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 Kerambit Gambit Handicap

Kerambits – The Kerambit Gambit

     There’s an old story going around about me and a kermabit. The tale goes that during a seminar, lunch break, in the 1990s, a guy walked up to me and showed me his kerambit, and I looked at it, opened a nearby window and threw it out the window of a two-story building. This isn’t true. I would never do that to a guy’s property. I can say confidently that not only would I not be so rude as to throw his property out a 2-story window, I would never throw my own kerambit out a window either – because I would never own one in the first place.

     Being somewhat in the business of knives, I am all too often shown kerambits and asked questions about kerambits. You know, the curved bladed knife that looks like a single animal claw. Some folks think they are God’s gifts to knives. And I am shown and see way too many karembits. I see photos and photos of them in the web. God, they look cool. All kinda science-fictiony. Klingon-like. Deadly. Tiger-paw looking. I can honestly proclaim I have never seen a kerambit I didn’t think was very, cool looking.

     Lord knows I don’t want to be attacked by one. But I don’t want one. Don’t need one. Don’t want one. Because of the Karembit Handicap. I hope I can leave this up here on the web as a source for people with these questions for me and questions in general about the true value of the knife in the big picture. I hope I can offer some reasoning and answers about the subject. The following are my personal beliefs and how I have come about them. If you love you some karembits? That’s fine. Enjoy a happy, healthy life. For me? Out the window they go! Figuratively of course.

     As a questioner, as a skeptic, never a fan-boy, not naïve, I just don’t fall for people or systems. Worshipping a system-head or a system is a recipe for potential mistakes and failure. If you never question your revered leader, you fail to evolve. So does he and the system he does. Or folks never question gear of the revered. Do you think you must fight with a Klingon knife because you worship the culture, look, feel and history of Klingons? Or are you really looking to fight and survive with the best edged weapon? Are you so mystified by a culture that you can’t see the faults? I know Systema people who like it so much, they start believing in and supporting Communism. I know Kung Fu people who change their religion. Communism and Zen Buddhism should have nothing to do with kicking a guy on the nuts or selecting the best knife. If you want to learn how to fight with hands, sticks, knives and guns? Keep hero-worship OUT of the picture. Keep system worship out of the picture. I think this imperative. I constantly see folks doing unnecessary things just because Dijon Superfly does them, and they are too blind to question. I think you can respect a system head and, or a system, but worship is not good. How much do you salivate? 

     The kerambit handicap. I cringe every time I see an attendee with a kermabit trainer in a seminar. I know that this person will have an extra and harder time doing even the most simple, obvious, historically successful knife moves. My knife training course is built to be as simple as possible, as fast and effective, with the obvious and simple tools, which are the straight blades. Curved blades complicate simplicity.

     Am I just untrained and dumb in the wild and wooly ways of the karembit? I frequently get hate mail over this from fan-boys and faddists, people apparently in some sort of odd, over-love with their knife. Someone will always suggest that I am ignorant and suggest that maybe I should take a kerambit course and see the wonders and magic of the knife. Dear Dipshits, I was force-fed balisong and kerambit material since the late 1980s, since before many of you reading this were born, or as they say, were mastering potty training. Force-fed in multiple training trips to Negros Island and Manila, the Philippines, and many times since there and here since. These knives were part of curriculum we had to learn all the way to Filipino black belt, along with a lot more of straight knife material. I will always prefer the straight knife to the kerambit, and well – just forget about the odd, opening process with the balisong. I mean, seriously, why bother? (Unless of course you are an weapons, historian of some sort. I am not.).  As soon as I held a kerambit in my hand, it felt wrong and much of what they asked me to do was clearly unnecessary when compared to all the other straight blade training. As a former Army and Texas cop and an investigator most of my adult life, from arrests, cases and forensic training, I learned the straight knife is far superior and can do everything better and simpler than any curved knife, just about any time. The curve of the blade is a handicap. The more the curve, the more the handicap.

keram 2 -post size

     I recall the first time it happened in a New England seminar in the 1990s. A rather famous, Silat guy showed up with his curved plastic trainer. He had difficulty doing even the most simple, primitive knife things all day long. He couldn’t stab deep which is forensically the most successful, quicker kill method. It was plain to see that when slashing, his curve and tip would get stuck in body parts. Did he know he had to improvise and construct more steps, more “work-arounds,” to get the job done? I don’t know because he just flow drilled around the reality like there were no obstacles. Some do see this truth. Through the years the curved blade trainees still appear in my classes. The curve group often has to pow-wow off in the corner to make a simple thing work, because they are mentally and physically confined from the shape of their knife. Their adaptations always involve extra work-arounds and extra training and extra movement to do something otherwise done simpler with the straight blade. 

      What do I mean by simple, proven moves? One simple example? Studies by the Marines in 1980s – while researching World war II knife tactics in the South Pacific, the USMC study group discovered that the uppercut stab to the groin/intestines, and, or the diaphragm/heart and, or even up inside the jawbone – the common hooking uppercut was a very successful. Successful, but oddly, not really emphasized and in most cases not taught. Yet, Marines instinctively still did them. Naturally. Natural. This research led to the implementation of these very natural moves in training courses. Instinctive. Natural. Simple. Now, can you do this natural, saber grip uppercut into these areas with a karembit. No. You can’t plummet a kermabit, even one with a bottom side out grip, as deep and powerful into these vital parts as a saber, straight knife. Aside from results, the saber, straight knife movement is more natural, and the kerambit will require extra training and still won’t garner the same success. Don’t get me started on all these examples as this will become a book and not an essay.

     Now look, you can cut somebody with a torn-open, tin can. I also don’t want to be attacked by a torn tin can or anything sharp. Broken glass bottle. Nope. A spear? Hell no. But the question remains is, yes, a tin can will cut you, but is it the smartest thing to use? Do we need the Tactical Tin-Can course? No. You just get a knife. Get the best knife. A straight knife that stabs with deep efficiency potential and slashes without getting stuck in bodies and some clothing and can also, easily perform dozens of life-saving and survival chores.

     Sellers of Kerambits have much sales-pitch, yadda-yadda about the cancer-curing perfections/wonders of the curved shape. They proclaim that just about everyone on the planet already uses, benefits and really needs the really curved knife. EVERYONE uses and loves the kerambit, everyone except the real people you see, you know, work with and read about and watch in documentaries, etc. I suggest you challenge every line of the sales pitch because in the end, it is not the selection of the practical. In actuality…

  • Butchers don’t use them. 
  • Surgeons don’t use them.
  • Cooks don’t use them.
  • Hunters don’t use them. 
  • Fishermen don’t use them. 
  • Soldiers & Marines in the know don’t use them. 
  • People don’t use them to camp.
  • Workers with real labor jobs won’t use them.
  • People don’t eat with them (this is a big point).
  • Prosecutors and police love to see you use them.

