Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets is a video by ex-convict and alleged fighting expert Dan Webre. Bullshido members have viewed this video. Here are their opinions of it.

Omega's Review

This review is not exclusively mine. While writing this review I consulted several ‘experts’ including one doctor, one police officer, a former inmate, a kempo instructor, a hapkido instructor, and an Aikijitsu instructor. My comments are neutral and objective as I abstained from engaging in any conversation or reading any material on this matter until I can consult a tape. I realize that many things on these tapes are said in a way to sell the creator of this tape, but this does not absolve him in anyway of making any false accusations as his comments are directed into finding the fallacies in other systems of self-defense.


Mr. Webre hits on some good points. The first is he explains that you should use what works. He likes to mention that he is small, about 140lbs. He does not make any references on how tall he is though I will guess about 5’7”. He points out that it is more important that you realize how to utilize the concepts rather than memorize a pattern given to you. He hits home when mentioning that you need to understand basic body mechanics and that the mind ends up being the most powerful tool. He even says that you must make sure you have the ‘heart’ to get back into the fight if something goes wrong. Mr. Webre also brings in a ‘model’ girl who utilizes the techniques against an "assailant" who is about 5’9” 200lbs.

Mr. Webre also starts by addressing fighting stance and this particular stance will be not be critiqued, as it is viewed more as a personal preference whose pros and cons can be debated. The position of Mr. Webre’s hands are quite important as he makes sure that he takes an unassuming pose. Mr. Webre addresses the fact that most people will not reveal that they intend on attacking you, or will assume a fighting stance at the beginning of their attack. He also addresses the fact that a fight starts before the actual confrontation, but the time he claims one takes to start will be discussed later in the con section.

Mr. Webre takes the time to address several misconceptions about the knife and gun. Some of these misconceptions are true and are the reasons why Bullshido exists in many schools. The knife versus the gun scenario is quite real. This has been addressed in many scenarios and was affirmed by a Sheriff as well as the Hapkido expert who is also a knife fighter and personal protection expert. Webre also emphasizes the need to attack first and that ‘self-defense’ does not work in these cases.

Cons: Non-Opinionated

The first con: I would like to address is when a fight starts. Several times in the beginning Webre mentions that a fight starts hours before the actual confrontation. Opinion aside, he never addresses what happened during this time. Instead he contradicts himself and says, by example, it happens when a person bumped into which was just mere seconds not hours ago.

The second con: He addressed several times on how small the female, Kacie, was when in fact she looked quite athletic and much larger than the average female. We will leave this to a bad choice in models but will mention this again.

The third con: Tape one, at about 13 minutes 25 second mark he goes into blowing out a person's gut with a punch. He offers no proof of this. The doctor I consulted told me this is highly unlikely.

The fourth con: Upon demonstrating the power of his punch, he shows his wrist bent on two different blows and appears to simply push the person down.

The fifth con: He downplays the use of planting your foot on a strike but then praises the power of Mas Oyama’s punches stating that Oyama did so by allowing his body to drop. This sounds like a contradiction though Webre may have been talking about two separate issues.

The sixth con: Webre goes into a rant about how the horse stance is useless in a self-defense situation and that you would never be able to defend yourself because you are too unstable. This is an excellent point and should be in the pros but what Webre is doing is perpetuating the myth of the ignorant. In other words no decent school of martial arts would teach this technique for self defense. The only people that would believe that are ones that have never taken martial arts for any serous amount of time or people who would not ever do martial arts and believe what they see in the movies.

The seventh con: The choke/double grab and body misconception. The unusual thing about this subject is that he first addresses the front double hand choke or grab and states a certain technique would not work, and then shows a technique while a person is not grabbing. We will chalk this up to poor teaching because later on it appears he is addressing an issue of ‘as a person is attempting to grab or choke you.' As opposed to placing my own opinion on this technique I let my students try it out. I showed them the video and asked them to attempt this feat against 4 attackers all about 200lbs (we have some big guys at our studio). We had kids and smaller adults attempt this technique. The results were varied but nothing to the extreme that Mr. Webre showed on his video. As a point of fact, the closest we got Webre's shown results was a stronger young man about 165 pushing me back 3 steps before I found a footing. We finally worked out the kinks and were able to move a person back a lot by implementing an Aikijitsu principal that we have also seen in Krav Maga. This technique worked best when the person was shorter. Overall the instruction was not clear enough and the technique we eventually used was quite different than the one Webre demonstrated.

The eighth con: Nose break technique. Truthfully I am not a nose break expert and so I called several of my previously mentioned experts who confirmed that the technique he used was quite viable. The one thing nobody would agree on is that it would KO an opponent to the degree that Mr. Webre had indicated. It was agreed that it had a strong chance of taking a person out of the fight, and this was one way to break the nose, but there were no conclusive facts that this was the easiest way, as confirmed by our doctor. We also pulled out an anatomy book as recommended and could not see what Mr. Webre was getting at when it came down to the sturdiness of the nose. Of course Mr. Webre has probably never encountered a person like myself who has no nose bone/cartilage to break.

