RIPPED CALLUSES AND SMOKING RATTAN

 
On a rather famous FMA page, a member asked for opinions on-about the pros and cons of Remy Presas Modern Arnis. I answered…
 
Three people are responsible for spreading FMA around the world in 70s, 80s and into the 90s. Leo Gaje, Dan Inosanto and Remy Presas. This reality is somewhat lost in martial history.
 
There are just a few of us left who remember a period of a more complete, diverse, head-banging, Modern Arnis. I hate to start naming names and not mention everyone, but people like Dieter Knuttel, Tye Botting, Dan Anderson, Tim Hartman, Chad Edward, Mark Lynn – well please, please forgive me for the too short list of names, you know who you are – that recall a hardcore, very diverse “old school” Modern Arnis.
 
For one example, through the years getting Remy to teach knife was like pulling teeth. Unarmed vs. the knife? Plenty. Filipino knife fighting? Disappeared with him through the years. I had to cajole and beg him to do a 2-day knife seminar in 1993. As long as it was a small group, he did it. (It was-is hard to teach knife in a giant seminar that included kids and young adults.) Some things just evolve away.
 
By the way, Remy NEVER looked artsy and flashy. If he ever did, it was a total accident and not his plan. He was committed to efficient, clean stripped-down movement. This was one major lesson for me. “Don’t look pretty. Don’t look stylish. No dance. Do!” THAT…is “tattoo-advice” in fighting. In that vein, he was also pretty vicious as ANY stunt-demo person will confess.
 
(Tattoo advice is a joking term I use about advice so important it should be tattooed on your body!) 
 
 
As time and age marched on, it changed a bit into, well, more of a realm of stand-still, stick, Tapi-Tapi, which was always a part, but became a bit more prominent. For example, I recall a time when working on super-power-hardcore stick strikes were mandatory, long training sessions. He would stalk around yelling at you to strike harder. HARDER! Things like that. Ripped calluses and smoking rattan. These elongated sessions, well, can become boring, exhausting and not very “commercial.” The newer, later materials seem to be taught more today.
 
In the big picture (and nostalgically) I like those old days. These “old timers” know that era, that material too, and know what I am talking about. Ripped calluses, and smoking rattan.
 
*********
 
 
  

HE DROPS THE KNIFE! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

 

HE DROPS THE KNIFE! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Convergence knife. Converging the law and rules of engagement with knife training. If you achieve a disarm, and the criminal drops the knife, ever wonder what to do next, I mean legally? What might some legal issues be? It could be tricky, depending upon the who, what, where, when, how and why of your situation. You might ask:

-Who Knife?
-What Knife?
-Where Knife?
-When Knife?
-How Knife?
-Why Knife?
* You could write a book about these big and small answers. (Wait a minute. I already have! See below.)

I do want to start off here by either introducing or reminding everyone that knife training in ANY martial art or combatives is usually done situation-free. Just moves and drills. Some duel just for fun and history. Just know were you fit in the big picture. Many fail to include stress knife quickdraws, usually ignored (a whole other problem for many, especially many in FMA where weapons like knives and sticks just magically appear in their hands from the start). Drills and moves are usually empty of reality ramifications.

I usually grimace when I see these video clips of instructors absolutely butchering unarmed opponents or Bob dummies. I know the videos are only slices of life and I can only hope their actual courses have great depth in law, crime and situations. But, I also know that some of them are depthless schools for thugs and future prison inmates who will act reflexively and thoughtlessly as they were taught. Using a knife even in what seems to be a perfect survival, self-defense predicament may still has a terrible stigma with consequences.

Let’s burrow down on only one topic. The disarm of a knife and what happens next. Probably the most useful, practical disarm of a knife is an impact disarm. Much training smartly centers on this common sense category – whacking his weapon bearing limb hard with your knife (or stick, or whatever). He loses the knife!

Now the knife is grounded. Man disarmed. His lethality greatly diminished. You charge in to kill, kill, KILL!??? As taught and seen from macho instructors and slice and dice? Blood and guts? What looks so cool on film can be your ticket to the penitentiary. Are there prosecutors, courts and juries around the world that will prosecute and even persecute you for stabbing and slashing open this suddenly, newly disarmed-unarmed person? Oh, yes there are. In many naive eyes, a dropped knife is no longer a lethal force situation.

One of the big “where” questions is “where did this fight, this disarm happen?” London, England? Berkeley California? Any jurisdiction of liberal dingbats? There, people will say, “but he no longer holds a knife. The lethality is over.” This could become an arrest and expensive troubles for you and maybe a death sentence?

Also the legal system will investigate the name and material in the knife course you take and the name of your knife. Some knife courses are horribly named! And some knives too. How many knives are on you? I did a seminar last weekend and a very “normal guy,” listening to various, over-zealous instructors carries THREE militant-looking, fixed blades everywhere, every day, along with his rigged up pistol. THREE knives? I didn’t do that on task forces serving arrest warrants on wanted felons. He goes to the mailbox like this.

