Tag Archives: combatives

KNOWING “WHERE” YOU ARE IN A FIGHT

IT’S PROPRIOCEPTION!
Who, what, where, when, how and why? The BIG “W’s and H” questions that one answers in a fight (and life).
 
“Where?” There are so many “where” questions to answer. One is knowing where your body parts are when you are not looking at them or can’t see them. Oh, I know the word is more technical and diverse than that, and normal people deal with the subject to improve normal activity, rehab injuries and surgeries and fight back age. But we? Oh we…we here, worry about…fighting. Where are your body parts when you are not looking at them in a fight? Especially a ground fight? Horizontal, not vertical?
 
“Proprioception is an important sensory function for all normal movement activities, including the ability to maintain dynamic balance and move accurately. All exercises elicit proprioceptive responses to some extent.” 
 
The subject is teaching ground-fighting and one of the challenges for practitioners and teachers is not-knowing, not-seeing their body parts in a “horizontal world,” and of course moving in “flat” unfamiliar movements.
 
I often have to tell grounded practitioners to “FREEZE! Freeze right there!” I step in and grab their legs, knees, feet, whatever into the advantageous position. Lest of all have them freeze and say “take this elbow and strike this face right here,” because they are: a) brainwashed wrestlers, or b) new to the horizontal world, and cannot make the proprioception connection. Out of sight, out of mind.
 
Ground fighting to a combatives person is, (or certainly should be):
  • Ground maneuverings
  • Knee-high versus standing.
  • Knee-high versus knee-high.
  • Knee-high topside versus those below.
  • On right side versus all…
  • On left side versus all…
  • On back versus topside.
  • On back versus kneeling.
  • On back versus standing.
  • (I include “seated” in this grouping.)
  • All strikes and kicks included.
  • Use of force laws & military rules of engagement, if any?
  • Hand, stick, knife, gun (pistol and long gun).
  • The vital W’s and H questions.
  • This is the 6th Stop, the Stop 6 of the Stop 6 “The Ground Fighting Collision,” my outline list.
 
Horizontal time in grade, reps, experience, coaching, all contribute to proprioception exercise. While wrestlers (including BJJ-ers) are developing or have developed this ground-fight awareness, combatives people and “stand-up-only-arts” who only dabble in ground fighting don’t, won’t, and haven’t achieved similar awareness.  Modern MMA people work on it, (but without weapons and cheating). You can see the importance of organized doctrine timetables.
 
Another term for this, a bit more heard of, but not by much, is “Kinesthetic Perception.” I would suggest searching on the word to get the fullest understanding of it. Here’s one link, but continue the hunt.
 
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Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com
 

Peek A Boo Is a Bare Knuckle Boo-Boo

It’s always fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. I did it for years too. Rather…mindlessly too. I knew it had abstract benefits for reality, and frankly, mix and match was good for my school business and student retention (1989 to 1997). And we all know doing just about any martial arts is certainly better than sitting on the couch. But I still only “kept” what I could to glean in the “what works” essence for police work. Fifty years later, this filtering is still an investigation I am addicted too. I still find little and big things to alter and totally remove.

But some things I knew right away, decades ago were “street-wrong.” Like a few “boxing glove cancers” for one of the categories of no-no’s. Those big gloves change things. This photo above, below and those like them, just drive…me…crazy when I see them. This one above is obviously a police training session. Could be a rookie academy or an in-service class. They are mindlessly replicating a sport, face-cover from boxing as a routine stance. Police, military, combatives and self-defense people should not be exactly, mindlessly emulating boxing, (wrestling too), sports or arts as a doctrine principle for crime and war, survival fighting. Each martial, application-blend needs to be investigated.

This “PAB” – Peek a Boo does not protect your face without big gloves! In crime and war survival, not this peek a boo. It’s a boo-boo. Don’t believe little ol’ me? Then to support my observation of common sense I will use two recognized authorities on two points, 1) no protection, and 2) distancing.

  • Foremost, the great champ. Bass Rutten, – who is in a world of small MMA gloves not boxing gloves –  described this peek a boo “stance” and face cover as, “It’s a ‘meat block.’ I will punch and kick right through that.” Okay. Well, that about sums that up! 
  • Secondly, JKD great Larry Hartsell agreed, as I heard him say in seminars. He said it was a big, boxing glove position. Hartsell, a former state trooper and Vietnam combat vet, also advised that, arts aside, from a JKD “street fight,” perspective, keeping your hands up and right on your face as a standard, also allows the opponent to get closer into you, even closer than when hands up and out, further shaving off your reaction time. “Make him EARN that space, fight for that space,” he said. This was a great quote that really stuck with me. Of course, Hartsell was also paid to teach the art-sport of boxing, kickboxing and Thai – all wearing big gloves. Hartsell taught those sports-arts and you will see photos of him in that formal process, too. He knew what went where.

