Tag Archives: dan inosanto


Kajukenbo Okayama: Hoch, tell us about yourself.

Hock Hochheim: Well, that’s sort of the “Who, when, what, where, why” that I use everywhere. And I do ask that question…“Who?” “Who are you, really?” And in our business, who do you really expect to fight? There’s a psychology where older people think less of themselves, and then younger people think more of themselves, in terms of what they think they can do, and who they can fight and win against. This is so true that there are actual psychological terms for both of those categories, but they escape me now. I have to continually look them up every couple of years to remind myself.

But I’m just a former army, military, police investigator. Then Texas police, and in most of that time, in those 23 years, a detective, about 16 or 17 years of that. And since 1972, starting out at Ed Parker Kenpo-Karate, I’ve been a martial artist, other than a few rare years maybe, while in the army. I’ve just done this every day for…I think the number now is pretty much 50 years, 51 years… Fifty years, fifty-one years of thinking about/worrying about/being psychologically obsessed with these elements of fighting. To a fault, I think. I think it’s a bit of a mental sickness.

KO: (Laughing)

HH: I should be thinking about other things. Which I do, yes. I think about writing my novels, but also my mind wanders back to organizing this martial material…what’s better, what we can cut out, what we absolutely need. And in the terms of hand, stick, knife, gun, war and crime, it’s quite a challenge. It’s still a daily challenge, after all these years.

KO: Tell us more about your martial arts history.

HH: I was in Kenpo-Karate, I guess about a year, and then I went to the army. So, I had this established impression of martial arts. In the army, there was just a couple opportunities to train. Boxing. Police Judo. First of all, I was in Korea, and I wasted my time there, martial arts speaking. I say I wasted my martial arts time there because…I hate to use the word “brainwashed”…but I was so immersed in the idealism of parker Kenpo, and how superior it was, as they told us, that I really did not want do anything else. Now, I should have done Hapkido at least while I was in Korea. I’m not really a big fan of Tae Kwon Do, I like their power kicks, but gosh, I could have done Hapkido! We had opportunities. There were a couple ROK Marines there teaching military combatives classes at another base gym, So I did that.

The military police academy was kind of big on boxing as a support system, which also had its inherent problems. But since I was in Karate, as soon as I got there, I did their boxing stuff. And it’s very hard to take sports boxing with gloves and transform it into bareknuckle fighting and reality arrests. There’re real problems with trying to make those two come together.

And so, anyway, then I got out of the Army, I did Karate and Jiu-jitsu back in Texas…the stand-up, old school Jiu-jitsu. And then, in 1986, I started in with the Jeet Kune Do people. And that was just a big mind explosion. I was very happy to get out of the classical framework, as suggested by Bruce Lee.

So, we’re talking Dan Inosanto and his top instructors. Thai boxing, the Filipino martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun…all the things that they were doing was just a massive amount of cool investigative stuff. And that went on, probably, I guess, until about 1997. Oh, and then of course I picked up with Ernesto and Remy Presas. And that was a huge chunk of time. I got very close to both brothers. They often stayed at my house, which was a fantastic opportunity for me.

I lived in middle of the country, and they needed to stay weekdays somewhere between their weekend seminars, and I was a bachelor, and they just flat out asked me: “Hock, can I stay, you know, Tuesday through Thursday?” Or, “Monday through Friday morning?”

Then about ’97 I really decided to get free of everything, and clear my head, and create exactly what I dreamed of. Y’know, all these decades, I was in the pursuit of the “perfect martial art,” so to speak. Survival fighting with hand, stick, knife and gun in crime and war, standing through the ground. And after I’d done all of these things, I realized there was none. No one perfect thing.

And so I decided to embark on this blend…I guess the best word is “combatives.” A word that wasn’t popular in the ’90s, but I picked that word anyway. It became popular later, to a shaky extent.

KO: Before you got into Jeet Kune Do, I hear you had a run in with Kajukenbo?

