cestari explains the correct line of force to disrupt the persons bala
nce is always indicated by a perpendicular line intersecting an imaginary line c
onnecting their two feet. Straight front push or pull when someone is in a full
frontal position parallel. Zone 45 degrees for someone in a foot-forward ready p
osition, to attack their balance. Cestari then demonstrates attacking the head a
nd legs by doing a head twist takedown, then by demonstrating a reaping leg-swee
p, both against a strong stance. He explains that these takedowns are just for d
emonstrating the principle of attacking the head & legs; Close Combat relies mor
e on blows.
Torso blows are discouraged for the simple reasons that extensive training is re
quired for them to be effective, and even then their effectiveness can be obviat
ed by clothing, etc. Close Combat always assumes the worst possible conditions;
targets should be the head, throat, groin, and legs.
Head & neck targets include eyes, bridge of nose and base of nose, point of chin
, temples, line of the jaw, larynx, carotids, and mastoid areas. Blows to the le
gs include kicks and stomps to the thighs, knees, shins, and insteps. The level
of damage inflicted on these areas by close combat blows is determined by the fo
rce and repetition of these blows. This is all explained in more detail when dea
ling with each specific blow.
Cestari stresses that the opening move is like the gambit in chess. It has to be
a strong move followed through with non-specific flowing attack. There are no d
efensive moves in close combat.
In dealing with Distance, Cestari stresses that you should never let a doubtful
person close enough to jam your attack. Action is always faster than reaction so
attack first when someone is closing in on you. Once within range there is no w
ay to defend against non-telegraphic blows. Especially when followed through wit
h a battery of combination attacks. Cestari stresses the importance of deliverin
g a battery of attacks. Even if they successfully defend against your first blow
there is no way they can defend against a full on assault of combined blows and
kicks. Attack and keep attacking.
Maintain awareness. Don't let anyone get close. If they approach you, reestablis
h distance. This negates his ability to strike without committing body weight to
close the distance, and telegraphing his attack. An opponent only has 3 options
. 1) to stay where he is, 2) attack, and 3) leave. If he leaves, maintain awaren
ess of your surroundings until you are safe. If he stays, attack him first, by s
taying he is indicating his intent to attack, so you must make the preventative
attack. ATTACK him if he does not leave.
If he approaches you to attack, maintain distance by zoning 45 degrees whenever
possible. This may not be possible in a hallway or other confining circumstance.
Zoning makes him have to adjust his position before attacking giving you a slig
ht window in timing to launch your attack.
Maintain your hips and shoulders at an angle (45 degrees) ready position wheneve
r possible, for balance and protecting your vital areas. Maintain stability with
your weight on your front leg leaning into his approach, also to move under his
Cestari stresses keeping the body tense. Train in stiff, gross body motion. You
are going to be tense anyway, so train for it.
The enemy can be in front of you in 3 possible positions; 1) left foot forward,
2) right foot forward, and 3) feet parallel. Always enter along his weakest line
of balance as explained before.
Edge of Hand Blow.
This is executed by snapping the hand open in a convulsive manner, open tight fo
r the blow. Deliver the blow from whatever position you are in straight to the t
arget without chambering or telegraphing. In training practice delivering the bl
ow directly from a variety of awkward, inconvenient, or likely positions.
In close quarters power is generated through the drop step. From a ready stance
with your weight on your front leg, lift the front leg and step INTO the strike,
your blow hitting with your weight behind it before your foot hits the floor.
Cestari emphasizes that close combat footwork is ALL stomping, including the dro
p step. Stomping is intimidating, and is the best for uneven terrain, cluttered
terrain, ice, snow, mud, etc. There is no sliding or shuffling footwork in close
combat. With the dropstep STOMP INTO the blow, large heavy movement, gross moto
r skills.
Cestari teaches in the initial confrontation to assume a non-aggressive prepared
stance that positions your hands ABOVE the assailant's hands. Ready positions o
f the hands include; folded at belt, folded at chest, jack benny stance, hands r
aised by head/shoulder. And a ready boxing-like stance, hips & shoulders at a 45
degree angle to the assailant, hands open in ax-hand position.
