All posts by hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com

Hock Hochheim teaches hand, stick, knife and gun combat to military, police and savvy citizens in 11 allied countries each year. He's the author of more than 250 dvds on self-defense and more than 12 books on how to protect yourself. His products sell in more than 40 countries.

WHAT are you Wearing?

(If you are happy camper doing classic martial arts in classic uniforms? You are just drawn to the idea? Then ignore me. What do you care what I think? This is just a personal rant.)

I was invited by some folks to a big reunion in the Philippines the other day, and I had to gracefully back out again. Because…because I just don’t go to such things. I am kind of a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit well in most places. When they asked why, one of my rambling answers was, “…yeah and you know,” this…that…“and I would have to wear a uniform, and…” 

Wearing the martial arts uniform. How many times have I dodged events through the years partially because I might be, I would be expected to wear a uniform? Thinking about it, I have not worn a gi of any system in probably in some 24 years. Wow. I don’t have THAT uniform anymore. Nor any uniform. No black belts shoved in a corner. There are all long gone. I don’t recall throwing them away, but they are simply gone from my closets. And I’ve had many a gi since 1972. Kenpo. Karate. Kempo. Jujitsu (old school, not wrestling). Aiki-Jitsu. Modern Arnis. Arnis de Mano. Not counting Thai shorts. All…gone.

I did show up, non-uniform, at a few events many years ago. One time in the 90s, I taught at a big event in San Francisco alongside Wally Jay and Uncle Bill de Thouars. There was about 300 people there.  ALL in gis except me and Dean Goldade. We wore t-shirts, blue jeans and shoes. We really stuck out like sore thumbs. Like disrespectful bums. I hear now that t-shirts and gi pants or sweat pants are acceptable in some big events and gatherings. Which may get me back in circulation? My Kuhl pants might work?

Being a “60’s, redneck-hippy,” I kind of rebel against uniforms. I had to wear an Army uniform and a police uniform. And I was detective for a long time, and had to wear a suit and tie for many years. That is kind of a uniform in a way, but a step aside a regular uniform. On special assignments we wore only the smartest, tactical of clothing for what we were doing. The ultimate goal, I think. Which is getting to my point…

But I am a little twisted. Decades ago, I didn’t get into the martial arts to be a “martial artist.” I just wanted to learn all the …you know…the secrets…of fighting. And, through those decades, where else could you go to learn such things? I started in Parker Kenpo in 1972 and the classes were draped and adorned in classic uniforms. I mindlessly accepted this policy as an annoyance. Terrible, huh? Then, in police training in 1973, I noticed that when attending the – what has become defensive tactics – classes, police showed up in sweat pants, athletic shoes, t-shirt and usually brought along their pistol belts.  At least they wore shoes for God’s sake. At least they brought their belts, but many times they did not wear the belts unless the training switched to gun-related stuff. The clothing question remained for me since 1972. Why are we not training in the clothes that we will probably be fighting in?

I’ve always analyzed stuff through the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions?  

WHO am I to be wearing a uniform? WHO is he?

WHAT exactly am I wearing? WHAT is he wearing?   

WHERE will I be fighting? In terms of smart and common clothing for the location?

WHEN will I be fighting? In terms of clothing? Season? Night? Day? 

HOW will I fight in these clothes?

WHY am I REALLY dressing in training this way, anyway?

WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? (and why?)

In my classes, in my school I operated years ago in north Texas, there were no uniform requirements. People could wear whatever they wanted. Several of my students were cops and they would show up for class in their actual uniforms, which I encouraged. I know this is not good for school sales and the school-money-systems set up by the franchise programs today. I sold and still sell t-shirts, but they are not required. I understand the requirement though. And the martial uniform is supposed to create all kinds of group psychological “unity,” – yeah – I know, but I didn’t care about all that stuff, and sales structure stuff. I mean we are not preparing a military unit where such group/unit psychologies really shine. Today, I only do seminars and each place I go has their own rules and clothes.

Through the years I have seen all kinds of “fashions.” Some random notes on the fashion subject…

  • The old Jeet June Do guys and gals were often seen in the 80s and 90s in tank tops and shorty-shorts. I did that too. That changed through time. Thank goodness. I was tired of having to cut my pubic hairs.
  • The Army, for example, did do much of their new combatives courses in an Army uniform, sure, but…barefoot! (The whole “save-the-mats,” forever thing.) And mostly WITHOUT standard gear like helmets, belts and backpacks, etc.  
  • The newer looks of Krav Maga dodges the classic uniforms, but many if not most, want you to wear their sweat pants with stripes and THEIR t-shirt. The whole sales/branding thing of businesses. (I get it! I understand the process. Do you?)
  • Some of the BJJ gis look to me like walking, color billboards. Warning! Watching them in motion might cause seizures! As an aside, I noticed  that there a number of BJJ guys who slip on blue jeans and have instantly/suddenly become hand, stick, knife, gun masters.
  • Then there is the “no-gi” “BJJ-ish” crowd that seem to be tossing aside the classic uniform days of old for modernity, but have instead switched over to rubber, skin-tight, Spiderman suits (what colors and designs!) and they are still…barefoot. “Let’s trade in that silly gi uniform idea, for yet another silly uniform.”
  • If you are training to fight in a Thai boxing match, and you train in Thai shorts? BINGO! If you are training to fight in a Judo meet, and you train in a Judo gi? Bingo! And so on down the list. But what if you take, say… like Kung Fu to fight a rapist or an attacker?  I think some bingo number are missing off your board.

In seminars, I ask attendees to wear street clothes and shoes. We need pockets and belts. Even if they wear “street short pants” they still have pockets and a belt. A shirt over your gun is important. as is a holster. If you have a fixed-blade training knife, you need a sheath to draw it from, else you probably would not have a fixed blade knife with you, walking around (this is a BIG disconnect in training. A zillion fixed blades and no sheaths). And, no need to overdress in seminars as though one is being dropped into Cambodia for two weeks (unless, of course, you are actually being dropped into Cambodia for two weeks). I always wear mat shoes, as I hope every attendee will too, because I/we often don’t know where I will be teaching and if there is a “no-shoes-rule? I/we respect that. I, at least will then wear socks because I must hide my horrible Amazonian jungle, toe fungus . (I know of a system that actually sells socks with their logo on it.)

I have made a rule for myself I always hope I can remember and consider when drawing outlines, books and teaching – “reduce the abstract.” This is not easy challenge, given the circumstances of your school or your training grounds.  I have failed this self-imposed standard many times, but I try.  But please consider the phrase, reduce the abstract and one way of reduction,  is to dress right.

I know people love to belong, love immersing themselves into groups. Love clubs. Tribes. And showing their pride. I get it! I really do. Again, If you are happy camper doing classic martial arts in classic uniforms? You are just drawn to the idea? Then ignore me. Ignore this. This is just a personal rant. Who cares what I think? I only ask that you at least think about this idea, understand it and can articulate your position on these types of things.

So…WHAT ARE YOU WEARING!!!! And why?

Signed, The Perennial Outsider

********

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Harvey, Give Me the Shotgun, Or Else!

“Harvey … give me the shotgun, or ELSE!” (and other Harvey tales.)

That was the time when cops usually got killed, I reminded myself, looking at an angry Harvey Wilson with a 12-gauge pump aimed at me. But I thought since I knew him, I could talk him down … I thought….


