A DEEP HIP STYLE ROLLOVER THROW (Or a standing “Fat Man’s Roll?) This application of an “arm” takedown I have done once in police work in a domestic disturbance. While sorting things out in a house, a man charged me from the rear, having escaped the verbal control of another officer nearby. I heard the officer yell “Stop!” Before he could wrap my torso with two arms (to do what, did he know?) I was able to react.
This reactive move is found a few places but was based for me from high school wrestling from back in the 1960s! (Back then was only some 10 years earlier.) In such wrestling, there are “neutral starting’”positions and “referee positions.” One of the common “referee position’ starting points inside a match was one person was down on their knees, the other atop and somewhat beside him with one arm wrapped around the bottom guy’s torso (rules can differ). No clasping “bear hug” allowed yet at this point. This is not a collegate wrestling course so we will leave it at that.
One of the series of moves we practiced back then was the bottom guy grabbed that wrapped arm and rolled him over. When just freestyle practicing, this also happened when the bottom guy partial stood up at times. I frequently did and saw this work. This complete standing version starts looking a bit like like a classic hip throw, at least in part. Anyway from high school I still had this move, this concept embedded in me.
I remember that the guy rushed me to the point that I might fall over forward anyway. I tried to turn and then this old move from inside me busted out. Stepped back, dropped and rolled. His feet smashed into furniture. We arrested this man and the jailer told me the next day that the man begged for aspirin from a bad headache all night long. I think he hit his head on the floor, possible like in these photos.
Note in photo 1 the one arm grab.
Note in photo 2 the arm blocking his second arm from coming in and clasping me.
Solid grab on his arm in photo 3, which includes capturing his elbow.
Note in photo 5 the man landing on his head (in a perfect world).
Note small photo 6…keep rolling! As you roll over him to get up, an elbow strike oportunity might arise.
I am a proponent of the “double the force” concept – a late phase counter when being taken down. Can you grab the attacker, hang on, join with and add to the force of falling maybe with a turn? Putting him at a disadvantage 1) upon, during impact, or 2) after impact? Sometimes. Yes.
If you are going to practice it, try it a few times about knee high like some Judo (this known as Soto-makikomi) and wrestling does. Watch out for your partner’s head! Don’t forget to hit him at every opportunity, which Judo, BJJ and wrestling does not.
(I only did this one “for real,” one time in my whole life, but I ain’t dead yet.)
What you don’t do in a fight-combat, helps define what you should do. With or without weapons. In a fight-combat there are 4 barriers to consider. They are very situational. They are-
Some say that Morality and ethics are the same. On the differences – Professor Google says “A lot of people think of them as being the same thing. While they’re closely related concepts, morals refer mainly to guiding principles, and ethics refer to specific rules and actions, or behaviors.”
In some martial arts, one of the sales points offered by some and usually directed at children is their martial arts build respect, character etc- and various good stuff. Exactly what I don’t know, varies, and I never have taught kids and officially never will. I don’t know how much and what is injected into their programs. Bully programs seem to vary. I do recall some “values-injection” in Japanese martial arts for adults and kids, but in very broad ways, good, but not very down to earth such as, “you know, if you do break this guy’s leg? You could go to jail. Here’s a quick 3 examples where it might be legal. Now let’s kick…”
Take a look at Thai Boxing (TB). If TB is studied strictly for TB competition, then why bother with any such categorical worries. True. Same thing with BJJ. But, if TB and BJJ are totally or partially sold and-or studied for self-defense and there is never, ever a mention of these 4 categories, their doctrine has a problem. If there is a knife guy just stabbing and stabbing away (sometimes at unarmed people) without ANY segments-mentions of the 4 categories discussed, the doctrine has a problem. If you are cracking skulls and bones with sticks without the 4 categories ever mentioned, the doctrine has a problem. If all a combatives guy does is growl macho-tuff-stuff, ear-biting, eye-squashing, endless knees and throat punches, etc. there’s a doctrine problem. In other words, in all cases…their total or partial self-defense class is now a bit of a “go-to-jail school.” And YOU are the potential cell mate. Blind, muscle memory is an unguided missile.
There are so many examples of this routinely happening. We are probably all familair with misguided use of martial material applications. Look at the May, 2023 case, poor, well-meaning, former Marine case on the New York Subway, choking a crazy guy accidentally to death. Recently again in May, 2023, a woman was attacked by an immigrant in Denmark, an attempted rape. As he tore off her clothes, she sprayed him with pepper spray. Now she is under arrest for illegally carrying pepper spray! The rape suspect escaped. Too many examples to list.
Decide well. Think about it. Think ahead. Build this into your training. There’s a chapter or a book on each category, which we cannot get into in the limited space here. Screw these 4 categories up and you will wind up “wanted,” or in prison, or dead? Or a pariah. Or maybe you’ll ignore this advice and remain an ignorant, immature, senseless knucklehead, which means you will ignore this warning, and just be another negative drag on humanity.
When challenged in court, your system-art will be examined. This does come back to the “What” questions. An instructor-practitioner of any art or system has this responsibility and should answer these “What” questions.
What is your mission?
What is your doctrine?
What is your end-user product?
What are you trying to “make” of yourself and students advertantly and…inadvertantly?
Today’s gun training world is chock, chock full of these 4 categories. They avoid jail school, and such injections are certainly possible for all in the hand, stick, knife and gun genres. For one example, my knife course has always been chock full of these “use of force guidelines,” to include a big segment on “less than lethal knife” applications. (These worries come to me from years of police work).
Guided not unguided missiles. Practitioners – are you also going to “Jail School” and don’t know it?
An Orderly or Tactical Retreat, (safely walking or running away!) Stay or retreat? A retreat has several definitions, like “retrograde” movements or a more modern “tactical retreat.” Usually, these definitions suggest that one retreats from a superior force in battle. Military. In today’s civilian world, remaining to fight and take action, may become a physical, legal (criminal law and civil law) nightmare and monetary problem. Winning and the law are often at odds.
Whatever the terms, retro, orderly or tactical, it still means you leave, escape, withdraw, whatever, with the best plan to do so. For a smaller, personal situation an orderly retreat is leaving a confrontation, safely and without being chased, at all, or much.
“Just run away!” these pseudo experts will say. But, just how far can you run? How fast? How long?
The law will ask, if there’s trouble, why did you go there and why are you still there? Can you leave people behind? Will you be leaving family, friends and comrades behind? Can you leave? Should you leave? Sometimes you can’t leave. Your choice is highly situational. Think of any violent situation from a fistfight to a crime, to an active shooter, on to war and ask these questions about staying or leaving?
Who are you and who will you stay or retreat from?
Who will you leave behind?
What is happening that causes you to stay or retreat?
Where is this happening that might cause you to stay or retreat
Where will you retreat to?
When is this happening that might cause you to stay or retreat
When will this be over?
How will staying or retreating unfold?
How will this end?
How far and fast can you run? Can he run?
Why is it important enough to stay or go?
How exactly will you retreat? If you stay, there will be violence. If you go? Best go in an orderly fashion. When you add the term “orderly,” it speaks of significant specifics. What is this “orderly” version? An orderly retreat?
For one classic explanation, we can learn from Alexander the Great. His army suffered very few casualties and inflicted death upon some say 1.2 million soldiers more in comparison. The differences in death tolls were remarkable.
In his beginning battles he had some large causalities usually from chaotic retreats. When his troops hit their perceived “breaking point,” hey turned and they scattered, most were killed from behind, running in disorderly retreats. Long known, psychological factors reveal that it is easier to “kill from a distance” and to “kill from behind,” without seeing a person’s face, without seeing a “personality.” (This relates to crime also.) Then, Alexander adopted he Macedonian Phalanx, an infantry formation some historians say developed by his father Philip II, then some say the Sumerians. It consisted of blocks of heavily armed infantry standing tightly shoulder to shoulder in files several ranks deep. The blocks advanced. The blocks retreated by remaining in a tight Phalanx, still facing the enemy and moving backwards in formations, rather than splitting up, turning their backs and running away. This organized or orderly retreat principle has held true in crime and war.
Simply turning and running away, sounds like good advice, but how far and fast can you run, and such may make you easier to be killed, and may ignite an anger, and/or ignite a hunter-chase mentality in a criminal or a enemy soldier. Departing, withdrawing as smartly as possible is better choice.
Turning and leaving. In the martial word, just turning from a too close opponent standing or down on the floor-ground, is “giving up your back” and means something specific to martialists – exposing your back is an invitation to be choked. In crime and war your turned back make you easier to be beaten, captured or be killed. When you turn to leave, it should be done by first backing away in some manner to a safe distance and then turning to leaving.
