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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 100 films on self-defense and more than 12 fiction and non-fiction books, 5 of which are on how to protect yourself. His products sell in more than 40 countries.

Knife Dueling?

Knife-to-knife dueling is a controversial subject. I have come to believe that knife dueling is way over emphasized and over-practiced in these so-called “reality” knife training courses. This is something I have long called – “the myth of the duel.” The “myth of the duel” is complex subject in the splitting and organizing of martial arts and survival training. (You don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
Too many knife practitioners, fooled or ignorantly thinking they are studying realistic, modern or military knife combatives, express themselves through too much knife versus knife dueling. A methodology that is a mythology.
If you should escape a prisoner of war camp with a sharpened butter knife, the people who hunt you down have machine guns and dogs. It is unlikely you will be in a Rathbone-Fairbanks duel. Though it has happened in peculiar military circumstances as I have recorded in my Knife Combatives book. It took extensive searching into auto-biographies, biographies and history books, here in the age of firearms, to collect military knife duel events. They are quite rare in the big picture of combat. There are a few more civilian-criminal events than military. The second murderer I caught in the act, in Texas, had killed a rival in a bloody. kitchen-knife duel!
We in modern times live in a hand, stick, knife and gun, mixed-weapon world and a stand-off duel of sorts is not common. Still we must practice a proportionate, appropriate amount of knife versus knife dueling because the uncommon event has and will occur. We always need many knife skills in combinations, slashing, stabbing, support strikes and kicks, footwork and many aspects of knife awareness.
For example, in the “who, what, where, when, how and why of life”, if you are standing with a knife in your hand, in front of another person with a knife? Why are you still there? If at all possible, an orderly retreat is in order. You better have a good reason to stay!
I think knife course instructors may knife spar at each and every one of their own classes and seminars for exercise as they wish, as long as they teach and grasp the Myth of the Duel concept. The legendary Dan Inosanto said once in a seminar I attended, “knife dueling is really about developing footwork.” Instructors have different reasons for pursuing the subject. History? Fun? Competition?
Reality knife dueling can occur! They have happened. But common instructors usually forget the stress quick draw, the usually complicated, overall situations, and the physical layout of indoor and outdoor grounds/flooring where duels occur. These are overlooked factors in reality dueling training.
Strange places? I worked a murder case once where a big-knife, Bowie versus K-Bar, duel occurred between the driver and passenger in the cab of a big lumber truck, traveling down a two-lane highway! Driving and dueling. The driver won!
When survival training we should work on the obvious things first, and not spend a lot of time on things less likely to occur. Once this doctrine has been proportioned, we can delve into the less likely, because, as I have said, these things happen too!
The same holds true for stick fighting. It is unlikely most people will be in a 28-inch stick fight, duel. Of course, if you do these things for fun, as a hobby? As a sport? Go for it! I am happy if you are happy. I just hope people know what they are doing, and why they are doing what they are doing in the big picture. (As I said earlier, you don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary,com

Less Than Lethal Knife Fighting

Less-Than-Lethal Knife Tactics

At times, missions, rules of engagement, the law, and use of force standards require the capture, containment and control, not the death of an enemy. This is once called by professionals as “non-lethal” measures, but military and law enforcement specialists recognize that the term “less-than-lethal” is a smarter, and a more comprehensive phrase than “non-lethal” – as various tactics and equipment designed not to kill and called non-lethal, might still actually kill despite the intent, design and name. This renders the term “non-lethal,” into an operational misnomer and confusing liability.

A comprehensive knife program also covers less-than lethal applications. This is important for the mission and legality. Your knife course must drop all the death cult, over-the-top, violent, macho imagery (unless you are a member of an elite military unit where such imagery is psychologically smart -which is NOT the majority of us). The knife is “just a tool,” as the old saying goes, but a tool with stigma. The following tactics are less-than-lethal and can be substituted for lethal movement.

We know that the knife strikes with:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-the tip
  • 3-the edge or edges
  • 4-flat of the blade
  • 5-the clenched hand-fist grip on the handle

Less than lethal applications of this are:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-if single-edge, a dull edge for striking.
  • 3-flat of the blade.
  • 4-hand grip as a punch.

Less-Than-Lethal 1: Verbal Skills and the Art of Surrender

Your presence, your weapon presentation, your speech, your threats, your disarm, in the onset of a fight may cause the enemy to surrender. At times, getting in and getting the tip of your knife up against the enemy, along with a verbal threat, may coerce him to surrender.


Less-Than-Lethal 2: The knife pommel strike

The pommel strikes, saber or reverse grips are other less-than-lethal strikes unless it cracks the skull. Or, your pommel has a “Klingon-spiked-end” which renders a whole range of pommel use, useless.


Less-Than-Lethal 3: All support hand strikes and kicks

Striking and kicking the enemy are less-than-lethal moves.  The enemy has dropped his weapon and is theoretically an unarmed man and in many situations, both military and civilian cannot be killed.


Less-Than-Lethal 4: The knife hand grip punches

The practitioner can turn his knife grip into a punch with the flat of his fist, forgoing the stab or slash, with a saber or reverse grip.


Less-Than-Lethal 5: The closed folder

The practitioner may fail to open, or close his or her tactical folder and use the closed folder as a “palm stick,” impact weapon.”


Less-Than-Lethal 5: Knife slashes on secondary targets

With a working knowledge of anatomy, a practitioner may slash various “secondary” targets like muscles and so forth that may cause an enemy to surrender or collapse, without a fatality.


Less-Than-Lethal 6: The flat of the blade strikes a stunning blow and grappling

Many militaries teach the flat of the blade strike to the head of an enemy to stun and bewilder them, as a set-up for further action. When a less-than-lethal mission becomes mandatory this flat strike becomes an option for striking, as well as a considerable amount of pushing and pulling of grappling. 

In Summary… Of course the use of the knife is always stigmatized trouble. It is a nasty weapon, but every one who dares “study” the knife for the military, for enforcement or self defense, one who engages in a knife system, should be aware of its full potential, and that includes the “who, what, when, where, how and why” to minimize its damage.


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Is the Flag a Little Fuzzy? Or is it Your Eyeglasses?

Is the flag a little fuzzy? Or is it your eyeglasses?

Some ignorant and brainwashed people think that the US Constitution needs to disappear, needs to grow. But actually people need to grow into the Constitution.

I had the displeasure the other day of watching a townhall and witnessing a young white woman ask a loaded question about how racist the US Constitution was/is and how could any of the panel on stage support it. A conservative on the panel asked the ignorant girl where the racist words exactly were in the modern Constitution. Of course she could not supply any. The shallow concept was drummed into her in…schools. From people who dwell only in the empty half of the unfilled glass of water.