But I like to remind people that the dropped loose knife is just right there on the ground, nearby to some extent on the floor, and all the bad man needs to do is pick it up (in a second of two) and it is a lethal force situation again. Instantly. So, remember that when explaining yourself later. It is still very deadly dangerous. Juries need to hear this possibility. They are just flat out dumb about these things. Plus, and needless to say, this suddenly disarmed man might be a young, giant and still very much an overwhelming threat, even if unarmed.

One solid avenue is learning “less than lethal” applications of knife use. Beyond verbal skills, and getting out of Dodge, and wounding-only, it has been well proven that the mere presentation of a knife (or pistol) versus armed or unarmed attackers have scared the criminal off over half the time, in DOJ studies year after year. But the fact that your system and you are inherently worried about use of force issues may help you in a legal jam.

Situations! Details. Details. Details. Motives. The police. The prosecutors. The court. The jury. Location, location, location, as they say. There is a story, a drama and a trauma with EVERY single act of violence. You have to survive the legal aftermath too.

Find a good, mature, thorough, professional knife system. Find an average, practical knife. Stay the heck out of trouble.

 

CPR AT SAMBOS, OR HUSBAND KILLS WIFE AND WATCHES…

 

“Sixty-five…fight on the Sambos parking lot,” the police dispatcher announced, as Glen Nowles and I prowled the midnight hour, wintery north Texas streets in our squad car.

“Ten-four,” I replied, and off we went to yet another pain-in-the-neck family argument, or redneck versus hippy, or disco versus cowboy, or, or…you get the picture and the numerous combinations that can happen after clubs-bars hours .

Sambos Restaurant. Odd name, huh? It was a chain like a Denny’s restaurant we see so much today. The names were changed to be more politically correct, but some historians say the name was never a derogatory black theme. It actually came from an abbreviation of the owners Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett. The photo above is a franchise replica of out city’s Sambos.

The logo was often that an Indian boy, as in India. Open 24 hours, near Interstate 35, it was always a hotspot for the multi-culture drunks after the bars closed. When the country western bars and discos closed, many of the drunk patrons flooded into the all-night and late-night restaurants. And of course, we had our hands full with these knuckleheads. Quite a mix. Roy Rogers at one table. John Travolta or Dennis “Easy Rider” Hopper at another. I’ve had a few knock-down and drag-out fights and arrests in places like this.

When Glenn and I rolled up to Sambos, we did not see any fight in progress, but rather a downed woman and the Sambos manager out front on the wide sidewalk of the restaurant. Shivering from the cold, he waved us over with a motion of desperation. As we ran from the car, he yelled,

“He hit her and she fell. She’s dead! I think she’s dead!”

Probably knocked out when her head hit the pavement? Typical, I first thought. I went to her head and lifted it to see or feel for a wound as Glen grabbed for her throat and felt for a pulse.

“Did you call for an ambulance, too?” he asked the manager.
“No, just the police.”
“Well, call an ambulance,” Glen ordered, and he looked at me. “No pulse. No pulse,” he told me. “She’s dead.”

We began CPR on her. Glenn started working on the mouth and I took the chest, as we were taught. We switched positions, but worked non-stop, for what seemed like an hour, but it wasn’t. Both
Glen and I recognized her as someone we knew, an emergency room nurse at one of our hospitals.

She suddenly gagged! And coughed! What a sign, and her body started to spasm. She even started to mumble.

Glen and I dropped back on the cold ground beside her, pretty well exhausted. She sat up in complete shock, babbling about where she was. I wanted to say “from hell and back” but refrained. Who knows, maybe she went the other way? We all three sat there on the sidewalk. In the distance, we heard the sirens of an ambulance.

“Your heart stopped,” Glen said.
“My God, my God,” she said.
“What happened?” he asked.
“My husband and I…. had a fight. That is all I can remember.”
“He hit her!” the manager piped in. “He hit her, but she fell when he hit her in the chest. Hard in the chest!”

Apparently, it was a heart-stopping strike to the chest. Not all that unusual really. The ambulance pulled up and EMTs charged out with gear. They began checking her out as Glen and I stood up.

Typically, we follow the ambulance to the hospital and get all the complainant’s contact information to fill out a crime report. The next day, detectives would work the assault case, domestic or
otherwise, and that is the typical routine of that age and era.

“Did you see the car the husband left in?” I asked the manager as I stood up, and as the EMT crew readied the woman for transport.

“Left? He didn’t leave,” the manager answered.
“What? Where is he?” I asked.
“Well, he is right there,” and he pointed to the first booth in the corner of the front door. Through the huge glass windows, there sat a man with a menacing expression, smoking a cigarette, facing us with a cup of coffee on the table. He was right at the front window; directly facing us and saw everything we did.

“Him?” Glen asked, about as astonished as I was.
“Him,” the manager replied.
“He sat there and watched us do all this?” I said aloud but to myself mostly.
“Yup,” the manager said. “Sat there the whole time. watching.”

