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.

The Dead Baby

Through the years, I worked several cases involving dead babies. Dead babies in murders and car wrecks. Frozen in cars. A rape. Beatings. But one was by far the weirdest and most ironic.

In Dallas, Texas, in the last few years, the city had started what they called a Baby Moses program. This program was where unwanted babies could be dropped off at fire stations and safe havens with no questions asked rather than be abandoned or killed. As I watched this news feature about the new program on television, my mind flipped off into the various dead baby cases I had worked in the past. Would the Baby Moses plan have helped? All had a snapshot stain in my brain of a telling moment or two. But … one sight, one night sticks in my mind.

That case involved what was probably one of the most ironic moments of my life because it was intertwined with the law, races, friendships, death, abortion, poverty, education, and, … well, so much it was too hard to categorize it all. I will just have to tell you about it, and I promise you won’t know what to do with it either.

I will start by recalling a guy named Sam Till for you. Many of our officers knew Sam Till. Sam lived in one of the projects or “poor” parts of our city; and, yes, it was the black part of town. Sam was a Vietnam vet and a retired, high-ranking Army NCO. He was a hard-working, ambitious person and ran two successful businesses. One was a large, citywide sanitation company; and the other was a well-established funeral home. On any given day, you might spot Sam supervising a garbage truck or even loading one on a route; or he might be giving a sermon at a funeral or driving the limo to a graveyard. He often came to crime scenes and collected the murder victims or scraped together what was left of accidents and suicides. Sam, like the other funeral home folks, would transport the bodies to the lab for autopsies if needed. Sam pitched in and did it all. Yes, Sam was a black guy.

One day, he and two workers saw a crazed man beating one of our officers and trying to take his pistol. Sam and the men jumped on the criminal and saved the day and the life of the already-unconscious officer. Sam was one of the locals who renovated his house and remained in the projects as many successful people did at that time. It was where he grew up! Where he wanted to be. He was even mildly involved in city politics and become involved with various good causes. He had several good sons who stayed out of trouble despite where they lived.

During my years as a patrolman or a detective, Sam supplied me with a lot of information about people he knew and suspected of crimes. I could go to him anytime for intel and gossip. He in turn would give me a phone call if he thought he’d discovered something. I think he knew I meant well for the community. He also knew that one of the most influential people in my life was a black Army NCO named Gaston; and, therefore, I mustn’t have been much of a racist. But racism was an overall problem back then—not as bad as before the 40s, 50s, and 60s, but still bad in the 70s and 80s.

I was a fairly “new” detective in 1981 or thereabouts (technically “new” as Texas goes as I was one in Army) . I was dispatched one chilly, early evening to meet a patrolman about a “family” problem in that part of the city. When I arrived at this sprawling, older home, a patrolman introduced me to a mother and father. The parents had become burdened with a problem, and neither they nor the patrolman knew what to do about it.

I first met the officer standing outside on the walkway and alone in the dusk.
“Hey, Hock,” the patrolman said. “We’ve got a problem here. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do with it.” The officer shook his head. He opened the front door and steered me in.
What is there not to know? I asked myself. Then I found out.

“Sandra has not been well, and her friends have told us something,” the mother spoke up. “Sandra was pregnant. And we had no idea.”
Pregnant? No idea? I saw the family color portrait on the wall. The parents were big people, and I mean really big people. Sandra, who looked to be about twelve years old in the picture, was a very, very big girl. We all sat in the living room.

“Her friend told us she was pregnant, and she had the baby,” the father said. “Sandra has not been to school in a week. She’s been throwing up … we just thought … we just thought she was sick.”

“Where is the baby?” I asked. “Is there a baby … yet?”
“No one knows,” the officer added.
“Sandra’s friend says she had the baby last night,” the distressed mother said.
“Where?”
“In there,” the father said, pointing to a bedroom.
“In there. Have you looked yet?”
“No, Mr. Hock, we were afraid to look.”
“Any … ahh … crying or…?” I asked with trepidation.
“No. Sandra is in there now. She won’t open the door.”
“Well, Mrs. Rankin, this is your house; and you can go anywhere in it. Let’s go,” I said.