     If they are so perfect and superior, why are they not used by all humanity most of the time? Try giving a farmer, a factory worker or a camper just a kermambit and see how long that idea lasts before they trade out for a straight blade. Give a carpet layer a kerambit and he will quickly resort back to his carpet knife. Many, if not most, of the big name kerambit twirlers have never been in the military. They just don’t know that a military knife in the field must be very versatile and able to perform many everyday chores, as well as possible fighting. (And by using them, I mean predominantly use them. I am sure in my incoming hate mail over this, someone will name a special circumstance where someone drops his regular straight knife and reaches for a curvy hook knife to catch an oddball body, fish or animal or autopsy part.)  

     The biggest point in the above list, to me is that the human race has evolved to hunt, grow, prepare food and eat with a straight knife. Ever try to eat a steak with a kerambit? Cut and butter bread? I have a friend who likes to tease me on this point and threatens to send me a video of him eating a steak with his curvy kerambit. I’ll bet he can! I’ll also bet he can eat a steak with a torn, tin can. The point is, not that you can or can’t, but rather – what is the smartest tool to use. And we can’t forget, kitchen cutlery has reeked international havoc in self-defense, crime and war. In civilized countries over 99% of all knife violence is with simple, kitchen cutlery. A pretty good success rate for the straight blade.

Chopping off limbs with the Kerambit. Did we mention butchers above? A good friend of mine, consumed by all things “distant” and eastern, oriental and Indonesian, was telling me that a butcher he knew, using a very stout, big kerambit with a sharp outside edge, could flip/spin the curved knife and chop off the limbs of large animals in his shop. It took some practice, but he could. The message for me was that the kerambit could, if worked right, with the right momentum, chop off big things in a power spin. CHOP! I just nodded my head. Whatever. But such takes more work, awkward applications, etc. and stouter kerambits with a sharp outside edge. If it were a big folder? How do you have a sharp, outside edge and carry it? Not in a pocket, but in a sheath…in case you know…you have to lop off a hand. I am quite sure the butchers of the world will still prefer regular straight knives and clevers for more efficient, consistent success. What will be this butcher’s tool of day-to-day preference. The easy one. And then I must ask, will you always carry around this oversized kerambit with the complete outer side sharp? Whose forearm do you imagine you will be cutting off in your day-to-day? In YOUR world?  Jaime Lannisters?

 

Game_of_Thrones-S03-E03_Jaime's_hand_is_severed

 

     And needless to add, take a guy with a straight, blade knife in a saber grip versus a guy with kerambit and let them duel. Who do you think has the advantage? Spar it out. Take two Superflys and spar this straight vs. curved kerambit. I can tell you from doing that for decades and organizing/ref experience that the saber grip straight blade has the advantage. Not that dueling is the end-all knife encounter, a final judge, oh no, but dueling can and does happen. And listen to this – this is telling – even the Superflies still teach and use a whole lot of straight knives too. Most teach more straight knife than curved knife. Why bother? If the Kerambit was God’s gift for knife work? Wouldn’t they give up on straight blade material all together? 

     But they look cool, so Klingon and purty! And Dijon Juan Superfly is soooo cool with his flow drills on youtube!

     “Oh my Dijon! Oh my….and…and Dijon does so many arm manipulations.”  Do you think you will really hook and push around so many angry, adrenalized arms with a kerambit as Dojon Superfly does in a cooperative flow drill on Youtube? And by the way, a straight knife can push arms around too.

     Back to Spinning the Kerambit. The ring in the handle alone does not a kerambit make. I have seen some folks calling a straight knife with a ring in the handle a kerambit, just because of the ring. No. It has to have a curved blade to be one. Now, to what degree of a curve, I can’t precisely say. I think you know one when you see one. The ring is for mostly for retention and…spinning. On spinning, another dubious kermanbit characteristic- the Kermabit sellers page says,

     “Karambit spinning is showy, flashy and useless without significant training, practice and understanding of the application. New users should not spin karambits until they’re intimately familiar with their blade, its balance, the way it fits into their hand in various grips and while in motion AND, most importantly, until they’ve received instruction.”

the-kermabit-gambit-knife

     Further, “…many people don’t use the smaller muscles in the hands and it takes time to build them up.”

     Confessions from a top kerambit salesman! And there you have it from the source. More stuff to do. More muscles to build. More unnecessary stuff to do.

          Straight, bent, curved. The curve of the knife. The more curve, the worse. There are knives on the market that have some bend to them, some just a slight bend, bended/angled with no curvey claw. Some right-angle bends remind me somewhat of carpet knives. The sharp, 90 degree bend of the carpet knife, its position to the handle, is superior to the more curved kerambits, otherwise thousands of carpet layers would have invented kerambits or they would all use kerambits. They don’t. Some folks, like carpet folks, work projects that require that sharp point, at the maximum position of their hand grip for the job. As a detective I have worked some serious assaults involving carpet knife attacks.

Stress Quick Draws Issues. A comprehensive knife program covers stress quick draws. It seems all modern knives now try to have some pocket catching device that facilitates a quick folder opening. But some don’t. Sometimes people get their folder out but in the heat of the fight, can’t open right away. The folder then becomes a palm stick until its opened. The selected knife when folded should protrude from the top and bottom of the fisted hand, and it should support the hand inside the fist for punching. I have a pretty big hand and have tried punching heavy bags with various kerambits. Due to the curved blade, the folded knives are quite wide and they all hurt to punch with. Probably I might find one not as wide someday, but with all the other negatives surrounding the kerambit? I don’t go about searching for it. But this wideness when punching is another survival reason/problem to avoid the kerambit.

Wolverine has straight claws

One of the great advantages of the reverse or ice pick grip of a straight blade is it’s ever-so-natural, stab application.  There seems to be an inert, intuitive hammer fist application with a reverse grip stab. Think of the power of just a hammer fist. It alone breaks many boards, many ice blocks, many pieces of cement. Imagine that force delivering a straight knife stab! But wait! Now hold a kerambit in its reverse grip application, as in the curved end looping out of the bottom of the hand. Gone is all the hammer fist intuition. Gone is the simple, practical, stab and its extra power shot potential. 

The somewhat bent edged weapons list might include the infamous kukri. The kukri is not a curvy kerambit. It has its own heft and is used much like a straight edged weapon.

kukri-carpet-knife

 

     Straighter? “Benter?” Curved? These bended ones are better than the curvy ones, and seem to have some ‘hammerfist-like” and “punching-like,” natural applications. But, the more the bend? The more the pointy curve? The more problems. To use them as efficiently as a straight knife, which cannot be completely done, you have to add-on, learn more, have extra tricks to stab and slash. And, speaking of hammer-fists, the hammer fist is a very natural movement, with very natural target acquisition, and really supports the reverse or ice-pick grip, straight-blade stab. Why ruin that principle with a curved blade that sticks out and then forward from the bottom of hand, killing the hammer-fist instinct. So…more Kerambit training is therefore needed. More extra training.