The ninth con: The heart as a punching target. This is where we also brought the doctor in for comment. First, Webre punches to the wrong side of the chest to be able to hit the heart. Second, his claim that if hit correctly there is a 90% chance the person will die. This statement has no grounds in fact that we could find. We did find 2 incidents where people have been hit there and they have died though. One was with a baseball bat, the other was a boxer with a minor heart problem stemming from his child hood. So Webre’s statement is not false, just extremely exaggerated.

The tenth con: Mr. Webre contradicts himself on the aspect of Self-defense versus attacking first. Somehow he has equated self-defense with attack passivity. In other words he would lead the viewer to believe that you must wait for the other person to attack for it to be considered self-defense. If this logic holds true and he is saying that you should attack the person first on some occasions because self-defense does not work, why does he wait until there is an actual stabbing motion before he counters? This makes no logical sense. Nor is the fact that he says that if a person knows what they are doing, that you will not realize you have been stabbed.

POINT: If a person knows what they are doing they will counter with a knife cut going back. COUNTER POINT: Despite the popularity of Filipino martial arts they are not practical although they preach this exact same methodology. POINT: A lot of these so called self-defense, SEAL, special ops will lead you to believe one way when it is wrong. COUNTER POINT: He makes the same analysis and reaches the same conclusions that SEAL and Special Ops instructors make: i.e. you should attack first in some cases.

The eleventh con: Mr. Webre does not like to try disarms or like to control the weapon directly citing the issue of the other persons hand and feet. Fair enough, except in his video he clearly is shown in the path of the gun muzzle a total of 3 times from a 2D vantage point.

The twelfth con: Mr. Webre very first demonstration is a brief shot to his groin and he goes down for a total of 8 seconds before talking to the camera. Mr. Webre states simple techniques like this are what work in a very matter of fact tone. Then, in tape two, he goes into teeth removal and jaw dislocations still stating that these are simple techniques. I let a total of 12 untrained people, 5 males and 7 females watch the video and they separately agreed that the techniques, although they ‘thought they were simple’, did not make much sense. My question then was, 'do you believe you could make these techniques work?' The answer was a unanimous no. To be fair I believe that these folks might have given me the answer they thought I wanted to hear except for two who knew I only wanted a straight unbiased opinion.

My Opinion

I have no idea what Dan Webre’s true experience is. On one hand I am looking at these tapes from a marketing point of view. He is a very convincing speaker although not the most articulate. These video tapes were of poor quality, had poor editing, and poor sound. Truthfully I am too well conditioned to the realities of self-defense to buy everything he said although he made several good points. Surprisingly he did not address the issues of modern day Jujitsu and grappling arts.

His constant bashing of other systems was quite interesting when most educated people would look upon this as being just plain ignorant. Reputable instructors do not teach to fight from a horse stance, his punches are quite questionable, his acting is poor and the results from his strikes appear biased and over exaggerated. I’ve said this a many times; before you point at fallacies in other systems look to your own first. I found his gun approach quite laughable because he looks like he would have been shot several times. I saw him knock self-defense when that is essentially what he’s teaching in these videos. The constant contradiction in his statements are quite confusing and only a lamb would listen to this so blindly. He teaches what “works” but talks about killing a person, or dislocating the jaw, or knocking out people’s teeth. My question is how many times has he done this in order for him to claim a particular technique has a high percentage chance to work. He knocks on the idea of follow up techniques because assume his techniques are fail safe. I for one realize his headlock escape is not infallible, the heart punch has an extreme low chance of actually working even if done correctly, and knocking a person out is a lot harder than he makes it appear.

His techniques aren’t all necessarily wrong but he does not provide enough information to make them substantial. He does not address some simple fact that his techniques present which expand to the ‘What if’ universe. The only thing I walked away with is another way to break somebody else’s nose. The only things I concur with and would advise people to listen to, besides that, is the knife versus gun scenario, the make shift prison knife scenario and some of the ‘get in there and keep fighting’ messages. Everything else I give thumbs down. 20 years experience? I doubt it. Practical? I wouldn’t say so. I would never buy these tapes for $69. They aren't worth more than $5. If we were to break them down to technique cost it would break down to less than $7 per technique with no guarantee that the techniques would work. I'm highly critical when it comes to tapes and the poor quality of these tapes alone does not make them worth buying.

