The Last Time the Presas Brothers Spoke

There’s some Presas gossip lately that I was the only “recent” (many years) person to get Remy and Ernesto “together.” But it was just on the phone! To clear things up, here is the story…
 
 
“It’s a Brother Thing?”
There was and is always a lot of talk about the various feuds between Remy and Ernesto through the years. How friendly were they? Could they work together? (They did a few times VERY early on.) We have covered some of this history and you have to scroll down through the Presas Tribute Page I started to find the stories. But, I can write about one of their last, if not THEE LAST interactions here…
 
Remy married Canada’s Yvette Wong. She was a terrific girl and a Tai Chi instructor who had a Tai Chi video distributed by Walmart. Many of us met her in the 1990s and we all were very impressed with her. I was. Soon he had kids with her! I can still picture Remy pushing a baby carriage.
 
Then…then…disturbing…he suddenly picked up with a Dallas area woman that was, frankly…a mere shadow of a woman compared to Yvette. WHAT? We asked. HER!? Really? And he wound up living at her house very near to where I lived. Near the DFW airport and near me. We could just go out for coffee! But, we all really felt sad for Yvette and the kids up in Vancouver. I had Remy’s new phone number with this Dallas girl, and while it was nice to have him so nearby, but jeez you know? Yvette!
 
Ernesto came through the USA again after that. It was about…I think…199…7? And once again stayed with me for a while for our seminars as well as passing through to some of the others. He would use me as a stayover for several USA cities as thr DFW airport was so centrally located. On this trip he mentioned Remy a few times and how much he really missed him and wished he could talk with him. Ernesto was really a “true-blue” family/loyalty kind of guy. Well, hell…I had Remy’s local phone number and he wasn’t that far way. I told Ernesto-
 
“I have his number. He lives now in the next city from here.” (they might even…gulp…meet?) He wanted to talk to him. Hmmm, this is tricky for me to be in the middle of this. But, I got the number out and dialed it. It was a weeknight and I got Remy on the phone. Ernesto stood looking out the balcony. Nervous. Waiting.
 
“Remy…hello…yes…hey, I have Ernesto here in my apartment. He says, he says he really wants to talk to you.”
“Ern…esto?” Remy said.
“Yes.”
“Ahhh, is something wrong?”
“No. He just wants to talk with you.”
“Ahhh, okay.”
 
Whew! I handed Ernesto the phone and he sat at my kitchen table and they talked. I tried to make myself busy around the apartment. From what I could hear from Ernesto’s part, it was going very, VERY well. Sounding very friendly. They spoke in Tagalog and some English. Laughed. I was feeling good about this. This call lasted about 30 minutes, during which Ernesto told Remy that he was his brother and he loved him. The phone call started winding down. It was going so, so well!
 
Then…then…Ernesto asked (he told me right after)-
“Can you…can you helpa’ me, become more pamous’?”
 
Well, crap. I knew question was not good. Something Remy did NOT want to hear. And from Ernesto’s face, I knew there was a mistake at the end of the call. Remy apparently, immediately got mad. It almost seemed like this help request was the real secret reason for wanting to talk with him. Which it wasn’t. I guess the conversation was going so well, Ernesto just asked. The decades old, sort of rivalry they had reared up again. The whole, younger brother vs older brother thing, doing the same business thing.
 
Ernesto hung up after that request and shook his head. I don’t know what Remy said but it was not good.
“It was good to talk to him.” Ernesto said. “But, he becomes mad at me at the end.” He told me about the seminar question and the conversation.
 
Yeah. You have to think that Remy spent his whole life slowly developing contacts and having seminars and working, working, working to establish this…list. The hard way. The old, “original” way. A path-blazing way. Very few people were doing seminars back then. He and just a few others kind of “invented” the seminar path, when you think of it. And to…to give it away or give a portion away, is very difficult. Even to your brother.
 
Many of us use to think how cool it would have been to have at least one big, Presas Brothers weekend seminar. If I were involved, I could have organized it in Kansas City, center of the country for all to get to. But it would and could never happen. I do believe if Ernesto had not asked that final question, while things would have been so friendly and so fine, and a good memory of what I think was maybe their last conversation, Remy still would NOT actively help him or do something with him like a seminar.
 
In the end I don’t think that Ernesto needed the help anyway. He was doing fine. What would a Remy and Ernesto seminar be like? Look like? Would Ernesto people like to delve so deeply into Tapi-Tapi? Would Remy people like to get back into longer-range, hardcore, diverse head-banging and do so much mano-mano and knife, etc that Ernesto did? Would something happen, or be said and would the two would stop talking again? Even…fight!
 
It’s just a….a macho brother-thing of two macho brothers trying to do the macho “seminar” thing.
 
Join the The Presas Family Tribute Page

The Bruce Lee YMCA Boxing Program

 
In seminars I frequently mention JKD’s Tim Tackett (he is my favorite, smartest, outspoken, pure JKD person) and how I collected from him in seminars and personal sit-down discussions, the Bruce Lee YMCA Boxing program. Bruce Lee always had groups of professional students, actors, lawyers doctors, etc., who could not show up to work with broken noses and black eyes on any given morning, so Bruce developed an action-plan-interactive, training boxing program to limit this. This title was also a nickname and was taught outside the YMCA of course, evolving through the years.
 
Through the years, (1986 on) I had seen bits and pieces of it (usually the more popular segments) from Inosanto, Hartsell, Vunak, Terry Gibson and other JKD Family members but there were many other moving parts not covered by them due to the great variety in JKD concepts. Tim Tackett filled in the gaps and explained it fully for me. I got the bigger picture.
 