We all stood, and the mother announced to Sandra that we were coming in. Sandra wouldn’t unlock the door, so I kicked it open. The bedroom was quite large, yet it was stacked and cluttered with … with just about everything you’d find in a teen’s room at the time times 10. Clean clothes. Dirty clothes. Furniture. Some stuff just stacked and other things grossly shoved and tossed everywhere, all atop a dirty carpet and a few pieces of old wooden furniture.
The mother started to explain to her why we were there. Sandra was now about 15 years old and still quite a large young girl, much larger than the photo I’d seen in the living room. It was possible to live around her and not detect a pregnancy? I guessed. Possible? As they talked, as she denied, I started prowling the room, lifting, and looking. And then I spotted a newborn baby pushed against the wall and buried in towels and clothes. Dead.

The parents knew I’d spotted something. I must have grunted or something. And in an instant, they charged over to look. They moaned and screamed.
“Don’t touch,” I said quietly. Regretfully. “Let’s all get out of this room.”

I left the house for my sedan radio. I requested our crime scene man, Russell Lewis, to come as well as my supervisor, Detective Sergeant Howard Kelly. Kelly called the house phone, and I ran down to explain the deal to him. He would contact a Juvenile Division Detective to take over any investigation, but that wouldn’t be until tomorrow unless something unusual happened. It was my mess until then. I hung up the phone. I knew the girl would eventually be charged for something that would probably be impossible to prove or disprove back then. Stillborn? Starved? Killed? Not too sure what the prosecutors would do. But my involvement would be temporary.

Now, I am trying to keep these details brief. Russell came. We snooped around, and he took pictures. Then he left. What came next is why I write this…

A funeral home was called to handle the dead body after we processed the crime scene. Sam Till’s was next on rotation and took the call and drove right over as soon as he could.

As soon as he could, because he was still in his garbage truck! Not the usual Till funeral van, as Sam was out delivering a truck to his office and was already nearby. Sam came in and was greeted by the parents as though they were longtime friends. He sat with them. He listened to them. Sympathized with them, as Sam always did so well. There would be a proper funeral. The family left the house for the police station, where I would later collect some preliminary statements.

Then it was just me and Sam. The baby would next go to his funeral home and as soon as possible be driven to the Dallas County Southwest Forensics lab for an autopsy. Sam had a white towel in his hands, and we walked to the bedroom and up to the baby. He was talking about something to me the whole way. I don’t remember what. He grabbed this baby by the ankles, and with it hanging upside down, we went back out on the street. While we discussed whatever it was, he laid the towel down on the passenger floorboard of the garbage truck and laid the baby atop the towel. We said goodbye.

He roared the garbage truck engine as I walked to my car and unlocked the car door, but I just stood there for a second, you know? What just happened? As he drove away in the garbage truck, I stood rather dumbfounded on the city street; and I knew I had just witnessed a most ironic, twisted, odd, social statement or situation. I mean, how can I describe this? The words “dead black baby born in secrecy and removed from the slums … in a garbage truck at night.” Is that how the report could read?

I have a vivid memory of that moment in my head.  Standing on the street watching the garbage truck drive away. A memory, to this very day, I just don’t know what to do with.

*********

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

This is excerpted from Hock’s books Don’t Even Think About It. Get Hock’s True Crime – Detective Books. Click here

An Unholy Alliance with Amazon Books

January, 2019. It’s book, bookkeeping time of year. Thanks to all who bought one of my books for Christmas presents in the end of 2018, in various versions, hardcover, paperback, ebook, Kindle, from our various distributors. Now, for some insider info of the book industry.

Brace yourselves, the business of books is sad and tough. Since 2015, records show I have sold over 33,000 ebooks (about 8 of my books have e-book versions. This doesn’t count paperbacks and the martial textbook, hardcovers I’ve sold.) 

