Knocked Out on the Ground From a Kick

          Patrol Officer W. Hock Hochheim, Texas

“Welcome to the jungle…”We all hear about how grounded wrestlers shouldn’t wrestle in the proverbial “street fight,” and one reason name-dropped is the catch phrase “multiple opponents.” Another worry for the wrestler is the catch-phrase “ground n’ pound,” – that includes striking and kicking on the way down and once downed. In the win-some/lose-some in real life, our lives, my life, I have a pivotal story about this,  lessons learned from multiple opponents AND ground kicks. I wound up in the hospital.

Back in the late 1970’s I and other patrol officers were dispatched to a “big fight.” Two fraternities fighting in and out of a large frat house. The college police were there and needing help. Who they gonna call? next in line, the city police. When we got there it was a mess. About 30 guys fighting. I have seen messes like this before in the Army military police when whole units would have feuds and enormous fights would kick off. And so, we made our way into the melee and tried to…”stop it.” This was not my first rodeo, so to speak. Looking back I always got banged up in these things and I should have known better, because this one was the worst.

I got inside the large basement and tried separating and fighting people when suddenly for some reason, the rush of humanity pushed and pulled about 10 of us down on the cement floor. It was as they say, asses and elbows, and everything else.

Then suddenly, I was knocked out. Gone. Numerous people were arrested and my sergeant decided it was time to leave. He said,

“Somebody go over there and wake Hock up.”

They said they slapped me awake. Officers told me that they saw it happen. Another college guy got up into a crab walk position behind my head, crab walked a few feet over to me, and from the crab, thrust kicked me in the head. I never saw it coming, as they say. I was out cold in a nauseous dream. They told me I was out for about 20 minutes. If you are in the newer “knock-out and brain business,” you know this much time is really bad. But back then? “Shake it off!” 

They helped me up and I stood, trying to unscramble my brains. I was floating on another planet as I got to my squad car, and I actually drove with the caravan back to the station. No paperwork for me! I was asleep for the whole thing. It was near the end of the evening shift. And I floated back to my car, and sick and confused, I drove home.

Once at home, I started vomiting and I couldn’t think straight. My wife drove me to the hospital with my head hanging out the window like a dog. They gave me drugs and kept me overnight for observation. You know…concussion. It was a bad “LSD” kind of night with puking and whack-job thoughts. Two days later? Back to work.

It’s funny but I can still remember part of what I was dreaming on the floor. I was at some kind of horror carnival. If I try to hard to recall it? I can feel the beginnings of getting nauseous again. It’s a brain damage, rabbit hole.

Years later with vision-robbing migraines that lead to other problems, at the brain doctor’s office, I had to count up the times I have been significantly knocked out and it came to 14. Two car wrecks, two kickboxing, two boxing, cop fights. Also twice in baseball (odd stories as a catcher) well, a total of 14 “I am out, bubba” incidents. Now brainy-ologists tell you that even little mini-second blackouts start adding up too. Oh crap! Think about your kickboxing and how many times that has happened.

Decades ago, when we trained, we all expected to get knocked out, oh, once or twice a year. It was usually accidental and just an inevitability.  Moreso expectations if in competitions, which I did not do a lot of. My job was enough competition. Welcome to the jungle.

Today the bad brain news travels fast, through American football down to kid’s soccer. (There are two new boxing gyms opening up by me…that never box. Boxing without boxing.) Eventually, I have been tested to have brain damage with symptoms too complicated to explain here as a side issue. I learned that I can control the symptoms somewhat with good sleep (and solid REM dreaming) and a simple diet. I also have an odd problem with dreams and it’s too long to explain here. A couple of railroad tracks in my brain have been disconnected. 

But back to the main issue. I was knocked out on the ground by a kick in a multiple opponent scrap. A two-fer! And as I said starting out, we all hear about how ground wrestlers shouldn’t wrestle in the proverbial “street fight,” but I want to advise survivalists and self defense folks that you absolutely must learn and hone some core wrestling/ground fighting moves inside the ground n pound module-world. Add mixed-weapons to that menu.

Of course if you are just loving you some sport submission systems? Continue your hobby.  But you must REALLY KNOW where that fits…in the jungle.

Addendum: 

    “Hi Hock, I really enjoy your website. It is definitely the best on the internet covering all areas of self defense. In response to you being knocked out by a kick to the head, something similar happened to me, when i was with the PD prior to my retirement.   In the early hours of my shift on a weekend, several officers and i were dispatched to a large biker party, in a back yard. Upon arrival, approximately 60 subjects were present. There were 8 officers including myself present.  A fight began and one officer was on the ground attempting to handcuff a suspect. I dropped to my knees to assist and the next thing I realized I was in the back of a patrol car in route to the hospital.  I had blood running out of my mouth and it felt like I had gravel in it. Upon arrival, I was checked for injuries, and the gravel turned out to be shattered teeth. I had been kicked under the jaw by some punk with steel toed boots. Three of my bottom back molars on each side were shattered from slamming my jaw together. The guy went to jail and got 30 days. To this very day I have TMJ but things could have been worse. Take care and stay safe.”  – Doug Boal, RET.