The first time I met Harvey Wilson, he was drunk riding a horse. Not too unusual since, after all, it was Texas. It was a bitter cold winter night, about 2 a.m. back in the 1970s; and Garry Burns and I were on patrol when we spotted Harvey slumped over the saddle. Harvey had a barn on the back of his one-acre lot with a house in the city limits, and apparently this horse didn’t know the way home to the barn. Or it was on a walk, and Harvey was just there bouncing along for the ride. We coasted up beside the horse and rider.
“Harvey!” Garry shouted.
No answer.
I pulled up far enough ahead that we both could get out.
The old horse walked up to us. We grabbed the reins and stopped the gelding.
“WHAT?” Harvey snapped awake when the horse stopped. “What!” and then started kicking at us.

Harvey was a hard-working stout, black man in his late 50s at the time, living alone in a neighborhood of welfare cases, drug addicts, screw-ups, and fuck-offs. Harvey was a little rowdy and tended to “pull the cork”; but despite the whiskey, he was always at work the next day. That night he fussed and kicked at us enough that Garry decided Harvey needed to spend four hours in our urine-and puke-stained, stinking drunk tank. In other words, he was arrested for “drunk in public.”
We hauled him off the horse and cuffed him in a frisky little wrestling match, all under the big eyes of his calm horse. I put Harvey in the front seat; back then in the pre-cage days, that was where we transported prisoners so we could watch them as we drove. Garry got in the driver’s seat, and I climbed up into the saddle. I rode the horse to the city animal pound while the dispatcher paged out the on-call animal pound worker to meet me there.

Not six months later and alone this time, I repeated the whole drunk-on-a-horse affair again with a smashed and frisky Harvey. If you looked at Harvey’s file, you’d find multiple drunk-in-public arrests. Still, he never seemed to hold a grudge and always held down a job. On weekends you’d drive by his small wooden house; and he would be painting, or cementing, or fixing something. Salt of the Earth. Every once in a while when I was on Saturday or Sunday day shift, I would pull over and get out to talk with him for a few minutes.
“Whatcha’ doing, Harvey?”
“Ohh … oh, fixin’ to clean out my septic tank lines,” he would say softly and breathlessly and rest on a shovel and tell me the symptoms and cure for his latest housing ailment. When he was sober, he was just a fine person.

Then I happened to notice a fairly new red Camaro started appearing; it was parked on the street outside Harvey’s house. One day I saw a very attractive black girl, say in her late 20s or early 30s, pulling up in it and walking into Harvey’s house with her arms full of shopping bags. She entered without knocking. The car remained there night after night. I asked Marvin Hayes, a retired postal worker and a neighbor down the street, about this mystery car and curvy girl.

“Harvey’s got him a girlfriend. YaHeah! And I means to say girl! Young! She’s a sweet young thing, too. From Dallas. I don’t know how they met. And I don’t know how he keeps her. But he bought her dat dere car, you know?”
“NO!” I declared. “The Camaro?”
“Yes, he did. Bought her dat car and, and jewelry, and, and I don’t know what all. YaHeah! I hopes he knows what he is a doin’. Cause you know, this kind of business don’t end well.”

You can say that again. I ran the license plate of the car in the hopes of getting her name and seeing if she had a criminal history. The plate was still registered to a car dealership in Dallas. Back then it used to take a while, maybe even a few weeks, to catch registrations up on NCIC.

In our squad meetings, the sergeant read us the daily blotter each day, the list and quick summary of the events since we left the day before. Over a period of three weeks, there were several domestic disturbance calls at Harvey Wilson’s house. There was already trouble in paradise. I never caught a single one of those domestic calls at Harvey’s house until one Saturday afternoon.

Neighbors reported another fight. When I pulled up, that girl was almost through packing her Camaro. She looked up and smirked at me and continued yelling over her shoulder at Harvey, who was up the small hill of his front yard and by his front porch. When I climbed the small incline, I got my first full, look at Harvey. He was holding a pump shotgun at port arms. His eyes were red and wet, and the veins and muscles in his neck bulged. I knew if I drew my pistol, that action could be a catalyst for him to react and shoot me or her, or both of us. I could just tell. And that is how many, if not most, cops are killed in domestics. Thinking about these things. Feeling them. It’s a gamble.

“I’ll kill her!” he yelled.
“Harvey. Put down the gun. You can’t kill anybody,” I said.
“BITCH! I’ll kill you, BITCH!” he yelled. He was barely paying attention to me and watching her pick up her suitcases from the lawn.
“I bought that car!” he said.
“It is in my name, mutha-fucka!” she yelled.
He pointed his gun at her. My thumb undid the snap of my holster, and I grabbed a handful of my pistol handle. I did not draw the gun yet.
“Harvey. Harvey. Harvey,” I repeated calmly. “You can’t kill her. You can’t kill her over a car. You know that. Give it up man. You can’t be doing that. Put the barrel down. Let her go. You shoot her, and your life is over. She ain’t worth it!”

I inched closer and closer, and he got madder and madder. He was losing it. He waved the gun over to me, inches from fully lifting the stock to his cheek and shooting.
He glared and gritted his teeth, and I could see his fingers moving in waves on the gun. The barrel wandered from me to the girl, then to no one, and back again. During a wander, I got close enough to lunge out and grab the weapon with both my hands and pulled the barrel up and the stock down. With a motion not unlike rowing a double oar of a canoe, I ripped and rolled the gun from his grip.
The girl slammed the car door and burned rubber down the street. Harvey’s little temporary paradise … was gone.
I ran the pump up and down, which spit out the shells across the manicured lawn. When it was empty, I laid it against a porch railing. Harvey sat on the stairs of the porch. I sat down next to him. Marvin had witnessed the whole thing from next door and walked over. He was probably the one who called us.
“Man! Fuck!” Harvey said. “Did I get fucked?”
“She was no good,” Marvin said. And I agreed.

We sat there on the steps for about 10 minutes talking. My backup squad car drove up and stopped. I waved him off, signaling it was all over and everything was okay.
I got up after a bit and said, “Harvey, I am gonna take this shotgun in with me for 24 hours.” I saw Marvin nod his head at me. “You can come down to the station and get it tomorrow.” I picked up the ejected rounds on the manicured grass.
“You got him, Marvin?” I asked.
“I got him. I got him,” Marvin said.

We used to have a policy where we would extract guns from a hot situation where there might be more violence or suicide and lock them up at the police department. Just a local practice. The owner would have to go see the police chief and talk to him and retrieve the gun. And, Ol’ Harvey did just that. He picked up his gun the next day after Chief Hugh Lynch had a word of advice or two for him. Harvey remained quiet and behaved himself with the ladies from then on.

One morning some 10 years later, when I was a detective; and we got a call of a body found near some undeveloped land in the southeast part of town. A cable man and a railroad agent were surveying land to bury some lines near a run of tracks when they stumbled upon a body not that far from the road. It was not uncommon to instinctively dispatch an ambulance to a body like this, and the dispatcher did.
When I got there though, I was surprised to find EMTs feverishly at work at the scene. The railroad man walked up to me and said, “He wasn’t dead! We thought he was dead, but he wasn’t.”
I walked past the agent and to the action. The techs were working on Harvey Wilson! Harvey was dressed up in a suit and looked like he was pulverized to a pulp. He was whisked to the hospital and lay there in intensive care for days in a coma.

I went to Harvey’s house, and Marvin and I tried to reconstruct his last healthy day. One thing for sure, Harvey’s pickup was missing; and I put out a “BOLO” on the truck. We searched his house and found his insurance papers; and through a local agent, we confirmed the license plate number. I was frozen stuck in a bad, violent case with no leads, conjuring a range of hypotheses, and hoping the truck would show up somewhere, or Harvey would just wake up.