 

horseman-cavelry-swords

     As mentioned in the above military photo, it gets stuck in people and things. The curved point is called a hook, because…it hooks. I see the kerambit practitioners simulating cuts with figure 8 patterns and X patterns in the air, or in front of partners. No contact. Do they not realize that with contact, their point embeds into the person and the bones and the clothing, gear, etc? X pattern over. Figure 8 pattern over. And now they must learn an extraction technique, unique to that knife. Extra stuff to learn. (this is also true with the tomahawk/axe craze. On first impact? THUNK! NO more slap-dash, dancey, prancy axe moves, just a big-ass axe sunk into a skull or chest. Extraction! Use foot if needed to push-pull)

   The most curved knife “out there?” The classic rescue knife. One carried just to cut seat belts and ropes. You can’t even clean your nails with this one. I think that anyone can see this is really limited in overall use. The more the curve, the less you can do. I am sure when you need a seat belt cutter? You really need a seat belt cutter. So, get one and cram it on your belt. Squeeze in that two inches more next to your shark repellent, and radiation pills, for those times you really need stuff like that. (Oh, and yes, a “regular” knife can cut a seat belt too, and I’ll bet has many more times than a specialized seat cutter.)

kerambit-too-curved-blade-the-rescue-knife

And lastly, need we discuss the stigma again of this Klingon-looking knife. It is bad enough to use any knife for self defense, but this knife, by its very appearance also causes negative, legal prejudices to the police, the prosecutors, the courts and to juries. Think of it in terms of pistols. Would you rather defend yourself with the “Widowmaker” pistol? Or..the “Peacemaker” pistol?” Yes, these…things…count. In a recent self defense courtroom trial, Assistant District Attorney in Texas Aaron Bundoc also said of the defendant’s self defense use of the kerambit, “It was not a self-defense tool as Hernandez alleged.” He said “…a Kerambit is a combat weapon designed to gut and butcher people.”  Just ONE example.

     Look, what do I care about people, their fixations, fascinations and hobbies? Why should you care what I think? Some people love history and weapons. Some people like to crack bull whips, while the whip is on fire! Get a hobby! Get a kerambit and mess with it. Do all that extra training. Place it on a rotating pedistal in your den. One in each pocket and on a neck chain. Get the t-shirt and ballcap. Follow the Dijon. Smile. Live long and prosper. These are just my personal beliefs and opinions. I know I never want to be attacked or cut by a kerambit, or a torn, tin can or a rescue knife. Hell, I hate paper cuts. But to me, a kerambit is a handicap to sheer simplicity and ultimate practiaclity. People are just too damn hypnotized by the shape, culture, history, hero-worship and system-worship.

     What did they tell us in school years ago, when writing an essay? “Contrast and compare.” If you really contrast and compare, without bias and fixations, fandom and fads? What do you come up with? Being that we here are Force NECESSARY, and not Force UN-necessary, I will never bother with, or waste my time teaching, a kerambit course. Do please, howevere continue to show me your kerambits. They are all very cool looking. And I certainly will not throw them out of any window. Only, you know…figuratively.

______

While I would probably watch this gal juggle marshmallows for hours, WHY is she spinning this Klingon, unnecessarily curved edged-weapon around and Lord knows she cuts herself badly in the end …
A) No need to spin this stupid aberration of a knife around, and..
B) there is no good reason to spin this damn thing around.

click here for the video clip

_______

Email Hock at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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The Drop Dead Gun

 

dropped

“If I die in combat zone. Box me up and ship me home.”

    You’ve all heard that ditty? Maybe you haven’t? It comes for most as a cadence –  a song – we all sang while marching and running in the military. It has been bastardized, or satired and altered for various messaging. One paraphrased version we don’t see much anymore but old-timers will remember, was popularized on some t-shirts and posters years back. It was about dying in a combat zone and having your gear split up, the words accompanied by art of a rip-shirt, commando. This splitting-up is a very good idea for several reasons, but I don’t think the commandment reaches deep enough in citizen and police training methodology.

    There are numerous, vitally important, physical, survival things you cannot and will not learn or get to do, if you decide to forever shoot on a paper target range and consider that the end-all to gun-fighting. One such subject is what to do about a “drop dead gun,” or the dropped gun. Dropped by a wounded or dead person. You can lecture on this, show charts, and talk it up, you can put various kinds of guns in various conditions on a bench at the shooting range and make people pick them up and shoot them (which has been done forever), but the true savvy and timing of doing this pick up inside a hot under-fire, being-bunted situation is hardly practiced on the range.

     Technically, this is weapon recovery. Weapon recovery is typically discussed in inner circles when your pistol has been disarmed from you and how you must recover it. You instantly charge in to get it back. Recovering disarmed weapons is a missing link in most martial art systems when students work pistol disarms. Students take the gun from an attacker, usually quite oblivious to fact that that a real world, bad guy may mad-rush in to get it back at a hundred miles an hour. These students often just take the gun, flip it around, fiddle with it (some instructors demand that the student tap the magazine and rack the side), not expecting the vicious counter attack and recovery. But weapon recovery is a bigger issue that just disarming and the recovery of your gun. There’s the recovery of your comrade’s weapon and even the recovery of your enemy’s weapon.

 

Blackboard-weapon recovery 

 

      Aside from disarming, guns are dropped by accident, taken or dropped/lost in combat. Long guns and pistols are dropped with some frequency in non-combat life, of which I have no stats on, but my hunch is they get dropped from time to time. I can’t recall dropping mine in some 45 years, but I’ve seen my friends/co-workers drop theirs a time or two. We also see photos and hear about such fumbles in both normal and stressful times. What about a fumble during a draw or inside a grappling fight? I once saw a range master, and trophey winner cop, standing before an armed training partner, both with gas guns. The draw! And the vet lost his pistol in the air. He had never practiced right in front of an armed man with a pain delivering gun before. But then also, what about the dropped weapon of a shot, severely wounded or dead compatriot?  A drop dead gun, just laying there.

     This year, 2019 marks the 23rd year that I have routinely, almost weekly, created and supervised simulated ammo shooting scenarios of some sort. Some are short and involve two people. Some are much longer and involve numerous people, in numerous situations and locations. In the short or longer shootouts in buildings and on the streets, open areas etc., people get shot by whatever simulated ammo we get to use for the training session. In a briefing, I ask the people, once “shot,” to evaluate their wounds when hit. If shot in their shooting limb, then they switch hands. If shot in the leg, they limp on for a bit. If they take two serious shots, or shot in the head, I ask them to drop right where they are and essentially…”they be dead.” Playing this part is important, as you will read.