When you turn to leave, it should be done by first backing away to a safe distance and then turning. That’s about the best universal advice we can offer for an orderly retreat, everything else is ever so situational. How do you do this retreat all the time? There is no one universal answer. It is highly situational. After studying the Ws and H retreat questions, then examine these options.
1: Back away, still facing the opposition with de-escalation words? That may work sometimes.
2: Back away, still facing the opposition saying nothing? That may work sometimes.
3: Back away, still facing the opposition with threatening words? That may work sometimes.
4: Pre-emptive strike. Then back away, still facing, then turn. That may work.
5: You are thrown down. You get up, then pick one of the four choices above. That may work sometimes.
6: You beat the holy hell out of the opposition. Then pick one of the choices as to if and when to leave. That may work sometimes.
7: Your draw and presentation of a knife or a gun has a good success rate of freezing the opposition. How about any expedient weapon? Then pick one of the choices above to leave. That may work.
8: This course is an unarmed course but pick up a nearby expedient weapon. This has a good success rate of freezing the opposition. Then pick one among the choices above to leave. That may work sometimes.
If no physical contact is made yet, we are still in the Stop 1 parameters and leaving the projected fight scene before it starts, is a quintessential Stop 1 situation-problem. But the option to leave may occur in any of the Stops, Stop 2 through Stop 6.
My old friend and advisor Colonel “Hack” Hackworth, vet of WW II, Korea and Vietnam, and at one time, the most decorated U.S. Army soldier, always had a “go to hell,” plan – for when things went to hell and that plan always included the best escape under the worst circumstances. He told me,
“Hock, sometimes you gotta’ blow the horn,” (the horn being thetrumpet of retreat.) “Always have a go-to hell plan, and another one when that one goes to hell too.”
“For he that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day.” This is attributed to Demosthenes, an epic Greek orator. Sometimes even heroes with the most hardcore, “never say die,” mottos are smart to retreat. Every stand-off, showdown and ambush is different. There is no one equation to retreat It’s all situational. All we can suggest is that if you can, if not escaping an active shooter or a bomb, you conduct an orderly, smart retreat should you decide to retreat. Face the person with words and command presence, a knife, or a stick, or a gun and back away. When a considerable distance is achieved then you might turn and leave. Sometimes with a weapon, you might even successfully order the aggressor to leave and he might comply under threat.
There is no one way to prescribe any one universal orderly retreat, but it is important to understand the concept, teach the idea, and develop and practice some real, “go to hell,” plans.
My first Guro Dan Inosanto seminar was in 1986 and he told a story about his high school football team. (I forget the pro players he mentioned). He said that he was a running back and kept crashing into the defense. The coach asked him why did he run the ball that way? Inosanto replied,
“I want to be like my hero ‘Joe Jones.’”
“Dan you’re 5’5.” Jones in 6’3”. Pick a smaller hero,” the coach said.
Dan did pick and with that advice and he broke many state-wide, California high school running back records. He also added once that his coach made them run up and down steep hills in practice and to run down the hill as fast as possible. Since it was a hill, you ran faster down than on flat ground. Inosanto said it was “a bit like flying.” The coach told them to “remember that feeling of that speed. Mimic it.” (You usually learn a lot of related things at an Inosanto seminar.)
There are dreams of advancing, then there are tools to become advanced. Who knows those tools? I’d never thought much about these things before then. I also, needless to say, wanted to mimic Dan in terms of his knowledge, teaching and overall “cool.”
Improving. I mean, we all knew back then to weight lift to “get stronger,” and to run for endurance. What else? Well, repetition was important. But then who or what were we repeating? Mimicking? What of dedicated inspirations, guidance? Sure there was the Bible and Zig Zigler back then, but I’d never thought about codifying these diverse training ideas, inspirations and tools before 1986. They came very scattered. I was not alone.
I grew up in the New York City area where one could play baseball and football endlessly through countless organized leagues of all ages. I was playing baseball until I was 18 years old, among guys in their 20s and 30s in money-sponsored teams. (I left the area at about 18.) During these times, I and all others were under the influence of numerous coaches, and none had any real savvy about serious, performance coaching, a “teaching I.Q.,”even in high school where baseball, football and wrestling were big. Sure there were tips and some mistake-fixing yes, but not like today.
They’d say, “Playing is learning,” and we hear similar with martial expressions like “Learn to fight by fighting.” But that tops out too at-with your natural level of athleticism. Remember the prematurely athletic teen that was always the superstar high school quarterback? But 99.999% of them end up working in a factory. They topped out in high school. How to advance? Most coaches back then could not perpetuate such advancement. It seemed like much “mimicry” was a main teaching tool back then. “See how ‘so-and-so’ does it. He’s successful.”
One of my goals was to play third base – “the hot corner” – in baseball. A place known to receive a lot of fast ground balls and line drives. The throw was long to first base. It was a hard position, but I wanted to play there. And I did, especially after my long and lanky teen self had troubles as a catcher, because I was very long and very lanky. Many sports and spots depend on your size and shape. Fact of life. I then mimicked 3rd baseman Clete Boyer of the Yankees and I did well enough. One day I saw Boyer dive full-out to catch a fast foul ball. It was foul! Why not let it go? I realized that inside Boyers mind, at the crack of the bat, he was going to catch EVERY ball that came his way. Every one. He couldn’t stop to think at the hot corner, just – BALL! CATCH! He couldn’t help himself that the ball went foul. He HAD to get it. That idea inspired me. Moved me. An epiphany. No coach ever told me that stuff, told us this stuff. So, I mimicked Clete Boyer, but without step-by-step “teaching technology,” I would never surpass a certain level. It seems epiphanies – those rare emotional, intellectual touchstone, inspirational moments – are rare.
Teaching I.Q.? Teaching technology? Take Willie Stargell for exampIe. I also followed Stargell of the Pittsburg Pirates. I stumbled upon a book about Stargell – there were several – and for the first time this particular writer discussed a performance shift in his aging career. He’d had an amazing career but suffered the usual slowdown with age. The Pirates were looking to move him to first base and maybe even benching him some. But that winter, many, many decades ago, Stargell attended one of the first baseball training camps, which at the time, way back when, were new and ignored, but Willie paid in.
The coaches and Willie identified every single thing in baseball he might face, every little episode, every event. Catching a ball this way or that way. Running from first base to second base, first to third, etc. To my memory they identified some 30-40 specific events, very big and very small. And, during that off-season at this ground-breaking camp, Willie did every one, 100 times each, almost every work day, under their watchful eyes. As a result, he had a rebirth in performance and played several more years successfully. He went back every off-season until other factors, mostly age, interfered. Wow. Another epiphany for me. Tools. Steps. Skill exercises, big and small. Set me to thinking about diverse applications in teaching. Teaching technology, so to speak.
Thank goodness since then, this skill development, this training methodology really caught on, widespread, even down to grassroots, neighborhood league coaching. Officially! (When I coached my kids’ baseball teams I made it a point to take players aside and work on specifics in sessions.) For the last few decades we see this influence in every sport. Records of almost every sort have been broken. The talented continued to improve, The mediocre became better. The lost became at least, found. I also noted such advancements in high school, college and pro football. In the last decades we hear professonal football players talk about the difficult leaps in training from high school, to college to the pros. These methods are all another good form of mimicry too. Mimic the pros’ training methods, not just performance.
Are you way too lanky, tall and skinny to be the baseball catcher? There are reasons most succesful catchers are shaped as they are. We have to remember we are all different. Basic boxing is much the same, but Mike Tyson should not fight like Muhammed Ali, and vice-versa. Dan Inosanto should not run the football like Joe Jones. Don’t over-train in tennis to be a basketball player. Reduce the abstract. Isolate the skill steps and build them. In the Who, What, Were, When, How and Why questions I live for, this is a big “who question.” Who are you? Shape, size, age, strength, etc. Who do you mimic?
Who are your heroes and to what end? Coaches and teachers in these essentially cookie-cutter, sports and martial arts programs must be careful and recognize these differences. Is your “ku-roty” or combatives or self defense teacher a super-star athelete, power-lifter that oh-so does-looks the part? And…you’re not…can you recognize these reaities?
This is why I am obsessed with identifying and teaching the universal, versatile, achievable, core, survival basics foremost. What can most people do? Grasp? Get that stuff done. Work on the probable problems first, then the improbable. Then with good coaching I.Q., recognize natural attributes, steer developments and push people to their private mission success. Its one thing to play a lot of “baseball,” it’s another to excell at third base. At some point, customization must step in.
There are dreams of advancing, then there are tools to become advanced: Two very different things. A major way one advances is with speed, flow and skill drills-exercises. You can’t over do these as many do, else you become a “drill master.” Ask these classic questions:
Who are you and who can help you?
