The Versatile Bandana Part Four - Fighting Cloth

We'll keep the light on for ya…

Many of you travel. OK, so you don't want to carry around a bandana all the time or something... Do you have a belt? You wear your pants so they don't fall around your ankles if you take your belt off? If not, you should.

But let's get beyond that as well.

What if you spend time in motels and hotels a lot? You answer the door and someone pushes their way into your room forcibly, you have a towel around your neck. You can whip that off (before they get a hold of it!) and start taking out the trash.

Let's just say you have to travel through an area like I live, you know, first in armed robberies and third in murder (nationwide), and you're tired, you're drifting off to sleep while driving…

All of the Martial Arts, Combatives, guns and assorted doodads will do you no good if you crash and burn because you would not go to sleep. The prudent individual will check out the area they have to go to as well as the areas they have to travel through.

Be your own Bodyguard, be your own Executive Protection, you are the Bodyguard that checks things out for yourself. If you are reading this, you have access to a computer, it is a powerful tool, use it!

The laws of this country - from State to State - border on insanity. They are as varied as they are stupid and crazy. And if you fly, you are basically restricted to nothing now and they have now announced that you cannot lock your checked luggage anymore. If you use a lock they don't "approve" of, meaning they don't have the capability of unlocking, they can bust open your luggage. Furthermore, they have also declared that they are not responsible if your belongings are stolen.




Can't have Pepper Spray where you are going? What do you hide behind bandana or Hotel towel when you answer the door? Aerosol deodorant, hairspray…whatever you can. That is your "Defensive Spray." Your towel is the Cloak and a weapon as well.

Hotel soap is usually too small or I would advise you to make a Slung out of it…soap in a sock…a variation of the "Full Metal Jacket Slungshot."

Cloak and Dagger?

We have all heard this term. It always carries with it the connotation of Spies and/or Assassins, right? In years past…

But the term "Cloak and Dagger" has a much older meaning and even more martial.

There are historical techniques for using the dagger, as well as the sword and the cape or cloak in fighting. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into that enough to do it justice. These techniques do exist, however. Fighting is timeless, it transcends time. There are only so many ways to fight.

But if you search for the movements and you then have a coat or jacket that you can use along with something like a CaneMasters Cane…you have a modern day version of the Sword and Cloak. Or maybe you only have a folding knife and jacket, Cloak and Dagger. Very simple, very effective.

Modern flashlights, which are incredibly bright and very small, can be a very nasty surprise with a folding knife in reserve. But we need only look back to the old Western Martial Arts (that so many people condemn or otherwise stick their nose up in the air about) to see that this is not a "new" idea. There are techniques parallel with Cloak and Dagger, they were called, "Lantern and Dagger."

The hard rock band AC/DC has made an entire career that has spanned three decades on a handful of chords. Fighting is the same way. There are only so many ways to do it right, technically, every song has already been done and everything is just being rearranged all the time.


Most people don't give much thought to the bandana (panyo in the Philippines) or the sabitan (belt in the Philippines) or the Sarong of Indonesia or Malaysia.

The Sarong can simply be wet and pack quite a punch! Or, you can be sneaky and drop a rock into it, right? So, what does that have to do with Self-defense in the Year 2003? (Or 2006-2007 now)

A long time ago, a man by the name of Theodore Robert Bundy kidnapped, raped and murdered two women in one day at Lake Sammamish in Washington State. Bundy's M.O. was such that he usually used ruses along with his good looks and charm to lure women away to his vehicle or a more secluded area where he would then attack them.

This is a prime example for you Ladies, never let someone force you at gun or knifepoint to go somewhere other than the primary crime scene. Right where you are when the confrontation happens is where you better make your stand. If you get into a vehicle or allow them to take you somewhere on foot…they are usually going to kill you.

Anyone that threatens with a weapon in public will use it in private. That is an old saying and it is still true.

But, imagine another rapist or murderer that was more of a risk-taker than Bundy. Imagine that for a moment. Someone who would use less finesse and more brute power and muscle someone into a car, right in public.

A petite young Lady with a sturdy, colorful Sarong that just happens to have a small AM/FM Radio in it would be quite an adversary for one of these predators to run into. As long as she was skilled with it and treacherous enough to hit them when they least expected it. You know, to operate in the same, exact, ruthless and savage way that a serial killer operates.

When in Rome…be a Roman…

When surrounded by Thugs…be a better Thug.

The Lady would not have to wear a Sarong as a Body-wrap; she could wear it slung over her shoulder. With goodies inside of it like the aforementioned radio, some suntan lotion…just a couple items to add some knockout power to the Sarong.