Kacie Spencer-Smith Presents Dan Webre’s Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets

By Matt Wallis

In Conclusion…

For those of you too impatient to read my detailed explanation of the flaws in Dan Webre’s Outlaw Fighting System, here’s my final impression. Based on my experience with a stereotypical “Traditional Martial Art,” a sport based art, and as a Correctional Officer, it is my opinion that there is nothing “secret,” nor particularly “jailhouse” about the techniques and philosophy shown in this two-tape set. And the only thing “filthy” that I saw were those nasty, fresh looking tattoos Mr. Webre was sporting, one of which read, “Try Em” (though I must confess that I think he was shooting for “Try Me” and it just didn’t quite work out).

How anyone could feel good about paying $50 or more for an instructional tape made by someone whose main qualification is going to prison and that only has a running time of 62 minutes is a question for the ages. The only thing more inexplicable to me is why Dan felt the need to produce such a short program as a two-tape set. Of course, you must realize that much of that 62 minutes consists of the same short clips repeated endlessly in slow motion. In fact, in the entire two-tape set Dan only shows us 12 or so techniques, depending on how you count them. That the program consists of Dan showing a series of techniques is in of itself a bit of a puzzle because Dan begins the instructional by stating that he teaches principles, not techniques. The blatant contradiction in that is quickly lost, however, in the ever-increasing absurdity of Dan’s teaching.

The Name of the Game According to Dan, all the techniques he shows are “simple” and “not rocket science.” In fact, he repeats that last phrase several times, which seemed to be whenever he lacked something else more descriptive to say. In truth, “simple” is often a relative concept that is difficult to measure. So, I will refrain from commenting on whether or not I agree, or whether or not I even think that simplicity is all it’s cracked up to be.

I will tell you one thing I have learned, however. Whenever a technique requires perfect form, maximum power and precision targeting to work, it is doomed to failure when applied in the chaos of a real confrontation. In fact, in my experience, you have a higher probability of pulling off such techniques on accident, than you do when actually attempting them. Nevertheless, that is exactly the kind of technique that Dan shows throughout the program.

Let’s take as an example one of the “simpler” techniques Dan teaches us, the nose break. His nose break consists of sweeping the palm heel of the hand down in a straight line across the bridge of the nose. According to Dan, who I’m sure is well qualified in the fields of anatomy and physical trauma, this is a guaranteed way to break someone’s nose. The reason for this, according to Dan, is because it targets a precise area on the nose that is particularly susceptible to breaking.

Remember what I just wrote about techniques that require perfect form, power and precision? Here you have a technique that requires that you attack quickly, presumably with sufficient force, and hit a precise area on a small part of the body. Because the hand sweeps down in front of the face, just skimming the target area, and doesn’t follow a moving target the way a punch traveling on a (roughly) horizontal plane would, timing must also be perfect. From the way the technique is presented on the video, it appears that a simple ducking of the head or pulling back (both natural flinch reactions) would be enough to defeat this devastating technique.

Now, some might point to one of the few “principles” Dan actually does mention as an answer to my criticism that this technique requires too high a level of precision to pull off in the chaos of a real fight. That principle is the Preemptive Attack. The idea is that one can hit such a precise and small target because one is attacking first, before the opponent has the chance to “square off” or react at all. It is my opinion that this advice will only make the situation worse.

Imagine this. The petite, “average woman”, Kacie Spencer-Smith (who, for the record, appeared to be larger and more athletic than Dan Webre) has a 200 pound out of shape gentleman standing passively in front of her. Sensing that the way he looked in her direction about two hours ago (see below) posed a significant enough threat, Kacie raises her hand and snaps it down. Now a threatening individual, willing to attack a girl in a public place, would probably react to a sudden motion on her part by stepping toward her and shoving, grabbing or striking. If he was not so aggressive, her sudden movement would probably cause him to flinch, either ducking his head, turning it away slightly, or pulling back. Any of those movements would be enough throw off her targeting, making a nose break much less likely than Dan teaches. Of course, all this ignores the fact that for a large, aggressive attacker, a broken nose is unlikely to be a fight ender anyway. So, what you’d probably end up with is poor Kacie smacking some guy in the face, angering and provoking him, and getting stomped for her trouble.

Dan Hates the Karate Kid

As do we all! After years spent earning a black belt in Tae kwon-do I feel I could write a book on the shortcomings of so-called Traditional Martial Arts. Dan, on the other hand, appears to have never actually studied any of them and criticizes them for all the wrong reasons. For example, Dan criticizes the use of the traditional “Horse Stance” as unstable and unsuitable for a real fight. Never mind the fact that even the worse TMA schools in existence utilize a different stance for fighting. Dan still did a good job of showing that you can easily push over someone in a Horse Stance as long as they refuse to move their feet.