Not one individual book of mine, (ebook or otherwise) sold over 25,000 copies, which, officially, you could declare one a “bestseller” in ads on the cover. (Some folks, flat out lie about this). It sure would be nice to be a bestseller. Maybe someday. Indie publishers throw that word “bestseller” around in their ads. No. Unless they preface it with “Pudunk Press” bestseller. Then yes.

Now…33,000 ebooks alone since 2015. (We have no pre-2015 stats, so there are more sales. Wow. Sounds like I should have a new sports car? No way. Let’s take Kindle (Amazon). Their algorithms are bizarre screw jobs changing in roller coaster sales, wheels and deals. Sometimes an author gets pennies. Sometimes fractions of pennies. I have. In the records there are times and groupings where I sold 300, 400 ebooks and received only a few dollars for the whole batch. Then you get tossed into the 99 cent sale. Sometimes the “free sale.”

It is mysterious and explained away in happy, positive, sales jargon campaigns. But once translated – Amazon keeps all the money. Translated – author screwed. One of my friends sold 187 of his ebooks and made…81 cents. Thanks Mr Bezos.

Plus, you-the-author cannot contact the purchaser-reader. No list. No emails. No author-reader relationship. 41,000 stranger-readers that otherwise I could advertise to. But they want to keep me apart from them, so I will not cut Amazon out the of the middle in future sales? (Our German publisher lists for us every sale they make adding reader emails when they get one. But if they sell to stores, then stores sell to customers, we don’t know who they are either. But the Germans at least try. )

It is an unholy alliance with Amazon books (Kindle). Can’t make a living with them, can’t live without them. Indie authors hate to admit their books are not selling well so they lie about the money they make and the volume they sell.    

Through all book-racket-business, I still want to thank everyone who bought a dang book of mine! Really. Thanks. If you buy one directly with me on the below page or in my appearances, it helps keep me in hamburgers and flip-flops better, and there is only ONE middleman company then, who lets me keep a few dollars more and not fractions of pennies.

We can see my Gunther westerns do pretty darn well, and if we have our own little bestseller? I think its Fightin’ Words, but it’s all hard to decode, decipher and add up.

Gunther will return late this year in Rio Grande Black Magic. I loved writing this book. Did Gunther help assassinate Pancho Villa? And my Gun book should be done, adding to the martial set (so many photos, so little time).

THANK YOU so much again! I hope I entertained you and caught lightning in your jar, even if for just a second.

++++++++++

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

 

Click here for all of Hocks books

Pre-Fight? What About Pre-Crime?

Keep your “scene” just a “scene” and not a crime scene.

There has been much ado in the last few years of training/seminar circuit about pre-fight indicators. Instructors present a list that has actually been around since the 1970s. So new? No. Just new to new people, that is. Through those early years the list hardly ever filtered down into the local “kuraty” clubs, so to speak, so its later arrival was big.

I mentioned here last month that I was wondering if the  “pre-fight” fad was dying down a little? There was a distinct subtle, innocent approach that these tips, along with a lot of self defense, were sort of a “boys-in-bars” problem.  Then lately a bully problem, though bullies are quite overt.  Not much prediction problem.  Is this bar-club, under-theme was and still is kind of big. Training films were and are shot in bars to accent this point, huh? Months ago, a “famous” head-wrapping/elbow-striking UK course released a video clip on close quarter fighting, and of course, heads were wrapped with arms and elbows used, as is required by the franchise, but it ended with our hero successful and the hero said to the camera, “you go back out to the dance floor.” The…DANCE floor? Really?

Are we still mindlessly hooked on the bar fight? Appealing to the 20 year-old-ish market? Is this the place of all combat? It speaks again to the “boys in bar,” fight theme. Think about the stretch as bouncers have become famous as fighting experts with doctorates in psychology. Mere bouncers. Anyway, with this subliminal, “boys in bars” as a subtle foundation, we get a lot of pre-fight, indicator tip-offs, (as well as dreams of de-escalation talk.)

By the way, police do need to be, at very least exposed to these pre-fight indicators, (as I was in the 1970s), as cops are interacting/standing-off/communicating with “trouble” a lot. But they also need a little training in pre-FLIGHT indicators. Sometimes you know, Sparky just runs off.

