# PRACTICED AT THE ART OF DECEPTION. FAKES AND STRING THEORY!

A string! One great fake that opens a hole, then one stunning blow, then a tree-step combination…for starters. 5 parts of the string. 1 plus 1, plus 3.

What is string theory in simple “math” terms?  Professor Google says: “Instead of treating subatomic particles as the fundamental building blocks of matter, string theory says that everything is made of unbelievably tiny strings, whose vibrations produce effects…” We here are not galactic physicists. We are knuckle draggers, trying to survive crime and war. Maybe win some trophies is the end game for some? I nickname small practice sets – “string theories.” Parts strung together. They are combat scenario preps, and we all do them but I would like here to interject the fake in as starters and some scientific ways to train them.

Tiny strings. The late, great Remy Presas said so many l times, “All you need you know, is one good fake.” He was speaking of a theory, a battle plan idea. Because we all know “all you need” in martial life is a whole lot more. Call the fake a “set-up” or whatever you please. The concept, this strategy is in all combat sports, and in many non-combat sports. For example in boxing – ” A mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack. “The boxer made a feint with his right, then followed with a left hook.”

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” – Sun Tzu

But a fake and follow-up string is especially important for self-defenders, a real priority to emphasize since they are not in the  sports “duel,” the sports “spar,” the sports “grind” of controlled sports for as long as sports people are.

Think about it, a good fake is important. Good fakes…open things up. “How ‘sporty’ is your fake?” Trained fighters might see them coming and be susceptible to the real delivery steps. But, the ignorant untrained eye won’t see them coming. And I must ask, “How fast is your fake?” If your opponent is slow, a fast fake won’t get the reaction you seek, that opening . You must fake slower.

Brace yourself, fakes or no fakes, to be really thorough, first off you have to learn and improve these “first-line” physical events.

• Understanding common stand-off problems and ambushes. (Remember fakes are like min-ambushes.) Understand common reactions to strikes, kicks and grabs.
• All basic strikes.
• All basic kicks.
• All basic first grabs that lead to takedowns and ground captures.
• All basic body movements, footworks and maneuvers.
• How to fake strikes, kicks and grabs.
• Appropriate follow-up combinations to finish, or at least, to start off the finishing.

Yikes, that’s a lot of stuff! Folks can’t all be super experts in all these areas. Folks can’t all be martial full-timers, yet he path of study leads through this long way. Certainly, an expert and a serious instructor must know these things, but people with busy “lives,” all of which are 99.5% part timers, (almost all normal people with jobs, families, etc.) not full timers. But they can be taught these 3, 4, 5-part strings of combatives-self-defense early on which can be helpful. A breakdown…

1-The confrontation. The who, what, where, when, how and why a crime, a battle, or a fight started. Study the intelligence info of fights, crime and war. What are the opening ways of fights, war and crime? Why did you go there? Why are staying there. This essay is not about these “stay alert” topics – which would be a whole book but must at very least be mentioned here as number 1.

2-All basic strikes. Includes hand, stick, knife! The strike alone, in an already open path, needs no fake. But opponent reflex matters. Happens. What naturally, statistically pops open when the enemy ducks, blocks or dodges your incoming strike? In training, you can also turn a whole series in your hand strike training into a 2-step practice, even with every kick. Then a whole series on reverse, as in fake kick and go to hands. Two steps in the string right there that must be formalized as a set of practice.

3-All basic kicks. The kick alone, in an already open path, needs no fake. But opponent reflex matters. Happens. What naturally, statistically pops open when the enemy ducks, blocks or dodges an incoming kick? In kicking, a very common tactic is to hand-fake high then kick low. In training, you can turn a whole series in your kicking training into this 2-step practice, making a higher hand fake part of every kick. Then a whole series on reverse. Fake kick and hand strike. Two steps of the string right there, that must be formalized as a set of practice.

4-All basic grabs. In takedowns-throws, what are the first, basic grabs on the body that set up one up. What needs to be open for such grabs? What strikes. kicks and fake grabs open the takedown throw-grab you are hoping for?  In ground captures what are the first, basic grabs on the body that set up one up. What needs to be open for the grabs? What strikes and fake grabs open the grab you are hoping for? Can’t strike in your sport? Fake grabs then. What moves can set up your selected grab? (I have a whole other long essay on grabs and fake grabs and set-up grabs.)

5- Body movements, footworks and maneuvers. Where do we need to be to fake, and be in each part of the string to best execute? Standing or ground?

6-Combinations finishers. I myself believe in 2 or 3 step combinations. At least as a foundational, study method. It might take 5 or 6 things to finish a stunned opponent, in which case, I would like to package them in as yet another 3-part combination. That is just my training strategy. Long steps, 4 or more ideas in the string don’t seem to be accomplished as planned. The opponent moves, blocks, falls, etc. changing the range and breaking the long dance.

Hand fighting, stick fighting, knife fighting, gun fighting. Sports. Arts. The art of deception. String things along for training. String Theory.

One hand example?

• 1 High hook fake. Hopefully the enemy raises his arm to stop it.
• 2 His arm now  raised, Low hook to liver.
• 3 He scrunches. A three Quick combination. Like… a) Higher hook, b) uppercut as head might descend from the liver shot,c)  round kick.
• 4 Then whatever else might be needed. Another 3 set?

What series should you build against knife attacks, you armed or not armed? Sticks? Versus weapon quickdraws? I teach these hand, stick, knife (and gun concerning draw points) string lists, in an inspiration that eventually customize your own.

Yes, if you want to you turn these 5-part strings into katas. Yes. Many do. Go ahead. Katas and visualization-theory are not near the top of my list. I’d rather use and suggest gear, mook jong dummies, heavy bags, and of course the best – partners, but whatever. Doing something is better than nothing.

In sports you are filmed, and the opponents watch your favorite strings to prep. And,-or, you watch their favorite strings on films. In crime and war? Maybe not so much is available, but some things can be gleaned.

String Theory in fighting, Not too complicated! As the Rolling Stones said, She was practiced at the art of deception. Well, I could tell by her blood-stained hands. You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well, you might find, you get what you need.”