HH: Yeah. So, in Ed Parker Kenpo Karate, North Central Texas…which was one of the rarest of official martial arts schools you’re gonna find back in the late 1960s and early 70s. I found one and joined. We had two private lessons a week, and Saturdays was set aside for a group lesson. A couple of hours, and that was your typical group martial arts class in many ways. And at the end of the Saturday session, they had organized…Keith See was the guy, one of the first generation Parker guys…they had organized a sort of open, sparring class with as many other schools as you could find at the time. There was Tae Kwon Do, there was Kung Fu, there were various arts. And since part of Parker Kenpo was very kickboxing oriented, we usually sort of “won-beat” everything against these other people.

It just created a “wow” factor, like some of these folks were really dramatically moving into artsy, unsafe positions (as taught by their arts), and we’re just kickboxing at this point. Not good for them. We were always very friendly. There weren’t any kind of feud problems.

But then all of a sudden, who shows up one of these Saturdays in 1972, but the local, Kajukenbo guys. And all of a sudden, they were like us. They were a mixed kickboxing outfit. And so “Wow!” we said. And so no, we did not overcome them. And y’know, it was very much an equal experience. “These guys are like us! They’re from Hawaii, they’re doing the same things…” So that was my first introduction to Kajukenbo, and these guys. And, as time marches on, we’re all going to seminars, and we get to know each other and stuff. And then of course a long time ago, early 1990s I met Dean Goldade, he was a Professor Gaylord black belt. We worked consistently together for decades. I also got close with another Prof Gaylord guy, great guy, Ron Esteller. I have done dozens of seminars at his place over the years. I’ve done a seminar with Prof. Gaylord in California, so I know all these guys, and it’s just been a gigantic friendship ever since.

KO: What was it like in the martial arts world when you first started?

HH: Those guys were super tough. I joined…I started, in 1972, just after the blood and guts era of Karate training. It was sort of an assumption that this old martial arts training style could not be a successful business, if you have to vomit or bleed every Tuesday night. So, I missed all that. However, those guys were still around with us. And I heard all the great stories, and all the stuff that happened and they still clung to a harder core training. But I think there was a conscious business decision to not be so devastating. Otherwise, you would have no students. You would not have a business, you would not have the franchise plan and so forth.

I saw the same thing happen to Thai boxing. In, oh I guess about, the late ’80s or early ’90s, where suddenly you were not beating the snot out of each other all the time in class. Before that there were just constant injuries, and business problems with that. And of course Bruce Lee had this same problem at his YMCA classes in Los Angeles, which is why he created that YMCA boxing program, which Tim Tackett taught me. There’s a lot of great, hardcore, application drills in that program. It meant that James Coburn didn’t have a black eye when he went to the movie set. And the doctors and the lawyers training with Bruce, y’know, weren’t all busted up.

So, he created this kind of program that was focus-mitt oriented…and you’ve seen bits and pieces of it in the Jeet Kune Do world through time. The little sets of things, strike/counter-strike, sets of three, sets of four…I still use those. But my mission is not to create a boxer or a kickboxer. My mission is to create a bare-knuckle, self-defense endeavor. So, I still use a lot of that Bruce Lee YMCA program.

Seminar at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, pre 9-11.

KO: Tell us more about that program.

HH: Well, everything is called “Force Necessary”. It’s based on using only that force necessary to win and survive. The definition of “winning” is different situationally and personally. I have a couple of rules about what a fight is. “Checkers, not chess” is a motto of ours, and defining what you don’t do, helps you define what you do do. Defining what you don’t wanna’ do helps you define what you wanna’ do.

Is a fight “chess” or is it “checkers”? I believe a real fight under stress is checkers for almost all people. I mean, look at the limited list of techniques you see in the UFC. So I have an internal meter in my head that can spot the chess applications. Einstein said, “Keep it simple but not too simple.” But the definition of simplicity changes with people. So, if you have a super talented martial artist, you should remember that their definition of simple, or “checkers,” is higher than the average person.