That’s pre-fight, and pre-flight.  For the coppers. Most citizens would like the other guy or mugger to just run off. Cops have to chase.

But, what of pre-crime indicators? I am not sure that the average Joe and Joan grasp the fact that the thrilling, pre-fight indicator list is a lot different than the PRE-CRIME indicator list. Oh, and I can hear the snoring already beginning because this now reads like…“crime prevention.” BORING! Huh? Crime prevention is often cluttered with “locking your doors,” and “putting up outdoor lights,” and…and…still awake? Still reading? (And by the way, I am not worried about most pistol people. They seriously worry about the before, during and after of crime. I do wish that knife people were this concerned. )

How does one…pre-crime? How do you detect an ambush crime? Pre-crime studies are different than pre-fight studies. And I believe that while many virgin schools and virgin seminar attendees are so happy to hear about “fist clenching” and “1000 yard stares,” that the presenter and attendees miss the …gulp…crime prevention aspects. Stopping rapes, robberies, abductions/kidnappings, home invasions and murders. Who, what, where, when, how and why do you get ambushed into a crime? Sometimes there’s a little overlap between the two categories, sure. But pre-crime is different and diverse. For example, there are usually little if any pre-fight indicators in a criminal ambush.

What can we do to make pre-crime sexy again? It’s hard. Publishers use to create a fair amount of crime prevention, tip books years ago. They were quickly rendered onto the Dollar Sale table. No sales? No books. Remember this Sanford Strong book? You probably don’t. People say it was the best at the time.

People do somewhat remember The Gift of Fear. Why? The stories, that’s why. Years ago, Gavin Debecker wrote that entertaining book, The Gift of Fear. First editions really promoted an ESP-ish, Spidey-Sense as the gift. Neuro science developments in the 2000s proved otherwise – that it wasn’t magic, rather we react from learned behavior. Your “gut” instinct is almost completely a trained mind from vast sources. Further editions of the book changed to reflect this. The Gift stories were thrilling (psychology has already proven that stories and “war-stories” are the best, longer-lasting teacher). But take out the cool stories? And what’s left, the skeleton of advice? Strip out the tales and you have a BORING crime prevention hand-out from your local police department. “Lock your doors.” “Put up lights.”  “Watch out for strangers.” Etc. Yawn.

The routine crime prevention pamphlet can leave something to be desired. It usually lacks a certain first-person, in-the-moment advice from…stories. Whereas watching a news story about an unlocked door, and a sobbing crime victim, is a better teacher than a McGruff pamphlet. 

For one example of a study area for pre-crime – I wrote about this in my book Fightin’ Words. I worked a rape once by a bus stop. In the daytime, this ¾ enclosed bus stop looked normal and safe. A curved sidewalk ran behind the little clear, plastic edifice. In the middle of the walkway, beside the curve was a small grassy area, then tall fences of an apartment complex. This area had a gigantic bush-looking tree next to the sidewalk. Looks safe and normal. In the daylight. But at night? It was a trap. Poorly lit. A college girl walked by and was snatched by a thug from behind this bush. When called out to the case, I saw this scene at night and could see what a trap it was, from a criminal mind perspective. Daytime? No. Night time, yes.

Geography, plus architecture, plus criminal mind.

An equation for trouble. Who, what, when, where, how and why? These questions can be investigated with good intel, research, experience, and an adequate mind, to predict crime scenes. With the W’s and H questions, I have been presenting this info for…well…at least 23 years now.

Hey, I don’t care if you like to worry about bar fights too, but let’s make crime prevention interesting again! I mean, doesn’t “Pre-Crime” sound cooler than “Crime Prevention?” We can do this. Keep your “scene” just a “scene” and not a crime scene.

+++++

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get the book Fightin’ Words, paperback or ebook, click here

Uncles, Criminals and Enemy Soldiers!

In my Force Necessary (FN) courses, (oh, and remember the subtitles that go with that course title;

“Using only that force Necessary to win and/or survive.”