 

 

Arms and hands can move very fast, and people might overcome a myriad of strategy mistakes with sheer speed. But, fast hands are not an excuse to teach thoughtless, off-mission, doctrine.

Many reality systems, retreat to a doomsday position and protect their heads with forearms WHEN NEEDED. It is NOT their full-time, formal fighting stance. They retreat momentarily into it.

(A quick, protective forearm beside your head when needed is NOT a “turban block wrap.” Don’t get me started on these mandatory, “turban-arm-wrapping-head” systems. Another topic for another time.)

Allow me to go one step deeper here in this subject. Are fooled by PAB? And do you think it’s dominant in MMA and Bare Knuckle Boxing (BN). By being fooled, I mean, if you train in a sporty-art system that emphasizes the “peek a boo,” and you see an opponent, a criminal or whatever take up this or any tight face cover pose in front of you, you might be brainwashed into thinking, “Oh darn! That guy is ‘covered,’ I can’t punch him,” from much big glove training. Actually though, he is not safe. Punch those hands right on or around his face as though his hands are not there (yes, yes, palm strikes and hammer fist too. Yes.). Be like Bass!

PAB is Dominant In….? Once in a while I see a slippery, anomaly comment that PAB is dominant in MMA and BN. Huh? PAB is big glove boxing, method-idea. Just because MMA and BN fighters have head movement, footwork and high hands does not define them as PAB, And I don’t think that with small MMA gloves positioned right-on-face, PAB is a big consistent and dominant in MMA. Plus in MMA many worry about kicks and takedowns, low stuff, and dismiss PAB as an important MMA strategy. Curiously, one of the biggest, related questions searched on the internet is “Why don’t more fighters use the peek-a-boo style in MMA?” Suggesting that it is not a dominant strategy among the interested masses “out there.” Pro-side, PAB-ers usually lose the follow-up, discussion.

So what about bare knuckle boxing? I have seen the PAB term mentioned once in a while by some, claiming that such-and-such BN-er is a “PAB-er.”  As with MMA, when you look at their films, no, their hands are just…high up, sometimes one in, one out, both sometimes out, sometimes open and “cupping” the outsides of their face, NOT routinely plastered on their teeth as a foundation. In MMA and BN, all use head movement and footwork, also ramparts of PAB. Hands in fights need to, should move in and out, up and down. And, hands in motion are tools of deception. 

In summary. Which leads me to the “who, what, where, when, how and why questions and doctrines. Are you teaching-doing sports or reality? As I said, it’s always great fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. But beyond fun and exercise…what is your real mission? Are you making the mistake of mindlessly mixing sport-art things up with survival? What are you trying to do? 

Boxing-boxing is just terrific. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, overhand. Terrific. But are you, missing the “big glove point,” over-using boxing? Are you as an instructor, practitioner of police, military, combatives and self defense systems…are you creating and-or enforcing the best doctrine for your mission? I just groan EVERY time I see this bare knuckle version of the gloved PAB stance. It actually hurts my soul! I groan. Bass Rutten, just…just smiles. For him? It’s…lunch.

Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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man with stick

WHAT I WON’T DO, DON’T DO

Hock holding flintlocks

Every competent person, every competent organization has or should have a refined “mission statement.” It’s where you start. Like so many operations, and in a training company like mine, the mission statement is how you build and direct doctrine, avoid dogma, confusion and even hypocrisy. People-companies within their sphere must seriously define, the – “what we do.” One way to really help define what you do is to also seriously define what you won’t-don’t do.

Mission Statement Consequences? – Keep in mind, there will always be both good, planned consequences and unintended (bad?) consequences. Be flexible enough to make sense of things, changes and challenges. 

In the 1990s, interested only in the generic, mixed-weapon world of hand, stick, knife and gun, self-defense survival (and enforcement-security), I decided to refine my Force Necessary mission statement to also explore what I don’t do, what I cannot make, and what I would not produce. This is a truth-and-honesty mission statement for me and for my “customers-practitioners.” 