What is your push about and what methods exist for your push? What should you realistically expect?
Where can you work on this push?
When can you do this? (Willie did off-season!)
How far and fast can you, should you, push the envelope?
Why are you motivated?
Continue to ask and answer these and related questions.
I am 70 years old now. I have been training and teaching all over the world, meeting with and working out with all kinds of people. Listen to me for a great and important tip. Your “who” changes with time…oh…what…every 5 years or so? Can you still do your once favorite moves? That high kick? That sacrifice fall on the mats, lest of all on cement? Can you still clearly see that front sight on your gun AND-OR your target as well, or are they blurry blobs? Can you still hit that fast ball? Do you need to alter-evolve, dismiss some of your favorite things? Can your 50 year-old self, mimic your 20 year old self? Take stock every 5 years or so of what you do.
There’s a lot to this “mimicry” subject.
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In an era of “words count” and “language precision,” how one defines “Grappling” today is indeed important for system doctrine. Does the noun “grappling” officially and unofficially mean as it once did – “all close-up, hands-on struggling standing and ground?” Or is it now just ground… wrestling? Is all grappling just wrestling now? Is all wrestling just grappling now? Can you punch and be “in” official grappling or not? Does “old school Jujitsu” – full of stand-up moves – still count as grappling? Apparently not…
For many decades, perhaps centuries in some cases, the definitions for “grappling” have remained in place. Grappling was once defined in the books and history as a:
“close hand-to-hand struggle” or,
“to take a strong hold of somebody-something and struggle with them,”
Both standing and grounded. Anything goes, like hand strikes and kicking. Sports, point-scoring and arts were hardly mentioned, and if so in some cases, were not mentioned in the opening generic, dictionary lines but down a bit like in an addendum with samples.
But today! Thanks to the popularity of many modern martial arts, the word grappling has been redefined in many sources only as a “wrestling submission contest on the ground.”
Soooo, grappling is now nothing but a wrestling submission contest on the ground? What does this mean for ground n’ pound (Gn’P)? As a general rule, you can’t punch in wrestling, Judo, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, whether it’s in a competition or a training session.” So, that’s it for grappling? Just wrestling?
Sure, scholastic and Olympic wrestling has helped reshape this definition. And we can assume that the latest widespread rise in Brazilian Jujitsu (a BJJ school every three blocks, which is an overall good thing) has also influenced this redefining. In a way, “Brazilian Jujitsu” has hijacked the word “Jujitsu” in popular consciousness. Ask anyone remotely interested in martial arts and under the age of 40 years-old what “Jujitsu” is, not just Brazilian Jujitsu, but just Jujitsu, and they will automatically think of Hispanic wrestling. I don’t since I am way older, and since I did Jujitsu-Jujitsu, and Aiki-Jitsu, well before the marketing miracle of the UFC. (Say “UFC” and I presume people think “MMA.”)
Nowadays, many schools advertise and call themselves just plain old “Jujitsu” when they are actually “full-monty,” Brazilan Jujitsu. The two have become so synonymous. In fact, if you ask Sensei Google any question about Jujitsu on the net, or if even quantifying a Japanese Jujitsu question, Google will usually respond with lines starting, “In Brazilan Jujitsu…” Search on Jujitsu images and I would estimate about 95% of the images are wrestling on mats.
Thats what you might call a martial monopoIy and brilliant advertising added to the fact that pure wrestling is very addictive. And that BJJ domination, along with wrestling and Judo runs deep, and has effected the term and understanding of “grappling” today. But, this redefinition to “ground submission contest,” has shrunk the original meaning. The word has evolved or actually de-evolved, into a fraction of what it once generically was.Bigger picture to smaller picture. One subject in the shrinking is about takedowns. Do you always fall with the person being dropped? Or not?
Sacrifice Falls and Accidental Falls. Wrestling of all kinds start with Stand-Up fighting-grappling, even if Stand-Up isn’t found within most popular definitions anymore. Inside these old and modern submission-wrestling based approaches, they must have ways to get opponents down on the mat to begin their ground, sport submission contest. Some BJJ folks just drop right on their backside now to start fights “at the whistle,” but ordinarily there’s a few stable takedowns and throws. How one takes down is a tribal definer – do you fall down willingly with the opponent or try to stay up? The fall-withs or “sacrifice falls” are easier. The stay-ups to remain standing or knee-high are a tad harder. They’re called by me “Sacrifice Falls” and “Accidental Falls”:
Sacrifice Falls: The submission-school of takedowns use what we all still call, and we worry about – survivalists try not to do – “sacrifice falls.” Falling together, takedowns that involve the thrower using his or her own bodyweight with or without a little tripping and “sacrificing” their own balance to take the opponent down to the mat. Willingly falling, because well…. this is wrestling. They need to be on the mat. The submission is down on the mat. It’s what they live, and are, and what they do.
Accidental Falls. We survivalists don’t “sacrifice fall,” instead we try to remain up or at least knee high as we try to avoid the cement, glass, swamp, Astroturf, asphalt, tile, carpet, rocks, furniture and human accomplices of surrounding life. Having arrested people outdoors and indoors in urban, suburban and rural areas for many years, I-we know even untrained people can freak out scrap and and scramble, powered by isometrics and adrenaline and be a problem, all shapes and sizes of them, on the floor-ground. Here, citizens and soldiers should instantly resort to some or all of a ground n’ pound – MMA , priority-mentality. (There are always situational exceptions, some discussed here later.)
Both “Sacrifice Falls” and “Accidental Falls” can go three ways. For what you do, what fallen, follow-ups would be best for what you do?
1- Wrestling. Of course for wrestling, they will only wrestle, or,
2- ground and pound (GnP) or,
3- a mix of both if open-minded and free.
Back to the Definitions. I use the older, bigger definition for my Force Necessary: Hand course, the unarmed course. In my doctrine, “grappling” is the “close hand-to-hand struggle standing and on the ground” with no rules, just the laws for crime and war. And “with, without and against mixed weapons,” priority. The study will partially remain in the “MMA-like, kick-boxing-like, stunning set-ups via strikes and kicks, takedowns and throws, and primarily MMA-like, ground n’ pound, (and with choke finishes). (MMA really is the closest sport to reality.) Joint lock-cranks are certainly studied, standing and on the ground for general “martialist’ knowledge, and of course much joint-locking is inside takedowns and throws. All martialists must know how all joints of the body twist and bend, no matter what system they do, this knowledge breaches into ground fighting. They are also used to keep people “still” for awhile, like your drunk uncle…
Still For Awhile? – Submitting Drunk Uncles... In survival combatives, we look at and dissect a few, super basic, simple submissions for those times when our “drunk uncles, other relatives and-or nutty friends” must be contained temporally. Captured, not hurt, because you will see cousin Charley again at next year’s bar mitzvah. But, submissions (other than chokes) for us, are not the over-emphasized-main mission. Not… “king.”
In wrestling, the submissions are king. The end game. The mission. In combatives, these self defense submissions are… well… the prince? Or maybe the spare prince after the prince, like Prince Harry. The backup prince to the prince. Obsessing, over-prioritizing sport submissions for tap-outs are off-mission for us in fighting crime and war. They’re fun. Interesting. Athletic. Addictive. Great exercise. Great folks. Proud hobby. But off-mission. So, what then about law enforcement?
Submissions in Police Work. When you get a bruise on your ass, from the badge in your wallet, in your back pocket, you know you’ve really been real ground-fighting. These experiences, investigating cases have worroied me, helped me “set a bar” a stage, for reality in ground doctrine. What’s works? What’s sports-art. I’ve had to arrest some people. Best records I can amass since 1973 is about 900 people in the field as a patrol officer and detective. Not too many arrests really in all that time. Some resisted, some fought, and a rare few tried to kill me.
Checkers versus Chess. My physical end “checkers move” was to handcuff them. A very large majority of submission-tap-out material were “chess-like, sports-art” and not a priority ending. Handcuffing was. The fight doesn’t end with a tap-out, and you cannot go about your life breaking everyone’s bones to end fights. First off, you should not toss EVERYONE on the ground, all the time. You don’t have to. But standing or ground, if you joint crank-lock someone, and they cry “Ouch! You got me!” when you let them go, they continue fighting or continue to run away. Trust me on this. If down and leg locks? Too far away from handcuffing and not a police priority, In general, I have found old school Jujitsu with a lot of Stand-Up grappling way more valuable.
Chokes were always an intrical part of early police training and “street” use. I have choked out about 10 people or so, maybe 9 or maybe 11? Not exactly sure how many, That’s not many. Standing and downed chokes are a survival priority for all to use (and a prominent place in the Force Necessary: Hand curriculum.)
