The first zombie movie I saw was Dawn of the Dead, back in the late 70s.
For reasons probably familiar to most people now (in this zombie renaissance), I left the theater really fired up, full of energy, and full of thoughts.
How would I do? Would I be able to survive? What would be the smart moves in that scenario?
Something about the zombie Apocalypse idea aligns nicely will the psychology of martial artists. We are people willing to spend a substantial amount of our free time preparing for unlikely contingencies. Of course, there are lots of valid secondary reasons for training to fight (health, development of willpower and character) but the principal goal is learning how to respond successfully in a scenario (physical assault) that will only happen to less than ten percent of us in our lifetimes (depending on where you live).
I train in a school that is primarily a dojo where they train Akido and Japanese swordsmanship. When I see them training and cutting the tatami mats in half, I think, yeah, I’ll come over here in the event of a zombie Apocalypse. My Sifu said many people expressed the same thought, so one downside might be that it would be crowded. The other downside is that its in Oakland in the middle of a population of around six million.
Lets kick this idea around a second though.
Question one, would WIng Chun be a good skill against zombies? I think you would need to have studied the Baat Jam Do, which would be a pretty excellent anti-zombie skill, but even better would be the Luk Dim Boon Kwan (what they call the 6 and one half point pole, but which is actually a sturdy 8.5 foot pole). Training with the heavy pole would prepare you to be pretty proficient with an excellent anti-zombie weapon, the pike. Take a six foot pole and attach a blade or (even better for zombies) a spike on one end.
The main benefit with this weapon is that you don’t have to reload it. The downside is its not that great in tight quarters, which is why you would want to back it up with some sort of Bowie Knife style weapon, for the close work. The Baat Jaam Do (Butterfly swords) are a heavy training sword which prepare you to deploy a smaller sword (or large knife) efficiently.
And then, as a last resort, you’d want a powerful handgun like a .45. Something that would be forgiving (in the case of shaky hands) and blow a big hole in the heads of the zombies.
And if you haven’t been training to shoot, you would probably be better off with some sort of sawed-off shotgun.
There’s a great scene in El Dorado, an old Western with John Wayne and James Caan. Caan plays a young gambler who falls in with Wayne as Wayne heads for the kind of trouble solved with gunplay. Caan is a horrible shot with a pistol so Wayne gives him a Cut-down Double Barrel 12 Gauge, which creates a blast pattern about two feet wide, so he basically couldn’t miss. This would be an excellent anti-zombie weapon.
So the well-armed zombie survivor would wear two bowie knives, a Cut-down Double Barrel 12 Gauge in a long side holster or one of those back holsters a la Evil Dead 2, and at least one heavy duty handgun in a holster with as much ammo as you could carry and still run fast, with the pike in your hands.
Another excellent touch would be one of those Tony Blauer High-Impact Suits and some good gloves. Keep you from accidentally getting bit during the confusion of a zombie attack!
Of course, all of this presupposes we are in a George Romero / Walking Dead style zombie Apocalypse (slow shambling zombies).
If you get caught in a fast zombie scenario like the (excellent) Dawn of the Dead remake with Sarah Polley or the World War Z “flock of biting zombies” situation, I suggest you get to a well-stocked island ASAP or consider suicide. Those people didn’t have a chance!
This brings up another point about these Apocalyptic scenarios. Loners don’t have much of a chance. You need to hook up with a group of like minded survivalists. People who are already armed and dangerous would quickly land on top of the food chain. Cops, combat troops, gangs. I read about these guys who buy bunkers and what not and stock up on food and weapons for their families. You’d only keep that stuff until some well-armed group came along and took it all away.
Neil Strauss wrote a book called Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. The scenario they were preparing for was financial collapse and the loss of governmental structure. This might as well be a zombie Apocalypse. He spoke of “B-boys” (billionaires) who were preparing for these contingencies by setting up island homes and bunkers and so on and hiring security. The funny thing is, they don’t seems to realize that if the government and police systems fail, then those strong and armed security guys don’t really need that rich guy around. The Feudal system would reemerge very quickly and the strong would take from the weak. Dot com geniuses would not posses useful skills any more. The useful skills would be killing and trail craft.