Trying to keep things simple and as realistic as possible, in the hand, stick, knife, gun realm, that is really core, essential stuff.

I am not going to create champion kickboxers. Or champion MMA people. Or champion BJJ people. And in actuality, a lot of those people that do advertise they create those champions…they don’t really create champions anyway. Y’know, they just have a program, and they do the best they can with it.

My goal is to create self defense people. And again, there’s of course that large middle realm of “normal” people. But then of course if you have a special athlete in there, you have to make sure you hit their level of simplicity, which is higher.

I can look at people and just decide what they need to work on. For example, here’s one example, I’ve tried to look into the subject matter of the density and size of fists. You can look at a person and say “You shouldn’t be punching people, because look at how tiny your fists are. Switch to palm strikes.” And then I have another friend who’s got fists like cinder blocks. And he needs to be punching everybody.

I just ran across this in Hungary last week, in Budapest. A kid wants to pursue all this information. And I can look at him and say “You need to take a couple studies of, like, how Bruce Lee moved. Because you’re small, you’re thin…ya’ know, you look like him. What’s your arm length?” Etc. “But you, Mr. Tank standing next to the kid, at 280 pounds, you should develop your own “bruiser” approach to this.

I can tell you many great stories. I mean, Dan Inosanto said in a seminar once, decades ago…and he was a high school football running back champion…he was getting the ball, and crashing into the line…and his coach said “Dan, why are you running into people all the time?”

So, he named somebody famous, but it was a giant running back…and Dan said “Well, I’m trying to be like my hero ‘Joe Blow’ (whatever his name was). And the coach says “Dan, Joe Blow is 6’4. You’re 5’ 7”. Pick…another…hero.”

And that’s a great piece of advice for people, so I try to keep everything in this system essentially “core” simple, and in the end it’s up to me and the people to make their own thing that works for them. And not try to pretend to be somebody else they can’t be. It’s the “who” question again. “Who are you, really?”

And then of course you come around to the subject matter of instructors. As an instructor, despite your shape and size or shape, an instructor must know everything. Because he or she is now in front of all shapes and sizes, and ages, and strengths. So there’s the question, is your guy, the attendee, someone who wants to defend themselves, or do they also someday want to be an instructor? Well, the instructor has to learn everything. Two-fold responsibility.

KO: Tell us more about your view on teaching punching in your system.

HH: Well, punching is cavalierly taught in martial arts without any warnings. The big problem is the “bicycle helmet” area of the head. That’s the real hand breaker. Because the jaw gives, the neck kinda’ gives, and you have some chance of surviving that without injury. But when the bad guy reflexively lowers his head…you’re aiming for the nose, you instead hit the bicycle helmet part of the skull…you’ve got a broken hand. Or say, versus a hook punch, they turn their head sideways and down, and you got the split knuckles break.

So that’s why punching is level 5 in our empty hand module, of the 9 training levels, because I think it’s taught way too cavalierly in almost all martial arts. I mean, in those schools you’re punching on day 1 and no one is telling you this could be bad for your hand and how to avoid problems. What about a palm strike instead?

I’m a puncher from day one, and my hands are not that small. And I’ve only had two real problems and one surgery, with a hairline fractured bone because of an uppercut to a jaw.


KO: How does knife/gun/stick fit into the world of martial arts?

HH: Well, I guess it doesn’t in unarmed systems. But it should. It has been connected, if you think back to the samurai. They were shooting guns at each other eventually. Because the human race, psychologically, has been built to kill from a distance. This has been proven and proven and discussed forever. Archery was the big deal way back when, and then guns. And it’s just harder, face to face close, to kill a person. Just, psychologically.

So, today, there are a lot of guns. I don’t teach marksmanship at all. I have interactive/simulated ammo shooting training. In situations. That’s all I teach.