I scratch my head every time I hear that “all police should be purple belts in BJJ.” Ahhh…no. A world of sacrifice falls? Submissions? Leg locks, Chokes (remember chokes are now taboo)? Wrong world. Maybe an orbiting moon? But not the planet. Just…just no. Reduce the abstract. Police need a customized, unbiased – repeat UNBIASED – course of 100% mixed-weapon, police stuff, dressed in police uniforms. BJJ? Just…just no. Police ground fighting is very different animal and it is a mistake to think pure BJJ or any art should be police-mandatory. Remember the Gracies even started a G.R.A.C.I.E. Law Enforcement course, seperate and much different than BJJ, further proving that pure BJJ is not suited for police. (I hear only mixed reviews and am ignorant about it. I plan on attending someday to investigate. Take note that there are numerous police grappling courses “out there.” Don’t take one given by martial artists. Take one owned, operated by cops or ex-cops who were-are also martial artists.
The military needs it’s own highly customized courses too. Don’t get me started on that fiasco.
Submissions in Civilian world. How does all this blend with civilian self-defense-survival? When civilians wrestle on the ground with unarmed and armed rapists, robbers, muggers, drunks or bullies, I wonder, “What is their perceived end game?” The bad guy says, “Ouch! Okay, I quit!” You then…let go? The once controlled thug will re-continue fighting. Or, will you lay locked on the ground indefinitely until help arrives? If help does or can? Again, the real fight doesn’t end with a tap-out, and you cannot go about your life breaking everyone’s bones as some half-wits might suggest. It’s all very situational and legal-problematic. A very large majority of submission-tap-out material were “chess-like, sports-art” and not a priority ending for normal people, in our real world and circumstances.
So…No More Striking? If grappling means “ground submission contests” and ground submission contest systems deny striking…one-plus-one-equals-two…are strikes and kicks (knees too) no longer allowed in official “grappling?” For me, no. I stick with the older definitions and “ground n’ pound.” Speaking of Gn’P, remember the old Gracie quote?
GnP is a mandatory priority for ground survival. Roger Gracie once said that, “80% of BJJ is usless in MMA.” Rickson Gracie said it was 75% useless. Many people think I am useless and dumb, but in all my years of doing, watching, investigating, experimenting, classes, seminars, working out, arresting people, I agree with these icons’ opinion. I am not alone.
(Quick mention: My old friend and Green Beret Greg Walker said – “While editor of Full Contact magazine I interviewed, did some training with Rickson Gracie. One of my questions of him was this. “What is your favorite technique?” His reply, which we published in our ground-fighting issue was this. ‘My SIG 220.’ “)
Looking at the UFC, ESPN reports the headline: “How MMA Fights End: Submission Victories Way Down” “Less time is spent on the ground overall,” they report. Gn’P way up. Chokes are catagorized in the submission category numbers, so how many of the vanishing submissions were chokes? Take away the many choke stats and what’s left in the shrinking submission sucess category?
There are of course splinter groups with some strikes, “grappling” with wrestling-only problems and trying to introduce realities. Like Eddie Bravo’s Combat Jujitsu that allows for hand strike slaps. “Strikes can only be done with an open palm. Palm strikes to the body, the face and the side of the head are considered legal. No closed fists allowed. Standing grappling is only permitted for 1 minute maximum. After 1 minute of standing, a horn sounds and the referee enforces the “Get Down” rule. There is then a coin flip and the winner decides whether to be on top in their opponents butterfly guard with double under hooks or on bottom in the same position reversed. If the one standing has clearly been the aggressor then they automatically win the coin flip.”
Okay! That’s kind of complicated, but as I said, there are splinter groups. Even the Gracies had to start “Gracie Combatives.” Why? If it was so perfect in the beginning as advertised, Why? Just…just stick with today’s generic MMA, I think. It’s the closest you’re gonna get. It is interesting that when wrestling systems add so-called “self-defense,” offer self defense versions, they start losing their origin dogma-doctrine, their original “look,” and become… well… combatives. (Ahhh – that’s my planet.)
Speaking of the UFCs of the world, I must quickly mention that I have a process in my evaluation of a hand-to-hand tactics-techniques. I have two questions in that vein…
Question Test 1: Have I seen this move work consistenly, full speed in the UFCs of the world?
Question-Test 2: Should I even consider the UFCs because they have rules. They are not the end-all test, crime and war are.
In summary, fighting system doctrine, not dogma, guides the system. Mission. Martial I.Q. studies the ways and mean to develop doctrine. Definitions really count. They they might change “right under our feet” (yes a pun). People do what they do for a variety of reasons. Know your reasons, the definitions and the doctrine. Be happy. Be educated and content on your planet. Know why you’re there. Or? Hop a spaceship.
Part 2: Smart Ass, Dismissive, Gaslight Remarks
BREAK! OKAY! STOP! You Can Stop Here If You Wish! Now This Essay Has a Two-Fold Mission. One mission with this essay is to examine the meaning of grappling and how it’s changed to suit marketing and the times. And the other subversive mission is using the public definitions for – well – a long, long awaited response to the occasional ignorant criticism of me and what I chose to do, my courses. My mission. I usually ignore these biased critics, but when some reach arrogant, ignorant asshole levels it just becomes harder to ignore.
Though I have worked “hand-in-hand” with Catch (my favorite) and BJJ people, I do still seem to aggravate a small percentage of doofuses. I sometimes hear the smart ass, dismissive remarks that…“Hock knows nothing about grappling.” Another classic retort is the advice that since I am so utterly dumb and blind that I just need to join a BJJ school to finally understand what real “GeeeRAPPLING ” is. (As if I have never had explored all this.) These critics rely on their smaller, definition of the word “grappling,” the “submission ground contest” version, and they have no idea about me, my past and my mission. They read a short something I written or said… and… assume I am dumb. You see, for them, I haven’t joined their tribal church, seen “their light” as they know it. But, I am not quite as dumb as you think.
The occasional half-wit, hyper-sensitive assholes even type this, “You wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the UFC MMA ring.” Dear Idiot-boy, I am 70 fucking years old, I wouldn’t last one minute with 30 year-old, 6-day a week, fight-athletes in the ring. But here’s another secret your peanut brain hasn’t figured out. About 95% or more of martial arts instructors and students in the whole planet wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the UFC – MMA ring, young or old.
I am rather familiar with their matted landscape. In police academies and waaay back when in, in-service training there was much control and contain ground fighting, with strikes, kicks and chokes. Once very brutal, the police doctrine got paranoid by around the 90s and the more rough-stuff disappeared. As I said, chokes are pretty much gone. The old police stuff was Catch, Judo, Jujitsu, even old-school Karate. I enjoyed the regular Police Judo classes the military police offered, which were all of the aforementioned, but much situational police-problem-solving also. (They called it all police JUDO back then because “Judo” was a popular word.) In the 80s I started with Jujitsu, Aiki-Jitsu and JKD which was always “up and down.” In 1986 I started up with a deep dive into the Inosanto Family which was already hooked up with Gracies and Small Circle Jujitsu. I was a Larry Hartsell fan and regular attendee of his chock-full-of-Catch-Wrestling and other “grappling” moves. I got to a Level 5 in the Inosanto Family system which included Nakamura “Shooto” shootfighting-shoot-wrestling. Fantastic stuff. High grade MMA. Also luckily for us, there was a famous clan of BJJ guys in the DFW area that put on seminars and open mats in the 1990s. Great people and great stuff. Meanwhile, I studied Aiki-Jitsu (A.J.) to Black increasing my time at throws and takedowns. (Once an A.J. uke was grounded though, A.J. hits or stomps him, as with Parker Kenpo which I started out with in 1973. Little ground time-stuff there, and all stand-up grappling and throws-takedowns… which I guess, doesn’t count anymore? In the newer, “contest-ground-submision” grappling definition?)
The Resisting Opponent…Thing. The nice advice also comes in. “If you just would wrestle for “a year” against resisting opponents, you would build your “Spidey Sense.” This “resisting opponent” is a sales pitch thrown out to others and to me and my presumed dumb self. (My accumulated experience in this subject is already well beyond “the theoretic year.”) My “resisting opponent” in “combatives” is also trying to punch, elbow, face maul and possibly kick me too. Their resisting opponent will not, does not, won’t punch, maul, elbow, kick or cheat. In the end whose “spidey sense” will be smarter for survival? Whose muscle memory will be “better?”
Muscle Memory- The Lost Strike – Forgetting Ground and Pound. Through all the wrestling-related materials I worked on, I worried about “muscle memory.” That if I just did that too much, I might forget striking, blocking and kicking. I had numerous friends in Judo and later BJJ, who, essentially, literally, forgot to punch, to hand strike. I’ve seen this type of loss many times over the years. Striking is not in the doctrine-dogma. I worried about me missing survival opportunities and would from, well, brainwashing forget striking and opt instead to roll and roll around.
