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MARTIAL DIRECT- The Directory of Martial Arts Schools & Instructors

Keith Pascal


(Page 2)

[Martial Direct] You have authored 3 books, 12 eBooklets, and many articles on various aspects of martial arts. When did you begin writing professionally and why?

[Keith Pascal] I am a martial artist and I am a magician. Martial arts has a bigger audience, so that's the 'why' of the genre. I was a high school teacher for a dozen years. My students were doing a great job, in spite of the educational system. Teachers in my state typically used to teach 120 students, divided into their daily classes. Our state maximum was 160 students per teacher.

That was the maximum. It was never supposed to get that 'bad.' My last year in the classroom, I had 237 students! That translated into 51 students to fit into 36 chairs. And my administration didn't see a problem.

I love teaching- now, it's time to teach through writing rather than in a classroom setting. My students cried- but it was for the best.

[MD] I'm curious. You wrote an entire book on wrist locks. Did you find it easy or difficult to come up with that much material?

[KP] I could actually fill a couple of more books on the subject. It was my first book, so I limited myself. I had several goals:

  1. Only present material that was completely ingrained in me. In case I had to do a demo, I didn't want to refer to the book. I want all the techniques so internalized that I don't even have to think about them, when I do them.
  2. I wanted to make the first book only on locking. When I wanted to get better at locks, there wasn't any good information available in one reference.
  3. I wrote the book that I would have wanted to read.
  4. I wanted to prove to the world that wrist locks are a necessary part of one's style, even if it's only a style of hitting and kicking.
  5. I wanted to be the first to write about certain topics that I had never been able to find anywhere else- reversing and countering all locks, inventing locks, flowing from one lock to the next, etc…

[MD] I'm sure you've had this question asked before, but there are many who do not believe in the effectiveness of wrist locks. Are wrist locks effective?

[KP] Yes, very.

It's funny. At the second annual Bruce Lee memorial Seminar, a lot of the participants were bad-mouthing trapping. They said it didn't work.

They should have been clued in by the fact that Bruce Lee made it one of his Five Ways of Attack.

Anyway, Steve Golden started giving trapping seminars all over the world. By the next year, they had stopped poo-pooing hand immobilization. I think all of the bad-mouthing started because traps aren't the easiest tactic to perfect- until you have studied with Steve.

Wrist locks aren't easy to master either- until you have read my book!

Most folks try to wrist lock at the wrong time. I devoted an entire chapter to helping folks avoid these wrist lock mistakes.

Yes, they are effective, if you know how and when to do them.

[MD] Wouldn't a wrist lock be a form a trapping?

[KP] Yes, exactly. Or put it this way- wrist locks could be a form of trapping, but not all trapping are wrist locks.

Trapping is hand immobilization. Ideally, you control both of your attacker's arms with only one of yours- this leaves one of your arms free to hit, pommel, bludgeon, etc...

But we have to remember that trapping can be generalized to the feet as well. There are many ways to immobilize the feet.

[MD] You're saying that many discount wrist locks and trapping because they are hard to pull off? Is that the only reason, in your opinion?

[KP] For me, hard to pull off means that most folks are doing their locks at the wrong time. Trying to take a punch straight into a joint lock is hard, especially if you have a fast jabber in front of you. I wouldn't try it.

On the other hand, wrist locking from a grab to your body can be a lot easier. And joint locking after you have loosened up your attacker with some hard strikes to the face is downright easy.

As I said, it's 'when' you try to lock.

[MD] You have had favorable reviews from the law enforcement community on your book, have you not?

[KP] Yes, by accident. I have nice reviews from Police and Security News, Tha Rap Sheet (Book 'Em), and American Police Beat.

In fact, I have never received a bad review.

Locks are perfect for professions that can't hit the offender- law enforcement, teaching, juvenile detention, nurses and hospital orderlies, security guards, etc.

[MD] As a martial arts writer, what do you consider to be your greatest strength?

[KP] I used to own a 'how to' bookstore. I have read thousands of books describing how to do almost anything. I also have a master's degree in the art of teaching.

My greatest strength is that I love to explain how to do martial arts. I like adding a bit of humor, when I can. And I try to write in an easy-going, easy-to-understand style.

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