And of course the real challenge is to shoot cold, meaning that you are suddenly attacked…at that point, what is your skill level shooting cold instead of your skill level on the fourth set-round, warmed up on the range…and they say even psychologically, preparing yourself to drive to the range…getting everything ready to go, driving there, entering the place…all results in you not being all that “cold”. All of that is starting to prep you to shoot. Warming you up. Instead of being ambushed. And being ambushed is the greatest trick of all to pull off.

So I try to have situations that are based on reality. And I have very safe, fake guns, and very safe ammo, and we are able to work through many repetitions of realistic problems. You’re not learning gun combatives unless moving, thinking people are shooting back at you. It’s just that simple.

Of course, this approach has been accepted now, by the military and policing, and some smart civilian courses. I started to do this in the 1990s, and people were hesitant about it, thinking the only solution was – “I just need to draw faster” and stuff, and now as time has marched on, anybody with any sense is exploring interactive shooting with simulated rounds.

And of course, everyone’s been fighting with some kind of impact weapon or sword, but I don’t know if these things are officially, classically, “martial arts”.


KO: How did being a police officer connect with all your training?

HH: Well, for one thing, I didn’t shoot a lot of people. Cause I could fight ’em. That was a big deal. There were circumstances where I could have easily, legally, shot somebody, and I knew I didn’t have to. And so, I didn’t. And that’s from all this training and realistic confidence. Of course, that was not popular at the police department, because it set a new standard for these other people.

I do know from the reaction of people that that was kind of a problem. I’d bring a guy in, handcuffed, that I could have shot, and some old timer would be at the police department smoking a cigarette…and he’d say “Why didn’t you just shoot that son of a bitch…?”

And I would simply say “I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to shoot him”.

So that was the biggest thing. My days, the ’70s, the ’80s, and the ’90s,…basically speaking, if you were toe-to-toe, face-to-face with a guy, and a fight really started, we would basically, legally, try to beat the shit out of them until he quit resisting. You can’t do that anymore.

Because here’s the deal…if you arrest someone and wrestle with them…which is extremely dangerous, especially on the ground…and you get them in a “submissions/tap out” hold…they’re not gonna’ tap out, because in most cases they don’t know how to tap out. But you’ve captured them. Because I’m telling you, when you let the guy go, he continues to fight. Or he runs away.

So the goal of submission wrestling in arresting people is really not good. Now, if two or three people show up…your partners…you can try to work that out…and it’s usually still an uncoordinated mess.

And I’m a big fan of catch wrestling. Because as a martialist, we must know everything about the body. And we must know every joint, which way they bend, and which way they don’t bend. It’s our responsibility to know that. That doesn’t mean I have to become a brainwashed wrestler. Judo people forget to punch. If you’re in a system that doesn’t have a complete, competent doctrine, huge chunks are out. And if you exist in that system for too long, you forget many important things.

The old school fighting ways were: you hit the guy, stun the guy, throw him down. And handcuff him. That simple formula did help me tremendously in policework.

Nowadays, it’s a whole different animal.


KO: How about the stick part of your program?

HH: I approach the knife, the gun, the stick, and the empty hand in the same way. In stick training though, if you remove the Filipino stick vs. stick fighting, there’s not a whole lot left to the stick study. A regular person is not going to be fighting with a 28 inch stick by happenstance. By happenstance, you’re standing on a street corner with a 28 inch stick, and you get into a problem with another guy who has a 28 inch stick? Not likely. At the stick versus stick part, that point the stick fighting becomes more of an art, more of a fun, abstract study, a hobby, and a martial art.

If you remove stick vs. stick fighting from the program, there’s not a whole lot of material. So, I work on that for the Force Necessary Impact Weapon: Stick course, we worry about self-defense survival.  A little dueling, yes, but not at all like a Filipino course.


KO: And yet you seem to have a strong interest in the stick.