Dan also tries to demonstrate that the traditional Karate and Tae kwon-do punches lack power. How this jives with his respect of Mas Oyama’s punching power is another one of those contradictions that gets lost in the nonsense presented in these videos. At any rate, he demonstrates the traditional Karate punch completely incorrectly. There are lots of problems with the straight punch he tried to demonstrate, but pure power isn’t one of them. When punching a stationary target, where no other fight factors such as movement or counterattacks are present (as in Dan’s demo) you can hardly beat this traditional punch. Of course, Dan leaves out the most important part, hip rotation. It is the hip rotation that gives this punch its power. As Bruce Lee (another one of Dan’s favorites, surprise-surprise) once said in the Chinese Connection, you’ve got to put your hips into it! Furthermore, most places I’ve seen also teach this punch in conjunction with a step, which Dan also left out. We can presume the reason for that is because he wanted to include it as one of the “secrets” he taught for having a correct punch.

What’s the Point?

Dan is, apparently, fond of utilizing pressure points. In fact, he claims that he doesn’t want to just swing at someone and “fight.” Instead he’d rather target some specific pressure points and end the confrontation quickly. As examples, he lists the chin, between the eyes, the throat, the sides of the neck, the back of the neck, a couple of spots on the center of the chest as well as (in other parts of the video) the jaw line, the eyes, and the bridge of the nose. I would submit to you, gentle readers, that were you to swing at someone’s head or chest, you would be hard pressed not to hit one of these many spots if you hit the person at all! This being the case, in the course of a normal fight, how many times would you suppose one of these spots are hit at random? And yet, lo and behold, people still end up “fighting,” the very thing Dan wants to avoid.

Dan Webre’s Flying Circus

As the program progresses, we find Dan teaching increasingly absurd things. He states most fights begin 2 hours before the actual fight. He claims that with a proper punch you can “blow [someone’s] guts out.” Or by hitting a specific spot on the chest you have a “more than 90%” chance of causing instantaneous death. He claims that defensive wounds found on corpses prove self defense doesn’t work. After “proving” self defense doesn’t work he proceeds to show how to defend yourself against a knife. He claims that someone firing a gun right next to him while defending himself against that person “wouldn’t bother” him. It goes on and on.

The Blooper Reel

Being a low budget production, Dan probably didn’t have enough money for a blooper reel. That must be the reason why he left the following in his videos…

When Dan demonstrates power punching we see his wrist collapse in the opposite direction. When 200 pound Ed is punched by Kacie, he clearly fakes getting knocked to the ground. Clearly. When showing a pressure point on the chest that involves the heart, he points to the right side of Ed’s chest. When demonstrating gun versus knife, it appears Dan already had a running start. In demonstrating anti-gun techniques, Dan is covered by the muzzle of the gun several times.

Gangster 4 Life

During all of this, Dan hardly mentions prison. He states at the beginning that these techniques were proven in the “penitentiary.” Later he tells a story about how easy it was to get shanked and another time he mentions one way to make a prison shiv. That these things have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what he was teaching appears not to bother Dan at all.

So, Take it from Dan

By his own admission, Dan is out of shape, “lazy”, “not a fighter”, and “doesn’t like to fight.” So, I would follow another piece of advice he doles out in this video and “go rent a Jet Li movie.” It definitely would be more worthwhile.

Scrapper's Review

I must say that I was not surprised at the overall quality of the Webre "Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets" tapes. They take place in what appears to be someone's garage, and there is almost no editing to speak of. But I was surprised at where specifically they fell short. Namely: Content.

There is (and I timed this) exactly 8 minutes of actual fighting instruction on these two 30-minute tapes. This excludes slow motion repetition of techniques, and endless reiteration of his principles of combat. He spends an enormous amount of time TALKING about how other systems don't work and why his does. His actual technical instruction however consists of low-speed no contact tag.

Webre's principles are pretty basic...hit first, hit specific targets. He advocates the pre-emptive strike in all scenarios and is a big fan of one hit knockouts. He gives a 7-minute lecture on body mechanics and demonstrates this by throwing a lead right straight punch (from southpaw stance). He explains that you should drive off the rear leg, and strike before your lead foot hits the ground. He asserts that this maximizes the amount of body weight that drives the punch. In this he is absolutely correct. However, his assertion that turning the fist horizontal is less effective than a 45-degree "3/4" fist. This is only correct if you do not drive from the hips and shoulders, which he does not. Any boxer worth his hand wraps would be able to point this out.

Webre has Kacie, a very attractive blond woman, demonstrate this on Ed, a 200 lb. man who appears to have not done anything even vaguely athletic since Nixon was in office. This does not stop Webre from referring to him as a "big, strong, guy." In addition to being out of shape, Ed is also a bad actor, as he drops like he has been hit by a truck when Dan or Kacie hit him in the stomach. If you watch carefully, at the twelve-minute mark of tape one, When Kacie hits Ed, her fist opens and her wrist bends completely over, but Ed still drops like she shot him with a Weatherby.