The hospital called days later. A nurse said Harvey was up and trying to eat. You know where I went, straightaway.
“What happened, Harvey?” I asked him.
“John Wayne Williams. He asked me for a ride. Then he pulled a gun on me. That skunk fuck. He made me stop the truck out there on Morse Street. He beat me up with his gun and robbed me. Left me for dead meat in the woods. I thought I was gonna die.”

John Wayne Williams. Local gangster. We’d gotten word of his recent parole, and you could bet how long before he would be in violent trouble again. It was that inevitable. And he was indeed a skunk fuck. I got a probable-cause, arrest warrant for Williams, and Danny McCormick and I hunted around day and night, and found him in about two days. He was a muscular, 6 feet 6 inches of smartass ex-con; and when we spotted him in a housing project, parking lot, we both drew down on him with our .45s in case he still had that pistola and to avoid going hand-to-hand with that big bastard. We ordered him on his knees with his hands up and cuffed him quick. He did have a pistol on him. Instant legal trouble for a parolee.

At the station Danny and I interrogated him. He played dumb. We never found that truck. In those days, vehicles were easily stripped and sold for parts in chop shops either out in the county or in Dallas or Ft Worth. But with Harvey’s testimony, I sent him up for the “big bitch (life,)” as this was his third felony. Third time was a bad charm In Texas.

Harvey was never quite the same after that near-death beating. Within a year thereafter, he died of natural causes. Heart attack. One of his kids drove in from Oklahoma and sold the house. New folks lived there quickly. Then Marvin, the old postman died too. After awhile, when you work in a city, so many houses, street corners and buildings, whatever, where ever, you have a memory attached to them when you see them. Places. People. Usually bad memories. I try not to visit my old city anymore, for that reason. Way, way too many bad memories.

***************

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

For more of these police tales, get these books. Paperback or e-book. Click here.

Calm Down About Calming Down!

I wonder…has the de-escalation fad sort of died down?

It seems like it was all the rage a while back. Everyone was preaching it in seminars like they were doctors of psychology (you just need to be a doorman, right?). That subject, and the secret tip-offs subject of “Pre-Fight Indicators,” – as some now call it now, were all the fads.

If you hear all about it once, maybe twice in seminars, how many more times do you need to hear it? But in these seminars, there are always new people mixed in with you. And new people need to hear this stuff at least once. Or, once in awhile. There are new people attending all the time that need to hear this stuff. So, you’re stuck, bubba! And, what’s wrong with a little review anyway? So, you hear the one about “calming down?” As the comedians would say, “have you heard the one about…”

Maybe not? I do realize with the rabid, total invasion of BBJ and MMA, perhaps a whole lot of training these days is just about sport fighting, sport wrestling and exercise/fitness and not much about talking and survival. Some Kravs cover this topic. But, there’s not much on de-escalation in the sporty world, is there? Why should there be?  Yet, despite the gap, the fad seems fading? Me, not being in any of those officially, I’ve covered that stuff for decades as part and parcel of my courses. Stop 1 of my Stop 6 course covers this, though one must continue to communicate throughout the Stop 6, throughout the whole fight if needed.

Decades? Is this advice decades old? In policing this stuff is, as they say, “old hat.” The first list of fight pre-cursors …er …I mean…”indicators…I saw was in the military police academy in 1973. (How’s that for new?)  And the list hasn’t really changed much. My collection/list is in a chapter in my Fightin’ Words book for all “rookies” to see and vets to review. And in police work, we have been, and are, all… about… de-escalation. I attended my first police, “Verbal Judo” class in the 1981. It has always been vitally important in police work to have a “way with words.” I like to say that if I were involved in hiring new police officers, I would seriously examine how “charming” they can be. How witty. How improvisational. How…calm. Charm and calm can go along way in the world, in policing, in arguments.Then sometimes…not. The gambling outcomes, should not cripple you.

So, I myself yawn when I hear people clamor about this-or-that, Joe Blow’s seminar on de-escalation and…”oh, oh my GOD! “And…did you should hear the fight precursor tips!!!! Joe Blow is like Moses!” Folks, those tablets came down from the mountaintop decades and decades ago.

And many of the people who teach this material are really good people, smart and mean well. There’s a good chance they have never been in a fight themselves. Or a victim of a crime? (It is hard to de-escalate a guy with a knife or a gun, who just wants your watch. Think about it. De-escalate by…giving him your watch.) These de-escalating instructors are usually masters of the art of regurgitation. Repeating the words of “elder” others over and over. Hey, that’s the education system. So what of this advice about telling people to “calm down?”

After all, we need these pieces of advice and the masters of communication, because the internet says, “Verbal Deescalation is what we use during a potentially dangerous, or threatening, situation in an attempt to prevent a person from causing harm to us, themselves or others. Without specialized training, we should never consider the use of physical force.” I might add here that there are “third party” de-escalators and times when you are one of the “one versus one.”  

So then, have you heard the one about…calming down? Speaking of regurgitation from the masters… I heard yet again about an attendee of such training. He said, that they said – the instructors that is – that one thing you should NEVER say to de-escalate a situation, NEVER, EVER, NEVER, is to say “calm down.” This ALWAYS makes matters far, far worse, they proclaim. This advice always gets the surprise gasp and laugh from the crowd.  

“Ooohs.” and “Ahhhs.”

But, this is often an inexperienced, regurgitater, trying to sound all…”insider-ish,” veteran and cool. I just don’t believe this is always true. Here’s why.

First off, I have been dispatched to a whole lot of domestic disturbances, arguments and fight calls. And also, when damage was done, I had to investigate them. A whole lot in 26 years. I want to tell you that “situations” are different. They are different. And at some points in various situations, using the term,  “hey, let’s all calm down here,” and variations thereof, does not ALWAYS create World War Three. It depends so much upon (did I already say situation?) the old “Ws and H.” Most of you know by now, I always analyze the world through the Who, What, Where, When, How and WHY recipe.

“And at some points in various situations, using the term,  ‘hey, let’s all calm down here,’ and variations thereof, does not ALWAYS create World War Three.”

Who? Who are you dealing with? A guy who wants to fight every Saturday night and it’s getting near midnight? Who are the onlookers – are we in a show of some sort, where people cannot back down? Who are you anyway? Someone with any speech finesse? A bit of a negotiator? 

What? What is this confrontation about anyway? What are your personality skills to handle it? What are your physical skills to handle things if they go south?

Where? Where is this happening? Private? Public? Again, are his or her “friends” around watching and the loudmouth must put on a show of some sort?

When? Has this confrontation gone way beyond asking for the classic “calm down?”

How? How can you calm this down? Separation? Your tone? YOUR calmness? How else can you say “calm down?”

Why? Why should any party in this mess calm down? Why do you care? If it’s about you? You’re involved? Why are you still there?

Keep asking the “Ws and H” questions about this subject and you’ll think of even more.

One of the worst ways and types of “calm downers,” is when a verbally, skill-less person, obnoxiously shouts, “CALM DOWN!” Almost like a bully or disliked boss would. If that kind of jerk says just about anything it might never work anyway. And therein lies the real problem. Are the two words “calm down” the real culprit to peace? Is it the messenger too? The message or the messenger? There is a lot more going on here than just two “taboo” words.

I think much of our interactions in life are scripted. The script of life. Just about everything does have a script. A script at a fast food window. A script when you enter your office or job. A script at dinner. Your skill at improv, at going “off-script” is important. So, at worst, what are some of the typical, scripted responses to your “Let’s all calm down” proclamation.

  • “Don’t tell ME to calm down.”
  • “YOU calm down, I….”
  • “Calm down?! Why should I calm down?!”