Glen and I exchanged glances. Now, getting someone’s heart to beat again is an emotional experience. It is a ride unlike no other. A ticking time bomb that must be diffused before explosions occur in the head and then in the body. It is a race. Then somehow, if it works, the magic of the universe kicks in. The spark of life. The heart beats yet again. So, to think that the husband sat and watched all this. Death, and life again.

I think I was the first to march toward the door. I was quite young then, and I was ready to destroy this guy with my bare hands. I am sure Glen, a bit older, was ready also. But, as so called, professionals we put the “skids on” that, squeezed the adrenaline before we entered the establishment. I sat at the table across from the guy. Glen stood. The husband barely looked at us. Coffee cup in his hand. he stared out the big window.

He looked like an unshaven, smelly scumbag, an uneducated, middle-aged drunk waste of air, time and space. Of course, that is such a snap judgment on my part, huh? I just wanted to toss that hot coffee right in his face, the cup and all, and smack him out of his seat. Couldn’t. But if he made so much as the wrong move? My dream would come true.

The conversation went, to the best of memory, something short like this:
“Coffee good?” I asked quietly.
“No,” he said.
I nodded.
“Any guess where we’re going?” I said.
“Jail,” he said.
“Coffee’s not much better there either. Maybe worse.” I said.

All that angst, as actor/writer Billy Bob Thornton would call it years later – “angst and shit,” and it came down to a calm, few lines about the coffee. Iconic. Laconic. Ironic.

“Up,” I said. I stood. He stood and Glenn cuffed his hands. Glenn searched him as I watched. We marched him to the squad car. No chance for a fight. I guess he could tell that Glen and I were about a thread away from going rodeo right then and there all over him.

Instead, we booked him into the city jail for aggravated assault and the rest is history in a set of books I ain’t read yet. We went to the next call. The detectives did their thing. The D.A.s office did their thing. 

I guess they call us professional when we keep our cool at times like these. Sometimes it ain’t easy, but it got easier as the years rolled along. I grew a callous on my hide that was once three inches thick. But I see that cover peeling away now, that bare unpredictable nerve coming closer to the surface again. I hope I can keep some of both that callous and that nerve.

We continued to see the nurse at work for another year. She got a divorce. With each encounter with her, behind the curtain of our conversations, was some kind of a bond. Funny feeling. She told us she was back in school. She graduated with another medical degree and moved away. So, the nurse got a divorce and moved away. That ex-husband by the way? Turned out he really was an unshaven, smelly scumbag, an uneducated, middle-aged, drunk, waste of air, time and human space. A lot of my snap judgments do turn out. Imagine that.

There was a bit of police history here too. As the years went by Glen, I and others did save a few more lives out on the proverbial “streets.” We weren’t EMTs who did this routinely, but we did once in a while. Oddly, ironically, decades later when our police department became more modernized and larger with the times, a new police chief instituted a medal for lifesaving. The first recipient had rescued a woman from a burning car wreck as I recall, and the young officer deserved some creds for his actions. Sure. This medal with news media, was awarded at a big, department ceremony. Great rounds of applause. Yipee.

But some of us older hands sat quiet and could not help but think of the times we had saved lives in the past years. A quick, accidental exchange of glances in the ceremony between me and other older vets said it all to me,
“Oh well, guess the new kids get medals now.”

Such is life. And death. Imagine trying to reward all those deeds retro-actively anyway. How exactly would you do that? And who among us would walk into an admin office and ask, “Can I have a medal, please?” Not me. Not the other vets either.

The medals are a good idea, though I guess, for the future. Good for morale but also it is a special moment to do such a thing. Real heroes doing real work. But the “across the street at the fire station? The hospitals?  People are saving lives all the time. Way, way more than any of us every did.

Hey, even CPR has changed these days, emphasizing more on the chest pumping and way less on the mouth to mouth. Check out the new courses. You never know when you need it.

Check out these police memoirs books from Hock, click here…

ADVERTISING MARTIAL ARTS AND COMBATIVES SEMINARS

 
Instructors! Instructors! Instructors…
In the last 29 years I have made certified instructors and black belts around the world from the USA to Australia. I think about 150 or so. You can see them on our instructor page. While some are inactive, many are active and frankly quite active. And by active I also mean very busy making and doing seminars. I get the news of these seminars, and some ask me right out –
 
  • “HELP ME ADVERTISE MY NEXT SEMINAR!” or,
  • “HELP ME SELL ____,” or
  • “HE KNOWS I AM GOING TO _____, WHY ISN’T HE…”, or,
  • “WHY ISN’T HE LISTING ME, I Will BE…”
I would love to, but with some 150 people, this would turn my Facebook pages into non-stop ads for seminars and products! (This is a similar problem I have with Presas Legacy page. I cannot allow FMA seminar announcements or stick sellers, etc.)
 
