All posts by

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.

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


Hock’s email is

Get more Fightin’ Words, click here

You Will See These People Again and Again, But Not George Floyd!

I do try not to pontificate here on passing politics. I am nearing 70 and I have seen many outrages come and go. Worse times? 60s and 70s Race riots and Vietnam riots. These times take a back seat to then, however, the insanity seems to continue on. I have attended military riot training. Elements of which appear in my Force Necessary: Stick course. As a military and Texas cop, I was in two small riots and “held the line” in various demonstrations.
All kinds of people are stupid. They think stupid, ignorant, short-sighted, immature, emotional things and do stupid things. Which is another reason I sit back and let the throngs pontificate on the social and unsociable media. One fact remains that while there are some stupid cops, there are millions and millions of safe, successful interactions between police and people every year in the USA. And billions of interactions among regular people.
While we had a few incidents in nearby downtown Dallas, 20 minutes north of where I live, life rolls on as usual. While going for coffee this morning, I saw white and black bicyclists on expensive bikes wave and smile at each other as they do each day. If you don’t recognize these normal realities? And the successes from the 1960s? You’re stupid. Ignorant. And by the way, for the small minded? Geographically, if you look at a USA map, the riots are NOT occurring in about 99.999% of the physical country. Everyone else is tongue-wagging at rare stupid cop incidents and looters, and cussing in the air about cop-shooters and poor business owners beaten on the streets. Once again the media, like with Covid, scares the crap out of you like it is happening coast-to-coast. Makes you small-minded, and divides your brains into hapless idiots.
Trying to remain non-political, I would still like to relay a lesson I received in policing that might be to some benefit to the rookies out there, and maybe for a few folks with just one or two, hash marks on their sleeves (it took me this long) about the current mess. To start, for me, growing up in the New York City area we were in a very, lower-class, multi-cultured neighborhood, you might say. (Also, my dad fought Nazis in WW II right beside many “Negroes” as the title was back then, and was totally balanced. I get the idea they saved each other’s lives a few times, but my dad wasn’t much on details. I remember my step-grandfather used the “N” word only once in our house and it didn’t pan out well. Even for way back then. As for me, as a child, I knew Superman and Batman and the Lone Ranger weren’t prejudiced! Heroes are not prejudiced. Heroes solve problems. I never read the Bible, just comics.)
Anyway, New York City area cops were very neighborhood conscious, and normally quite friendly. Back then, there were almost two schools of policing, as I have written about many times, the east coast friendly, and the west coast “robotic” – with dark sunglasses and rehearsed lines. Meanwhile the “friendly cop” system was often accused of corruption possibilities, but the overall style, the concept of knowing people in your beat, your “community” never left my thoughts. East or west.
Being a patrolman, even an investigator in the Army, with giant, revolving populations, and world-changing assignments, getting to know “the local people,” the rotating “community” was difficult for both the police and the people.
“Hochheim, guess where you are going next month! Korea!”  Or maybe…BumFuck, Egypt! (No one wants to go to the proverbial, Bumfuck, Egypt or otherwise.)
Later, as a patrolman in Texas, I subconsciously, perhaps haphazardly still tried to carry on that sort of New York City friendly approach to my job. Back then, there was no official police lesson about this friendly approach. Years later, I was accepted as a detective again, this time in Texas, not the Army. It is a different kind job. I like to say that a patrol officer worries more about the windows and outside walls of things – the streets – while a detective worries more about what goes on inside those windows and walls. The more intel you know and have, the better job you do.
The lesson. My old detective Sergeant, Howard Kelly made a passing remark one time, early on. A lesson. (Everyone on the planet has seen the TV show NCIS and I can best describe Howard Kelly as a “cowboy Jethro Gibbs,” in my life.)

(Me and Howard Kelly, an old newspaper photo, circa 1983)


Howard’s remark? “You’ll see these people again and again.” The people of your city. Good guys and bad guys, and he was remarking more about the bad guys. Do not mistreat them. Treat them fairly. Don’t hurt them unnecessarily. Because, you will indeed see them again and again. You might not like them – as I have arrested serial killers and rapists, and you still must do your job straight up. But say, more with your common everyday suspects like thieves, burglaries, forgers, simple assaulters, etc. This fairness, this connection, will absolutely breed confessions and intelligence information for years to come.
Stay with me now, as I am walking a fine line. There are weird exceptions to this rule of thumb of course, which are stories in my true crime books. I have numerous stories about thugs and burglars and so forth that I and detectives on my squad got to know really, really well. We saw them, over and over again. And we actually liked many of them. This can’t be faked by the way. People read the fake. But I like people in general, I find all kinds of people interesting, as did some of my best, most successful, detective friends.
Howard Kelly continued, “They get probation. They get short sentences. They get parole. We’ll see them over and over again. You will have to deal with them over and over again. Treat them fair. Treat them right. They won’t forget.” And we did. For decades. Two more rules of the Road? Problem-solving rule and viewing things on a case-by-case basis rule. Those are other stories.
As an aside to these police-people relationships and which I don’t want to get into great detail about chokes or anything about the neck/throat attacks or holds. They have virtually been banned in law enforcement for decades. I was of the prior, choke era. We choked a lot of people. In 26 years though, I have arrested hundreds of people but I have only choked out about 10 to maybe 15 or so people. (One time when horizontal atop some furniture, while a robber was trying to get my gun.) All the suspects quickly recovered, but the edict came down about chokes, and we all quit choking. Police still try to stick with and argue for “neck restraints,” however a simple wrestling wiggle-and-a-waggle and it easily slips into a taboo choke. (And as when with me about to lose my pistol, there are obvious, lethal force situations that are situationally legit for desperate officers to choke people.) Nowadays this breathing worry has evolved to positional asphyxia concerns – something every MMA person knows of. Compressed chest, etc. I cannot grasp how ANY police officer in the last fifteen years isn’t aware of these neck and chest breathing problems.
Okay, off that and back on “the lesson” track – In recent years, the grand, friendly, law enforcement experiment was Community Oriented Policing, (C.O.P.) a set of rules demanding and forcing friendship.
“There will be a mandatory picnic at 1400 hours, Thursday!”
How do all forced relationships work out? Ask a psychologist. People “read” the fake. Meanwhile, old timers said that C.O.P. was nothing more than old-timey policing. But C.O.P. can get misconstrued. I recall one year, there was more police work put into running the annual Easter Egg Hunt, than on a professional burglary team operating in my city. A few of us detectives had to set all night for about a week, unable to cover all the target businesses, but the egg hunt was splendid.