HH: Well, I started with the Inosanto world in 1986. Like so many people, Dan Inosanto changed my life. With the things that he was doing, and the people that he had. I spent a lot of time with Terry Gibson in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who Inosanto said was one of his top five people. I hosted Terry, I went to his house, I went to the seminars they did up there. I met Paul Vunak, Larry Hartsell, all through Terry Gibson. But part of the whole thing with Arnis is the overabundance of stick work, of single stick work.

As Ernesto Presas would explain, you really have five areas of so-called “play” in Filipino martial arts. There’s

  • 1: mano mano (hand),
  • 2: single stick,
  • 3: double stick,
  • 4: knife,
  • 5: espada y daga. Those are the big five areas of play.

So, sticks appear in three of those. Just naturally there’s an overabundance of it. Espada y daga is “sword” and daga, but it’s become “stick”, mostly. Some people justifiably call it “stick and knife”.

I myself am not particularly obsessed with sticks, ya ’know. I just have a long accumulated knowledge of stick stuff.  And I have a world where customers want to see “stick” stuff. They are magically so interested in it. So, I am happy to do stick material, and it’s kind of fun and so on, but it’s not my main interest or thing to do.

And I’m amazed…I see these people that have weekend seminars, three-day seminars…single stick, seven hours each day. Wow! And they’re just hypnotized, and mesmerized, by stick versus stick. These people really love it.

And as a result of that, I am happy to do stick stuff. And frankly, I do know a lot about it. And Filipino martial. I’ve had lots of exposure, time and grade. Dan Inosanto, at first he was doing Pekiti Tirsia, and then he switched over to Lameco…and in the meantime, he’s still telling you what Johnny Lacoste did, what Serada does, and Illustrisimo…

I was exposed to all these different systems, and I started going to all these others with an open mind. I started going to Remy Presas seminars. Remy was charismatic, he was the real deal…he fought in the Philippines, and had killed people, in stick challenges, that’s not very well known, but I’ve written about it on my pages. So, I was going seminar to seminar. I was just a seminar attendee to him. And then some guy calls me over and says “Do you know about his brother, Ernesto?”

I said, “Never heard of him.”

And so, he said “Well, come back here behind this curtain.” And we started to do Ernesto material, and then I started to do Ernesto material for four years. As well as all the Inosanto material. As well as Remy material.

Then I get a phone call from my guy, and he says “I’m going to the Philippines for a month. You gotta go with me.” So, I’m thinking, I have hundreds of hours of comp time saved up as a detective. And you have to take that time after a while. So I said, “I’m in.” I’m a bachelor, I sold my car, we went. And there was only like 7 or 8 of us that went. It was great. Negros Island and in Manila.

The next thing you know, after about training in the Ernesto system for five years…on the last day, a black belt test and I get this black belt “guru” title, there in Manila. I come back with this lineage and an actual list of system requirements to do that was really elusive with other FMA instructors. Most people just had to spend a whole lot of time (and money) with “Tuhon Joe Jones” and maybe…maybe…you’d get something. I had a list and a lineage line straight to Manila. I said “You do these ten things, and you can get this belt ranking from the Philippines.”

“WHAT?!” they’d say, “You mean these ten things?”

Yeah! I said “I can do that for ya. And if you do these 25 things, you can be a basic instructor, as granted by Ernesto Presas in the Philippines.”


So I started to become popular because I was, I had this connection. Back then, everybody wanted a backyard workout, a garage workout. Some guys rented a space. But everyone had a dream that was financially hard to do as time marches on. And that’s really how I became so-called “famous.” I started touring all over, people started asking me to these 10 things, to do these 12 things.

Meanwhile, I’m still with Remy Presas. Again, at those early times I was just another seminar attendee to Remy Presas, and Remy finds out I’ve been to his house on the Negros Island, that I’m working out in the Philippines, he contacts me. Then he and I became close. He knew I cared that much to do all those things. I hosted him numerous times and he stayed at my house a lot.

Both brothers had similar systems, but they’re different. Ernesto’s is much bigger. Ernesto was obsessed with making the perfect Filipino system, in those five areas of play. And as a result of that, he was tortured, and he never could complete it. He was constantly changing it, constantly messing around with it. Whereas Remy just wanted to do enough so that you could fight well, basically.