I do think that experts have put their spin/interpretation on the course through time. For example, somewhere along the line of time, kicks started to appear which of course is not boxing-boxing. And for small changes, often, people do the moves, then switch trainer-trainee, back and forth (you-go, I-go, you-go, I-go.) I have seen people instead do three each and switch, which I prefer because I stupidly lose track of who’s-who. (you-you-you, me-me-me). And I too vary the set arrangements and add in a kick at the end of the set. Or, use the movement concept with a kick or kicks, as Tim often showed that the idea worked well with kicks too. (As we all WELL can imagine, Bruce Lee would approve of adaptations, changes and evolutions that fit and work.)
 
I still carry around a handwritten, messy collection of notes from Tim. When I show the scratch pad list from my backpack to attendees, some want to photograph each page! BUT…the 9 handwritten pages of notes of personal acronyms, abbreviations and sketchy drawings, are out of order to others and I think are meaningless to anyone else.
 
So instead, I try not to sound selfish and I tell them that Tim Tackett recorded much of his notes and additions-observations on this on a DVD! This would be infinitely smarter to watch then translating my chicken-scratch.
 
I am an exponent and proponent of boxing for all its benefits, but for my Force Necessary self-defense, survival perspectives (my only true goal) I am more interested in implementing bare knuckle boxing experimentation minus the boxing gloves, as I think both the glove size and padding interferes with reality. (Finger freedom, MMA gloves are better if gloves are needed.) The Lee YMCA program easily goes bare knuckle and works with focus mitts. And people can exchange some body blows too within it and no one shows up at work the next day looking like a barroom brawler.
 
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Hock’s email is   HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
 
 

Osmosis and the U.S. Constitution

I have done a number of book interviews and martial interviews and while asked a variety of questions, they are often very much the same. And after being an obsessed writer, and writing for decades, I can usually drudge up a snappy answer that has been somewhat constructed in the past. This is not at all unusual for guests. This last election I listened to wanton politicians on radio and television, and one host asked every candidate, ”What is your favorite part of the Constitution.”
 
This enquiry set me back more than usual. What if I was ever asked THAT question? Would I have a snappy answer? No, I wouldn’t. Thinking about it, what would I say?
 
So…fragmental segments popped into my mind. Parallels like baseball? Yes, baseball. What if someone asked me, “What is your favorite rule in baseball?” What would you or I say? The infield fly rule? What constitutes a the “balk” of a pitcher? No, baseball is…big. The game is the game with all the trappings. And you sort of learn the rules, by an osmosis. You play. You learn.
 
I have graduated two police academies a military one and a Texas one, and there were classes, tests and final exams covering the Constitution. I even passed the Texas state private investigator’s test and that test had questions about the Constitution. So, all that text was run past my brain again and again. The law is very political, historic and complicated thing as it dissects logic and while police cannot argue before the Supreme Courts, we have a working knowledge of what we can and cannot do. At least we are supposed to if we have half a brain. To be hired, you should have this capability, a “constitutional IQ.” And this is not always the case, as I have worked beside buffoons and under buffoons. Statistical buffoonery is the bane of all humanity and all organizations.
 
There is a federal constitution and there are state constitutions. They are not supposed to contradict each other. To me, its a framework for fairness and solutions.
 
Once you start playing baseball…start working the streets in patrol and investigations, you glean this realistic, human connection to the Constitution. It’s a “gut-level” thing. As a detective in the Army and certainly in Texas the nuances become even more clear. In fact I learned more about the law by hanging out with, submitting cases to county, state and federal prosecutors and appearing in court, once again by a working osmosis. Again that working osmosis, like playing baseball to learn baseball. What works, what doesn’t, what’s acceptable and not. And the showmanship of courts – it’s a play, a cast of characters with a surprise ending. I quickly came to believe that:
 
  • The best patrol officer is a former detective.
  • The best detective is a former prosecutor.
  • And even good prosecutors want and should ride-along with patrol officers.
  • The best prosecutors are former defense lawyers.
  • The best defense lawyers are former prosecutors.
It’s a enforcement cycle that isn’t exercised enough, if at all possible? But…there you go.
 
Still if asked after this consideration, “What is my favorite part of the Constitution,” I would still be a bit stymied and would babble. Where to start? It’s all so interconnected. I know some of you will jump right in and say,
  • “the right to bear arms because…” and
  • “freedom of speech because…”
  • Etc….
I can’t answer most things in “chapter and verse.” I guess my favorite part of the Constitution is the Constitution. And I sure did like playing baseball too.
 
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
 
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Getting a Grip on your Grips! Weapon Handling!

For starters, I am not a knife or gun collector, no more than I would collect hammers, screwdrivers or wrenches. I just don’t care. You get the message. The “tool” message. I guess it comes from my Army and policing time and experiences. I am interested in efficiency. Don’t misunderstand me, I like looking at cool knives and guns, I admire them, I just don’t want them or need them. If you do collect and you have the money and time for such a hobby, then if you are happy? I am happy. The only time that my eyebrows raise is when the lines between pretty and necessary-survival are blurred (and maybe bloody). One problem often blurred is the texture of grips and handles.

Speaking of bloody, Johnny Cash once wrote about the “kicking and the gouging and the mud and blood and the beer.” There’s also guts, water, oils, sweat, bad gloves and other substances that can make life very slippery and your hands and tools very slippery. Legend has it that the Gurkhas would dip their kukris in motor oil and then train with slimy grips. And what if your hands are injured and-or are freezing? I always shake my head when I see slick, metal knife handles and gun handles.   