“But you helped Joe with his seminar! It’s not fair!” That is what I am afraid to hear from a friend. Once the advertising dam breaks, to be fair, if I start doing this for one instructor? Then I must be fair to all my instructors and the damn water floods the pages and people stop reading the page. Hey, I am actually a little uncomfortable advertising my own seminars, but I must, lest of all promote ALL of the ones of others. My name supports your name in the big picture. The more I am known, the more the instructors benefit from our affiliation.
 
To write this “dam” message, I use these guys in the attached photo as an example of a few of our great guys doing some upcoming seminars. Please look at their tags and see what they are doing, but I still have to maintain the “Advertising Dam.” My thumb is now back in the dyke hole.
 
 
  

THE FIRST MURDERER I CAUGHT IN TEXAS, I THINK…

The first murderer I caught in Texas was an interesting case. I think this was the first one there, but it might have been the second. I can’t remember for sure. If you are indeed used to that kind of thing, it was typical of murders in many ways; if you are not and new to it all, it was shocking. But all murders have many intriguing, classical aspects in the timeless, human drama and trauma of life and death.

After years in patrol and an investigator in the US Army, I was no “first rodeo’ guy when I got to Texas. In my first few months on patrol in in Texas in the 1970s, I was riding shotgun with Officer Ron Atkins. About 4 a.m. one night, we got a call from an angry neighbor in what we once called “shack-town,” the projects, or the “poor” part of our city … you get the nickname; you get the very sad picture. The neighbor reported men fighting in the house next door. I later heard the original call on tape: “They’s fightin’ something horrible next door.They’s young, drinkin’ people, and I don’t know what all is goin’ on over there. They’s yellin.’ They’s screamin’ something horrible. I can’t get a nod of sleep!”

On this street, the walls of those single-story, old, small, wooden houses were very thin; and noise would carry. I reported “10-4” to the dispatcher, and Ron headed that way. As we got close to the block, Ron turned out the headlights to approach the house as quietly as possible. Classic patrol tactics. Then, as now, we boys and girls in blue would get ambushed in route to disturbances with some frequency. Lights out. Never park right in front. All that tactical stuff.

It was pretty chilly as I recall, and it surprised us both to see a nearly naked man alone and busy in motion in front of our target house. He was a tall, thin, black male dressed only in cut-off jeans. We coasted closer and watched him. Ron finally decided we needed to see what was going on; and he pulled on the headlights, high beams, and our takedown lights, powerful light bar beams from our car roof that really turned darkness bright like a movie set.

WELL! This young man was busy working at the trunk of his car. The trunk was open, and he was wrestling with … a lifeless body. The body was as long and lanky as he was; and as quickly as he would shove an arm into the trunk, a leg would roll out and vice versa. The man was covered in swirling blood stains, that is, blood painted in circles and swirls on his skin. In my business, that generally means people were bleeding and fighting.

He froze in the bath of those bright lights. I can still see that picture in my mind today. He was half crouched over, eyes wide. Incredulous and shocked. There was no way he could identify who we were behind our bright lights.

I turned to Ron and said calmly, “I guess we got a murder?”
“Yeah,” Ron, too, said calmly.

I sprang out of the car and pulled my Colt Python .357 magnum and pointed at the man. “Police! Hands up!”
He stood straight up and shoved his hands up high.

Ron and I approached from opposite flanks and handcuffed the man. Ron knew him immediately, “Terry, what is going on?” he asked.
“Ohhhh, MANNN! This mother-fucker tried to kill me.”

Terry was indeed cut by a knife and had multiple slashes. I looked in the open trunk with the help of my Maglite flashlight – the large black male in the trunk was also cut up. He, too, was naked except for cut-off blue jeans. I felt for a pulse. None. It was more than obvious that Terry had put the body in the car planning to dispose of it later. Terry tried a few real Swiss-cheese excuses as Ron walked him back to our squad car and used the hand mike to call for an ambulance, a Sergeant, and for CID. He sat Terry on the ground and started to talk with him and inspect his wounds.

Curious, I walked into the house with my gun up and out. The house was partially furnished and, where so, it was with very old and pitted junk. All made worse, if possible, by the signs of a struggle. The living room was an upturned mess; and where it connected to a dining room, a cheap table and chairs were tossed away and turned upside down. There was an ancient carpet on the floor, and it was covered in a giant bloodstain. And atop this ritual, wet, red site? Two big kitchen knives. I imagined two 6 feet 2 inches lean black guys in matching cut-off jean shorts, no less, ducking, stabbing, and slashing. And yelling loud enough to wake the neighbors.

I saw a dim yellow light on down a short hall; and gun barrel first, I made my way into the room. On an old bed lay a white girl about 20 years old, later I discovered quite drunk, and with long blonde hair. Her shoulders were bare. She clutched a soiled and crusty sheet up to her chin.

They were fighting over me,” was all she said to me. That pretty much told me a lot.
“Get dressed,” I told her. A duel. A duel for the “fair” lady.
She did, and I guided her out to the front of the house. By now, ambulances and supervisors were arriving. With my arms folded and the two of us leaning against a car on the street, I got a preliminary tale from the girl.