And thus we have George Floyd. I have not taken a deep dive in the George Floyd particulars. Why was he kept on the street/traffic side? This is never done. Cops themselves are always worried about being run-over. Why was he not cuffed and back-seated? Was there a white cop, a black cop, and an Asian cop there? What was his initial crime? Counterfeiting? It seems to be minor crime, but it’s hidden away in the follow-up, media outrages. Seems he was on an array of drugs, which screws up a lot things. He did resist. But, lots of people being arrested resist. We both get beat up a little. Life sucks. “Cop-life” sucks. “Thug-life” sucks, But, you don’t usually DIE. In a very odd, bizarre way? We’re both in this together. We’re both in this mess together. Playing out the parts. Running the dialogue lines. The good guys are supposed to win out. 

Heroes are not prejudiced. Heroes solve problems. Be the hero. So, to you rookies out there, since Howard isn’t around to preach, don’t be stupid. You don’t treat people this way. You don’t man-handle them this way. Black, white or whatever. Like Howard said, “You will see them over and over again. Treat them right.”  

But…we won’t be seeing George Floyd anymore, will we. Howard Kelly would not at all be pleased.


(Me and Howard, almost 35 years later, both retired.)




Hock’s email is

Coming very soon from Wolfpack Publishing, the ebook set in a fantastic sale. Get the paperback books here – True Crime


The Barefoot Policeman

(For starters, police work was  a little different 5 decades ago…)

Back in the 1970s I wanted to finish college, so I reluctantly requested a transfer into what was called the “relief patrol shift.” I say reluctantly because I enjoyed my time with my regular rotating patrol shift, led by a Lt. Gene Green and Sgt. Eric Jackson. While I really, really liked these guys, and liked working for them, college loomed. The relief shift had the same hours each week, was partially created for police college attendees, and was mathematically inserted inside the oddball eight-hour, rotating-shift openings.

But the relief-shift math wasn’t completely perfect. There were shifts and days each week that had no personnel gaps, and we of the relief outfit were just added to the manpower of rotating shifts. Week after week on certain nights, the regular rotating-shift Sergeant would look at us relief patrolmen and wonder what in hell to do with us.

We would often be assigned in the same cars as partners. Thus, for quite some time on Thursday nights, I was partnered with Sal, the barefoot policeman. Sal and I always had a blast every Thursday night on the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. Sal was already a vet at the police department, and he was a hysterical fellow with a great sense of humor. He was a little bit buck-toothed and a real country boy. He was kind of shaped like John Wayne and would often wear his revolver like the Duke way back on his belt near his back pocket. He would casually rest his forearm or hand on his gun handle like Wayne did,  which really stretched the leather holster through time. Eventually, it sort of flapped around back there when he walked.

Quickly, before we get to the barefoot angle of this tale, one of my favorite Sal stories, is when he and were patrolling one night. He spotted a U-haul, rental truck on the highway without rear tail lights. This was a pet peeve of his. He said,

“Pull that son-ma-bitch over.” 

Michigan license plates. We hit the lights and did so. He stopped. We strolled up to the drivers door of the truck and Sal took his Duke  pose, hand resting on that gun far back on his hip. This poor driver was a hippy looking sort for back then, long hair, beard and all. He was scared to death when he took a look at us, stopped in the dark, by us two rebel, redneck heatherns…

“Wha…whaa…is…is there a problem, officers?”

“I’ll say there’s a problem,” Sal barked, “problem is…you ain’t got SHIT fer lights!” 

And this poor kid, you know probably use to professional police jargon – “Good evening sir, may I…” just stuttered, babbled and just melted away in shocking fear.  And of course, we let the kid go with just a “be safe” warning. We are not savages! 

They say that Sal started out a very gung-ho officer, but after being unfairly (his version) bumped off a sergeant’s exam list, his spirit was broken. Since then, he just wandered through his 40-hour workweek barely getting by and irritating supervisors and citizens alike. He left our agency for a while and worked in Colorado. But they fired him.

“They told us to leave the tourists alone,” he told me of his Aspen days. “Tourism was their bread an butter.” But, one night he beat up a drunk driver, tourist and was fired. We hired him back anyway. Cuz…well…this was Texas. Sal explained to me what happened his last night in Colorado. “I arrested a tourist for DWI. Drunk as a skunk. I had him at the jail house and that son-a-bitch kept reaching over and tearing up the DWI report I was writing! I’d get half finished with one of them, and he’d lean over, make a face and grab it and rip it up. Sheeet. I did it over. Rip. I did it again. Rip again. You can’t pull that shit back here in Texas!” Sal told me. “So I hit him. I mean, that’s what we’d do here. Hell, those Colorado pussies fired me.”

That was one tale rehashed on many a Thursday night as Sal and I patrolled. It was not uncommon for Sal to ride shotgun and let me drive. In fact, I cannot recall a time when Sal ever drove. Too much work I think. It was almost a weekly routine for him to buy a big over-sized bag of caramel-covered popcorn. He’d open the bag and start eating. Sometimes he’d eat Doritos, but usually it was the sticky brown popcorn. We would drive around; and if we had a break in calls, eventually Sal would remove his cowboy boots. One at a time to let his feet…breathe. Often, next off came his white socks. I don’t know why? Pick at his feet? He would commence to pick his toenails, preen, and massage his feet … and eat popcorn from the big bag. And, yes, absent-mindedly he would sometimes offer me some popcorn, which I would decline. Toe fungus, ya know? It spreads. He would sometimes produce silver nail clippers and with great intent carve away at his feet.

Meanwhile, I was still young and in my gung-ho stage and would aggressively patrol. Sal would curse at every call and gripe every time I dared initiate some action, especially once early in an evening shift. Just before sunset at rush hour, I spotted a car bust through a red light in a hurry. I accelerated after it, and Sal started in with his usual gripes,

“What? Whatcha’ doing, man?” he asked.

“They ran a red light. Big time. That Chevy almost hit him.”

“So what? Oh, come on!”

This was work, and he did not want to work. He wanted no part of it. I wanted to get into something. It wasn’t the ticket I was after, but rather “what kind of shit I could get into” (as the common phrase said). I might not write him a ticket at all. Just check things out.

I had to blast the siren to let the driver know I was serious, because he seemed to ignore me at first. In the front seat next to him was a woman and another male at the passenger-door back seat. When the car finally pulled into a business parking lot on Dallas Drive, I got out and approached the driver’s door. Sal, barefoot with his bag of popcorn on his lap, remained in the squad car.

I collected the driver’s license and returned to our squad car to run wants and warrants.

“What he say? Huh? What? What?” Sal was always over-curious and eagerly interested even though he took no action.

“Oh, nothing much,” I told him. I started running the guy’s name and DL on the NCIC. I sat in the driver’s seat with the door open and one foot on the ground.