I recall one time when a batch of “new kids on the block” were doing a seminar involving unarmed fights inside cars. These guys are biased BJJ-ers. Car fighting is logistically hard to teach-show because car interior wrestling destroys the insides of cars or they have to “hold back” from reality to save the cars. After a few sessions, I commented that there was not a punch, elbow, or palm strike, head bouncing off window-dashboard or door post in the whole somewhat, cooperative car wrestling match. None were taught either in isolated, outside-the-car possibilities. One of the hyper-sensitive instructors responded, “You know nothing about grappling!”
Oh? Huh? In 26 years in police work I’ve had to climb into and remove and fight people inside cars. Palm strikes, hammer fists and elbows were VITAL. That gaslighting angry instructor? He sells insurance and has a commercial BJJ school. So as not to embarrass him, I said little in reply. I so wanted to say though – “And YOU know nothing about fighting inside cars, bubba.” Shoulda. But I didn’t. As I am not that type of public asshole. (And you know otherwise, that guy is great BJJ-er and a very nice guy, but I guess, just hyper-sensitive.) But, there was that classic line again. Make a comment about the limited, inherent inefficiencies of wrestling muscle-memory? Bingo! You get the standard gaslighting remark. It’s like a rehearsed line from a passed around script. That line the best you got?
Simulated strikes on friends in training aren’t felt or recognized at all, and these things become worthless in “pressure testing” and “resistance experience.” You always end up in wrestling matches because ignored simulated strikes don’t count and slowly, innocently, disappear, de-evolve away. The ignorant, shallow person with a low martial I.Q. can’t recognize this training problem-conundrum. In MMA matches, this is not a problem. They strike “when the iron is hot” for real. When the hole is open, and the hole opens a lot. In combatives this concept is not a problem either. If there’s a hole? They hit it. We must recognize and reward these in simulations to ensure proper doctrine. Real reality training can at best, sometimes, involve acting. Say that last line aloud twice.
One flippant daushbag said once that he bet I’ve never had someone really grab me around the neck. Well, Ding-Dong, I have. The guy damn near broke my neck and killed me in South Korea. I broke his finger to survive. I have been put in the hospital and I have put people in the hospital. But ding-dongs don’t know me.
Seemless Fightng, Not Segmented. In my hand, stick, knife and gun courses, I have a motto, “everything you do standing, you should try and do on the ground.” Constant experimenting. We are constantly, consistently doing combatives on the ground. Striking, kicking, trapping-pinning, choking, drawing weapons, shooting, slashing, stabbing, even taking this or that joint lock-crank…on the ground. I am committed to the seamless application of all good moves, from standing through the ground.
I still work closely with Catch and open-minded BJJ guys in seminars, seeking, searching for any aspects of self defense and escape material I can use and teach. Look at my schedule. Look at who I ask to appear with me. Who I ask for help and admire. These people will vouch for my looooong time interest and investigation in….”GERRRaaapling.” I REALLY want to learn the 20% and 25% that Roger and Rickson Gracie mentioned above.
In my hand, stick, knife and gun courses, I have a motto, “everything you do standing, you should try and do on the ground.” Constant experimenting. We are constantly, consistently doing combatives on the ground. Striking, kicking, trapping-pinning, choking, drawing weapons, shooting, slashing, stabbing, even taking this or that joint lock-crank…on the ground. I am committed to the seamless application of all good moves, from standing through the ground. What do you think I’ve been exploring-doing for the last 51 years? I do know something. I am not as dumb as you think.
But gaslighters? It’s just I don’t look like you, dress like you, think like you, act like you, seek what you seek, we don’t start like you, or finish like you and our middle is different. I… have… a… different… mission. Just because I don’t worship at your church, doesn’t mean I’m a heathen.
Summary. So in a world where “words count,” precision language is important. If your only definition of a grappling expert is just being a dedicated master of tap-out, submission ground contests? Then maybe you are right about me. I do not know the tons and minutiate about your fractional, smaller definition of “ground sports contest grappling.” Maybe in that regard, you should get all uppity-superior on me. Go ahead, but try not to be too much of an asshole? I might just agree with you. I am always looking for tidpits I can alter, process, use and teach. And counters. Counters to everything. When I am there to learn, I am not there to replicate systems, I am there only to learn how to beat systems.
Oh, and to the asshole, hyper-sensitive commenters with ignorant, snap, gaslight judgements, with no internal filters bordering Tourette Syndrome…who really don’t know shit about me. Fuck you. Fuck you and the horse you road in on – remember in the very big picture of hand, stick, knife, gun crime and war? Your horse is really defined as a very small, one-trick pony.
Usually, one breaks their hand when punching the “Bicycle Helmet,” top area of the head. The opponent ducks or ducks-and-turns his head and you, whether thrusting or hooking, when your bare fist hits the “helmet” area, your hand gets jacked up. But here is an odd story of my busted-up finger not near the helmet. (Here, Tom McGrath of the UK is helping me demo this underarm delivery uppercut in Belgium, the centerpiece move of the essay.)
One night I was arresting someone, and he decided to fight me. And in the tussle he threw a pretty lame thrusting punch or push, or perhaps a bad blend of both at me. Anyway, I wound up in this underarm uppercut position – which is a popular training position – and I punched him in the chin. Pretty decent shot as he was bewildered enough for me to yank that arm around his back and handcuff him.
BUT…I remember the sharp pain in my middle finger. While booking him into the jail, it swelled up and of course I knew the lump wasn’t cancer. I knew it was from the guy’s damn, pointy jaw and the solid position his head was in. Well, the swelling went down in a day or two. Pain went away. Another come-and-go.
Through the years though, cysts appeared and disappeared in that space in the space between the middle finger and pointy finger and up the middle finger. Small-sized and medium-sized. I thought it weird, but they eventually came and went away too. Then one month, one lump got so big that I really couldn’t do much with those fingers. When I couldn’t put stamps on envelopes, I decided to see a hand doctor.
Diagnosis? That punch from many years back put a hairline fracture in my finger bone from the knuckle to first joint. The fracture edges were rough with growing bone spurs and the spurs caused cysts. Cure? Hand Operation! Remove the growing octopus of a cyst and shave the bone. Nothing to fix with the hairline fracture which I gather was naturally, “glued” somewhat together from time. (Yes, the cyst in a jar he showed me looked like a min-octopus.)
We hear a lot about broken hands-fingers from fights, and I have had a few classic hand swellings from punching people on the job, but when punching I never had common breaking problems many other cops (or people) had, which was kind “blind-concept punching,” I guess you could call it. From training I just aimed lower and held a tighter fist (tips from old ku-roty). I just had this lasting one problem, one I think rather uncommon for me, from an uppercut, down below the “helmet.”
I don’t want to start a long scientific punch vs. palm strike dissertation here, nor create the martial hand damage medical list. I am not against bare-knuckle punching. Other than the “helmet area,” heads usually do “give” when struck, jaws give, necks allows for movement, but there’s much less give in that bicycle helmet area. People see…INCOMING! and reflexively drop their face. Where the nose once was is now the “helmet head!
Fists must be tight, not loose as bad habits create inside boxing gloves. (Bad habit, ask Tyson.) When we fight for real, we won’t be wearing gloves and a mouthpiece and bare knuckle fighting is a real-deal, end challenge. Prep for it yes, but I don’t think we should destroy our knuckles and hands hitting hard things that don’t give-way somewhat, as done for decades like with old school karate-kung fu people. (I know old-timers that cannot hold a cup of coffee in their hands today from makiwara boards and the like. There were times when monster knuckles were badges of honor.)
Tone that down! You don’t want to meet the “Situs Brothers – Arthur and Burr” in your 50s and 60s. Rather we have to “strike” a compromise, pun intended.
I also think instructors should take a look at their practitioner’s hands and inspect the size, shape and potential for real-world punching. Some people ae structured to punch tanks, others have little thimbles for fists and should not trust punching anything, despite the endless focus mitt and bag drills they are forced to do. In the end, your job is to build customized, personal success as a doctrine, not replicate cookie-cutter dogma results. One size does not fit all. One system does not fit all. One sized fist training does not fit all.
Anyway, all’s well with that finger now. Hey, remember the bicycle helmet area advice! Aim lower. Tight fist.
I have been lucky I guess, having done CPR on a few folks though the years and they all lived. EMTs are doing it all the time. with mixed results. But citizens? Adam Gent of Real First Aid in the UK wrote this important consideration.