“Sometimes force is necessary.”

“We are Force Necessary, NOT Force  Unnecessary.” – as in not doing a lot of flashy, unneeded things.

Need we mention? “It’s a hand, stick, knife, gun world.”

Though police virtually live and breathe on the line “using only that force necessary,” but my police course is called “Police Judo”. It’s not Judo-Judo. There are no guns in Judo huh?  Police Judo is just an old-school name for defensive tactics I still like and use.)

And we resume  to the subject– in these courses, we fight three “enemies.” A quick answer to one of the “Who” questions.

  1. Your “drunk uncle”
  2. Criminals
  3. Enemy soldiers

Drunk Uncles: It is very common in life to fight people that you do not wish to really hurt. Like your drunk buddy or uncle/relative. In police work we are also expected to fight but not really hurt people unless things get “out-of-hand” and the situation escalates. But, poke your buddy’s eye out, bite off his ear, hammer-fist his throat or neck, smash his face, shatter his knee, and then see what happens to you. Usually, often, jail and lawsuits. Money and problems. There is a whole lot of domestic violence out there.

Criminals: Essentially speaking, a stranger, (or for that matter even a friend, uncle or not, officially becomes a criminal when they assault you. You could just lump your uncle into this category. But I don’t because of the intricacies about family violence. ) But, what crime is being committed? Who, what where, when, how and why? The level of crime, the situation takes the temperature of your response. Crime often starts out with an ambush. “Where,” “when” and “how” subjects.

Enemy soldiers: We know what those are. We usually like to kill them from as far away as possible, but often can’t.

Civil law, criminal law and the Geneva Convention, as well as human ethics – look at fighting these three “bad guys” differently. Our responses (AFTER the who, what, where, when, how and why of avoidance) the reactions to these confronting “uncles, criminals and enemy soldiers” are very situational and may be:

  1. Surrender
  2. Bargain (talk, show weapon, etc)
  3. Escape (you leave or he leaves)
  4. Hurt, on up to maim
  5. Kill
  6. Detain, arrest and, or take prisoner

All are worth exploring in training. All have happened and will happen. I make it a point to cover all of the above in the Force Necessary courses. These are important subjects. This can be helpfully organized in the pursuit of the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions.

Since we are Force Necessary and not Force UNnecessary, I do not teach sports or arts. I have done sports and arts for decades. I investigate sports and arts. I only borrow from sports and arts for practical applications to solve these “uncle, criminals and enemy soldier” problems. Sports and arts are great laboratories, but it takes constant vigilance to know where to draw the line.

Some people never think of these things. They just head-bang. Which is why I mention them here.

*****

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get the book about all this and more, Fightin’ Words, click here

Dead Man’s Wallet

It’s hard for many to escape what is now called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Disorder at some level if you let yourself think of trauma you’ve seen or felt. It seems to manifest in so many different ways. Can anyone truly escape it? With me, I might be all screwed up because, frankly, I don’t know what normal is. I have my jacked-up moments. My nightmares. Brain damage. We think we are okay, but I have seen much crime in person and know of so much crime and war otherwise.

I’ve learned in my life that people’s faces are just masks that they trot around behind. These masks all float around you day by day. What they really think behind their masks, what they really do when sight-unseen is a mystery. It’s a mystery to a detective. And what stress and what pressure will cause them to pop like a vomiting blister is anyone’s guess? If you work in the profession long enough, you learn to live among this angst. One thing? Very little surprises you.

Billy Bob Thornton calls it, “angst and shit.” What angst is left that haunts me still? Haunting? Haunting me is…a wallet. Through the years, I have removed many wallets from the pockets and purses of dead people. People who have been blasted, decapitated in car wrecks, shot or stabbed. Some wallets smothered in blood, or stinking, or crawling with maggots. Suicide victims, accident victims, murder victims and people who have just flat collapsed from natural causes.

You open the wallet and find the dead person’s history. You find out who they were. Where they live. How they lived. You find out to whom you have to deliver the death message. You have to find out how they died. Then there is the revenge part, oh, oh excuse me…justice.