The fact is there are no racist words in the Constitution. Just consult with the frequent teachings of Dr Martin Luther King.  The ignorant child then added that the framers were all racist. Not so. Not all. And yet, they still packaged the evolved words of the best ideas of an evolved, smarter government. The frame. The frame. The frame of a theory, an evolution of humanity and attempts to remove mistakes of bad past histories. I have come to believe that the “person” the “individual” they ultimately worried about was a theoretic person. A symbolic individual versus bad monarchies, dictatorships, fascism communism or gang-rule. (Then, came the…tax thing.)

The negative list of humanity is long and medieval. The history of the world, of humanity is very much a terrible and horrible story. Medieval in fact. All the major cultures have at one time been extremely violent, with crimes upon humanity, vicious wars with mixed motives and torture, bizarre practices and rituals religious or otherwise, and chock full of slavery. Through time there have been blacks that enslaved and sold blacks, Muslims who enslaved other Muslims and blacks, American Indians who enslaved blacks, other Indians and captured whites, and white upon white slavery abounds through history. Roman slaves, Greek slaves, Irish slaves. South and Central American slaves. In fact the slave list is frighteningly long.  And slavery of many sorts still exist, such as sex trafficking and the manifestations of economic slavery.

The history of the world! The question is, how far back do you want to go in your revenge and hate? Do we want to go forward or back, back, back.  The world’s bad history is a lesson for the future. The lesson for this evolution.  And keep in mind, The USA is still a very young country in comparison, still crawling out of its own, unique, medieval time period. That’s no excuse. Just a sorry fact.

The view of the USA, the Constitution, our flag can look a little blurry and fuzzy to people with bias and ignorant eyeglasses. They project their ignorance and propaganda upon it. I project something different. I see the long slog of desperate humanity from ignorant, ancient coastal, tribes to a brighter and bright civilization. And, I see the Constitution as a way to do this. (Dr King did too.) Many believe as I do that this USA framework is the most realistic, evolved and best attempt, with built-in systems from the Constitution itself to correct almost all evolving problems. I like to think the proverbial glass is half-full. 

Is the flag a little fuzzy to you? Or is it your eyeglasses? Some people think that the US Constitution should disappear. Or that it needs to “grow.” But actually, humanity needs to grow…into the Constitution.


Hock’s email is



I would like to say real quickly that I think all patrol officers would absolutely love having social workers respond to any-and-all domestic disturbances, and medical people dispatched to any-and-all medical and mental issue cases. Hell, why not any-and-all traffic stops too while we’re at it!
We were thrilled in the 1970s when it became policy in our agency to dispatch ambulances to a variety of low-running medical type calls we use to get, such as helping an ENORMOUS woman stuck in a toilet seat, or an ENORMOUS man who rolled off his bed and could not get up. Stuff like that. I could go on and on. “Why are we doing THIS stuff?” we would ask. These types of calls were suddenly, officially deemed “medical” calls by “City Hall,” handled by EMTs, and we about had a police party on the PD parking lot, the day it was announced. Thank you reformers.
In the 1990s our county sheriff’s office developed a mental health unit to respond to those apparent “mental issue” problems. Most of the responders then were cross-trained cops and nurses. (This is a rare, rare breed person and they need to be paid more.) Fantastic for us! This is NOT a new idea! 1990s! But we’ll see how many today are so well crossed-trained (and paid), and sending in mental social workers only, hexing out the uniformed officers as reformers suggest – well – “boy howdy,” as we say in Texas – they better get ready for some surprises and problems. But go ahead and let them do it. Thank you reformers because crazy people are hard to deal with and we’d rather not.
Social workers to domestic disturbances? Such calls are top-ten killers of cops for decades. And needless to say, we all knew and know that it is impossible for a “working-stiff” patrol officer (many unmarried and young) to walk into a family disturbance and solve on the spot, problems with 5, 10, 15, 20 year marriages. It will be impossible for social workers too, but SWEET JESUS let them do it! Let THEM try. And not me! Not us! THANK YOU so much, reformers.
Traffic enforcement by citizens? Well, accidents can be investigated by citizens, as some crime scenes are handled already, for decades in some places. But traffic enforcement stops themselves can be very dangerous and such are top-ten killers for decades. No traffic police? A lot of people will not cooperate with police least of all with a new fleet of “official traffic citizens” with the simple issuance of traffic tickets. And by the way, a lot of illegal guns, drugs and related crimes are solved with traffic stops. That’ll be over when “Brad” and “Karen” start stopping cars. Maybe in Berkeley, California? I can think of many other locales where it won’t. But hey, let’s try it! And…thank you so very much. I wonder though, if a gang-guy shoots a cop in a traffic stop, it’s a big deal – if a gang-guy shoots civilian Brad or civilian Karen, will it be too?
I guess that people think that the simple absence of uniformed police – the whole cop show thing, the decked-out auto, militant vest, colors, patches, gun belt, tact pants, the whole show-up – is a major problem. White skin too. Won’t many of these new jobs have their own new, some-sort-of-uniforms to wear too. Maybe something the opposite? Peaceful in pink? Or like a Dairy Queen uniform? Or not?
With domestics and crazy people I have been spit on, bit, hair-pulled-out, punched at, kicked in the head, attacked by a small ax, by a big ax, a straight razor, a weird, long cable/pipe weapon with a Medusa head ball of bare metal wires at the end, a walking crutch…let’s see…that’s just off the top of my head this morning before coffee. I’ll stop here. I don’t want to dissuade reformation.
Good luck reformers. Godspeed! And I have to say, thank you, thank you, and thank you again.
(Oh, and I know that if the social workers get worried or scared they will call…the damnable cops in for backup.)
Hocks email is

Filipino Stick to S.D.M.S. to Force Necessary: Stick!