# WRIST TWIST THROWS

Many moons ago, as a young naive lad, I grabbed a guy’s hand and thought…okay, well, outer wrist throw…. I did it and the guy pretty much stood there and screamed in very anguishing way. I had ripped some tendons or something in his wrist-forearm. He just didn’t know “Oh, I am supposed to fall over now.” Next stop before jail? The hospital. Not only did I not want to damage the guy’s arm, I now had to spend hours at the emergency room, The next time – I was still naive and stupid – I tried it again and HEARD it! Like a subtle stalk of fresh celery being torn in half.

Former French Foreign Legionnaire Military and martial expert Nick Hughes reported after reading this, “Too funny. I was explaining how some twat said you guys jump for each other in Aikido, and how I told him, “you bet, for the same reason you tap for an armbar or leglock. If you don’t, shit gets fucked up. I then told them about the first time I did a kote gaeshi on some twat at a bar. I slammed it on. I expected him to do the big flip. He didn’t move an inch, his wrist did, though. Then there was a tearing noise and he started screaming”.

On this subject, with a side joke of fainting, My old patrol and detective partner Roger White added, “I did a gooseneck wrist lock on a guy (you would remember him) in the middle of E. Prairie St. To my amazement he passed smooth out in the middle of the street! I told people I choked him out with a wrist lock…”

I certainly still must show the 5 big twists and bends of the wrist (and ankle, very similar) because we martialists must investigate and experiment with these things, but I also WARN about expectations and the realties.

Standing or ground, throws (or captures,) the “Big Five Hand-Wrist Attacks” are:
– The wrist-hand turns all the way out. (Outer wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand turns all the way in. (Inner wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way back. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way forward. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand cranks side-to-side. (Center locks.)

(I learned these 5 concepts in a Judo Gene Lebell seminar, if you don’t agree me, go argue with Lebell. Yeah, I know he’s dead, it’s just an expression.)

# STAYING APART IN COMBAT

I am full of old-school mainstays. Some I like. Some I don’t. In military training tips – I was in at the tail-end of Vietnam and went through Basic Training in Fort Polk , LA. Dubbed “Little Vietnam” for its weather, look and occasional “swampiness.” “Tigerland.” We were advised to stay a machine gun burst apart when maneuvering around. At times even a hand grenade blast apart if space allowed. Plus, distance apart opens up fields of vision and fields of fire. Ralph on the far right sees more than Jimmy on the left, and vice versa. (Jody is at home with your wife or girlfriend, there ain’t no use in looking back!) But, these very generic distance tips makes you think about moving formations of two or more troops. There was a lot of fire and maneuver with cover fire lessons to advance when seemingly un-advanceable.

In the old police academies, we were told to stay at least “one shotgun blast” apart. Okay, as they were not overly-worried about machine guns or like…bazookas. What about semi-auto pistols? They can spray pretty damn fast too, kinda like a machine gun burst.

So still, police, military or civilian common sense, staying apart if possible is a good generic plan. If you can. But in narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots of life, often there is no space to spread. Always risky.

I wonder, is the distance idea emphasized today like the olden days, though? Today (like many recent years) there seems to be a lot of clumping taught, even when there is space to un-clump. Sometimes you can’t. Take a look at the associated photo . A hallway. Not much space to spread. Narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots, no space to spread. Always risky. But now consider the guy in the back. The guy in the back might shoot the guy (or guys) in the front if the feces suddenly hits the proverbial fan. Some of these formations have the guy in the back, walking backwards! That’s some serious “6 Watching” right there. And not a terrible idea at all.

Or line-ups. Is trudging single file in a SWAT line some form of clumping? Lots of SWAT folks line up like toy soldiers to get from the staging area, say, van point A to point B doorway. It’s an efficient way to move, yeah. I could tell some interesting stories in sims classes about that. But I always wondered that in a world of planned terrorists and bad guys, after they have worked on a hostage deal or raid, or robbery, do they ever say to each other,
• “Okay, now…where will SWAT park?”
• “Where will the response team stage?”
• “Where will the Bradley stage?”
Bombs and snipers are next to thwart the good guys from the get-go. Reminds me of the great L.A.P.D. SWAT plank member Scott Reitz recalling, when the van doors opened up once, he instantly had to shoot an armed bad guy right there at the doors! In my city, if any residents of bad neighborhoods saw the SWAT team van driving anywhere day or night, cell phones would light up with warnings. “SWATs out!”

Getting there. Getting into position. Sometimes just to encircle and guard-watch via a perimeter, toss in the phone? Or gain entry into buildings? SWAT has become very efficient “room-raiders,” perhaps at the expense of “open-field” crossing training, ignoring Point A to be Point B transit training worries? Does getting there sometimes mean crossing open spaces under sudden or known fire? Cover fire is an advancement solution but a tricky thing in the civilian world, Cover fire as in the right side laying down a field of fire so the left side can advance, then vice-versa. I’ve had a number of SWAT commanders and police admin say, “no way” to firing for such cover. Taboo. You either justifiably shoot directly at a bad guy or you can-not, do-not take any shot at all. (I do think there can be very controlled cover fire, but the generic response is no to the concept. (I still teach the concept to all with simulated ammo, and the subject of another essay.)

Anyway, citizens, police, military! To clump or not to clump? That be the question. One Shakespeare never pondered. But I wish more people would think about it.

# THE SACRIFICE FALL

THE SACRIFICE FALL    Pride before the “Fall.”

Pride before the FAIL (or Fall) – meaning “those people who are overconfident or too arrogant are likely to fail” – this quick, popular and easily understood saying is from the Bible’s Book of Proverbs, in a few varied words. But the same message. Now, I am far from a Biblical expert, but its general popularity speaks volumes. Here I would like to rotate the word “fail” to “fall,” – which so many people already do anyway. There are other related phrases to add to this subject, like “you fell prey to,” or “falling prey to,” meaning you have been misguided and “fell” for some such thing that you should not have.

I would like here to produce some ideas and regenerate some martial arts history. The subject? The so-called “sacrifice fall” or another version of the same, “sacrifice throw.” Same-same.