Sometimes when I open my wallet, I catch myself thinking about this simple act of opening a dead man’s wallet. It all comes to me in a rush, a blur, as if all turmoil filters down into this one symbol, a wallet. And, I can’t help but imagine an officer or medical examiner’s investigator, EMT? Someday, later? Ten minutes later? Three hours from now? Next year? Ten years? Looking into my wallet, looking to discover who I am, and who to call about my death, following the very steps and routine I’ve had to do so many times.

I don’t usually remember my dreams, any more. But when I do? In almost every one, I am a cop again, patrol or detective. Trying to solve unsolvable problems. In a human rat-maze I only half recognize. In a city I half recognize. Abstract chaos. Half nightmare, half dream. Sometimes I shoot bad people in my dreams. When I am shot, the instant before the bullet lands, I wake up, in a gulp.

Then I stare at the dark ceiling for a bit. If I drop back to sleep again, will I return to that instant? Will the bullet hit me? Last night I dreamed an armed robber tried to shoot me with a machine gun. I shot back and my bullets went slow and askew like weights on a cast, fishing line. I was sure a goner in that nightmare.  Dreams and I are not friends. I have to sleep, but it is a very unfriendly district to work in. Still…I report to work there.

When these feelings come over me as I put the wallet back in my back pocket, I try to put it all behind me too. But sometimes I am caught thinking about the shortness of life. The random, consistent tragedy. Some people like to say that death is “God’s Will.” Makes them feel good to think there is a plan in place. But, “God’s Will” is all past tense, chin music. Some people really need an explanation that there is a special, master plan to excuse all these disgusting horrors of the world since human beings first started their trotting upright. I don’t think there’s such a grand plan, though. Not like that.

I think the “God-head,” the “Intelligent Designer,” whatever, was worried more about establishing the trees and not worried that much about the leaves. The leaves? Us. We just blow every which way. That is the sorry plan we’re left with down here on ground zero. Bob Dylan said it once, “The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.”  But, that’s no answer, really. The wind? Hell, that’s just a direction.

I use to call police work “social sanitation.” I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life with a social rake in my hands, piling up social leaves in the social wind, and I can’t help but wonder sometimes which way this wind blows, where all the leaves end up, and when I am “dead right there,” who will be the last person that has to look in my wallet and try to figure out who in hell I am?

*****

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

This is excerpted from Hock’s book Dead Right There.  Get the paperback. Get the ebook download

 

You Who’s on Fire!

Our tenement apartment building was ravaged by a fire two days before Christmas way back in the 1950s. This put us homeless on the streets of Union City, New Jersey. I was about five years old. Our apartment had been two rooms, a kitchen and a living room. No walls. One big open area. My parents opened a couch into a bed, a “hide-a-bed” as they called it, right in the kitchen-dining room area to sleep. I had some kind of small fold-away bed, too. The apartment was one small open area with a bathroom about three or four stories up. Millionaires had elevators. We had creaky stairs. My grandparents lived upstairs.

The fire was one of my earliest memories. My mother, grandmother, and a wee, small boy (me) were walking up Bergenline Avenue when my mother spotted thick smoke in the late afternoon sky ahead of us.“Look, Momma, look at that smoke!” my mother said to my grandmother.“Oh, I hope it’s not our place!” my grandmother said. I heard that. I remember that. I saw the smoke clouds too. I remember that because it was indeed our building. Within minutes, as we got closer and closer, we knew it was.

My grandfather had been napping upstairs on his couch. The fire-truck sirens woke him up; and he ran upstairs to the sixth floor, broke down a locked door, and rescued a crazy old invalid lady. He threw her over his back and ran down the stairs. Firemen saw this and helped him at about the second floor. They said she screamed and grabbed at all the banisters along the way down.