 

It’s bad enough when people have stupid hand-finger positioning on grips.

 

 

A considerable amount of time, money and research has gone into making working tools like hammers, saws, screw drivers etc., very grip-able. Still you will find slick-handled hammers and tools too! But like wise tool-makers, many wise gun and knife makers and sellers have also labored to make your weapons stay put in your hands with textured grips! People like to suggest that textured gloves solve some of these problem, but will you ALWAYS be wearing gloves? 24-7?

I am not endorsing anyone or anything here. I am just making a suggestion, forego pretty and slick, and get the most textured grips on your firearms, knives and sticks-batons. In my Force Necessary: Stick course Level 1, Force Necessary: Knife course Level 1, Force Necessary: Gun course Level 1, I emphasize and display the vital importance of grip-handle textures. (The issue of the SIZE of handles and grips is a whole other important essay.)

Get a damn handle on your handles!

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get the Hand, Stick, Knife and Gun Training Mission One, click here

 

 

 

How Long Before Perishable Skills Perish?

It seems we human through the ages, always knew we need to keep training to keep sharp, and if you keep that single motto alone, probably all your performance bases are covered. I mean to remind that even cave men practiced their spear throwing, they had to, and then we moved on. Life has gotten way more complicated than tossing pointy sticks and just about every job, chore, hobby and skill has multiple layers of mental and physical performance that are stabilized, honed or slowly disintegrate. The concept of “perishable skills” has evolved into our vocabulary after we stopped just cave man grunting.
 
The first time I heard about “perishable skills” was in police training a very long time ago. But we all heard the phrase “use it or lose it” and versions of advice thereof for decades. Older-timers heard of it for centuries. The term “perishable skills” is another fancy way of saying use it or lose it.
 
In policing, topics like driving, handcuffing, verbal skills, firearms, strategic communications and less than lethal are skills have been deemed perishable, that LEO’s must stay “up” and current on. But there’s never enough money or manpower to enforce rigorous training cycles. In the worlds of combatives, martial arts and combat sports, we center in on hand, stick, knife and gun methods.
 
How long before perishable perishes? In hot pursuit of training ideology, various US state police and military, even in the business-world, training criteria has segmented the disintegration times into three categories:
 
  • perishable skills (half-life of less than two and a half years),
  • semi-durable skills (half-life of two and a half to seven and a half years), and…
  • durable skills (half-life of more than seven and a half years).

How were these timetables developed? By whom? For whom? But, organizations have to start somewhere and justify their timetables. We were once inundated with the “10,000 hour to expertise” training-experience rule and this idea was most recently promulgated by Gladwell’s “Outliers” book, but then we quickly learned from about a ton of experts that everyone is different and “hours-to-expertise” differ greatly, person-to-person. Just look this subject up on the web. (And quit quoting the 10,000 hours rule, people!) I too would like to suggest that such time limits are arbitrary and discretionary because all people are different. This established, we might therefore, logically think that “hours-to-perish” is also different too for different people. Everybody is different on both the up and down sides.

At or near the end? There has been considerable study in these performance matters and the topic of tennis is often used in sports performance testing and analysis. So, I will use a quick tennis analogy. Imagine a lifelong super tennis champion, like Serena Williams or Federa. They age, they just lose a step, even though they are constantly working out and playing. Eventually they must retire as fresh kids rise up. They retire to a tennis club and become resident tennis pros. There they teach tennis and so forth. It is hard for me to imagine that a 60, even 70 year old Serena or Federer would not still beat almost ALL “normal” tennis people in the neighborhood, country club. I think this because they have indeed accumulated so much time in the enterprise that even Serena and Federer, at their near-worst, are still above-average, darn good tennis players. Aspects have perished, but since they were once so high up, that even with significant perishing, they might still pretty darn good for a long time.
 
I could go off on an in-depth tangent, deep-dive on this topic and I have in various books, essays and articles, but in summary, it’s simple, I (and we-many) think that perishable skill timetables are highly situational in topic and person. The subjects of multi-layer teaching (in what I nicknamed “triple canopy” teaching – (1) books, (2) films and (3) classes/seminars) and the tricks of retention are related to perishability and are other subjects for other pinpoint essays elsewhere.)
 
Ol’ René Descartes started that little ditty, “Cogito, ergo sum,” Latin for – “I think, therefore I am.” And we are human and therefore will stop thinking someday. Perish the thought! We’ll slow down and stop…playing. So, “I perish, therefore perishability is inevitable.”
But while we are still alive, kicking and unperished, we can use that caveman idea that we humans need to keep tossing spears, keep training to keep sharp and this simple caveman idea instantly covers all your bases. It’s always nice when extensive research still matches with, and backs up, your definition of common sense.
 
You still might end up a pretty good ol’ pro at the old Caveman, Spear Pro Shop and Country Club.

More on this subject https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2020/10/29/skills-arent-soft-or-hard-theyre-durable-or-perishable/

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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YA MUDDA WEARS ARMY BOOTS!

(…Or, what’s on your feet, Mister Survivalist?)

This “Mudda” title use to be a 1940s, 50s and 60s insult, bringing sons into fisticuffs over their beloved mother’s reputation. To this day, I still don’t get the insult. And today, many mothers wear combat boots, proudly. Their offspring share the pride. And, fashionistas do too!

I mention this pedal region insult because I was recently treated to yet another youtube street fighting video and watched two people spontaneously erupt into a sloppy fight. Both were wearing the proverbial flip-flops, slipping and sliding in them, and half-losing them. As usual the participants were stumbling and falling, from a host of reasons, but insecure, half-assed footwear contributed.

