“Protecting the Belt,” Holster Retention Observations

I would like to tell 5 quick, pistol/holster retention stories

Retention story #1:
Several years ago I taught at a major US city police academy, an in-service combatives course. Running there also was the rookie class.There was a woman in this rookie class that was consistently having her pistol taken during defensive tactics classes. Instructors told me she’d purchased a high level (many tricks to draw) retention holster. There were so many twists and turns, pushes and pulls, that she herself could not draw her own gun. Their final qualifications were coming up and she absolutely refused to give up her new safer holster, even though she literally could not pull the gun out on demand! I left before there was a conclusion. My best guess though, is she changed holsters.

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Retention story #2
I was teaching a Chicago seminar once that was attended by a large group of area police officers. One of the scenarios I taught was drawing and shooting after your strong-side/gun-side arm had been incapacitated as in injured or shot. You cross-draw, pull your gun with your support hand, taking care not to accidentally insert your pinky into the trigger guard, a common discharge problem from this angle. You either shoot the pistol upside down (can you do this with your pistol?) or use a knee pinch to get the gun right-side-up. We do this standing and on the ground with simulated ammo as the practitioner actually has to shoot a moving, thinking person closing in and/or shooting back. Next came a short break and I saw all the officers over in one corner of the gym, their support arm stretching and reaching unsuccessfully around their backs to pull their pistol. Only the skinniest, most limber, police woman could do it. I asked them what they were doing, and they told me that their guns and holsters were department issue. The holster retention device would not allow for such a frontal, angle removal. That holster company feared that gun takeaways would usually occur from the front. In order to pull the pistol from that model holster, a shooter had to grab the gun pull/angle it back, and then out. This holster prohibited the easy, common sense draw I, and so many others, teach. (And, what about drawing while seated in a car?)

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Retention story #3
In the 1990s I was teaching an Air Force SWAT-style team and the San Antonio SWAT team. I was, once again doing simulated ammo scenarios and was doing one on the ground, on my back. I asked for a gun belt and an SAPD officer quickly gave me his. On my back, when time to draw and shoot, I could not remove the pistol from the holster. We all gathered around closely to inspect this. The SWAT officer’s holster had several retention tricks built in. His holster, that company, had also decided that most pistols were removed from the front, requiring a pull backward first, then out. Since I was flat on my back, I could not pull the gun back. No one, all seasoned vets, in the class had thought of this, least of all this SWAT officer until this experiment. One would think that a holster company would put such news on the packaging label and advertisement.

“WARNING! You cannot draw this weapon when down on your back!”

We learned that to draw from such a 3 o’clock, hip holster, you had to roll half-over, or lift your body into a half a crab-walk position.

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Retention story #4
“Back in the day,” as a detective, I was working with a fellow investigator on a case when we heard of a very nearby armed robbery on the police radio. We were so close, we actually saw the suspect run from the store. We drove as far as we could to chase him, then had to bail from the car and go on foot. A few fences were jumped and the robber got into a cement factory with a large, open gravel lot, and big trucks. We’d split up, but we both saw the robber stop by a truck as we could see his legs under the truck. We split further apart, circled the truck and drew our guns as we closed in. My partner pulled his .45 out on the run. He pulled the pistol AND paddle holster out and pointed it at the bad guy. He made a violent jerk and the holster flew off the pistol. The robber, facing our two guns, surrendered. We laughed about it later because we were a little crazy back then, but we also learned a lesson about holsters.

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Retention story #5     The Sandpit Travesty.  One of my officer friends once, lost his pistol and was shot and killed by a fugitive. Without revealing any personal details, this SWAT officer had a retention duty holster on regular duty, but when on a SWAT assignment had a “drop” holster as shown previously, a low, thigh, tactical holster, minus any retention. His pistol was taken in a ground fight and he was shot in the head. Since sad events like this, retention devices started appearing on the most “tactical” of holsters, (even Taser holsters,)
His agency went on a PR, press junket to prove how much they cared about the subject, suggesting that holster retention was so well trained. They filmed a news segment for TV with their officers training in a sandpit. A trainer grabbed a trainee’s holstered pistol and tried to remove it. The trainee held on and basically the two engages in a stupid, standing wrestling match – four hands on a holstered rubber gun. Sometimes falling down in the ruckess.
Perhaps to an ignorant novice, this seemed like terrific, tough-guy, training? But it is not. No one threw a punch, kicked a nut, yanked head hair, popped an eye, or broke a bone. A bad guy wanting to kill you will do all these things. An officer, wanting to stay alive will do all these things. All the things that can not happen full speed in training, but can be partially simulated, yet still are totally ignored. And like you learn to forget to punch in Judo, bad training makes you forget how to survival fight. This is not preparing an officer, or any one toting a gun, to respond properly to a disarm attack.
And that is why, this sort of sandpit style training is a stupid travesty. And it doesn’t have to be in a sandpit either, as you’ll find stupid anywhere.

Words of wisdom – Military vet and weapons instructor Mike Woods sums up by saying, “Buyer Beware. So, if you’re shopping for a holster – as an individual or as an agency buyer – you need to go beyond the ratings and advertising hype by fully understanding how the various security features work. You also need to ask hard questions about the specific tests and criteria that a manufacturer uses to rate their products. Until the industry unites around a single standard, it’s not enough to assume that Brand X’s Level III rating denotes a comparable level of security, durability and quality as Brand Y’s Level III rating. Your choice of duty gear is too critical — and your safety too important – to be influenced by clever marketing. Ask tough questions, get the details, and make sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples.”

Protecting the belt! There are many such stories. Keep your eyes and ears open for them. And, keep experimenting. Just think about handgun/holster retention. In 26 years in line operations, I have had only 5 attempts on my holstered pistol. There are many attempts on record all over the world. It happens. Statistically your odds on an attempt may be like one in 40,000? But if it happens to you? It’s one in one.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
 
 
 
 

Beat, Break, Damage or Wait? Real “Ground” Fighting

It is the duty of every martial person to learn each joint and the directions they go in and the directions they don’t go in, standing thru on the ground, whether they think they are studying “survival fighting” or “arts/sports.” This joint knowledge is useful and can comes from many sources. (My personal favorite being “Catch Wrestling,” and bits from here and there.)
 
 
The “ground.” Ever been fighting someone on the so-called “ground?” And I mean – 
  • on the tile floor?
  • on the the cement?
  • on the asphalt?
  • on a stairway?
  • a gravel picnic ground?
  • a slimy hillside in the pouring rain?
  • a room full of furniture?
  • accomplices around?
I have. Arresting people. I’ve worked in the field,  line operations, spanning three decades. I’ve caught people in the act and served many warrants.
 