******

Hock’s email is Hock@survivalcentrix.com

True Texas detective and police stories. Get the paperbacks or the downloads. Click here.

 

“We Wuz Here First!” “We Wuz Here Last!”

     There is a clever meme and some quotes going around now that claim “you can’t have an illegal alien on stolen ground.” You know – words to that effect. You can’t declare someone an illegal alien if you stole the ground, kind of message. Very esoteric. But historically shallow. And not realistic.

     Think for a moment about ALL the civilizations of the world, world history since…since the beginning. Think of the travel. The wars. The kingdoms. The empires. They do come and go through time. Animals even fought for turf. One of the first “smart” books I read decades ago as a teen was Ardrey’s “The Territorial Imperative.” I think his ants/bugs, animal/human research still stands (please tell me if otherwise?). Life fights for territory, and life fights to keep it.

     Tribes. Churches. Governments. EVERYONE through time, took the lands and the people of everyone else in a never-ending, geographic, musical chairs. Enslaving. Killing. Maiming. Controlling. Who are the original owners of what anymore? (I have been following some work – see below – that even native American genes have European DNA.)

     Before memes, decades ago, there were expressions going around (without the web? How? But somehow “going around”) that – the “guys with the biggest guns are always in charge.” Words to that effect.

     There is plenty of evidence that mankind is getting safer, less violent and better. But, then and even right now, it seems the guys with the biggest guns, biggest gates, biggest walls get to call the “whose-in, whose-out, shots, no matter who was there before, no matter how much it philosophically/esoterically “smarts.”

“We wuz here first!”
“Yeah, well…we wuz here last.”

     It’s nice to make clever memes and all with Indians and Eskimos and so forth. In just about any country you could have memes with the “pre-race/group” people, before the church, or the Romans, the Zulus, or the vikings, or whoever marched in to wherever. But the memes don’t mean much in the “guns-gates-walls” equation.

     This is no excuse to screw over people, nor any justification for past, present, or future war, trauma, drama. I am just reminding the poetic, esoterics/memers of short-history perspective. How far back do you want to go? “Who had the last “lease?” And the lease before that? And the lease before that?
 

(Hey, please email me with any pristine lands or islands you can think of with their absolute original occupants still there, but also free of war, even tribal war. Interesting to collect a list.)

*****

More on this – Audrey’s The Territorial Imperative 

*****

More on this – Diamond’s Gun , Germs, Steel

******

Hock’s email HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

And more words like this? Get the Book Fightin’ Words. Paperback or e-book

 

 

Seizing Guns. We Did. We do.

(Note: This was written in 2018. Has anything improved or changed?)

Seizing guns. We use to do it. Do police seize guns? Yes. How long have they? Long time.

     In May 2018, a Quinnipiac poll suggested Texas Voters are in favor of stricter gun regulations. The Quinnipiac survey also showed very high support for requiring background checks among gun buyers, at 93% support. The study surveyed only 1,029 registered voters from across Texas – keep in mind – the current population of Texas is nearing 30 million people, and I don’t know who all “Quinny” asked “across the state?”
 
     But there indeed does some to be a common consensus in Texas and the USA for more serious background checks.  AND…some support for snatching up the guns of crazy people as the police come upon them.
 
     Yes, another request from various police authorities is for more “fast-gun-snatching” from on the scene, touchy situations and from odd, crazy people. This plucks at the “due process” heartstrings of American law. But I am here to tell you, there was, once upon a time, an era when we police snatched up guns without things like a molasses, judicial exam. We use to seize some guns in the old days. No warrants. No judges. No hearings. No process. Just us on the street. By God, we just took em!
 
 
“This plucks at the “due process” heartstrings of
American law.”
 
 
     This was years before the “dead fingers” lingo and logos of today. Years before the contentious liberal vs NRA battles. Just took em.’ So, here’s a piece of police history on that I was a witness to and part of.
 
     Texas policing and military policing. In the 1970s and 80s in my necks of the woods, if we were sent to a “hot” call/situation, we would assess the deal. The people. The past, present and future. We very often knew the people involved. Drugs? Booze? Prior violence? If we determined that there might-be/could-be motive for future violence within the next 24 or even 36 hours? Or suicide? And we knew there were guns thereabouts? And we couldn’t make an arrest for some legal reason? It was not uncommon to get the guns in various domestic disturbances, assaults, neighbor quarrels, anything that your common sense on the scene might predict stewing, brewing violence after we left. To my memory nothing bad happened afterward. And, no one complained about the gun…confiscation either. Weird huh? We would snatch up the guns and explain:
 
     “Look, based on what we have here? I think I am going to take these guns. So there are no problems after I leave. Nobody gets hurt. Everyone cools down (or sobers up).”
     “Huh, what? How do I get them back?” they would ask.
     “You are going to have pay a visit to the police chief. If he thinks you’re okay? He’ll give em’ all back to you.”
 
