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VINE VOICEon January 1, 2005
I came across this book because I had bought a LaGana Tactical Tomahawk (VTAC) for use on one of my deployments to Iraq but it never came in time for me to bring, but was able to deploy back to Afghanistan with it in tote. I guess I thought I was going to do some close-quarters combatives on Taliban/Al-Qaeda vermin with the final blow eliminating the threat and ending it with the "trophy" scalping. Needles to say I did not ever scalp any one... or really ever planned to. But I now owned this Tomahawk and need something to do with it.
My intentions when purchasing this Tomahawk, was due to the history I knew of the weapon being used by Rangers (Rogers Rangers from the Colonel days mid 1700s) up to Vietnam and on into Iraq/Afghanistan by other units. Incidentally the VTAC was modeled after the style used by rangers in Vietnam. So knowing its historical use I decided I would give it a whirl and replace my "bowie knife" with it that I had carried on my kit.
So as I started to say I came across this book online as I order my Tomahawk, I bought the book not with the intention of learning how to wield this thing in combat but to read something with information on the historical background and history of the Tomahawk in combat. This book did just that the author went into painstaking detail to fit into this book whenever possible background information and historical material to authenticate his points on various aspects of this weapon in combat and training. The book primarily deals with early history of the weapon (17th and 18th century) and its employment in that timeframe. The book lays down a historically correct training regime of the axe, which is still applicable today for anyone, whishing to learn the art of using such a weapon. The author also covers in great detail the use of the "long knife" in conjunction with the tomahawk.
Over all the book met my expectations and was a quite enjoyable read, and I actually learned some interesting tips and techniques on the tomahawks use. The books layout is also enjoyable, with superb illustrated grayscale sketches that appear on practically every page, and are quite easily understandable for the martial artists stand point, providing step-by-step detailed instruction on every drill and move. Just superbly done.
I do not ever imagine myself using my Tomahawk on anyone in combat but I now always have it on hand even if it is just to open ammo crates or bust through doors. If anyone reading this is thinking of buying a Tomahawk, look up the company "American Tomahawk" they simple make the best and with it buy this book! I look forward to reading the author's first book.
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on August 16, 2004
With the numerous books on the market concerned with tomahawk work, Mr. McLemore goes the extra step in producing a work that not only is a fun read, but extremely informative, avoiding technical jargon and getting right to the grit. The book is written in such a way that you can get through it in a matter of hours, but can also use each individual chapter as a separate area of study. Each chapter, from the most basic work concerning grips, stances and guards, through to circular catches, interceptions and two hand work contains detailed drawings, footwork charts and daily drills to help perfect each technique.

For those who may argue upon the grounds of historical texts, or the lack thereof, the book plainly states that the author has gone back to original sources, first-hand accounts of personal combat and builds upon the techniques of western Europe and their influence and integration into the fighting arts of early Americans and Native Americans as well. When he has deviated from the historical into supposition and / or extrapolation, Mr. McLemore is quite able to back up his theories.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to train briefly with Mr. McLemore at the Internation Swordsmanship and Martial Arts Convention in Lansing, Michigan this year, and the application of his text to full combat is very easy. The basics can be laid down in under 90 minutes and easily honed with the help of the training sections.

Both the modern fighter and the Historical Reenactor will find great value in this book

Gareth Thomas


Historical Maritime Combat Assoc.
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on June 16, 2005
In this book, just as in his earlier title, "Bowie and Big knife fighting", author Dwight McLemore once again presents a well researched work examining the fighting arts of early America. It is clear that Mr. McLemore has done his homework on this one - presenting a realistic, effective, and no-nonsense approach to how the tomahawk was most likely used in early America.

I have seen and heard comments about the techniques in the book being based on Fillipino martial arts, but here is where the true history come through - the techniques are actually based on the older, western fighitng arts. The angles of attack, flourishing patterns, etc. are all clearly taken from teh early western fighitng arts, which definately pre-date similar techniques from Filipino martial arts (and in fact, evidence suggest that many of the Filipino arts were developed from Spanish sword arts).

