Teeth/Fangs

Perhaps the most well-known and universally recognizable attributes of a vampire are the creature’s modified upper maxillary canines, otherwise known as its fangs.  This physical asset is the primary tool used by the undead to feed upon its prey. Although a vampire’s fangs are renowned even among individuals with limited vampire knowledge, they are still often misunderstood in their application.. All mammals are equipped with what are known as cuspids, or “eye-teeth” for their position over the eyes.  Longer and pointier than the neighboring incisors, their length and shape denote a singular purpose – to firmly retain prey and tear it apart.  Although humans have evolved to a point where the cuspids are barely distinguishable from the adjoining teeth, in other species such as tigers, wolves, and bears, the canines continue to serve their much needed purpose in the wild.

While it may appear that a vampire’s fangs are an evolution of the creature from its Homo sapien form, it is more accurately stated that upon conversion, the human de-evolves, returning to a more primal state where sharp canines are an essential factor to its hunting ability.  Approximately six to eight millimeters longer than standard human canines, the teeth themselves do not extend or retract as commonly depicted in the media, nor are they hollow like the fangs of a poisonous serpent.

Like other predatory animals, a vampire’s fangs are ever-present, although some members of the species may use dental prosthetics to mask their pronounced length in order to blend further into human society.  Their application is similar to the use of the canines by a wild animal –  to secure its victim and tear at the flesh in order to cause extensive soft tissue damage, with the goal of opening a major artery. Once a primary bloodline has been accessed, the vampire will draw from the open wound into its throat, not siphoning through the fangs themselves. While there are some rumors that the bacterial compounds that cause human conversion originate from a vampire’s fangs, this has not yet been verified through any formal laboratory analysis.

Offensive Tactics

An intelligent warrior once said, “The best defense is a good offense.” In vampire combat, it is critical that you take these words to heart, as you will need to have an effective attack strategy to end an undead engagement. It is a sad fact that the longer you remain engaged with a vampire in hand-to-hand combat, the less likely it is you will survive. Once engaged, your goal should always be to end the battle as soon as possible before you expend all of your energy, because there is no question that you will tire before your opponent.

One of the most challenging aspects of vampire combat is that it often is a contradiction of intentions—you must keep your certain defensive areas away from your opponent, but also draw close enough to attack its vulnerabilities; you must protect yourself against the vampire’s bite, but you must also pull it into you so that you can launch a counterattack of your own. It is due to these contradictions that strategy, tactics, and proper technique are so essential to emerging successful and alive from a vampire engagement.

Multiple Attackers

Facing off with a single member of the undead is demanding enough, imagine the difficulty in confronting multiple vampires simultaneously. Due to the physical superiority of the creature, battling a single bloodsucker can drain even the fittest of human combatants; multiply your opponents by a factor of two or three, and you have a situation that leaves you little room for error. Much like unarmed vampire combat, there is a strong likelihood that you may not survive when confronted alone by multiple vampire attackers.

All hope, however, is not lost. Should you find yourself in the extremely precarious situation of confronting multiple vampires, use the following strategies to help you survive to see another sunrise.

Avoid the Envelope — What often occurs in a multiple-attacker engagement is that your adversaries will attempt to “close the envelope,” or execute a flanking maneuver trapping you in between attackers with no hope of escape. It is vital to keep moving during your engagement, and avoid being stationary for any length of time. Due to their agility, vampires can execute a flanking attack before the human even recognizes what is happening. You keep your body active and mobile at all times.

Do the Minimum — Your primary goal when confronted by more than a single vampire is not to neutralize your attacker. While there are skilled combatants who can dispatch an opponent before the other attackers converge, most individuals will not have such combat proficiency. What often occurs in multi-combatant scenarios is that while you are delivering your finishing blow to one opponent, the remaining will use that opportunity to launch their offensive, sacrificing their companion for the sake of the hunt. It may sound counterintuitive, but your objective should be to address each threat with the minimum amount of force required for you to make your escape. Being obsessive about neutralizing a single vampire may cause you to spend an inordinate amount of time with one contender, leaving you open to the remaining attackers.

Garlic

Garlic is one of the few naturally grown substances that produces an extreme adverse reaction in the undead species. Inexpensive and readily available, garlic can be incorporated into your vampire arsenal in a variety of ways and can be a powerful ally in your battle against a bloodthirsty ghoul. While it is unlikely that the cloves of the plant can be leveraged to completely eliminate your opponent, garlic can be used as a strong deterrent against an attacking vampire, provided it is used properly.