Just a short history about the evolution of courses I teach concerning the stick/baton//impact weapon. I started out with the police baton “back in the day” the early 1970s, when there was almost a “no-holds-barred” with wooden stick, police use (especially in the military police.) The police baton was used to hit, block, shove and capture/grapple with. I was certified in the old 1960s -1970s, Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles County baton courses and much of this material was excellent. In the 1980s I became involved with Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) , as I, like so many others, was on the hunt for any and all martial arts.
The FMA stick, which was supposed to replace the FMA machete/sword for training is 3/5ths of a comprehensive FMA course, the 5 being-
  • (1) hand,
  • (2) single stick,
  • (3) double stick,
  • (4) knife,
  • (5) stick-and-knife
  • Note – FMAs will always have an assortment of other trick weapons to fool with, powders, whips, etc, but they are of “minor league” interests,
The “stick” appears in three of those 5 FMA subjects above.
* Single Stick
* Double stick
* Espada y Daga (stick and knife)
The single stick category seems to get all the shine, attraction and interest, which to me (and Ernesto Presas teachings) is an imbalance of FMA study. Next the puzzling and fun, addiction of double sticks, and then last, the often ignored Espada y Daga or stick-and-knife.
But I always knew from a practical, reality standpoint, a self defense survival standpoint, I would not be single-stick or double-stick dueling with criminals in an alleyway somewhere. As I like to remind people, how likely is it that you will be in a stick fight with your 28” stick, fighting another cat, coincidentally holding another 28” stick, down on the corner of 8th Ave and 4th Street? Statistically unlikely to none. Why do this then? Mostly fun/ Mostly hobby.
Pugil sticks resemble two-hand, impact rifle fighting and bayonet fighting. 
So, through time I had to pigeon-hole, classify “the stick” as in hobby, as well as workable, common sense arenas. The progression was as follows –
  • In the 1980s and early 1990s while doing karate, jujitsu and Jeet Kune Do, etc, I also worked on and taught just FMA materials like “stick” material, like a hobby, for fun, with abstract benefits. I went to several FMA “colleges” and have a 2nd degree black belt directly from Remy Presas, and a 3rd degree black directly from Ernesto Presas. Around 1995, a bit frustrated with this FMA stick-versus-stick duel only and complicated double stick drills, (cops would often leave the classes and seminars when the rattan sticks came out) I decided to develop something not so FMA-ish.
  • I started up a course called S.D.M.S. – Single and Double Manos (Handed) Stick. I used the word “Manos” as a culture bridge for hand, but dropped all esoterics and lowered the emphasis on the least-likely-to-happen, stick duel. So, for a number of years, I taught S.D.M.S. along with, here-and-there FMA. I also knew that two-hands on a stick, (dos manos), was big in old school policing, and was horribly ignored in FMA. Still, a little bit of impact-weapon versus impact weapon was exercised because in real life, ax handles, ball bats, crowbars, tire irons, etc are used in crime and war.
  • By the 1990s, my real goals were manifesting, my real interest and pursuit of all these other systems was just about “mixed-weapon, self-defense, survival, combatives” – all these overused terms, but you know what I mean. I had to be “hand, stick, knife, gun” comprehensive. That is what crime and war is about in a closer quarters range. (we will NOT be covering surface-to-air missile trajectories!)
Tim Llacuna and me with padded sticks.
I was challenged with – how do I collect this, disperse the information, in the best, smartest way?  I fly no flag, so to speak. No established system name that garners automatic recognition and students, which is a terrible deficit in the martial “arts.” For business examples, look at the automatic, purchased appeal of “Krav Maga,” or “Tae Kwon Do,” (or Walmart and Domino’s Pizza). But the process starts with a clever name, and I first wanted it to be “When Necessary? Force Necessary!” But it was too long a title, and a bit clunky, not too sexy, and it quickly de-evolved from 4 words to 2 words, down to “Force Necessary.” Using only that force necessary to win and/or survive.
It then made sense to make 4 courses, Force Necessary: Hand, Force Necessary: Stick, Force Necessary: Knife, Force Necessary: Gun. And, it must have within them the “hand, stick, knife, gun “versus matrix,” so the Force Necessary: Stick course must contain –
  • Matrix Mix 1 – Impact weapon versus hand.
  • Matrix Mix 2 – Impact weapon versus stick (just a realistic bit, and there are smart times in training, when both partners hold sticks, not to develop stick dueling but rather to develop and speed up certain skills.)
  • Matrix Mix 3 – Impact weapon versus knife.
  • Matrix Mix 4 – Impact weapon versus gun threats.
  • Matrix Mix 5 – Impact weapon while standing, seated, kneeling and on the ground, stress draws, blocking, striking and grappling.
This is how the Force Necessary: Stick course and title was constructed. Police no longer leave the class or seminar anymore. Actually they seek it out, in as much as batons and expandables are used today. Police batons are not popular with many agencies fearing public perceptions.
And in the context of the Pacific Archipelago Concepts/FMA course, I still do FMA stick stuff when asked, when planned and when I spot a high interest clue (one interest-clue – when a preponderance of attendees show up with Filipino stick bags. THAT’s a clue! ) We do them for fun, exercise, culture, history, hobby and abstract benefits. I also use a very combatives progression, a “fight-first, systems-second” mentality I picked up from Ernesto Presas.
The martial arts and systems I have worked in are to me, like colleges I attended. My beginning interests and end-goal, obsession always was and is the seamless transition of hand, stick, knife, gun.
Clean. Generic. Style-free.
Hock’s email is

The “Second (or Third) Round is Yours” Sports Theory

I really enjoy the numerous youtube videos of people being attacked and the victim unleashes a smart boxing combination and the badman drops like rock. The smart integration of boxing, kickboxing, Thai combinations are worthy studies in self defense combatives, not the whole systems remember, mind you, just what’s smart. Just what applies. (Untrained people – mostly everyone – respond differently than trained people, but we can’t go off on that whole topic here.)

“There is no second round in the street,” might be an old and corny expression for some, but some folks need to hear it once, or once in a while, to get them back on track for what they want, and what they are forced to do in classes and programs.

Attrition is defined as – “the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.” It’s a word used in military battles and war, and here in sport fighting “physical attrition” is a strategy.

In sports, it is indeed the coaches job to map out a strategy to your first or next fight, give you a game plan. You know that in amateur and pro fights, where a history and film exists on your next opponent, these histories are studied and strategies evolve. A properly prepped, fighter, MMA, BJJ, UFC or otherwise needs to walk in with a strategy, a plan. And in this process, the plan is made and you might hear from your coach, “Do this, then do this and this, and the fourth round is yours.” “You…make your move,” Kind of talk. Or ideas about tiring him out in among the battle plan. “First round? Check him out, probe. Probe with the jab. See how he reacts. Second round do ‘this or that’ with the discoveries from your probing. Third round is yours, as you will…”

Coaches say – tire him, move around, 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 spent rounds pounding the upper arms of their opponents so that eventually their guard, through multiple rounds, would eventually drop, their beaten arms down for their eventual, head shots, so that the… ” ______ (fill in the blank) round is yours.”

I think it would be odd for a coach to simply say, “knock him cold with a head shot in the first two seconds. That is all. Now go jog and hit that bag.” Fighters do indeed knock people out quickly, but aren’t they always handed an overall, planning, staging, strategy, etc.? Despite the delaying plans, bingo!

For many fighters, this plan is laid out in the first meeting for training for a specific fight. This fighter then and quite possibly gets this message buried in his head for months, “Third round is mine. Third Round is mine.” Even in the first round, he is fixated on the third round, deep in his head.

This type off delay-progression, advice was advice I had been given for decades by various boxing, kick boxing, and even Thai boxing coaches.

The transition of these delay ideas and advice can get blended over and into, for lack of a better term, “self-defense-street-fighting” courses. Training by short-sighted, self defense course trainers and coaches can, have and will get these borders confused. I was told these off-mission tips at times in several self defense courses that included boxing, kickboxing and Thai methods. For examples:

  • 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 association newsletter was called “The Probe.” The head guy would often take months of money from certain “monied” people and make them study the jab only…for four to six months. The…probe. Yes, jabs only for many months? Imagine that. Then you graduated to the cross punch – for who knows how long – $$$$? People did not stay with him for that long when he tried that approach. Yet, he did many other things too, effective things too, but some of his people got caught in this “jab scam.” Once again that odd mix of overdoing some boxing strategies in with some survival strategies.
  • The military police academy boxing coaches, assigned to create a fighting spirit with a boxing program, taught off-mission, sport boxing concepts and strategies that weren’t the smartest things for street survival. I am convinced these instructors did not understand what I am saying here. Despite the generic “toughness” mission, they were immersed in boxing, taught boxing only, with boxing strategies. Wrong place. Wrong time.
  • Martial arts can get easily confused, innocently blending sport strategies with self defense themes, and vice-versa as self defense courses can get sporty-artsy.