So, you get some control. And you hold on in a submission. It seems stabilized, but now I have to transition to handcuffs. I might struggle through several holds/transitions to travel to that goal and geography, as well as get one hand free/loose to get the cuffs out. If I lose the hold, lose control, the fight just continues, unlike mat sport, tap-outs. Unless the guy is totally exhausted (which happens at times, thank goodness), when you let go, loose control, the other guy just keeps right on fighting again. Injured or not (remember what adrenaline does), you cannot depend on holds, submissions to end a fight situation.
 
Lots of times my submission holds might mean my partner, or arriving back up jumps in, to help (whew!) I wait a short time or  worse, a longer time? How much time, though ? How long can I keep an angry, resisting person in a submission hold?  And, I have not always had backup.
 
(In my later years, we could not choke anyone. In the 1970s and 80s, chokes were a great police tool.)
 
 
So, what does a civilian do? Beat him, break him, damage him up, or wait? And one must consider the legal issues with each.
– Beating is ground and pound.  
– Breaking him his breaking up body parts. 
– Damaging is busting him up, but not to the breaking point. 
– But waiting? Submissions? Waiting  for what? Wait for who? What happens next?
 
I must repeat though, It is the duty of every martial person to learn each joint and the directions they go in and the directions they don’t go in, standing thru on the ground, whether they think they are studying “survival fighting” or “arts/sports.” This body joint knowledge is useful and can comes from many sources. You still simply have to know this material. 
 
My personal path is one of “no hero-worship,” no “system-worship,” as martial arts are cluttered with these distractions.  I am not a hobbyist, nor a “joiner.” I am a skeptic. An analyzer. A survivalist. Your path is your path.  Whatever path, get on the path of learning the joints and which ways they do and do not twist and bend.
 
 
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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
 

Innovating and Re-Inventing the Basics

Are you an innovator, or a replicator? After a thought provoking discussion on Facebook, starting with this photo…

…the comments came up that the basics (of fighting arts, or perhaps anything). Are so basic, that how could one possibly innovate the basic-basics. After all, they’re so darn basic!

On the basics, I replied – I am constantly impressed, year after year, how college and pro football trainers invent, and re-invent better ways to enhance the basics of football, the basics of positional football. Open-minded trainers, always looking, always thinking. That’s an open eye to innovation… of the basics.

Can…should the basics be innovated? Yes. But, you first have to find your end goals. Your Mission.

  • Why in the world are you doing what you are doing?
  • Is it just for exercise? There might be better exercises?
  • Survival? There might be better ways?
  • Is it just a hobby-love? Like:  “I am addicted to wrestling.” “I just live double sticks.” “I just love shooting paper targets.” “I just want to thoughtless;y do whatever Master Quan wants to do. He is my hero!”

Then…your happiness is achieved! I get it.

Once true mission/goals are established, then the future training  can be kicked around, and one thing is to examine the whole approach to those “basics,” the collection of “basics.” The martial arts for example are loaded down with unneeded “basics.” Even when you want to become THAT specific martial artist, you are still, often dragged, mired down into doing unnecessary basics. They should all be examined and after a while, re-examined. It so important to be free of dogma…unless you like dogma?  It’s my old “who, what,  where, when, how and why question game again.

  • Who gets to make the basics? Who made them your basics? What really are your basics?
  • Who suffers, or needs or flourishes doing these basics?
  • What is the real mission, the real goal to establish what is basic
  • What better, smarter ways are there to teach the basics?
  • What can best motivate people to keep doing the basics?
  • Where will these basics actually be needed?
  • Again…who gets to make the basics?

For example, one dissection of “why do you do this?” A friend of mind was proudly showing a martial arts, ground movement, kata on youtube. Eight guys and gals, all dressed the same, flipping and rolling and stopping a second in a position. It was an elaborate show.  He was proud of them. They were proud of themselves. I watched the routine a few times and could see that really,  the “stops” were about 7 stretches with dancey moves between each one. The dancey moves did not conceal the point to me that they were actually stretching and in actuality, the kata itself was about stretching. For a guy like me? I would much rather do the 7 stretches. No dance. One could probably do each stretch longer and deeper, if they just did stretching alone.  But, I understand my goal. My mission.  Some people like to…dance around. (There are professional dancers!) And some people derive pleasure from it, memorizing it, and performing. Not me, but some do. That’s why I always ask people, to ask themselves, why they do what they do.  If their happy, I’m happy. Just be on-mission, on-goal. And know…

But, if the basics are so basic? Can you innovate the basics?

  • Is there another way, another drill to enhance a basic?
  • What do individual people, not groups need to advance?
  • What do groups need, not individuals, need to advance?
  • Can you innovate, customize the education format?
  • Can you reduce the abstract?
  • Can you innovate the inspiration?
  • Can you recognize that, what is basic for some is advanced for others.
  • Can you recognize that, what is advanced for some, is basic for others. 
  • I mean, shouldn’t we always be asking, “Is there a better way?” About everything?

 I often see many instructors spend 30 (or more) minutes explaining some painfully, simple movement. Some people love all that. Some don’t.  But we don’t need to hear about the DNA of the Missing Link through current mankind to show how to punch someone in the nose. Unless you are a virgin geneticist? 

Vetted, core, basic things. Oh, like wind sprints. You might say, “How can you innovate a wind sprint? But wait, wait! Innovating coaches and trainers have developed numerous ways to improve your basic sprinting, and they have with all kinds of core basics.

You can’t always innovate. everything, but you can always think and worry about innovation. 

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Get Hock’s new book, Training Mission One, click here

Cornfield Combatives – How Urban Is Your Combatives Cotton Patch?

     I live in the outer reaches of the ever-expanding Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in north Texas. This geographic term “DFW” just continues to grow and grow, but up north here we are still surrounded by farmland and ranches. Around here, it looks like an occasional housing addition, then a ranch, then a strip center, then more farmland and ranches. That breakup is what I like about the area.  It’s still very much country and wide-open spaces. I am a good judge of what is rural, suburban and urban because I grew up in the thick, dense New York City area. Basically, I know city and I know country, and today’s cavalier, tossed around term “urban,” confuses me.

     So, there’s a new, small strip center in the cornfield near me. The first entry in this isolated small building was a place called Urban Nutrition. Brick wall, gaffiti, art sign. That ubiquitous claw ripping through the brick art, too. Urban Nutrition is a big city name suggesting, well, what exactly?  Real, inner city … ahhh…inner city eating? Inner city, muscle growth? Inner city…vitamins? What exactly does it mean, Mister Franchise Owner? Who is it supposed to attract? Because, last I read, and for some years now, urban areas were having trouble getting available fresh food and good nutrition. So…copying urban nutrition plan is not much of a goal.