The word “sacrifice” pops up in many ways in old and new combatives, martial arts and combat sports:

• You learn that you will sacrifice a lot of your free time to train.
• You learn that to practice might mean sacrificing your short-term or long-term health.
• You learn that that when you kick, you temporarily sacrifice your balance.
• You learn that When you punch, you sacrifice your safer arms-up, shield protection.
• You learn and train you very often “lose,” a lot, discovering ignorances, sacrificing your ego and pride.
• You learn that entering into a new art or system, you learn that not only did you sacrifice your time with the last one, you might have wasted a bit of it too.
• You learn about sacrifice falls. You should be taught about the few pros and many cons of the sacrifice fall.

Yes, lots of sacrifices in the martial arts and combat sports. And in this category of sacrifices includes the ubiquitous topic of “sacrifice falls” – defined as “purposely giving up, surrendering, your superior standing or knee-high position to end up fighting on the grounds and floors of the world.” I am here to report that once popular warning, is not at all as ubiquitous as it once was. And I would add, numerous popular arts and sports seek the very opposite. Entire systems now live on and for the sacrifice fall. I mean why else call them sacrifice falls for God’s sake! You are sacrificing,

Starting as an adult in the early 1970s in Ed Parker Kenpo Karate, I was taught the old, current and potentials of fighting. A common expression and lessons were about serious warnings on the “sacrifice fall-throw.” It was once very popular to at least warn practitioners about the few pros and mostly cons of sacrifice falls. “Now this technique is a sacrifice fall. You will go down on purpose with your opponent, sacrificing…”

Much of this early aikido, aiki-jitsu and jujitsu training was down on wooden floors or carpet. Falls were tougher to absorb than on today’s mats. This was educational. To my memory, these instructors never said, “Don’t ever-ever sacrifice fall!” There are indeed oddball times when you should, but they just warned you about the losses.

Warned you about what exactly? Loss of mobility. Multiple opponents. Hard landings. You know the drill, the usual advice, now so ignored. And like worrying about the varied surfaces of the world include the wood and the carpet, yes, but also cement, asphalt, tile, sand, dirt, water, mud, rocks all found within the vertical challenges of slants, stairs, hills, surrounded by furniture, bars, walls, trees, fences…well…the list is long and in some 26 years of police work in line operations, I have struggled with suspects in many of these horizontal and vertical mixes. (One of my “memorable” arrests was falling and fighting a suicidal guy in the pouring rain, sliding down a long, very slanted hill of mud. We weren’t standing, nor officially horizontal, we were “down.” Is that “ground fighting?)  I once got a bruise on my rear end, fighting down on a parking lot, from the badge inside my wallet, in my back pocket. That’s reality. It does also stand to reason that…I have NEVER fought a suspect…on a mat. the world is not a mat, It’s a tough surface.

I know this concept-advice is old, but is it gone? It is still rather ignored by thousands, so the drum must be pounded. Recently, I saw a film of one my acquaintances-teachers jump on an opponent in a tackle and they both plummeted onto a very plush, deep (6 inches or more?) gymnastics-style mat. It was blatantly obvious that our hero would have totally shattered his elbow. I said, “damn, and he doesn’t even know that?” He must not have known because he proudly published the film clip. Finally, someone chimed in with the comment, “and you have now totally destroyed your elbow.” Ahhh, just one of the perils of the purposeful, sacrifice fall. The instructor stuttered a half-assed “yeah…we…but…ahhh…” reply. There was no getting around the mistake. He should have just taken the clip down off the web. He should have had the “martial I.Q” to realize that his “cool-breeze” move was a contradiction to the “SELF DEFENSE” verbiage on his storefront window.

I do not wish to bother you here with list of advantages of being up and mobile, with a solid expertise in kickboxing, facing the mixed weapon world of hand, stick, knife, gun. I do believe everyone knows this on some level, but they do not actualize it, take it to heart and mind. So many arts and sports these days ignore or de-value kick-boxing, and work hard to only achieve a sacrifice fall, only to wrestle on the ground for a submission. Their sport-art training mission is central to sacrifice falling. You must go down with them. There are videos for sale out there proudly titled “The Best Sacrifice Throws.” Yup, for sports and arts, but there is a certain, cancerous, brainwashing, muscle memory about all this. Recipes to fight survival are situational.

It use to be joke-videos years ago, when we saw submission fighters drop on the ground and shout “Get in my guard!” It was funny! We laughed. Now, this is actually happening in competitions! Why bother with sacrifice falls! Just jump down and get in my guard! What an abstract, rabbit hole.

Old police college researchers tried to compile a list in the 1990s on how we end up on the ground in a fight. It makes some sense. In order they advised:

• 1: We trip and fall (VERY likely).
• 2: We are tackled (and usually not by some highly refined sport takedown, but usually by a “wild man” tackle. The sacrifice fall!)
• 3: We are punched down (via – a: the sucker punch,  b: the haymaker, c: the classic sport punches).
• 4: We are pulled down (when we try to toss someone, they try not to fall and instinctively reach out and grab something and that means YOU).

Years ago, like in old school ju-jitsu , the priority takedowns were those where you remained standing up or at least knee high. You tried. Even in police work arrests, you tried. These are indeed a little harder to do. It is often easier to sacrifice, to just jump on someone and both hit the mat. I mean ground. As a teacher of self defense, these distinctions are in my course doctrine. Our first line of takedowns and throws involve set-up stunning strikes (it all starts with something like kickboxing) and takedowns where the practitioner remains standing or knee-high.

A defender must fully learn ground n pound, survival, no rules, ground fighting for when one accidentally falls or is taken down by a criminal or enemy soldier sacrificer. All survivalists, all martialists, must learn every joint in the body and which direction that joint turns and bends and which directions those joints can’t-don’t turn and bend. Standing through ground. This general, body-knowledge is required.

