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DVD Review: Volume One – Practical Tactical Pen Street Defense

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This is an advanced copy review of Waysun Johnny Tsai’s Volume One: Practical Tactical Pen Street Defense DVD. The DVD is meant to complement Johnny Tsai’s Practical Kung-Fu Street Defense.

Master Tsai holds eighth degree black sash certification in Tsa Family Shaolin Chuan Fa Kung Fu and Tai Kit Kuen Kung Fu. He’s appeared in such publications as Inside Kung Fu magazine, Art of the Warrior magazine, and also has authored several books and has starred in several DVDs.

Much like his book, Practical Kung-Fu Street Defense, Practical Tactical Pen Street Defense takes a no-nonsense approach to self-defense. Tactical pens are part writing tools and part self-defense implements. Pens of this nature are typically made of aircraft grade aluminum or other strong metals. One end is often blunt to be used to strike or put pressure on pressure points for pain compliance, come-alongs, etc. The other end is usually more pointed for even greater pain compliance or thrusting.Master Tsai starts the DVD with an introduction to five tactical pens that are made by the following companies: MIL-TAC, Benchmade, and Tuff-Writer.

He then shows the viewer how to use the pen for self-defense in a staged “reality” situation. After this brief demonstration he takes us into his school and in a step-by-step fashion, demonstrates how to defend against some basic grabs, bear hugs, and “sucker” punches. In most of the lessons he demonstrates how to defend without a tactical pen and also with a tactical pen.

The first lessons focus some basic techniques that martial artists who study kung fu, karate, and tae kwon do will all be familiar with. These are the inside middle block, high block, and roundhouse kick. From either block he demonstrates how to “hook” a punching arm with the pen and then follow up with punches and the roundhouse kick. His overall goal, of course, is to teach the defender how to use these basic techniques to escape from street assault.

After these basic lessons Tsai demonstrates 25 pressure points that are ideal for the tactical pen. He then gives the viewer a slightly more advanced lesson. In his closing example Tsai demonstrates the Praying Mantis Hook as a defense to a sucker punch. Using the tactical pen to enhance the hook, Tsai shows the viewer how to follow-up with a two punches combination that flows into a standing side choke hold. The choke is enhanced by driving the tactical pen into a pressure point on the attacker’s neck. The end result is a very controlled way to take an attacker to the ground.

My only criticism of the DVD is that I wish Master Tsai would have demonstrated how to use the tactical pen to escape a bear hug when your arms are pinned. In all of his examples his arms were free, thus making it easier to draw the tactical pen. While this is a possible scenario it’s also possible that an attacker could pin your arms to your body. Perhaps Tsai is saving this for a future DVD? Regardless, it certainly would have proved a very useful lesson and also made a good DVD even better!

I do recommend this DVD for someone with little or no martial arts training. There is enough basic material covered here that an average civilian certainly could learn a few techniques to defend themselves with. However, I give the DVD a much stronger recommendation for viewers that have at least a black belt’s worth of martial arts experience. Seasoned martial artist will see a lot of familiar techniques that can be enhanced by Tsai’s tactical pen lessons.

For more information about this forthcoming DVD visit Tsai's website.

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