Then he spent the rest of the time helping firemen with the hoses on the fire trucks behind the building. I still vaguely remember seeing him in one of those white tank top, muscle shirts and dress pants, covered in soot, and helping the firemen. His t-shirt was tucked in. He wore a dress belt. Even at 5, I was impressed with my grandfather that day. A rescuer. A helper in an emergency. He was a hero at least that day. He was pretty much a loser in life, an ignorant, unemployed, or poorly employed drunkard in fact, but not that afternoon. The inconsistency of heroism. According to Julius Caesar, “All glory is fleeting.”

The building was quickly gutted. An old tinderbox. We lost everything. We retreated to the nearest safe street corner with the rubberneckers. And another first memory of mine was seeing my father walking down a side street to us. He got the call about the fire at his factory job, and they let him off work. He took the bus up Hudson Boulevard from Jersey City. It was dark by then. Flames, sparks, and smoke curved over the side street. He was just a silhouette on the city sidewalk under this blazing red overhead show, but I recognized his walk.

An Italian guy owned a furniture store on that corner. He and his wife let us wait outside the store in the vestibule after my dad got there. My mother was typically hysterical. My dad, ever the WW II vet used to the slog of life, was calm. I remember his crouching down to a squat and lighting a cigarette with his big, heavy lighter, the flames and smoke in the distance. Years later I saw a photo of him in his scrapbook down in that same squat at a calm moment at the Battle of the Bulge. His forearm was resting on his knee, the ever-present Camel cigarette dangling in his open hand.

The fire raged on, and we couldn’t leave. We didn’t own cars! And we didn’t have anywhere to go if we did. Our relatives lived miles away; and they were also poor folks in small, tiny, shared apartments. The store owner and my dad towed some old used furniture out of the store and into the dirty hallway outside it.

That night after the fire was extinguished, we slept out there on two or three used couches under some mover’s blankets. The owner had to eventually lock up the store and go home. Unable to fall sleep on a small couch, I saw my dad pee in the street in the middle of the night. Later, I did the same. I lay there on the couch looking out at the dead-of-the-midnight street. I guess a sense of fleeting detachment stuck with me from that moment. Plus, I saw the calm of my father. The heroics of my grandfather. My hysterical mother. My first real memories of life came from that night.

They took up a collection at the can factory for us. I remember that. We begged and borrowed for a week or two here and there, much of which I can’t remember except for feeling like a refugee. It was a moving blur. You know, there weren’t many hotels back then, not like there are today. And I don’t know what we did that actual Christmas Day. Where did we go? There was no official Christmas that year. My parents cobbled it all together and got another apartment on a street closer to the Hudson River in a small city called West New York.

They are all dead now. Only I remain. I think about that fire just about every Christmas. Not every Christmas, but many, especially as I get older. I did this time. I think about sleeping in that dirty hallway of the furniture store. I learned that things could go to hell in a minute, blow up, burn up, and disappear. Best not cling too dearly to things. Best not.

Everyone is dead now, but me. I think about that fire just about every Christmas. Not every Christmas, but many, especially as I get older. I did this time. I think about sleeping in that dirty hallway of the furniture store. I learned that things could go to hell in a minute, blow up, burn up, and disappear. Best not cling too dearly to things. Best not.

I learned that you could look up in the sky and see smoke and then look down and realize that it might just be you who’s on fire.

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

This story appears in Hock memoirs/police books. Get the paperbacks or ebook downloads.

WHAT are you Wearing?

WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?

(Or how I learned to not wear a baseball uniform when practicing Tennis…)

(If you are happy camper doing classic martial arts in classic uniforms? Gis. Barefoot? 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 20 or so  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 just 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, and 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 about playing dress up…

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. And what’s with the sweat pants?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?  What gear?

WHERE will I be fighting? In terms of smart and,or 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. The whole group-thing, 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 sales structure stuff. I mean we are not preparing a military unit where such group/unit psychologies really shine. 