From a hands folded at belt ready position, Cestari demonstrates the blow delive
red in a straight line directly to target (throat) with the dropstep. The edge o
f hand lands before the foot. All of the bodyweight goes into the strike deliver
ed in one convulsive snapping motion.
This is also demonstrated from a 45 degree ready position with the forehead poin
ted down toward the opponents chest, below his shoulder level, putting your weig
ht into the blow. This protects your head against his counterblows and allows yo
u to move up into more attacks.
From wherever you are standing the blow is delivered in a straight line into a s
napping convulsive attack to the target.
After the first blow continue short axe hand blows, snapping from elbows. Massiv
e damage is inflicted from repeated fast snapping blows to the target. After the
initial assault blows can be chambered for more power. The "short" axe hand sna
ps from the elbow. The "long" axe hand is like a saber, a wide powerful arc.
At this juncture Cestari explains the three ways a blow traumatizes the head:
1. Direct trauma at point of impact to the target area.
2. Referred trauma to the brain from impact.
3. Trauma to the cervical vertebrae (whiplash).
Cestari breaks the ax-hand technique down into a three part progression:
1. The initial drop-step axe-hand.
2. Short axe-hand. Multiple snapping attack delivered from elbow.
3. Long axe-hand. Wide arc powershot.
The virtues of the axe-hand blow include its efficiency, little training necessa
ry, and the blow can be delivered with power without damaging the hand.
Up to this point Cestari has demonstrated the horizontal axe hand. Now he moves
on to the vertical axe hand.
The vertical axe-hand follows the same three part progression. Dropstep with you
r body weight into the blow VAH to the neck, jaw, temple. Do not telegraph the b
low by chambering behind your body.
Cestari stresses NEVER to depend on single blows, no matter how hard or effectiv
e you hit. One blow should be five or six in an aggressive battery attack. When
explaining this, Cestari demonstrates a rapid combination attack. Let there be n
o doubt; CESTARI IS FAST AND FURIOUS. The quality of instruction is exceeded onl
y by the explicit level of skill demonstrated by Cestari on these tapes.
The short hacking vertical axe-hand is demonstrated next. All blows are used in
conjunction with other blows and kicks.
The long vertical axe-hand is then demonstrated against an opponent that is bent
over. Blows delivered to the back of the neck, spine, and kidneys.
Cestari demonstrates his counter to an opponent chambering for a sucker-punch ty
pe attack; hit their shoulder as they are chambering and stay on them with an ag
gressive assault.
Heel of Hand Blow.
The heel of hand blow can be delivered to any area of the skull. It is most effe
ctive when used with the fingers gouging the eyes. If for whatever reason the bl
ow is not effective the fingers can still dig and gouge the eyes.
Again Cestari stresses training to deliver direct blows from inconvenient positi
ons, such as with your hands in your pockets, behind your back, behind your head
, etc.
Cestari breaks the Heel of Hand blow into a 2 part progression.
1. Direct Chin Jab. Body weight thrown into blow, following through with eye cla
2. Uppercut chin jab. Step to side, shoulder/hip aligned to his centerline, blow
delivered with forearm slam to sternum, upward into chin-jab, then driving with
fingers into eyes, driving face back and down.
If you can pin his back with the other hand the force of the blow will also trau
matize the spine.
The Heel of Hand blow is demonstrated against any area of the face; cheekbones,
eyes, fits into the nooks and crannies of the skull, and also very effective to
the back of skull.
Cestari wraps up the first video with a brief statement about the realities of c
lose combat. Always assume the worst conditions, poor visibility, etc. Your targ
et will be about as specific as a silhouette. The effective simple basic methods
of hand to hand combat are the best and most reliable. Close combat is not a sp
ort, and is not sport as combat. Close combat has a proven track record. No flas
I'll post shortly with a review/breakdown of tape #2, then #3.