Got me to pondering about shoes. Shoes, boots, flip flops, sandals…fights, chases, climbs, leaps, escapes…a lifetime of footwear concerns as they relate to survival, fighting, sports and enforcement, military performance.

In the “Who, What, Where, When, How and Why” of life, the “What Question” covers the “what are you wearing? And shoes are part of that “what-closet” as are a few sub-questions like “when do you wear…?” “Why do you wear…?”

The guys and gals we see in these fight videos slipped on fast and easy footwear that day. Why not wear these light beach thongs today? Even the toughest-prepared-tough-guy might think that. They might have said…

“I’m just getting a bagel!”

I am sure that in the many fights captured by cell phones, the participants who slipped on lame footwear didn’t think they would be dancing around in their thongs or sandals that afternoon at the grocery store or on a parking lot. And, I am also pretty sure that some of these hardcore store-runners, chore-runners and egg sandwich seekers that slip on flip flops are also wearing a gun. Maybe even more? Knives? A flashlight? Spray? All that, but on go the flip flops. Those are bad treads on your tank in a fight. Aren’t they? Mr. Survivalist?

Regardless of being in a fight, skimpy sandals and thong, flip flops are risky. For example, the “British NHS spends £40million a year treating injuries caused by wearing the casual footwear. More than 200,000 people visit their GP or even end up in hospital every year after suffering falls or developing long-term problems. But experts are warning of the dangers of prolonged use, such as the risk of shin splints and joint pains. They say flip-flops force people to change the way they walk so that when taking a stride they put pressure on the outside of their foot, rather than their heel, causing long-term damage. And there is also the risk of serious injury from tripping over. Frequent complaints include twisted ankles, but some have broken their arms or wrists after falling because their flip-flops caught on uneven ground.” Read the full report here

Even the somewhat popular “Combat Flip Flops” made by vets, have the tagline, ”Bad for running, worse for fighting.”  

Common commercial sandals have a few more straps than these thongers, not as many as say – the original Roman Centurion sandals of yesteryear. In pondering “sandal combatives,” I am reminded of the Vietnam era, “Ho Che Minh Flop-Flops,” footwear worn by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War and a nickname probably unknown or forgotten by the great unwashed today, but if you were in service during those times, you remember the moniker.

Professor Google reports – “These sandals set belonged to a member of the Viet Cong and was brought back to the United States by an American veteran as a trophy of war. Ho Chi Minh sandals are iconic for having been worn by the Vietcong during the Vietnam war. 

These Viet Cong characters did a pretty god job messing with us in these cheap sandals, but tunnels, improvised bombs and guerilla warfare helped them out. The North Vietnamese Army wore shoes, but some are photographed in sandals too.”

Flip flops abounded in the era though. There was a terrible problem of “trench foot,” later called “foot jungle rot” to be sorted out back then with some powders, and sunshine with flip-flops. This was a diagnosis given those poor bastards, the “booney rats,” cast out in the jungles for days, weeks at a time.

There were of course “jungle boots.” Again Professor Google advises – “The use of ‘jungle’ or ‘hot weather’ boots predates World War II, when small units of U.S. soldiers in Panama were issued rubber-soled, canvas-upper boots for testing. A pair of jungle boots weighed approximately three pounds. Adopted in 1942, the design of the jungle boot was based on the idea that no boot could possibly keep out water and still provide sufficient ventilation to the feet in a jungle or swamp environment. Instead, the jungle boot was designed to permit water and perspiration to drain, drying the feet while preventing the entry of insects, mud, or sand.”

“In the early years of the Vietnam War, some U.S. Army soldiers used the ‘M-1945 Tropical Combat Boot’. 1965, newly-developed footwear was developed using developments since the end of World War. Although the weight increased, after American foot injuries from punji stake traps, their jungle boots used a stainless steel plate inside the boot’s sole to protect the wearer. Later jungle boots used nylon/canvas uppers instead of cotton duck. The footwear received other improvements.”

Troops of the Vietnam era (and now) also acquired some of these primitive thongy, flip-flops to wear to, fro and in the showers because the floors could be considered petri dishes. “Ho Che Minh Flip-Flops” soon became the nickname for all flip-flops and  “casual wear sandals.” This flip flop style of footwear reportedly originating as early as the ancient Egyptians in 1,500 B.C, but here in the US of A, footwear manufacturers claim the flip-flop descends from the Japanese zōri, which became popular after World War II era as soldiers brought them back from Japan.  But anyway, sandals, flip flops and sunshine were a big prescription for such foot problems. Given all the booby traps and nasties in the jungle, given a chance to wear foot protection, I think most would pick the foot protection over flip-flops when tip-toeing or scrambling “out there.”

In my days, the early and mid-1970s, in Army basic training and the military police academy back then we did everything in combat boots. Shiny ones. 10-mile, forced marches with full gear, obstacle courses, you name it. Boots. But we were taught some foot and shin care (shin splints being the next higher-up, problem) and we had plenty of Uncle Sam socks to change into daily if the Drill Sergeants didn’t hide them while we were gone. We ran our final physical exam 2 milers, in combat boots.

 When I was a patrolman and investigator in the Army and even in Korea, I was never far from civilization and a drawer full of socks. But we were in boots (except of course my plain clothes investigation days) Day and night. Boots. We ran, we chased bad guys, climbed, we leaped over buildings…ah, no fences actually… in a single bound! We battled criminal soldiers and I always thought, wouldn’t life be lighter, faster, better in athletic shoes?