     A photo of this store as we see it, with cows walking around it, in open fields, would capture the very dichotomy of that name in that place. “Wazzup, Farmer Jones? Howdy, neighbor! Learn how them inner city boys get real big and muscular?” (Wouldn’t you rather be a big strapping country boy? Eat fresh country food?)”

     Sure, sure, sure, in the next 20 years a few things will pop up all around the nutrition store, but I will never say that it will look remotely urban, like Watts or Harlem, or any urban city around here. It will look suburban at best. The name sends an odd, off-mission message. It’s just odd to have an Urban Nutrition store in the middle of a rural cornfield.

     Urban. Suburban. Rural. The U.S. Bureau of the Census defines urban as a community with a population of 50,000 people or more. To me, I think people attach an inner-city feel, mood, culture and look to the word “urban.” The dictionary says that – “Rural areas are referred to as open and spread out country where there is a small population. Rural areas are typically found in areas where the population is rather self-sustaining . Suburban areas are references to areas where there are residences adjacent to urban areas. There is a marked difference between the three. We all know this.

    I see a lot of urban stuff these days and, of course, even the rather ubiquitous urban combatives name dropped here and there in system names and school system descriptions. I wonder why? I find this title curious, too. Urban Combatives. A sales pitch might be …

 “… all these techniques have been tested … in, you know … urban … ahhh … areas.”

“Wazzup, suburb boyz? Country boyz! Fight like inner-city, urban boyz! Word!”

“Fight like Boyz in the Hood.”

“No crime, no fights happen in the suburbs or out in the country, you stupid rednecks, just so you hicks know, down in the projects is where you really learn how to fight.”

 “Are your punches and kicks all kinda’ … urbanized? Run through that special, ‘urban” filter’ of urbanized special fighting that only urban thugs can do.

     Seems to me urban people have no monopoly in fighting well. Have you investigated the UFC champs for example? You know Matt Hughes is a farm boy from southern Illinois. Brock Lesnar is from Webster, South Dakota. Randy Couture is from Cornellous, Oregon. I could go on and on with this country-boy list. Not exactly an inner-city or urban majority. I’d put money on Randy in a Harlem alley fight, wouldn’t you? WORD! And they say words count, so who are you training to fight where?

     We’ve defined the geography, now for the terminology. We know what “Urban Combat” is for the military today – fighting with firearms inside cities, as opposed to say … jungle warfare or the “forest combat.”

     So, what does “urban combatives” really mean to citizens? Actually, crime and/or fights will occur anywhere. Rural, suburban, or urban. Some of the worst crimes and baddest fights have occurred behind the barn in Idaho or in an alleyway in Branson, MO. Alleyways are everywhere, even in Mayberry. Per capita, a whole bunch of violent crime happens outside the so-called “urban” inner cities.

     Let’s talk martial business. Yes, fights, crime and war occur in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Indoors and outdoors. A comprehensive fighting program, appealing to the most customers, must include all these turfs. Generics at first, specifics later as the “who, what, where, when how and why” are developed and explored. Picking one name like “urban” is actually quite limiting as far as a smart business plan goes, unless you are in a specific urban zone, teaching specific urban people, to solve specific urban problems. Just like the military jungle fighting school teaches jungle fighters to fight in the jungle.

     Just let yourself think about this for 30 seconds. The marketing name of something, or advertising catch phrases, counts both overtly and covertly as in subliminal or obvious. Subliminal advertising is a major influence in the success of business. (Hey, businesses can be tricky and tough to name. I empathize.)

Flip it abound and look at it this way:

  • Will “Georgia Barnyard Combatives” work in Manchester or Prague?
  • Will “Harvey’s Suburban Combatives” work in Camden, New Jersey?
  • Will “Jimmy Bob’s Hearth of the Homeland Combatives” work in Detroit?
  • Will we ever see “Outer City Limits Combatives?”
  • Is there even a “Rural Combatives?”
  • Is there even a “Suburban Combatives?
  • I have seen the expression, “wrong side of the tracks,” used in advertising, for rough-tough, rural background creds.

Funny thing is, many rural and suburban people that don’t otherwise like the “big city,”  don’t like the laws, politics  and restrictions, some still embrace the term “urban” this or that,  despite where they are and what they need. I guess “urban” sounds just way, way cooler to someone who doesn’t think about it past 30 seconds?

“Urban.” It’s a big city word, but also a very small one in oh so many ways. It’s not cool to me. Not at all.  

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@FoceNecessary.com

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Quick Sweden Interview

Quick interview published by Håkan Linnarsson whilst in Sweden…

QUESTION: Name? W. Hock Hochheim

QUESTION: Born? Before my time…

QUESTION: Started out with what martial art?
“I Started out with Ed Parker, Kenpo Karate in 1973”

QUESTION: Main style?
“Generic essence of combat.”

QUESTION: Other styles / degrees?
“Various Arnis / Kali systems, Aiki-jitsu, the whole Jeet Kune Do concepts-family-world, Karate, Jujitsu.”

QUESTION:What made you do martial arts?
“I guess seeing fights in movies and TV shows. Not necessarily martial arts movies, but other types of TV shows and movies. I saw the need to know how to fight criminals and enemy soldiers.”

QUESTION: What would be your best advice to someone who is thinking about doing martial arts or has just started?
“Try to determine what EXACTLY it is you are interested in from the start. Arts? Sports? Self defense? Investigate these differences. Deeply. And then pick your subject. Try to know the “who, what, where, when, how and why” of the system you are selecting and of yourself. What do you really want? What do you really need?”

QUESTION: Which is your most joyful or ludicrous memory from martial arts?
“In terms of martial arts, back in the late 1980s, probably going toe-to-toe, and at times even beating my first very serious, freestyle, JKD instructor Ray Medina in kickboxing. Ray was a local kick boxing and karate champ and he took me from ‘zero to sixty.’ From a clown, to someone who could beat him. If you knew Ray, you know what that means to me. Ray took me out of the dark ages. Terry Gibson handed me a flashlight.

My most ludicrous moment was when a rather famous, pressure point, superstar in the 1990s tried to knock me over with a no-touch, ki/chi power. I didn’t move or blink. Surrounded by people, he had to say that my chi power was very strong. Well, no, I just wasn’t a hypnotized culty follower.”