“Line! ?”  The actors whisper on stage when they forget their next line. What’s your next line in this script? Better write one or two ahead of time.

But in summary, I just hate to see people and the police completely stripped of this “calm down” term and idea completely. It is not so taboo. This phrase has and will work. I’ve done it. I’ve used it. I know, I know, I know, a couple of you out there will have some “calm-down-failure” stories. Sure. Probably because of the “who, what where, when, how and why,” and not just the phrase itself. And sometimes because some numb-nuts out there just wants to fight you or them and was drumming up an excuse to do so. He might just want your watch? In that case, anything you say will be over-ridden.

But the term has and will work in some situations, I just hate to see it completely erased from your options.

Okay, now calm down, I’m just telling you the truth about calming down.

*****

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Find more of this in Fightin’ Words. Click here 

Remy Presas and Ernesto Presas – It’s a Macho Brother Thing

“It’s a Brother Thing?” 
There was and is always a lot of talk about the various feuds between Remy and Ernesto through the years. How friendly were they? Could they work together? We have covered some of these stories on the Facebook Presas Tribute page, But, I can write about what I think was one of their last interactions. A final phone call?

In the 1990’s Remy married Canada’s Yvette Wong. She was a terrific girl and a Tai Chi instructor who had a Tai Chi video distributed by Walmart. Many of us met her in the 1990s and we all were very impressed with her. I know I was. Soon he had kids with her! (I can still picture Remy pushing a baby carriage.)

Then…then…disturbing…he suddenly picked up with a Dallas area woman that was, frankly…a mere shadow of a woman compared to Yvette. WHAT? We all asked ourselves. HER!? Really? And he wound up living at her house very near to where I lived. Near the DFW airport. We all felt sad for Yvette and the kids up in Vancouver. I had Remy’s new phone number with this Dallas girl, and while it was nice to have him nearby, but jeez you know? Yvette!

Ernesto came through the USA. It was about…1998? And once again stayed with me for a while for our seminar as well as passing through to some of the others. On this trip he mentioned Remy a few times and how much he missed him and wished he could talk with him. Ernesto was really a “true-blue” family/loyalty kind of guy. Well, hell…I had Remy’s local phone number and he wasn’t that far way. I told Ernesto-

“I have his number. He lives now in the next city from here.” (they might even…meet?)

He wanted to talk to him. Hmmm, this is tricky for me to be in the middle of this. But, I got the number out and dialed it. I got Remy on the phone. Ernesto stood looking out the balcony. Nervous. Waiting.

“Remy…hello…yes…hey, I have Ernesto here in my apartment. He says, he says he really wants to talk to you.”
“Ern…esto?” Remy said.
“Yes.”
“Ahhh, is something wrong?”
“No. He just wants to talk with you.”
“Ahhh, okay.

Whew! I handed Ernesto the phone and he sat at my kitchen table and they talked. I tried to make myself busy around the apartment. From what I could hear from Ernesto’s part, it was going very, VERY well. I was feeling good about this. This call lasted about 20 to 25 minutes, during which Ernesto told Remy that he was his brother and he loved him. The phone call started winding down. It was going so, so well!

Then…then…Ernesto asked.
“Can you…can you helpa me, become more pamous?”

Crap. I knew instantly that was not good. This was not what Remy wanted to hear. And from Ernesto’s face, I knew that asking that question was a mistake. Remy immediately got mad. It almost seemed like that request was the real secret reason for wanting to talk with him. Which it wasn’t. I guess the conversation was going so well, Ernesto just asked. The decades old, sort of rivalry they had reared up again. The whole, younger brother vs older brother thing, doing the same business thing.

Ernesto hung up after that request and shook his head. I don’t know what Remy said but it was not good.

“It was good to talk to him.” Ernesto said. “But, he becomes mad at me at the end.”

Yeah. You have to think that Remy spent his whole life slowly developing contacts and having seminars and working, working, working to establish this…list. The hard way. The “original” way. A path-blazing way. Very few people were doing seminars back then. He and just a few others kind of “invented” the path. And to…to give it away or give a portion away, is very difficult.

Many of us use to think how cool it would have been to have at least one big, Presas Brothers weekend seminar. If I were involved, I could have organized it in Kansas City, center of the country for all to get to. But it would and could never happen. I do believe if Ernesto had not asked that final question, while things would have been so friendly and so fine, and a good memory of what I think was maybe their last conversation (?) Remy still would NOT actively help him or do something with him like a seminar.

In the end I don’t think that Ernesto needed the help anyway. He was doing fine. What would a Remy and Ernesto seminar be like? Look like? Would Ernesto people like to delve so deeply into Tapi-Tapi? Would Remy people like to get back into longer-range, head-banging?  Would something happen, or be said and the two would stop talking?  It’s just a….a macho brother-thing of two macho brothers trying to do the macho “seminar” thing.

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Hock’s Email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Binge and Purge – The Martial Arts – Or, How I Learned…

Binge and Purge – The Martial Arts – Or, How I Learned Not to Need Subsection 3B of the Ukulele Islands Miasma Fighting System

I was watching medical doctors discussing things in a lecture and one said, “Remember back in med school? They told us that 50% of what we are learning will be disproved in ten years.” The board of doctors all nodded. 50% is a lot. In a way, in all fields, the sands can shift under your feet too.  Psychology, medicine, science, athletic performance. Fighting. Acne removal. Shoe polishing…prepare to be wrong.

There is a usual amount of talk about the evolution of the martial arts through the centuries and in recent years. The islands of Hawaii were a filtering point for many martial methods as they passed from Asia to the USA. Bruce Lee publicized the barrier-breaking ideas of Jeet Kune Do. MMA (with ground n pound) has evolved to maximize success in sports fights. MMA fights are great laboratories.

I am known for confessing that I am not in love with martial arts per say, nor am I addicted to any one, two or more of them. Per say. I seem to have other odd motivations. These motives have somehow caused me to travel and teach. People say to me,

“It must be great to travel around and do what you love.”

Well, I…I don’t love this. No. Teaching is just a job. A job I got in and evolved in a very odd way from my…my odd “disorders.” Basically, I learned a lot of stuff. Then people learned that I learned a lot of stuff. As a result, people wanted to learn what I learned. I slowly started teaching on the road in the 1990s. Things slowly grew.

Why did I learn a lot of stuff? What motives? I have a very odd, sickness or obsession about tactics, since I was a kid. I don’t care where it comes from, but rather how valuable they are. I am not a historian, pigeon-holing methods into period pieces. If I know that history stuff, it’s just by accident. I suffer from a neurosis that has no name? Martial Syndrome? Martialitis?

I am not a copy machine, replicator of old stuff for the sake of hero- worship, or system-worship.  I want to evolve or even de-evolve if need be. So, like the doctors mentioned above that some things are fixable/replaceable? Smarter, better? Replace it. Since I don’t care about martial arts…per say…I don’t really care about collecting a dead (or living) guy’s subsections of subsections.

After years in “Kuratey-jujitsu” since 1972 and military and police tactics, some sort of sickness then switched on in my head way back in 1986 when I saw the Inosanto/Bruce Lee approach. I can honestly say that not a single day since 1986 has my mind not thought about, or wandered to, some kind of martial subject. Obsessive thoughts. Pervasive thoughts. It’s unhealthy.  I don’t know why. I could collect baseball cards or stamps or bowl like the Dude Lebowski. Instead I collect…hand, stick, knife, gun tactics. Are there any drugs for this malady?