Ends justify the means? In 26 years I have arrested some 900 people and been around for and investigated hundreds more “fight enders”. The martial arts? 51 years and counting. I can predict how these things end. Many students seek the sacrifice fall to seek the tap-out submission, a recipe for sports and arts. Fun for all to know, but when soldiers, civilians and police drop and seek a tap-out submission in a conflict, this is NOT a fight ender. When you let them go, as you eventually must, the fight (or chase) continues. Dumb martial artists claim, “I’ll break their arm then…etc.” Dumb combatives people claim, “I’ll blind them, then…etc.” Then bubba, you’ll probably go to jail, taking an arguably self defense situation into a serious bodily injury felony. By the way, police must be in a limited, somewhat submission position to handcuff. Handcuffing resistors-fighters is hard. They punch, kick and bite.

Let’s not sacrifice words, in a summary: Have you ever known of, or have forgotten the almost ancient advice-warnings on the idea of sacrifice falls-throws? The tip, the advice still does exist in smart places here and there. Recently the Evolve -MMA.com (a great resource) page warned – “Remember that the sumi gaeshi is a sacrifice throw; an unsuccessful attempt may result in either a pin or a scramble.” The advice-warning still is in existence, but not enough.

Now look – I always run this disclaimer – if you are a happy camper in your beloved hobbies, arts and sports? Judo. BJJ, tennis, golf, etc? Great news! I’m happy if you are happy. All I ask is that you know those are abstract skills relate to reality. Just know precisely what you are doing and where it fits in the real, big picture of hand, stick, knife and gun, war and crime survival. It might not fit much at all (this might mean taking down the self defense sign in your window). Don’t spread the innocent, cancer-brainwashing. Don’t advertise that your mandatory, sacrifice fall, submission, tap-out art is the superior system of the planet. The galaxy. You have then “fallen prey” to short-sighted ignorance. Your martial “I.Q.” is low. Don’t fall prey to the sacrifice fall.

And to back a bit to the bible analogy – “People who are overconfident or too arrogant (about their ground wrestling, who ignore kickboxing and mixed weapons, who ignore crime and war) are likely to fail-fall.” Pride before the fall, the fail.

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# THE BIG BLEND: COMBATIVES – SPORTS – ARTS

Decades ago, I was working out with karate expert friend, and I grabbed his arms. He’d never been grabbed like this, and he had the epiphany-realization in that moment he needed grappling. But he then started years of Judo. But, this was yet another sport-art. They are both sports-arts. Combining them is still two isolated segments of sports-arts, each deficient in their own categories. Adding and doubling, tripling up on more sport-arts atop each other is not going to best solve the survival problem. It complicates it. It distracts it. It needs blending, not adding.

I see a lot of Mixed Martial Arts being taught and spread. This morning I saw a school advertisement for a “Boxing and Ground fighting” school. Their attached photos show official sport “boxing” and official sport Brazilian wrestling. I get the idea that the advertisers, as well as the customers must think…

“Wow! That’s so complete. I’m getting both.”
“Ready to be attacked by any and all!”

Combatives is supposed to be above all this isolation. But, once you accept the combatives mission-mindset you are faced with the next problem. Collecting and cleaning up the material, material that mostly comes from sport-arts! And you must possess the “martial IQ” to evaluate the material. This process is not as easy as it sounds. It needs blending, not adding.

Try if you must, there is still much sport leakage around. Even in some Krav Magas – present supposedly as a final cure for sport leakage, but I still see…sport leakage, naively, accidentally falling back too far into sport-art. Instructors are often brainwashed from their old art-sport systems. They still think and solve within their brainwashing when there might be a better, faster, unbiased way. Hey, I still find more of this cleansing about every week – “Why am I doing this when I should be doing that.” The process never ends.

Some things the “Ws and H Questions” for you to ask and answer…

* WHO are you?
* WHO is the instructor?
* WHO do you want to become?
* WHAT are you seeking exactly? Precisely?
* WHAT – is there a better, faster way?
* WHERE do you go to seek your result?
* WHEN have you really found the “it?”
* HOW will you find “it?” How do you or he dissect “it?”
* WHY are you motivated to try?

“Learning different martial arts is pretty much useless in modern MMA. It is now its own sport and anyone interested in learning MMA would be much better served to join an actual MMA gym. Learning separate martial arts before starting MMA would be, quite frankly, a waste of time.” – Sprawl CO.

Modern MMA as we see in the UFC etc, is the closest art-sport you will get to reality. But you still need to add weapons, cheating, delete safety rules and weight classes and worry about trying all the moves of these full time, young professional fighters. I’ll bet you are not a full-timer, young professional fighter-athlete – 99.99999% of us are not – so you probably can’t and shouldn’t try to do what they do.

(And of course people have hobbies and they want to pursue their hobbies for a variety of reasons. They should answer those questions, know what they want to do and its limitations. I just ask, do they know what they are doing? If so? Hobby, hobby, hobby on and be happy!)

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# MARTIAL STUDIES – ARE YOU ALSO GOING TO “JAIL SCHOOL?”

Do – Don’t do.
Should do – shouldn’t do.
Are you also going to “Jail School?”

What you don’t do in a fight-combat, helps define what you should do. With or without weapons. In a fight-combat there are 4 barriers to consider. They are very situational. They are-
• 1: Strategy
• 2: Morality
• 3: Legality
• 4: Ethically
Some say that Morality and ethics are the same. On the differences – Professor Google says “A lot of people think of them as being the same thing. While they’re closely related concepts, morals refer mainly to guiding principles, and ethics refer to specific rules and actions, or behaviors.”

In some martial arts, one of the sales points offered by some and usually directed at children is their martial arts build respect, character etc- and various good stuff. Exactly what I don’t know, varies, and I never have taught kids and officially never will. I don’t know how much and what is injected into their programs. Bully programs seem to vary. I do recall some “values-injection” in Japanese martial arts for adults and kids, but in very broad ways, good, but not very down to earth such as, “you know, if you do break this guy’s leg? You could go to jail. Here’s a quick 3 examples where it might be legal. Now let’s kick…”

Take a look at Thai Boxing (TB). If TB is studied strictly for TB competition, then why bother with any such categorical worries. True. Same thing with BJJ. But, if TB and BJJ are totally or partially sold and-or studied for self-defense and there is never, ever a mention of these 4 categories, their doctrine has a problem. If there is a knife guy just stabbing and stabbing away (sometimes at unarmed people) without ANY segments-mentions of the 4 categories discussed, the doctrine has a problem. If you are cracking skulls and bones with sticks without the 4 categories ever mentioned, the doctrine has a problem. If all a combatives guy does is growl macho-tuff-stuff, ear-biting, eye-squashing, endless knees and throat punches, etc. there’s a doctrine problem. In other words, in all cases…their total or partial self-defense class is now a bit of a “go-to-jail school.” And YOU are the potential cell mate. Blind, muscle memory is an unguided missile.