The “who, what, when, where, how and why” questions arises again.. Briefly, as these questions run deep…

  • Who am I, who is teaching and who am I really going to be fighting?
  • What do I need to learn? What are they teaching here? What do I really want? What are my real goals? What are they turning me into? What am I wearing? What happens when I am not fighting a mirror-image of myself and regular thug?
  • When will I use this? When is this legal?
  • Where am I going with this course? Where will I use this training?
  • How will it work?
  • Why I am doing this in the first place? Why are they telling me and making me do these things?

I called these off-mission, missteps – “sport cancers” to be on the lookout for in all transitions from sports to the non-sports world. This is actually quite hard to dissect, especially buried within small steps. Even after 40 years I STILL spot things that I, or we, should not be doing. Enlightened coaches look for these, but I must tell you I don’t find many such enlightened coaches. Many are so immersed in what they do systemically, via their mindset, via hero or system worship or franchise dues, they will not or can’t detect the discrepancies and will not or cannot rebel against them.

“There was no second or third round in the street fight,”…to use a corny phrase. These street fights/arrests I was in and ones I had to break up and later investigate had little time for the experimental probing jabs, trick footwork or secondary blows to wear an opponent down through time, and other “second-third-or-more round,” ring sport, strategies.”

Upon self-examination, be happy with what you do and know why and what you are doing. I want you to be happy in your pursuits.

Physical attrition. We don’t have time for physical attrition. I hate to use the over simplistic term “street fight” because real encounters occur inside and outside of homes and businesses in rural, suburban and urban locations. But these so-called “street fights” were almost always hard, fast, crazy and over quickly. You were bum-rushed, or wild-man-tackled and, or sucker-punched, hit with chairs and lamps, etc…I was attacked once by a man with a big ax. No time for several probing, experimental sport jabs versus the swinging ax man.

Hock’s email is


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Systemic Racial DIVERSITY in Policing