     Usually it was just one gun. Or two? If we did this on a Friday night, the guy, or gal, but usually a guy, would have to wait until at least Monday to see the Chief. We would unload the guns, lock the guns up in the corner of the police chief’s office with a copy of the incident report taped to the barrel. Then, the next “bidness” day, an appointment was made. The Chief would sit for awhile with the person and talk to them, lecture them, and then almost always give them the guns back. Rarely, he would wait a few extra days if he thought more cooling was in order. Can you imagine the Dallas police chief doing such a thing these days? Atlanta? BALTIMORE? If there wasn’t a dystopian revolution first, the counseling appointments at the chief’s office alone would take more than a full time job.
 
     In the Army it wasn’t the police chief. It would be an MP Captain, or the Provost Marshal (like the police commissioner). It could be the guy’s unit commander. Or even a lessor officer we might reach. Then he became that guy’s “unit problem.” Remember this was a person living on the base and subject to the varied, old, military, base-by-base, rules of gun ownership. Which could also be and could still be, a little crazy despite the 2nd Amendment.
 
     How did this happen back then, in a world with a 2nd Amendment? Cold dead fingers? The gun laws were a hodge-podge mess in many states and so too in Texas way back then. In our city and in many cities and counties, if you wanted to “legally” carry a gun, you often just got a letter from the police chief or county sheriff to do so.  Yet, another meeting, appointment with the big man. A person, let’s say one with a business who took money to the bank each day, or someone with a crazy uncle or ex-husband, etc, got a letter from the chief or sheriff to carry a gun. So in “backwoods law,” ye old chief/sheriff was considered to be somewhat of a local authority on gun ownership and carry. Best have it with you. I have been shown a number of such letters through the years. Reading them with my flashlight in the middle of the night at some incident or traffic stop.
 
     I lived in a rural Georgia county for a time  in the 1990s. South of Chattanooga and well north of Atlanta. To carry a handgun there, all you had to do was go to the county seat courthouse and simply sign a “gun book,” a thick, old-school, official, leather ledger. When my wife and I did sign the book, as we are gun people –
     “So, there’s no training or anything with this?” I asked the county, holy-keeper-of -the-gun-book.
     He looked at me funny and said, “No. And old people can’t be running around on a gun range, training. And they have a right to defend themselves too.”
 
      Too old to train? He’s right. Today, many complainers think first “no guns,” then “if guns?” a gun owner needs to first pass like a…a Navy SEAL shooting program just to have a bedside pistola. I’m sure Atlanta has other rules.
 
     But, time marched on. In the mid-1980s, the more “modern” the police chief we got in as time went on, the less this gun-pick-up would happen. Finally it quit altogether, just slowly evolved away. For one reason, I don’t think the modern police chief or elected sheriff wanted such personal involvement with real people’s, ground zero problems. Meanwhile big cities had rules. Smaller ones didn’t. Rural counties didn’t. Everybody seemed to have one gun anyway.
     Time marched on and as other states defined their concealed carry laws, Texas did too, a little behind the curve. Much of Texas was and still is rural with boars, rattlers, coyotes, rabid dogs and raccoons, gators down east and a half a dozen other things that need occasional killing. Many Texicans had and still have a shotgun in a rack in the back window of their pick up. This ain’t Berkeley or New York City, nor DC, bubba. Don’t be telling us what to do. You have no idea what happens out on the mesa! In the Piney Woods. Or for that matter, Deep Ellum in Dallas.
 
     The laws, the ideas, the political movements change. Today, such gun seizing of yesteryear could become lawsuits and demonstrations and big news coverage. 2nd Amendment horrors. But back then, no one objected to this quiet, casual “policy,” as the general public thought it was a good idea, it wasn’t abused, and therefore, we had the authority to do so. Like I said, this was well before the “dead fingers” lingo and logos of today.
 
     I know this idea is freaking people out, but this was not about the police going door-to-door and collecting guns like the Oath-Keepers worry about. This is a very small-scale, situational. Today, when various police chiefs and sheriffs want stronger laws to pre-empt things like school shooters and so forth, I think this sort of the model they are asking for. With the establishment of current carry gun laws, with the implementation of quick arrest policies in domestic disturbances, and other modern protocols, many of the reasons to just seize guns in hot situations are gone. There are now other, more established, legal alternatives/solutions to hot situations.
 
