(My main theme here is usually about combatives, crime and policing, but I would be remiss not to mention my connections with the ROK Marines while in South Korea.)
The textbook manuals will define the ROK Marines as: “The Republic of Korea Marine Corps, also known as the ROK Marine Corps, or the ROK Marines, is the marine corps of South Korea. The ROKMC is a branch of the Republic of Korea Navy responsible for amphibious operations, and also functions as a rapid reaction force and a strategic reserve.”
“Korean soldiers were highly motivated. Because of their own struggle with Stalinist North Korea, they hated communists. They were also tough. Each man was trained in the art of tae kwon do, with 30 minutes’ practice forming an integral part of morning physical training. They were also subjected to harsh discipline. Time magazine reported in 1966, “Captured Vietcong orders now stipulate that contact with the Koreans is to be avoided at all costs—unless a Vietcong victory is 100 percent certain.” – National Interest Magazine
1975. The first days of the first week I was in country, up north in South Korea, HQ asked me to deliver some papers to Camp Red Cloud. They gave me our intrepid KATUSA – Mister Lee as a driver, and together in an old, open US Army jeep we made the long drive east. Once at the base, Mister Lee took us to the Red Cloud headquarters. On the open grounds outside stood a formation of Korean soldiers and a sergeant yelling and beating the holy hell out of a soldier. The troop stood as best he could, arms down and at a wobbly attention. Finally. the blows knocked him off right off his feet. Down, he was kicked.
“What’s going on over there?” I asked Mister Lee. “Ohhh, ROK Marines. Dey crazy. Dat Marine fucky up somehow.” Mister Lee said.
And that was my first introduction to the ROK Marines, other than having some of them, along with South Vietnamese combat vets, teach a few courses in basic training. Upon my return to our little crappy forward operating base, (FOB) as I was a “cherry” (new) I quickly learned that we also had ROK Marines stationed right with us too!
We, me, the MPs there were to do police work and help provide force protection for this FOB, but the grunt work of guarding was done by KATUSA (Korean Augmentation To the United States Army, a branch of the Republic of Korea Army that consists of Korean drafted personnel who are augmented to the Eighth United States Army), K-9s (dogs), MPs and ROK Marines. One big happy (?) family.
Missile jockeys operated on top of a mountain inside our camp and from that elevation, with binoculars one could see into North Korea and at times watch their knuckleheads doing PT or snaking around over there.
“The beatings will continue until morale improves!” And I continued to see periodic ROK beatings in their morning formations. We never knew what they did wrong, but they must have “fucky-ied up” in some way. The ROK officers and NCOs spoke some English but the typical ROK Marine did not. So while we saw them a lot, and they ate in our mess hall, we never got to know them beyond the occasional smile, a wave, and a thumbs up.
Part of our job description was to also patrol the outside of the base, check the perimeters, etc. and the ROK Marines did that routinely. We MPs did not have to go on every run, but we were supposed to go with some regularity, and keep abreast of the breastworks, so, with some regularity we went. On one trip, they found a cache of buried weapons, hidden by stupid commie sympathizers for North Koreans to sneak in and dig up. (I think a K9 smelled it out, as I recall). The commies were always sneaking in, or building tunnels under the DMZ, etc. Those days, the 60s and 70s were considered very dangerous times in Korea.
(Years earlier, the NKs perpetrated North Korea attempted assassination, “The Blue House Raid,” also known in South Korea as the “January 21 Incident.” It was just one raid launched by North Korean commandos to assassinate the President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee, in his residence at the Blue House. President Park was unharmed.)
Taking us out, taking our missiles out, or sneaking past us to go south was always a problem. We sat in the valley first invaded by the Red Guard back in the 1950s. One part of my MP job I discovered was to run an M-60 machine gun team on the northwest peak of the camp that touched that very valley. (When the feces hits the oscillated blades, we are all infantry.)
On one of these walk-arounds, the ROK Marine Sergeant (also named Lee) mentioned to me that old classic observation, usually attributed to the Japanese., “America will never be invaded,” he said. “It won’t, you think?” I said. “No, too many guns.”