Enter my follow-up years in Texas police work. On patrol we could wear black cowboy boots or black, no design, lace, shoes in the late 70s. It was Texas and there was the insinuation that we should wear cowboy boots, but I immediately found the lightest pair of black plain shoes I could find. At K-Mart! Whereupon I continued the fine police tradition of running, chasing, leaping over stuff, climbing stuff and wraslin’ and dukin’ it out with bad guys in lighter “rubber’ shoes. Life was better, faster, smarter.

We need athletic shoes I yelled! Some of my Texican colleagues disputed my views, claiming:

  • “A pair of Tony Lama boots are just as good as athletic shoes!”
  • To wit I would reply, “Then why are they not wearing boots in the Olympics?
  • There was no good, further to-witting from the boot supporters.

Darwin would be proud. Years passed and a new series of lighter, athletic high ankle or short ankle police shoes came around. Black shoes of all sorts became “legal” to wear. Sneakers became standard-issue for the military after Congress passed a 2017 defense provision requiring the military to provide American-made, athletic shoes to recruits directly. Troops were supplied with running shoes. Boot “technology” improved also. Darwin would indeed be proud.

Martial artists are usually barefoot. The usual three reasons given are to “toughen the feet,” and “tradition” and really, mainly  – “to save the expensive mats.” If I am forced to go shoeless when teaching in a matted school, I will at least wear socks. First off, no one wants to see my Dumb and Dumber feet. I don’t want to see yours. Secondly, statistically I will be fighting with my shoes on. “Wear what you will be wearing when training!”  

Did you know, that “deep-in-the-weeds survivalists” suggest you should always wear the best athletic shoes when taking a plane trip. These experts say that should you survive a plane crash you need the best, solid, tight footwear to escape the split, burning hulk.

Weyland Billingsley checks in with more – “When I teach disaster classes for the Red Cross, I always tell people to wear real shoes. If you are going to a “safe room” for a tornado or hurricane, wear sturdy shoes, jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Otherwise you will be picking your way through a debris field in flip flops and shorts. (Others advise strapping on your bicycle helmet.)
 

I am not here to sell these new, great hiking sandals. They are like “near-beer,” as in “near shoes,” and are quite tight-fitting and protective. Given this general concept shouldn’t we all be wearing great shoes all the time? Even when buying bagels? There are after all, people who wear their guns inside their house to be safe and I have seen TV gun shows where residents walk out to their mailbox with a pistol AND an emergency medical kit on their carefully considered belt. Should I live like this? Should you? Should I be sleeping with my escape shoes on every night? Certainly with a pending storm, or going to a frisky neighborhood, or maybe even on a plane. 

BUT! To me, for my insanity and paranoia, this also enters into the “What, When and Where Questions.” All the Ws and H questions really. When and wear do you, should you worry about such footy things? Realistically?

George Carlin once said, “Religion is like a pair of shoes…find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear yours.” I am just suggesting, think about your shoes!

Your Shoes…

  • Are your souls slippery…er…I mean are your soles slippery?
  • Are your shoes tight enough?
  • Are they laced up? (That’s right idiot-boy, are they laced-up?)
  • Will they slip around or off when you are suddenly fighting someone at the bagel shop?
  • Will your Dumb and Dumber feet be exposed on youtube?
  • What are the treads on your tank?
  • Will your mudda be caught wearing Army boots?

 

 

Read More! What Are You Wearing?

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Your Signature Moves?

Your Singanture Moves and the Pareto and the Mental Model?

Mental models are descriptions of reality that apply across every area of our life, usually don’t get outdated, and provide good results by helping you make better decisions. What is an example of a mental model? One of the most famous and valuable mental models is called the Pareto Principle. Use the 80-20 Pareto Rule to create your signature moves

You probably know it as the “80-20 rule.” This mental models says that most of your results are going to come from just a small percentage of your effort or work.

Vilfredo Pareto, the man who “discovered” this principle noticed that 80% of the land in his area was owned by 20% of the people. He looked in his garden, and saw that 80% of the peas were in 20% of the pea pods. Then he realized that this was something like an organizing principle of life.

 This phenomena applies across many domains including productivity, happiness, business, health, etc. Here are a few examples:

  • 20% of relationships lead to 80% of happiness.
  • 20% of exercises lead to 80% of health benefit.
  • 20% of items on your to do list lead to 80% of productivity.

 You know me, the eternal skeptic, and maybe the percentage might be 18% or 25%? But I do get the overall idea. This model is much more complex and it can be applied to infinitely more, but this basic concept allows you to quickly acquire what counts. In our “fighting world,” just look at the UFC and see what is actually and consistently done, juxtaposed with the total martial arts systems, techniques and methods of the world and history. Who, what, where, when, how and why?

In the “fight world” competition fighters have a small collection of go-to signature moves (and strategies). Opponents study those moves by way of films, personal observations and interviews to win. But what of war and crime? You might say that militaries have overall, signature strategies. But what of defending yourself against criminals? Criminals and the classic bullies have no films to study on you, to prepare for your signature moves.

I am not talking about hobby sports and arts here. Just survival. I would venture to say that you need some personal signature moves that best suit you, compiled after you do an extensive study in the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. This is why the cookie cutter, martial arts systems are not the best manufacturers of the survival, self defense product, and they can be very one-dimensional. Thai fight Thai. Boxers box. Wrestlers wrestle with no strikes. Etc. One dimensional, offering abstract skills to deal with the harsh, mixed-weapon chaos of the world.  (I might add that I do not like the words “self defense” and “fight” or “fighting,” as they can be misleading and hackneyed when discussing survival. Still, I must use them for the lack of more succinct nouns.)