     But what about predicting future crime? 12 hours? 24 hours? A school shooting? You’re on the scene and you think something could happen tomorrow, or next week at the church, beauty salon or a school? 
 
     Texas Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-point plan for improving school safety in late May, 2018. The plan mentions a potential “red flag” law that would allow judges to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous if there is legal due process. Abbott didn’t call for legislators to pass such a law — he instead wants to “encourage” lawmakers to “consider the merits” of adopting it. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus took him up on that late Wednesday and instructed a committee of the lower chamber to study such legal provisions. Study! Study, Studies. Chin-rubbing. Head-scratching. Wind-blowing.  Hem-hawing. How is all that going to work exactly?
 
    I would be curious to know of other veteran officers around the country had these olden-days policies? I already know some did and still do in Arizona, Illinois, North Caroline, California, Oklahoma and Missouri from friends. Contact me with stories. Did you? Do you still?.
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“Cadena De _____,” or “Chain of the _______”

 As taught to me from several FMA instructors from the Presas Family to the Inosanto family, going back decades, the classic “Chain of the____ (fill in the blank)” drills were an important stage in training progressions.

Chain of the Hand – cadena de mano
Chain of the Stick – cadena de baston
Chain of the Knife – cadena de daga

     It essentially is blocking (as in hitting the attack very hard), then grabbing the attacking limb with your free/support hand. Or grabbing the attacking stick itself too, if that’s the case. Shoving the grab out of the way and hitting back with your hand, or your stick, or your knife. From….

From the outside right position
From the inside right position
From the inside left position
From the outside left position
From above, right or left
From below, right or left

     It, in my opinion is usually practiced too cavalierly and too slowly and can create a false sense of speed and success versus fighting in real time for unenlightened students.

     And, it might be best against a diminished fighter – one already cracked in the head or say – knee, or against one who is quickly out of gas. Or, is untrained and nonathletic, drugged, etc… Some might call it “second tier” options. But watch the guys who make a living teaching this like I have seen in the Philippines and they are VERY fast and can snatch a fast limb or a speedy stick with good success. In fact, when I was about 30 years old and doing this stuff all the time, I got pretty good at it too. But, it ain’t easy. And remember not everyone you fight is a speedy boxer or stick fighter. Have you seen the Youtube clips lately? Grabbing is not impossible.

     The word “chain” is used in many martial ways. We hear it in everything from chain punching to grabs to machine guns. These concepts go back to Europe also, and passed through the Philippines, as you will hear versions of these “Espanyol-ish” terms back in Spain, Portugal and Italy. We are quick to credit the Philippines for a lot of stuff, but we shouldn’t be so quick. I have seen the move in karate, American Apache knife fighting. Or football even (even roller derby!). You want to call it Wing Chun trapping hands? You can! Tapi-Tapi? Sure? Looks like Balintawak? Yes. As Remy would often say “it is all de same.”

     Chaining with weapons: You’ve hit the attacking limb so hard, he drops the weapon! Yeah. Bloody good for you (this impact is trained in a progression series). But, what if he doesn’t drop the weapon? Well, crap! But maybe you have at least diminished his grip with a little pain? But sometimes your impact/block STOPPED his incoming attack. Stopped it long enough to be grabbed. This grab, is…the “chain of…something.” If you have virtually stopped or really slowed down an incoming attack, you might have a chance to grab the limb.

     This, as explained to me so long ago I can’t remember by whom, – that hand grab, that hand catch, is the first “link” of survival. The first link of the chain. Link-Chain. Get it? Thus the “Chain of Something” has an official name for a chapter in training lifestyles. Thank you very much.

     Of course, the next step in the chain is to block or stop that incoming strike after YOU’VE been grabbed. Then you, then he, then you, then he, then, then. Then…then you have a system of study for hand, stick and knife. I use the universal, unforgettable, Combat Clock for angles of attack, but you apply your chosen hobby’s angle of attack system to play the the “Then-Then” game. This ain’t brain surgery or rocket science.

     Many martial artists and systems use this chain concept. Remy used the “Chains” too, These close-up “Chain” events. This area of course, is just a segment of a fight. I think some stick systems spend entirely TOO MUCH TIME here at the expense of other problems (like stick dueling for one). In the olden days, Remy was a real mover and head-banger and he spent copious amounts of time making us swing sticks and hit as hard as we could at longer ranges. Ernesto too.

     Remy was fond of showing things and then stopping, looking at us and saying to us, “Of course, you could just hit the man in the head with a stick, but I want you to learn the art.”

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Dukes up! Another Kind of “Boom Stick.”

     For decades now, I have spotted “sloppiness, bad structure here and there in training, be it during my old Texas school of the 80s and 90s, or years on the road in seminars. Dropping hands. Sloppy finishes of strikes, or striking sets. For some people this is not a problem as they return to integrity after each move.