TAPE 2: Lesser Known Blows (Advanced Strike's) of Close Combat by Carl Cestari.
Cestari cuts to the chase, stating that the blows of close combat are meant to m
inimize damage to the fist; the reason why closed-fist boxing blows are not in t
he corpus of close combat methods.
Web of Hand Blow.
The first blow demonstrated and explained is the web of hand blow. The first dem
onstration is a direct drop-step, twisting into a web-hand blow to the throat, f
ollowing through with the body weight. Again, Cestari stresses following through
with a battery of attacks, keeping forward momentum. The web-hand blow to the t
hroat can stun or kill depending on the force of the blow.
You can also use strikes to the head, such as the chin-jab, to knock the head ba
ck opening the throat for a web-hand blow to the trachea.
Striking with the web-hand to the side of the neck, to the carotid area allows t
he thumb to hook into the larynx or jugular notch, but only as adjunct to other
blows. Again, Cestari stresses NEVER to rely on single blows in close combat. AL
WAYS follow through with a battery of attacks.
Cestari then demonstrates other applications of the web-hand blow. Web-hand to t
he base of the nose, and then to the back of the skull to stun and control by gr
abbing the neck to control someone in the event that it is possible, or if you h
ave to for some reason. This is especially addressed to Law Enforcement Officers
Double Chin Jab
This is one of my favorite techniques on the tape. Performed just as the heel of
palm chin-jab, only using both hands. Move straight into attack with the drop-s
tep, clawing fingers into the eyes. Cestari mentions that this was a favorite of
Fairbairn, especially when teaching women because of the power and damage even
a person of small-stature can inflict with this blow.
Next Cestari demonstrates the double chin-jab in conjunction with driving the kn
ee into the groin. This is followed by a double chin-jab to the face and nose, d
riving the thumbs into the eyes. This is followed by a double chin-jab, then dro
pping to the throat with the thumbs driving into the jugular notch. All brutal a
nd effective techniques.
Cestari explains the proper way to clench the fist for the hammerfist blow. TIGH
TLY close your pinky first, then fingers, then thumb. All TIGHTLY. The point of
application of the hammerfist is either at the bend of the base knuckle and the
lower part of the pinky, or at the meat of the fist.
The hammerfist is applied much like the axe-hand. Straight in with drop-step to
target. With a short chop from the elbow. Targets include chin, nose, cheek-bone
, as with the short axe-hand. Keeping the fist clenched tight so as not to damag
e the pinky.
Then the swinging hammerfist using the meat of fist as point of impact is demons
trated. This blow is most effective to the back and spine against an opponent wh
o is bent over, as well as along the jaw and to the point of the chin, the solar
plexus, groin, and kidneys.
Cupped Palm Blow
Single or double cupped palm blows are explained and demonstrated. This blow is
most effective to the ears. This blow is delivered in a circular motion, short a
rc to the ears, keeping the elbows close to the body. When delivering a single c
upped palm blow, turn the hip into the blow to the ear.
Deliver the double cupped palm blow to both ears directly with the drop-step. Fo
llow immediately with thumb-gouges to the eyes, or drop to the throat applying t
humb-gouges to the jugular notch, etc.
At this juncture Cestari emphasizes the fact that you do not need an instructor
to learn close combat. Any intelligent adult can devise their own attack combina
tions. He also stresses that combinations are for training purposes only. You ar
e training yourself to attack and keep attacking. The WWII Instructors taught no
n-specific blows, attack to vulnerable areas, and they practiced full-bore again
st dummies. The most important thing to cultivate is the heart to attack.
Cestari goes on to explicitly denounce the money game of Martial Arts teachers s
tringing instruction out for years in order to milk money from their students. H
e encourages the student to stand on their own two feet, and reiterates that it
is entirely possible to teach yourself the dangerous skills of hand to hand comb
at. No one can teach you what is best for yourself, you will discover this for y
ourself through training.
Cestari stresses the importance of reading the signs of the adversary in a confr
ontation, and to take the initiative to attack first with an EXPLOSIVE battery o
f attacks in order to survive.