“Sixty-one,” came the dispatcher.

“Go ahead,” I said.

“The subject is wanted in Dallas for burglary.”

“Damn!” muttered Sal. This meant work.

After getting some of the details from the dispatcher, I walked up to the car and asked the guy to get out and talk to me, which he did. I told him the bad news, and he started declaring that the system had made a big mistake, etcetera. I honestly cannot remember the guy’s name and what he said. It’s been about 45 years now. But what happened next? I couldn’t forget.

When the driver complained loudly about the arrest warrant, the passenger door flung open. And the other male passenger got out. Sal popped his patrol car door, as like it or not, he was a vet. The guy took a few steps toward me, and Sal got out, boot and sockless. Then the passenger turned and ran like hell across the business parking lots.

I itched to chase him, but what could I do about my burglary suspect? I couldn’t leave him here. Just as the instant the quandary hit me, here ran Sal right past us… barefoot … in hot pursuit of the passenger. He was after all…still…a vet.

“Goddamn! Ya-little-mother-fuckin’-stupid-shit-son-a-bitch, I will shoot yer ass down, ya.…” Sal emitted in one long, cussing stream.

Did I tell you that Sal loved to play golf? Total addict. Daily. And he really wasn’t in too bad a shape. He hotfooted, barefooted across the A-1 Cleaners, Dallas Pawn Shop, and the 7-11 parking lots after this kid. The lots were too full of customers for Sal to shoot at him, which I know he had a hankering to do at those chase times.

“That…that officer has no shoes,” the burglary suspect said calmly to me, as we watched him run by.

“The pay ain’t much around here,” I told him as I cuffed his hands.

Off in the distance, Sal had caught the kid by the 7-11 gas pumps, had shaken him around a bit, and then cuffed him. He marched the kid back with a hand on the scruff of his neck. Of course, many people on the lots, stared in amazement at…the barefoot policeman.

This second kid had drugs in his pocket. LSD. We arrested both of them. I searched the car and found nothing illegal. The girl had no record, and I let her drive the car off. On the way to the jail, Sal put his socks and cowboy boots on. He appeared in complete uniform at the station book-in room.

The next Thursday night? We had a few laughs, patrolled around town, stopped at a Gas-N’-Go, and Sal bought himself a big bag of caramel popcorn. Two hours into the shift he was happily munching away and picking at his bare feet.

And all things were right in heaven…

(P.S. Sal eventually left and became a golf club salesman.)


Hocks email is

This is an excerpt from the upcoming Wolfpack Publishing collection, Dead Right There 



“I think people need to learn how to hand, stick, knife, gun fight first, then dive into your bobbies, sports and arts later. Get the pure protection, combatives done as a priority.” – Hock

Doing the training process in order that I mention in the above photo and quote has become much easier now than in decades past when a person (such as me) had to slog through 6 or more arts and systems to filter out the real core, generic survival, offensive/defensive material, while adorned in a bevy of different uniforms, rules, hero worship and system worship. Wants and needs. It comes down to a series of “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions.

  • Whose the best on the subject and will teach you?
  • What materials? What do I REALLY need? Want? Art? Science? Both?
  • Where can I go to learn what I want?
  • When are these classes and courses available?
  • How will I filter this?
  • Why am I doing this in the first place?

Wrong place? Wrong people? Wrong mission? In the late 80s, Steven Seagal burst on the scene and broke a guy’s arm in the first few minutes of a movie. I saw “Above the Law” in a theater and knew that very instant that Chuck Norris and Claude Van Damme were done. Chuck went straight to TV and Claude disappeared for awhile to reemerge in B and C movies.

The movie changed and -or motivated a lot of minds. One old friend named Ted for example told me back then, “I wanted to fight like Seagal. I turned my car into the first martial art school I drive by every day and signed up.” But, Ted pulled into a Tae Kwon Do school and very quickly realized he was financially contracted to the wrong place with wrong people, the wrong system for his mission. He had no “who, what, where, when, how and why” going for him. No one there was doing this…this …”Seagal-Fu” as in Aiki-jitsu- Aikido.  My point being is that he started something out of an ignorance. What did he want, anyway?  And what did he need?

Though I’d been in Parker Kenpo about a year before I went in the army in the early 1970s, the military and police experience really forged my who, what, where, when, how and why mission needs.  I needed stuff. Needs that I never saw efficiently fulfilled in one, two, three or more arts. It was a long, hard slog back then to filter. It still isn’t easy really and truth is a daily investigation. But I WANTED what I NEEDED. Not needed to do what I wanted.

Today, Krav Maga is everywhere, though I am not always happy with many versions. It was the genius of Darren Levine who resurrected it into an international business back in the 1990s. He soon lost his “shirt and pants” doing it with insane over-pricing, and he has regrouped a bit since, but you can thank him for your local Krav school, and Krav notoriety, as Krav splintered and splintered and splintered away from him. And, It seems that “combatives” can be found here and there, though again, I am not always happy with the many versions. But, these are groups of folks that have already tried to filter the generics of established systems for you and save you time.

In the same vein, I find the modern-day, MMA of kickboxing, and ground fighting WITH strikes and kicks on the ground, to be diverse, superior and way more on survival mission. No frills. Just winning and what works. Money is at stake! Reputations! It is better than boxing alone. It is better than wrestling alone. But then, still, they have some sport rules and no cheating, no sticks, no knives, no guns!

The overall, international success of Krav, combatives and MMA tells me that a whole lot of people did not, and do not want, to get bogged down in arts, uniforms, abstracts, and that otherwise long slog of off-mission, distracting requirements. I have seen this is the disappearance of, and the slow decline of, old-school, martial arts schools around the world.

Hand. Stick. Knife. Gun. Standing through ground. The laws of your land. Savvy. Awareness. Studies of crime and war. It’s been an evolution I too have been part of, evolving and teaching for 24 years now. A movement. My personal suggestion and advice is one of common sense. Try and get those foundational defense, offense survival stuff first and then move off to more confining hobbies later. Needs first. Then wants.

“Fighting first first, systems second!”  Remember that quote? I have used it for 24 years since I emancipated myself from all systems. But, like a college counselor ordering a college kid to take all the college courses in precise order – 101, 102, 103 – and then they simply can’t do that because of filled classes and scheduling, a student takes what he or she can at the time. You too, may have trouble completely doing all unarmed and mixed-weapon combatives first and then arts second. While it is easier these days for you to get right to what you want than in the past, you may have to do this training side-by-side? Generally people are busy with life and can only chip away at this stuff, anyway. Do something rather than nothing. Get off the couch. 