    Others? Not so much. I have taped a boxing glove to a stick, stood behind a feeder and clobbered trainees that don’t cover themselves well when punching and kicking mitts, pads, shields. The recalcitrant, seeing me behind the trainer, seeing this pending boom, suddenly seem to cover well, but often when I walk away? The sloppiness might return?

     I can only hope that when before a real threat, they also worry not about a boom stick, but about a real punch, and they also cover so well? But, boom stick or not, in training mitt drills, in kicking shield drills, they/you must maintain good integrity and structure for good habits. 

Dukes up!

Email Hock at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Breaking Hand and Fist Bones When Punching

     Just about everyone knows by now, that “bare-knuckle” punching upon parts of the head can be damaging. Specifically I like to remind people that it is the “bicycle helmet” area of the skull, especially prominent, especially manifesting, when an opponent naturally ducks or ducks-and-turns versus your punches. You hit the “helmet.” Broken hands. Split knuckle breaks. Etc. (Boxing gloves hide all this angst.)

Otherwise, lower, the jaw moves and the head can move when punched, helping to “cushion” your punches – jeez – is cushion is a good word for it? “Gives,” maybe? The head “gives,” or “gives-way” with lower punches. (Think about why we wear mouthpieces.)

     There are just times when the neck gets solid, coupled with the ducking “bike helmet zone” and punching folks break their hands. I really don’t want to dissect this, you know, start the tiresome, age-old debate about palm-strikes versus punches again here…what I really want to specifically mention here is, tell a simple tale about uppercuts to the jaw. What if the head, neck, jaw, even shoulders tighten up versus an incoming uppercut, punch?

Decades ago I had to punch a guy I was arresting. An uppercut under his arm like in this photo. My hand hit his particularly sharp jaw and instantly hurt my “middle finger.” While I was booking him into jail, I looked at his jaw. Real pointy, for what that’s worth. Years later? I had surgery to fix this finger. I have hit a few “heads though time,” closed fist punches and had no other – zero- hand injuries. (They can be done.) Once, a swollen ring finger. But nothing serious. Then, a middle finger problem on my right hand seems to have gone away with time. But this one uppercut caused years of on-again/off-again discomfort. Then surgery.

So, way back then, I began to consider and list uppercuts as a tricky head punch along with hitting the bicycle helmet area of the head. I would be remiss not to mention while on this subject that that the uppercut usually/often causes the head to whip back and forth, not leaving the head back for follow-ups, such as a high hook, unless you are super fast. A number of combatives people, trying to set up scenarios, often do not know this.

Recently one of my friends, a pro-fighter whose name you’d recognize, wearing the regulation MMA gloves, threw an uppercut to a jaw in a pro fight. He broke his hand. Here is his x-ray. He passed it to me for educational purposes and I now pass it to you. But we are not sure yet if we should release his name for a host of reasons. Maybe later. He does hit really hard. Word is the other guy saw it coming and “hunkered” down. SNAP!

File under: Uppercuts to the jaw. 
File under: Punches to the “bicycle helmet” area of the head.
File under: Head, jaw, neck, even shoulders when punched

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@Forcenecessary.com

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To Sumbrada, or Not to Sumbrada, THAT is…

First off that’s me and the “Irreplaceable” Tim Llacuna in March, 2018’s  big Central California Stick seminar weekend at Ron Esteller’s Kaju. Though the Bay Area, CA seminar that weekend was listed as Force Necessary: Stick, I also promised a little segment on Filipino stick too, just to round things off. And, as a result, we got a request for…Filipino Sumbrada. And since I “sing for my supper” as Sinatra use to say, so we, by God, did us some Sumbrada.

Which…can be complicated for some folks to do such things. I am not a fan of Sumbrada, per say. I certainly do not believe it should be the foundation format for a system, as it somehow is for some, which I find short-sighted. It is but one drill in a bunch of skill drills/exercises. It has been declared a “dead drill,” blah, blah, blah and yes, to some extent I agree with these naysayers. But it is still a very universal drill for many, many Filipino systems and I…in good conscious, cannot put a PAC/Filipino practitioner out on the street that doesn’t know about Sumbrada and hasn’t fooled with it. I just…can’t. I’ve been forced, more or less, to mess with it since 1986 and that is why. It does develop a few healthy attack recognitions and mannerisms.

I first learned Sumbrada from Paul Vunak in the 1980s. Sumbrada means a few things, like “counter for counter” and sort of like “shadowing.” Sumbrada range is when the tip of your stick can touch the opponent’s head and your hand can touch the opponent’s hand. That hand contact is a very deep subject. People tend to forget that on the end of all these drills, you break the pattern. Like the Bruce Lee example, folks get busy looking at the finger and not the moon, people get too busy worrying over the pattern and forget you are supposed to free-style fight.