Hock-gun-cars

     As the organizer, over-seer of these scenarios, as the ref if you will, I see so many things in all of these shoot-outs. I see things people really do when in various predicaments. These occurrences, these experiences are quite remarkable and extremely educational. And one of the many things I consistently see is teammates, running past and around their deeply wounded, still or dead, yet still armed partners. Whatever kinds of weapons we are using, Airsoft, gas, markers, Simuntions, whatever, these guns run out of ammo, gas, power or break down at the damn-dest instances. I want to advise, “pick up that gun!” Sometimes they have the time to do so. But, I do not want to bark orders or suggestions to interfere in the middle of the firefight exercise. I’ve see many folks run right by other available guns and ammo.

     It is a common theory in shoot-outs that drawing and using a second gun is faster than reloading your first one. This of course depends on where you are carrying that second gun, but the advice is classic and comes from veterans. Once in a while I see a practitioner who instantly knows to snatch up his dead buddy’s gun. Either, it is something trained and remembered, or they are just that naturally gun-and-ammo-hungry to simply know this and do this instinctively. They swoop down and snatch up the weapon as they go by. This is an event that never happens in live fire range training, but rather could and should happen in real life, and bolstered in simulated ammo, scenario training whenever possible.  I might add quickly here, that weapons are sometimes attached to people by lanyards and slings, something that can be very life-saving for the original holder, but also may flummox your partner’s attempt to get your weapons once you are down and out. Know your partner’s gear. Look them over.

Hock-gun-cars-4

     Diferent gear? Different guns? Different ammo? In many organizations such as with the military or police, certain weapons are mandated for all in policy for good reason. If we all have the same gun, we all have the same ammo, magazines and we can pick up, exchange, provide, etc., weapons. It can make for good sense. When military people move into policing jobs, they often and should carry with them this overall concept. Well, I mean, if you were an Army “clerk,” you might not take this to heart, but people trained for dangerous jobs and have experienced danger are better carriers of this idea. Often minus this background, police management may not consider this, or not have the deep heartfelt/burn/understanding of the concept. Police shooting instructors may never even know to suggest this topic. I am not advocating for the “one-gun” policy, I am just reporting on it. There is something to be said too for personalized guns. 

     Minus police and military experiences, If you just teach or do live fire on a range, essentially that being that “clerk,” with no emotional attachment to experience, you must realize that you might be missing huge chunks of important tactics, topics, subjects and situations and you might begin to dwell deeper and deeper into repetitive “gun minutiae” within your teaching (haven’t gun magazines really been publishing the same redundant information, redone and re-shaped for decades now? Why? Why, when there is so much more diverse combatives to talk about?).

     Two answers to these teaching and training problems. One is to continue educating yourself on real experiences. What precisely has happened to your friends? Your teammates? Your neighbors? Victims? Cops? Military? Learning second or third-hand is better than not learning at all. Who can possibly experience the common spectrum of such problems? No one. We all must keep this education up. Second? Simulated ammo scenarios. Simunitions or likewise, otherwise, at some level. Take your “power point” tips and your segmented, live fire examples and move them into physical experience. Move them over into a stressful, interactive, situational scenarios with simulated ammo. Such are psychologically and neurologically proven better learning experiences. The experts call it “deep learning.” In other words, simply put – get off the range and do these intercative shoot-outs.

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Blackboard-weapon series

     There has been something of a newer concern and movement in this “pick up”subject, as people contemplate the active shooter problem and consider picking up the guns of shot police, downed security, etc. This concern has manifested in a slight increase in related speeches and some abstract, live fire exercises. Martial arts instructors, ones who appear to have no gun experience or limited gun backgrounds, have also organized some active shooter response classes. But when working out and testing the unarmed methods, the attendees all bum-rush a stuntman in a helmet holding a rubber gun. I would wish that they, at least once, let the actor carry in a sims-ammo, machine gun and let him cut loose on the crowd so that the attendess could truly experience the hidious, quick, devastation one can do with such firearms to a group. Perhaps this might be too demoralizing?   

    But, be it that sort of “mass shooting,” or a crime or in war, in the case of the drop dead gun and simulated ammo training, a prep speech can first be made about the weapon recovery from downed and dead rescuers or teammates. It has been my experience that once suggested in this briefing, many people do think of it when the action starts and the possibility arises. The more they do it? The better.

The gun may be dropped, but it ain’t dead.

So, the next t-shirt or poster rant and chant?

“If I die in a combat zone? Get my ammo, guns and gear and…continue to kill the enemy.”

 

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

 

 

Don’t Headhunt?

Don't Headhunt? The "Third Round is Yours" Theory and Any, Better, Best Target Theory

     Don't head hunt! This was advice I had been given for decades by various boxing, some kick boxing, and even some Thai boxing coaches. I think they always really meant to say, don't "overdo" headhunting, as in spending  all of your time, effort and strategy trying to strike the head. Strike other places too, as well as kick in kickboxing and Thai. You do this to hurt the guy, confuse the guy, wear him down, etc.

     By the way, this is not a debate on fist versus open hand strikes. Not all fist strikes to the face break your hand. Not all palm strikes are as good as fist strikes. And elbows too! These particulars are for another topic (I have already written about this, in fact. See below link.) This is an essay on headhunting, with a side-serving of weapons and targets.  I also have been clocked by classic punches, and have seen classic "boxing/kickboxing" punches wipe out my partners, as well as other soldiers and citizens. There is nothing wrong with "the peoper punch," but maybe how and when to use it and here's when the coach comes in.

     I am fully aware that some of you may have different coaches and trainers that told you otherwise, or maybe never mentioned this subject. But don't act shocked, I have had some coaches across a pretty wide spectrum and the "don't headhunt" advice is not too rare. Many boxing coaches are also interested in spreading the art and sweet science of Boxing, which includes many things.

Sem - SWAsiaSmaller

     Even when rare, the "don't always headhunt," advice fits best inside the sport world, where there are rounds, time and wear-down strategies and declarations by trainers mapping out the fight that the "third, (or whatever,) round is yours." In the contest world it suggests – 

"First round? Check him out, probe. Probe with the jab. Second round do 'this or that' with the discoveries from your probing. Third round is yours." That's the idea in the most general of terms. 

     It is their job indeed to map out the fight, to give you a game plan. You know that in amatuer and pro fights, where a history, film, even now prolific video exists on an oppoent, those films are studied and strategies evolve. A properly prepped, fighter, MMA or otherwise needs to walk in with a strategy, a plan. And in this process, the plan is made and you might hear "fouth round is yours," kind of talk. Or ideas about tiring him out in amongst the battle plan. I think it would be odd for a coach to simply say,"knock him cold in the first two seconds. That is all." Fighters do indeed knock people out quickly, but inside the mandatory planning, the staging, etc, not all of it is headhunting. 