The sad story went that the girl was from out of state and attended one of the two big, local universities we had. She met Terry somehow (as Terry was hardly college material) and began this…this so-called affair. Terry then shared his best friend with her, but the sharing became too tense and complicated. Call it love? Territory? Honor, I guess? Call it what you will. And so, Sir Terry and this Sir Friend had to duel it out with kitchen knives over the fair lady in the dingy little dungeon of the castle. Murder ensued.

In the end, it was another torrid love story in the near-naked city of cut-offs, a mythic melodrama as old as the knights of yore. The duel of edged-weapons, as if told by Shakespeare himself. In the end of the courtroom case months later, the third act you might say, the prosecution could not prove who was defending himself against whom? And Terry Raygins received about a six-year sentence. He was out on the street in two and a half years on parole.

Terry was the first or second murderer I caught in Texas, that I can remember (after 50 years). The very least the first one with Ron Atkins. I got to know Terry as the years went on. He stayed out of major trouble after that. These fair damsels can make you do crazy things.

Post Script: And through the years, I also got to know most all of the Raygins family. All was not well at Raygins’ family castle either. They had a huge family and were a colorful bunch of troublemakers and sad sacks. Poppa Raygins was a hard-working factory man whose feisty wife had tossed him out of the house one winter. Tossed him out … to the garage, that is. Daddy Raygins lived in the unattached, dilapidated garage at the end of the driveway for several years. No heat, no air. We used to drive by and look down the driveway and see ol’ man Raygins watching TV in his garage, or showering in boxer shorts by the yard hose, cooking on a hot plate, and sleeping on an old couch. If he sneaked into the house, his wife would beat him and toss him out. A time or two, I had an occasion to walk up the drive and talk to him, because? Because that is what good patrol officers do. They know the people of their beats.

One day Daddy Raygins decided his hot plate was not enough. He needed an electric stove in his garage. With a stove he could cook better than on the hot plate, and he could also leave the oven door open and heat the place in the winter. He bought a used kitchen stove from RayBlevin’s Used and Repaired Used Appliances. He cleared a space in his cluttered garage, plugged it in, turned it on, touched the metal contraption and electrocuted himself. Fried stone dead. His crispy self lain in the garage a few days until someone eventually saw him, found him and called us. Kilt by a stove he was.

His wife said, “Good riddance to that old bastard.”
Sometimes, life ain’t so pretty in the various Camelots we find for ourselves. Things can get mighty rotten in Denmark. Sometimes.

Book 1 coming soon about the patrol years. But get this detective years Book 2 of Hocks Memoirs right now: Click here for it.

 

INTERRUPTING THE QUICK DRAW

“Interrupting the Quick Draw.” or, sometimes I’ve call “Gun Arm Grappling.”  Martial, police and military material I have been working on for decades. When teaching this segment, I must cover as first  prep, a review the Stop 6 problems. The gun (pistol and long gun) (also in the stick and knife course.)

  • Stop 1: The stand-off no contact, Showdown “collision”.
  • Stop 2: The Hands-On collision – fingers, hands, weapons grabbing.
  • Stop 3: The forearm collision.
  • Stop 4: The Frankenstein collision, hands ranging from biceps through neck grabs.
  • Stop 5: All the Bear Hugs collisions.
  • Stop 6: Groundfight collision.

    Through the Stop 6, must-be-covered topics are:
    * Identify situations.
    * Identifying gun carriers.
    * Identifying gun carry sites on the body.
    * Identify reasons why guns and knives are drawn.
    * Identify many physical tip-offs of quick draws.
    * Identify your drawn decisions (see photo attached).
    * Identify the elbow and-or hand position of common draws.
    * use arm-elbow-hand-catch grappling of many draws.
    * and more…

    The draw process for you and your enemy starts at the carry site, through the draw on up to the presentation, and firing-use. The photo above describes the actual decision steps of a crime or war draw. Some people think it’s just “shoot-don’t shoot.” But life… situations and circumstances define the big picture.

    -Sometimes, why are you there? Why can’t, didn’t you leave?
    -Sometimes, why actually did you see fit to draw?
    -Sometimes, weapon out, but should you lift and aim it?
    -Sometimes, shoot-don’t shoot?
    -Sometimes, stay or don’t stay? Wait-don’t wait?

    All this and way more in my FORCE NECESSARY: GUN (and FN: Knife and FN: Stick course applications) course. My gun course is nothing but sims ammo combat scenarios. No live fire.

    “Marksmanship aside, you are not really learning how to gunfight unless you are training versus moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you (with sims).” – Hock

See all the free, full hand, stick, knife, gun and FMA training films click here:

 

KNIFE FIGHT and the JAILHOUSE SUPERBOWL RING

It’s time boys and girls to rerun my knife fight story and the Superbowl player and the ring…
 
 
Our city in North Texas boasted two Superbowl player residents. And the two of them were as different as day and night and as racially typecast as one could imagine. One was a retired white guy in a very big house with many investments. The other was a black guy from what one might call our slums, or projects. He had no such monied investments. And no such home. He was older than most players but still playing ball. And every off season, he would return home to Texas. And every off-season he seemed to get into trouble of some sort. Both these guys wore the big brash and legendary Superbowl ring. I never met the white guy, but I did meet the black guy. In fact, he kind of saved my ass one Saturday morning, back in the 1970s…in a knife fight.
 