In addition to being cheap and plentiful, garlic has the advantage of being malleable both under normal use and within the context of vampire defense. It can be mashed, chopped, and combined with other elements to expand its deterrent properties to devastating effect. There are some recommended principles governing the use of garlic in order to maximize its effectiveness in vampire combat:

Use Fresh Cloves — Given their portability, convenience, and availability, you may be tempted to use dried powder or flakes in place of the raw product. Do not succumb to this temptation. Dried garlic produces only a mildly irritating effect on your undead opponent compared to the fresh plant, and most dried products were produced in a factory setting some time ago; with each passing day, this dehydrated version loses its already compromised potency. If anything, use of garlic in dessicated form against your adversary will serve no purpose other than to enrage it, making it a more threatening opponent.

Separate and Peel— Although a whole head of garlic can serve to dissuade your vampiric attacker, a much more effective use is to separate the head into its individual cloves. When exposed to the air, peeled garlic cloves have a much stronger effect than those still encased in the layers of its parchment-like skin. Once split and peeled, garlic cloves have much more flexibility in their use, one of which is stringing them together to create a garland.

Anatomy

Found on every continent and every human-inhabited landmass on the planet, a vampire will often adopt the dress, mannerisms, and cultural subtleties representative of its host nation. Despite these superficial differences, the fundamental biology of the creature appears to remain consistent across cultures and societies. Detailed knowledge of the vampire’s anatomical structure is limited, as a full-scale vivisection of the creature has never been conducted; much about the vampire still remains a scientific mystery.  However, enough information has been anecdotally confirmed to make ourselves a viable threat to the creature’s defenses.  Since the intention of this work is to provide practical combative data rather than deep medical analysis, we will focus our anatomical discussion on details that have specific ramifications in a hostile engagement with a member of the vampire species.

 

Combat Drills

An axiom often said by warriors preparing for combat is: “Train hard; fight easy.” Nowhere is this saying truer than in vampire combat.   The harder you prepare for such an engagement in your training sessions, the better you will fare when facing an actual member of the undead. Beyond physical conditioning and techniques, one of the best ways to prepare for an undead engagement is the use of specific combat drills and simulations.

Different from conditioning and technique training, combat drilling acclimates your body to specific battle scenarios and can also help boost your confidence level through repetition.  Combat drills are also designed to place you in an unorthodox and uncomfortable situation, modeling a situation that may occur during an actual vampire engagement, but in a safe environment.

As these drills are used to simulate actual vampire combat, you will need the use of a training partner who is willing to play the adversarial undead role. Do not take partner selection lightly, as it will largely dictate the success or failure of your drilling sessions. Be certain to choose a partner who views vampire combat training as seriously as you do. At the same time, be clear at the outset of the exercise what level of exertion should the drill be conducted; an overzealous training partner may end up injuring you in the process, which will hinder your training and leave you even more vulnerable than if you had not trained at all.

As with any sparring session, start slowly and carefully when attempting these drills for the first time, and operate at 25 percent of your maximum speed and power. As you and your partner grow adept at the various scenarios, increase  your physical variables gradually until you are operating at full speed and power.

Close Combat Weapons

Close-quarters combat is the most treacherous range to engage any opponent, be they living or undead. Unfortunately,  it is also the most common range at which vampire combat occurs. A vampire’s ultimate objective in any human engagement is to position itself as close as possible to the target, open a blood line, and commence its feeding session. In order to successfully defend yourself against a vampire’s onslaught and launch a counterattack of your own, you will need to not only be skilled at close-quarters techniques, but also prepared with the appropriate weapon.  And against a vampire in close quarters, the most appropriate weapon is the stake.

Nothing more than a sharpened length of wood, this primal and seemingly unimpressive weapon strikes fear into the heart of every vampire, and should be the cornerstone of your combat arsenal and weapons training. As such, we will spend a significant portion of this section articulating the properties, uses, and finer details that make the stake an effective close-combat weapon in a vampire engagement.

The stake is such an ordinary weapon that its subtleties are often lost on the untrained citizen.  Although mundane in nature, there are several factors you must consider when preparing your staking weapon for vampire combat:

Material Composition—What is the specific element present within wood that initiates the neutralization process when thrust into the heart of the vampire? The reasons are still unclear. Some have attributed it to the natural resins contained within the cellulose fibers. Others have hypothesized that wood’s primary function as a transport system for minerals and nutrients from the earth throughout a plant’s vascular system is what triggers the self-detonating reaction in the undead. What has been established is that regardless of the type, structure, or chemistry, all wood will cause the same violent reaction in the undead once the stake has penetrated the creature’s heart.

Wood Types — While any type of wood will work in crafting your staking implement, certain types that are preferable to others. Different varieties of trees produce wood of varying densities. Should you have the time to select particular materials, construct your stakes from the hardest wood possible. Do not be confused by the terms “softwood” and “hardwood” in your search for materials, as these categories are related more to the plant’s scientific classification than the density of the wood itself, with some hardwoods being softer in density than certain softwood varietals.

