Remembering when Stevie Nicks starred in a self-defence book for women
Dipping back into the Far Out Magazine archives, we’re revisiting the brilliant but bizarre Martial Arts book from Bob Jones who somehow manages to enlist both ABBA’s Frida Lyngstad and Fleetwood Mac’s enigmatic lead singer Stevie Nicks.
When Australian martial arts master Jones decided to write the 1983 self-defence book Hands Off!: A Unique New System of Self Defence Against Assault for the Women of Today he probably thought he’d need some models to help his 1970s audience visualise the complex moves he was noting down. However, what many people probably didn’t expect was those that two models to be bonafide rock and pop icons.
The Aussie, who had been working as security with some of the rock music’s biggest names, stood in protection of the likes of The Beatles, Joe Cocker, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and, of course, Fleetwood Mac. It was during this time that Jones decided to write his self-protection manual.
The book, which was built on some basic but necessary martial arts moves, also offered some other unusual techniques such as ‘witty insults’ like “I’ve seen better knobs on toilet doors.”
The book begins with a simple Publisher’s Note: “The laws relating to assault permit one to legally defend oneself against attack from another person, using only the minimum amount of necessary force. Use of excessive force may lead to charges against the defender. Some of the techniques in this book may cause serious injury and even death if applied with undue force. No responsibility can be taken by the publishers or author for injuries resulting from the employment of these techniques.”
Bob Jones also offers some very progressive thinking for the time and details numerous difficult topics: “The physical act of rape, sometimes only lasting a matter of seconds, is not the end product of an assault on a woman – it is merely the beginning,” he writes. Months later the court proceedings will take the form of emotional rape, day after day of continual cross-examination, being forced to relive every terrifying second. The degradation of having to tell and retell every detail of the degrading assault has driven many women to the thought and act of suicide.”
Jones goes on to continue this progressive train of thought, “Body scars can be repaired; asylums are full of mental scars that will never repair. Look out if you go to court and have to say you didn’t fight back. If you are really lucky your parents might understand. Some husbands and boyfriends tend to see you as having had sex with another man even if you do convince them that you were raped.”
Reflecting on his time working alongside Nicks, Jones recalled: “This lady was a professional: in two hours I had a hundred of the most magnificent photos ever offered to the martial arts, and just one would make the cover. On this day of the shoot I was standing in my martial arts training uniform, wearing my Black Belt. Then Stevie appeared, her hair done to resemble the mane of a lion. She was psyched up for some serious photographing.”
Jones continued: “Stevie wore her familiar thick-soled, thick-heeled, knee-high brown suede kid leather boots. High roll-over socks appeared over the top of these elegant Swedish boots and hung tentatively around her knees… In these kicking-style photographs the sun also made her dress partially see-through: just enough to be artistically interesting.”
If it wasn’t enough that Jones had managed to recruit the high-kicking and psyched up Stevie Nicks for his guide, Jones also welcomed a cameo from ABBA member Frida Lyngstad who, similarly to the Fleetwood Mac member, proved she was not somebody to mess with.