Webre mentions several "body targets" that he likes, and it is here he demonstrates some of the most critically flawed instruction in the whole series. He is convinced that striking a man between the eyes will kill him. Well, I suppose if you use a baseball bat, or possibly a Buick, this is true. Dan repeatedly claims that you have a very high chance of killing a man if you properly hit him between the eyes WITH YOUR FIST. He also insists that striking a man with the straight punch in the chest (sternum/heart) will kill him 90% of the time. I don't know where he acquired this information, but I will go on the record as saying that it simply is not true. I checked with an M.D. and an R.N. on this. The forehead and sternum are the two densest and hardest bones in the body.

My other concern with his targets lesson is that they are mostly tiny targets. Any effective strike to those smaller areas falls firmly in the "fine-motor technique" category and will be nearly impossible to execute under any kind of dynamic circumstances. The easier targets, like the chin and temples, he wants you to strike at certain angles, taking what would have been a simple blow into something complicated and difficult to execute. He also demonstrates a nose-breaking technique involving a downward palm strike that strikes the bridge of the nose and pushes down. While this is biomechanically a solid theory, the amount of telegraph involved in this windmill-like swatting motion makes it pretty risky. Perhaps it is my boxing bias, but a man could lose a lot of teeth trying to make that move work. For some reason Dan does not feel that setting this technique up is worth discussing, and moves right on to the next subject. This is frustrating, because this is the one technique in the tapes that actually has merit, if not for the risks engendered by its application. If Dan has employed this technique successfully (and the implication made is that he has) than I would have liked to know how he made it happen and how he handled the openings it creates.

In tape 2, Dan spends a lot of time talking about weapons, and why guns aren't that scary, and why a knife is deadlier. He does the standard, 20-foot draw gimmick that everyone has already seen dozen times. Furthermore, in at least two of the slow-motion shots of the demos, Ed has several very clear opportunities to shoot Dan, but does not. Once again, actual content was very minimal, with Dan briefly talking about headlocks, and giving the standard, "hook em under teh nose" trick that wrestlers and brawlers have known about since the 19th century. He goes into some teeth smashers, but nothing that a good punch couldn't do.

It is hard to review these tapes, simply because there is so little actual content on them. Dan does a lot of talking, mostly to imply how tough and smart he is. If I was to be completely honest, these are the worst self-defense tapes I have ever seen. I say that based on the fact that there is so LITTLE to them, and most of what is there is good 'ol garden variety bad; the rest of it borders on dangerously ineffective.

There is no mention of multiple attackers, sneak attacks, blunt objects, or anything else that he claims to know about in his advertising, either. Just a bad demo in a garage. Finally there is nothing LESS bad-ass than a 140 pound chubby guy showing off his "gangster for life" tats on a crappy self-defense video. The implication is that they are prison ink...but the fact that they are BRAND NEW and obviously professionally done sorta ruins the mystique.

Wounded Ronin's Review

Dan Webre's "Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets" opens with a legal disclaimer about how you must respond to an attack with an equal amount of force under the law. This is hilarious because Webre spends much of the beginning part of the tape trying to convince us that he's a tough guy by talking about how it's important to strike first and preserve the element of surprise when you detect a hostile vibe off of someone. Furthermore, Webre tells us that the attacker can be anyone; we must be ready to assault anyone who makes us feel uncomfortable. The fight, Webre tells us, has started two hours in advance of when we were actually attacked.

Unfortunately, that's simply a stupid thing to say. If Dan Webre really came from the street like he claims, he would know that the majority of perpetrators of violent crimes in urban settings are young men. If he really had been in countless street fights, he would have noticed that in almost every case, it would have been young men he was fighting. But since Webre can look us in the eye and blatantly ignore crime statistics, he seems more like a soft-looking pale man who is trying to act tough more than anything else.

I also wonder where he's coming from when he tells us that the fight has started two hours in advance. Does he really mean to suggest that a mugger typically follows his intended victim around for 2 hours like the Deerslayer before springing into action and taking fifty dollars? Webre then proceeds to make fun of The Karate Kid. That's great, Dan. I'm glad we have a street tough man like yourself to tell us that The Karate Kid isn't realistic. I don't think it would have occurred to anyone else making a self-defense tape to actually take the time to go there.

In fact, for a tape that is supposed to teach us what to do, Webre spends quite a lot of time just criticizing things that aren't even worth speaking about. Webre uses extensive screen time to demonstrate to us that a classical horse stance and a chambered karate punch aren't good for self-defense. In order to justify his spending time on this, Webre says that everyone else is teaching the chambered karate punch for self defense. If I knew anyone who advocated dropping into a horse stance or using a chamber punch for self defense, I might take that segment seriously. As it is, it becomes even more laughable when Webre teaches us an alternative to the chamber punch which is even worse.