By simply understanding won’t you are not, you are not trying to limit yourself, you are trying to be realistic and stay…on a mission. The “no” reasons, the “why,” for each topic listed below might take a few lines, a paragraph or perhaps in some cases a book chapter to explain, but not a whole book to explain. But, no such details are pontificated here for a such a short essay as this.

  • I don’t teach firearms marksmanship. I leave that to the many great folks that do that so well. I’d rather spend all that time in interactive, person versus person, simulated ammo training. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field you can find for bullseye shooting, if that is your goal.
  • I do not make champion kick boxers. While nothing replaces “ring time,” as Joe Lewis warned us, we must experiment with kick boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion kick boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you and I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of kick boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
  • I do not make champion boxers. While nothing replaces “ring time,” we must experiment with bare-knuckle-boxing methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion boxer. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in this field of boxing you can find, if that is your goal. (as you might begin to spot themes here? One such theme is a dedication to the short cuts of cheating. Cheating the rules.) (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
  • I do not make champion wrestlers. Again, while nothing replaces “ring time,” and while we must experiment in with wrestling-grappling methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a champion, sport, wrestler-BJJ person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the field of wrestling you can find if that is your goal.(By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
  • I do not make champion MMA fighters. “Ring time!” And yes, while we must experiment in MMA methods, please note the word “champion.” I will never make you a sport, champion MMA person. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, nor should you. I can send you to experts I know, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the MMA field you can find, if that is your goal. (By the way, how many advertised coaches actually do produce champions anyway?)
  • I don’t teach any other official martials arts except very essential, Filipino Martial Arts “on demand”- when asked. I am happy to do so, and when I do, I trim it down to rawest-raw, universal, generic essentials. I do not regurgitate whole systems. Though I have black belts in several martial arts, I only use parts of them.
  • I don’t follow any sport rules. I am only guided by the “law-law,” use of force, ethics and the rules that keep you and me out of jail. “Using only that force necessary”…heard that before? Which is the very name and filter of my courses.
  • I don’t do any katas. I have other things to do with that time I think is more productive. So I don’t do or teach katas. Zero.
  • I don’t do unnecessary, artistic moves. You know them when you see them, well, I’ll take that back, maybe most won’t know them, and be amazed, infatuated and seduced instead? One should look efficient and ugly when fighting. If I-you appear pretty and artistic in action, that should be by accident. Trim this fat. Combatives is checkers not chess.
  • I don’t do emergency or tactical medicine beyond some very initial, raw advice. There are plenty of really, terrific medically-trained, veteran EMTs and doctors available for this. I’ve never settled for 2nd or 3rd or 4th stringers instructors, and I can send you to experts, or suggest that you get the best veterans in the emergency medicine field you can find, if this is your goal. (Get veteran EMTS, medics and “Docs,” they are the BEST!).
  • I don’t teach kids.
  • I don’t require uniforms, just wear “street” clothes as in the clothes you think you will be fighting in. What will you be wearing when forced to fight? Wear that. No pajamas. No bare-footy. No Spiderman body suits.
  • I do not long-lecture on anger, fear and pain management like I am some kind of an expert psychologist. I only brief these issues and quickly steer people to real experts. I can lecture on many topics like crime and criminals and fighting and writing, I am comfortable with history and war, but I don’t have PHDs in the complicated, mind game. 
  • I do not, will not worship a martial arts system and a martial arts system leader. Such worship is a mind-trap and counter-productive. If I am not mistaken, Bruce Lee said the same thing. Be free to question, distrust and investigate everyone and every idea. You can like them, respect them, have coffee with them, but not worship them. (Nor should I be over-trusted or over-worshipped.)
  • I don’t want to be called any titles. I am just a guy that’s “been around a few blocks” with a bag of tricks. And we are getting together, scratching our heads, experimenting with the mixed-weapon fighting problems of crime and war. 
  • I don’t put up with any racist crap. That’s white on black, black on white or any color-on-color crap. One of my American heroes is Martin Luther King. What he says, goes, and works for me.    
  • I do not and will not ignore your past martial experience. You have climbed off the couch and done stuff! I like that.
  • There’s a few more but this is getting too long.  I could offer many examples in each category, dramatizing my ideas, but I think you get the idea of the reverse concept. This actually not about me! This is about what such a list looks like and you and your list.

A martial arts customer-practitioner needs a mission statement too and most NEVER-ever do, they just walk into schools like dumb and dumber, looking for things that the school doesn’t offer, that they saw in a movie last week. Revealing your different reality doesn’t always fit with the join-up, lobby sales-pitch.