As the policing systems in the USA and around the world seem to be under a microscope in 2020, I am not sure that complainers know that so many of the reform policies they demand have been underway for years, decades even. Outsider citizens would be ignorant of these inner workings. One long term reform topic is the systemic, racial diversity programs and laws in the USA (and around the world).
For example, the mission of Affirmative Action, and this certainly includes policing, has been around for 5 decades. In the 1970s I tried to get hired by several police agencies in Texas. Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding cities and was told that the recruiting efforts were geared for minorities. One Houston PD black recruiting officer confessed to me that my break would have to come way later, as their mission was to hire black officers. Even after my stint in the military police, some cities would not take me for the same AA reasons.
My retired, cop friend Arlie Everett for one, had the same problem back then, but did eventually get hired in San Antonio, but the academy was postponed for quite a while until they achieved a 51% black attendance, as was their on-going rule. As my friends exited the army military police, this was a common new-job, police, problem.
Now, some might call that reverse discrimination, and that I was a victim of that. But for some, there is no such thing as “reverse discrimination.” But you know, I persevered, and I am not bitter about the delays. It was just a fact of life back then and now too. Just life. I and many others know this was and is still also true and not just in policing but in many other businesses and in colleges and college scholarships, etc.  Through the years and police contacts I’ve heard this same story from officers all over the USA, Canada, England and Europe.
My British friend David Robert Giles reported, “I was turned down by the UK Police 3 times because the emphasis was on women & ethnic minorities. Broke my heart at the time.”
There have been major priorities to hire Blacks first, then Asians and Hispanics. There was also a huge movement for women of any color going on, but hiring minority women counted as a “two” or the nickname “two-fer,” in hiring quota stats. I am not sure these newby, mostly young, citizen reformers know anything about this 50 year history –
***** “Police departments have experienced some of the most aggressive affirmative action programs ever implemented in the United States (McCrary, 2007; Miller and Segal, 2012). Beginning in the late 1960s with a number of employment discrimination lawsuits, federal courts began mandating affirmative action plans with the intended effect of increasing the shares of nonwhite and female police officers. Court-imposed affirmative action plans often take the form of hiring quotas, but also may affect standards for promotion. Some police departments are still under affirmative action plans today , often from court-imposed plans going back to the 1970s. The justification.” – Estimating Effects of Affirmative Action in Policing: A Replication and Extension, by Maryah Garner, Anna Harvey, Hunter Johnson NYU Scholars
***** “America’s police departments have become increasingly diverse since the late 1980s.” – Bureau of Justice Statistics.
***** “Many businesses have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on diversity initiatives each year. “ Harvard Business Review
And probably now, more than ever, police agencies are trying ever more to dodge that perceived “whitey reputation” and seriously pushing all kinds of minority hires. Biased or ignorant outsiders have no idea how important this movement has been and is, within federal, state, county and city police agencies (and big business). 
I still think that Affirmative Action needs to stay around a little while longer, despite my being “bumped aside” in various endeavors. In the big picture, like I said, I am okay with that. It is and has long been, a “norm” white people know and kind of groan about, but we just live with. And, this is complicated issue, to be looked at on a job-by-job” category investigation especially in policing (see more stats below). 
Asians? Hispanics? It seems the young adult, screaming public that wants so to segregate us and race-bait us, doesn’t care about Asians that much? Asians are officially diminished by them, discriminated into the “white adjacent” category. Yes, that is their chosen political correct discrimination for Asians. “White Adjacent.” Like…like co-conspirators. I still haven’t figured out how the radical regime feel about Hispanics yet, other than “open borders” and “no deportations.” I have read some hate-speech from them that Hispanics are also belittled with the nickname “white adjacent,” and “white or light-skinned” and “Hispanic Adjacent,” or “Latin Adjacent.” Here’s a winner I read on social media the other day,
“white women of color,” – this probably from a woman who wants everyone unisex, yet spins the color wheel like a roulette wheel.
(I do think Dr Martin Luther King would absolutely turn over in his grave to hear all this skin color crap.) I don’t know how involved in this “socialist revolution,” Hispanics and Asians are with this destructive, anti-capitalist, anarchy stuff. Seems like they or their very recent relatives escaped from all that to come to North America. And now here it all is again.
I know, trained and trained with, and have worked with and for, for many years, numerous blacks officers and agents already in place, trust them, and African-American personnel growth in police would help shut racial, perception problems down when human mistakes and messes happen. And mistakes will be made. Forever. It is the human condition. (In Texas in the past few years, there have been a few black officers shoot black and white people – a few unarmed ones! -…crickets in the news. The arrested cops in the George Floyd death were Black, Asian and white. Humans are humans and all humans screw up.)
I do expect the police of all races to at least try do their jobs, but when they are forced to work under delirious liberal politicians like the mayor of Seattle for example, who called the recent CHOP/CHAZ fiasco just a “patriotic block party,” life for the police can be really tough. I would like to take a moment to support Seattle police chief Carmen Best. If you are religious, please say a prayer for her. I have been watching her and she has been wrung through a wringer of liberal idiots, walking a tightrope as she tries to save her city. Defunding her agency she says-
“…cutting the budget by 50 percent would be “catastrophic for public safety” in general. And, Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best warned activist groups and council members alike that the department’s “newest, most broadly diverse officers on patrol” would be the first employees they are “forced to terminate” under the proposed budget cuts. Best wrote a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan Friday cautioning that at least 50 percent of BIPOC (minority) officers would be the first people fired, as these newer officers are in patrol and labor laws have a say who is let go. She’s trying, but…(here’s the story)
And in the photo spread above , I just love our new Dallas Chief Renee Hall. She put up with one night of rioting and looting and hit the streets the next night. Hundreds have been arrested. (She recently “told off” liberal reporters in a press conference and on another day repelled off a 15 story building, just cause she could.) And a special shout-out to Chicago police superintendent/chief David Brown (formally, once our popular Dallas PD Chief down here in Texas.)
To play the “race Numbers Game,” critics and social experts have to prepare some sort of standard or reference and usually that is a race-per-capita chart. If 10% of the population is Hindu, then 10% of the police force MUST be Hindu. At a shallow level this seems fine, but if you have a fantastic and successful police department that is 100% Hindu, or 100% black, leave them alone. Why screw that up just to play this appearance-perception numbers game? Good, smart people are good, smart people. Remember that 88% of local police agencies in the United States are staffed with fewer than 100 officers. 88% percent. Most of the agencies with the biggest perceived racial problems are actually in the 1.2% category of departments, agencies with 250 or more officers. Even before all this recent, riot mess, only 40% of the New York City Police Department was white. 58% of the Atlanta Police Department is black.  Chicago PD has 904 Latinos, 902 white officers and 443 African Americans. 47.7% of the local police agencies in the country have fewer than ten officers. Fewer than ten!  What are their race populations? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14.6% of the U.S. population is black. Or, they say “Black Alone” and not in combination with any other race is 13.4%. ( And 12.5% is Hispanic.
Look at this in a more digestible “list formatting.”
  • 88% of local police agencies in the United States are staffed with fewer than 100 officers.
  • 47.7% of the local police agencies in the country have fewer than ten officers.  
  • Most of the agencies with the biggest perceived racial problems are actually in the 1.2% – agencies with 250 or more officers. I think you will find all these agencies are run by the Democratic party, and for many, many years.
  • Only 40% of the New York City Police Department is white.
  • 58% of the Atlanta Police Department is black. 
  • Chicago PD has 904 Latinos, 902 white officers and 443 African Americans.  
  • According to the recent U.S. Census Bureau, 12.3% of the U.S. population is black, and 12.5% is Hispanic.
  • Then inside this 14.6%, how many of the 14 or 15% Afro-Americans in the USA want to be cops?  Very few people in general, of any race, want to become cops as. It is hard to recruit black officers to the high percentages the public demands or perceives. The numbers tell you this as well as my friends in recruiting and police academies through the decades. It is hard to hit quotas!
I was talking with a friend recently, in the command staff of an agency, regretting the retirement of their favorite police chief.
“I wonder who we’ll get next?” he said.
“Probably a black female.” I said.
The future of the police business for a while is in black police chiefs and certainly black, FEMALE police chiefs. If they are good, righteous, cop-hearted folks? I’m all in. Good, smart people are good, smart people. Chiefs (and Sheriffs) of all colors will be liked and disliked inside and outside their departments, because it is a TERRIBLE, often no-win, job. But we need them now. It may be a necessity for police, law and order, survival in these times of defund, disband and abolish. 
Pew Research for one, has identified numerous opinions and surveys revealing bad opinions and troubles with police in general from small interpersonals to big problems.  Some of these opinions are based on hearsay and media-driven-pounded perceptions. The elusive and sought after COPs program (Community Oriented Policing) also around since the 1980s and not at all new, recognized this and is really based on perception-handling. Advertising. The opinions, mixed with perceptions, mixed with realities are a problem. All the more reason to have a preponderance of good, smart, black officers. This is an over 50 year goal of major police agencies in the USA.
For the young and/or uneducated, great unwashed out there – this “new” police diversity you seek has been a systemic, police diversity mission for over 5 decades. But today is a new day. It is that time again to plead – so here goes the 53-year old sales pitch yet again. More smart black people need to become cops. And then they need to get promoted. Study! Test! Let’s get over this bad time now when police are used as pawns, in race-baiting politics, in riots, and a hoax and a trick to instigate white and black people toward Marxism and anarchy. Build not destroy. I still believe in the famous dream…
And a sad story addendum to this message…
Award Winning Atlanta Police Investigator Leaving Law Enforcement…...
 “We’re one bullet away from death and one mistake away from an indictment’ – Tyrone Dennis.  An award wining Atlanta police detective is walking away from law enforcement. His reasons are similar to concerns that are reverberating throughout the industry. Detective Tyrone Dennis is calling it quits. He’s leaving the Atlanta Police Department due to the dramatic change in American perceptions and treatment of law enforcement. Sadly, “he’s the kind of officer people are clamoring for in these challenging times,” reporter Mark Winne said.
“Policing now is almost like rolling the dice with your life.”Dennis spoke to the news organization and expressed sentiments that are being felt by cops throughout the country.
“We’re one bullet away from death and one mistake away from an indictment,” he said during an interview with WSB TV.
Nevertheless, he’s humbled by the lives he’s changed as an Atlanta cop.
“As a police officer, God put me in people’s lives for a reason,” Dennis said. Yet after 16 years, the police veteran is walking away since so much has changed in a combustible year.
“2020 has changed everything about policing; about my life,” he said.
Dennis is proud of his professional achievements, including being recognized, along with his partner, as the 2015 Investigators of the Year; the 2017 U.S. attorney’s Award for Community Service; the 2019 City Council proclamation; and APD’s Commendation Award for his creation of “Clippers and Cops,” which is an internationally recognized barbershop based bridge between police and the people they serve, WSB-TV reported.
Dennis said he isn’t going to judge either way the officer charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks last month, but “we are all demonized like we physically did it.” He also said that two of the officers recently charged in the tasing of two college students at a recent protest were his friends. “That could have been me,” he said. “It could’ve been anyone of us.” Dennis said he returned home after working during protests one night, and his daughter said, “Daddy, I don’t want you to be police no more.”
The veteran detective discussed the lack of value officers feel. “We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I pray for our city. I pray for my police department,” Dennis said. “I pray that we can work together. It takes everybody. … God guides my steps everyday. 
Interim Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said he is sorry to see Dennis go. However, he claims recruiting in the city is going remarkably well considering all the strife that is occurring in our country.
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Boxing Gloves are for Boxers

“In Combatives, self defense and Krav Maga we should not spend exorbitant amounts of time hitting bags and mitts with big boxing gloves. It is ‘off-mission.’ We need to take things from boxing, but not with ‘big-boxing-gloves.’ When we fight crime and war we will be bare knuckle. Our bare hands and bare wrists will be unprepared. At very least train with MMA gloves.” – Hock

Any time this boxing glove topic comes up. I always wait for the comments on the open hand versus closed fist punching, etc. Closed fist punching and hammer-fists can occur on the torso, on the arms, on the neck on the lower jaw (because the jaw “gives” and the head can “give” on the neck. The danger zone is really, consistently the general, bicycle helmet area of the head/skull.

