Ben Mangels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hock’s email is

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