Just in the teaching business with a school? Exist in that classic 5-square mile, demographic in a hunt for customers? You are at ground zero. As school-owners, don’t follow me and my “don’ts! Remember I have no school, my market is different, so don’t mimic me. Keep the kids and the uniforms and the dragon posters!  Stay alive! And look, many people “change hats,” right within their diverse school. Then you should have a mission statement for your karate class, FMA or BJJ class and another mission-hat-statement for your self defense class. I do want you to be happy and healthy and pursue your interests and hobbies. If you are happy? I am happy for you. But you still need appropriate mission statement…hats. It’s a hat trick!

man and hats

There is a not-so-old expression (and at my age I know what an “old” expression is) the new kids call –  “staying in your lane.” What you are not, helps you understand what you are and helps you stay in your so-called “lane.” (This is true of life in general too.)

But for me exactly? If you are questing for the above traditional, sport and art goals, while I can’t “plead the 5th,” I can only quote Bob Dylan,

“It ain’t me babe, no, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me your looking for babe…”

______________________________

Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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Grabbing The Weapon Bearing Limb – In Fashion – Again

 
The grab strategy is now deemed possible and “okay.” In the 1990s and early 2000s, I received a considerable amount of trash talk. forum ridicule for demonstrating and suggesting that – if you could grab/wrap up the knife bearing limb, it was good idea. I had suggested that IF you could, you grab the limb and should INSTANTLY fight on. The common criticism back then by the “know-it-alls” was that any and all such grabs were absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!
 
Ridiculed, my High Home Films videos and the “bigger” TRS “Unarmed vs the Knife” video segment in 2002 were ever so maligned. .
 
This is a lethal force attack, you grab-wrap and knock-snot out of the attacker’s eyes, face and or throat, etc. I have collected news and news-feeds for decades on knife attacks and totally untrained people have been winning (and even disarming knives) with regularity, world-wide. Today’s times have youtube videos. Grabbing the knife limb is-was a consistent successful factor. As with medieval art attached, if you need to look back-back-back.
 
Some of you will say “What? We’ve done this grab all along.” But some of you can’t say that. Training is tricky thing. Common sense does not always reign supreme. You see there are always several martial “boys clubs” out there that are rather mindlessly revered and followed, then replicated. They now show the knife limb grab-wrap a lot, thank goodness. They do tend to grab with two hands and maybe, arm wrap and body turn, etc. But some examples I see, I think, spend a bit too much time in the arm-grab-wrestle moment, like pushing the top of their heads into the attacker’s head, etc., when they should be instantly attacking the face-throat. Whatever, at least the grab is deemed okay!
 
But what of the attacker’s other arm? I have seen MANY (and rather famous) experts doing this grab-wrestle on film and both parties, the attacker and defender frequently ignore the other’s free arm. Standing or grounded. Watch for this next time. Watch these workouts with an open mind, keep an eye on the free hand and think what the attacker could do with it if the demonstrator actually used it. This is why the quick, face-neck strikes are important, to short circuit other free-hand attacks,  
 
Specifically, the knife attacker gets grabbed, plays along with the capture in training and never instantly buzz-saws in with the free hand to the face and neck of the defender-grabber. Then the opposite, the defender grabs the knife limb and the attacker doesn’t instantly destroy the defender’s face or throat. This works both ways.
 
Quick Warning-Watch Out! A lot modern double hand limb wrappers like to change from facing the opponent and “drag” the knife arm forward so that they get behind the opponent.  You might get cut, thigh or otherwise during the arm drag.  
 
This ignorance of the free-loose hand, this miss-step neglect of the other free arm-hand drives me BONKERS-NUTs especially even when watching quite a number of BJJ or any wrestling moves. The free hand of the semi-captured or captured partner often just dangles out there, doing nothing. It is free to tap-out. Or, the free hand does something non-fight-cheat ending so the wrestling can continue and continue and continue.
 
But, it is only bonkers to me when the instructors claim what they are doing is “street.” Sports-okay, because the free hand cannot cheat. (I don’t do sports so my bonkers filter is extremely low.) And why are sport people doing knife anyway? They are off-mission and their solution-blend is also often, innocently, off-mission.
 