Team-based Combat

 

It’s important to emphasize that the information provided throughout this site should not be construed as a “vampire hunter’s guide.” Beyond the reasoning previously made for this distinction, there is the inherent meaning to the word “hunt.” Hunting has been performed by cultures around the world for one of two purposes: for sport or for food. Neither of these purposes has relevancy when engaging a member of the undead in combat. Some may consider this a semantic point, but we must not make light of the seriousness of engaging with this creature; nor should we take an air of superiority, even after extensive vampire combat training. It is precisely when we underestimate our opponent that we will fall victim to its lethal embrace.

We recognize, however, the fact that there may be circumstances when you will need to seek out and destroy a vampire in your midst. Perhaps a creature is conducting relentless incursions on your town or city. Perhaps it is targeting your family. Whatever the reason, should you need to proactively locate and exterminate a vampire with extreme prejudice, the best method to do so would be to recruit a team of individuals to assist you in your task. With several individuals acting as one against a single vampire, there is an excellent chance for a successful outcome.

Team Assembly

It is without question that vampire extermination should be a team-based effort. The only reason to engage in one-on-one combat with a vampire is if you have no other choice. As you are proactively targeting a vampire for extermination, it is in your best interests to do so with several trusted and skilled operators who can provide support and assistance.

How many combatants will you require? While any number greater than one is beneficial, a team of three or four operators can work quite effectively, each member being tasked with a specific objective. Although having a great number of operators can help accomplish your objective more efficiently, a much larger team should be divided into smaller tactical groups, with each group operating as a single, cohesive unit and each member assigned a specific role.

The Crowning Stake

Untrained individuals using what they have seen in the media as their sole source of information may believe there is only one way to drive a stake into a vampire’s heart during an undead combat engagement. In fact, there are several different methods by which you can strike this vulnerable mark.   How you will decide which tactic to use will depend on several factors; distance, body position, weapon placement, and combatant strength are all variables that come into play when determining the ideal staking tactic.  When you commence your training, be sure to practice all of the various maneuvers below.  As you grow in proficiency with these techniques, you will begin to instinctively recognize which method is suitable to use against your undead adversary in a given situation.

The most well-known method of staking attack, the crowning stake is executed by holding the weapon in the ice-pick or reinforced ice-pick grip and driving it forcefully through the chest into the target. In order to execute this technique successfully, you must either shatter the sternum with your weapon or slide between the intercostal spaces of the third through sixth ribs close to the center of the chest.

Tactical Details: While the crowning stake is the most popular of all the staking techniques, it also can be one of the more difficult to execute.  This maneuver requires a significant amount of power to execute successfully.  The key to ensuring that you deliver a powerful enough strike is to visualize your striking far deeper into your opponent than necessary.  Your intention should be not just to tap the heart, but power through it.  It is also not uncommon for your strike to be diverted from its path by a skeletal obstruction, missing the target entirely, and the remote chance that your weapon will snap before reaching its target.  Ensure that your weapon is sharpened, hardened, and made from the proper raw material to avoid combat failure. Employing the crowning stake also places you in the risky position of being directly in front of your opponent, leaving yourself open to attack; be certain to make your first strike count.

The Vampire Heart

There is no question that in a close-combat vampire encounter, your primary attack target should be the creature’s heart. In the human species, this organ is responsible for managing the circulatory system, delivering nutrients and oxygenated blood throughout the body. While the vampire heart still retains some accountability for this circulatory task, it does not function as it did prior to the subject’s transformation. Since a vampire does not require oxygen to survive, its heart serves a different purpose. Although detailed research is still pending, it seems that this organ operates in coordination with the creature’s mutated digestive system to deliver nutrients and energy ingested from its feedings to the rest of its undead body.

One of the most well-known legends of vampire lore is that driving a sharpened object into the undead heart will end the creature’s existence. Although many elements of vampire fables are complete fabrications, in this case the myth is indeed accurate. It is unknown why the species has allowed what is probably their most critical vulnerability to spread unabated throughout the human population, but it is true that destroying the vampire heart will neutralize your attacker immediately. There is still shome confusion surrounding the details of this maneuver, the greatest of which is: What type of sharpened object?

Given the creature’s aversion to silver, it is often assumed that a pointed stave crafted from this rare element is effective at eliminating the undead. This is wholly incorrect. While silver and silver-based implements can play a role in your arsenal against the undead, it will not neutralize your target. Penetrating the vampire heart with a silver implement, while causing the wound to remain open and decelerating the creature’s advanced healing capabilities, will not end the confrontation. This common misconception has caused many brave yet ignorant warriors to fall at the hands of their adversary just when they believed victory was at hand.

In order to take full advantage of this specific vulnerability, a sharpened object crafted from wood or wood-based material is required. While a detailed chemical analysis regarding the precise compounds contained within the material is still forthcoming, the hypothesis is that the natural resins contained within the fibers of the wood react with the altered chemistry of the vampire’s heart, setting off an irrepressible chain reaction resulting in the creature’s demise within seconds.