Vulpes Training Review: Design is how it works

Norman doors

This is separate from our usual nuthin, folks.

Back when I met up with the pastor for coffee, I pointed out the Norman Doors that were all along the street.

Me: A norman door’s a door that needs a sign to tell you how to use it. Which is just stupid. You should be able to walk up to any door on the planet and not have to know how to speak the goddamn language.

If a door has to say, “Push,” on it so you can understand how to use it, someone, somewhere, fucked up. See. a secondary piece of information has to be provided because the first bit of information wasn’t enough, the very design of the object.

Instructions to the People #4

In a book I reviewed, before my world went to hell, Steve Jobs famously said, Design is how it works.

He meant that, you should be able look at something as staggeringly complex as an iPhone and just know how it works based on the design. And, as my toddler son has proven with his iPad, Stevie was right.

A few months back, I wanted to help out friend of mine with a business he was starting called Vulpes Training.

See, unlike most martial arts, kali – like jits – requires another person to really get the most out of it. You need another human being for things like distancing and timing, things you can’t do via forms alone.

I’ve always used the traditional rattan stick because it did the job the best.

I had a few trainers here and there but I didn’t like them because they hurt my hands or – worse – didn’t stand up to the pounding I gave them.

When I bought the trainers from Vulpes, I did it mainly as a favour to a buddy of mine. I don’t have enough spare scratch lying around for niceties for myself but I was helping out a friend.

But I was floored when I got them. Turns out, I wasn’t just helping out a friend, I was buying  a nice little gift for myself.

They were, well, perfect.

See, most people that design trainers try to do everything: They try to source the materials, design the blade, make the blade, test the blades, stock the blades, etc.

That’s a lotta stuff.

My buddy at Vulpes just let others handle the design by making trainers of popular knives and swords. Genius.

See, I’m partial to the Schrade Priscilla. It’s fashioned after a Greek Makhaira blade and was designed by a fella named Josh Waggoner.

Get this: Mr. Waggoner liked the Vulpes trainer so much that he endorsed it himself.

I also like the Cold Steel Tanto as a side weapon and, because he’s a pro, my buddy made me a custom trainer of that too. Hopefully he’ll add it to his catalogue.

Both are perfectly balanced and can take enough of a beating that I brought them to class to use as my regular weapon.

At least I tried to.

Me: Wait, why can’t I use them? They can handle it.
Him: Let’s not scare the new students.

It’s true, they both look and feel like serious business. Which they are. This is us playing with them towards the end. I don’t think I’ve ever shown you how I move with a weapon.

I’m always super self-conscious; focus on the weapon and not me, please.


Note that the pics I took of the weapons are AFTER that training session.

Design is how it works. Josh Waggoner designed a well-balanced, flowy machete/short sword that handles like butter. Vulpes Trainers took that great design – and others – and made a trainer that is probably gonna be my daily driver now.

If you are kali fella like me, look into them. They’re great.

Location: home, chatting with The Chad
Mood: hopeful
Music: They think she did it but they just can’t prove it (Spotify)
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