My ridiculed 1990s formula for “grab knife limb and attack” was:
  • A: Single-hand limb grab and instantly support hand strikes face-throat. Buzz-saw continues…
  • B: Double-hand limb grab, when knife limb seems sufficiently secured, one hand instantly releases and strikes face, throat. Buzz saw continues.
  • Extra! Get your knife limb grabbed? Your support hand instantly busts in on defender’s face, throat.
I could write a small book on this “other hand” subject, but at least the modern boys clubs like the grab again! Defending or attacking, knife or not, the support hand is a both a vital tool and a vital worry. You should not be taught to mindlessly ignore it.
 
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BACK IN POLICE UNIFORM…

My last two years in the late 90s I wound up back in patrol (I was a real “Adam 12” dinosaur patrolman from the 70s) resurrected back into uniform after some 17-plus years as a detective.

All thanks to some upper-management, “flip-the-applecart” plan. (Lets make the foot-doctors into heart-surgeons and heart-surgeons into foot-doctors.) So, after catching a hitman and filing 12 organized crime cases, I found myself on midnight shift patrol one day, or should I say…night. I had some fun, yes, did some stuff, yes, but it really was a waste of time, grade and experience for me and the flipped others, AND the citizens who rely on expertise.

I had enough military (Army) and quasi-military (policing) in me, to “buckle-up,” “shut up” and go where they sent me. I never once took a promotional exam, (military police or Texas police) wanting to remain in line operations in patrol and investigations. Maybe I should have though? To thwart numerous, deskbound, admin, idiot ideas?

Some of my friends took these tests and remind me they created some ideas for effective change, But me? I was selfish. I wanted to catch criminals, and I spent a blissful 17 years as, what many use to call, a “lone wolf” detective. I was-not, am-not a socially driven public servant by today’s standards, turning and improving agencies into pubic-happy-machines or solving big problems. I just wanted to work cases. Selfish – I confess I used victims as vessels to wrap my hands around the throats of criminals. I mean, I wasn’t rude or dismissive of victims, but I new my mission. Thus, I am-was a dinosaur. 

There are numerous stories about why I eventually retired in the Wolfpack Publishing book with their exciting title Kill or Be Killed. Nowadays, I tell all my police and military friends to NOT be like me. Take tests. move up. Build financial security. Build your family. Yours and their future. Don’t remain powerless, bottom-rung, cannon fodder like I was.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@forcenecessary.com

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AFTER THE TAKEDOWN, YOU…

In very generic terms, and with you as the “tosser-thrower-tripper,” in the old-school business of “taking people down,” it would be worthy of mentioning, worthy of thinking about, these two kinds of takedown categories.

  • 1-Going down with him.
  • 2-Staying up or somewhat up as he goes down.

There’s one group of methods were you crash down on the ground with the opponent. The other group is when you chunk the guy down and you remain “up,” as in standing, or at least knee-high.

With the first group, there are way more takedown options, including way easier and even sloppy options for when both of you just crash-tackle-fall to the ground together. Actually, almost any idiot can do that, as witnessed in the world of yesterday and today.

With the second “stay-up” there are less options (and more skill) with remaining “up.”

I had to handcuff people most of my adult life when I fought them. In my professional life, on the sidewalks and streets, rocky roads and the tile floors of life, I always tried to be up, or somewhat up, trying for the knee-high or standing results rather than the full-out, ground-wrestling-around results. Once fully down-down, a whole host lof extra, messy things can happen with size, strength, adrenaline, weapons, etc… 

I say “try” because sometimes the “toss-er” often falls anyway along with the “toss-ee” from the crazy “asses and elbows” mess that is a “fight.” And if things got rowdy with the “toss-ee,” if and when I got them down, I would try to sit on them, squeezing in on their beltline-pockets (weapons) area, in what was once called “Top-Side Saddle” or “Reverse Top-Side Saddle,” if he was face-down, as in “reverse.” The new, cool kids call it the “mount.”

So at times, I got way down there too, lower than “saddling.” And I had to flat out tackle people due to positional and situational circumstances. In this “ground zero” world there was a short, effective, old school bag of police tricks I was taught, (that including hitting) and I get to show this bag in some seminars when the topic comes up. They do work! And in some cases I had to to choke them out a few times. Nowadays chokes are pretty much taboo in almost all police ops, but okay for civilians if reasonably justified.

It might be worth it, to make a list of the easier, “2-man, crash downs” takedowns and the lessor, harder, “stay-up” takedowns. List and experiment with them. Or, at very least know about the two “ways” and that they exist. 

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SEARCHING FOR EPIPHANY… In the Martial World

What does having an epiphany mean?