Do something. Again, I always say I want people to be happy. Just know where you fit in the big picture. If you told me,

“Yeah Hock, I completely understand what you are saying, but I just want to do traditional ______. I just really love the culture and the country of _______. ”

I am thumbs up with you. Or, one might add to that “love” list,

“Hock, I get it, also just enjoy developing the overall personalities of children.”

Go for it. How about,

“I agree, Hock, but for me, my dream is to be a champ in the UFC.”

May your dream come true! You already know the high regard I have for modern, clean MMA. Unlike the aforementioned Ted, you all get the big picture and can articulate about it. Just know the big picture of “needs and wants.” All martial arts do have abstract benefits. And there are some established, “martial-artsy-named” schools that really try to get survival materials in the curriculum.

So…dance in some kung fus? Throat punch in some combatives? Art? Science? Nuts and bolts? Investigate and figure out what you really need and what you really want to do. Use the “W’s and H” questions. The choices and opportunities are more clear and obvious than ever before.

Finally, a litmus test question – look at it this way. Speaking of college, If you were sending your daughter (or son) off to a big city, college, would you want her to know, so-called “traditional karate?” So-called “Brazilian wrestling?” “Stick versus stick dueling?” Or, so called “unarmed and mixed-weapon, combatives?” What does she really NEED to know, first and foremost? What do you want her to learn, first?

Want what you need?
Need what you want?


Hock’s email is

The Dead Grenade That Wasn’t Dead

(In my true police/detective books, I wrote an essay called, “Most Dead Ever,” a compilation of the calls and cases I went on where the tally was high to horrific. Here is one…)

1970s. North of our Army base in the U.S. was an enormous artillery range. Troops were constantly blowing up all kinds of big and small ordnance. For those not familiar, “ordnance” is defined as:

“All munitions containing explosives, nuclear fission or fusion materials, and biological and chemical agents. This includes bombs and warheads; guided and ballistic missiles; artillery,
mortar, rocket, and small arms ammunition; all mines, torpedoes, and depth charges; demolition charges; pyrotechnics; clusters and dispensers; cartridge and propellant actuated devices; electro/explosive devices; clandestine and improvised explosive devices; and all similar correlated items or components explosive in nature.”

A Dud defined: A dud is all of the above that didn’t go boom.
Now, enter the ordnance, the grenade. And enter then, the dud hand grenade story. Officially also – “DUD-a thrown grenade that failed to detonate after the expected fuze time has elapsed.”

As I said, artillery troops were always out on the northern ranges, blowing all kinds of stuff up. And a small percentage are duds. As the later investigations discloses – One fine morning, out on a said field, a young private stumbled upon what appeared to be a very old hand grenade. He closed in on it and looked it over. No pin. No lever. Hmmmm. A dud, he presumes. What fun!

He threw some rocks at it. His buddies giggling nearby. Nothing. Deadness. He hit it with a stick. Then he kicked it and jumped back. It bounced across the rocky, dry terrain. He picked it up, tossed it up and down a few times and then stuck it in his jacket pocket. What a coup. What a toy.! A dud grenade!

The unit took a long, one-hour bouncy ride in the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck. The private pulled the grenade from his pocket and declared to those around him, “Look what I found!”

The others leaned away, aghast. But it became clear by his manipulations and juggling, it had to be a dud.

Once at their multi-story barracks building, they bailed out of the trucks, unloaded and hit the showers. The private went to his multi-person quarters and tossed the grenade on his bunk. He combed his wet hair, got in casual clothes – civvies – picked up his dud grenade and walked to the day room (TV, pool tables, a rec room, etc.) for some fun and games with his new toy.

He got to the day room door and peeked in. He saw many of his friends day-rooming about in there. Some were with him on the training day, and some not.

“GRENADE!” he yelled. He tossed the dud grenade into the middle of the room, then he ducked back into the hall, just for effect. Big joke.

The so called dud hit the floor and exploded. It blew with all its originally designed and planned intent. BAM! In the middle of the day room.

Our private and other nearby troops in the hall and other rooms ran to the door. The room was a bloody mess. Shreds of the room still floating in the air, they said. One or two seemed dead. Others wounded. Dying. Splinters everywhere. Lots of blood and guts and whines, yells and screams. The first instinct of bystanders was to call for an ambulance. Someone did, and the hospital called the police.

I was one of the units dispatched. I was assigned that day to the patrol district next to this one, or maybe as a rover? I just can’t remember.  When I arrived, I was not the first. The district police car and the patrol sergeant’s car were there and several ambulances. At the moment, I was not clear exactly what had happened, nor was our police dispatcher clear either. We only knew that some kind of a “bomb” went off on the third floor.


A sample photo of the actual building, another day.



Hearing of a possible “bomb,” as I parked, I looked up to survey the building. I didn’t know what to expect. Was the huge barracks building bombed? By whom? By what? I saw broken glass in some third story windows and curtains flapping in and out with the wind.

Soldiers were standing outside, looking up too. As I got close to the main doors, someone told me a grenade touched off up there. I entered the building, climbed the stairs to the third floor, and saw the commotion in the hallway.

When I stepped in the room, it looked like some 8 or 10 guys were pretty hurt. Another two or three were slightly hurt. Some laid dead still, mashed and abandoned. The room looked like, well, like a small bomb went off in it! I wandered around and tried to help out where I could, but the paramedics had done their triage assessment and were hard at work. Plus, some of the unit cadre were Nam vets and were already pitching in with the EMTs.

I walked out of the room and asked some Sergeants in the hall what had happened. They pointed to the kid who threw the “dud” in. I spoke with him. Our patrol sergeant walked up and listened to us talk it out. The kid was practically crying and in real shock. The district MP (military police) came over to us.

The Sarge pulled us aside and told the district MP to arrest the kid.
“For what Sarge?” the district MP asked. “What charge?”
“I don’t know. For something. Charge him with something,” he said. “We have to arrest him for this. Manslaughter. Something. Negligent something.”

Then the Sarge’s portable radio announced that, “CID was in route.”
“Ten-four,” he said into the radio, and told us, “Good. Okay. We’ll let CID decide what to do with him.”

We stuck around until two CID investigators (our FBI, more or less) arrived. We filled them in and pointed out the kid. They looked around and marched the kid off to one of the nearby offices. And we were ready to leave. As the Lone Ranger would say, “Tonto, our work here is done.” A few hours later I had to go and give blood at the hospital. Three or four troops died, best I can recall.

I have thrown a few grenades. I have even qualified as expert on the old Army, grenade throwing range. I got the targeting knack quickly. It was like throwing a football only heavier, so I aimed higher than the target to offset the weight, be it a window or whatever set up we were supposed to blow up.  I always joke about how cavalier vets and movie actors are about these small bombs hanging off their uniforms, in comparison to the very first ones they hand you and you baby them like they are nitroglycerin. 