There are so many examples of this routinely  happening. We are probably all familair with misguided use of martial material applications. Look at the May, 2023 case, poor, well-meaning, former Marine case on the New York Subway, choking a crazy guy accidentally to death. Recently again in May, 2023, a woman was attacked by an immigrant in Denmark, an attempted rape. As he tore off her clothes, she sprayed him with pepper spray. Now she is under arrest for illegally carrying pepper spray! The rape suspect escaped. Too many examples to list.

Decide well. Think about it. Think ahead. Build this into your training. There’s a chapter or a book on each category, which we cannot get into in the limited space here. Screw these 4 categories up and you will wind up “wanted,” or in prison, or dead? Or a pariah. Or maybe you’ll ignore this advice and remain an ignorant, immature, senseless knucklehead, which means you will ignore this warning, and just be another negative drag on humanity.

When challenged in court, your system-art will be examined. This does come back to the “What” questions. An instructor-practitioner of any art or system has this responsibility and should answer these “What” questions.

• What is your mission?
• What is your doctrine?
• What is your end-user product?
• What are you trying to “make” of yourself and students advertantly and…inadvertantly?
Today’s gun training world is chock, chock full of these 4 categories. They avoid jail school, and such injections are certainly possible for all in the hand, stick, knife and gun genres.  For one example, my knife course has always been chock full of these “use of force guidelines,” to include a big segment on “less than lethal knife” applications. (These worries come to me from years of police work).

Guided not unguided missiles. Practitioners – are you also going to “Jail School” and don’t know it?

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# BLACKJACKS and SAPS, ETC.

With advancing age and advanced age, one’s reliance on “kuraty” wanes. Someday I know I will be limping around with only my snub-nose, hammerless revolver in my jacket pocket as my only and last resort, despite all the years of training. And what of those who’ve never done any “kuraty?” These inevitabilities make one think about handy support, self defense weapons. Like the small handgun and one might be…the mysterious, intriguing…blackjack.

Andre Wong of Police One defines: “The sap, slapper, or blackjack is a heavy leather pouch, eight to twelve inches long, filled with lead and sometimes a flexible steel rod. Unlike a baton, a sap’s size and shape allowed it to be concealed inside an officer’s pocket. Saps may not look as intimidating as a gun or a baton, but thinking they’re not dangerous would be a mi stake. A sap is dense enough to break bones when the user has room to swing, and the leather edge is rough enough to cause a dull, ripping laceration to the face when used as a jabbing instrument. Slappers would be ideal for use in ultra-tight quarters like a fight on the ground against a large suspect.”

I noticed a number of folks selling and teaching these tools of late. And numerous training videos. I see a lot of artistic, photo displays of weapons on Instagram, and most include saps laid amongst knives and pistols, etc. Given the laws of most states in the USA and countries around the world, I am not too sure you want to be “caught” carrying one, or using one. I am not too sure many of these teachers, photographers or makers have ever used a blackjack in a fight? Not that, that is a mandatory rule. Smart people can invent and teach smart things. Or, have they considered the vast legal ramifications of wearing and using a blackjack?

The law? Here’s just one example, from the People’s Republic of California and the many states that swap legal weapons lingo: California Penal Code 22210 PC makes it a crime to manufacture, import, sell, give, or possess leaded canes or batons (or other weapons in this category). The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 3 years in jail or prison. A leaded cane is a: crutch, staff, stick, or rod (later defined as any blackjack) that is weighted with lead so it can be used as a weapon. The statute also applies to short and weighted objects that can strike a person.”

Okay! Then, well, so much for California. You heard it’s illegal, but it sort of “brings it on home,” when you read the actual laws. I fail to see the word illegally “teaching” in there, though. Exponents, fans and sellers say that in most states you can own one (at home), but warn not to carry one or use one. ETSY sells them as “novelty paperweights.” Others advertise them as “change purses with stout handles,” with coinage inserted via a zipper on the striking end for weight. This fools no one.

Police carry. I was officially issued and carried one in Texas policing for many years in the 1970s and mid-1980s, though I rarely hit anyone with it as I was trained and training in empty hand systems so much, I used that first and foremost whenever I could. I noticed that others less trained, whacked the crap out of people with them. I have seen people stunned and knocked out by them, and upraised fists smacked by them – instant, significant reaction. In the U.S. Army Military Police and in Texas we were also issued batons, which again, I didn’t actually use much, though rules were pretty “stick-free-wheeling” in the MPs. (We were even taught to quick-search a body with a stick, rubbing it all around the potential weapon-carry spots, which now…would probably be considered rape of some sort.)

Where did we tote that thing? Believe it or not, in the golden, olden days, usually in our back uniform pocket! Able to be easily yanked out by any miscreant! In my small world I’ve never seen that happen, although stats tell us that lots of resisting people did and do like to grab our stuff and it has probably happened. I have had some attempted gun grabs (one on the ground) and handcuff grabs. Some uniforms had sewed-in sap pockets on the thighs. I hear that some uniform companies still add these “sap pants pockets” (costs more) as a matter of routine…but remain empty.

Empty? Many police agencies, mine included, decided one day in the 1980s to collect up all the blackjacks and hide them away in dusty closets. Night sticks also slowly de-evolved into expandable batons, then for many agencies all “sticks” also completely disappeared (along with those BIG flashlights).