Both these guys were Karate black belts, they’re Judo black belts, they spent their entire lives doing martial arts. So. they were very well versed. They could fight anywhere, with anything.

But, back on the stick subject, as time marches on, the obsession with single stick with people is amazing.

So that is my…not a love/hate, but a love/infatuation with sticks.


KO: You’ve written quite a few books, right?

HH: Well, I have a very popular knife combatives book…

KO: (Thumbs up. I love that book.)

HH: …It’s got about 1,400 “how-to” photos. It’s very popular, it sells regularly, and now it’s an e-book.

Then I have an impact weapon book, which is not based on Filipino stick. But it is the blocking, striking, and grappling with an expandable baton, or any type of impact weapon that you have. I’m in the middle of making an unarmed combatives book, which is gonna be another heartbreaker to make…2,000-plus photographs, as much of my knowledge on the subject as possible I can record.

Then I have to do a Force Necessary: Gun” combatives book, which is nothing but all the sims ammo, interactive scenarios that I teach.

Those are the “big four”. The idea of writing a Filipino martial arts books is just overwhelming. I get a kick out of seeing these guys who write a “Filipino Martial Arts Book”, and it’s like a 128 page book. No (laughing), it’s gotta be as big as a damn spaceship manual. Now, I could do a five books on the five areas of play, that is digestible, possible. But y’know, I’m 70, I don’t know if I’ll get to finish ’em. And then of course, I do write novels, and I have a western series, and I have a detective series, and those take up a lot of my time.

KO: With modern technology, how important are books to the modern martial artist?

HH: Well, I guess that videos are superior, because you get to see what’s happening, but historically books are still important. They used to claim there were five ways to learn something, visually, reading, doing, etc. I don’t remember the others…but I’ve forgotten them because other experts have come up with five or more, better, ways to teach and learn. The original “five ways” is kind of an old school mythology that fell out of favor. I do know that you have to have different routes to people’s brains to teach them.

So, videos are pretty important. Sometimes I wish I had a GoPro I could plant, real thin, right between my eyes, and do what I’m doing and show people my (their) point of view, our perspective. And that would be another important way to learn.

But, for many, one of the main methods of learning is a book. And that’s why when I do these combat scenarios in books, I try to do each important step in the photos.

I’ve made about 45 training films. But with the demise of training films and the shortening attention span versions of films you see on YouTube…pretty much, the one-hour training video has lost the ability to be sold. Like Paladin, once a big international martial arts video company has collapsed. Century has bought the Panther videos but they don’t seem to be selling them. Nowadays, if you have an itch to learn…say…wrist locks, you type it in, you watch 17, three-minute YouTube videos on wristlocks, and you are sated. You’re not gonna’ buy a $40 wrist lock video. So, that is the problem with bothering to make movies anymore.

Of the 45 movies I’ve made, many are now free on my YouTube channel. I’ve decided once a month, I’m gonna put a 50-minute to 1 hour video up for free on my YouTube channel. Because of how things are changing. I don’t want the videos to sit and rot. If I was rich, I’d do all this for free anyway. That way at least people can watch and learn something.

KO: Are there any martial artists/martialists/fighters that you look/looked up to?

HH: Well, y’know, I really like Bas Rutten. I wish I could spend about year with that guy. But there are others that are competent fighters. I know that Bas will tend to lean toward the MMA/combatives thing, but he’s a pretty smart guy. Eric Paulson is amazing, the JKD guy. He’s amazing. He doesn’t seem to be hypnotized into wrestling. He knows the big picture. The information in the big picture is constantly on the tip of his tongue. You can always ask him “What about this? What about that?”

Gosh, and through the years, there’s been so many, but in particular categories. Scott Reitz. A founding member of LAPD SWAT…there’s your gun guy right there. Paul Howe, former Delta Force, gun guy, teaching in Nacogdoches, Texas. I guess I tend to lean towards extremely experienced people.