But they are certainly no joke. Very generically speaking, the grenade kill zone is 5 meters or 16 feet. The injury range is 15 meters pr 50 feet. Shrapnel can go even further. A hand grenade, especially an older one, ’70s and pre-’70s had a varying reputation back then. Some called them as devastating and some didn’t. There are lots of fascinating, jaw-dropping stories. They weren’t all always perfect like the distances  above. I guess it was situational.

But that “dud” took a toll on the day room and the unit that late afternoon, and also took a toll on my memory. 



“If you did not drop it? Don’t pick it up!”



More on this…

Military warns – Leave unexploded ammunition and war trophies alone!


Hock’s email is

Get these two popular memoirs books, e-book or paperback, click here


Testing for “Martial IQ.”

HOME VIDEO TESTING? Testing for “Martial IQ.”
Another question is popping up to me, with these seminar cancellations and international house arrests (March, 2020 Covid-19 times), would I, will I do virtual or video rank testing? Quick answer? No. Fact is, I just can’t wrap my head around the long distance, video testing thing.

I am very disorganized about testing-ranking people which is a short-term, business mistake on my part, but I consider rank and instructorships are a side option, an additional service for my practitioners, not my main thrust. Ambitious people in seminars pretty much have to put a post-it. sticky note on their forehead –

“I’d like to test for Knife 5,”
“I want to be a basic instructor.”

-for dense ol’ me to get and retain the message.

In a 2-day seminar, when alert to a testee or two in attendance, I can easily schedule a two hour block out of the 14 hours to cover, say “Knife 5.” Everyone needs to see it anyway, and, or needs to review it, anyway.

I watch the candidate closely, but the idea of a “test” to me is a whole weekend event and an overall weekend rating. Not only do I watch the actual material being done closely, I am also watching the candidate (and everyone) closely and looking for an overall mental and physical, skill-knowledge level. Lunch or dinner may even count as to what we gossip and talk about. What have they done since last seminar? With whom? I respect and count the work of some other instructors/systems, yet some others? Not at all.

I am looking for, I guess you can say,
* “Martial I.Q.”
* Not “martial ARTS I.Q., mind you,
* but MARTIAL I.Q.”
(Can you see the difference? If so, that enlightenment is part of your martial IQ.)

These are the things I look for when I have my testing ball-cap on, and the idea of watching someone do a video test seems pretty incomplete to me, distant, shallow, compared to what I am use to. I just can’t wrap my head around it. 

When I “make” a Force Necessary or PAC/Filipino instructor and they test their people for ranks and instructorships under them, without me, that is their bailiwick and control. Their “way,” their process. I simply have to trust them.

Of course I do try to make up for my testing indiscretions and I have a special weekend here and there for testing to catch up, but they are still taught in a seminar instruction process. Click here for seminars


Hock’s email is

Get the Training Mission One book


Palace Intrigue # 313: The Arnis Name Game

Max Pallen, Filipino and GM of Senko Terras and I were eating dinner in California a few years back (decades now) and he asked me why I had officially quit teaching Filipino martial Arts.

I looked him in the eye and said, “because I’m not you,”

Of course I never really quit. I still do teach some FMA here and there, but more often in a small, abstract way. I’ve graduated two big FMA “colleges.” Remy Presas and Ernesto Presas and I have slipshod, bad, “GED” in Inosanto systems. But, you don’t see my name “W. Hock Hochheim Filipino Supreme” anywhere, certainly not in my ads, resume or on my webpage.

I explained further, “because I am not you Max. I am not a Filipino and the ceiling for success of a non-Filipino teaching Arnis/Kali/Escrima is short.” I think to be a real successful, flag-bearer of a Filipino teacher and I mean a REAL one, a big leaguer, you have to have the “right” name: You:

  • actually be Filipino. (Even if you’ve never been there!) Or,
  • sound or look like you are, or,
  • your name has to be non-euro-white guy, sound Latino, or sounds, well…non Euro white guy. It doesn’t even matter if you ever been to Philippines to train. Just be “Spanishy’ and first doors will open. Its not “white privilege.” It’s…Spanish privilege.” 
  • It really helps if your name also sounds Pacific islandy, foreign.

I can think of just a rare, few white-bread boys only teaching FMA that are successful. My friend Bill McGrath for one. And if he didn’t have a day job back home, he’s be twice as worldly successful. He has “overcome.” The rest? Less than the fingers on one hand. Who else do you know can pull that off in FMA? Keep in mind, I have seen the big leagues for decades, and if you name drop someone right  now, one of your heroes? I’ll bet they are not in the big leagues. He might think he is? But he is not. The world is littered, (oh…littered is not a good word, full…yeah…) full of little-leagers, double AA ball, doing stuff, trying to do stuff.  They are just handicapped. They start out handicapped. Most remain handicapped.

Other friends like to remind me that white boys can be great teachers of yellow, black and brown systems, too. Sure they can! But they start out handicapped, which is my point. I am talking here about Business NAMES!

What constitutes handicapped? Look at the business, name game-

  • “Tim Jones Filipino Martial Arts.” Not too exciting.
  • “Jauqien Wojobee Filipino Martial Arts,” Hmmm, well, whose he? Sounds interesting. (The an odd, foreign name thing…)
  • “Calibra Latino Filipino Quesadia, Tactical FMA.” Wow. I’m in. Where is he next?

Let’s take a look at this from another angle. A non-FMA angle-

  • “Tim Jones BJJ.” Not too exciting, huh?
  • “Jauqien Wojobee BJJ,” Hmmm, well, whose he? Sounds interesting.
  • “Calibra Latino Quesadia, BJJ.” Wow. I’m so in. Where is he next? or this…
  • “Tim Jones Krav Maga.” Not too exciting, huh?
  • “Intergalactic Krav Maga,” Hmmm, well, whose that? Sounds interesting. Are the franchise fees cheaper? (That seems to be very important in the Krav world.)
  • “Ollie Meir Krav Maga.” Wow. Holey moley! I’m so in. Where is he next?

or this…

  • “Tim Jones Russian Systema.” Not too exciting, huh?
  • “Russian Systema Evolutions,” Hmmm, well, whose that? Sounds interesting.
  • “Mikhail Kusovik Systema.” Wow. Давай – Davai! I’m so in. Where is this Commie next?

(I am NOT picking on Tim Jones. I don’t know a Tim Jones and I guess there’s a Tim Jones is out there working very hard. Sorry.) 