Blackjack Training Issues and Problems. I sometimes consider slipping a “Blackjack Module” into my Force Necessary: Stick course, because it is an impact weapon. I often consider too, changing the name of Force Necessary Stick, to Force Necessary: Impact Weapons. But, it doesn’t “sing” so well as the core, four single nouns, “hand, stick, knife, gun.” Imagine that added, elongated song title of nouns –

“Hand, Stick-Flashlight-Blackjack-Sap-DanBong, Knife, Gun.”  That makes for a long album cover name. Even adding the term “impact weapons” replacing the solo word “stick” rambles on, Hand, ‘Impact Weapons’ (instead of just ‘Stick’), Knife, Gun” is still too long for me. It is hard to replace the simple, message “impact” (yes, pun intended) of single-syllable caveman, “Hand. Stick. Knife. Gun.”

With blackjacks I have other reservations other than just too many syllables and nouns in the title. Mostly those weapon laws, yes, and then “supply and demand” problems. First off, they are illegal to run around with almost everywhere to begin with, lest of all a box of them. But then so are samurai swords and that hasn’t stopped classes on them! Just don’t walk into a Walmart wearing a katana. People like to study all kinds of stuff from esoteric to practical.

If I taught the sap subject, I would need to travel worldwide with a supply of, a bunch of actual saps or training saps at seminars for attendees. You see, no matter how much we ask, people do not show up with the subject gear. Local schools do not have a boxloads of saps in their closets either.

In my world I’d need like…25 or 30 of them. And do you now much stuff I already fly with? Boxes of stuff. Why so many? There’s not much worse than having a specific, weapon-topic seminar, or a session within a seminar, showing up and no one or almost no one has that specific training weapon. I could tell you stories. You are talking to a guy who’s been stopped in Australian airports because I had a box of wooden pistols. What safety, look-a-like, substitute could I fly and drive around with such a box of stuff, that would be blackjack-like and yet, not get me tossed in TSA or the local hoosegow for illegal weapons? Just one real one in my luggage or to and fro the seminar could be legal trouble.

Making the blackjack subject matter a mandatory part of the FN:Stick course, makes these support accommodations on me mandatory too.

The padded knife-dueling tool shown here is an option but it is not perfectly shaped, removing the nuances of the weapon. (This is also a knife problem when trying to emphasize the knife’s edge with a rounded replica.) And…no strap! You have to experience the scenarios with the straps-lanyards.

In the spirit of “reducing the abstract,” Nok – Tak Knife sells a soft cleaver knife, with flat top that might better substitute for a sap. About \$40.  Again, no strap. And I am quite sure, someone reading this will supply a photo of replica training blackjack, with the quote like, “Dracula’s Obscurities sells foam saps for training!” And of course, more news that John Doe can make them in his garage. Great news for the sap training world.

If I did teach this topic, I would not replicate the mediocre police blackjack material of yesteryear, but rather teach the subject through the basic and advanced “Combat Clock,” I’ve used for 27 years now. The basics? “Slash and stab” at 12, 3, 6, 9 or high, right, low, left. Advanced? All numbers of the clock, standing through ground. And then the nuances, the nuances of that particular weapon. One such nuance would be sap-targeting, another is if you turn the standard, flat top, blackjack sideways, it is more stout and less “giving.” Another is suddenly grappling with one strapped to your hand or wrist – one must experience the “judo” and “jujitsu” moves of the world with one strapped-wrapped to you. I might also add that a blackjack handle within your closed fist helps reinforce your hand a bit when punching. There’s more of course.

Fad or Fad Not? In the big picture, I suspect that the subject matter is a fad. I am not a passing-fad-boy. And, I don’t mindlessly replicate fads or fad makers. Fun, but a fad and at this point, I can’t see it as much of a big, crowd-drawer or a big, crowd-pleaser in the big picture of the so-called “civilized world” – in that the damn thing is illegal most everywhere. Of course, I could be wrong and blackjacks and saps might sweep the globe. And in a “free state,” if asked I guess I would cover the topic.

Despite the legal hassles, still the lore and the look of these little scrappy, tough bastards are intriguing enough to stay alive for “free staters,” collectors, gawkers, historians and self-defenders.

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Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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# KNOWING “WHERE” YOU ARE IN A FIGHT

IT’S PROPRIOCEPTION!
Who, what, where, when, how and why? The BIG “W’s and H” questions that one answers in a fight (and life).

“Where?” There are so many “where” questions to answer. One is knowing where your body parts are when you are not looking at them or can’t see them. Oh, I know the word is more technical and diverse than that, and normal people deal with the subject to improve normal activity, rehab injuries and surgeries and fight back age. But we? Oh we…we here, worry about…fighting. Where are your body parts when you are not looking at them in a fight? Especially a ground fight? Horizontal, not vertical?

“Proprioception is an important sensory function for all normal movement activities, including the ability to maintain dynamic balance and move accurately. All exercises elicit proprioceptive responses to some extent.”

The subject is teaching ground-fighting and one of the challenges for practitioners and teachers is not-knowing, not-seeing their body parts in a “horizontal world,” and of course moving in “flat” unfamiliar movements.

I often have to tell grounded practitioners to “FREEZE! Freeze right there!” I step in and grab their legs, knees, feet, whatever into the advantageous position. Lest of all have them freeze and say “take this elbow and strike this face right here,” because they are: a) brainwashed wrestlers, or b) new to the horizontal world, and cannot make the proprioception connection. Out of sight, out of mind.

Ground fighting to a combatives person is, (or certainly should be):
• Ground maneuverings
• Knee-high versus standing.
• Knee-high versus knee-high.
• Knee-high topside versus those below.
• On right side versus all…
• On left side versus all…
• On back versus topside.
• On back versus kneeling.
• On back versus standing.
• (I include “seated” in this grouping.)
• All strikes and kicks included.
• Use of force laws & military rules of engagement, if any?
• Hand, stick, knife, gun (pistol and long gun).
• The vital W’s and H questions.
• This is the 6th Stop, the Stop 6 of the Stop 6 “The Ground Fighting Collision,” my outline list.

Horizontal time in grade, reps, experience, coaching, all contribute to proprioception exercise. While wrestlers (including BJJ-ers) are developing or have developed this ground-fight awareness, combatives people and “stand-up-only-arts” who only dabble in ground fighting don’t, won’t, and haven’t achieved similar awareness.  Modern MMA people work on it, (but without weapons and cheating). You can see the importance of organized doctrine timetables.