  • a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.
  • an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking.
  • an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.

For me, in martial-combatives studies this is quest for that somewhat, magic moment of a new understanding and progress.

Lots of people are addicted to their martial sport or art and for many good reasons like “tribal” friendships, exercise, goal achievement, etc. and they become purposely or naively entrenched in what they do. Which is fine for them, providing they understand what I just said. Where it all fits. But, however, if they were like me years ago, doing all those things, and STILL frustrated, it is a problem. I worried, was I on “on mission” or “off-mission?” I was a soldier. I was a cop. I worried about the real world of crime and war, not martial hobbies, not arts or replicating systems. 

One day in the mid-1990s, I “awoke” with a big epiphany. As I have written here about before, and I went from “mixed-up” martial arts to “mixed martials.” That is what I realized, what I wanted and needed, my real “on mission,” pursuit, which in my case was the maximum, total blend of hand, stick, knife, gun (“gun” as in pistol and long gun).

Following this big epiphany, came smaller ones, like these examples:

Example 1: Finding single skill drills that work with hand, stick, knife and gun. Or as many of the 4 as possible.

Example 2: Searching for things as simple as possible, yet allowing for as little complexity as functionally possible.

Example 3: A format for individual tactics like…kicking. Take the simple front snap kick (to the shin or groin) Do it –

  • Standing, arms down as in a “sucker kick,” work both legs.
  • Standing in a ready position, like a fighting stance, front and rear legs, switch leads.
  • Kneeling snap kicks– experiment with this if you can. Some can. Both legs. 
  • Grounded on your back. Both legs, with and without a “crab walk” lift.  Grounded on your left or right sides. Both legs.
  • All of the above while holding a stick, single-hand grip.
  • All of the above while holding a stick, double-hand grip.
  • All of the above while holding a knife, saber and reverse.
  • All of the above while holding a pistol, one or two-handed grip.
  • All of the above while holding a long gun.
  • Total package of the front snap kick use in reality.
  • Oh, and NOT barefoot!

So, just a simple snap kick? Yes and no. Total use. Of course, all of these have nuances, and it takes a veteran martialist or a smart mind to develop, fix and alter. I still have to teach separate courses for hand, stick, knife and gun.

The simple universal formula of:

  • 1: standing,
  • 2: kneeling,
  • 3: grounded (on back and sides).
  • 4: unarmed and,
  • 5: while holding weapons.
  • Five universal realities-blended. The formula foundation.
  • Run all rudimentary moves through this formula when plausible. 

Most people want to “do their thing,” follow their isolated interests for the reasons listed way above, which is fine. I still have to teach separate courses for hand, stick, knife and gun. I am paid, like a job, to make customers happy and cover these subjects separately. But my real interests lay in the big, generic quest of the blend. This blend pursuit is more important to me, and not at all important to most others. Which is why I will never become so-called “famous” in the martial arts world. I am an outlier. In fact, most people won’t even read this.

There have been movements to martial blend, as in some Krav Magas and Combatives. Certainly handy and productive, but I think many do so without a formula foundation, and therefore with just collections of random sets of things thrown together. Or, the instructors cannot escape their root martial arts, like BJJ or boxing, and overdose their outlines with sport, mini-failures in reality, which leads us back to the “Mixed-Up Martial Arts” world,

Epiphanies. Many mental experts like to suggest, that to have an epiphany, one must leave the “work table” of your problem and like, “walk in the woods” to free the mind. Answers will manifest? However one of my favorite neuro-heroes, the great Gary Klein, with a resume too long to list here, has written “What Others Don’t See,” his case history studies on epiphanies-insights-discoveries, and he lists another 4 big ways these lightening flashes of ideas arrive adding a few more strands of other ways too.

How does the quest begin? Inventor Charles Kettering suggests, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” I de-construct all problems by investigating the “Ws and H.” Who, what, where, when, how and why questions. This helps me. Helps you?

Discoveries change the world in many big and small ways. Search for epiphanies.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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The Quandary of Training Stick vs. Stick, versus Combatives

A Bigger Picture. In the martial arts world, stick fighting is most closely associated with the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA). A huge chunk of many FMA systems is indeed about the stick-versus-stick duel and closer-in stick versus stick events.

 

(Using a stick as an easy and fast target, as with developing the smart fanning strike shown here, is not necessarily learning how to stick duel.)