And in pursuit of this collection, I have a peculiar paranoia. Not a typical paranoia, like a fear of “the streets” and being “attacked.” Not a paranoia of what is lurking behind every corner. Not that kind. Not that those things don’t cross my mind, but rather I have a serious fear of…”missing something worthy.”

WHAT am I missing , I fear? Who is teaching what? What do they know that I don’t know? How far am I falling behind? What’s that move? That drill? After all these decades, I do understand that most martial things for me are redundant and repetitive, and there is a lot of repetitive bilge. But maybe not sometimes? When you suffer from this malady, the desire to collect and fear of missing something,  you have to keep eating – and you can’t help yourself –  but…but…eat and purge. Eat, eat, eat and then purge.

You know that bad news about eating/binging and purging. People can die! It rots your pipes! But many people don’t die. In the process they seem to retain enough vitamins/mineral/nutrients to stay alive!

New for the sake of new…is not new. This has been going on a long time for marketing and business. And the grass is always greener. People fall for the esoteric just because of mystique. In the USA, the new “pain rub” medicine must come from Australia. In Australia, it must come the USA. You need to have an educated eye to see through this manipulative crappola.

After these last forty-odd years of odd study, working with smart people, sparring with and without weapons, shooting sims, arresting hundreds of people and working assault, aggravated assault, rape, robbery, attempted murder and murder cases. I have an “eye.” While I am deficient in so many, many things and ways, and I cannot do many things, I do have an evolved eye for fighting things. I can dissect them. And now more than ever I see the vast number  of tactics and techniques on all these video clips. I can instantly spot the esoteric, flashy unnecessary moves people do. And sadly I can see the salivating onlookers, so naively impressed. They often fall into cult-like hypnosis and hero worship over “new-that-ain’t-new,” or some fall into utter nonsense. Often what I see them do what they do, I can cut in half, even thirds, but what’s left ain’t sexy or cool.

 

 

(The…ahhh….sexy “Turban Defense,” as in over-wrapping your head, way too often because…because… ahhhh….well….) 

 

 

 

I hope this sort of time and grade maturity reaches the salivating masses someday? But I also want everyone to be happy, to pursue their hobbies too. If you know you are addicted to the artsy  esoterics? Then fine. Just know you are.

And so, my paranoia. My paranoia. Am I missing something? I will always be looking around, feeling inadequate. And I will go with you to see Miasma Swami Jo-Jo Lukahn teach his subsection 3-A and B from the Ukulele Islands. I’ll fool around with it a bit. Sure. But, I will most likely purge it later as redundant and unnecessary.

Binge. Question. Purge. Binge. Question. Purge.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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The Man Next to You, And That’s It!

The man next to you. You hear this idea a lot. This is a new shirt from Ranger Up with the old message. My mind wanders every single time I see this message.

On one hand, survival dictates that IN THAT HORRIBLE MOMENT, it is absolutely true. That bad situation, it is absolutely true. There is nothing else to think about, nothing else to do but survive. Take the survival steps and task at hand. You, he, she, it, we, they…are not gonna make it unless to do as a team. You have to fight with and for your unit in the heat. Yeah, yeah. I get it.

Then my mind wanders.  In so many eulogies, you hear the justifying phrase ” He gave his life for…” usually it is not only, for the guy next to him.” Usually there is more to the eulogy.  So, then you have the other hand to consider. Survival experts, caretakers, psychologists and psychiatrists discuss, lecture and worry about war things before and after. Perhaps during.  They worry about – the cause. Yes, the cause. They say that in order to survive the before, during and AFTER, people need a cause to believe in. To fight for. The term is “belief system.” This, they say is essential. You have to believe in something to be motivated. Some say it’s religion. Some say it’s patriotism. Some say it’s good versus evil. Some, money. But they say you need something. You cling to something to justify and survive in the long term.

Who, what, where, when, how and why did you get to that battlefield? Is the man next to you also symbolic of that overall cause? Why are you there fighting anyway?

  • The military – for your “country” or even your “religion.”
  • The police – for law and order.
  • The citizen – for self defense.
  • The mercenary – for money?
  • Revenge?
  • What is the cause?
  • What is your cause?
  • Is the guy next to you, part of your cause too?
  • (The motivation might be inexplicable for some to understand.)

Can you find motivation in just surviving the battle moment? Yes. But let’s look at this really cross-ways for a moment. Reverse psychology if you will. Pick up a Ranger unit and drop them into Russia, to fight to the death FOR the Russians and communism, against…oh…say…Canada…for example.  How motivated would American Rangers be in this? Killing Canadians? How would they feel being recruited, trained and transported to the Arctic to kill Canadians for communism? How motivated would they be? Sure, in the split seconds, the intense close quarters of battle they would defend themselves and their friends. They’d fight for the guy next to them? But, they are ordered and then have killed Canadians for Russian communism. Is the “guy next to you” catch-phrase just fine and dandy to justify it all? Do you think for one moment that American soldiers would be happy winning such a killing battle? That “the man next to you” motto is all they need to be happy with themselves until they die?

So, is saving the guy next to you ALL THERE IS?  At the instant, yes. Just you and the guys next to you.  Or, is there something more at play? Something greater? Better? The cause? The purpose?  Without that purpose and cause, how long can the system go on?  How long can the group psychology survive? The “guy next to you” phrase is enough to handle PTSD for all sufferers? Or is it God and country? Etc.?  I think “the guy next to you” phrase is temporary and insufficient.

The belief system. For me, as an example, I have been long disgusted with American politics and the people involved in it. But, I believe in the “IDEA” of America. The republic. What it should be. What it can be.  The idea keeps me a patriot.

Globalists hate the word “tribal.” Yet most insects, animals and people tend to be tribal, if by geography alone. The banding together in the small and big picture happens. And tribes create belief systems. Anyway, I always think about “both hands” when I see this simple message about the “hand-to-hand combat” combat range and the instant of battle. There’s there’s the big picture, the micro (small) and macro (large).

The Micro – in face-to-face battle seeing what’s happening at the tip of your nose. Survive!

The Macro – in the big picture of the war. Why your nose is there in the first place.  And what stinks afterwards.

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Hock can be reached at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Ben Mangels

I just got the word that Ben Mangels died back in 2015. Age 78. I lost touch with him about 2013. His wife got sick and he kind of dropped off the grid, so to speak. If you’ve been to some of my seminars his name comes up periodically. He left South Africa decades ago for several reasons and wound up in north Texas. He started training police (late 80s and early 90s) when the McKinney police department stumbled upon, and that was when I met him.

The seminars were great but when I enrolled in his regular Dallas area classes it was more or less classical Jujitsu in a gi (not BJJ Jiitsu) and I got that up where I lived already, minus the truly horrendous rush hour traffic to get down there and back at night. So instead, I stuck with the seminars, which was a mix of so-called military and police combatives that was his blend of karate, boxing and jujitsu (and knife fighting). While we wrestled over guns and rifles, we never did live fire.The seminars were great!

For several reasons I won’t publicly say here, he eventually left Dallas for the northwest USA.

Later, his daughter married a gun range guy (- innnn… Michigan? – I can’t remember where) and the son-in-law smartly tried to get him to teach a lot there. But that burned out and his wife got sick. So he stayed home.

His experience in the southern part of Africa would fill books. But, his public martial arts instructor persona would not allow for these experiences, but in the police training…wow. We would hear the stories. This guy did a lot. And you won’t read about it on the proper web bios. He told me once he was troubled with very bad nightmares. (His Rhodesian experiences and the South African “rebel,” “bush wars” are missing from his bios.) He ended up where he started, in the South African Military Police.