Another term for this, a bit more heard of, but not by much, is “Kinesthetic Perception.” I would suggest searching on the word to get the fullest understanding of it. Here’s one link, but continue the hunt.

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Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

# Peek A Boo Is a Bare Knuckle Boo-Boo

It’s always fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. I did it for years too. Rather…mindlessly too. I knew it had abstract benefits for reality, and frankly, mix and match was good for my school business and student retention (1989 to 1997). And we all know doing just about any martial arts is certainly better than sitting on the couch. But I still only “kept” what I could to glean in the “what works” essence for police work. Fifty years later, this filtering is still an investigation I am addicted too. I still find little and big things to alter and totally remove.

But some things I knew right away, decades ago were “street-wrong.” Like a few “boxing glove cancers” for one of the categories of no-no’s. Those big gloves change things. This photo above, below and those like them, just drive…me…crazy when I see them. This one above is obviously a police training session. Could be a rookie academy or an in-service class. They are mindlessly replicating a sport, face-cover from boxing as a routine stance. Police, military, combatives and self-defense people should not be exactly, mindlessly emulating boxing, (wrestling too), sports or arts as a doctrine principle for crime and war, survival fighting. Each martial, application-blend needs to be investigated.

This “PAB” – Peek a Boo does not protect your face without big gloves! In crime and war survival, not this peek a boo. It’s a boo-boo. Don’t believe little ol’ me? Then to support my observation of common sense I will use two recognized authorities on two points, 1) no protection, and 2) distancing.

• Foremost, the great champ. Bass Rutten, – who is in a world of small MMA gloves not boxing gloves –  described this peek a boo “stance” and face cover as, “It’s a ‘meat block.’ I will punch and kick right through that.” Okay. Well, that about sums that up!
• Secondly, JKD great Larry Hartsell agreed, as I heard him say in seminars. He said it was a big, boxing glove position. Hartsell, a former state trooper and Vietnam combat vet, also advised that, arts aside, from a JKD “street fight,” perspective, keeping your hands up and right on your face as a standard, also allows the opponent to get closer into you, even closer than when hands up and out, further shaving off your reaction time. “Make him EARN that space, fight for that space,” he said. This was a great quote that really stuck with me. Of course, Hartsell was also paid to teach the art-sport of boxing, kickboxing and Thai – all wearing big gloves. Hartsell taught those sports-arts and you will see photos of him in that formal process, too. He knew what went where.

Arms and hands can move very fast, and people might overcome a myriad of strategy mistakes with sheer speed. But, fast hands are not an excuse to teach thoughtless, off-mission, doctrine.

Many reality systems, retreat to a doomsday position and protect their heads with forearms WHEN NEEDED. It is NOT their full-time, formal fighting stance. They retreat momentarily into it.

(A quick, protective forearm beside your head when needed is NOT a “turban block wrap.” Don’t get me started on these mandatory, “turban-arm-wrapping-head” systems. Another topic for another time.)

Allow me to go one step deeper here in this subject. Are fooled by PAB? And do you think it’s dominant in MMA and Bare Knuckle Boxing (BN). By being fooled, I mean, if you train in a sporty-art system that emphasizes the “peek a boo,” and you see an opponent, a criminal or whatever take up this or any tight face cover pose in front of you, you might be brainwashed into thinking, “Oh darn! That guy is ‘covered,’ I can’t punch him,” from much big glove training. Actually though, he is not safe. Punch those hands right on or around his face as though his hands are not there (yes, yes, palm strikes and hammer fist too. Yes.). Be like Bass!

PAB is Dominant In….? Once in a while I see a slippery, anomaly comment that PAB is dominant in MMA and BN. Huh? PAB is big glove boxing, method-idea. Just because MMA and BN fighters have head movement, footwork and high hands does not define them as PAB, And I don’t think that with small MMA gloves positioned right-on-face, PAB is a big consistent and dominant in MMA. Plus in MMA many worry about kicks and takedowns, low stuff, and dismiss PAB as an important MMA strategy. Curiously, one of the biggest, related questions searched on the internet is “Why don’t more fighters use the peek-a-boo style in MMA?” Suggesting that it is not a dominant strategy among the interested masses “out there.” Pro-side, PAB-ers usually lose the follow-up, discussion.

So what about bare knuckle boxing? I have seen the PAB term mentioned once in a while by some, claiming that such-and-such BN-er is a “PAB-er.”  As with MMA, when you look at their films, no, their hands are just…high up, sometimes one in, one out, both sometimes out, sometimes open and “cupping” the outsides of their face, NOT routinely plastered on their teeth as a foundation. In MMA and BN, all use head movement and footwork, also ramparts of PAB. Hands in fights need to, should move in and out, up and down. And, hands in motion are tools of deception.

In summary. Which leads me to the “who, what, where, when, how and why questions and doctrines. Are you teaching-doing sports or reality? As I said, it’s always great fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. But beyond fun and exercise…what is your real mission? Are you making the mistake of mindlessly mixing sport-art things up with survival? What are you trying to do?

Boxing-boxing is just terrific. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, overhand. Terrific. But are you, missing the “big glove point,” over-using boxing? Are you as an instructor, practitioner of police, military, combatives and self defense systems…are you creating and-or enforcing the best doctrine for your mission? I just groan EVERY time I see this bare knuckle version of the gloved PAB stance. It actually hurts my soul! I groan. Bass Rutten, just…just smiles. For him? It’s…lunch.

Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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# WHAT I WON’T DO, DON’T DO

Every competent person, every competent organization has or should have a refined “mission statement.” It’s where you start. Like so many operations, and in a training company like mine, the mission statement is how you build and direct doctrine, avoid dogma, confusion and even hypocrisy. People-companies within their sphere must seriously define, the – “what we do.” One way to really help define what you do is to also seriously define what you won’t-don’t do.

Mission Statement Consequences? – Keep in mind, there will always be both good, planned consequences and unintended (bad?) consequences. Be flexible enough to make sense of things, changes and challenges.