And heads drop when one detects an incoming blow. But, history is replete with successful bare-knuckle punching. Even my history (except for an uppercut once to a pointy jaw which led to a small hand surgery years later. Open hand strikes and elbow strikes are not without injuries also.) The sole point of this meme/photo being, when you train with big boxing gloves, you lose and miss a lot of important survival, experience, info and preparation. (Unless you are a boxer-boxer who boxes-boxes. Then the boxing gloves are very important.)

I know people with “cinder-block” hands. Let them hit tanks. I always think it is important for instructors, a system, to examine the hands of a practitioner and make an evaluation of “should they even punch? Should they be much of a puncher?” Rather than throw folks indiscriminately, small and fragile hands alike, into a crowd to punch away with everyone else, like I have seen in many martial arts. Most have no regard for the their student’s hands, and never looked at them, and never mention what might happen where you hit bones/people with them. Just punch, punch, punch away in the air or on soft things. Or, under the guise of self-defense, wrap and strap big gloves on them and let them for 5, 10, 15 minutes a class, let them mindlessly pepper away on a heavy bag, or…or have them hit focus mitts in endless, endless “show” patterns that don’t or won’t remotely match the actual responses of a real opponent. (People who teach kids can’t make these hand-fist assessments because their hands aren’t formed yet.)

You can work on punching impacts for survival short of having  hand tumors and arthritis in your old age. Does punching hard things make your hands stronger? “Punching walls could theoretically improve hand strength by increasing bone density over time, but the chance of breaking your hands is extremely high. A better alternative would be to practice hitting the heavy bag bare knuckle, and increase the force over time.” – 


Hit smart things. I have come to appreciate these water bag options. To me, they have a “fleshy” feel. Different sizes available. 



Boxing gloves are for boxing, but I also use them as a tool to hit-on/distract practitioners while they are doing chores like pulling weapons, be they standing or on the ground, etc. under stress. Specific things like that. They are handy to have around for specific assignments.

MMA gloves are fine. Especially for extended use (and their open fingers allow for grappling). Big-ass boxing gloves are perfect for big-ass boxing. Even “official” bare-knuckle fighters still wrap their wrists. Sometimes I see them run a layer over their knuckles too, but mostly their wrists.

But my mission, the mission of combatives, the mission of self defense and Krav is NOT to create competition boxers or MMA fighters or bare-knuckle competitors. Nor do I make wrestling-only champs. I am not making pro boxers or pro kick boxers, people who square off and exchange blows in multiple timed rounds. In our world, we also kick a few nuts, face maul and hair pull too and throw chairs.

There are seriously off-mission, misguiding doctrines/schools out there. Be what you are supposed to be and not what you are not.
For example, I know a quite famous combatives guy, who spends a few hours covering boxing with big gloves in his combatives seminars. Attendees mindlessly do and accept. Not good. It’s only good if in his fliers, his ads for those seminars, he advertises-

“Self defense combatives AND a very special session on sport boxing.”

Okay then. Explained. Couple that with an intro reminder speech before the boxing session. Then he is on-mission. No mixed doctrines. Or say the lesson plan calls for “classic boxing applications for self defense moves” (in which case, take off those damn big gloves!) Back on mission.

I have attended a few Joe Lewis (the kickboxer) seminars and he has a great line, “Nothing replaces ring-time.” Which I repeat. Getting in there and kick boxing a bit (not just boxing alone) and I agree with this experience. We do that as part of every Force Necessary: Hand test, but again, I am not making pro kick boxers. I don’t expect to see an Olympic sports performance. (I suggest people fool around with MMA over just boxing alone and just BBJ alone. MMA is bigger and better and does both. Take tips from it.)

Worth saying twice, there are seriously off-mission, mindless, misguiding doctrines out there. Be what you are supposed to be and not what you are not. Who, what, where, when, how and why. It is a hand, stick, knife, gun world, inside and outside of buildings in rural, suburban and urban environments. 

Popular Science wants to inform you on how to properly, bare-knuckle punch  Click here 

How to condition your knuckles: A guide to harden your fists for fighting. Click here


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More on this type of info, get Hock’s Fightin’ Words. Click here


Chokes are Choked Out of Police Work!

Since the 1980s I have been training police, rookies as well as “in service” officers in the “mechanics of arrest.” Not just in the USA but as far away as the UK, Europe and Australia. I’ve seen numerous things come and go, in and out, accepted and outlawed. And a big outlaw has been, the “choke.” I was asked this question the other day about…the “police choke.”

“Hock…I had the feeling when I initially saw the Atlanta situation that if the cop behind wasn’t afraid to use some type of choke/neck restraint…the guy might still be alive. Thoughts? I feel like they’re limiting police officers in a way that makes it more dangerous for certain people. If a cop is forced to pull and fire his weapon 10 times, it’s likely that 7-8 criminals will die. If that same cop chooses a blood choke 10 times (currently seemingly banned), it’s unlikely that any of the 10 would die. Again…thoughts?” – Joe Thoele, USA.

Well, yes, Joe. Chokes were a go-to move in my day, when times got tough. But, I have only completely choked out maybe…maybe 10, 12 maybe, 15 people in 26 years and hundreds of arrests. The restraint, capture alone worked many more times, especially when help arrived. The classic rear choke with leg wrapping “grapevines” is worth a million bucks to me. Only one of those times did I do a choke in a lethal force, self defense situation, when a guy was grabbing for my pistol. We were fighting on top of furniture, horizontal, but not an official “ground fight.” He passed out from the choke after I tried to knock him out and just couldn’t knock him out. It was a blood choke. When they go spazzy and-or drop-out  limp, let them go, (and by the way, that is one, “street” counter to a choke. Fake unconsciousness.) He, like the others, woke up in handcuffs.

You have, as I like to nickname them in courses. “Electricity, water and wind” attacks to the neck.

* Electricity: Strikes to the back and side of the neck to upset the “electricity” to the brain. No choking.
* Water: blood chokes and strikes to the sides of the neck.
* Wind: air chokes and strikes to the front of the neck (that might crush body parts.).