 

You know me, the eternal skeptic, and maybe the percentage might be 18% or 25%? But I do get the overall idea. This model is much more complex and it can be applied to infinitely more, but this basic concept allows you to quickly acquire what counts. In our “fighting world,” just look at the UFC and see what is actually and consistently done, juxtaposed with the total martial arts systems, techniques and methods of the world and history. Who, what, where, when, how and why?
 

I resolved this signature concept by insisting that people study to develop their signature moves for their size, shape, strength, age, coordination and predicable situations-and then later, non-predicable situations. It’s the biggest part of the “Who” question.

  • “Who are you…really!”
  • “Who do you think you will really be fighting?”
  • “Who are you legally, as in the eyes of the law? (Pee Wee Herman or Hulk Hogan?)”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I frequently confess in seminars that “I can never tell you how to fight.” That is your job and the job of your local instructor, if he or she has sufficient “Martial IQ.” Not my job as a traveling seminar circus. I must shoot for concepts. You must experiment, pick and choose your so-called signatures. That is why in my hand, stick, knife and gun courses, I want to expose people to a college-like, experience-collection of many good things. Work on them, select wisely and collect what you want, need and can do. You cannot and should not embrace them all, because, here is where we get into the age-old debate of “too many techniques.” Too many techniques to choose from and therefore slows you down, it is claimed. I don’t think there is a universal “too many line” to draw because every person is genetically different. in terms of retention and education-ability. I have decided to create an exposure course (like college). You pick your majors and minors. You experience diversity and savvy. Study systems, but study systems to defeat them, not become them. I do think one might become “Martial Sick,” just adding and adding and adding until you vomit. There are indeed some things that are so smart, so simple and universal.

Some instructors will say “get 5 things.” “Come to my ‘5 Things’ school.” But then they one-dimensionally speak of only unarmed things. What of stick things, knife things, gun things? Five, then 5, and 5 and 5 more? What of standing through ground problems? That’s a matrix of mixed things! That’s a whole lot of simple things. I struggle with this numbers games by seeking the drill/exercises that are multi-purpose. Learn one movement, change the position and weapons. I must be ever vigilant in finding these short cuts for you. That’s my job. My mission.

In the end your signatures are also facing perishability. Will you do these things, say…for the rest of your life? Or, will these signature things slowly erode away. Perishability is another topic for another time, but will your signature become dim and unreadable. And in this vein, let me mention quickly that you need to review your signature moves every 5 or 6 years or so because as you age, you may not be able to execute them as well, or at all.

We fight criminals, enemy soldiers and our “drunk uncles.” I could go on with a lot of anecdotal stories, lessons and name-dropping here, but I think you get the point? Please take a deep dive in the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. Exercise and experiment with unarmed and mixed weapons. Collect things for you, yourself. Improve your “Martial IQ” and your “Martial Savvy” with skepticism and awareness.  Don’t get yourself, “Martial Sick.”

This is all about YOU. Not me. Not the perpetual-ization and worship of systems and their god-heads. YOU! Get some signature moves for situations.

Sign your name on these dotted lines…

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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G. Gordon Liddy Died

As I turned on my car radio this morning, the very first line I heard was “G. Gordon Liddy died, age 90.”
 
 
I once described my friend G. Gordon Liddy as a great “American Story,” among a list of other unique folks, in a piece I had published years ago.  Think about it. The G-man was an FBI agent that once caught a Top Ten fugitive, and had a FBI record quick draw on their range. He was a state prosecutor, federal prosecutor, Army “arty” (as in artillery) captain, Nixon Watergate spy, state jail prisoner, federal prisoner (whose inmate lawsuits changed the systems he was incarcerated in), father of a Navy SEAL, TV series star, movie star, radio talk show host, author, gold salesman…well, I could go on but he qualified with me as a great, diverse American story. Of course some people angrily complained he was just a criminal, but he really did a lot more than that.
 
I first saw him in person, in the late 1980s, in a lively, fun debate with LSD promoter Timothy Leary at the University of Texas in Austin while I was down there attending a state police school. Years later, he liked my books and for a period of years while he had his show, every time I wrote a new book, he would have me on his national radio show as a guest. Lots of radio show guests could “call it in” from their homes, but I flew into D.C. every time just to hang out with him. Whereupon, off the air, lunch etc., I could interview HIM! After my first visit in the 90s, my webpage exploded with views, and really has not gone down since!
 
When there, we would swap police stories and he told me many of his escapades including some great FBI stories not known to the general public. He also never believed that J. Edgar Hoover was “a ballerina.” He too was an author of many political books – like the bestselling book “Will” (made into movie), but he also wrote some bestselling spy novels. His writing style was very proper and succinct. Whereas his non-fiction, politic books were as fresh as his easy conversation.
 
In recent years, show gone, his old age, we lost touch, dwindling emails as he disappeared from the “scene.” His mother lived to be 100 or a bit over, and I expected the same longevity.
 
WHAT a character! Some people hate him. Some don’t . I guess most people today might remember him from those “GOOLLD” tv commercials, and maybe, if old enough, from the Watergate scene where he held his open hand over a candle, expressing his commitment not to “talk.” I reckon that most younger folks won’t remember him at all.
 
I certainly…“will.”
 
 
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com
 

Grimacing at Micro Expressions

“This guy must hate me!”

I tell a story in my police books about a guy’s mean facial expression that was a lesson in life for me. In the 1970’s on patrol, I did the expected “50-10” thing when I could. Fifty minutes of driving and ten minutes of parking and watching. It was smart to park at busy places. I worked a lot in our city’s “projects” not just in the patrol division, but many years later as a detective too. In the 70s, I frequently began to see this same black guy pass by, whether I was parked or slowly driving around. As he came into view each time, he looked at me with a great disgust, a very angry face. “Wow! This guy must hate me, or really hate cops. Man!” This hateful glare went on for some time when the fates would have us pass each other.