In the 1990s, interested only in the generic, mixed-weapon world of hand, stick, knife and gun, self-defense survival (and enforcement-security), I decided to refine my Force Necessary mission statement to also explore what I don’t do, what I cannot make, and what I would not produce. This is a truth-and-honesty mission statement for me and for my “customers-practitioners.”

By simply understanding won’t you are not, you are not trying to limit yourself, you are trying to be realistic and stay…on a mission. The “no” reasons, the “why,” for each topic listed below might take a few lines, a paragraph or perhaps in some cases a book chapter to explain, but not a whole book to explain. But, no such details are pontificated here for a such a short essay as this.

• I don’t teach firearms marksmanship. I am familiar with the landscape, but I leave that to the many great folks that do that so well. I’d rather spend all that time in interactive, person versus person, simulated ammo training. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field you can find for bullseye shooting, if that is your goal.
• I do not make champion kick boxers.I am familiar with the landscape, but, while nothing replaces “ring time,” as Joe Lewis warned us, we must experiment with kick boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion kick boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you and I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of kick boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
• I do not make champion boxers. I am familiar with the landscape, but while nothing replaces “ring time,” we must experiment with bare-knuckle-boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (as you might begin to spot themes here? One such theme is a dedication to the short cuts of cheating. Cheating the rules.) (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
• I do not make champion wrestlers. This incudes BJJ. I am familiar with the landscape, but again, while nothing replaces “ring time,” and while we must experiment in with wrestling-grappling methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion, sport, wrestler-BJJ person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the field of wrestling you can find if that is your goal. While I look with awe at many of these fine people, and forever look to steal only survival information, I find the very, very simple basics important. Beyond that, I find much of the tap-out nuances fun, but off-mission. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
• I do not make champion MMA fighters. I am familiar with the landscape, but “Ring time!” And yes, while we must experiment in MMA methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion MMA person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the MMA field you can find, if that is your goal. While I look with awe at many of these fine people and atheletes, I forever look to steal only survival information. I find the very simple basics important. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
• I don’t teach any other official martials arts except very essential, Filipino Martial Arts “on demand”- when asked. I am happy to do so, and when I do, I trim it down to rawest-raw, universal, generic essentials. I do not regurgitate whole systems. Though I have black belts in several martial arts, I only use parts of them. (And truth be known, also, I do not do katas and katas are often part of perpetuating these other systems. So…I send you to my friends for classic stuff.)
• I don’t follow any sport rules. I am only guided by the “law-law,” use of force, ethics and the rules that keep you and me out of jail. “Using only that force necessary”…heard that before? Which is the very name and filter of my courses.
• I don’t do any katas. I have other fighting things to do with that time I think is more productive. So I don’t do or teach katas. Zero.
• I don’t do unnecessary, artistic moves. You know them when you see them, well, I’ll take that back, maybe most won’t know them, and be amazed, infatuated and seduced instead? One should look efficient and ugly when fighting. If I-you appear pretty and artistic in action, that should be by accident. Trim this fat. Combatives is checkers not chess.
• I don’t do emergency or tactical medicine beyond some very initial, raw advice. There are plenty of really, terrific medically-trained, veteran EMTs and doctors available for this. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, and I can send you to experts, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the emergency medicine field you can find, if this is your goal. (Get veteran EMTS, medics and “Docs,” they are the BEST!).
• I don’t teach kids. VERY rarely when asked, yes. But 99% of the time? No.
• I don’t require uniforms, just wear “street” clothes as in the clothes you think you will be fighting in. What will you be wearing when forced to fight? Wear that. No pajamas. No bare-footy. No Spiderman body suits. Your police or military unforms and gear, or your street clothes. Reduce the abstract.
• I do not long-lecture on anger, fear and pain management like I am some kind of an expert psychologist. I am familiar with the landscape, but I only brief these issues and quickly steer people to real experts. I can lecture on many topics like crime and criminals and fighting and writing, I am comfortable with history and war, but I don’t have P.H.D.s in the complicated, mind game.
• I do not, will not worship a martial arts system and a martial arts system leader. Such worship is a mind-trap and counter-productive. If I am not mistaken, Bruce Lee said the same thing. Be free to question, skeptical, distrust and investigate everyone and every idea. You can like them, respect them, have coffee with them, but not worship them. (Nor should I be over-trusted or over-worshipped.)
• I don’t want to be called any titles. I am just a guy that’s “been around a few blocks” with a bag of tricks. And we are getting together, scratching our heads, experimenting with the mixed-weapon fighting problems of crime and war.
• I don’t put up with any racist crap. That’s white on black, black on white or any color-on-color crap. One of my American heroes is Martin Luther King. What he says, goes, and works for me.
• I do not and will not ignore your past martial experience. You have climbed off the couch and done stuff! I like that.
• There’s a few more but this is getting too long.  I could offer many examples in each category, dramatizing my ideas, but I think you get the idea of the reverse concept. This actually is not about me! This is about what such a list looks like and about you and your list.

A martial arts customer-practitioner needs a mission statement too and most NEVER-ever have. They just walk into schools like “dumb and dumber,” looking for things that the school doesn’t offer, that they saw in a movie last week. Revealing your different reality doesn’t always fit with the join-up, lobby sales-pitch.

Just in the teaching business with a school? Exist in that classic 5-square mile, demographic in a hunt for customers? You are at ground zero. As school-owners, don’t follow me and my “don’ts! Remember I have no school, my market is different, so don’t mimic me. Keep the kids and the uniforms and the dragon posters!  Stay alive! And look, many people “change hats,” right within their diverse school. Then you should have a mission statement for your karate class, one for FMA or BJJ class and any other mission-hat-statement for your self defense class. I do want you to be happy and healthy, pursue your interests and hobbies and be successful. If you are happy? I am happy. But you still need appropriate mission statement…hats. It’s all a hat trick!

There is a not-so-old expression (and at my age I know what an “old” expression is) the new kids call –  “staying in your lane.” What you are not, helps you understand what you are and helps you stay in your so-called “lane.” (This is true of life in general too.)

But for me exactly? If you are questing for the above traditional, sport and art goals, I can only quote Bob Dylan,

“It ain’t me babe, no, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me your looking for babe…”

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Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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