 

The stick versus stick dueling battle is really a pretty rough game of checkers if done right. Next inward, getting in closer is often called by many, loosely “stick trapping.” Many FMA-ers have turned this closer-in range, this “stick trapping,” into a complicated, chess match with copious options to train…forever. Many FMA-ers obsess about this closer-in, back and forth above other vital skills. To me, it’s simple math turned into unnecessary calculus. (I remind all here that I have been “doing” FMA since 1986 and I know a bit whereof I speak.)

Is this calculus necessary in the real world?
First with dueling. No. Almost all of us are highly unlikely to get into the proverbial 28” stick versus (coincidentally?) another 28” stick fight in a real world, dueling “street fight.” A study of the stick in common self defense should not be centered around mirror-image, stick-versus-stick material. Second with stick trapping? No. Not this much. Obsessing with stick dueling and stick trapping should be relegated more into a category of (fun) art, sport, hobby or exercise, with only abstract benefits to self defense.

Through my decades of policing, training, cases and rather obsessive research, I have personally run across a few impact weapon “duel-related” battles like drunken, softball bat fights at tournaments, or crowbar versus tire iron fights. Things like that. Still, they are rare in comparison to the messy, mixed weapon world that actually exists in crime and war. While dueling helps various attributes, there are indeed smarter things to do, to prep for a fight in crime and war. When you remove stick-versus-stick dueling and the calculus of stick trapping from FMA systems, there is so much less to worry about and train for. It’s vital to some extent in FMA, but even in FMA, there is always other stick things to work on like stick-versus hand, stick-versus-knife, even stick-versus-various, gun threats.

I am asked to teach FMA and I do so with a great big smile as it is one of my fun interests, but I always make this quick “really?” lecture. As readers know by now, I preach the “hand, stick, knife, gun, mixed weapon, matrix.” And while my Force Necessary: Stick course must touch a bit on the impact weapon duel because it has and can happen in, I in no way emphasize it. And a great many folks emphasizing self defense and combatives agree with me on this.

Watch out! These “reality” people are “window-peepers, peeping in your windows, watching you on Youtube.” quick to judge what you are doing and pigeon-hole you as artsy and off-mission for reality. Which leads me to the quandary. For self defense combatives, can you train stick versus stick?

Yes. Some. It seems so, and not just for the rare event when dueling might happen. For the so-called, reality based training, the trainer and trainee, the work-out partners should still both often hold sticks sometimes. Sometimes? In stick training, it is much easier and faster for both partners to hold sticks for various goals. Ease, target practice and stick blocking to name three. 

  • Ease – You do it. Partner does it. You do it. Partner does it, whatever you are working on. This probably is best done when the attack is with any weapon, could be a stick or a knife, or many empty hand attacks. Just be aware of the purpose of the exercise. Easier and faster with both holding sticks. Both are holding sticks. It looks like stick versus stick training.
  • Target practice – As displayed in the photo above and below, often stick strike training is best done by hitting another stick. You can use a kicking shield, yes, but it might be faster and easier switching sides by both partners using sticks. And you can hit his stick hard. Again, both are holding sticks. It looks like stick versus stick training.
  • Blocking practice. Learn to block just about ANYTHING coming in with great force, the force that a stick can produce.

 

(Target practice! And you can hit hard. He can learn to block well too.)

 

 

So even if you are a self defense, combatives person you might find yourself looking like an FMA-er and appear to be doing “too much stick versus stick” to short-term window peepers. But dueling is not your real, end mission.

In summary, a few quandary warnings to think about…

  • Will reality-based “window peepers” blasphemy you as artsy? (Hey, I know I will hear from many of you that you don’t care what others think. But, I am “just sayin”…)
  • Is a “reality” person getting too use to subliminally seeing too many stick attacks? Remember to replace that stick with a knife. A lot. (It’s still FMA to go stick versus knife!)
  • Use the other guy’s stick for safe, quick target practice.
  • Once in a while, worry about impact weapon dueling in combatives.
  • Be “on-mission” in practice and doctrine. Doing FMA? Do FMA. Doing generic combatives? Do that. 

The self defense, Force Necessary: Stick matrix…

  • Stick versus Hand.
  • Stick versus Stick (not too much).
  • Stick versus Knife.
  • Stick versus some Gun Threats

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.

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KISSING OFF THE K.I.S.S. METHOD

Growth. Finding new information and ideas is a never-ending, quest-job. Makes me think of the old line I never liked,
 
“Keep it simple, stupid.”
 