Some of these inspections were run in the dark, a m. hours. Just cuz. Just cuz they could and really they should. The boogie-men come out at night. And as we passed a few guard posts, Sgt. Lee would stop us at a distance and stealthfully get near the post. He would at times catch the ROK Marine there asleep and steal something from them, sometimes their M-16s!
The next morning the ROK Marine would be chastised and then beaten in the formation.
I often wondered what these Marines thought when they woke up and saw their M-16 gone!
(Many decades later, a ROK Marine sergeant showed up at one of my California combatives seminars, held at the original UFC Gym. He was sent there to attend and invite me to teach knife combatives over there. The deal was cut, but their unit had to postpone because of missions. I have no great desire to return to South Korea, but I will. Because – “Have Seminar-Will Travel.”)
The rituals of death. Understanding them may save your life. But, when you try to research the term, all you are most likely to uncover are after-death, practices of various worldwide religions and funerals, like tossing a handful of dirt on a coffin to name but one. I guess the trouble with the research quest is the word “ritual” – so quickly associated with religions. Dig a bit deeper (no pun intended) and you’ll find a few ceremonial pre-death rituals like when archaeologists discovered that the Incas got their children sacrifices drunk before their deaths on coco leaves and alcohol. Still after much digging, not much is mentioned about before the death.
If you broaden your own the definition of “rituals,” of death, it starts you thinking. You might recall the many other kinds of political and religious killings, ones before the flame, the shot, the needle, the hanging, the guillotine, the firing squad, the electrocution, etc. We remember some pre-death, rituals with them. Before such events, we have been exposed to ritualistic habits like, “the last meal.” The “last cigarette.” The blindfold, “any last requests?” “any last statements?” These are also rituals of death, before the act. Why do people bother with them?
Think about the ritualistic procedures in the United States over a prisoner execution. There are many ritualistic steps and protocols. Think about how people reluctantly gather in to witness the execution. In the olden days, people gathered for the public hangings, nowadays seating is assigned at the prison death chambers to watch a person die. I feel as though any of the death row prisoners would much rather be surprised by a shot in the back at in the head at some late point than go through all that extraneous legal, ritual, nonsense. And, consider this irony, there have been postponements in prison executions because the prisoner was too sick on his death date. Too sick to die? “Let’s clear up that flu before we kill him.”
All these numerous rituals alone, suggested to me that most humans have a certain significance, a regard about death and often do things, also in crime and war to hesitate, postpone, celebrate or commemorate death. A ritual, however slight or small, might be created. It often seems to be in our human nature.
I would like to write about here a very particular situation when someone is cornered, captured, kidnapped and-or taken hostage. Short-term or long-term, and about to killed. As a police detective most of my adult life, and a graduate of a police, criminal profile course, I came across numerous cases, mine and others, of victims executed, or received threats of execution in the final act of rape, kidnapping, robbery, assault and so forth. And what about in war? Such as when someone is taken prisoner, or cornered? What did those last few seconds look like? What small ignored, rituals existed or still exist by killers. If we knew what the killers did, we might better prepare people to read upcoming signs and try to counter them.
In recent times now more than in the past, instructors like to present lists of pre-assault cues with all the anger, tip-offs. That list is long (and far from new – as the first one I saw was back in the military police academy in 1973.) What of pre-crime clues? They are different and largely ignored as people tend to dwell on the pre-assault cues. With pre-crime there might be a no-anger greeting, usually presented by smiling con men criminals setting you up with a minimum tip-offs, or not. Maybe just an overwhelming, sudden ambush? In this same vein of study, but not like the pre-assault, and pre-crime, are the verbal, physical and situational, last ditch rituals of…pre-death. Situational? The overall situation also counts like a ticking time bomb.
So, I became fascinated, in crime and war’s last moments, especially the last few seconds, the last few steps of these killing actions. What exactly went on? And to see if there are any big or small “rituals” even in these instances. They may or may not be spontaneous. The crime may be pre-meditated, but the actual physical act of violence itself unplanned. What happened? Learning this as a self defense, martialist instructor for civilians, police and military, might warn and prepare people for last resort counters to these problems. My real goal here is to inspire and provoke thought on these matters.