Names. Take a second to inspect a clever name “10th Planet Jiu-jitsu.” To normal citizens, (your bread and butter business need) they might ask, “What the hell is that?” and “Didn’t they just lose Pluto off the list?” But, we in the MA business know the score, and it’s very clever name, with many happy people doing it. Eddie Bravo (also a fabulous name) is an excellent, innovative, athlete. Eddie avoided the Latino “O” with a solar system, name game. But he did risk the challenge of naming something that people cannot recognize immediately. And, he will never be as popular as a “Gracie.”

Names. Take a second to think about this. The old World Tae Kwon Do Federation, the “WTF,” voted to change their name to avoid the new “what the f___” popular expression.

Names. If you are a reader here, you know how mystified I am with the term “Urban Combatives,” Are there no fights in rural and suburban areas?  Some of the greatest fighters in the UFC are farm boys. Whazzup?

It takes luck and strategy and the IQ to know when and where you start with a name-game, handicap.  And all this is name-game, advertising manipulation we all fall victim too. No matter the category from Nike shoes, body waxing to Rolex watches, religion and politics.

In the martial arts, it use to be Japanese privilege, or Okinawan privilege, Korean privilege. Now it’s Israeli privilege and Brazil privilege. You name it. The name game. Name of thrones.  I have several terrific friends who are educators and constantly preach the importance of critical thinking and anti-advertising courses from elementary school to college. They sit there and preach this clarity, yet vote straight Democratic for decades no matter the issues, wearing Nike work-outs suits and top brand watches and driving status cars. A cognitive breach in what they say and what they actually do. This runs deep in humanity. Tribes. Clubs. Bias. None of us are perfect and critical thinking is a deep and daily challenge. It is out true  societal salvation.

I have always done martial arts just to mine the survival methods and not to “join” something. Just lookin’ for the essence. I am still  rather interested in the essentials of FMA. I am not much of a joiner, rah-rah, type anyway. A skeptic, you might say. Loyalty is deep dive in critical thinking for me. I fail at it sometimes, but hope I remember to keep trying.

Anyway, Max Pallen laughed and got a kick out of my whose-who, explanation decades ago. It still holds true. My long-time student Al Moore reported, “I was eating dinner with one of the popular Filipino Masters about twenty years ago. During the conversation I mentioned training with you, and a few others. His first knee jerk response was, ‘I don’t respect any training in FMA from non-Filipino instructors.’  My immediate thought was WTF, I am one of those, and why I am still giving you money! Unluckily, the Kool-aid drinkers are in every system of Martial Arts.”

About a year ago, another guy asked me, “why do you hate the Filipino martial arts?” I asked him why in the world did he think I hated the Filipino martial arts? Where did you get this idea? He couldn’t give me one single reason. I guess he thought I was a traitor since I am a FMA graduate? Since I don’t have crossed, rattan stick designs tattooed on my forehead…I’m a hater?

I am not so sure that design would look so good, on my white-boy, Euro forehead? A bit stark, I think.


Hock’s email is

Get a look at Hock’s FILIPINO – PAC video downloads by clicking here

Presas Double Weapons Training

Old-school, double sticks and espada y daga training. We had to DEFEAT the sinawali pattern as the attacker CHARGES (not just standing there, but charging in!) doing a pattern, and we ended it with takedowns, which must be executed without your empty hands to grip the opponent, as your two hands are busy holding weapons.
When Ernesto Presas had an experienced group with him, he highlighted this and other “endgame” training as vital. Just learning the patterns like dancers is incomplete.
Remember in the old days, Ernesto (and Remy) did not show high level materials to newbies, strangers and semi-serious students. So, if you only trained with the Brothers in big groups, you never saw this type of endgame stuff. One reason – you can’t start out at a high level in such groups, because of the mix of people’s skills in large seminars. Second, they absolutely did hold back their secrets to winning, in case they had to fight someone. Which they had to do in the old days.
Anyway. we would hear- “Do not show this to everyone.”
Therefore, I fail to see this endgame practice in many modern systems doing double weapons. I just see the mutual dance of the double stick patterns. (In my opinion, too many people just learn the sinawali patterns and are happy with that. They end there. That is incomplete, as Ernesto Presas insisted and taught/instilled in me from the early days of Arnis de Mano.)
“You must learn to defeat de sinawali,”Ernesto would say.
Ernesto had a very analytical mind, when you look back at how he organized things. Remy wanted you to experiment. Ernesto wanted to list ALL the experiments. Which I think had a big lesson for me on how to organize things. But, I do think it is impossible to organize the “Filipino Martial Arts.” It is a gigantic, mix-matrix, that must be handled conceptually. I kind of chuckle when I see a book here and there, called, “Filipino Martial Arts” and its like…150 pages. Huh? No. It would have to be many, many, many more pages. This challenge was why Ernesto changed the system several times through the years as he tried his best to capture lightning in a jar.
(I guess by now, everyone knows that you can do all the double stick patterns with espada y daga also. If you don’t know this? Try it. It will blow up your stick and knife drill work.)
This is what we did ala Ernesto in small groups…
The attacker attacks with one of the double stick or espada y daga patterns. He had us –
  • disarm one side, hit head to stun, takedown.
  • disarm both sides, hit head to stun, takedown.
  • hit head to stun, no disarms, takedown.
The disarms are usually impacts on the weapon-bearing limbs, or a block-and-stick-snake of some sort.
I have an old list of 14 double stick and therefore espada y daga, – the same with a slight nuance changes because of the knife – takedowns to do from Ernesto, as in doing takedowns while holding double weapons. This was “back in the day” when his 14 angles of double weapon attacks was his favorite forte to introduce training. I have learned that these 14 work against all wounded, disarmed and stunned attackers, 14 angles, sinawalis or otherwise. They are meant to work against all double stick and espada y daga patterns.
This way when you spar with double sticks or, stick and knife, you have an assortment of experience to do the takedowns.
Hock’s email is
Get a look at all of Hock’s PAC/FMA training videos. Click here

Participation vs. Observation in Seminars

Teaching Seminars Lesson 18

I am entering my 24th year of traveling and teaching seminars. I average 20 to 25 seminars a year in 10 to 14 countries. I tell you this because perhaps you might listen to my advice and ideas on teaching seminars.  

I ask, what is the seminar ratio of observing-participating in your seminars? Or the ones you attended?

My point is not just about guns, but let’s say, for a clear example, you are off to the gun range for a shooting seminar. Two, seven hour days. Twenty “gun” people signed up. When you get there, you discover that, after lecture times, only 2 people can shoot at a time. Yet, there are numerous, other, open shooting lanes. Still, the other 18 people must stand and watch the 2 people shoot? And wait their turn? Is this the best use of your 14 hours?  You will spend 12 hours observing, and maybe 2 hours shooting, participating.  I would say that this format at the gun range is counter-productive and makes for unhappy customers. So much so, when have you seen it at shooting courses? Almost never. There’s a reason for that.