QUESTION: Do you have any favorite technique?
“Just the best one for that particular, chaotic situation – moment. Unlike the Highlander movie expression, “there can be only one. In this case, ‘There CAN’T be only one.’ “

QUESTION: If you where to sum up “budo” and “martial arts” in one word, what would that be?
“Summing up? The terms “Budo” and “martial arts” are esoteric, artsy, abstract approaches to realistic hand, stick, knife, gun fighting. Crime and war. Arts are filled with distracting uniforms, ideas, misguided hero worship, misguided system worship, off-messages and confusing goals. So, these are terms I don’t easily relate to. But, you have to study and toil (with a very suspicious eye) in these arts and glean, filter the actual truths in fighting, but this takes time, real maturity, enlightenment, and an “eye” for seeking the truth that you really need. Tear down the curtains until you see the back wall. Everything is missing something.

So… for me… personally, summing up the terms “budo” and “martial arts” in one word? – the word would have to be… “distracting.”

 

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Hock’s is email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Preemptive Strikes and Weapon Brandishing

Preemptive Strikes and Weapon Brandishing,
or “Officer, The Guy in the Red Hat Started It.”

Preemptive strikes and brandishing. How are these two subjects connected? In an unarmed preemptive strike, you are detecting an impending attack upon yourself. You are making an educated or uneducated guess, smart or not smart, and you slug the other guy first before he slugs you. With brandishing a weapon, you are detecting an impending attack upon yourself, and with an educated guess or not, smart or not, you somehow display your carried weapon with just a peek or a flash of a jacket or vest, or…do a full pull out of a pistol, knife or stick.

In my Stop 1 Showdown-Standoff training module, and in the Level 1 of the hand, stick, knife and gun courses I teach, we cover sudden, unarmed attacks, and a whole lot of weapon draws. Stop 2 through Stop 6 and Levels 2 through 9 cover the mixed weapon, standing though ground, follow-ups. But…so, in the auspices of the Stop 1 boundaries, and in the Levels 1, it is imperative to discuss these two violence initiating subjects. Who does the physical initiation?

Unarmed Preemptive Strikes
The topic of preemptive striking and kicking a pending attacker has always been suggested in martial systems. So many folks think this is the best idea. But there are a few drawbacks. Just a few. “Red hat” drawbacks, I’ll call them. In recent years there have been a lot of YouTube videos of superstar, fad martial artists beating the snot out of a training partner who is just standing still, hands hanging down, before them. Presumably there has been an argument to kick this off? The two are close and our hero springs forward, slaps, pokes, shin kicks and smacks the other guy down in a pile, in one second. The surrounding crowd is thrilled with his amazing skill. So amazed, I hear that he charges some $800 for a two day seminar.
Where’s the “red hat” come in? It just helps define whose-who and whats-what. If the superstar is wearing a red hat, witnesses will report to the police,

“Officer, those two guys were just talking, and the guy with the
red hat hit the other. He started it.”

Handcuffing ensues. Of you. I am not saying that preemptive strikes are a bad thing, they might be wonderful at times. It just can be tricky in the big picture (especially with witnesses around.)

Weapon Brandishing
In simple terms, is just pulling a stick, a knife or a gun always sheer brandishing? When is it? When is it not? Like with an unarmed preemptive strike, what is the pre-draw situation? Federal law defines brandished as:

“…with reference to a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) means that all or part of the weapon was displayed, or the presence of the weapon was otherwise made known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the weapon was directly visible to that person. Accordingly, although the dangerous weapon does not have to be directly visible, the weapon must be present.” (18 USCS Appx § 1B1.1)”

In Canada, a weapon is referred to in legalese as an “object.”  So, one must do a dog-and-pony show on what “object” was used in the situation. Pencil? Screw diver? Tooth pick? Potato chip? Thumb? (Thumb? Actually, few, if any – there’s always one wacky place – regard unarmed tactics as a “weapon,” and the myth of karate-people required to register their hands as lethal weapons is just that – a myth.)

The US Carry webpage says, Brandishing a weapon can be called a lot of different things in different states.
– “Improper Exhibition of a Weapon.”
– “Defensive Display.”
– “Unlawful Display.”

Retired special operations Ben Findly advises, “…‘brandishing’ or ‘improper exhibition’ or ‘defensive display’ or ‘unlawful display’ (or whatever your state and jurisdiction calls it) depends specifically on your state and jurisdiction. Very generally, however, for an operating definition “brandishing” means to display, show, wave, or exhibit the firearm in a manner which another person might find threatening. You can see how widely and differently this can be subjectively interpreted by different “reasonable” individuals and entities. The crime can actually be committed in some states by not even pointing a firearm at someone. In some states it’s a misdemeanor crime and in others a Felony. So, focus, think rationally, know your state’s law, and be careful out there.”

In other words, say you are the one wearing the red hat again. Things go bad and you try to scare off trouble. You pull your jacket back to show a weapon. Or, you pull a weapon to scare off this problem person, what will the witness say?

“Officer, they were just arguing and the man in the red hat pulled out a big ___!”

Fill in the blank. Knife? stick? Pistola?  Handcuffs ensue.

A quick review of several state, weapon brandishing laws include  words as legal terms like:
– rude, (was the gun-toter obnoxious and rude?)
– careless  (was the knife-toter waving it around?)
– angry, (was the stick-toter yelling and red-faced?)
– threatening manner…

…threatening manner? What? For many the whole point of aiming a stick, knife and gun at a brewing bag guy is to be threatening! What then is the line between a smart preemptive strike, a smart weapon show or pull and a crime? How can we make it all become justified self defense?  As a cop of three decades, I am alive today because I pulled my gun out a number of times, just before I REALLY needed it. This idea can work.

The remarkable researcher and police vet Massod Ayoob says, “When an unidentifiable citizen clears leather without obvious reason, folks start screaming and calling 9-1-1, and words like “brandishing” start being uttered. Thus, circumstances often constrain the law-abiding armed citizen from drawing until the danger is more apparent, which usually means the danger is greater. Therefore, often having to wait longer to reach for the gun, the armed citizen may actually need quick-draw skills more than the law enforcement officer.

A. Nathan Zeliff, a California attorney reports, “Brandishing – drawing your firearm pursuant to a lawful act of self defense should not be considered “brandishing”. However, if it is determined that you drew your firearm and the facts and circumstances show that you drew or exhibited the firearm in a threatening manner, and that such was not in self defense or in defense of another, then you may face charges of brandishing.”