In that FMA-PAC course I require folks do hand sumbrada, single stick sumbrada, double stick sumbrada, Knife sumbrada, espada y daga sumbrada. And, we make folks do at least three inserts/interruptions for each, all in Level 7 of the PAC course. Sumbrada is just another  exercise, among many exercises, which include wind sprints and chin-ups and beating tires and war posts, etc. Doing too much of one thing and not enough of other things is the real problem.

But the Force Necessary: Stick course is NOT Filipino martial arts stuff. There is no sumbrada in FN: Stick. The FN: Stick course is laid out this way:

  • Impact weapon vs hand
  • Impact weapon vs stick (rare, huh?)
  • Impact weapon vs knife
  • Impact weapon vs gun threats

Level 1: Impact Weapons & their Stress Quick Draws
Level 2: Stick Retention Primer
Level 3: Stick Blocking Primer
Level 4: Single Hand Grip Striking Primer
Level 5: Riot Stick (Double Hand Grip)
Level 6: “While Holding,” Supporting the Stick
Level 7: The Push Series Grappling & Spartan Module
Level 8: The Pull Series Grappling & “Chain of the Stick”
Level 9: The Turn Series Grappling & “In the Clutches” 
Level 10: The “Black Belt” Combat Scenario Test
Level 11: Intensive Stick Ground Fighting
Level 12: “Crossing Sticks” Stick Dueling Expertise
Level 13: …and up…levels upon Individual request

Much of the FN: Stick course material is over-viewed in this best seller Axe Handle Combatives.  See it for free on Hock’s Combatives youtube Channel

man with stick

The Ten Deadly Errors

I can’t say how old this list is. I saw them all in the 1970s in police training. This list. It’s not in any order.

The list was distributed in a police-only textbook in 1975 called Officer Down, Code 3, by Pierce Brooks. The list also applies to the military. One might think that this doesn’t completely apply to citizens? But it does. For example, some civilians might think that Number 9 doesn’t apply, but there are situations, concerns and applications about controlling suspects while waiting for police arrival. I have taught those “arrest, control and contain” methods for over 26 years to people because I think they need to know them. They can be important. I have always said,

     “I’ve never learned anything as a cop I didn’t think citizens needed to know too.”

If a person will stop and think about it, every point can apply to their safety.

Many of you out there think some of these topics are “new” and recently invented by young “geniuses.” Like the pre-fight indicator lists which has reached new fad-like heights of late. None are new. I do think they have some merit as I have seen them unfold before my eyes. But they are not as important as one might think when you add criminal and military ambush into the equation. But the police spend an inordinate amount of time intervening, interviewing, investigating and prowling into areas regular people shouldn’t do or go and interacting with people. So too do soldiers and Marines going to house-to-house, village-to-village in the last 20 years. Knowing these, essentially biological tip-offs and learned tricks like sucker punches and so forth, can be helpful. I have a while chapter of these pre-fight tips in my book, Fightin’ Words. I started collecting them in 1973 from a class in U.S. Army military police academy.

Numerous tips are instinctual for many, but the list attempts to stick a label on it – which is fine and can be educationally important. New people are learning old stuff all the time and “old,” “been-around” people need reminders, maybe through new ways (as well as learning new things too).

People are constantly ridiculing police actions and police training. The root, the backbone, the steering for quality has been present for decades and decades. Apathy, manpower and budget problems get in the way. It’s left to the individual officer to spend, train or to stagnant. As with a citizen. Learn, train or stagnate. Use it or lose it. Ignorant and or, Perishable.

People – cops, may tire of seeing the list and their eyes might brush right over the poster in a blur after awhile, as it appeared on many a squad room wall decades ago. All of the “fatal mistakes” are important. All are old pieces of advice you can live or die by. May all good people live by them.

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The Perceptions of Your Fight

Who Fight? What Fight? Where Fight? When Fight? How Fight and Why Fight?
(Or, How I learned to wrestle with my preconceived notions)
 
 
I recently watched the very first episodes of the 1980’s TJ Hooker cop show, just for sheer nostalgia. I was already a street cop and detective when TJ was on prime time TV. On patrol in a giant squad car prowling residential streets, Hooker lectures his rookie partner – you know, that skinny kid with the weird hairdo – the shame and horror of Los Angeles, how people cowered and hid in their houses, fearing the crime on the streets. That was 1981! They were scaring the BeJesus out of you back then. Of course that was dramatic, but the fear idea fed and still feeds people. Perceptions.    
 