Camping and Hiking?

The Sarong does not only have to be for the beach, a Lady could have one while camping and wearing shorts and a shirt! Mind you, I'm talking about a real Sarong, not the cheap garbage you see in stores here. But a real one made out of cotton.

A Sony Walkman and a few cassettes in it…maybe she prefers the sounds of nature, put a canteen of water or juice in that Sarong! A good folding knife in her pocket...

(Various internet trolls are going to quote that and an entire thread will run several pages saying how stupid this is. That's why this society and others cannot get a handle on sexual assault. It's because of the idiots, many of them in the martial arts, telling women they don't need weapons and this sort of thing is "silly." Ignore it or make fun of it, I don't care.)

Most of the other things we discussed earlier about bandanas can be applied to the Sarong; it is very versatile as well.

The Late Herman Suwanda had about the best video material on the Sarong. Watching him fling a Sarong around and really belting people with it was an eye-opener.

Thanks to a good friend (C.D.) for loaning me his tape.

Perrin & The Cheiche

Fred Perrin has informed me of a clothing accessory that is popular in the French Military and with desert peoples, they call it the "Cheiche." It is approximately six feet by two feet and is made of cotton. He told me that it has many uses, as a survival aid, as a weapon, as a scarf - neck protection - many uses.

I asked him in E-mail if he had ever heard of a "Millbank Bag" for filtering out dirt and other matter out of water. I have read very little about the Millbank Bag, having seen it listed as an item in a British SAS (Special Air Service) E & E Kit. Fred stated that was one of the uses of the Cheiche.

If there was a disaster, given current events in this country, I don't think I would be wrapping my head and neck in a Cheiche, but it is an excellent piece of kit for your survival. I've used the one that Fred gave to me on cold, windy days and it makes for a nicer day!

For more information on the Cheiche, go to this address and if you need more help, you can manually enter in this address into Google and have it translated from French to English.

Go here.

"Hudson Bay Pack" a/k/a "Horseshoe" or "Bandoleer" Pack

Another piece of old information, probably also tied to Hoboes, the simple improvised pack referred to as a "Hudson Bay Pack" by John Wiseman in at least one of his books and as a "Horseshoe" or "Bandoleer" type of pack by Barry Davies - both Gentlemen being former British Special Air Service, is an excellent thing to remember.

In a pinch, a piece of heavy-duty cloth about one yard square along with some cordage can make a secure and somewhat comfortable pack - as long as you're not carrying a ton of stuff around.

Painter's heavy canvas drop cloths would be a good choice, some types of tarps, perhaps the SAS "Basha" shelter half, old wool blankets, anything that is tough enough to do the job will work.

John Wiseman advises to use two small to medium sized stones along with some cord to make the Hudson Bay Pack. You lay the cloth out and you place a stone in one corner and then place the second stone in the corner diagonally opposite from the first stone. You fold a flap of cloth over the stone by taking the corner point towards the center of the sheet of cloth until it covers the stone by a few inches and then you use cord to wrap around the cloth to secure the stone in place. Repeat on the other side.

You then fill up the center, carefully arranging your items so you can roll the whole thing up into a tube. You can then tie the center area in "compartments" to separate gear and if you do this consistently, you will always know where certain things are so you don't have to search through the whole pack when you need something.

Then you can tie the two corners with the stones inside with a long piece of cord and wear this pack diagonally across your back with the cord "sling" in the front of you, across your chest.

Russian Martial Arts?

Vladimir Vasiliev has been laughed at for so many things. Perhaps that is deserved sometimes; I won't make a value judgment on that, that's not what this article is about. We want to talk about something extremely valuable and positive.

His Improvised Weapons material has some serious food for thought, however. Especially when it comes to jackets.

Imagine you are in some diner late at night and someone does succeed in "smiling" their way near you and as you are taking your jacket off, they launch on you. Is there anything wrong with using that jacket in a way that protects you? You tie them up, start stomping on their lowline and you headbutt them.

(Personally, I don't think any of us should be allowing strangers into our personal space like that, but it is inevitable that some will make it through for whatever reason.)

Contrast that with trying to fight while your arm(s) is/are tied up in a jacket so you can fight the way you have trained to fight. You won't have time.

I know you're not supposed to let someone into your space, but in the real world, things like this happen. You can't punch everyone that gets near you; you'll be in the County Detention Center all the time if you do.

Some of the movements Vasiliev has shown on videotape are incredibly dangerous in my opinion. Some involve moving the body with such timing and the incoming blade being unpredictable, I think it would be a miracle if you could really make a defense like that a success. These involve opening the jacket to accept an incoming knife and then tying it up. I would advise you not to try such a thing unless there is nothing else you can do.