I am not to sure this brandishing topic comes up all that much? Or not enough. So, here’s some collective words of wisdom on the subject. A collection of advice looks like this:

  • 1: Prepare for problems by using the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why  questions.
  • 2: Avoid possible dangerous arguments and confrontations when possible. Conduct yourself with smart, self control. Leave if you morally, ethically can.
  • 3: Obtain a valid, concealed carry license for all your weapons.
  • 4: Keep your weapon concealed. Do not open carry it.
  • 5. Do not display a stick/baton, knife or pistol, or threaten deadly force unless you, or others are threatened with imminent death or serious, bodily harm .
  • 6: Do not in any way reveal your stick/baton, knife or gun, point to it, indicate that you have a them.
  • 7: Attend a fundamentals of fighting with and without weapons training and learn the use of deadly force laws in your city, county, state and country.

Witnesses and “pointed-at, victims” can be stupid, bias and vindictive. They have cell phones and big mouths. And, don’t get caught wearing the red hat!

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Hock’s email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com

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Stabbed! by Julie Werhnyak

 

Stabbed! By Julie Werhnyak
Retired police officer, professional trainer, speaker, author

“Every day I donned my Tempe police uniform I spoke some version of the same mantra. “I expect and accept I will be involved in a lethal encounter today and I will do everything I can to ensure my survival.”

With 19 years on, that March day in 2015 was no exception. However, something FELT different that day. I couldn’t shake the eerie, persistent feeling that something terrible was going to happen.My wife Karin was our audit and compliance sergeant and our paths rarely crossed at work, but they did that morning. As I left her office she called me back and said, “Just be careful, ok?” This was quickly followed by her telling me she loved me. I later learned Karin had a bad feeling as well.

That morning on patrol was uneventful until my second radio call. Another unit and I were dispatched to a check welfare. The caller said a female acquaintance left a message for help earlier that day. The caller was now at the woman’s apartment and heard talking inside. When he knocked on the door, he thought he heard her scream.I arrived first on scene and contacted the caller. When asked, he said he was unaware of any history of family violence between the young woman and her boyfriend. He added, he is actually, “a really nice guy.”

Officer Latasha Hampton arrived as I continued gathering information. She immediately expressed an uneasiness about the call and advised she would be turning on her recorder. The two of us knocked and announced more than 17 times. We spoke with neighbors who reported not seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary.My attempts to call the 23-year-old woman went unanswered. I left a voice message asking if she was ok. I then had dispatch text the same message and add that we were not leaving until we knew she was.Latasha summoned me to the back of the apartment. She was standing by the sliding glass door and said she heard music turn on and off several times. We listened. “Do you hear that? I hear him unraveling duct tape,” she said.

I ran back toward the front of the complex while calling for more units. As I rounded the corner, I saw a man with a panicked look on his face. He said, “Officer, officer, I received a text from my daughter. All it says is ‘I love you.’ Not that that’s not nice to hear, but I’m concerned.” This panicked filled man was the woman’s father. I assured him we were concerned too and we would do everything we could to make sure she was okay. “I’m hearing muffled screams from a female inside…it’s muffled as if something is covering her mouth,” Latasha radioed. I knew I had to act fast to break through the locked metal gate that protected the wooden front door. I didn’t have a halligan tool but the woman’s father had a tire iron that he handed to me.

While working to pry open the security gate, Latasha yelled hoping the woman could hear her, “Hang on, we’re coming to save you.” Within seconds Latasha radioed, “22, I hear her screaming inside!”

Back up officers arrived with the tools needed to breach the doors. We formed a stack. The sergeant made short work of the security gate with a halligan tool and another officer hit the wooden door with the battering ram. It didn’t open but the lower half shattered to pieces.I crouched to enter, peering into the apartment. Never was I so keenly aware of the drastic difference between the harsh brightness mid-day Arizona and the darkened interior of a home. The lights were off and the window shades were drawn. The sliding glass door on the far side of the apartment shed enough light to create a backdrop for the silhouetted scene that was unfolding.The suspect was standing over the victim. He reached high overhead and dropped his weight, swinging his arm as if he was striking her. Once. Then a second time. I realized I was not hearing any contact. He swiftly spun, looked in my direction and ran out of sight.“He’s running! To the right!” I said as I cleared the door. I hugged the left wall of the narrow entryway and waited for other officers to enter behind me. I held on the corner to the kitchen that was approximately 4 feet ahead of me and to the right. Both the entryway and the kitchen opened to the family room.

“Where is he now?” the sergeant asked as he entered. I didn’t know but believed he may have gone to escape or barricade himself. I pointed and said I thought he went to a back room. I began slicing the pie around the corner to the kitchen, anticipating a long threat. As I took one more step, the suspect, who was directly around the corner, leaped from the kitchen wielding a large hunting knife overhead. Evil itself had leaped from the darkness.

My immediate thought was, “Oh Shit!” not out of fear, but of knowing I was about to be stabbed. Try as I might, I knew I could not get out of the way. Crystal clear thoughts rushed through my head. I thought, “he killed her and now he’s trying to kill me.” Immediately followed by, “that knife is coming at a very strange angle.”The scene was now playing out in slow motion. At least in my mind. I began canting my body and moving to the right while simultaneously trying to block the blow with my left arm. My right arm was extending. My gun touched his body as I squeezed the trigger, firing my first round. At the same time, the knife penetrated the front of my neck, just above my left clavicle.

I sensed an invisible wave of energy between us that launched me backward. As I sailed through the air. I fired my second round and crashed to the ground. My head hit the tile floor and my shoulder was hurt. Other officers also fired at the suspect.

I instinctively sprang to my hands and feet and scrambled back out the hole in the shattered door. I ran for cover and radioed,

“2-Paul 13, I need an ambulance…I’ve been stabbed.”

I was bleeding profusely. “He hit my carotid artery,” I thought. I focused on slowing my breathing and wondered if fire could save me. Thankfully, another officer was there to stay with me, comfort me and render aid. He called Karin and put her on speaker phone. When I told her I was stabbed, she said: “I know, are you ok?” Turns out she was listening to the call unfold on the radio from her office.

The suspect died at the scene. The victim was found bound, beaten and stabbed multiple times. She survived and later said Latasha’s words gave her hope.The knife missed my carotid artery by less than an inch. I was hospitalized for three days due to complications from the stab wound. I also suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury that required surgery.Several media outlets reported the “strange twist,” that the officer stabbed was a martial arts expert. There is no “strange twist.” The fact is that action is faster than reaction and if someone is hiding around a blind corner, in the dark and they jump out to stab you, you will be cut.