The last time we talked on the phone….2009? 2010?…he asked me if I would produce a series of videos with him. Of course I would. He would coordinate/teach and younger guys would actually fight on film. Then in the discussion, he asked me “could I be sued?” You know, if he showed something on film and somebody misused it. I said, “well, I guess its possible…but….” That was all he needed to hear and he didn’t want to make any series.

I was essentially a mere Mangels seminar attendee other that 3 month, few nights a week, stint at his classical class.  His biggest influence on me was his “rough and tumble attitude” and his knife material, as I tell people in seminars. It made me cut out a bunch of unnecessary knife material cluttering up my mind.

There was no one quite like Ben Mangels, that I’ve met anyway. I was able to “send/introduce” two of “our guys” who lived up northwest to train locally with him. One actually got a jujitsu black belt from him. Years ago. And here in Dallas, Kelly Redfive attended those Dallas classes (he lived nearby) and has great memories of him. We have to swap notes as he was in that regular jujitsu class and Kelly- not being a cop – could not attend those seminars. I missed a lot though by not going to those nightly classes. It was a rough jujitsu.

It’s a few years late but, goodbye Captain.

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Coming December 1, 2018, Footwork and Maneuvering for the citizen, cop and soldier, standing to ground, hand, stick, knife, gun.

The Knife Whisperer – The Whispering Reverse Grip Tip

The Whisper Tip of the Reverse Grip

I’ve heard the whisper. Have you? The secret tip.

“If you see a guy hold a knife like this (reverse grip) watch out! He really knows what he is doing.” 

Said the tipster who knows nothing, anyway. A receiver from another tipster who knew nothing. I have heard that “insider tip” numerous times. One time, I was even told this tip by a guy who had never been in the Marines, but heard this tip from a “Marine friend.” The irony was I was in Triangle, VA, hotel restaurant next to the Marine base Quantico, there teaching Marines among other things – “knife.” Some of it saber grip knife.  

I have nothing against the reverse grip. I teach it too. But, how many times have you heard or been told, or been taught the reverse grip is the only grip to use? Because there are some popular courses out there preaching this idea. I am often both depressed and fascinated by the paths and ideas of various knife courses. Some appear to me like death cults, others have what seems to be oddball, incomplete conclusions.  Take for one example, the obsession with dueling. While dueling can happen, it is not the only thing that happens in a knife fight (ohhh, like ground fighting?)  Most never cover legal issues and just cut and stab away. Some way over-emphasize Sumbrada patterns. I could go on. Another is the various obsessions with knife grips.

In the 1980s, I was at a Dan Inosanto seminar and he said. “there is no one perfect knife grip, just the best one for the moment.”

Man! That little phrase stuck with me forever as a baseline. Sometimes I think I have short-changed myself as a teacher when I state my mission statement is total “hand, stick, knife, gun.” I think it subliminally shortchanges the 4 individual courses in the minds of practitioners. Courses of which I think are terrific, otherwise I would improve them or not teach them at all. I have slaved over these courses for decades to keep them simple and thorough. “Each course is stand-alone.” So, my stand-alone knife course seems to get buried inside this bigger mission – nomenclature.

I worry about knife grips too. With my Force Necessary: Knife course, I insist that a practitioner learn and experience BOTH the saber and reverse grips. Then after much COMPLETE study, they choose what their favorite grip is, based on the “who, what, where, when and how and why” of their lives. I never tell them to automatically favor any one grip. Pick one, but make it an EDUCATED choice (and not a whisper tip choice). I like both grips. But some don’t like or respect both grips and for odd and incomplete reasons.

The first time I received any training with a knife was in a Parker Kenpo class in about 1972 when they received Kenpo knives and dull trainers from Gil Hibben. The knife was designed to be held in a reverse grip and used in a kick boxing format. This initiation caused decades of Kenpo-ists to hold their knives in a reverse grip as though Moses, not Gil Hibbens, had handed them knives from the mountaintop. In the late 1990s I was teaching in a multi-instructor camp and a old Parker Kenpo black belt was there with his little group. I was covering saber grip material ( a pox! ) and he would horde his people over  into a corner and show them the “proper, reverse grip way” to fix what I was doing saber style. Which by the way his was more complicated and somewhat awkward than the simple saber material I was covering.  

Finally he had to approach me and said, “you know, the reverse grip is the superior grip.”

I said, “no it isn’t.”

He glared at me.

“You can do just as much or even more with a saber grip,” I added.

He stormed off – his 7th dan “master” self, all upset that someone younger in blue jeans and a polo shirt told him flat-out no. (oh, did I mention that he also makes and sells reverse-grip-only knives?) My next session by the way, I covered some reverse grip material, as I am…an equal opportunity stabber.

People pick grips for odd reasons too. I recently read from a guy writing about his grip choice. He said he once saw someone with a training knife, saber grip, stab a mitt and the guy’s hand slipped up on the blade. This made him pick the reverse grip. Really? That? Well, as a detective who has investigated knife crime for decades, I can tell you such slippage happens with BOTH saber AND reverse grips. It depends on the knife! It’s shape, handle texture and any guard/hilts, design, etc. Dear Reverser – your hand slips down on a reverse grip too. Jeez. In fact, a hammering reverse grip deals a mighty blow and your hand needs to be protected perhaps even more, versus an ice pick grip slip.

There are people and courses out there now that mandate the reverse grip, ignoring the saber grip, therefore treating the saber grip as worthless? Mindless followers argue that:

“well, the reverse grip is the Filipino way.”

“The reverse grip is the Pekiti Tirsia way.”

“Ex-super-copper Pete Smith says the reverse grip is the best.”

People! People….people. FMA does BOTH grips. Pekiti Tirsia also teaches tons of saber grip material. And Pete Smith? He is just, flat-out, wrong-headed about this. He is not as smart as you think. He is not as smart as he thinks.

And I will go you one more reverse grip oddity that’s worse. There is a sub-culture out there that wants you to fight reverse grip, with a single edge knife, with the one sharp side, “inside,” facing back at your body. Not edge out to the outside world, where the enemy bodies are attacking you, but edge back at you. Dull edge at the enemy. This is its own unique thinking disorder. The world you are fighting is OUT there, not in your armpit. And why must you hook and haul ALL your enemies, ALL the time inside and close to you? Can you? Can you hook ALL people, ALL the time, in for your one- trick, special magic?

You should have a double-edged knife, which is legal in some places, or you should have a knife with one complete sharp edge and the other side/edge   1/4,  ½ or ¾ sharp anyway. (the so-called “false edge,” a confusing term for “civilians.”) Then the edge-in-only argument becomes moot, because you can still slash and stab, and stab and slash the outside world. But to purposely plan and buy and limit yourself to one edge, then limit yourself with that edge-in only, is…is…just a thinking disorder. It’s a dangerous, thoughtless, thinking disorder. People even make up these excuses…

“Well this type of knife is meant for…”

“I like this type of knife because when the guy is here, I can….

“It works really good for getting his arm away when he’s choking me…”

The guy is…here? How’d he get there? Dude, your “meant for” list is too small when you consider all the possibilities you might face. So then, are you going to carry 3 or 4 different “meant-for” knives for when the he’s here, one for one he’s there, and two for when he’s everywhere?  To cover all your “meant-fors?” All knives work well on an arm when someone is choking you. Dude, maximize your survival with the most versatile knife. “Meant-for knives” is like putting 2 rounds in a six gun, and then carrying 3 pistols. 

Why in the world…WHY…buy a fighting, survival knife to save your life and the lives of others that is single-edged? And then…and then…carry it, and use it, edge inward?