For example, Think of all the pistol disarms taught . Think of the more rare, long gun disarms. Think of the knife disarms. Think of the strangulation escapes. Lots of…”techniques,” as they say. But hardly anyone understands or covers the total “who, what, when, where, how and why” (the Ws&H) the victim wound up in this terrible moment, these terrible, critical last, few seconds. The context. The situation. What last ditch, last resort things could be done to counter the murder attempt?
The techniques? I have told this story for decades as an example of the “classroom disarmer,” of a student who learned two pistol disarms techniques earlier in the day at a martial class. He goes home and tells his friend how great the disarms were. The friend says “wow, show me,” and he gets a “clicker,” replica pistol and stands before the student, face-to-face, gun aimed at the student’s head, execution style. The student and friend stare at each other, like western showdown that actually hardly ever happened. The friend is a live wire, watching anxiously for ANY slight sign, a “tell,” (tip-off or clue) that a disarm attempt is coming. The student tries one of the disarms, j…u…s…t barely moves and…CLICK. The student tries and tries and can’t do either of the disarms. Disillusioned, he confesses, “I guess they don’t work.” This evaluation could be very wrong because forgotten is the unusual, multi-faceted crime and war situations people are thrust in. Gun men are often preoccupied running their overall crime scenes and rarely if ever, are they in this sterile, “face-to-face,” “anxiously waiting-for-the-disarm” waiting to pull the trigger, classroom situation.
Ws&H questions for examples…
The Who Question? For the purposes of brevity, let’s loosely list a few general “who’s-who” to get you thinking about this topic. (Remember I am not a psychologist and you must investigate these typologies yourself.)
Psychopath. Someone who might kill in an instant, without remorse, without ritual.
Psychopath who terrorizes. Someone who might kill and wants to enjoy terrorizing someone. There might be a ritual involved.
Realistic actor. Someone who is not a psychopath, but is somewhat “forced” into killing you due to circumstances. He might be resigned to the act.
Reluctant actor. Someone who is not a psychopath, but is really reluctant and really “forced” into killing you due to circumstances. He might be angry or depressed and resigned to the act.
Impulse actors. Various criminal studies state that many criminals have poor impulse control.
We could of course, slice and dice these very generic characterizations forever. But anyone of these might have tip-off tells of what they will do, verbal or physical. Perhaps your best predictive luck or chances are with the realistic and reluctant actors. If a true, cold-blooded psychopath decides to kill you, they might well do so in an instant. No rituals. No tells…just boom. Imagine a hostage situation where there is food for 7 people and he has 8 hostages. Boom, a random death upon discovery of the problem. Now there’s food for 7. If a non-psychopath has to kill you, he might say or do something…specifically at the moment…that is ”ritualistic.”
The What Question? There are numerous examples of what might be said or done.
Verbal. A psychopath may say nothing, or in the terrorizing version, enjoy saying extra-frightening things. Their rituals might be very personal and impossible to understand by sane people. A non-psychopath might ask for somewhat ritualistic things like, “Get down on your knees?” or, “Lay face down,” or “turn-around.” This is because he doesn’t want to fully see or not see your face. It is old military psychology now that you are harder to kill face-to-face for most “normal” people. The reluctant’s voice may get mean with a certain resolve and resignation. This could be because he is actually angry at himself and-or the situation.
Sounds. And this in not just about voice. There is a case in Gaven Debecker’s book The Gift of Fear when a rapist left the victim’s bedroom and turned the volume way up on the living room stereo. The victim realized this increase was to cover the sounds of her murder and screaming. She managed to sneak out of her apartment while the rapist was in the kitchen to get a knife. Translating sounds. What of the sounds of loading or cocking a firearm? Opening a trunk or a van door?
Physical. Sudden deep breaths before actions. Serious facial expression changes. Some might easily be read as a resignation that the reluctant has to kill. A terrorizing psychopath might smile with an enjoyment. It has been observed in a variety of situations that someone holding a long gun at hip level, resigned to murder, will grimace and lift the weapon to shoulder height. They might elevate the pistol from low to high. They could just shoot from the hip. These are last second tells.
The Where Question? First off, a rule of survival, never go from “crime scene A” to “crime scene B.” If you can fight and resist at crime scene A when you discover a planned transport? Do so. B is usually a prepared place of torture and-or death. A psychopath might kill you anywhere, or at crime scene B. A non-psychopath might ritualistically march you off to somewhere else, and often for no real reason. It seems to be a ritual of death to do so. The back room refrigerator of a convenience store for just one example. These marches may take you to a place where there are no sight or sound witnesses.