Mr. McLemore even examines techniques for carrying and drawing the tomahawk, adding to the realistic approach he takes with the weapon.

Add to this the beautful illustrations, again clearly reminiscent of those early, classical western fighting manuals, and you have an amazingly thorough and well thought out book.

Having degrees in early American history as well as several years of studying martial arts, both Western and Eastern, I can say that this is a book that is long overdue, and highly recommend it to reenactors, martial artists, and historians alike.

Steven Huff,

Director - Historical Martial Study Society
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on June 17, 2005
The Fighting Tomahawk is a unique book as it focuses on close fighting instead of the usual throwing of the Tomahawk. This is a must for any person interested in Hand to Hand combat, Frontier fighting, the Historical Old West or Western Martial Arts in general. With only two movies that I know of: The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis and The Patriot with Mel Gibson that show actual realistic close quarter fighting with a 'Hawk it is about time a book was written that taught this to the aspiring Tomahawk fighter.

Having trained with Mr. McLemore I can definately say his concepts work AND WORK WELL! I can't recommend this book enough! The concepts in this book could easily be applied to all sorts of weapons (hachets, hammers, crowbars, etc). So whatever your reason for buying any martial arts books make sure this book is on your shelf. Don't leave an empty space in your knowledge!
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on June 28, 2005
This is an excellent book. The techniques within are understandable to someone completely inexperienced with the weapon, yet still challenging and resourceful to someone who has worked with it a great deal. Mr. McLemore's research is admirable. I have studied various styles of historic combat as my cognate studies for my PhD, and can attest to the lack of written information with regard to these weapons.

I have done a great deal of study in military sabre, which is referred to numerous times in this book. Mr. McLemore's references to it are spot on, and to adapt the tomahawk moulinets and angles of attack to those used in sabre seems to me to be the most plausible way to approach this weapon.

Mr. McLemore brings forth many historical points in this book. Having done a great deal of research in these areas myself, I do not find any inconsistencies or blatant errors in his facts. He also is very clear that some points he brings up are educated guesses, as there exists no actual documentation. This is good scholarship. In historic combat, there will always be instances where there is no documentation for our theories. This is where we apply our study of combat theory, and the weapon itself to fill in the holes. So long as we acknowledge to our readers that we are hypothesizing, there is nothing wrong with this type of research. This is what Mr. McLemore does in these instances, and I could not possibly argue with his findings.

This book is extremely valuable for the reader interested in becoming proficient in this weapon. I would encourage all students of martial arts to read it, especially those students of Filipino Martial Arts. Similarities to Kali do exist, however, the axe head alone gives a dynamic that is missing from Kali, and it is always interesting to see how two styles of fighting, such as Tomahawk and Kali, or even Katana and Longsword, can be so similar in their concepts even though there is no evidence of one influencing the other during the period of their inception.
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on June 16, 2005
I just finished this book and I found it a great help. I'm not a big beliver in being able to teach yourself Martial Arts out of a book, but you can do just that with this book. At first I had trouble reading the text and then trying to fit it in to the drawings, but once I understood the terminology it was a snap. The drawing were a big help and well done, the biggest help being the footwork. Seeing how the feet change position based on the attack or defense.

The author is clear in the beginning that he took all steps possible to keep the history true and authenic, as well as the actual fighting work. It is influenced by FMA, but so are many things and I don't find anything wrong with that. There are many other things in the book that are very much weapon specific that I really feel like you can only get from a text or class based on the tomahawk. The knife work is also great and has applications where it could be used without the 'hawk.

I think this book is great for the advanced MAist, or the beginner, and I highly recommend it. There are everyday pratical applications where this can be used. For example, how often are you using or have a hammer nearby? A kitchen knife and meat tenderizer or large spoon? I've been told that this book is a natural extension of the Bowies and Big Knifes book and I will be getting that book shortly.