So far, forearms and hammer fists to the back of the neck are still taught in most police training. Striking the sides and certainly the front of neck are now officially problematic and for most agencies, a “no-go.” This might crush the windpipe or loosen and free up vein plague and send it in the blood vessels to the brain. (This has rarely happened, but rare is enough in paranoid, police work). But police chokes, not police strikes are today’s topic!

We can get kind of sloppy taking about the word “choke.” It means different things to different people. Let’s look at some official definitions…

*Chokehold: a tight grip around a person’s neck, used to restrain them by restricting their breathing.

*Carotid restraint, an officer applies pressure to vascular veins to temporarily cut off blood flow to the brain, rendering the person unconscious. The carotid technique is different from a chokehold, in which pressure is put on the front of the neck and throat, cutting off air.

*Neck Restraint: “Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck).” A blood choke. (In some places a forearm placed upon the lower neck, high chest, holding someone back, or pulling them back, or taking them down to the ground would be considered a neck restraint.)

*Positional asphyxia, also known as postural asphyxia, is a form of asphyxia which occurs when someone’s position prevents the person from breathing adequately.

Words, huh? Terms. I am reminded that in the old Army basic training, these were all called “strangles.” A few months later in the military police academy these same things were all called “chokes,” as strangles were too rough a term for policing. Now we see the word, “neck restraints” as chokes are too rough a term.  But, I think many people just think of and call all of these events, simply, “chokes.” A sloppy, loose nickname for chokes can cause arguments. But fights/arrests can get sloppy, with all the wiggles, waggles, twist and turns of an arrest, wrestling match your neck restraints can accidentally slip into official chokes. You first meant to do a neck restraint/control, you were trying to, but with twist and a waggle, you’re on his windpipe, then you are filmed on the nightly news doing a wind choke. Then it’s…as we use to say, a “Dear Chief” letter, explaining why you air choked someone on TV or phone video on social media, against department policy. Nowadays, you might be fired within 24 hours.

People in martial training like to remind and complain about restrictions by saying that “chokes” are done “all the time in class” without problems. But, remember that martial students (that includes all systems, citizens, police, military) usually acquire the choke positions without truly crushing the neck. It’s practice on friends! Secondly, students in practice feel the capture, a little pressure and “tap-out” before they pass out. Actual, full unconsciousness is not achieved regularly in classes, certainly not anymore, unlike the crush of a real fight or an arrest. Even in UFC fights, the captured frequently tap-out when they know they are caught. (Since the 1970s while I have been knocked out in classes, but I have never once been fully choked out in any JKD, jujitsu or Shoot class or seminar. People around me have, usually accidentally, and they were quickly “slapped” awake.)

Positional asphyxia has also been a well-known in martial arts and in modern, trained police work, for I’ll say, 25 years now. I worked positional asphyxia cases as a detective and private investigator as early as the 1990s. It is surprising to me that police officers anywhere are not aware of these problems. I did a police presentation on chokes once on the growing limitations on police choking, and one officer shouted that his agency still allowed chokes and therefore my whole premise was wrong, as if the Podunk Police Department was the end-all to policing.

“We still choke!”

I quickly checked the web on the next break to find that his department was quite small and quite “country,” and was recently sued THREE times for choking people, one a school cop choked out a teenager. Each involved big, news scandals in the area, especially the teenager incident. Just wait, Podunk. But…so… I am sure there are pockets of the country and pockets of police officers untrained and unaware of the problems with asphyxia, chokes and restraints. Sad. Shocking to me. But so.

Allow me to add one more definition here. Excited delirium is “broadly defined as a state of agitation, excitability, paranoia, aggression, and apparent immunity to pain, often associated with stimulant use and certain psychiatric disorders. “These folks, once arrested have a tendency to die later, in custody. Officers are immediately questioned about what horrible thing did they do to cause the death? “Did you dare choke him? Did you crush him at any point? Are the questions usually asked of the arresting officers.They are usually cleared by the autopsies.

So, worth mentioning, drugs, alcohol, medical conditions, poor health, being overweight contribute to bad results combined with “choking,”  Officer Brett Gould reminds us that, “The issue is not just the vascular restraint. The 14 percent of the population that fight the police, thus composing a high percent of the prison population coincidentally, also has the highest rate of alcoholism, substance abuse, high blood pressure and diabetes.“

This news doesn’t really help the “choke” cause for decision makers these days, but rather hurts it. Police admin, lawyers, politicians, insurance backers and media must think, “If that’s who the cops are fighting? Then it’s no wonder they die from chokes. We can’t have all that choking going on.” (I know how they think.) Look at this negative with tear gas –

“Military studies performed in the 1950s classified CS as nonlethal. But experts today say these studies had limitations in design and applicability and should be treated with some skepticism. Tear gas is designed to disperse and irritate. But it was designed and first used in an era when it was assumed it would be used against healthy, working-age males,” says Dan Kaszeta, who studies protection against chemical and biological weapons and has spent some of his 30-year career in the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps and the Secret Service. Lab studies have not revealed the effects tear gas can have on other demographics or people with preexisting conditions.

So you see, tear gas, like chokes, suddenly becomes a political “no-go.” 

And still, “chokes” are not COMPLETELY taboo and illegal. What is still legally mandated, even in President Trump’s recent June, 2020, “no-choke” order, you will read that a choke, air or blood, can still be used in lethal, threat, self defense, as I did with the guy trying to get my gun. “Fear of life” kind of deal. All those other chokes I did that I mentioned above were not done in such dire fear, just arrest routine versus the resisting, and today’s modern admins would expect me to not choke out them and do something else, something which may be more time-consuming and even dangerous. But we’re cops, life is supposed to suck.

And with the optics, the lawsuits, the media, training officers to choke/restraint will disappear, even if legal in lethal force situations. They probably just won’t know how to choke anyone. No will will want to teach the subject. Oh, there probably will be rare, “certified” courses in “Last Resort Choking,” but who will get to go?  And, maybe it can “secretly” be taught in official “Escaping Choke” classes? Because after all – to escape chokes you have to learn what chokes are and how the “bad guys” use them? (We have long tricked police admin with this bait-and-switch approach, trick.) I don’t know how it will all work out?

I have been paid to write reports and studies about chokes and restraints for admins through the years. And the end conclusion of chiefs, sheriffs, directors and command staffs is – “any squeezing (and striking) around the neck” sides and front, is already taboo, or rapidly becoming taboo. Media nightmare. It’s just too hot a topic. It’s a no-go. In the end, police agency insurance companies and lawyers really call the real shots. They are always paranoid and timid. They dictate and influence the politics and police leaders. Management fears being fired. Sued. 