In one “hood” in our city we had a old drinking place called The Wine Tree. It was a bar, but not a bar. It was an open house with a jukebox and the booze flowed (illegally sold) along with the drugs. An old, crippled man named Willie lived in the back room and “ran” it with a henchman or two.
 
Through time you learn, either by emergency calls or by investigation that many of that area’s crimes, at some point started, ran through, or ended up at the Wine Tree. Did Willie have a liquor license? A business permit? No. It was just a house. An open house party 24/7. The neighbors didn’t care. Hell, they hung out there, too.
 
The attendees parked everywhere and the dancing and drinking and conniving and hustling spilled out onto the pounded-down and dry front lawn, and out onto the streets. There was even a jukebox in there.
 
The next mornings, especially after weekends, The Wine Tree had a hang-over. There were always stragglers still hovering on or about the property. One Saturday morning either a neighbor reported a fight in progress out front of the Wine Tree, or I drove up on this fight. I just can’t remember. I was a young turk back then and worked this district. I was just as fearless as I was dumb. As I drove up to the Wine Tree, I saw at least three men arguing and another two others apparently interceding and peacemaking. The peacemakers weren’t doing so well. In total, five knuckleheads bandied about.
 
Two of the arguing guys started a sloppy fight. The other three guys started in cheering or jeering. Some in the general area scattered. Some remained at a distance, on-looking, rubber-neckers in the general area.
 
I got out of the car and tried my hand at this peace-keeping routine too, but these men were charged up on who-knows-what-all from the night before and pissed off. My Gestalt therapy training just wasn’t working, and the two main men crashed in on each other. I dove in trying to separate them. And wild fists flew. Then a third guy jumped in, and I’ll tell you it was a free-for-all. Everybody against everybody, and I wasn’t winning. I wound up half-wrestling, half-punching with one of them as the other two, struggled off a few feet and bumped into us.
 
Then one of them pulled a knife. It was a switchblade. He was cursing up a storm, and this whole event was going south very badly. He was not cursing or pointing the knife at me, just the other guy he was originally mad at. Then, to satisfy the arms race, one of the onlookers passed the other unarmed man a knife!
 
“Put down those knives!” I ordered.
 
They did not. The peacemakers and a few gathering onlookers did bail back about 15 feet when those knives came out.  Some onlookers got involved and grabbed my arms. I think, as if, to stop me from shooting their friends I think. They tried to keep me away. They tried holding my arms as if to protect their fighting friends from me.
 
HA! So that “drop it,” command of mine didn’t work and I had this gut-crushing feeling this would end with my gun out, maybe shooting somebody and it all turn, six different kinds of crazy bad. I pushed back, got free and damned if they didn’t re-grab me.
 
These two armed goons cursed a blue streak and were dueling as in a comedy of moves, slashing and stabbing at each other in uncoordinated, wild lunges and swings. But a knife is a great equalizer from fools to kings.
 
Then suddenly a stout black man charged up. From the proverbial “nowhere.” He was not drunk. He hit the guy hanging on my right arm, using his shoulder and we both pushed this pain-in-the-ass off of me. Without hesitation, he pivoted and ran up to one in the knife party dance and belted him in the side of his head, with a fist, a forearm, or an elbow? I can’t say which. It was a blind side, sucker shot. The man did not see it coming and was so stunned, he dropped the knife on impact, stumbled off and fell.
 
Arm now free, I pulled my Colt Python pistol. The onlookers gasped and cursed and groaned at its sight. I stepped before the other armed man and told him I’d kill him if he didn’t drop the knife. I got in such a position that the other drunk that was first fighting with me, now shared my gun barrel time too.
 
The guy with the knife just stood there, tip of the knife aimed at my face, his eyes all google-eyed, bloodshot and watering, his lip busted open and bloody. He was wavering before me like a heat wave on booze and drugs. It would have been funny, but for the knife, the jerks around me…well, frankly, actually I guess it wasn’t much funny at all.
 
“Don’t even think about it,” I warned him.
 
Good God, was I going to have to shoot this stumbling drunk? I decided I would if he lunged at me.
 
Meanwhile, this hard-charging citizen hero snatched up the loose knife from the ground and walked right up to the man before me and removed the knife from his hand while the drunk just stared at me. I ordered the two men on their knees. The first was already grounded.
 
The hero stood there like my professional backup! And, I wondered where my official back-up unit was, speaking of backup. They didn’t get there in time. One thing I could tell was, everyone there, knew this guy and were obviously more afraid of him, than me….me being the PO-lice! Who was that un-masked man?
 