     I think the non-head-hunting idea from coaches was meant to say – also deliver body shots too and kicks too in kickboxing, to weaken and confuse the opponent in round one and round two for the theoretical victory in Round 3. In one example of body shots, there were numerous successful and unsuccessful boxers who spend rounds pounding the upper arms of their enemies so that eventually their guard would consistently drop for their eventual, head shots, so that "the ______ (fill in the blank) round is yours."

     The transition of these delay ideas and advice can get blended into, for lack of a better term, "street fighting," training by short-sighted trainers and coaches. I was told this at times in several self defense courses and that included boxing methods. For example I was in a very, popular, modern, street-fighting system back in the 1980s, in a course considered a pioneer program back then, that emphasized, "the probing jab." In fact, the newsletter was called "The Probe." The head guy would often take money from people and make than study the jab only for four to six months. The…probe. Jabs for six months. Imagine that. Then you graduated to the cross punch – for who knows how long? People did not stay with him for that long. Yet, he did many other things, effective things too, but some of his people got caught in the "jab rut." Once again that odd mix of using some boxing strategies with some survival strategies and believing in both, despite some contridictions. 

     I'd been kickboxing in Parker Kenpo before I went into the Army. In the old military police academy there were boxing classes almost every night and a bit on weekends. I had nothing else to do, was interested and went to these work-outs. This was encouraged and a good idea for police work. But, the boxing coaches were also occasionally preaching this whole, "third round," concept of ideas at times, and things like wearing down the opponent through time and not over-doing the headhunting concept. 

     Ignorant at the time, this was not a mental delema for me until I started working as a cop and grasping the idea that "there was no third round in the street fight," to use a corny phrase. Nor second. (There are exceptions to this of course, but there are reasons for the odd times.) These street fights/arrests I was in and ones I had to break up and/or investigate had little time for the experimental probing jabs and "third round, wear-him-down, ring strategies." They were usually hard, fast, crazy and over quickly. You were bum-rushed, tackled and sucker-punched, hit with chairs and lamps, etc…I was attacked by a man with an ax once. No time for several probing jabs and slick footwork versus the axe man.

     These official, wear-him-down, delay strategies seemed to be inherent in several martial arts I did, in ideas, big and small. I called them "sport cancers" to be on the look out for in all transitions from sports to the non-sports world. Enlightened coaches look for these. What works on who, on what, when, where, how and why.

     Another popular idea in this mold was: 

"the closest weapon to closest target" idea. 

     To me this falls a bit into the "third round" category, because it promotes lesser shots on lesser targets. Who knows who originated the "closest-closet" concept, but I will take a good guess and tell you it is probably not who you think it is. It goes waaaay back. It sounds so good too, but, what does it precisely mean?  Exactly? Define weapon. Define target. 

     Taken literally, if I am struggling with with you, and we are bent in a weird position, and my elbow is near the right cheek of your butt. Is that my closest weapon to your closest target? And I elbow your…ass? If this idea is unacceptable, then shouldn't the motto read, 

"your best weapon to his best, closest target?" 

    If you accept the term "best," into the motto, because elbows to ass cheeks is kind of worthless, it changes a lot of the original, cool intent, doesn't it. Even the word "better" changes the intent of the close-close motto. Better? Maybe the motto could read – 

"your better weapon hitting a better target." 

      It suggests that of you wait just a second, a better or the best target may turn up. I don't want to get overly semantic here, but this "closest to closest" quote never impressed me. Many cutting-edge, sports performance experts promote the idea of "waiting," if just for a half a second or so, for the best point in time to maximize/execute their effort. (Do read the book, Waiting, full of this research)

 

     Juxtaposed to this wear-him-down strategy, were other strategies I learned. I spent some time with a retired, South African commando, who these days wishes to remain low-key. He said that "military knife fighting is about the neck and the head." He said this due to the vests and the gear common to enemy soldiers. He also said that this "head and neck" idea relates to empty hand and survival fighting. Head hunting and neck hunting is good hunting. 

     To me, headhunting is important. So, too is neck hunting. Even though as a cop I couldn't prioritize this until my struggle escalated to that justifiable point. Hitting the computer (brain) and quickly, and hard, is such a great idea. Hitting the neck, its whole circumference, can be so good too. No need here for an anatomy lesson I hope. Blood on the sides. Wind in the front. Electricity in the back. Boom! (And I include chokes in neck hunting category, too.)

     I've made the smart ass remark for decades,

"what the best martial arts technique? A punch to the nose. What's the second best? Two punches to the nose."

Everyone laughs. It's a generalization, but it makes a point. As I said earlier, I think these boxing and kickboxing coaches always mean to suggest, don't "overdo" headhunting, not quit it. There are many, many boxers, MMA and kickboxers who emphasize the head and are quite successful. Who doesn't think Mike Tyson was a head hunter? Who doesn't think that Iron Mike ignored long-term stragegies and tried to knock the other guy out in seconds? 

     The overall boxing and kickboxing strategies? Strike in combinations and heights – as well as kick in kickboxing and Thai. You do all this other stuff to hurt the guy, fake, confuse and set up the guy or gal and/or wear he or she down through the designated rounds. I get it. I do. This still boils down though, fighter-by-fighter and their favorites and styles in the end. Through however many rounds.

     But, the "third round is yours" and "any close weapon to any close target" ideas are not ideas for fighting crime or hand-to-hand, trench war. So, for the citizen, cop, soldier, survival fight, I personally believe very much in prioritizing head hunting and neck hunting, standing or on the ground. Fake, hit, stomp and kick where you can too, but jeez…that solid head shot? Solid Neck Shot? The choke? Hard to beat. Better or best weapons to better or best targets.

     All roads lead to the head hunt? The neck Hunt? You could say. Serious business. Do not stop boxing or kick boxing. It is a positive in so many ways. It is important. My brain damaged head misses it. But pay close attention and think about what all the coaches say. Be on the lookout for sport cancers, big and small.

    Boxing or street fighting with boxing? What are you doing? What are they telling you? 

Hocks email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

 

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Hack Away At The Unessential

"It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." – Bruce Lee

     I took this advice very, very seriously. Did you?

     Well, the deal is, the trick is…and it’s a zen thing…a journey thing…you have to keep learning and getting wiser about all things. At some point we hope to get "a handle" on the subject. Get a wise handle on the overall subject. And then we can spot the extraneous, the unnecessary, the redundant. Its takes education to do so, and after all, most of us cannot tell what is and what is not needed in new cars to make them run. Trained engineers know this.

bruce

And there a few assumptions that automatically go with this.
– You are always learning new stuff.
– You achieve a certain level of wisdom on stuff.
– You have a matured filter to discern stuff.