“There are two traps that prevent us from having difficult conversations in educating First Aid: Dark humor. Ill-founded optimism.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of dark humor. But if we create an environment where only dark humor is allowed, we do not allow any space for difficult conversations – every opportunity for a meaningful conversation is deftly deflected with an automatic joke and crippling bravado.
What do I mean by ill-founded optimism? Telling people “CPR saves lives” as though it is a given. Because it doesn’t. The absolute vast majority of people who go into cardiac arrest stay there. Forever. But I get it. We want to foster optimism; we want candidates to go out there and do their best. Why wouldn’t you try? But to tell people that CPR can restart a heart or that it can ‘bring someone back from the dead’ is just cruel.
I have lost count of the number of people I have met who have told me about their experience of having to do CPR, and it predictably follows the same format “…so I did CPR…but they died.” With a look of absolute desperation, blame and guilt. All because they were told that CPR saves lives, but in their case it didn’t. How unfair is that?
I know people who have performed CPR on their family or friends who are clearly dead, because the Call Handler told them to. Their last memory of their loved one is brutalizing their body and the taste of their vomit in their mouth. Because they didn’t have the confidence to accept they were dead and nothing could change it, because they were told “Only a doctor can declare someone dead” or that “once you start CPR you can’t stop” or some other nonsense.
Make time for difficult conversations about how woefully unsuccessful CPR is without a defib or within a reasonable time frame. About accepting that dead people tend to stay dead. They were dead when you found them, they were dead while you were doing CPR and they stayed dead afterwards. Nothing changed. It was not your fault. Make time to talk about loss and grief.
This reprinted as a service to the martial arts community.
Should anyone care, there is a class action lawsuit filed against the Premier Martial Arts franchise group, filed last November, that is not known about. This info-brief comes from “Law 360” and is as follows…
“A group of martial arts studio franchisees has thrown the opening kick in a sparring match with a national chain, alleging in a complaint filed in Tennessee federal court that the chain duped hundreds of people into sinking millions of dollars into money pit dojos.
Thirty-six (now over 50) franchisees have accused Knoxville, Tennessee-based Premier Franchising Group LLC, which does business as Premier Martial Arts, or PMA, of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, fraudulent inducement and breach of contract.
“Defendants have engaged in an ongoing, multi-year, nationwide scheme to defraud hundreds of people into investing substantial sums of money to buy and attempt to operate martial arts studios as PMA franchises,” the plaintiffs’ Nov. 18 complaint said. “The depth of the fraudulent scheme is still being uncovered but the devastation is already well-known: retirement savings obliterated, franchisees suffering from staggering debt, and a host of hard-working individuals and families on the brink of financial ruin.”
Founded in 2004 and franchised in 2018, PMA offers karate, Krav Maga and kickboxing lessons to children and adults at more than 70 locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and it has sold 564 franchises to 228 owners, according to a news release in January announcing the company’s sale to Bedford, Texas-based Unleashed Brands.
Unleashed Brands Chief Legal Officer Stephen Polozola told Law360 on Tuesday that “Premier Franchising Group disputes the claims asserted by this small subset of franchisees.” He declined to comment further on the pending litigation.
The franchisees’ attorney, John Jacobson of Riley & Jacobson, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The franchisees allege that PMA founder Barry Van Over schemed with Omaha, Nebraska-based franchise sales organization Franchise Fastlane and its vice president of brand partnerships, Brent Seebohm, to downplay what it takes to run a PMA franchise while overinflating the potential profits.
For instance, the defendants purportedly told potential franchise owners that they’d only need to work about 10 hours a week at the studio when, in reality, they’d have to be there 40 to 60 hours a week to keep the business afloat.
Also allegedly said prospective franchisees would see profit margins of more than 40% and about $35,000 to $40,000 in monthly revenue, according to the suit, which states, “These numbers were simply not true.”
The complaint further claims that PMA pressured prospective franchisees to buy multiple studios, while knowing that they were “money-losing endeavors,” as a way to squeeze them for franchise fees that could be as high as $298,500.
According to the suit, PMA attempted to “cover their tracks” by fraudulently inducing franchisees to sign documents with a provision that purported to release PMA from wrongdoing.
The releases in question are unenforceable, the plaintiffs argued, because they were “procured by fraud,” among other things, but “nevertheless, they reflect the cynical and sad efforts by defendants to defraud their franchisees at every turn.”
Aside from PMA, the franchisees are suing Van Over, PMA Vice President Myles Baker, Franchise Fastlane, Seebohm and Unleashed Brands.
The plaintiffs are represented by John Jacobson of Riley & Jacobson. The case is Anthony et al. v. Van Over et al., case number 3:22-cv-00416, in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee. “
With advancing age and advanced age, one’s reliance on “kuraty” wanes. Someday I know I will be limping around with only my snub-nose, hammerless revolver in my jacket pocket as my only and last resort, despite all the years of training. And what of those who’ve never done any “kuraty?” These inevitabilities make one think about handy support, self defense weapons. Like the small handgun and one might be…the mysterious, intriguing…blackjack.
Andre Wong of Police One defines: “The sap, slapper, or blackjack is a heavy leather pouch, eight to twelve inches long, filled with lead and sometimes a flexible steel rod. Unlike a baton, a sap’s size and shape allowed it to be concealed inside an officer’s pocket. Saps may not look as intimidating as a gun or a baton, but thinking they’re not dangerous would be a mi stake. A sap is dense enough to break bones when the user has room to swing, and the leather edge is rough enough to cause a dull, ripping laceration to the face when used as a jabbing instrument. Slappers would be ideal for use in ultra-tight quarters like a fight on the ground against a large suspect.”
I noticed a number of folks selling and teaching these tools of late. And numerous training videos. I see a lot of artistic, photo displays of weapons on Instagram, and most include saps laid amongst knives and pistols, etc. Given the laws of most states in the USA and countries around the world, I am not too sure you want to be “caught” carrying one, or using one. I am not too sure many of these teachers, photographers or makers have ever used a blackjack in a fight? Not that, that is a mandatory rule. Smart people can invent and teach smart things. Or, have they considered the vast legal ramifications of wearing and using a blackjack?
The law? Here’s just one example, from the People’s Republic of California and the many states that swap legal weapons lingo: California Penal Code 22210 PC makes it a crime to manufacture, import, sell, give, or possess leaded canes or batons (or other weapons in this category). The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction is punishable by up to 3 years in jail or prison. A leaded cane is a: crutch, staff, stick, or rod (later defined as any blackjack) that is weighted with lead so it can be used as a weapon. The statute also applies to short and weighted objects that can strike a person.”
Okay! Then, well, so much for California. You heard it’s illegal, but it sort of “brings it on home,” when you read the actual laws. I fail to see the word illegally “teaching” in there, though. Exponents, fans and sellers say that in most states you can own one (at home), but warn not to carry one or use one. ETSY sells them as “novelty paperweights.” Others advertise them as “change purses with stout handles,” with coinage inserted via a zipper on the striking end for weight. This fools no one.
Police carry. I was officially issued and carried one in Texas policing for many years in the 1970s and mid-1980s, though I rarely hit anyone with it as I was trained and training in empty hand systems so much, I used that first and foremost whenever I could. I noticed that others less trained, whacked the crap out of people with them. I have seen people stunned and knocked out by them, and upraised fists smacked by them – instant, significant reaction. In the U.S. Army Military Police and in Texas we were also issued batons, which again, I didn’t actually use much, though rules were pretty “stick-free-wheeling” in the MPs. (We were even taught to quick-search a body with a stick, rubbing it all around the potential weapon-carry spots, which now…would probably be considered rape of some sort.)
Where did we tote that thing? Believe it or not, in the golden, olden days, usually in our back uniform pocket! Able to be easily yanked out by any miscreant! In my small world I’ve never seen that happen, although stats tell us that lots of resisting people did and do like to grab our stuff and it has probably happened. I have had some attempted gun grabs (one on the ground) and handcuff grabs. Some uniforms had sewed-in sap pockets on the thighs. I hear that some uniform companies still add these “sap pants pockets” (costs more) as a matter of routine…but remain empty.
Empty? Many police agencies, mine included, decided one day in the 1980s to collect up all the blackjacks and hide them away in dusty closets. Night sticks also slowly de-evolved into expandable batons, then for many agencies all “sticks” also completely disappeared (along with those BIG flashlights).