- Daniel
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on June 16, 2005
In the field of Museum Education, we are often challenged by the public to "Tell us what it really looked like". Fortunately the history of the American Frontier of the 18th century is a well-documented period of vast cultural conflict. Col. McLemore has done an excellent job of taking first-hand accounts of close combat during this period and translating them into an imminently useful book. The Native people of North America were formidable warriors, and the Ulster Scots, Englishmen, Germans, Spanish, and French peoples they frequently went to war with or against had, for each nation, a rich and vibrant martial culture of their own. The tomahawk, more than any other weapon, is a symbol of the life-and-death clashes that occurred between these people. Weapons much like the tomahawk can be found in graves from Eastern Europe dating as far back as the 4th century BC. I applaud Col. McLemore for the engaging honesty of the text, and the richness of his drawings. The ancient Greeks, the Vikings, the Scots, and the Crackers of the Frontier would all approve. If anyone wants to study the truth behind the phrase "Bury the Hatchet", this is the one book you must read. Bryan Simpers- Museum Education Professional
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on June 16, 2005
The Fighting Tomahawk should be required reading for every Western martial arts exponent. Whether your field of interest lies in traditional European combat disciplines or the indigenous methods that evolved on the American frontier, Dwight McLemore's latest work will serve as a standard reference for the mechanics and dynamics of using axes, maces, hatchets, and, of course, tomahawks.

The first section of Fighting Tomahawk defines and describes the basic techniques for using the tomahawk, then proceeds to illustrate the application of these techniques offensively and defensively.

The book's next section, a bonus actually, provides the reader with comprehensive instruction in the use of the long knife (precursor of the Bowie knife.) The history and fundamentals of this second weapon are also described in exhaustive detail.

The book's final section then blends the use of both weapons in a series of cohesive drills and exercises that teach the reader to effectively wield the tomahawk and long knife in a synergistic manner.

This reviewer had a unique opportunity to examine the book while it was still in manuscript form. At the time, I couldn't wait to see the finished publication. Months later, when the actual book was finally released, it far exceeded what I'd originally been shown. My point here is that Dwight McLemore is a diligent, painstaking historian who not only researches his material thoroughly, but also field tests his discoveries before making them available to western arts exponents. In essence, the book is historically accurate as well as tactically sound.

Will you actually learn from this book? The short answer is that EVERY European and American martial arts instructor who attended the 2004 International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Conference (ISMAC)in Lansing, Michigan lined up to receive training in Mr. McLemore tomahawk and long knife system. Certainly they found unquestionable merit in the author's book and the art it represents.
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on June 16, 2013
This book shows the flow lanes around the body that every weapon travels because of the shape and length of the human appendages. What the student should realizes is that this is the way all weapon move in arcs around the body. This book is good at showing the student edge awareness. In other words keep the sharp edge toward the attacker. This book does bring both hands into play by demonstrating how to employ an edged weapon in both hands to take advantage of the defensive reaction people will fall into if untrained. Simple straight forward a very good book for beginners that need to learn to move while wielding a weapon or two. This is the basic formula of the mechanics of tow legs and two arms with weapons used as extensions that take the place of conditioning the fist as striking tools. The next step would be to bring the legs into play by trapping, tripping and kicking the attacker. One of the best comments from the book is that in throwing the weapon at the attacker it does not matter so much which part of the weapon makes contact. By striking the attacker with which ever edge will cause the attacker to take inventory of the damage giving you an opening to evade or attack changing the momentum of the attack.
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on April 24, 2014
First off, let me say that I actually teach and demonstrate knife and tomahawk throwing and combatives.
As such I'd like to think I have a good perspective on the topic.
Now, this is an amazing book to learn from and one I recommend and loan to my students all the time!
It's easy to follow, realistic to the weapon and time periods (A plus to re-enactors/living history)
Easy to apply in a real world scenario as well, doesn't get bogged down with theory and can be adapted to other weapons.
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