     This is the kind of advice/line that helped me organize almost all of my pursuits. For example, I am very interested in the various kinds of psychologies. But I would rather study the overall “psychology of psychologies.” I am interested in overall religion, but I am more interested in the “religion of religions.” The big back step, pulling back the curtains. Finding the back wall where the Wizard of Oz pulls all the strings.

     What does this mean? To be more specific, an example on this pursuit – why does humanity need religion? Why do we make them? Why do we need them? Once made, how are they alike and unlike? Why? The religion of religions. Once you study the “religion” or religions, I think people understand overall religion much better. Many people who have done this, wind up with no organized religion and live the life of a deist or atheist. Or, you can become a religious charlatan who knows how to connive the last bit of money from the elderly, because “the church” needs a new jet plane.

     In the martial world, I am interested in the good universal things that work and solve problems. These good things exist inside almost all systems, but they usually are abstract and burdened and at times mislead by the fluff, geography and personality of the system. For me, I don’t care where it comes from, Israel, Indonesia, the sewers of Spain (ha!). Come from a certain tribalism and a need for it. Group appeal. Human nature builds these social groups for just about everything, from football teams to the quilting clubs. But, if you are looking for the "martial," you have to let all that extra  `fluff-stuff go, file it away, and sometimes just kick somebody right square in the balls (a kick that is universal by the way).

 

Good-Bad Med

 

     I don’t mind at all kicking the tires of various martial arts, doing them, having some fun, experimenting, absorbing (there’s that word again!) tipping the hat to some. But for me personally, in the end, I am really only interested in the “martial of the martial arts.” I have used the term, "reduce the abstract" for decades, but it is the same as "hacking away the unessentials."

     Works and solve problems, but then for whom? What I need is not always what you need to survive. To function with the above guidelines, I have to live under the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions/format. If you are going to absorb what is useful FOR YOU? Who are you exactly? And so on. And if you are a teacher, who are your students….and so on? What is your motivation? Theirs? Social group? Exercise? Fun? War? Peace? I just ask for – know why you are doing what you are doing and where it fits in the big picture. That is all I usually ask for. Just know.

     People think this is just about simplicity. I think it is and it isn't. How zen. Simple or simplicity is relative. A superior person may find different levels of achievement, different levels of simplicity than the rest of us. What is simple for some is complicated for others, either from natural skills or training. It really is a scale. Instructors must recognize this. And time. Instructors must recognize the time involved with teaching and learning things.

     The Bruce Lee statement is kind of a zen riddle. Some people get confused by it. But because of it, I have whittled myself into a box. A bland, "hand, stick, knife, gun" box. Boring names. No pizzazz. No uniforms. No system head worship. No exotic locations. Tough to…“sell,” as a business plan. But, I am a martial deist, or martial atheist. I am also heavily influenced by the needs of my Army and police work times. 

     Even Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do has whittled itself into several boxes.

     But that message still remains…

Hock's email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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It’s a Hand, Stick, Knife, Gun World.

"It's a hand, stick, knife, gun world."

     Sound familiar? It's a 20 year motto I use in the opening speech of every seminar since 1996. "You are either in it or you're out of it."

     I hope everyone here gets the Force Science newsletter, from Dr Bill Lewsinski, University of Minnesota – one of the few real laboratory research places working and studying scientifically on fighting, shooting and police problems, which also usually directly relates to citizen problems too. The new newsletter covers some observations from Insp. Chris Butler, "one of North America's leading use-of-force experts, minces no words in assessing present shortcomings."

     "He deplores the "silo-type" training of street skills that dominates many academy programs, citing particularly the "bifurcation between physical combat training and firearms training. Very few academies meld these together in a reality-based environment where officers can be taught to apply them in close-in encounters." Silo-type instruction leaves "gaps, with a failure to connect the dots," Butler says. "That's like teaching an athlete specific skill sets without teaching how to apply them in a game. "There's a huge responsibility on trainers to understand how to tie together cognition, perception, motor behavior, and tactical decision-making," he says. "We have the most work to do in moving firearms training into a state that is supported by research." – Force Science

 

HOOCKGROUPGUN9

     This bifurcation exists in the citizen training world where you have BIlly Bob's wrestling school on one street corner, and Ralph Jones kick-boxing school on another corner. Folks,

"Fighting is fighting and you fight where you fight, up, down and all around, with what you got."

     That's another motto of mine. You are either in or you're out. This is why modern, evolved MMA training is probably the closest one will get to the big picture…BUT… its still a bit far, but closer. You also have to throw in the stick, knife and gun into the mix, and the end goals are different. This doesn't mean a championship, UFC match or death match every single class night, or every seminar. It can be done in a healthy, progressive manner for all skill levels and even ages. The goal is to get better, get smarter. It's a lifetime thing. This never ends. And if you are in the life or death business, this should never end. Just know your position in the process.

     Another big topic for Butler in this Force Science newsletter and interview, is police (and citizen) shooting and range shooting in general and how it needs to change (situational, simulated ammo shooting scenarios solves many problems – sound familiar too?).

     You would think by now, this message would have sunk in but I believe only now, these last few years, is it really getting any impact. One of the last vestiges against change are numerous, gun instructors who, either through the lack of creativity, or a fear of the losing their "range-business-model" (and maybe a few other reasons too – some sound) seem to hold that static line and fail to integrate real, survival, situational, problem solving.

     Just a quick add-on. Just because your country bans certain weapons, this doesn't not ban you from learning them because criminals and enemy soldiers will attack you with them. You disarm these weapons and hold them or pick them up off the ground. Then what?

    More on this with Lewinski's Force Science newsletters. Ask for, or read the April 11 issue.

 

Hock's email HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

The Parable of the Wooden Gun

The Parable of the Wooden Gun

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At seminars, police or others, I have seen a lot of “force-on-force” work-outs. This nickname became popular in the later 1990s. The majority of these have been with rubber guns. When it comes time to draw these rubber guns under stress, or when just fighting over them, and when one person gets free of the other enough to successfully pull, point and theoretically shot the pistol at the partner/bad-guy, these folks just freeze and look at each other. Once in a while someone yells “bang!” But they freeze. They act like the scenario is over, like the trigger pulling part and the wounding or killing part is automatically over.

It’s not over. I mean, if the other guy is shot and wounded, or even if he receives a mortal shot, he can still shoot back, stab, fight back a bit, or fall upon the good guy with a weapon in is hand. The fight is not over with the mere pointing of a rubber gun. The freeze is totally unreal. The scenario IS NOT OVER! I have often said to folks:     

“You like those rubber guns, huh?”     

“Yes.”     

“Hey, what would you think about wooden guns?”     

“Wooden guns?”     

“Yeah, using wooden guns shaped like your guns, or shaped like your rubber guns?”     

“I guess that would be okay.”     