Blackjack Training Issues and Problems. I sometimes consider slipping a “Blackjack Module” into my Force Necessary: Stick course, because it is an impact weapon. I often consider too, changing the name of Force Necessary Stick, to Force Necessary: Impact Weapons. But, it doesn’t “sing” so well as the core, four single nouns, “hand, stick, knife, gun.” Imagine that added, elongated song title of nouns –
“Hand, Stick-Flashlight-Blackjack-Sap-DanBong, Knife, Gun.” That makes for a long album cover name. Even adding the term “impact weapons” replacing the solo word “stick” rambles on, “Hand, ‘Impact Weapons’ (instead of just ‘Stick’), Knife, Gun” is still too long for me. It is hard to replace the simple, message “impact” (yes, pun intended) of single-syllable caveman, “Hand. Stick. Knife. Gun.”
With blackjacks I have other reservations other than just too many syllables and nouns in the title. Mostly those weapon laws, yes, and then “supply and demand” problems. First off, they are illegal to run around with almost everywhere to begin with, lest of all a box of them. But then so are samurai swords and that hasn’t stopped classes on them! Just don’t walk into a Walmart wearing a katana. People like to study all kinds of stuff from esoteric to practical.
If I taught the sap subject, I would need to travel worldwide with a supply of, a bunch of actual saps or training saps at seminars for attendees. You see, no matter how much we ask, people do not show up with the subject gear. Local schools do not have a boxloads of saps in their closets either.
In my world I’d need like…25 or 30 of them. And do you now much stuff I already fly with? Boxes of stuff. Why so many? There’s not much worse than having a specific, weapon-topic seminar, or a session within a seminar, showing up and no one or almost no one has that specific training weapon. I could tell you stories. You are talking to a guy who’s been stopped in Australian airports because I had a box of wooden pistols. What safety, look-a-like, substitute could I fly and drive around with such a box of stuff, that would be blackjack-like and yet, not get me tossed in TSA or the local hoosegow for illegal weapons? Just one real one in my luggage or to and fro the seminar could be legal trouble.
Making the blackjack subject matter a mandatory part of the FN:Stick course, makes these support accommodations on me mandatory too.
The padded knife-dueling tool shown here is an option but it is not perfectly shaped, removing the nuances of the weapon. (This is also a knife problem when trying to emphasize the knife’s edge with a rounded replica.) And…no strap! You have to experience the scenarios with the straps-lanyards.
In the spirit of “reducing the abstract,” Nok – Tak Knife sells a soft cleaver knife, with flat top that might better substitute for a sap. About $40. Again, no strap. And I am quite sure, someone reading this will supply a photo of replica training blackjack, with the quote like, “Dracula’s Obscurities sells foam saps for training!” And of course, more news that John Doe can make them in his garage. Great news for the sap training world.
If I did teach this topic, I would not replicate the mediocre police blackjack material of yesteryear, but rather teach the subject through the basic and advanced “Combat Clock,” I’ve used for 27 years now. The basics? “Slash and stab” at 12, 3, 6, 9 or high, right, low, left. Advanced? All numbers of the clock, standing through ground. And then the nuances, the nuances of that particular weapon. One such nuance would be sap-targeting, another is if you turn the standard, flat top, blackjack sideways, it is more stout and less “giving.” Another is suddenly grappling with one strapped to your hand or wrist – one must experience the “judo” and “jujitsu” moves of the world with one strapped-wrapped to you. I might also add that a blackjack handle within your closed fist helps reinforce your hand a bit when punching. There’s more of course.
Fad or Fad Not? In the big picture, I suspect that the subject matter is a fad. I am not a passing-fad-boy. And, I don’t mindlessly replicate fads or fad makers. Fun, but a fad and at this point, I can’t see it as much of a big, crowd-drawer or a big, crowd-pleaser in the big picture of the so-called “civilized world” – in that the damn thing is illegal most everywhere. Of course, I could be wrong and blackjacks and saps might sweep the globe. And in a “free state,” if asked I guess I would cover the topic.
Despite the legal hassles, still the lore and the look of these little scrappy, tough bastards are intriguing enough to stay alive for “free staters,” collectors, gawkers, historians and self-defenders.
Moving. Still. Parking lots and roads, all involve cars, still and moving, and both places are potential hotter spots for U.S. crime, not necessarily super “hot” spots as you might assume, but “hotter” spots. Parking lots and roads are places where all kinds of people of all types, pass by each other and interact in some fashion, if only visually.
In Part 1 here… I have tried to collect a lot of info on parking lot crime and related shootings for years now. For those of you reading this outside the United States, I hope you can glean some security ideas that may or may not relate to your country, but may help in developing equations for safety. For one universal problem, we all fall prey to the “frequency illusion” which leads us to believe that some things we focus on, or the media focuses on, happens more than others because…because we are looking-focused for that one thing, such as in crime in general and for this topic – crime, shootings, in, out and around vehicles on parking lots.
Usually, in reality, most all research is shallow and fallible. Experts take small samples and extrapolate them into bigger results. Keep this elusiveness in mind when reading what I have collected here. And I warn, this essay is NOT about auto burglaries, or auto thefts, or advising lot owners how to build safer parking lots. It’s about people in, out and around vehicles and shootings. There are attached areas like hallways, stairs and elevators, and if a person has left the immediate area of their autos on lots to these attached locations, they have left the scope of this essay.
Big Pictures. Big Pictures. You can open up any news page or search on the topic “parking lot shootings” and a lengthy list of individual crimes appear. Every shooting is a drama and trauma (and probably a lawsuit). Is this as rampant as this seems? The list is long and if you don’t recognize and dismiss the Frequency Illusion you’ll probably decide to cart a machine gun to MacDonald’s, as all parking lots (and life) are a war zone.
First, as a skeptic, I like to examine the big picture in any topic, so often neglected either by bias or ignorance, starting with the necessary topics to help define the subject:
total teen and adult driver population, (this gives us a comparison, crime versus populations, and numbers of drivers)
total retail transactions, (this tells us estimates of how many people might drive to and park at a retail location.)
total car ownership, (suggests parking lot potential use.)
local gun legal and illegal gun ownership laws.
types of parking lots, residential, restaurants, retail, etc….
reported parking lot crime (actually, parking lot crimes, and out and around cars and shootings.
there are other local, nuanced factors of course…
According to laws in every state in the U.S., an area of the law known as “premise liability,” businesses have a duty to protect its customers from violent crime while they’re on store property, crime that can reasonably predict.
Next, the actual numbers so we can see the big picture. In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 331.4 million people living in the United States and more than three-quarters (77.9%) or 258.3 million were adults, 18 years or older. Out of this figure, in 2023 there are a projected 243.4 million licensed drivers in the U.S., which includes 89% of US adults. Hedges and Company, a popular marketing firm reports that in 2023 there are a projected 243.4 million licensed drivers in the US. In many states, teens under 18 are also driving. The CDC says there are over 8.3 million teen drivers.” Finally, the Federal Highway Administration estimates there are 275,913,237 vehicles in the U.S.. Not all folks drive of course, but can we say so many if not most do.
That’s a lot of big picture numbers so let me list them out:
331.4 million people living in the United States in 2020. (More in 2023.)
243.4 million adult licensed drivers in the US. (in 2022)
8.3 million teen drivers. (in 2022.)
That’s about 252 million total drivers. (in 2022.)
There are estimated 275,913,237 vehicles in the US.
Pew Research reports there are approximately 77.5 million adult gun owners in the U.S.. There are some 436 million guns.
Summary – Lots of drivers, guns, cars and lots of parking needed.
And They All Park, Somewhere. Parking lots and parking garages – do we really need to define what they are? I think not. I think we all know the full range of parking options, those covered and uncovered. How many lots? There is no way to really collect business parking lot and garage numbers in the US with accuracy, but we can surmise there are a lot of them. A whole lot. All these cars, drivers and passengers park and walk to and from vehicles every day. I hesitate to suggest precise, parking lot attendance numbers, other than it must be enormous.
Walmart Parking Lots. One Crime Case Study. The big store system everyone brags they hate…yet go to and and park. Let’s look at one of the most popular retail locations in the U.S. as a big sampling, case study, and use it as a means, an equation and method to consider how we might evaluate all parking lot crime in general. Handily for us, Walmart-haters have produced articles on “Walmart crime.” The numbers sound scary. Sounds like a lot, but the authors never compare crimes to total sales transactions or customers counts – again – the typical ignorance of the big picture, which will ruin their biased message about Walmart crime.
in 2022, Walmart reports on average in their 3,573 Supercenters in the U.S., each serves about 10,000 customers every single day. These numbers come from sales transactions. That rounds out. to 10,000 sales times 3,573 stores = to be about some 3,650,000 sales a day – over 3 and half million customers a day.