Finally I said to myself, “The next time I see this guy I am going to smile and wave at him and see what he will do.”  About two days later I saw him while I was parked on a street. As he got closer, we looked at each other and I smiled and waved at him. His angry face lit up, he smiled big and waved back. We were still a distance apart and after he did that, I had the time and space to see his face immediately return to one of anger. But then I realized, he wasn’t angry at all. That face – was just his regular, walk-around face! Sadly, it was a mean one. He was the angry man that wasn’t angry. As the weeks and months passed this happened time and time again. We never met. We never spoke. We just smiled and waved. And I thought about how many people are mislead by faces and expressions.

One of my tenets in self defense course is “The face is a mask, he could fight scarier than he looks and look scarier than he fights.” And the self defense, martial arts, security and enforcement business is rife though the years with all sorts of predictors about pre-assault and pre-crimes. (I might add here that pre-crime tips are usually ignored, as martial experts opt to talk about pre-assault tips.) Regular folks on up to professional investigators also want to catch lies and liars. Everyone wants the tip-off secrets, the bible of alarms and alerts from this or that body language master, poker player, psychologist, Navy SEAL or friendly neighborhood, karate guy. In this wanton process is the “Rise of the Micro Expressions.” (Key the exciting music here.)

Dr. Google reports – “A microexpression is a facial expression that only lasts for a short moment. It is the innate result of a voluntary and an involuntary emotional response occurring simultaneously and conflicting with one another, and occurs when the amygdala (the emotion center of the brain.) responds appropriately to the stimuli that the individual experiences and the individual wishes to conceal this specific emotion. This results in the individual very briefly displaying their true emotions followed by a false emotional reaction.[1] Microexpressions express the seven universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, contempt, and surprise. (As you can see, “micro expressions” officially became all one word at some point in my lucky, long life.)

I am certainly not going to dismiss body language or micro expressions. No. I am alive today because of various visual tip-offs within situations. But, being the eternal skeptic, I would like to instead, bring up some warnings and things to think about. I am here to say that while they sell you them for a $1 a piece, the tip might only be worth 75 cents? 80 cents?

Dr. Gad Saad is a respected evolutionary biologist and his new book “The Parasitic Mind” is a must-read. One of the many book’s subjects is victimology with interesting relationship to the infamous Munchausen syndrome. (Stay with me “internet clickers!”) As to reading faces, he recalls on page 103 a piece of research where people were presented a batch of facial photographs and asked them to pick out the “threatening expressions/faces.” Scary faces were picked. Then with new people, the scary faces were slowly removed until the batch consisted of only the neutral faces, previously ignored as non-aggressive and non-threatening. Without any scary faces to pick, the subjects began to pick a number of the neutral faces/expressions as threatening. Pre-conceptions. Looking for trouble. Finding the unfindable. Reading the unreadable. Interesting. Seeing hate where there is no hate.

There is also much ado about the detection of lying in this subject matter. The real frontrunner of this lie-with-microexpressions  subject, Dr. Paul Ekman admits on his webpage – “There is no single, definitive sign of deceit itself; no muscle twitch, facial expression, or gesture proves that a person is lying with absolute certainty. Therefore, most modern-day methods of deception detection heavily rely on a variety of methods to collect, analyze and interpret emotional and physiological data. However, any data collected merely expose emotional clues that may or may not be related to deception. For example, sweaty palms during a job interview could indicate an interviewee’s fear of being caught in a lie about their qualifications. Or, sweaty palms could be illustrating their fear that the interviewer won’t believe their qualifications despite being totally honest on their resume. Or, their palms could be sweaty because they’re worried about something else entirely, like a sick child at home.”

President Reagan was famous for “Trust, but verify.” Unless the speaker already has a terrible record, perhaps. And we fall back to the totality of circumstances again. Situational study. An “investigator,” professional or not, must investigate. We must be very careful in some encounters not to jump to conclusions over a flinch or a twitch, etc. A terrible trait of some detectives I had to work with and around, is “conclusion jumping.” I’ll even go you one worse – some were also stubborn. They jumped to conclusions and then they were too stubborn to face the building, contrary facts. This is double-terrible in any criminal justice system.

I am often amused by people watching the news who claim that this or that suspect or witness is…lying. “You can tell!” they say. Yet these same people are enraptured by actors in convincing roles on TV and in the movies. Folks…they…are…ACTORS! The claimers watch a mystery and predict who the killer is and who is innocents are. Remember the killer and the innocent suspect are people ACTING, who are neither killers nor innocents in real life. They are fooling you.

And, even untrained people can act in, out and around microexpressions. Actors also conceal pending violence (like conmen ambushers) and know how to hide anger and intent or pretend anger to intimidate you into submission.

By the way, all this scares the hell out of me when considering jury trials, as jurors look at the faces, demeanor and clothes of lawyers, judges, defendants and witnesses.

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Rolling Blackouts and Rolling Flashlights

(Or…How I Learned to Love the Hock, Stinky Arm Method!)

Texas got hit with a real pesky ice and snow storm last week, dropping temps lower than North to Alaska. It dropped our power grid and electricity (and water) for about a week. While some folks had none, we were lucky enough to have thee infamous “rolling blackouts.” Thirty minutes of power every two hours or so. Enough to charge your phone battery and fast-cook a hot dog. Now, while everyone is probably familiar with rolling blackouts, what about…rolling flashlights?