You do know sometimes in a fight, things don’t always go as “stabbingly” as planned. The reverse grip, edge-OUT offers a slashing  possibility, an ADVANTAGE that might diminish the opponent. A double-edged, or 1/4 or 1/2 edge or 3/4s on the other side is ALWAYS going to be an advantage.

Reverse grip tip in accidents. When the Samurai commit suicide – seppuku – they do it with a reverse grip. There’s a reason for this. It’s easier. The tip is already aimed inward. (Incidentally, the helper that will kill him if he fails? Holds a saber grip.) This “easy-tip-inward” is one more point no one seems to consider when raving about reverse grips. The tip is often aimed back at you. About once every 4 weeks on the nightly reruns of the “Cops” TV show you can see a reverse grip knifer get tackled by cops. When they turn the suspect over? He was – “self-stabbed.” One of our lesson plans with the reverse grip is self-awareness of these maneuvering problems.

I cover dropping to the ground and we see people stab their thighs, and when tackled or shoved against the wall, we see the “Cops” incident of the accidental self-stabbing. Tell people to practice falling while holding a knife and watch the accidents. If people are running and holding a reverse grip knife, and they trip and fall? Watch out! There are more reverse grip “selfie” accidents than saber grip ones. Just be aware of this!

Having written my extensive and popular knife book, which took years, studying crime, war and forensic medicine, working cases and the streets, you discover that there are about some…what.. 30 or so ways to fight people with a saber grip and about 25 ways with a reverse group. But, after 8 ways each, does it matter? 

There are many pros and cons for each grip. I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE REVERSE GRIP. I teach it also and I believe better and more thorough and thoughtful than most…or I wouldn’t try. I just don’t like the blind acceptance, the secret whisper about which grip is the best and which is to be ignored. And folks, the single-edge-inward version is just dangerous nonsense. And It bothers me that people thoughtlessly accept courses about these things. Question everything. Get educated. Then pick a knife and a grip you need for your world.

The knife is a very forgiving weapon, in that you can do a whole lot of screwed-up, stupid shit with a knife and get away with it. This is not an excuse to stay stupid. You have to think beyond that to create a comprehensive program and promote real knowledge.

Look, I really don’t care what grip you use as long as it is an EDUCATED, informed choice, and not some mindless, mandate from some short-sighted, and, or brainwashed person, or from that ignorant knife whisperer who knows somebody, who knew somebody else, who…

Some Responses:  “Years ago I was grappling with my training partner and had a wooden training knife in the reverse grip. Long story short, we went to the ground and I fell on the training knife and caught the tip in the ribs. That definitely made my eyes water. Since then I’m very iffy whether I’d ever use that grip with a live blade in a real situation. I still train both grips but I much prefer the saber grip due to the added reach, maneuverability, and the sharp end isn’t pointing back at me most of the time.” – Neil Ferguson, USA

“I was at a seminar where an “expert” told us that if we see a man using a knife in that grip to “Run! That man is a professional!”  First off, I’m gonna run either way genius! A twelve year old can get my wallet with a two inch folding knife. Stitches are expensive!  Furthermore most women use that grip when they stab. Are they professionals??” Zane Issacs, USA  (This leads us to wonder, do we not run when the man has a saber grip? – Hock)

*****

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

1400 how-to photos. 300 pages. Get the collector’s item hardcover, the over-sized paper back, or the spiral bound manual. Click here:

“And Hock, You Take the Back!”

Boys and girls! Another episode in the thrilling days of yesteryear Texas Policing…. 

When I walked onto the Criminal Investigation Division floor to start my evening shift, I could tell something was “up.”  The day shift guys were scrambling to get their tactical vests and assorted personal and standard-issue, shotguns.

“Hock!” said one, “Hurry up here!”

They directed me up to the third floor meeting room, which was a large room constructed like a small theater.

 “We will hit this house….”  …and the briefing went on, conducted by a SWAT team sergeant who also was a detective sergeant. I’ll just call him here, “Sgt Larry.”

Down in our city’s projects, in an old, two-story wooden, house bound for demolition, a local crack/cocaine dealer, ex-con named Willy Vics was running a dope house. It was a magnet for bad guys and hookers from the region. Our narc guys had a freshly signed warrant in their hands, growing stale by the minute.

 “David, Benny, Jeff…you three will enter here and will move upstairs…Tony…you…” and Sgt Larry laid out the plans while waiting for the warrant to be written and signed. There was a somewhat discreet effort to rest the SWAT team a bit in those days. Recently, a certain team had set a house on fire with a flash-bang that had ignited a curtain, and the house had burned down. And, well, there was a movement, you might call it, to tone down militant appearances a bit. At some point Sgt Larry decided some of his detectives should do this one, not our SWAT team. So, his chalkboard was filling up with tactical brilliance. White arrows were laid down aggressively, but there was a bit of a problem manifesting.

The back of the house. It emptied out to a big yard connected to a neighborhood of other yards. The arrows ran out of people to cover the escape routes! I would say there were at last eight detectives assigned arrows. Sgt Larry looked up at newly arrived me. I was gear-less at this point in a suit and tie,

“…and Hock…you take the back.” Huh? Famous last words. Okay. Me  The back. Take it. Pretty big back though.

A few of us had run dozens of these deals through the years and we all had.. “taken the back,” at one point or another. Still, this was a pretty big “back.” Nothing new here, though. Most of the time, the suspect, and or suspects, upon hearing officers at the front door, would then peek outside a rear window, see an officer standing guard back there, and often surrender. Usually. Some hide in the house. We have had to chase a few. (I would often put something across the back door causing a fleeing felon to trip.) I witnessed one investigator throw a brick and hit a fleeing suspect in the head. Took him right down. He couldn’t shoot him! So he bricked him.

Within a few minutes, everyone hit the streets in their unmarked cars. I threw on my body armor and raid jacket and left the shotgun in my car (too cumbersome in close quarters for me on deals of this nature). The plan was to give me a minute to park down the street just a bit and trot up to the yard. This was a corner house. Then, several cars would skid up to the house front, men bail out, destroy the door, and rush in.

I barely had time to jump the tall chain link fence, when I heard the sound of skidding tires and men yelling out front. The usual soundtrack. It is always difficult to exactly coordinate these things. There were about six back windows and a back door. The first floor extended out beneath the second story. There was a sloping, large ledge under the upstairs windows. I tell you this now because in an instant, every hole in the back of this building had people pouring out of it, as people leapt, hung and dropped from the ledge to escape.


“Halt! Police! Stop!” I yelled from the middle of the yard, my .45 drawn.
HA! I recall at least 10 unarmed people ran by me as though I was not there. Fat hookers, skinny dopers, you name it. If I had actually started shooting at them? Well hell, I’d be writing this from the penitentiary right now.

BUT! One of the escapees was Willy Vic himself! He ignored me, too, so I figured since he was the subject of the whole raid, I would chase him. The sprint was on. Willy had to vault a fence, and I was counting on that slowing him down. I holstered my weapon. I couldn’t shoot anyone here anyway.