The When Question? The brewing situation should help a victim tell if an execution is forthcoming. Understanding the overall situation can set the clock for predicting your your planned demise. Many victim can predict their eventual doom by just seeing the face of a criminal.
The How Question? How will the murder be accomplished? Are you being marched off to a cliff? The meat locker? Does the criminal or enemy have a stick? Knife, pistol? Long gun? If so, do you know the common striking, stabbing and shooting positions? How close is the killer standing? Where are you standing? Has he approached with an “angry” strutting walk and face? How will your respond?
The Why Question? By keeping close track of your dilemma, can you anticipate why you need to be killed. Whim? Delight? No witnesses? Revenge? Understanding motives. Think of an on-premise, witness to a crime. Think of a crazed spouse, violating a protective order after many violent threats, showing up at a house with a weapon. Why must things end this way? The killer usually needs a motive, whether you understand the reasons or not. Again, studies show that many criminal have poor impulse control (especially under stressful and emotional situations).
Quick summary I would like for you to think about these Ws&H points. It usually takes about 6 passes of the Ws&H questions to collect satisfactory information. You might get down to the “when” question and you realize you need to reexamine the “who” question again. And we can’t forget that crime patterns, in your region, your city or street, can be a copy-cat ritual. Examine if you will, the many gang shootings in Chicago. How do they unfold?
What might the rituals of pre-death be?
You are cornered, captured, kidnapped and-or taken hostage. Short-term or long-term, and about to killed.
Pre-assault cues can be different than pre-crime cues.
Verbal clues like tones and words.
Visual clues like facial expressions.
Sound clues like weapons preps – racking, chambering.
Area crime patterns may be involved.
Situations that history and common sense lead to executions.
Brewing, overall situations.
Has he approached with an angry walk and face?
Last request questions.
Suddenly being treated nicely. A common – “sorry, good-bye ritual.”
Being marched to questionable and isolated places with a lack of help or witnesses.
Sudden lifting of firearms into common firing positions.
Sudden lifting of sticks, bats, clubs and tool into striking positions.
Sudden drawing of weapons.
…continue to develop your own lists.
On the rituals of suicide. I have probably worked more suicides than murders through the years and they might have their own meaningful rituals and death scenes. Some organized scenes were fascinating and not appropriate for this essay theme. But, recognizing the organized suicide scene and any ritual evidence is important to classify and conclude the case, but again, suicide ritual is another subject.
But I must mention that in the police world, we are long cursed with “suicide by cop” situations. There is suicide by civilian or military also. Whether cop, citizen or soldier, these suicidal people get you to shoot them by presenting you with these same ritual of death moves we cover here, like drawing a weapon, lifting a weapon, marching upon you armed, with angry walks and angry faces. Perhaps over-acted to get your reaction! Recognizing apparent suicidal situations may save you great grief and expense later on.
My goal here in this essay is not to teach weapon disarms, but rather to translate events, see clues and tip-offs, or “tells,” before counters are life-or-death needed. Of course you must exercise all unarmed combatives to solve these problems. Standing, kneeling, sitting, grounded on top, bottom and sides. All must include knowledge of weapon operations, yours and his. All positions must include striking, kicking and what might be called “dirty fighting” or “cheating.” These survival topics transcend typical martial arts found everywhere.
The rituals of death. They are not just about what goes in a funeral mass or at the cemetery after you die. It is also about the last things killers often physically say and-or do, just before they try to kill you, and how you must learn them to stay out of the deep end of a cemetery.
(And I remind you again, I am not a psychologist. Keep researching this and make your own lists. I only wish to provoke thought and planning.)
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
This is an essay in Hock’s upcoming Training Mission Two book, due out winter, 2021.
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.)
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)
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.
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.)
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-
(2) single stick,
(3) double stick,
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.
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.
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.
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) https://www.newsweek.com/seattle-police-say-most-non-white-officers-will-fired-if-city-cuts-budget-1517188
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%. (https://blackdemographics.com/) 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.
“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.” – CombatMuseum.com
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
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.