 
I am an old police detective from a time when Community Oriented Policing (C.O.P.) was going to save the world (and cure cancer?). One of the main points of said movement was that the “perception of crime” was just as real to citizens as the real crime data was. Look at how the murder rates in small parts of Chicago, Baltimore or St Louis effect the opinions of outsider people on those states and the country. In other countries, those tiny jurisdictions effect the opinion of the USA, as well as have their own myopic problems. 
 
Usually the perception of crime was/is always way higher than the real McCoy. So, with C.O.P. then, the police not only had to fight real crime, but had to have an advertising and public relations campaign against the perception of crime. Fake crime. I then sarcastically nicknamed our police agency the “Happy Machine” because we had to also make people… “happy.” I would often walk into the squad room briefing, look around and mutter, “another day at the happy machine,” which would make my fellow officers laugh and chuckle. The first time I said it there was an uproar of laughter. It least that made them happy?
 
Fact was and is, in the big picture, most people in the USA and other civilized countries will never be victims of crime. But people have fear and a perception of their future crime problem. They imagine a home invader? Rapist? Mugger? Mass shooter. Crazy guy? Serial killer? Kidnapping? Bar fight? Road Rage? Etc. Some even have an imaginary perception of how they will handle it. Gun? Knife? MMA? WWII? Kill? Maim? Contain? Negotiate? Pray? Etc. It certainly would help if their perceptions were as accurate as possible. 
 
Perception, as defined – “a way of regarding, trying to understand, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”  Mental impressions and being impressionable. I recently watched the very first episodes of the 1980’s TJ Hooker cop show, just for sheer nostalgia. I was already a street cop and detective when TJ was on prime time TV. On patrol in a giant squad car prowling residential streets, Hooker lectures his rookie partner – you know, that skinny kid with the weird hairdo – the shame and horror of Los Angeles, how people cowered and hid in their houses, fearing the crime on the streets. That was 1981! They were scaring the BeJesus out of you back then. Of course that was dramatic, but the fear idea fed and still feeds people. Perceptions. How deep was that paranoid perception of criminals? Has that perception changed? Many perceptions about fighting against bad guys are subliminally shaped by books, movies, TV and even personal fantasy projections.
 
Same with fights. Remember back when Chuck Norris or Claude Van Damme would kick a bad guy down? The bad guy would crash and the Chucks and the Claudes would just stand there, in a poster-boy, fighting pose, bouncing up and down, waiting for the serial killer or hit-man to stand back up and continue the fight. Art imitates life and life mimics art. How many people actually, waited for bad guys to stand back up up? That was the “movie fight” until Steven Seagal came along and started breaking arms.
     We had a champion black belt in our old karate school I attended decades ago, who got into a fight….in a bar…and lost. He came to class and told the school owner, “I was in a fight last night and it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.” If you are in a non-sport class, your student should return to you and say, “I was in a fight last night and it was just like you told me.” Perception.
 
     Perception is the running guts of training though isn’t it? We martial folks, civilians, police and military train for the perception of what we think our “fight” will be like. If you are sport fighting, you know exactly who, what, where, when, how and why about your scheduled fight. You have a darn good perception of the “Ws.” Even if you are a soldier, you have some good perceptions about what might happen to you and your unit, all from a gathered mission intelligence and assignment history. (This is why God made sergeants.) You know the Octagon fight will happen and you’ve seen enough of them on TV to plan ahead. And you are pretty sure trouble is ahead in a war zone, but what about sporadic criminals versus citizen encounters? That may never happen…
 
“What are your preconceived notions about fighting?
Your first fight? Your next fight?
 
     I use to complain that so many of these modern fighting systems of recent times inadvertently train for a fight in “the bar,” or on the sidewalk or parking lot right outside the bar? That cursed dark alleyway out back of the bar? Roadhouse movie world? Bars. Bars. Bars. How many training videos were made right inside bars? Young guys teaching other young guys how to fight in bars and they just automatically assume/gravitate to the barroom setting. Meanwhile a soldier in Syria has another location in mind.
       Another problem is the “novice” fighter. Or as I like to call him, the stupid fighter. By the way that is the guy walking around the streets today you will probably fight next. You have been working hard to fight the trained fighter in many ways the mirror image of you, the other guy/gal in your school/system. Then idiot boy walks up and hits you with a chair . There’ s that classic Mark Twain observation that that the expert sword fighter fears the novice more than the other expert. He knows not what the novice will do! People perceive their next hand, stick, knife gun fight, based on what they do inside the classes they are taking.
     Real people seem to be fighting a whole lot, huh? Somewhere on the planet. Earth is a big place. Police are at least aware they could be fighting absolutely anyway, anywhere – inside or outside houses and business. On tile floor, rugs, cement, dirt, grass, mud, tar. I have never fought anybody underwater, though. HA! Should I train for that too? (Though I know of some cops fighting people on the fringes of oceans and lakes.)
 