Dare we then cipher out 3,650,000 daily customers times 365 days? 1,332,250,000? So many of them equal a vehicle trip and parking as I think we can safely judge that almost all Walmart transactions probably represents a car and parking. That’s a lot of parking on Walmart parking lots. A lot of people and no matter how we crunch those numbers, we can surely assume a whole lot of people parked on Walmart parking lots. Then, were there 5 million crimes? 2 million? 1 million? Millions of shoot-outs? Thousands maybe? Hundred? Murders. Kidnappings, rapes and robberies? Lions and tigers and bears? Not hardly. Read on…
Now…crime at, and-or on, Walmart property? (2016 must have been a bad PR year for Walmart as the haters jumped on for a lot reasons…)
Time Magazine reported in “2016, police in many communities get more calls to Walmart shopping centers than anywhere else. For some stores, police are called multiple times a day. The problem appears to be far larger for Walmart (open 24 hours) for competing retailers like Target. And the crime ranges from mostly standard shoplifting and petty theft to the occasional rape, stabbing, shooting, murder, or meth lab hidden in a 6-foot drainage pipe under the store parking lot.”
This Week magazine reported that “Impoverished communities are more likely to be afflicted by crime in general, and these days a Walmart store is often the biggest retail hub.”
In 2016, Tulsa Oklahoma PD described the violent crimes over several year period – “Most of the calls to the northeast Supercenter were for shoplifting, but there’s no shortage of more serious crimes, including five armed robberies so far this year, a murder suspect who killed himself with a gunshot to the head in the parking lot last year, and, in 2014, a group of men who got into a parking lot shootout that killed one and seriously injured two others.”
Bloomberg reports that in 2016 there were “More than 200 violent crimes (coast to coast), at Walmarts, including attempted kidnappings and multiple stabbings, shootings, and murders, have occurred at the nation’s stores.
Note the highlighted word, “occasional” above. Those occasional violent ones are the ones that could, might involve a potential gun defense. And the… “More than” two hundred violent crimes? When you dissect the “more than” line…is that one more – 201? Five more – 205? If it reached fifty more, 250 would they still say “more than 200″? This bias verbiage to shock you, but whether it’s 200 or 300 crimes, that’s nothing much within 3,650,000 customers in 3,573 locations a day from coast to coast. Is this a real parking lot crime wave?
You can start to see how parking lot crime is reported and presented, minus the big picture numbers. And, in the Tulsa story, armed robberies (parking lot or inside registers? As the interior registers would not officially be parking lot crimes, but fleeing suspects on a parking lot are indeed a problem – they almost always have getaway vehicles desperate to escape.)
3,573 stores X 10,000 sales-customer a day per store = 3,650,000 daily sales-customers.
365 days X 3,650,000 daily sales-customers = 1,332,250,000.
1,332,250,000 = how many cars on the lot?
Bloomberg says 200 violent crimes in 2016, parking lot or otherwise?
What of Restaurants, Businesses, Residentials and “other” Then? Finances On Line, report that 163 million people eat out once a week. Times that by 52 weeks. That is… 32,760,00,000, which includes a lot of varied parking, couldn’t we assume? We can’t say exactly for sure how many, but there are a lot of people parking on parking lots to eat out. How about all the other business parking lots? And we cannot forget the private parking lots of businesses, houses, and apartments.
Statista.com reports that In 2021, that is within this total of millions and millions of parking events, around 16,617 robberies took place in parking garages or parking lots in the United States. No related report if they involve or justify parking lot shoot-outs, being robberies an armed victim, might be motivated to produce a gun.
Finally, The U.S. Department of Justice reports, “it appears thatthe risk of being attacked in a parking facility, is 4 in 1 million,and is really quite low. Interestingly, about 20 percent of violent crime in parking facilities is committed by persons known to the victim.”
This violent “20% known” involves gang wars, revenge, co-workers, affairs, domestic violence and all the other related “known” crimes we see in the news. By the way, where do you fit in this 20%? Is such a thing brewing in your life? Increasing your odds?
(Note: I’ve come across various sources with confusing odd, numbers that didn’t add up and deleted them from my number lists. Some were inflammatory as they sold courses and parking lot safety gear.)
So, On the Subject of Shooting? My purpose with boring you with these massive numbers is simply to remind you that there are lots of cars, drivers, guns and parking, and not a lot of lot crimes in comparison. Miniscule in comparison to many millions of daily parking events. With the Walmart parking lot study and the U.S. Department of Justice’s “4 in one million” chance, parking lots in general are actually, pretty darn safe and there is a lot of daily, safe parking, and safe to-and-fro walking, every day in the U.S.. Can we extrapolate the DOJ and Walmart examination to all parking lots? Somewhat…a bit, for example, there is anecdotal information that in some places like Memphis, TN., or in like some Chicago neighborhoods, parking lots that are extra dangerous. It seems most cities have problem spots. So local geography, local crime and time can certainly be situational (see below advice). But in the big picture and with the below preparation list, odds are greatly in your favor you will not be in a parking lot shooting.
When “Four in a Million” Becomes “One in One.”? Crime numbers change every year and in every location, that includes the numbers I have produced above. If a bunch of lot crime or not, people will still have guns on them and-or in their vehicles. Also, as I asked a few lines above, “Where do you fit in that “known to 20%” category?” What’s brewing in your life that will change the odds? Well, as I like to remind folks, if it is YOU attacked! The “one-in-four-mill” odds no longer count! Then it’s a “One in One” and the word “chance” is gone. It’s happening to you. Are you armed? Can you get away? Can you scare away? Duck, cover, move? Shoot? Shoot to kill?
The “fortune favors the prepared” classic quote was not said by Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Patton, nor Dick Tracy. It comes to us from a French chemist, Louis Pasteur, who said fully, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” In summary, one should go about their parking travels with healthy preparation and real, local intelligence information, not an unhealthy, panting, hypervigilant paranoia. I always resort to the “Ws and H” questions for preparation. Here are some sample questions…
WHO are you and who do you think will attack you on a parking lot you? How might these elements prevent or become a shooting?
WHAT is going on, on the parking lot, and district and city you are visiting? Crime rates? Problems? What is “brewing bad” in your life? What will he do to approach-attack you? What will you do? What are you wearing? What is your job? What are the local self-defense laws? What gun? What and how might these elements escalate into a shooting?
WHERE is this lot, and where on the lot will you park? By the front doors? Under lights? Where are the attack points? Where do you fit in that ‘”known to” 20%” category that you might be “hunted?” Where exactly is your gun? Where might errant rounds go? Where and how might this turn into a shooting?
WHEN are you parking, holidays? Daytime? Nighttime? When and how might this turn into a shooting?
HOW exactly would you be approached-attacked on the lot? How will he act? How will you react? How will this turn into a shooting?
WHY are you going there? Is it worth it, given the questions above? Why and how could this turn into a shooting?
Each “W and H” question is a book chapter, too much to burden this small, generic essay here. I lecture on these in my “Shooting In, Out and Around Cars” seminar. You must continue to answer these big and small, vital, “Ws and H” questions for yourself, your life and locale. Use these and make up your own list of answers. I have been using the “Ws and H” questions for over 27 years to investigate and teach potential problems in crime, war (and life in general). They’ve never let me down as the best way to plan, but you need good intel.
Live Fire and Vehicles. You can train live fire methods in, out and around cars, shooting paper targets. In the end, given some “in-to and out-of” vehicle shooting nuances concerning things like vehicle construction, ricochets, and glass issues, the physicality of shootings with all opponents outside of cars will be much like shooting anywhere else, with the exception that you will be somewhat surrounded mostly by cars.
Live fire – if so, are you training for the realities of your life? I see a fair amount of vehicle-related, live-fire courses were citizen attendees are outfitted as if for a two-week war in Cambodia with auto and semi-auto rifles, pistols, training knives, knee and elbow pads, and gear full of ammo. Such military, SWAT, police, etc. courses are absolutely ten times the fun. I have run some sims ammo ones and everybody just reveals in the experience. But unless you are on the far side of some special operations team or the Secret Service, this will not relate to your trip to the Dairy Queen and the small, hammerless .32 revolver you carry in your pocket.
All the live-fire, vehicle-related courses are a one-way street of early preparation. Vital, core work to experience. And it is also vital to train with interactive, simulated ammo, shooting at enemies who are shooting back at you. It is horrible and shocking for some to see how easily you can be shot, foot, ankle, knee, leg, elbow, arm, head and torso, even after working the best live-fire, range shooting methods in, out and around cars.
United States parking lots seem to be quite safe, when one considers the big picture. But when you or yours are victimized it is hard to respect and swallow the big picture evidence. I understand this, but there is a bigger picture that blankets the realities, training doctrine, laws and policy making. Within all that, within an amazing safety record, bad things can happen. I hope you will never be involved in vehicle-related gunfight.
Road Rage and Shootings, Part 2 of this investigation, coming soon.