“Now, what if I told you…what if I told you these wooden guns could shoot something? A safe something? Wouldn’t that be cool? You could do all the stuff you are already doing, and – you could actually pull the trigger shoot something and see if you could successfully, actually shoot the gun, hit your enemy while fighting, standing or on the ground. And multiple shots like a semi-auto. You wouldn’t have to stop when you pointed the gun. You could actually exercise pulling the trigger and aiming under stress, explore the next events. Anytime. Anyplace.”     

“I guess that would be smart. But we do that with Simunitions.”     

“How often?”     

“Oh, about once every two years.”     

“Two years?”     

“Sometimes more years than that. Some people never do it. ”     

“I know. Because you need special gear and a special place that won’t be destroyed by the Sims. Lots of set up and gear. Sometimes the setup and expense just pushes the workouts off and off. What if I told you could use these wooden guns – which cost about 15 bucks each – anytime, anyplace, aiming, shooting with no safety gear, easy experimentation with moves and problems. You can get a lot done, safe, and cheap.

“I guess that would be okay.”

“I am talking about using wooden rubber band guns. I am not talking about giving up routine live fire. I am not talking about never using electric, gas or Sims again. I am not saying throw away your rubber gun. It too has uses. I am just talking about wood over rubber. I am talking about the easy, safe study of moves & shooting. I am talking about more access to important experimentation. You are already using rubber. Why not wood? Why not wood that shoots something? Did I mention the wooden gun cost about $15?”

In the 1990s I was laughed at in training circles and ridiculed for using “toys.” In my defense I never used toy-toys. I used wooden, rubber band guns that fired multi-shots. There was little available and affordable to simulate any shooting back then. By about 2000 or so cops worldwide were seeing my drills and buying a lot of these wooden guns from me for their training. Of course, citizens too. Easy. Safe. Quick. Great for lots of short, realistic vignette experimentation, anywhere. Anytime. (I even had life sized M-16s that shot very well about 30 feet.) Remember, if you do use gas guns? They can break eyes, skin, windows, mirrors, chip paint and blow out lights, ding cars, etc.

There is no doubt I settle for wood because we can’t be anywhere better, and use anything better when and where we are. That, sadly, is most of the time. Sadly, many places I go, with groups of 18 or more people up to 100, not everyone shows up with these expensive guns, ammo and safety gear. Even the gas or battery-powered guns. (And the cheap, battery-powered break very easy.) I ask them to bring this equipment but they often can’t, won’t or don’t. Every week in fact. I am left with these wooden ones.

In my External Focus Gun seminars, or regular mixed seminars of hand, stick, knife and gun, you will probably be shot 30 to 60 or so times day as you work out with a good-guy or bad-guy partner in different situations. And very close up in standing, seated and ground situations. Battery powered guns will not damage the facilities (and will not hurt cars) and you still need some thick clothes and face protection. But I still can’t frequently outfit all, half, or even a quarter of attendees with these guns. Out come the wooden guns.

I want to create a training environment where everyone is working out, not just two people while 18 other people are standing around watching, waiting their turn, for a short supply of weapons and safety gear to rotate over to them. Everyone should be working out, not watching two people work out.

Don’t let your custom fit holster stop you from doing this training. I hear this complaint or excuse. Just get a real cheap “ol bucket,” universal holster for this type of training. The emphasis is on bigger interactive goals about movements and fighting, and many skills more important than exactly how your replica pistol fits perfectly snug your custom fit holster. Rubber training guns don’t always fit into your custom holster, either. Yet people have persevered for decades with rubber gun training stuck in bad-fitting holsters.

In a perfect world, we would live in a wonderland of Simunitions mixed with live fire, in and around buildings, cars, etc., supporting each situation in crafted unison. Show me where that is? And I mean, daily, weekly or cheaply and reachable for all citizens, police and military to access? Can everyone afford to fly there? In the end, we are left with what we are left with, and most of the time, that ain’t much.

Where ever we are. Lets move the ball downfield every chance we get. Pain is not the only reason to have safer, ammo shooting gun. Not by a long shot, ducking pain is part of the training.  I would like to use the best gear in the best locations were we can ignore the destruction of buildings and vehicles. But that dream is both impractical and expensive for most of the places I travel to teach. I do the best I can, with what I can at the moment to move the learning ball down the field.

If left down to it? A wooden pistol that shoots something and safely is better than a rubber gun that doesn’t. 

Hock’s email: HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Who Gets to Define Gun Basics? Why?

I wonder sometimes- who gets to decide and define what are “the gun basics?” Gun Basics. Gun 101. The fundamentals? The essentials? Who draws the line before the next “advanced” step? Is it a group of men from 1930s? 1960? 2005 or so? A collective? Who? There is indeed a collective of info that may or may not have changed? When experts tell you to work “the basics,” what have we allowed to have that mean for us? Does it mean that you will forever and ever, thousands of times, do the same range shooting course over and over and over and over? And over? They might move you closer to, or away from the paper targets, hit you in the leg with whiffle ball bats, while you are aiming at the bulls eye…etc. but you are still shooting at paper targets. And no can can argue that shooting a paper drawing is different than shooting at a moving, thinking person shooting back at you – different on so many physical and psychological levels.

gun day

     I guess you would have to identify the goal of the course. Target shooting, bulls-eye basics? Self-defense shooting basics? Once the mission is established, the basics are established. What if the “basics” were just a little bit bigger than the old acceptable standards, yet still quite simple and quite…basic? And by the way, I am not looking for people to compile the old standards in lists here. My goal actually will be shooting for some new standards.

     Self defense, gun experts talk about street crime and some say there is little “street crime” (in a semantic sense) and they claim there’s really mostly only “parking lot crime.”  But we know that there is also college dorm crime, hallway crime, elevator crime, home invasion…all kinds of crime. But let’s talk about parking lot crime for example because there is a lot. It is a place where many strangers pass each other. What would be the basics of gun fighting on parking lots. The basics would include gun drawing, gun handling, hitting the target. Reloading. Moving around a tad when shooting the target. Lots of live fire. Stuff like that. The usual….basic stuff.

     But…what if I did all that and were to add a few more basics to this day? More simple basics. What if we all took up simulated ammo guns and had some shoot-outs right on a parking. In, out and around cars? (Some of this ammo does not hurt cars). As they say in baseball, you are going to have a hard time hitting a curve ball is you don’t see them in practice. The same holds true in parking lot shoot-outs. A whole lot can go on. Even if you pull a car or two onto the range once in a rare while and you are still shoot paper targets, it is not the same as having a moving, thinking person shooting back at you trying to kill you.