He jumped on the fence and starting climbing, and I reached up and grabbed him. He clung like bat on the chain link. I reached around, cussed and slapped his face a few times. Hammer-fisted his hands, loosening his grip. Distracted, he dropped.
Thereupon came the scuffle. Willy landed on his back and my mission was to get him cuffed, which he didn’t want. He still had “rabbit in him” (which was Texican lawman talk for he was a runner).      He was a big guy, but in his mid-50s and these guys are still dangerous when excited, plus I was still surrounded by his escaping doper customers and his gang who could double and even triple the odds in Willy’s favor. Ever try to fight a mean, angry, fat hooker?
Meanwhile, the “team” was SWAT-tip-toeing through the house as though terrorists with sub-guns were around every corner. I could hear them yelling, “Clear! Clear!” as they secured every empty room and closet.
One thing was very “clear” to me, I was all alone in the yard, fighting a guy right beside all his buddies, who I hoped were all busy trying to escape. I had to toss a few snappy body punches into Willy, all the while yelling for him to give up. He quickly ran out of gas, and I cuffed him. His help? There was no loyalty among these thieves, and all the escapees got over the fences. I stood alone with the drug dealer, and  I was, all at once, a failure and a success.

I pulled the portable radio out of my back pocket and called Sgt Larry. I reported that I had caught Willy Vics in the back yard. I hooked his arm, lifted him, and walked him to the front porch of the house where the few, shocked folks who had remained in the house were cuffed and sitting on the steps. It made for great front page, local, newspaper photo of about six guys, Willy among them, cuffed and sitting dejected on the front porch steps and about six of our guys in raid jackets and shotguns towering over them.

I stood off from the victory photo-shoot and was a bit disappointed in myself because I had let about, oh, 11 people get away. I was about 35 years old then and had very high expectations for myself. Hell man! “One riot? One Ranger!” Audie Murphy and Sgt York took hundreds of prisoners. I couldn’t stop eight dopers and four fat hookers?
But, it all became quickly apparent that, in the end, I had caught the big fish they were after, and there was a tactical mishap in planning.  Me alone…”in the back” – you know, the place where everyone seems to go when the front gets raided?

This mishap became an “inside joke” with the troops for awhile. For the next year or two there was running joke with CID that anytime we would plan anything, (even a party), it would finish with, “…and Hock, you take the back!”
Sgt Larry, if he heard the rib, took with good nature. I guess?

There was an old comedy bit done by the now disgraced Bill Cosby about the Lone Ranger and Tonto. The Lone Ranger would say, “We’ve got to go to town and find out what the gang is doing,” meaning that Tonto himself, – alone, – would have to go to town. Whereupon he would routinely be beaten up. Cosby said he and his pals would scream at the TV set, “Don’t do it, Tonto! They’ll beat the snot out of you!” Cosby suggested Tonto say instead, “Who’s ‘we,’ Kemosabe?” Which for a while back then, that line become a bit of a cultural joke. You might still hear it a bit now.

But that one day? I was Tonto out back for sure. And Kemosabe was nowhere to be found.

Hock’s email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com

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This is excerpted from Dead Right There. Get all of Hock’s books here:

Maneuvering Inside an Interview, Stand-Off Confrontation

So, if it’s not a stone-cold, surprise ambush and you are in an encounter with someone picking a fight with you for whatever the reason, yelling and arguing with you, and things may go physically “south” very fast. How will you stand before this person? In the best aspects of police work, even if someone is screaming at your face? It is still an “interview,” and you have to somehow remain cool, calm and collect.

This is professionalism at the police level, and maturity at the civilian level. Thus, the “interview stance” is a ready position, but not too, too ready as if to psychologically escalate the situation, or cause any possible witnesses to think YOU were escalating the situation into violence.
 
I would like to say that in all my decades of police work I had a trick in this pre-fight instance. If a situation was percolating into physical trouble, of course my body/feet would be bladed from that person, as in the right or left foot back from the other, but not too far. We call that “bladed.” And I would, inside my pant’s legs, unbeknownst to anyone, bend slightly at the knees. This was a more springboard, athletic position. This turned on the “juices” in my body that trouble was brewing.
I am sure by now you have heard the many experiments where body chemicals were sort of, reverse engineered. One famous experiment is the “reverse smile.” When you are happy, there are chemicals released and you smile. It has been thus far proven that when you smile you can initiate these same “happy chemicals.” The same is true for other physical responses and body chemicals. I “have made it so,” that when I slightly bend at the knees, I have made myself….”ready.” Ready? Ready to move. Ready to do something physical.
But, if you jump into a fighting stance, “before” the actual fight, which might make good, pre-emptied sense sometimes, be aware that your “action-guy” pose could be perceived as an escalation to violence. This may spur on the other guy, or look like the actual fight-starter to ignorant witnesses – 
“Two guys were just arguing, officer and then, the guy in the suit squared off like he was going to fight. Then the other guy did too. Then the fight started.”
 
Part of everyone’s repitoire should be the “re-emptive” strike. You know this physical fight is going to happen, so you strike first. This is your own little ambush, usually delivered from a non-fighting stance. Could be an arm strike or a kick. Could be a carefully placed head butt?
 
That is why all unarmed, self defense system must practice all their strikes and kicks from the typical non-fight stances, all which we will review later, along with the fighting ready performance stances/positions, moving and non-moving.
So, your pre-emptive STRIKE, though soundly sensible for your situation, could make you appear to be the instigator of the physical part of a fight. Needless to say, the same nearby witnesses may tattle –
“Two guys were just arguing, officer, and then the guy in the suit hauled off and smacked the other guy in the head!”
 
On the flip side of your knee bend is his knee bend. If you have a person confronting/standing before you, and he suddenly crouches down? This is a natural athletic move. This is NOT good for you. It is a positive indication that he is about to get physical. Look at the bent knees and the hands up in this picture above. This is a fighting “stance” for when the fight starts. If they “spear” up their hands? Crouch and or, start twisting their torso which a high percentage, common precursor for a sucker punch, you must act according and prepare for trouble. (Inside my book Fightin’ Words you will find all those pre-fight tips I’ve been collecting since 1973.) Remember all these cues when you must later articulate why you did what you did.
 
Like so much in life, anything within a certain spectrum of events, good or bad, can happen. May work. May not work. In this particular “stand-off interview” moment, here are some common, even natural responses in the script of life.
-1: Leaving, fast or slowly.
-2: Cowering, “collapsing” of some facial and physical sort.
-3: Automatic anger.
-4: Ignoring, in some situations.
-5: Command presence of some sort, as in not collapsing.
-6: Fighting ready pose.
 
There are still options for maneuvering in a so-called stand-off confrontation, many are done with simple walking steps. You can:
-1: Maneuver a distance from the problem person or persons.
-2: Sometimes you can just keep walking.
-3: Maneuver near an exit, for a sudden escape.
-4: Maneuver over into the sight of witnesses or help.
-5: Maneuver to something that can be grabbed as a weapon or a shield.
 
-6: Realize a person or persons may be maneuvering you by crowding you, distracting you and getting you into a inescapable position, a no-witness situation. (A pre-meditated ambush is full of these factors.)
 
-7: Orderly retreat as previously defined in other essay, or even running.
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And a Quick Note on Verbal De-Escalators
While on this initial confrontation subject, a quick “side step” here from physical movement over to verbal skills. As for all the verbal, de-escalater experts out there? There are many courses available on de-escalation, run by lots of intellectual folks who have never had such attacks and confrontations forced on them, and they over-value the idea that great, practiced orations will interrupt a fight.
You will hear advice from all sorts of people. Remember that deescalation for cops is different than for guards, different for door men, for soldiers, for citizens on a parking lot, family members in a domestic, or road rage encounters, etc. Run their advice though your Who, What, Where, When, How and Why filter. While remaining within a spectrum of outcomes, the encounter is quite situational for you.
Never forget this guy drawn below. All your non-aggressive, micro-expressions and rehearsed non-aggressive wordings and steps won’t stop him. He has his own script. He follows an antithesis to your script.
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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
This is excerpted from Hock’s future book, Footwork and Maneuvering: From the Ring to the Obstacle Course”