Returning to the subject of cupped hand blows, Cestari demonstrates the cupped h
and blow from the rear as an opening move in sentry removal etc.
Cestari stresses the opportunistic, ruthless nature of close combat. See it - go
for it, THAT is streetfighting.
Shoulder Smash.
Moving on to the various ways the shoulders can be used in combat, Cestari demon
strates pulling the opponent's head into a shoulder smash to the face, in conjun
ction with a knee to the groin and a foot stomp to the instep.
The shoulder smash can also be used to create distance. Like battering open a do
or with your shoulder, drop-step driving your shoulder into their sternum, knock
ing them backwards.
Cestari stresses not moving the head independently of the body. Keep the shoulde
rs and neck stiff and close your eyes tightly. He emphasizes keeping the eyes cl
osed tightly otherwise the force of the impact will result in temporary double v
Cestari then demonstrates/explains variations of the head-butt; to the chest wit
h a drop-step, upward head butt with the chin tucked in delivered to the chin wi
th the top of head. Ramming into the body; bend at waist and ram into the oppone
nt's stomach.
Also demonstrated are a Side-to-Side Headbutt; directed at the opponent's jaws,
control his arm and slam your head into either side of his jaws. Also demonstrat
ed is holding the opponent's head in place and smashing a headbutt into the othe
r side of his head. The opponent can also be pulled into a headbutt.
The elbow is a damaging blow anywhere it lands. Demonstrated are:
- Dropstep with elbow forward to the face, throat, solar plexus, or meet his cha
rge. Integrating a battery of attacks is stressed, as with every other specific
-Elbow raised against boxing blows.
Swing horizontally or vertically, stepping into the attack. The wheeling attack
is demonstrated with elbows. Downward elbows are demonstrated on someone leaning
over - down into back of head, spine, and kidneys.
Fingertip Jabs
Cestari demonstrates the proper way to form the hand in order to deliver a power
ful fingertip jab. The hand is formed very much like the cupped-hand blow, finge
rs bent at 90-degrees, held together tightly. Demonstrated is an arcing attack t
o the eyes, and up into the testicles as if throwing a bowling ball.
Hip Blows
Cestari explains that this method is useful against multiple opponents, when you
need to drive someone back to make room. Also demonstrated is butting someone b
ehind you when you are dealing with 2 opponents - one 12:00 one 6:00.
-Up at groin; spring at groin, driving knees up and into the balls with convicti
-Dropping the knee into an opponent on the deck.
-Dropping opponent onto your knee.
-Buckling the opponent's knee from behind using your knee.
-Dropping your knee into the side of his knee.
Cestari stresses the only kicks to the opponent's head is when he's on the deck.
-NO kicks above the groin.
-Many of the kicks of Close Combat are also found in old-school street savate.
-Kick direct to targets: groin, knee, shin, instep.
-ALWAYS wear steel-toed boots.
-Direct pointkick to the groin, fling the toe into the groin without drawing bac
k (chambering), no winding, flail the boot directly into the groin, knee, or shi
-Stomp into instep off of a snapping kick to the shin is a good opening
-Move IMMEDIATELY into a battery of attacks.
-Deep side-kick is better as a follow-up.
-The Stomping side-kick: delivered without chambering direct into the knee-shin-
Cestari stresses allowing your body teach you the most effective ways of deliver
ing the kicks.
Inside edge of boot kick follows this progression:
Again: each kick is a move INTO an aggressive battery of attacks.
In certain scenarios it is effective to jump into a stomp; as in a sentry takedo
wn from the rear.
Cestari stresses non-specific techniques. Practice the inside & outside kicks ag
ainst trees, posts, etc.
Hook- kick
This is the pivot-kick in Deal the First Deadly Blow.
Delivered to the groin
Thrust the entire body around
Drive the point of boot THROUGH the target.
Targets include: groin, thigh, back of knee.
Delivered with a forceful convulsive thrust.