It’s What You Do Next That Matters! It was a miracle, and not a coincidence, that I survived being stabbed. I remained calm because I was Physically, Mentally and Spiritually Prepared, in the best shape I could be on that day and had fueled my body for optimum performance. In addition, I was 100% Present in the moment, which enabled me to fully utilize my extensive training.I also survived because I Had a Plan. I always made a conscious effort to identify my cover and concealment. In this case, I knew exactly where to go when I made my tactical retreat. Another part of my plan was to get outside the perimeter so Fire could treat me in the event I was ever critically injured, just as I did in this case.

My survival is also attributed to the police officers, dispatchers, firefighters, EMS personnel and hospital staff who were 100% Prepared and Present that day as well. I will be forever thankful to all of them!

While my training prepared me for the incident itself, nothing could have prepared me for the aftermath; the chaos, both mental and emotional. I sensed I had lost my footing and was overwhelmed by the onslaught of attention from friends and acquaintances, to media outlets and strangers. There were people who didn’t know what to say and others who didn’t know when to stop talking. It felt highly intrusive.There were times where nothing that had anchored me before the stabbing seemed available to me as I struggled. All I had previously known as normal no longer existed. Karin and I were about to enter a journey of recovery we had not prepared for.  (Part 2 coming soon)

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Protecting the Belt: Impact Weapon Retention

It has always mystified me that Filipino stick people virtually never consider from whence their stick comes from. I don’t mean the rattan farm. I mean from their body’s carry site. Like knives, the stick is just…in their hand. Poof! Magic. How did it get there, in hand, to do all their dastardly moves. Usually, it’s a belt.

I started in Ed Parker Kenpo in late 1972 and we never touched a stick. “I come to you with empty hands…” was the motto we memorized. No sticks. No stick carry site. But once in the Army Military Police Academy, I was taught the L.A.P.D. and L.A. County police baton course. It matched the NYPD version and was extensive with a ton of stick grappling back then. Now, all police stick courses are worthless, paranoid, watered-down junk, or gone.

We started the police course back then with…pulling out your stick! From your belt! So I had this grounding in stick, stress, quick draws since 1973. As with a pistol, you had to pull the damn thing out before you got to use it. It also included stick retention, because bad guys either wanted your stick or wanted to stop you from drawing your stick. Pretty important stuff.

For an example of such stress draw  importance, in the 70s, I was dispatched once to two Army units brawling (on a gravel picnic ground). At least 20, 25 guys. I was punched off my feet by a soldier who did a 70s version of the “Superman Punch.” He and others landed on top of me and Superman was beating my face. I then…then…had to draw my baton from my belt. A…stress quick draw. (Did I mention the rock-gravel ground?) It is not always the stand-off, gentleman’s duel where you pull your weapon and declare, “En Garde!” Should you spend your life with a stick magically appearing in your hand? Like a pistol.  Or a knife,

The same baton course was taught in the Texas police academy I later attended in late 1970s. I started doing Filipino Martial Arts in 1986. The various systems have HEAVY doses in stick versus stick. Which, being respectful, curious and thirsty, I followed the progressions. But in the back of mind I thought two main things.

  • 1) From whence do these sticks come from on their bodies?
  • And do I really think I will be fighting another guy, with the exact same-sized stick?   

I mean, as a cop, I have responded to a few fights with various impact weapons. Two dunk guys fighting with softball bats at a tournament. Two business partners fighting, one with a tire iron, the other with a  crowbar. Stuff like that. It can happen, sure, but not much in civilized countries.  In uncivilized countries, there is also a lot of mixed weapon fights.

I did the entire FMA courses to black belts and instructorships. I survived , committing to the idea that I was studying…an art. A hobby. With only abstract benefits. This is true of almost all martial stuff I attended. A naivety of thoughtlessly exists as you fight the other guy, a mirror image of yourself, dressed the same, same sized weapons, with the same book of techniques.  Something I like to call, the Myth of the Duel. I have arrested a lot of people, and investigated a whole of cases since the 70s and real life doesn’t play out that same-same way.

But this lack of a belt and a draw concerned me as a doctrine problem. For a 4th degree black belt in Kempo in the 90s, we had to pick a traditional weapon for demonstration and scenarios. I fortunately picked the katana. I learned that Japanese martial arts concerning the Katana carry has belt-line, long-weapon retention methods I still find useful and show with modern, impact weapons.  Drawing of the katana from the belt is a big deal in Japan. 

While we were in the Philippines, Ernesto Presas taught a 4-count, two-stick diamond pattern, nicknamed “Chambered Diamond.” You have to chamber your arms (hands virtually under your armpits) twice in the 4-count. He said, and only once, “this is how you draw your sticks!” Okay! You start with the pattern empty handed, then the chambering hands pull a stick from each belt side and you continue the pattern with the sticks. A STICK DRAW! You have to have a belt. But, that was it.

But I will tell you, 99.5% of the time, a stick draw is never mentioned in FMA. And lots of people in FMA classes and seminars NEVER have a street belt or even a martial arts belt on to draw one from. (This drives me crazy.) The drawstring, karate pants don’t cut it. I once had a major, major league FMA person a little pissed at me when he declared that there were “no belts in Filipino martial arts.” No belts? What? Huh? Said hero had never been to homeland/motherland.

In my non-artsy, Force Necessary: Stick course, I use a lot of the old L.A.P.D. course and some of the Filipino material. It is “stick versus hand, stick versus stick (a little), stick versus knife and stick versus various gun threats world.” It very much includes expandable – collapsible  batons. It has an emphasis on stick-baton, stress quick draws because as I said, that thing doesn’t just appear in your hand.

When you ignore belt or carry-site, quick draws, you forget that you must draw one and you forget to retain your stick at it’s carry site from take-aways. Weapon disarmings,

  • – begin at the carry site,
  • – happen during the draw process,
  • – happen when the weapon is presented only,
  • – happen when the weapon is being used.

On the other end of this list is you. And your weapon retention during that process. Lose it? Get it right back. Then you are the stick  grabber!  They call it “weapon recovery.”

I cover stick retention (and knife and pistol) in two study groupings:

  • Group 1: Protect the Belt.
  • Group 2: Protect the Pulled Weapon.

A lot of FMA stick vs. stick has disarms and counters (retention) but, when the weapon is produced (drawn) and-or used. And stick versus stick, and as I said, this comes in a hobby, art format. You have to work to glean and decipher useful, reality from it. Unless you are a hobby-ist, replicator?  In which case, copy on. Copy that!

I still teach Filipino material. I am happy to do it when asked. It’s fun. But I add my concerns with it, like drawing the weapon from a belt under stress. 