Decades ago, my agency and a new police chief instituted Community Oriented Policing.  It was all based on public perceptions and therefore public relations. Whatever the public perceived is what we had to tackle. It didn’t matter what the real crime rate was, if the perception of crime was high we had to manufacture programs to ease their mind. It didn’t matter what the real safety was, if the perception of safety was low we had to manufacture programs to ease their mind. These same issues count too. Things like “police racism” and with…chokes. Its all about perception. Not reality, just perception. So often junked up by the thinking disorder minds of the media, the unscientific, the emotional and the immature.   I am pessimistic now and have been, about perception and police “choking.”

This essay was about police. This has not been about the civilian world…yet. I don’t want to argue with anyone here about air, blood chokes and neck restraints. I will always teach them. Every martialist needs to know them and know how to escape them. I think they are very handy, but they will go away in official, police training and use. Make no mistake, if retired,  67-year-old, civilian me gets into a fight tomorrow that I can’t talk my way out of? Or get away? One thing I will seriously be looking to do is choke the bastard out. Especially if fallen on the ground. I’d like not to kill anybody and the choke is over when the resistance stops, like I was taught about 50 years ago in the first police academy I attended.

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Martial Arts School Names, Death Cults and Bad Business.

Martial Arts School Names, Death Cults and Bad Business.
(Palace Intrigue Report # 386 or “How I shot myself in the foot with a bad name.”)

For 30 years now, and 24 of those under my own namesake, I’ve been in the business of teaching martial material and once in a while official martial arts – as people like to know and do the arts I have studied, and they ask me about them. I have spent, I think, disproportionate time in Chinese, Japanese and Filipino systems. Through a microscope, looking glass, I’ve spied on the connection of “businesses” and “hobbies” and “arts” and school names.

I am a traveling circus. I have stumbled upon the business-school names around the world that are…well…not wise or good. They might well have been passable in 1960s or 70s or maybe the 80s. Some schools and systems have been named after the worst historical things. Lord knows in the modern times of today, the tiptoeing around everyone and everything can multiply bad names and bad ideas into even worse problems and failures.

It always surprises me to see certain school and system names, and logos modeled after the worst choices. Like crazy death cults or negative things that just a moment of research would uncover. Things like…


Juramentado, in Philippine history, refers to a male Moro swordsman who attacked and killed targeted occupying and invading police and soldiers, expecting to be killed himself, the martyrdom undertaken as a form of jihad, considered a form of suicide attack. For generations warlike Moro tribes had successfully prevented Spain from fully controlling the areas around Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, developing a well-earned reputation as notorious seafaring raiders, adept naval tacticians, and ferocious warriors who frequently demonstrated extraordinary personal bravery in combat. While Moro forces could never match opponents’ firepower or armor, such bands used intelligence, audacity and mobility to raid strongly defended targets and quickly defeat more vulnerable ones. One extreme asymmetric warfare tactic was the Moro juramentado. A Moro might be said to have “gone juramentado” or be “running juramentado.” This is not a good name for school or system. Or, like the next one – Amok

Amok or Running Amok, sometimes referred to as simply amok or having gone amok, also spelled amuck or amuk, is the act of behaving disruptively or uncontrollably. The word derives from Southeast Asian Austronesian languages (especially Malaysian and Indonesian), traditionally meaning “an episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects usually by a single individual following a period of brooding that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malay culture but is now increasingly viewed as psycho-pathological behavior”. The syndrome of “Amok” is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR). The phrase is often used in a less serious manner when describing something that is wildly out of control or causing a frenzy (e.g., a dog tearing up the living room furniture might be termed as “running amok”). This or something like it, is not a good name for school or system.

Beserkers. “In the Old Norse written corpus, berserkers were those who were said to have fought in a trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the modern English word berserk (meaning “furiously violent or out of control”). Berserkers are attested to in numerous Old Norse sources. To “go berserk” was to “hamask”, which translates as “change form”, in this case, as with the sense “enter a state of wild fury.” For example, the band of men who go with Skallagrim in Egil’s Saga to see King Harald about his brother Thorolf’s murder are described as “the hardest of men, with a touch of the uncanny about a number of them … they [were] built and shaped more like trolls than human beings.”

I’ll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,
Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
Those who wade out into battle?
Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
They bear bloody shields.
Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
They form a closed group.
The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men
Who hack through enemy shields.

This name, or something like it, is not a good name for school or system.


The Boxers of the Boxer Rebellion  “In 1900, in what became known as the Boxer Rebellion (or the Boxer Uprising), a Chinese secret organization called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists led an uprising in northern China against the spread of Western and Japanese influence there. The rebels, referred to by Westerners as Boxers because they performed physical exercises they believed would make them able to withstand bullets, killed foreigners and Chinese Christians and destroyed foreign property. From June to August, the Boxers besieged the foreign district of Beijing (then called Peking).” –


Kamikaze. [kamiꜜkaze]; “divine wind” or “spirit wind”), officially Tokubetsu Kōgekitai “Special Attack Unit”). I add this here because it is like a death cult, and I have actually seen it used as a course name years ago. It’s gone now in its own self-fulfilling, prophecy . In WW II, they were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviators who initiated suicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy warships more effectively than possible with conventional air attacks. About 3,800 kamikaze pilots died during the war, and more than 7,000 naval personnel were killed by kamikaze attacks. Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a “body attack” (tai-atari) in planes loaded with a combination of explosives, bombs, and torpedoes. Accuracy was much higher than that of conventional attacks, and the payload and explosion larger; about 19% of kamikaze attacks were successful. A kamikaze could sustain damage that would disable a conventional attacker and still achieve its objective. The goal of crippling or destroying large numbers of Allied ships, particularly aircraft carriers, was considered by the Empire of Japan to be a just reason for sacrificing pilots and aircraft. This name, or something like it, is not a good name for school or system.


Forgive me for cutting and pasting and for not listing references. These are just a few collections of sources. If you are really interested in any of these topics you can search the internet and easily  find articles and books on the subjects. I just did a quick “catch and release” for a fast tour, fast reading here. Do look it all up.

As for system and course names, I always imagine a worst case scenario where you are on the stand in a criminal trial against you and the prosecutor asks you what martial art course you study, and then for the jury, you have to name and define it.

“Well, it’s about going crazy and killing everyone, even yourself…”

You might chose to remain silent of course, but rest assured, the police, the prosecutors and the grand jury have heard all about your hobbies and associates. It’ll get into the trial, one way or another.

This names, or some names like them, are not good names for schools or systems.

The business, name-game is tricky, tricky, tricky. I am well aware it might even be harder in the martial business. I notice that many store fronts these days just say “martial arts.” Decades ago, it might have said only, “Karate.” Safe. Boring, but safe. To get past boring, sometimes you think you are representing coolness, counter-cultures, fads and ultimate macho-ism, but your business, club, and hobby names may get you on a government watch list.

Don’t pick a bad name. Don’t join a bad group. If you have? Change it. (I myself am inching away from the word “combatives.”) Change it. If not? You are shooting yourself in the foot, as they say, or you might start a new gun group called “Foot Shooters Anonymous.” You can use “anonymous” in the title because no one will know who you are or what you do. And, you’ll also have a limp.

For more on this subject, great research found here


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