Instead of a classical karate punch, Webre teaches us to raise our rear foot and drive forward with all of our body weight into the opponent's sternum. For some reason this punch to the body with a full weight commitment behind it is supposed to be a good way to attack someone. However, as any beginning boxer could immediately point out, this kind of attack leaves your face wide open. If Webre tried to use this punch on you there would be almost nothing stopping you from breaking his face open with a rear cross. Webre's insistence on the superiority of this driving punch actually makes me wonder if he's ever been in a real fight before. Maybe if this strike were to the head it might have some value as a sucker punch executed from behind, but anyone who tries this move to the sternum after getting into a nice raised-heel stance is going to get his block punched off.

In fact, for someone who spends so much time criticizing classical karate and kung fu forms, Webre seems to pretty much be showing us old-fashioned martial arts moves. The raised heel and foot position that Webre uses is pretty much textbook Jeet Kune Do/Jun Fan kung fu. However, unlike Bruce Lee who kept what was useful and rejected what was useless, Webre seems to have adopted a kind of regressive Jeet Kune Do where he launches the most useless moves from the classical martial arts out of his Bai Jong stance.

Webre keeps showing us inane classical karate crap that no one takes seriously anymore. For example, he tells us that if we punch someone in the jaw with an extended middle knuckle and then flip that hand around into a back fist that we will dislocate the other person's jaw and leave it hanging, and that then that will always end the fight because of the sheer horror of a dislocated jaw. Does Webre seriously expect us to believe that no one has ever kept fighting with a dislocated jaw? If you went up to a beat cop in any major city, and told him, "If I dislocate someone's jaw, he won't be able to punch me, shoot me, or stab me", do you doubt for a moment that the cop would explode laughing in your face?

Webre goes through more old martial arts stuff, though. He demonstrates his moves in the air, looking slow and weak. He constantly uses karate terminology like "palm heel", and keeps reverting back to the old philosophy of "ikken hisatsu", where you're supposed to end a fight with one decisive blow to a "vital spot". The whole idea of fight-ending vital spots and "ikken hisatsu" has been thoroughly discredited in modern times, though. In the UFC, there were no fight-ending hits to the vital spots. In fact, according to the FBI, there is no guarantee that even a single gunshot wound will instantly incapacitate a person. If one handgun round can't even guarantee such incapacitation, why would one blow to the temple or throat guarantee incapacitation? The fact that Webre talks about these things so confidently is really just more evidence that he has never actually been in a fight. Well, either that, or he knows more than the FBI. You be the judge.

Webre shows a headlock escape that is textbook classical kung fu; peel back the head with your hand, then strike to the exposed throat. Nothing that Webre teaches is any different than what you'll learn if you go to the local karate school, dress up in a gi, and memorize kata and one-steps. Really. It's exactly the same, in spite of how much he insists that the horse stance is bad.

But the best part is how Webre keeps insisting on tape that his stuff "works!", that you've seen it work right on tape, therefore it must be street effective. Of course, what he means is that it "worked" on his demonstration partner who was playing along while techno music played. It worked, all right, on someone who was playing possum. Maybe the techno music was supposed to be the proof.

Perhaps the funniest part of the whole tape was when Webre was telling us that "controlling the knife hand" of a knife-wielding attacker by grabbing the arm holding the knife doesn't work, since the knife-holder can slit your wrist while you're gripping his arm. That would be good advice, except that Webre's solution to fighting a knife man was exactly the same thing. He pushed the knife hand aside and held it out to the side while delivering a punch to the throat. Webre never tells us why holding the knife hand out to the side isn't exactly the same thing as "controlling the knife hand" which he says is so bad.

Another real winner was a sequence where Webre was demonstrating how when confronted by a gunman he could push the gun away from his body and lunge into a close range attack. The second time we see this maneuver Webre actually clears the pistol upwards so that it's pointing up at his jaw. Yes, he actually pushed the barrel of the gun up from his torso but failed to fully clear it so that it was pointing up into his jaw for a while. Good move, Webre. Taking a round through the jaw and into the brain...that's street tough.

And obviously, as much as Webre insists that these moves are street tested, his gun defense isn't. Because if he lunged at a gunman and pushed the barrel upwards so it's pointing at his jaw, he'd be dead now. Quite simply, he did *not* use that move on the street, ever.

So, in conclusion, Webre is a soft-looking pale man with tattoos who demonstrates on camera that he knows nothing about violent crime, or fighting of any kind. He even seems to have a kind of negative martial arts knowledge, where he can take all the worst stuff that has never seemed to work for anyone and then launch them from a Bai Jong stance while implying repeatedly how tough he is.

Samuel Browning's Review

On February 24, and February 27, 2005, I sat down and watched Dan Webre's two tape, one hour course. "Filthy Jailhouse Fighting Secrets" twice. My reaction? I was under-whelmed.

The tape set will cost you $69 from TRS, it is copyrighted 2001, and was probably filmed less then a year after Webre got out of prison. It stars Webre, and his assistants, Ed Lake, who was chosen because he looks like he barely missed a supporting role in the movie 'Deliverance', and Kacie Spencer-Smith, a pretty, young, woman, who probably knows more about the martial arts then Dan does.