Sometimes you might be forced into this, such as a session with shooting around cars. You might only have one car out at the range and have to rotate people? And, there are occasional, firearm safety issues with various topics. Common sense things that shooters understand. (Take a bunch of newbys at an intro to machine gun class. You can’t turn them loose! They need hands-on oversight.  Newbys are often amazed and entertained just watching people shoot fully auto. I am not talking about those situations.)

But understanding or not, I have been in this position many times and I apologize and regret them for the lack of participation leading to, too much stand-around, observation only. I hate to see paying customers congregate and wait. However, being forced into this by circumstances, is different than allowing/planning for it.

That’s with guns. Stand around time waiting with open lanes is usually inexcusable. But this isn’t about guns.  Why does “stand-around” time, work then within some fighting, martial seminars? When you attend a hand, stick, knife, self defense, MMA, BJJ, ballet, baseball, whatever topic, do you find yourself stuck in the teacher’s methodology where you are standing around, watching half or most of the training time? How is this different than your impatience at the gun range? Do you mindlessly accept this idleness? Have you even thought about how much time is being wasted?

In the last decade or so there has been an “observational movement” in martial seminars I’ve never seen in the 80s and 90s, that I find distasteful and wasteful – this observe, “stand around and watch.”  A situation gets taught. Words and demo. People stand around and watch that part. Okay. Then the situation gets physically exercised, and what then?  8 out of 10 people , or 18 out of 20 people,  still stand around and watch as a group of 2, or maybe 2 groups of 2, participate with each other and do the exercise. The rest, just…stand around, with their thumbs up their internal exits. Why aren’t all 20 people doing the drill in groups of two? Over and over again.

Think about this from the lazy and/or small curriculum, instructor’s viewpoint. This is a fantastic stall. Look at the seminar time it takes to observe 5 to 10 groups one at a time, as they go through the drill. Everyone else watches. Maybe the instructor pontificates a bit. When an instructor has only a little material in his repertoire, this kills a whole lot of teaching time. And it kills off the student’s participation/repetition time too. The click keeps ticking. 

These observe-instructors have some excuses for this. They will claim that:

“Time spent watching is learning too. And I have even heard that,

“It teaches people to be better witnesses to crimes.”  THAT, is a real stretch. S..T..R..E..T..C..H.

Others will say, “well, it adds stress to be watched, and stress is good.”

At what point in a training progression is stress really good?  When you are first figuring out how to do something? No, not really. And having 90% of the attendees standing around, 90% of the time is a big WASTE of THEIR time and money in comparison to doing it.

“Watching something is learning,” they will say. Somewhat. Hey, I’ve watched about 40,000 hours of pro-football in my life, but no one has asked me to play, or coach, or even advise an NFL team. Watching is one, very, very limited thing. Doing something is better, having actually done something for real is even better, especially when the subject matter is physical. (Speaking of football, all the football, film footage, play breakdowns on sports shows are always explained by veteran, retired football players. When players watch Monday game films, the coaches are veterans.) Watching/observing is limited learning in the physicality world.

Watching…as the teacher, I try and watch everyone as they work out. I watch. You do. That’s the relationship. I correct if possible. If the problem exists with several groups? I stop and make a point to mention it to everyone. That’s my job. Their job is work out and experiment. 

“Counters” to standing around. Having a good facility and some extra instructors is a great plan. For one example, years ago in the 1990s, in Las Vegas, Steve Krystek of Progressive Fighting Concepts and I concocted a great, simulated ammo gun, set-up. We had several rooms at UNLV. We wanted to run a car-jacking scenario outside and a restaurant, robbery scenario inside. We would be running ONE PERSON at a time! But what to with the some 20 people/students not participating in the scenarios? Plus, we also wanted to surprise each practitioner with the scenario topics. So, we ran an interactive, safe ammo, pistol class in one big room with the 20 folks and an instructor, and pulled a person out of that room, one at a time, to go through the scenarios. When done, we swore them to secrecy and shoved them back in the big room to work out some more with the 20. No one stood around. No one wasted time. The teaching and experimenting never stopped. The reps never stopped. No…idle thumbs up exits.

Another counter? Think about what I said here and fix it with planning. Make the observe/participate ratios the best they can be. 

As I said a few lines earlier – as the teacher, I try and watch everyone as they work out. I watch. You do. I correct if possible. If the problem exists with several groups? I stop and make a point to mention it to everyone. That’s my job. Their job is work out and experiment. I do not make everybody watch everybody one at a time.

What is the seminar ratio of observing/participating in your seminars? Or the ones you attended? I suggest you shave it to a minimum.

Let’s keep these thumbs busy.


Hock’s email is

Get Hock’s Training Mission One, oversized paperback or ebook. Click here

Knife Fight and The Jailhouse Superbowl Ring

Funny thing, I was watching the DVDs of the first season of FX’s TV show, Justified and in one episode there was a side character who was a retired football player and Superbowl champ in the plot. There were some photo shots and discussion about his Superbowl ring. Made me think of the story I wrote and published many, many years before the TV show, of a similar situation that happened to me with a Superbowl champ. Funny how these coincidences occur huh? Funny how they wind up in a TV show later. Anyway, here again is the story.

Our city boasted two Superbowl player residents. And the two of them were as different as day and night and as racially typecast as one could imagine. One was a retired white guy in a very big house with many investments. The other was a black guy from what one might call our slums, or projects. He had no such monied investments. And no such home. He was older than most players but still playing ball. And every off season he would return home to Texas. And every season he seemed to get into trouble of some sort. Both these guys wore the big brash and legendary Superbowl ring. I never met the white guy, but did meet the black guy. In fact, he kind of saved my ass one Saturday morning…in a knife fight.

Saturday morning, 1970s. Patrol.
In one “hood” in our city we had a old drinking place called The Wine Tree. It was a bar, but not a bar. It was an open house with a jukebox and the booze flowed (illegally sold) along with the drugs. An old, crippled man named Willie lived in the back room and “ran” it with a henchman or two. Through time you learn, either by emergency calls or by investigation that many of that area’s crimes, at some point started, ran through, or ended up at the Wine Tree. Did Willie have a liquor license? A business permit? No. It was just a house. An open house party 24/7. The neighbors didn’t care. Hell, they hung out there, too. The attendees parked everywhere and the dancing and drinking and conniving and hustling spilled out onto the pounded-down and dry front lawn, and out onto the streets. There was even a jukebox in there.