I ask attendees in my seminars to wear “street clothes.” Pants with pockets, even shorts with pockets. And a “street” belt.  Wear a regular belt. We need all these things to train properly. Gun people might think me crazy that I even need to ask this, as it just makes utter common sense, but I deal with differing “worlds.” But, I sometimes also have to ask gun people not to dress like they are being dropped into Cambodia for two weeks.

In the “who, what, where, when, how and why of life, “WHAT are you wearing? WHY are you wearing that? And don’t forget the belt, the draw from the belt, and retention at the belt level.

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Hocks email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Palace Intrigue Report #2,336: Seminar Sabotage.

The seminar business. There are all kinds of martial arts and martial seminars, from little theme sessions on up to big multi-galas. I could do a seminar on the seminar business. I have no school. I just do seminars.  I started hosting martial arts seminars in 1990. Ernesto. Remy. Terry Gibson. Paul Vunak. Some other JKD people. I was attending all kinds of seminars since 1986. When attending seminars I observed how they were orchestrated. Advertised. The successes. The failures. I spoke to the sad hosts. The happy hosts. Around the world. Then I started teaching seminars, here and there, a bit in 1993 and big time starting 1996. I know seminars!  Remy Presas told me one time, a simple line I’d never forget-

“Seminars…very tricky business.”

As Kim Cattrell reminded us in the Star Trek movie, and I do not quote exactly, “Sabotage…to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct, for business, political or military advantage.”

Many martial school owners worry about local seminars cutting into their businesses, in their area. When an area host organizes a seminar, it means that there is someone around the corner, so to speak, opening or growing a competing school nearby, scaring the emotional and intellectual hell out of them. Remember that martial schools struggle to draw people within their 5 square mile demographic. So when Ralph Jones hosts the famous Jimmy Wonderland for a local seminar, this represents a business, problem-challenge on many levels.  A threat even. They might lose students and prestige. Students might meet Ralph and like him! Students may love Wonderland’s methods and want more!  Ironically, if Jimmy Wonderland was appearing just outside their area/region, these anxious owners might even go to the seminar. Might display that certificate on their office wall. But a little too close? Nope.

Thus…the seminar sabotage game begins. Since the 1990s right on up to this VERY month in 2019, I am still very much a victim of these turf plots. The biggest method of sabotage? Why, another seminar! Suddenly throw a “mandatory” or guilt-attend seminar the week before, or on the very weekend of the seminar you want to sabotage. I have seen the term “mandatory” used and the “guilt-guilt-must attend,”  verbiage and message. I have lost track of how many times this has been done to me.  Multiple times a year for 24 years. Right up to this month.

The week before so bad? Yes. The seminar sabotage plot of the “week before” takes discretionary money and the pressures of family time. When your seminar comes up the following weekend, attendees extra money was spent and the spouse says “Dammit  Earl, you were gone all last weekend.”  At times, Jimmy Wonderland will travel into the very school you are going to the next weekend, with his mandatory edict.  Plus, there is this – “get there first,” kind of natural urge.

Of course, the same weekend is the same weekend. Go here, not there.  I have seen people do this and even try matching the topics.

Back in the late 1990s, it was always puzzling to Keith Miller and me that every time I was appearing in Sacramento, CA, which was sometimes twice a year, a local JKD guy – “Winston ”- was hosting Jimmy Wonderland. So, Keith and I ran a little experiment. Keith announced a date for us, well in advice. Mysteriously, Winston popped up with the same date. Prepared for this, we changed the weekend. So too, did Winston and the Wonderland date changed. We let that date set a while, and being prepared for this, we changed it yet AGAIN!  (What an experiment!)  I guess maybe Wonderland didn’t know of all this local tomfoolery by Winston, or…perhaps Wonderland himself ordered him to do so? But either way, they never changed the 3rd date and we worked around that.

Probably the worst I can think of was when a police officer in western Canada, who fancied himself an international instructor, who did little more than regurgitate failed 1990s ideas, found out I was headed to his big island.  Witnesses and the host said that he was caught ripping down the seminar fliers everywhere they were  posted.  

Stories related to this theme abound. One of my favs is the one about the two guys asking their teacher to attend a regional, Wally Jay seminar. The school head says no. Upset by this the two lads sneak to the seminar anyway. Who’s also there in attendance? That school head!  Awkward! This is a classical, martial arts,  clap-trap, but still goes on in more modern organizations. Last year a host and I were looking out the front window just before a seminar start time, and he saw a certain car go by. “That’s Grandmaster Flash,” he said. “He’s checking the parking lot out.” We had several of GM Flash’s people secretly in the seminar, I later learned. They have to hide their cars and dodge all group photos. GM Flash’s school is not too close either.

This very year, overseas, we had an area school head (cities away) call up our host and virtually demand that we save 7 slots for he and his people, for my seminar. (We had a limited space up to 25) “We’ll be there!” he promised. Then he scheduled Jimmy Wonderland for the SAME weekend. “What if I wasn’t watching the area news?” our man said. “I would have held open those 7 slots.”   He didn’t . He knew it was…sabotage…

Unlike this host, I do get a kick about some of the business naivete of some hosts. When we discover that the area Snidely has suddenly, mysteriously,  and “hmmm, not-like-him, or not-like-his-usual-scheduling,” scheduled a seminar the week before ours or on the same weekend, and your host says,

  • “Oh, oh, that must be an accident. Oh, I know Snidely and he’s such a good guy. Oh my.”
  • Or,
  • “I talked to Snidely and he said he had that one scheduled for a year.”

Kumbaya? Bubba…chances are, it’s a business sabotage. Coincidences can happen, but more than likely no. Hell no, your nice guy is suffering from business paranoia.

Other ideas:

  • Don’t bother inviting neighborhood school owners to the seminar. It’s probably a dead zone. Very good chance they won’t come or won’t tell their people. Advertise to schools just barely outside the dead zone. The locals will get the bad news anyway. Regular people don’t care. Business cares. This is not a kumbaya zone.
  • Oh, listen…on this subject…if you are the one hosting Jimmy Wonderland yourself? DO NOT SHOOT YOURSELF IN YOUR OWN FOOT!  You do not, I repeat, DO NOT have your own seminar or clinic a week or two before Wonderland’s visit! Come on!  Jeez. There is only so much time and money your people have! CLEAR A PATH FOR JIMMY! Sometimes leave a minimum of three weeks to even a month for your people to get another “family pass,” and raise some fun money.