Webre starts out by saying: "I've been training in the martial arts over 20 years." (Yes, I know he told Phil Elmore something completely different.) and by talking about the principles and concepts of his system, explaining that the principles and concepts are more important then the specific techniques. His principles appear to be encompassed in the statement that self defense does not work, the fight could have started "two hours ago when he bumped you", you have to become the attacker, you're in control, "make him the victim".

Since there is a bunch of footage of Ed jabbing Dan in the chest with his finger before Dan strikes him pre-emptively, Dan appears to be implying that you just shouldn't kung fu someone for no good reason, but he doesn't ever spell out an approach for knowing when to pre-emptively strike someone as Geoff Thompson does in his video "The Fence". Dan says: "If I feel that there's aggression that's when I'm making my move." Okay, how do I explain this nicely, Webre is right that there are often situations in which you have to strike the person first because he's going to attack you. But to just make vague statements like this does his viewers no favors. Mike Haynack, a former bouncer and martial artist once covered the same ground more productively by telling my class that if the guy is jabbing you in the chest with his finger, he has crossed the verbal/physical barrier, and will next escalate into a full scale attack if you don't make him back off immediately. See Dan? that wasn't so hard to clarify.

The structure of Webre's tape is as follows:

  1. Choke Defense

  2. How to Punch

  3. A way to break a nose.

  4. Body targets

  5. Defense against a headlock

  6. How to smash someone's teeth

  7. Jaw breaking

  8. A Tueller Drill (Dan never mentions he is borrowing material).

  9. Goofy knife disarms other people teach.

  10. How to properly kill someone using a knife.

  11. Gun Counters (Dan hates the words gun disarm.)

  12. Some more worthless techniques against the knife.

  13. Knife fighting myths.

Webre starts by wasting a bunch of time showing us how a classical choke defense fails. This is the TMA choke defense in which the guy is grabbing your throat from the front two handed, and you try to strike the inside of both of his arms. That's true enough though this has hardly been a secret in the martial arts community. Then Webre has Kacie demonstrate that by pushing Ed's outstretched arms from the outside she can push them across one another and gain enough leverage over Ed to push him backward. Of course if Ed had some bend in his arms, this technique might not work as well, but details, details . . .

Next Dan teaches us how to properly put out weight behind a punch. If one is leading with the right foot. One lifts the heel of the left foot, "cocking" it in that familiar JKD method. Ones right foot is turned slightly inward, the fist hits as a "three quarter punch" (the angle of the fist) and Dan stresses that the right foot should not hit the floor before your lead hand punch hits, and retracts, from your enemy so that you dump all of your body weight into the punch. I won't criticize Dan for this lesson. It makes sense, but I remember being taught this in an unaccredited JKD school back in the early nineties. The concept has been around for a long time, though Dan goes on about how "99% of all self proclaimed 10th degree black belts" can't do this properly because they have lousy body mechanics. Done properly "you're going to blow out their bladder, you're going to blow out their guts." If you haven't guessed already, Dan has to oversell EVERYTHING.

Dan then criticizes the horse stance, showing how it is unstable and he can push Kacie off balance no matter how deeply she sinks into this stance. Dan then shows Ed in the proper stance, but doesn't even bother to explain the benefits of what looks like a typical JKD stance.

We then move to a mostly facial shot of Dan discussing Bruce Lee and Mas Oyama and how they used body mechanics to properly generate power. We learn from Dan that Bruce explained the secret of speed and the secret of power, in his first two books. (Probably the first two volumes of "Bruce Lee's Fighting Method" published by Ohara.) Dan then tells how Mas even punched a pile of 37 tiles so hard he broke the ribs of the guy holding them for this break.

After finishing this vigorous bout of nut riding, Dan shows us the "lazy man's way to break a nose". It's a downward, over the top palm strike, in which the heel of the palm impacts with the bridge of the nose, knocking it downward. If properly set up this blow looks like it would work. The issue is how to set this strike up, and for a fleeting moment, Webre looks like he's going to talk about how to use this strike off of a non-threatening display of hands which he shows once. But he moves on to another topic, after all, he's a principles and concepts guy, and it shows. He shows a way to use the downward palm strike to open the opponent's mouth so it could be then broken with a closely following upper cut. It was very pretty but of unknown utility.

The most frustrating aspect of Webre tape was that he'd focus on explaining one thing in great detail and then skim over something potentially more useful without even seeming to realize that he was omitting something valuable. It's possible that crappy editing could have cut out some of the needed structure from his presentation, but I doubt it. Webre spends much of his time explaining why various martial arts moves don't work, but rarely, if ever, shows alternatives. So his tape resembles a series of tricks from the seminar circuit. Most useful to be sure, in the proper context, such as his non-unique headlock release. But these tricks are not linked together in any substantial way except that they're in Webre's video.