Two pair of handcuffs hung on my belt, and I had three men to shackle! I cuffed the bystander guy fighting me with one pair, figuring if he were damn fool enough to fight with me before, I needed both of his hands linked up now. Then I split my second pair of cuffs with these two so-called, “knife fighters.”
 
“There ya go. Now go on and beat yourselves to death now,” I told the two handcuffed together slobs. “See if I stop you again.
 
At this point I didn’t care if they clobbered each other down. One cuff to one’s right hand, the other cuff to the other man’s right hand. This way if they both ran off, it wouldn’t be too easy to run. In theory, one faced one way, one faced the other, (but in actuality, one of them could cross their arm over for them to run. Anyway, that didn’t happen.)
 
Other units arrived, and we carted the men away. I had to get the name and address of this hero for my crime and arrest reports. I thanked him profusely. He was all smiles and told me everything. I’ll call him “Ray Wilson” here.
 
At the station, our Patrol Lt Gene Green wandered into the book-in room and wanted the sitrep. After my report, he said,
 
“Ray Wilson? He plays for the _____________. Ya’ met Ray! Ya’ see his big Superbowl ring? He comes home every off-season and stays with his momma. He gets into some kind of trouble every year.”
“Well, he sure helped me out of a mess here!” I said. “He needs a medal.”
“Just wait,” Lt Green warned. “You’ll see him in here for somethin’ er’ another.” By “in here,” he meant the book-in room.
“He comes home every year and sorta cleans up after his relatives’ and friends’ bad business. He has a helleva’ family. Always in trouble.”
 
That Wilson clan. Oh, yeah. Those kin folk! Well, I saw his point. What a shame. The guy just charged right in and helped me.
About a month or so later we were on midnight shift, and I walked through the station to the squad room. The old headquarters was situated kind of funny because you had to walk through the book-in room of our jail to get from the front side of the station and into to the back squad room. There on the book-in room bench, sat a handcuffed Ray Wilson. My Wine Tree hero.
 
He was arrested for assaulting some men with a baseball bat! Some kind of a family, revenge/vendetta, just like Lt. Green had suggested would happen. Ray nodded to me as I approached and passed through. His possessions were laid on the book-in counter, ready for safe-keeping collection. A worn wallet. Some pocket change. An old watch. A belt…and a big, golden, Superbowl ring.
 
“Take care of that ring,” Ray asked cordially.
“We always do, Ray,” the arresting detective said.
 
He retired in our city, took over the family’s, older home and then years later died of old age, but a poor man. He was one of the regulars I would stop and talk to, once in a while, through the years. He was a really good feller from and in a bad place.
 
—————–
Hock’s two new novels. Check out all the books right here.
 

QUADFECTA MARTIAL ARTS!


You’ve probably heard about the word Trifecta (three-bees,) but how about QUADfecta (four-bees?) Yeah. It exists in the Fourth Dimension, no big deal according to Dr. Strange.

Beyond the interview, beyond the avoidance, past the de-escalation, when push comes to shove, etc., in reality we struggle-fight the big three: criminals, enemy soldiers and our “drunk uncles” (a nickname I use for all those relatives who act up.) In researching solutions, I investigate the Martial Quadfecta:

1: Kickboxing
2: Ground n’ pound
3: Wrestling (I prefer Catch)
4: Weapons (modern – sticks, knives, guns, not ancient stuff).

What if any, can I use-adopt from these sources for fighting crime and war, not mirror images of one’s system in arts and sports. Some people like to say “steal” from these sources, some say “take” or “co-op.” “Borrow?” “Adopt.” Whatever. I am always on the hunt, keeping it checkers not chess. “Do it Fit – Don’t it fit?” Running it all through the “Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions” to embrace or dismiss. Picking and choosing should be debated by people with a high 4-D Martial I.Q..

4-D? Any one of those categories alone is one dimensional. Two are two dimensional. Three? Three dimensional – and most old science discussions end with 3-D, huh? BUT we are now in the Multiverse says Dr. Strange (and so do MANY leading scientists by the way!) so we enter the FOURTH dimension, so to speak. The Quadfecta.

Lots of folks like being in their one or two or three dimensions. Great. I’m happy if you’re happy. All I ask is don’t be ignorant about it and know where your limited dimensions fit in the Multiverse, which I reckon is another way of saying “stay in your lane?”

Me? I hunt on a four-lane highway.

(I wonder if anyone will ever call their new school “Quadfecta Martial Arts. You can! I haven’t copyrighted it.”)

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WRIST TWIST THROWS

 
Many moons ago, as a young naive lad, I grabbed a guy’s hand and thought…okay, well, outer wrist throw…. I did it and the guy pretty much stood there and screamed in very anguishing way. I had ripped some tendons or something in his wrist-forearm. He just didn’t know “Oh, I am supposed to fall over now.” Next stop before jail? The hospital. Not only did I not want to damage the guy’s arm, I now had to spend hours at the emergency room, The next time – I was still naive and stupid – I tried it again and HEARD it! Like a subtle stalk of fresh celery being torn in half.
 