    Kahuna 8 

You can punch and kick a heavy bag forever, but it will never be the same as kickboxing versus a moving, thinking fighter blasting away at you. You could spend the rest of your life hitting a heavy bag, but it will only partially, minimally prepare you for kickboxing. The same thing is true for shooting. You can shoot at paper targets for your whole life, but you are not maximizing your experience for that parking lot shoot out (or wherever). It takes the experiences of interactive shooting for you to see the curve balls.

     Many mainstream gun instructors shirk the idea of doing this regularly, or at all. You hear the term “role-playing” or “well-scripted, force-on-force scenarios.” It often sounds like a discouraging, time-consuming Academy Award, epic movie the way some make it sound. I have even seen a training video clip one time from a somewhat known gun instructor, in front of a blackboard, mapping out the dense, deep, psychological methods and the vital importance of role-playing as though it were a complicated, land invasion of Mars or something. Oh my, the ENORMOUS responsibility to portray the dialogue, etc. just precisely right! All this set-up drama acts as a deterrent to doing it! It is not the Oscars. It’s a gun fight. Much of it, is just people moving around stuff and shooting at you, you shooting at them.

brando copy

     For example, you give two people safe, shooting guns and put one on one end of a parking lot and one on the other end. They try to kill each. End of script! How much acting and role-playing is involved? How much “well-scripting?” None. There are a numerous VERY simple, basic interactive exercises to go through for parking lot shooting (and everywhere else) that directly add to the live fire training and require no Oscars or Emmys.

     I always wonder when I see these rifle courses – guys decked out like they have been dropped into Cambodia for two weeks, shooting, shooting and shooting at paper targets. I wonder why, at the end of the day, for just one hour, they don’t have a little sims, ammo war with replicas of their weapons, of some sort to top off the education of the day? No “well-defined scripting.” No role-playing for an Emmy. Just basic combat, applying the same basics of the prior live fire training. The basics. (You know the military practiced invading a replica of the Bin Laden compound with…ahhh…“these…toy guns,” working and experimenting through many possibilities. There’s a great example for a “well-scripted” combat scenario. And go ahead and make fun of those SEALS playing with “toy guns”).

     In a training session or seminar, do these basics “in the ring” so to speak. Work ALL those gun basics. Shoot live fire for 6 hours…whatever. Then for the sheer experience, finish off every day with shooting at moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you, in applications of the prior live fire methods. To me this is all “Gun Basics 101” in one package in one module. I understand that there are gun instructors who will not push for this idea, saying that even a little “sims” interaction is only for way, way-advanced live fire veterans. I just don’t think so. Not at all. I think you can introduce it in from the beginning. The benefits are lengthy. life-saving and eye-opening. And I might add, I have been doing this for 20 years and I still see no down-side.

     I would like to add that many people (too lengthy to list here) are doing a terrific job of teaching live fire basics. My hat is truly off to you, your dedication, your patience and for some, your sheer patriotism. But, who gets to decide for you the definition of “gun basics?”

    For me, I think its live-fire-basics mixed with some simple, interactive/simulated ammo basics…together.

 

Hock’s Email: HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Hock’s Web: Right here at www.ForceNecessary.com

 

Well Defined Combat Scenarios vs. Well Structured Ones

The other day, I mentioned here the subject and term “Well-Defined Combat Scenarios” in shooting training in the context of using simulated ammo in interactive training. (Actually the subject must fit into all hand, stick, knife and gun training.) But I briefly suggested the semantics of terms like “role-playing” and “well-defined…” and how some, not all, some instructors turn these terms into epic acting requirements, when there are tons of little short interactive shooting bits and segments that can be set up and done swiftly and successfully in small “skits.” 

     I sometimes think that “properly-structured” might be a better term than “well-defined” but hell…it’s all semantics. But sometimes I still worry where the semantics lead off too. There is a difference between “well-defined” and “properly structured” to an anal retentive person. Think about it. Well -defined means to me and others a heavily stages, like a movie script –

    "Don't miss you chalk-mark on the floor! Walk to and stand there."

-as opposed to something that is well structured, so that the chaos within might still happen.

    "This is the room where this, this and this will happen, or can happen."  

 

 

     A lot of people are doing active shooter seminars these days. Some of these are on TV news lately and of course on youtube. The idea that any person can step into a seminar and do something about this scary, oddity is comforting and hopeful. I see all kinds of responses/solutions in these – the captured folks charging in and throwing books and furniture at the shooter. All jumping on the shooter, etc. Yeah! Win! Then we have the concealed carry person shooting the bad guy. Great. I see the bad guys often carrying a replica M-16, AR-15 and, or AK-47 and suited up with a helmet and pads when they charge into the seminar room. Good idea.

     But I wonder what would happen if the attacker in these seminars had a sims gun? A sims machine gun, (even gas or airsoft) and stepped into the room, and as happened frequently, and just starts shredding the seminar attendees? I think a lot of realistic devastation would occur.

     This falls along the lines of “well-defined” or at least “properly-structured” combat scenario for me- adding in the shooter, shooting. First there is the shock factor of the event happening before your eyes. Then, attendees need to know and predict of the loud explosion of each round coming from the gun. LOUD! (In a class you could run a tape on a boom box at least?) And of course, the ease and insane randomness of the death and destruction as the gunman blasts away.

     This doesn’t make for a “fun” and hopeful day for citizens looking for hope. In fact, it is a depressing day. Especially when you discover that all the well made plans and emotional chants of the instructors, all their blackboard diagrams still lead to quite a bit of bloody destruction and even failure. Sadly, there are no other practical options/solutions but the rush of the attacker, or someone in the group gets clear shots at the bad guy.

     Just a point, if inhabitants in any room or class were ambushed? Getting this fantastic, sudden military charge at the bad guy would be unlikely. If they are holed up in a room, hearing approaching gunfire, perhaps strangers and semi-strangers could be rallied by a leader. Such leadership, such rallying could be a subject in the seminar.

     I myself would never dream of a doing such an active-shooter training day without introducing the simulated ammo invasion of the room, for that “well-structured” experience.

     And as yet another aside on the subject of "well-structured," I see some of this active-shooter training done at shooting ranges, a totally abstract environment especially when outdoors. A person with a real gun and real ammo, draws, bumps and grinds through real co-attendees that are acting to flee or otherwise, to shoot at a paper target. This kind of thing often scares the hell out me. It takes one mistake, one thoughtless second, a misstep and someone in class is shot, if even in the foot. I also feel the same way when I see people at the range, all downrange and close to the row of targets, and a person kicks, elbows and strikes a martial arts kicking shield, maybe turns and pushes someone else away, then turns again, draws and shoots at a paper target. Wow! Reality training? Most real?

     I watch all this and think how someone, in a blind second makes a misstep and bang. Shoots a person. It is more than mathematically possible. The more you do it? The more all kinds of people do it? The more chance it will happen. It’s just math. (My mind wonders back to the hand grenade, rookie range)

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