And then, some of the smartest people in the martial arts that you will ever meet, will run a quiet little school in a strip mall, in “Bumscrew”, Wisconsin. And nobody knows about them, but they’re brilliant people. And that’s just the way that it goes.

KO: What are your hopes for fight training, combatives, martial arts, etc. in the future?

HH: The bottom line is that I hope that everyone will be happy doing what they’re doing. Because much of it is a sport or a hobby.

The only thing that I ask for, that I ask and dream of, is that everybody who’s doing their hobbies and sports realize where it fits in survival. How does it fit in? Does it fit in? That’s one of the “who, when, what, where, why, and how” questions.

You have to have a martial IQ. The intelligence quota, to select the right things, and keep improving. If you wanna wrestle the rest of your life, and you still realize that this isn’t the cure for all fighting, and realize you don’t have a stick/gun/knife involved in this, and notice if you have forgotten how to punch and kick, “I just know this wrestling thing, and I love it! Maybe I will do a sports tournament thing someday, wouldn’t that be fun…”

Yeah. Go. Have a blast. Just know where everything fits or doesn’t fit. In the end, I want everybody to be happy with what they’re doing. They’re off the couch, they’re exercising, they’re part of the social aspects of a good school…you have Christmas parties, get togethers, you have kinship…all these great things can happen because of a martial art class, or a combatives class, or whatever. Just have an idea, from someone, somewhere, where your art fits in real life. And then, I’m happy. If you’re happy, I’m happy.


KO: Do you have any advice for martialists or Kajukenbo people in general?

HH: Well, Kajukenbo is, to me, a wide-open system of learning. They want you to exist in those categories and keep evolving and learning. And that to me is the best advice. Keep evolving and learning.

Hawaii was an amazing place, and a transition for so much.I remember Ed Parker saying that he tried to take all the Karate and Kenpo and turn it into an art for a bigger person. To Americanize it, so to speak. I think Kajukenbo did that too. And now it’s one of those martial arts that’s all over the world.

Back then there wasn’t a lot going on. And the arts there in Hawaii were the established beginnings of things. So, it doesn’t surprise me that a lot of guys were in those two arts (Kenpo and Kajukenbo). Nowadays, the popularity to me seems to be with BJJ and Krav Maga. You don’t see the Kung Fu school so often anymore.

To read more interviews like this, be sure to check out Kajukenbo Okayamas recent book, “Blood, Sweat, and Bone: The Kajukenbo Philosophy.



My first Guro Dan Inosanto seminar was in 1986 and he told a story about his high school football team. (I forget the pro players he mentioned). He said that he was a running back and kept crashing into the defense. The coach asked him why did he run the ball that way? Inosanto replied,

  • “I want to be like my hero ‘Joe Jones.’”
  • “Dan you’re 5’5.” Jones in 6’3”. Pick a smaller hero,” the coach said.

Dan did pick and with that advice and he broke many state-wide, California high school running back records. He also added once that his coach made them run up and down steep hills in practice and to run down the hill as fast as possible. Since it was a hill, you ran faster down than on flat ground. Inosanto said it was “a bit like flying.” The coach told them to “remember that feeling of that speed. Mimic it.”  (You usually learn a lot of related things at an Inosanto seminar.)

There are dreams of advancing, then there are tools to become advanced. Who knows those tools? I’d never thought much about these things before then. I also, needless to say, wanted to mimic Dan in terms of his knowledge, teaching and overall “cool.”

Improving. I mean, we all knew back then to weight lift to “get stronger,” and to run for endurance. What else? Well, repetition was important. But then who or what were we repeating? Mimicking? What of dedicated inspirations, guidance? Sure there was the Bible and Zig Zigler back then, but I’d never thought about codifying these diverse training ideas, inspirations and tools before 1986. They came very scattered. I was not alone. 