Criminals are very crafty, people think criminals are stupid, and some of them are. A lot of them are clearly not. I don't think you are going to pull something like this off in the street if you are facing someone who knows what they are doing, who knows their business and their business happens to be shanking people.

Yet, there are "whole body" parries using the jacket and while they look like something out of this world, they could work. You have to understand that you don't set yourself up for something like this to happen. No, you really use it for those times when you might be jumped in the real world when you are taking a jacket off.

He shows some extremely effective and often brutal movements, you can tie someone up with a jacket just as you can with any flexible weapon. And you should learn to make your jacket a weapon when you have to, sometimes it will be armor and sometimes a weapon, just like in the old days of the cloak and dagger.

Some people scoff at these things all the time… Why? I think it is very wise and very "tactical" to be able to fight with anything, to use anything at hand for survival. Some people say that, they merely pay it lip service and then condemn everything other than a handgun or knife as being "stupid."

Even if you have a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) Permit or Concealed Handgun License (CHL - terms vary depending on where you are…) you cannot carry it in a Courthouse unless you are a Law Enforcement Officer. Even some Judges restrict carry of firearms in a Courtroom by Law Enforcement Personnel. So, it is a great thing to be able to fight with anything, you are never totally unarmed then.

The jacket, coat, baseball cap, pens and pencils…or the chair you are sitting on, all of these things can save your life in some situations if you know how to use them.

Fairbairn and Applegate were advocates of using chairs and stools whenever they were available. In fact, if I could choose one improvised or expedient weapon to use against someone armed with an edged weapon, it would be a light and maneuverable chair or stool. Russian Martial Arts Exponents like Dr. Brett Jacques and Vladimir Vasiliev know how to use furniture and that is simply priceless information in my opinion.

The Middle East, Turbans, Shemagh, Etc.

Touchy subject in light of current events. Some people despise anything having to do with the Middle East or the various cultures over there. On one level that's understandable, on another level - I don't really care. I'm talking about tools and I don't see "evil" in a Shemagh or other head covering from that part of the world anymore than I see "evil" in a Sjambok.

Discussing Turbans would be totally beyond the scope of this article. There are many different cultures, religions and regions that would have to be discussed. I also know that what has come to be known as a "Shemagh" has many different names and can be worn many different ways. Also, the colors and patterns can mean many different things. Some totally innocent...some not so innocent.

What we do know is this, a Shemagh is an almost indispensable piece of clothing for people who live in harsh environments. They are currently "military chic" in the United States and from what I have read, they are quite the rage among the nightclub crowd in various places.

The Shemagh is like the Cowboy's Neckerchief or the Cheiche preferred by some French people. It's a head-covering that can keep the sun from cooking your head, it can keep the sand and dirt out of your mouth during high winds - the list is endless. The fact that so many military units over the years have adopted them to one degree or another is a testament to their value.

Brigade Quartermasters has a great page on how to tie a Shemagh, clear and concise. You can find it here.

I have a friend serving in Afghanistan who sent me the following pictures. Just two ways of wearing the Shemagh.

The next picture (below) happens to be three Afghanis in the back of a truck. You will notice that one of them is simply wearing a Shemagh as a scarf around his neck, the other two a bit more traditional for that part of the world.

The Shemagh will get you some strange looks, just wear it like a scarf and then wrap it as you see in the link up above if you have to.

Thanks to John S. for sending me a package of traditional Afghani scarves and for the pictures. I appreciate it!


I could have discussed triangular (muslin) cloth bandages as well as silk scarves. Before the Shemagh became popular in our military, various troops used to use triangular bandages (below) as head-wraps, tying it "Pirate Style."

Above you see a German-manufactured triangular bandage and below it, the standard G.I. Muslin. I also have a couple of these in khaki/tan. They come in quite handy and any backpack, emergency kit, first-aid kit, survival kit - whatever you want to call what you have for emergencies, should have a couple of them in there.

Silk scarves came to mind. Silk is very strong and while it could be used for some maneuvers, good ones are not easy to get a hold of. They won't snap like a cotton bandana and do many other things that we have discussed. But they could do in a pinch and I wanted to mention them. They also make good training devices, start doing figure-8s with them and keep the figure-8 in the air going, you will see that takes some work because of the light weight of the scarf.

I hope you have enjoyed this series of articles. It's something that I have wanted to do for a long time and I kept placing it on the back burner, so to speak.


© Don Rearic 1999-2007

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