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Disarmy: (n) 1. A coordinated, organized, disciplined unit, trained in nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience tactics, for supporting liberation struggles and the self-defense of communities. 2. A collaborating body of such units engaged in social justice struggles.

'Suffrajitsu': How the suffragettes fought back using martial arts

A suffragette's guide to self-defenseFrom the BBC News Magazine, reprinted without permission


The film Suffragette, which is due for release, portrays the struggle by British women to win the vote. They were exposed to violence and intimidation as their campaign became more militant. So they taught themselves the martial art of jiu-jitsu.

Some started putting cardboard over their ribs for protection. But Garrud was already teaching the WSPU to fight back. Her chosen method was the ancient Japanese martial art of jiu-jitsu. It emphasised using the attacker's force against them, channelling their momentum and targeting their pressure points.

CrazyFlie Nano Quadcopter: Cheap, Open-source Micro-UAV

Part of the ongoing proliferation of micro-UAV technology within the hacker/maker community, this tiny device has many potential uses for an activist communications cell. These might include citizen media making and broadcasting, surveillance/overwatch, ad-hoc mesh networking and counter-drone applications.

From the developer's page: "The Crazyflie is a tiny quadcopter often refereed to as a nano-quad, built using the PCB itself as the frame. Developed solely by open source tools and designed with development in mind."

Aikido training of UNDSS (United Nations Department of Safety and Security) personnel

Short film about Aikido training of UNDSS (United Nations Department of Safety and Security) personnel at the regional headquarters for the UN in South America - ECLAC / CEPAL - in Santiago, Chile.

It includes demonstrations of a number of techniques, including close protection, knife and gun disarming and pinning. In the movements shown, one can see the flowing, circular nature of Aikido forms, and how force, rather than being met with more force, is instead redirected into an unbalanced state and then toppled.

Enviro-ninjas take power station in Nottinghamshire

Vice magazine did a brief write-up on a group of No Dash For Gas campaigners who occupied a 90 metre exhaust tower attached to a power station in the English countryside.

The plant, in West Burton, Nottinghamshire, was shut down for an unprecedented 7 days while the climbers took turns on a makeshift platform they rigged over the chimney flue, preventing an estimated 19 kilotons of carbon emissions. The 16 occupiers eventually all abseiled down to the ground, turning themselves into police waiting below.

Check it out.


Citizen Drone

Still image from a citizen drone used during #N8 protests in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 8, 2012Citizens take creative measures to film anti-government protests in Buenos Aires.

As Buenos Aires erupted in anti-government protests on Thursday night, rumours spread that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) had closed airspace over the city. One group of citizen journalists took matters into their own hands by flying a drone over the crowds to show the large scale of the rally.

Tens of thousands marched on the streets to protest rising inflation, violent crime and high-profile corruption. Many are also worried that Kirchner will move to end constitutional term limits in an attempt to hold onto power indefinitely. The government says the demonstrators largely consist of Argentina's upper-class, a claim refuted by many on the streets.

A martial art for the rest of us...

Aikido study starts from the premise that the strength and power we develop, through movement and posture, comes from something other than what the mainstream view would have us believe. We are always taught that strength comes from being bigger, more aggressive, from having stronger muscles. Aikido turns this notion all on its head (literally), and makes real the old saying of "the bigger they are they harder they fall".

Size is used against itself, strength is opposed through structural efficiency and mechanical advantage, speed is opposed with timing and efficiency of movement.

Young, strong, well-muscled beginners will often find themselves initially with a steeper learning curve, as the tendency to power through a movement slows the learning of proper technique, and one's own strength, muscle tone and body tension are an impediment to developing sensitivity to the tone, tension and center of gravity of their partner. Aikido is thus an ideal activity for women, (focused) children and the elderly. Besides the obvious physical and mental health benefits from participating, imagine the social benefit of martial arts skills being widely distributed to those most vulnerable.

Studying Formations and Coordinated Movement

South Korean Riot Police training video, posted in 2011, but not sure when exactly it was filmed.

It shows very large groups, some pretending to be "protesters", and the rest working as riot police in various capacities. 

The tactics on the protester side are of course simulated and confined to anger and violent, undisciplined outbursts that come in waves of increasing intensity (but confined to a conspicuously narrow field of battle). Instead, what is evident and instructive is the extraordinary coordination of the police units, their careful use of formations and a variety of tactics that adapt as necessary.

Nonviolent activist affinity groups would do well to develop such capacities. In scenarios like anti-imperialist, pro-democracy, civil rights, etc., struggles, imagine what things might look like if the protagonists' and antagonists' level of discipline and coordination were reversed!

Motivations for Attack and Defense

Taken from "Mastering Jujitsu" by Renzo Gracie and John Danaher

In civil settings, six types of situations usually result in a need to defend yourself. In no particular order, they are the ego fight, a robbery, an assassination, a rape, a sociopathic attack, and a professional intervention in a violent confrontation.

The lighter side of militant protests...

The Unexpected Riot

Just for Laughs Gags (hidden camera show) from Canada.

This was actually filmed a number of years ago, but would be even funnier if filmed today: it takes place in Montreal, where a student uprising has been underway since mid-February of 2012, and which prominently features a red square as solidarity symbol. Many participants and ordinary people showing their support have been wearing small red squares of fabric affixed to their clothes or hats, red squares feature in much grafitti, and red square flags (much like the one in the video) are waved at many of the protest marches.


A French term for a cooking pot, it describes the use of banging on pots and pans during a protest, which has become popularized by the Quebec student-led uprising of the Spring of 2012 (also called the Printemps D'Erable).

Involving the use of improvised noise makers, it is a reprisal of the Cacerolazo protest form, practiced in Latin American countries as a way for ordinary people to participate in an act of defiance that could be heard throughout a populated area, signaling widespread dissent. Under extremely oppressive regimes the tactic has even been used where participants stayed indoors (out of fear of reprisal), and because of the sheer numbers of people participating, a general (but difficult to localize) sound could be heard ringing throughout the towns and cities. The effect builds morale for those taking part, while undermining that of the regime and its sympathizers. 

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