CARLSTADT, N.J. — Vito Quattrocchi owns a humble one-man barbershop in Carlstadt, but in the back of the shop is where he teaches San Michele, a Sicilian knife-fighting technique.
He learned it in his youth and honed the craft while serving in the Vietnam war.
If the idea of a knife-fighting, Vietnam veteran, barber sounds like the good premise for a good book, you're in luck. Quattrocchi writes fiction novels based on his life too.
He published "Sins of the Father," a book loosely based on his own life. The book is published through Lulu, a print-on-demand self-publishing website.
"Years ago a guy like me could never get published," Quattrocchi said.
His tales of mafia run-ins and violent encounters have found success.
His latest novel, "Rise and Fall of the Sewer King" combines true life experience and inspiration from his various trips to Sicily.
Quattrocchi writes during downtime at his barbershop. He writes excerpts that come to his head and later compiles them into a coherent story.
One excerpt that he wrote focused on a normal suburban-grown man making the fatal mistake of confronting criminals in a parking lot.
The story of an untrained man attempting to fight draws from Quattrocchi's life experience.
"I know guys that are third-degree black belts and they’d get their [butts] kicked," Quattrocchi said.
He recalled a story of when he was in New York and his black-belt friend was confronted by a road-rage driver. Unprepared for an altercation, Quattrocchi's friend froze up and was unable to protect himself.
"His teaching was useless."
Quattrocchi teaches a small amount of students in the back of his barbershop. He meets students through cutting hair. His approach is practical and effective but scaled back.
"You wouldn’t teach a kid to gouge eyes cause he’s going to get into a fight over stolen milk at school and he’s going to gouge someone's eyes," Quattrocchi said.
His teachings expand to improvised weaponry, including a demonstration that transformed an average hair comb into an effective weapon.
"I can take a comb and push it into the bottom of your nose," Quattrocchi said. "It's going to hurt."
The longer you talk to Quattrocchi, the more interesting things he has to share.
For now, he cuts hair and writes a story when he gets a chance.
Quattrocchi's books can be purchased through Lulu by clicking here . His barbershop is located at 446 Hackensack Street, Carlstadt, NJ.