The closest Webre comes to showing an organized system is when he shows 12 targets he prefers on the body. There are two on the chest, the heart and sternum. For the point near the heart, Webre assures us this target has a "90%" chance of causing death if hit sufficiently hard, and the technique is done properly. There are several other targets along the jaw line, on the temples, and one between the eyebrows. Webre also likes throat targets, and he shows how to hit the throat with a spear hand, the temples with a hammer fist that rolls in from off of the centerline, and both with a fist with the middle knuckle protruding. This presentation reminded me a bit of classic Karate though it could have always come from a SCARS tape. It certainly was not Wing Chun. He also shows at least three targets on the back of the head where the occipital nerves are. For a brief moment I thought of Dillman and then I remembered that since Dan was advocating hitting his opponent as hard as he could, he probably wasn't a product of one of Dillman's "one touch knockout" schools.

Then Webre spends much of the second tape working with weapons. He shows goofy disarms that other martial artists teach based on the assumption that the attacker would leave his weapon bearing arm hanging out there, without using his other hand to hit his victim. Dan shows us using a magic marker how this secondary hand can be used to set up an opening so that you can stab your victim to death. He also demonstrates the Tueller drill, on Ed who is using what LOOKS like an airsoft handgun, to show a knife can beat an undrawn gun at close distances. The Tueller drill is a famous test pioneered by a Salt Lake City Police Officer that shows the average man can move 21 feet in 1.5 seconds, faster then most officers can draw and fire their gun. As I said earlier Dan never tells us that this insight is not originally his own. Ah what the heck, he's allowed to steal a technique or two, he's a convicted felon. :)

Dan finally shows one gun defense. (Dan doesn't use the term disarm because he prefers to kill the guy with the weapon still in his hand.) One brushes the gun away with a downward, circular block which is identical to that shown in Colonel Applegate's "Killed or Be Killed" (See pp. 201, and 203, of the 1976 Paladin Press reprint of this classic.) before hitting the guy in a vital region in the throat or head, with any one of a number of strikes. (Remember once again its the concept that's important).

Finally Webre finishes by talking about how becoming aware of the threat, planning and reacting, will take up at least 8/10ths of a second and that this is why self defense doesn't work, and coroners find bodies of people who have been stabbed to death with "defensive" wounds which did them no good, and I think you get the picture. They should have been aggressive, not defensive, though Webre isn't going to really explain how to prevent this from happening because like Bullshido he's too busy insulting traditionalist Martial Arts approaches.

Dan doesn't talk too much about his prison experiences except to tell how another con he used to run with told him that if someone bumps you in prison to make sure they didn't stab you because that's what it feels like. When it comes to his pressure point advice he says that he has either used all of these targets or had people near and dear to him tell them they worked. He won't talk about these experiences, however for legal reasons which may be a cop-out, but this did allow me to finish this tape with a full stomach.

What Is The Origin Of Webre's System?

Watching Webre use his hands it does not look like he ever studied Wing Chun as he told the Martialist E-magazine. His body targeting and downward strike angles look reminiscent of FMA as does his hand checking. His stances look like JKD, my best bet is that he spent a year or two at some less then prominent JKD or FMA School, and lifted some knuckle punches and targeting from a traditional karate school, a George Dillman school, or a SCARS tape.

Webre seems to love using a punch which is a regular fist except the middle knuckle sticks out. It's very karate like. He also mentions early in the tape that the techniques he uses were "proven in some of the toughest karate schools in the world, the United States Penitentiaries." So we have another off the cuff reference to karate.

Anyone out there with a Wing Chun background has seen how when a punch is thrown, the rear hand comes back to guard the high rear 'gate' (next to your face) with a Pak sau in which the palm is held at 90 degrees. In Webre's case he holds his hand at 45 degrees, with the fingers pointed out over the top part of his punching arm. The only way this guard would make sense is if he was holding a stick in this hand at which point he would be doing an open handed version of a FMA move. Later Webre showed a very distinct move in which he punched his partner's jaw from an angle with his middle knuckle punch, and then spun his hand in a tight circle like a stick to hit the same area with a hammer fist. Again it looked like a FMA influenced move to moi.

I won't say that this tape will get people killed or is delusional. But Webre is using moves out of a relatively uncomplicated hand parrying and striking system that he does not teach in an organized way. Perhaps this is because he's too disorganized or perhaps because Webre thinks a specific approach will get in the way of pushing his concepts. Personally I think such an approach can be a cop out, as it is here. Before one can be free of structure, one must first have some basics to eventually modify, and Webre really does not delve into what appears to me to be his actual striking and parrying system.

In conclusion, I think this tape is only worth 15 bucks though it is sold for $69.