Yes, this week I had physical, mental and nightmare  flashbacks of rolling…flashlights. Rounded flashlights that roll. Now look, I am a pretty “long in the tooth” feller and I go way back to the past days of military and police flashlights. Anybody could buy them but we had to use them.  Daily. Starting in 1970s for me. Everybody bought their own when they could. They were ugly and not powerful back then for the common troop. You absolutely needed them at night and even in the daytime, because you never knew when you might have to dash into or investigate a basement or any enclosed dark space. If you were needed to use both hands on a chore, and laid these old-timey flashlights down, most would probably roll.

In the olden days, we were taught never to hold your light too close to your body because it was common knowledge that enemy soldiers and criminals would instinctively shoot at the light. I still believe this. So a typical search-carry would be the old “FBI” method of holding the light away from your body when possible.

Thereabouts, when-abouts those golden-olden days the long, baton-sized flashlight came along. It was essentially a club with extra batteries and a bulb and quickly replaced the nightstick for many coppers. Me too. The light wasn’t very bright, and if you laid it down on anything, a car, table, whatever…it would-could easily roll.

Then the Gods made the super-duper, ultra bright small, palm-sized flashlight. They were and are amazing. But around these times too, came almost a Moses-Mountain-Mandate to shoot pistols with two hands almost ALL of the time. This was a confusing time because how does one hold one’s Star Trek flashlight AND still shoot with politically correct, two-hands?  Ahhh, well, a tactical conundrum!  

But the two-hand shooters invented tricky ways (to sell these flashlights AND “use” two hands. I won’t name them here, it’s not today’s subject, but they were named after rather unknown gun people of the day as though they were doctors inventing special cures for cancer. Edison! Tesla!  Like “The Johnson Method” which holds the light…(blah, blah, blah). The flimsy cures did not support the pistol like a solid two-hand grip, not at all,  but it at least they got that second hand or wrist “over there” to help the terrible, horrible. misguided burden of shooting with one hand. And we older-timers immediately noticed that this puts the light, so often the target, right back in front of your chest or head! But the conundrum! The mandate to shoot with two hands!  And holding flashlights.

I started shooting in 1969 and received all kinds of military, police and private training starting in the 70s, from people who had killed  a lot of people back then.  Especially in the military full of Korean and Vietnam war vets. (God bless em’ all.) And so, we shot a lot back then, A LOT with one hand, as well as two hands too, but a lot of one hand shooting. Again not the subject today’s essay. The subject is rolling flashlights today and most of the Star Trek flashlights were round and rolled a lot when you laid them down.

So then I retired. I have lots of these new Trekian flashlights around, and I love them, and even got another one last Christmas! This last powerless week in Texas, I had my best-est Star Trek, palm-ish sized flashlight with me constantly, in my hand or in my robe pocket. There wasn’t even any ambient light when the sun dropped. And any time I had to do something simple with two hands I had to set the round flashlight down and the damn thing round thing, – you guessed it –   rolled away. 

“I remember that problem!” I sezs to myself, as the little bastard rolled away from the shower and lit up the  corner bathroom sink. As a cop since the 70s I recall the multitude of in-the-dark,  predictable and unpredictable “two-hand chore” police problems and that damn round flashlight would roll off a fence post top, car hood, table, stairstep, whatever. I recalled that I cussed the problem and bought a hand-held, handled, big bulb light with a squarish, high-volt battery as a base. It produced a powerful, portable beam for the 70s and 80s and when I set that flat bottomed, mo-fo down, IT DID NOT ROLL! And a time or two back then, I had to hit somebody, as was-is required in my odd business, and jeez, that big-ass metal, battery was like a brick.  (Something designed like this.)

I really do like these modern flashlights today because they’re like a martial palm stick in terms of fighting, but most of them are round.

 I’ll bet 85% of these headlamps on the market do not match the light power of the new small handhelds. Might be from the required small batteries?  I have a decent one and still cannot read a book well in the dark. With these mentions of headlamps, I can’t help but think about a household of two, three, four or more in a blackout. All four with handheld caliber head lamp lights strapped on their foreheads for 8 hours a day, all avoiding facial contact from a few feet apart to prevent power beams in the eyeballs.  “Don’t you look at me!” Dinnertime! As the headlamp bible suggests they are for “Adults, Camping, Hiking, Outdoors & Hard Hat Work.”

Now I know someone reading this here will do a quick “one-ups-mans-ship” to report  on my ignorance – 

“…well, you should purchased the ‘Tact-9-Blinder’ because its conical delt is a four-sided, 17 ratio, militant square. It won’t roll.”

I don’t know nothing about no 17 ratio, militant delts, I just don’t want my light to roll, okay? According to Dr Google and to ElectroniCast, an estimated 141.6 million flashlights will be purchased in the United States this year and I’ll bet most of them are round. And, I would just like to officially remind people when shopping for a flashlight, try to get one that won’t roll off on you when you’re making pancakes, shaving in a shower, or reaching for toilet paper…or handcuffing a killer.

( A guy in river patrol read this and told me they had a lot of expensive flashlights roll off boats and ‘into the drink.'”) This message is not just for or about rolling blackouts. The point is…rounded flashlight “ends” in general are not good ideas.

In a pinch and I mean a real “pinch,” you might consider the official “Hock Stinky Armpit Method” where you put your rounded flashlight in your armpit and pinch, compress! (Can I get that title-method mentioned in gun magazines and join that infamous boys club? I could go down in gun-lore history! Name-dropped by the insider, educated. And you will only be shot in the shoulder if shot and you know that’s a just a “wingin” in the movies.)

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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