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

  • The old Jeet Kune Do guys and gals were often seen in the 80s and 90s in tank tops and really short, shorty-shorts. I did that too. That changed through time. Thank goodness. I was tired of trimming my pubic hairs.
  • The US Army, for example, did do much of their new combatives courses in an Army uniform, sure, but…a lot of it barefoot! (The whole “save-the-mats,” forever thing.) And the real sin – mostly WITHOUT standard gear like helmets, belts and backpacks, etc.  
  • The newer looks of Krav Maga dodge the classic uniforms, but many if not most, require 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 as a student understand the process?)
  • Some of the BJJ gis look to me like walking, color billboards. Huge swaths of colors. How about those checker pattern ones from Korea? Warning! Watching them in motion might cause seizures! (As an aside, as a clothing anecdote, I noticed  that there are a number of BJJ guys who slip on blue jeans and have instantly/suddenly become hand, stick, knife, gun masters. The martial, underground call these people, “BJJ in Blue Jeans.”)
  • Then there is the “no-gi” “BJJ-ish” crowd. Sounds smart, I mean who wears all those pajamas “in the street” when they wrestle? Yet, they seem to be tossing aside the classic uniforms for modernity, but have instead switched over to like…rubber, skin-tight, Spiderman suits (what colors and designs!) and they are still…barefoot. It’s like they said, “Hey, let’s trade in that silly old, gi, bulky, uniform idea,” (for yet another silly, skin tight, but yet rubberized one.) You end up with the same abstract problem for “the street.”
  • One of my friends is an ex-ninjitsu player, with many trips to Japan under his belt. He told me that the Japanese people are mystified as to why Americans (or anyone) still dresses up like a ninja. He said they feel the same way as most Americans feel in general about people dressing up in Civil War clothes. Then imagine if Japanese people came to the USA and dressed up in Civil War clothes. (I personally don’t care about this at all, I just find this observation amusing.)
  • Some Sambo uniforms are interesting, with the typical gi top and tight shorts underneath. I think Sambo is great but at first glance, don’t you look and think they forgot their pants? Then after a bit, you get use to the idea.
  • How about those extremely, cumbersome Aikido outfits? Kilts gone wild.
  • In the 1980s, I once attended a “Plain-Clothes” Shooting course, for detectives, put on by retired FBI agents.  We wore what we wore, which at the time for most of us was suits and ties. It was actually very informative, full of great “cop” tips” and very much to the point.
  • The group pictures where everyone is dressed the same sure look nice.
  • 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 learn to fight an urban rapist or an urban attacker? (What about “rural” attackers?)  It’s still abstract dressing and I think some bingo numbers 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. Don’t just show up with a rubber gun and no holster (and belt.) 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 the farm or downtown. (This is a BIG disconnect in training schools. A zillion, rubber, fixed-blade knives and no sheaths.)

And, no need to overdress in my 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 we often don’t know where I will be teaching and if there is a “no-shoes-mat-rule? We respect that. I, at least will then wear socks because I must hide my horrible Amazonian Jungle, Toe Fungus. Believe me I know CDC is happy that I am not passing this strain around on your mats, around the world. (I know of a system that actually sells socks with their logo on it.)

As a so-called, “self defense instructor,” or whatever it is exactly that I am, I have made a rule for myself I always hope I can remember and consider when drawing up outlines, books and teaching – “reduce the abstract.” This is not easy challenge, given the circumstances of your school or your training grounds.  I have fallen short of 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 for the who, what, where, when, how and why of your perceived fight. Now, we cannot create 10 or 12 movie sets with a group of improv actors to make everything seem ever-so-real to a student, but we can at least… at very least… dress appropriately.

You don’t find tennis players in practice wearing baseball uniforms. Baseball players are not practicing in football uniforms. Army soldiers do not practice in scuba suits. Know your goal, your mission and dress accordingly. I know people love to belong, love immersing themselves into groups. They love clubs. Tribes. Teams. And showing their pride. This usually means outfits and outfitting the outfits. I get it! I really do. Again, If you are happy camper doing classic martial arts barefoot, in classic uniforms? You are just drawn to the idea? And you understand the questions I am asking? Then ignore me. Ignore this. This is just a personal rant. Who cares what I think anyway? Doing any of the aforementioned things is better than sitting on the couch. I only ask that you at least kick around this idea, understand it and can articulate your opinion on these types of fashion choices.

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

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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

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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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