     I think I’ve had to struggle, and, or fight, arrest most people on parking lots, streets and inside houses full of furniture more than other locales. And kick boxing and wrestling didn’t completely help me out. One time a crazy guy and I slid down a long, thick, muddy hill, in heavy rain, duke-ing it out, outside a hospital. Almost vertical ground fight. Almost upside-down. You really can fight in weird places in weird circumstances.    
 
     People on the planet Earth will fight in rural, urban, suburban areas, inside and outside of buildings at any time of day and regardless of the weather. (The term “urban combatives” always mystifies me. Some of the best UFC champs are farm boys. Would that be “Rural Combatives?”) 
 
     Gun instructor and ex-cop Tom Givens reports that through the years his shooting students have had over 60 gun encounters in parking lots (Memphis is a little crazy by the way) so an emphasis on shooting live fire AND SIMS, in and out of, and around cars should be pretty important. Parking lots are indeed melting pots of all kinds of people and places with various temperaments, and where bad guys do go to hunt. Records even show that one in every five vehicle accidents occur on parking lots too. Parking lots then are super-duper dangerous? Once again, in the big picture, if you compare say, Walmart’s total sales/customers, to its parking crimes and accidents, their parking lots are pretty darn safe places.
     We see crazy reports on the news about road rage. But look at the millions of cars in the USA taking billions of trips each day, compared to road rage incidents. Road crime and even vehicle accidents stats in comparison tell us the roadways are pretty darn safe too. Domestic and family violence/disturbances are way too high, but in comparison to the big picture of 340 million people in the USA? Not too bad (as far as we know.) There are over 100,000 schools/colleges in the US and a teeny-tiny sliver of school shootings. Add in attendance days and you have millions of safe days. Schools are pretty darn safe places. How about comparing the total number of houses with the total number of burglaries. Oh, and, by the way, the police don’t fight people all that often when compared to the tons of non-violent police/citizen interactions and arrests.
 
     It’s nice to do these big picture comparisons and breathe a sigh of relief, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare and be complacent. And when we prepare, we perceive. You are still left with these guesses, your perceptions and mental impressions of your future fight. We now watch crazy, reality, video clips on youtube and perhaps they do help the real perception of the wacky chaos that will most likely occur in a fight, and not leave us with some Chuck Norris, karate fight scene in our minds.
     It’s always a good rule to “reduce the abstract” when training, but there is still a time and place for you, in a sterile room, to learn and exercise some basic, generic things which we hope you can apply under the circumstance, come what may. Sadly, we don’t have Hollow Decks like on Star Trek where we can fight and turn up the knob on resistance and locations, and still go to work the next day not scarred or crippled.
     Come, what may. We learn the “come what may” via collecting good intelligence info on crime and war where you are and where you are going. So, we train to fight the fight we perceive and who, what, where, when, how and why we perceive it will happen.
 
Who will you really be fighting? 
What will it be like?
Where do you perceive your fight will be?
When will this happen?
How will it unfold?
Why are you there? Why are you still there?
 
Will things happen as fast as you think? Slower? Sporty Non-sporty? Indo artsy? Slinky Systema? Crazy? Hand? Stick? Knife? Gun? Will it start with an interview or ambush? How do you perceive your fight?
Come…what…may? 
 
What’s your fight REALLY gonna be like? 
 
 

Not Now…While Being Beaten in the Face

When someone is on top of you, beating the snot out of your face, you are not thinking about “why” he is doing it. Not the psychology of why. Not then. But when?

But later in the “drawing room,” it might at least be interesting?

In my courses, in the “genesis chapters” of them, if you will, I place major league importance on the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. I…we…need this mandatory outline to properly prepare for the interviews and ambushes in our lives. And so, securely fastened in the formula of this “bible” is the “why question.” Why is he, she, they committing this crime? This war? There are other whys also.

I think that some people in the pursuits of fighting or self-defense – whatever you want to call it – may find this “why” too interesting in the wrong place and time, so to speak. Often at the expense of the vital, physical fight training time. I cover the subject briefly in seminars, but not too much, because it is a “drawing room study” and not something to over-dwell upon in action, physical seminars that I and most people conduct and attend. If you are teaching in a room full of sweaty guys and gals with mouthpieces, that is not the time to start a psychology session.

When? For example, I cover the “why” extensively in my book, Fightin’ Words, for one avenue because I too am overly interested in all these “why questions.” They are fascinating. I just find them fascinating. “Why” covers a wide berth of psychology, culture, history, economies, brain maladies and disorders…on and on. Why? Why? WHY! Why also helps you unravel the other “who, what, where, when and how.”

     The “Ws and the H”- the genesis of fighting, crime and war. The biblical questions. Not to be ignored. Just remember the best “where” for the “why” questions. Best mostly… for the drawing rooms, I think.

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