Former French Foreign Legionnaire Military and martial expert Nick Hughes reported after reading this, “Too funny. I was explaining how some twat said you guys jump for each other in Aikido, and how I told him, “you bet, for the same reason you tap for an armbar or leglock. If you don’t, shit gets fucked up. I then told them about the first time I did a kote gaeshi on some twat at a bar. I slammed it on. I expected him to do the big flip. He didn’t move an inch, his wrist did, though. Then there was a tearing noise and he started screaming”.
 
On this subject, with a side joke of fainting, My old patrol and detective partner Roger White added, “I did a gooseneck wrist lock on a guy (you would remember him) in the middle of E. Prairie St. To my amazement he passed smooth out in the middle of the street! I told people I choked him out with a wrist lock…”
 
I certainly still must show the 5 big twists and bends of the wrist (and ankle, very similar) because we martialists must investigate and experiment with these things, but I also WARN about expectations and the realties.
 
Standing or ground, throws (or captures,) the “Big Five Hand-Wrist Attacks” are:
– The wrist-hand turns all the way out. (Outer wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand turns all the way in. (Inner wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way back. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way forward. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand cranks side-to-side. (Center locks.)
 
(I learned these 5 concepts in a Judo Gene Lebell seminar, if you don’t agree me, go argue with Lebell. Yeah, I know he’s dead, it’s just an expression.)
 
 
 
 
 

STAYING APART IN COMBAT

I am full of old-school mainstays. Some I like. Some I don’t. In military training tips – I was in at the tail-end of Vietnam and went through Basic Training in Fort Polk , LA. Dubbed “Little Vietnam” for its weather, look and occasional “swampiness.” “Tigerland.” We were advised to stay a machine gun burst apart when maneuvering around. At times even a hand grenade blast apart if space allowed. Plus, distance apart opens up fields of vision and fields of fire. Ralph on the far right sees more than Jimmy on the left, and vice versa. (Jody is at home with your wife or girlfriend, there ain’t no use in looking back!) But, these very generic distance tips makes you think about moving formations of two or more troops. There was a lot of fire and maneuver with cover fire lessons to advance when seemingly un-advanceable.
 
In the old police academies, we were told to stay at least “one shotgun blast” apart. Okay, as they were not overly-worried about machine guns or like…bazookas. What about semi-auto pistols? They can spray pretty damn fast too, kinda like a machine gun burst.
 
So still, police, military or civilian common sense, staying apart if possible is a good generic plan. If you can. But in narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots of life, often there is no space to spread. Always risky.
 
I wonder, is the distance idea emphasized today like the olden days, though? Today (like many recent years) there seems to be a lot of clumping taught, even when there is space to un-clump. Sometimes you can’t. Take a look at the associated photo . A hallway. Not much space to spread. Narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots, no space to spread. Always risky. But now consider the guy in the back. The guy in the back might shoot the guy (or guys) in the front if the feces suddenly hits the proverbial fan. Some of these formations have the guy in the back, walking backwards! That’s some serious “6 Watching” right there. And not a terrible idea at all.
 
Or line-ups. Is trudging single file in a SWAT line some form of clumping? Lots of SWAT folks line up like toy soldiers to get from the staging area, say, van point A to point B doorway. It’s an efficient way to move, yeah. I could tell some interesting stories in sims classes about that. But I always wondered that in a world of planned terrorists and bad guys, after they have worked on a hostage deal or raid, or robbery, do they ever say to each other,
  • “Okay, now…where will SWAT park?”
  • “Where will the response team stage?”
  • “Where will the Bradley stage?”
Bombs and snipers are next to thwart the good guys from the get-go. Reminds me of the great L.A.P.D. SWAT plank member Scott Reitz recalling, when the van doors opened up once, he instantly had to shoot an armed bad guy right there at the doors! In my city, if any residents of bad neighborhoods saw the SWAT team van driving anywhere day or night, cell phones would light up with warnings. “SWATs out!”
 
Getting there. Getting into position. Sometimes just to encircle and guard-watch via a perimeter, toss in the phone? Or gain entry into buildings? SWAT has become very efficient “room-raiders,” perhaps at the expense of “open-field” crossing training, ignoring Point A to be Point B transit training worries? Does getting there sometimes mean crossing open spaces under sudden or known fire? Cover fire is an advancement solution but a tricky thing in the civilian world, Cover fire as in the right side laying down a field of fire so the left side can advance, then vice-versa. I’ve had a number of SWAT commanders and police admin say, “no way” to firing for such cover. Taboo. You either justifiably shoot directly at a bad guy or you can-not, do-not take any shot at all. (I do think there can be very controlled cover fire, but the generic response is no to the concept. (I still teach the concept to all with simulated ammo, and the subject of another essay.)
 
Anyway, citizens, police, military! To clump or not to clump? That be the question. One Shakespeare never pondered. But I wish more people would think about it.