As for me, I don’t care if you attend Wonderland’s seminars. For me, the more you are trained, the easier my job is and the more we can do, and the faster we can go in seminars. Just spread these events apart.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not the Svengali of the seminar business. Seminars are very much like a Vegas crap-shoot. You never know all the factors involved and the luck factor. One weekend I had 67 people in upstate New York, and the next weekend 6 people in Texas. Crap happens. Some of the BIGGEST world touring names have and still have disastrous turn-outs. You just don’t hear about them.

And to all you Snidelys out there? Just so you know, I know who you are. I know this Palace Intrigue report doesn’t sabotage your sabotage. But, we know. I do understand your paranoia and sometimes vindictive motives. You may trick my naive hosts, but only once. And, once alerted, we may move the date, screwing you around. Once. Twice? Three times even. You remember the “Whack a Mole” game? We can play, “Whack a Wonderlander.”

Like Remy said, “Seminars…very tricky business.”

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Plan your attendance (or sabotage) early, look here for seminars

The Importance of a Death Grip!

death grip is officially defined as an extremely tight grip, First you have to grab. One of my training structures is the Stop 6 program –  the 6 common stopping points-collisions of  a typical fight (or arrest). Stop 2 covers the hand, stick, knife, gun grabs on fingers, hands, wrists, and weapons. And importantly, their counters-escapes.

The grab is made of two components in Stop 2. The Death Grip is really about two parts :

  • 1: the catch and,
  • 2: the subsequent grip of your opponent’s lower arm, wrist, hand and weapon itself. You might have a great catch but a weak grip. You might have a tremendous grip but a weak catch.

In all of the Stops, 2 through 6, a catch and grip is not a catch or grip without your thumb. Your life depends on this, especially with a knife and pistol, all defined in the Stop 6 program.

All martial and even various sports training requires much catching skills and hand gripping strength as you can muster and exercises that directly or indirectly increase such are vital. Almost all people immediately get this idea.

“If your grips fail, all your technique goes out of the window. It becomes hard to execute anything.” – BJJ Coach Lawrence Griffith

All people get this? Well, not all. Decades ago, various, yet small group of famous martial artists would suggest not using your thumb in a capture of an opponent’s limb. I stood in numerous seminars in the 1980s and 1990s hearing some martial instructors say this. Their small point usually being that your thumb or hand could be caught in some kind of lock and you would be supporting that capture with your full grip. As one famous JKD guy use to say,

“Rule of thumb? Don’t use your thumb.”

Huh? At first I mindlessly accepted that. But when I gave it a mere second thought? No. The bigger point? Minutes later when trying to stop and grip a stick or knife attack, I watched these same instructors all unconsciously demonstrate full hand grabs the wrist or forearm. They fully grabbed limbs (and clothes) 99% of the time.

I would see in seminars, mine and others, an unchallenged, playful catch or stop with just a curved hand, with the thumb beside the fingers…among friends. NO! Now, this no-thumb-helping move stops almost nothing and an attacker can move but an inch and instantly swoop under the curved hand to hit, stab or shoot. The thumb grip stopped this.

Today, once in a while, I still hear this advice echoed around the world. They are down-line lineage from these people and it takes a little “slap to the brain” to shake them out of it. Not using your thumb to grab is a thinking disorder mistake.  When doing throws and takedowns you use your full grip. In ground fighting you use your full grip.

And through the years I have run across self defense instructors who proclaim that fights never start with arm/wrist grabs. These short-sighted people have a tendency to view fights as bar fights, I think and are not schooled in the world of crime. They make fun of old school jujitsu and other systems that tend to start their programs with escapes from “common” grabs. BUT! CRIMES on the other hand, (no pun intended) like kidnappings, rapes, robberies, home invasions, assaults to murder entails such grabs. Victims are grabbed, pulled and pushed around. Tied up and taped. Handcuffed. And grabbing motions are also like weapon draw and drawn weapon interruptions.

Back in Training Mission One  and in all the courses, I list the four ways a human limb attacks you, hand, stick or knife…

  • 1: A thrusting motion.
  • 2: A hooking motion.
  • (Delivered either as a-)
  • 3: A hit and retract, or…
  • 4: A committed lunge.

It will always be hard to catch a thrust or hook, sure, but all kinds of untrained and trained people do in crimes and fights. But more importantly, look at the last two. The hit and retract and committed lunge. The hit and retract is a natural counter to a grab as it snaps back, and very difficult to seize. We have drills for that. While at times the committed lunge is caught and then driven foolishly into  your catch-grip, actually helping your catch-grip. 

Some notes on the Catch and Subsequent Grip

  • Size. Be aware of the size of your hand in comparison to the limbs of others. (We police have many stories about this as we have had to arm wrestle people into cuffs.)
  • Alignment. In the pistol shooting world and unarmed striking experts tell us to align with the forearm as much as possible. The palm strike, when thrusting, is called the palm heel strike because it can align with the forearm. In karate and various striking systems, they tell us to align the top two knuckles with the forearm. Folks suggest getting a pistol grip that aligns with the forearm, even though we can’t always shoot that way. In an Army gym decades ago, a power lifter told me to bench press using the bar on my palm heels as much as possible. You push a car with your palm heel, not your fingers.

It is a good idea to practice for that sort of alignment with a catch, to save your thumb from hyper-extensions and worse. Other steps like this are accomplished in sports and you can can develop this movement too. We have drills for this.

  • Firearms. The topic of grabbing a long gun or pistol comes up and deserves an entire chapter.  Any such photo of a firearm grab usually draws a comment of a too-hot-to-handle barrel.  You have to be shooting a lot to make a common long gun or pistol a scorcher to the touch. Depends on the weapon.  Think about the circumstances of you, who, what, when, where, how and why, defending yourself against a weapon that was run so long that it gets to hot to maintain a death grip on to save your life. Plus, there are so many circumstances, like a street crime, a robbery, a threat-only, a prisoner escort, an interrupted guard-sentry on duty, where the weapon is cold, or “warm,” that the subject must be discussed. I think an emergency grab of a pistol or long gun must be attempted at times and many of those times, the gun is not as hot as a flame torch.  (How many modern troops today wear gloves anyway?)

Further in, as in Stops 3 through 6, there are arm wrap catches (even leg catches, but this is about Stop 2 problems, just a bit further out than 3, 4, 5 and 6. In Stop 2 segments we cover the hand, the stick, the knife and the gun, catch and grab. And their counters-escapes!

Need we list all the exercises for grip strength here in this short essay? I hope not because so many exercises develop it.  Just search around. Oh and rule of thumb? Use your thumb. Wisely.

Contact Hock at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Coming soon, the updated (from 2003) refined, reprinted new, second edition  of Training Mission One in both book and e-book formats