The next mornings, especially after weekends, The Wine Tree had a hang-over. There were always stragglers still hovering on or about the property. One Saturday morning either a neighbor reported a fight in progress out front of the Wine Tree, or I drove up on this fight. I just can’t remember. I was a young turk back then and worked this district. I was just as fearless as I was dumb. As I drove up to the Wine Tree, I saw at least three men arguing and another two others apparently interceding and peacemaking. The peacemakers weren’t doing so well. In total, five knuckleheads bandied about.

Two of the arguing guys started a sloppy fight. The other three guys started in cheering or jeering. Some in the general area scattered. Some remained at a distance, on-looking, rubber-neckers in the general area.

I got out of the car and tried my hand at this peace-keeping routine too, but these men were charged up on who-knows-what from the night before and pissed off. My Gestalt therapy training just wasn’t working, and the two main men crashed in on each other. I dove in trying to separate them. And wild fists flew. Then a third guy jumped in, and I’ll tell you it was a free-for-all. Everybody against everybody, and I wasn’t winning. I wound up half-wrestling, half-punching with one of them as the other two, struggled off a few feet and bumped into us.

Then one of them pulled a knife. It was a switchblade. He was cursing up a storm, and this whole event was going south very badly. He was not cursing or pointing the knife at me, just the other guy he was originally mad at. Then, to satisfy the arms race, one of the onlookers passed the other unarmed man a knife!

“Put down those knives!” I ordered.

The peacemakers and a few gathering onlookers did bail back about 15 feet when those knives came out. Some did! Some onlookers got involved and grabbed my arms. I think, as if, to stop me from shooting their friends? They kept me away. They tried holding my arms as if to protect their fighting friends from me.

HA! So that “drop it,” command of mine didn’t work and I had this gut-crushing feeling this would end with my gun out, maybe shooting somebody and it all turn, six different kinds of crazy bad, because I couldn’t get a handle on the situation. I pushed back, got free and damned if they didn’t re-grab me.

These two armed goons cursed a blue streak and were dueling as in a comedy of drunks! Slashing and stabbing at each other in uncoordinated, wild lunges and swings. Wild enough for one fool to almost fall over.

Then suddenly a stout black man charged up. From the proverbial “nowhere.” He was not drunk. He hit the guy hanging on my right arm, using his shoulder and we both pushed this pain-in-the-ass off of me. Without hesitation, he pivoted and ran up to one in the knife party dance and belted him in the side of his head, with a fist, a forearm, or an elbow? I can’t say which. It was a blind side, sucker shot. The man did not see it coming and was so stunned, he dropped the knife on impact, stumbled off and fell.

Arm now free, I pulled my Colt Python pistol. The onlookers gasped and cursed and groaned at its sight. I stepped before the other armed man and told him I’d kill him if he didn’t drop the knife. I got in such a position that the other drunk that was first fighting with me, now shared my gun barrel time too.

The guy with the knife just stood there, tip of the knife aimed at my face, his eyes all google-eyed, bloodshot and watering, his lip busted open and bloody. He was wavering before me like a heat wave on booze and drugs. It would have been funny, but for the knife, the jerks around me…well, frankly, I guess it wasn’t much funny at all.

“Don’t even think about it,” I warned him. Good God, was I going to have to shoot this stumbling drunk? I decided I would if he lunged at me.

Meanwhile, this hard-charging citizen hero snatched up the loose knife from the ground and walked right up to the man before me and removed the knife from his hand while the drunk just stared at me. I ordered the two men on their knees. The first was already grounded. The hero stood there like my professional backup! And, I wondered where my official back-up unit was, speaking of backup. They didn’t get there in time.

Don’t let your imagination run wild about this, as if it was a cool, fight scene in a movie or something. These guys were staggering, stinking, drugged jerks. Yeah, yeah, dangerous and all, sure, as the textbooks would remind us, but a lot more low-key than it reads here. Two pair of handcuffs hung on my belt, and I had three men to shackle! I cuffed the bystander guy fighting me with one pair, figuring if he were damn fool enough to fight with me before, I needed both of his hands linked up now. Then I split my second pair of cuffs with these two so-called, “knife fighters.”

“There ya go. Now go on and beat yourselves to death now,” I told the two handcuffed slobs. “See if I stop you again.”

At this point I didn’t care if they clobbered each other down. One cuff to one’s right hand, the other cuff to the other man’s right hand. This way if they both ran off, it wouldn’t be too easy to run. In theory, one faced one way, one faced the other, (but in actuality, one of them could cross their arm over for them to run. Anyway, that didn’t happen.)

Other units arrived, and we carted the men away. Armchair, Sunday-morning quarterbacks would say that I should have waited in the squad car until backup arrived. But how do you do that? Imagine sitting in a police car like a timid, church mouse while men fought with knives for several minutes just a few yards away? Waiting for backup? Impossible. What if one killed the other while the police watched safely in their locked car? No way. No way. No way.

I had to get the name and address of this hero for my crime and arrest reports. I thanked him profusely. He was all smiles and told me everything. I’ll call him “Ray Wilson” here.

At the station, our Patrol Lt Gene Green wandered into the book-in room and wanted the sitrep. After my report, he said,

“Ray Wilson? He plays for the _____________. Ya’ met Ray! Ya’ see his big Superbowl ring? He comes home every off-season and stays with his momma. He gets into some kind of trouble every year.”

“Well, he sure helped me out of a mess here!” I said. “He needs a medal.”

“Just wait,” Lt Green warned. “You’ll see him in here for somethin’ er’ another.” By “in here,” he meant the book-in room.

“He comes home every year and sorta cleans up after his relatives’ and friends’ bad business. He has a helleva’ family. Always in trouble.”

That Wilson clan. Oh, yeah. Those kin folk! Well, I saw his point. What a shame. The guy just charged right in and helped me.

About a month or so later we were on midnight shift, and I walked through the station to the squad room. The old headquarters was situated kind of funny because you had to walk through the book-in room of our jail to get from the front side of the station and into to the back squad room. There on the book-in room bench, sat a handcuffed Ray Wilson. My Wine Tree hero. He was arrested for assaulting some men with a baseball bat! Some kind of a family, revenge/vendetta, just like Lt Green had said.

Ray nodded to me as I approached and passed through. His possessions were laid on the book-in counter, ready for safe-keeping collection. A worn wallet. Some pocket change. An old watch. A belt…and a big, golden, Superbowl ring.

“Take care of that ring,” Ray asked cordially.

“We always do, Ray,” the arresting detective said.
He retired in our city, took over the family’s, older home and then years later died of old age, but a poor man. He was one of the regulars I would stop and talk to through the years.

Hock’s email is


Like this? There’s way more, get these paperbacks or ebooks, click here…