It’s a shallow line. Stupid really. (Usually known as the K.I.S.S. method) Simple and stupid are not synonymous. To me, that means “I am stupid, you are stupid and we shall remain stupid.”
 
Einstein had another angle, saying once, “Keep it simple, but not too simple.” Still, as the “master brains of relativity,” he knew that simplicity…simple…is different to different people. It’s…relative.
What is complicated for some, is simple for others, perhaps too simple for the occasional advanced mind or advanced athlete? This then is a challenge to the teacher-coach. You must let “advanced” people become advanced, do and think advanced things to reach their…”simple.” This might mean passing practitioners off to other coaches.
 
Growth.
  • YOU grow by understanding and living this concept.
  • THEY grow by…growing. You are vehicle, a vessel of growth. (But never let them forget the basics!)
If you aren’t a vessel of growth? If you don’t, then you are standing still. Staying stupid. Keeping all the people around you stupid. I think we need to kiss off the KISS method.
 
(Another quick point in the blood vein –
“The exercise you hate the most, is probably the one you need to do the most.” – me )
 
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The Silly “You Can’t Block” Advice

I tell everyone that when I am evaluating a martial move for myself or others, in one filter I consider a two prong question.

  • Have I seen it done in the UFC? (or similar venue)
  • Should I even consider the UFC with this move?

Which leads me to the blocking naysayers. Once in a while you will run across an internet expert who declares “you can’t block” in a fight, you have to just wrap your head up with your arms, or your forearms, because it is impossible to block in a real fight or an MMA fight. One such expert actually declared a challenge in a youtube video that that there is NO, ZERO blocking in fights, and NONE in MMA/UFC fights. Just head covers by forearms. He claims that you therefore must ALWAYS opt for a forearm on the head, or some sort of “turban” head wrap as the only option. He dared anyone to send him a film clip of successful blocking. 

So, In 15 minutes I found 26 photos (not videos) of successful blocks versus punches and kicks in the “UFC-ish world.” I just don’t care enough about the subject and about him to bother looking up film clips for him. Blocks that worked are failed strikes and are boring. Such video clips (and photos) are not plentiful because blocks are boring and who films and spreads just them? Who takes the time to cut successful block footage into film clips? There are many, many unsuccessful punches, the ratios are high. Rather they film clip and upload, successful and interesting punches, kicks and knock outs. Cool moves are in film clips. Exciting things are made into video clips. No failed ones.

But some random photos tell another story about the success of blocking, even though they are taken and spread inadvertently.

Despite the fact that Bas Rutten, who I trust WAY more for advice, has said publicly and on film multiple times that blocking punches and kicks is an important skill and to ignore people who say otherwise. Bas is not the only vet-champ to say so.

I will continue to teach blocking methods. There are plenty of photo examples of successful, boring blocking in all kinds of fights. There are successful and unsuccessful blocks. I just don’t need someone telling me (and us) to FORGET them all, and erase the idea from training. To me, this is a thinking disorder.

In the world of “block-don’t block,” what about “over-blocking when it’s not needed or dangerous? Yes, this is sold to you too. Briefly on the Batman-turban-head-wrap-block. While there is a “doomsday block” as a last resort move, reserved for the cornered, or the floored pummeled. Sure. But, must you constantly wrap your head like a turban versus every strike? And 98% of the time, who has the time and skill to spot an incoming fist and wrap their arms around their head, (losing much vision, exposing their torso, also allowing the enemy to step closer in, etc.) then unwrap their arms to strike back. Who has this in-and-out, wrap-unwrap arm speed? If this is an overused go-to, mainstay of a system, then this is a sales gimmick, ad fad. To accept this idea as main response is shallow thinking or a thinking disorder.

I might add that a few of these turban practitioners have been struck on their hands while on their heads and have suffered some broken metacarpals. Military, martial and police vet Loren Christensen adds, “And head shielding hurts the arms when the puncher isn’t gloved. Get punched bare knuckle a few times in the forearm and one or more strikes a nerve(s), the shielding arm becomes useless.” If it were so wonderful you would see it more among the trained. Most of the time it is not needed, nor efficient. And good martial system doctrine is about efficiency.

Anyway, back to “block-don’t-block,” the main event of this essay. I am a little pissed that I now have to load, one-by-one, some of these successful blocking photos. But, for your entertainment I will include just some of the them as a sample collection to file away in your brain and in your notes, or to show naysaying idiots. I have many, many more such photos. How many do I need to show?

Okay, okay, I’ve had enough loading. I am through. I have many more. But I am through here.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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