I grew up in the New York City area where one could play baseball and football endlessly through countless organized leagues of all ages. I was playing baseball until I was 18 years old, among guys in their 20s and 30s in money-sponsored teams. (I left the area at about 18.)  During these times, I and all others were under the influence of numerous coaches, and none had any real savvy about serious, performance coaching, a “teaching I.Q.,”even in high school where baseball, football and wrestling were big. Sure there were tips and some mistake-fixing yes, but not like today.

They’d say, “Playing is learning,” and we hear similar with martial expressions like “Learn to fight by fighting.” But that tops out too at-with your natural level of athleticism. Remember the prematurely athletic teen that was always the superstar high school quarterback? But 99.999% of them end up working in a factory. They topped out in high school. How to advance? Most coaches back then could not perpetuate such advancement. It seemed like much “mimicry” was a main teaching tool back then. “See how ‘so-and-so’ does it. He’s successful.”  

One of my goals was to play third base – “the hot corner” –  in baseball. A place known to receive a lot of fast ground balls and line drives. The throw was long to first base. It was a hard position, but I wanted to play there. And I did, especially after my long and lanky teen self had troubles as a catcher, because I was very long and very lanky. Many sports and spots depend on your size and shape. Fact of life. I then mimicked 3rd baseman Clete Boyer of the Yankees and I did well enough. One day I saw Boyer dive full-out to catch a fast foul ball. It was foul! Why not let it go? I realized that inside Boyers mind, at the crack of the bat, he was going to catch EVERY ball that came his way. Every one. He couldn’t stop to think at the hot corner, just – BALL! CATCH! He couldn’t help himself that the ball went foul. He HAD to get it. That idea inspired me. Moved me. An epiphany.  No coach ever told me that stuff, told us this stuff. So, I mimicked Clete Boyer, but without step-by-step “teaching technology,” I would never surpass a certain level. It seems epiphanies – those rare emotional, intellectual touchstone, inspirational moments – are rare.

Teaching I.Q.? Teaching technology? Take Willie Stargell for exampIe. I also followed Stargell of the Pittsburg Pirates. I stumbled upon a book about Stargell – there were several – and for the first time this particular writer discussed a performance shift in his aging career. He’d had an amazing career but suffered the usual slowdown with age. The Pirates were looking to move him to first base and maybe even benching him some. But that winter, many, many decades ago, Stargell attended one of the first baseball training camps, which at the time, way back when, were new and ignored, but Willie paid in.

The coaches and Willie identified every single thing in baseball he might face, every little episode, every event. Catching a ball this way or that way. Running from first base to second base, first to third, etc. To my memory they identified some 30-40 specific events, very big and very small. And, during that off-season at this ground-breaking camp, Willie did every one, 100 times each, almost every work day, under their watchful eyes. As a result, he had a rebirth in performance and played several more years successfully. He went back every off-season until other factors, mostly age, interfered. Wow. Another epiphany for me. Tools. Steps. Skill exercises, big and small. Set me to thinking about diverse applications in teaching. Teaching technology, so to speak.  

Thank goodness since then, this skill development, this training methodology really caught on, widespread, even down to grassroots, neighborhood league coaching. Officially! (When I coached my kids’ baseball teams I made it a point to take players aside and work on specifics in sessions.) For the last few decades we see this influence in every sport. Records of almost every sort have been broken. The talented continued to improve, The mediocre became better. The lost became at least, found. I also noted such advancements in high school, college and pro football. In the last decades we hear professonal football players talk about the difficult leaps in training from high school, to college to the pros. These methods are all another good form of mimicry too. Mimic the pros’ training methods, not just performance.

Are you way too lanky, tall and skinny to be the baseball catcher? There are reasons most succesful catchers are shaped as they are. We have to remember we are all different. Basic boxing is much the same, but Mike Tyson should not fight like Muhammed Ali, and vice-versa. Dan Inosanto should not run the football like Joe Jones. Don’t over-train in tennis to be a basketball player. Reduce the abstract. Isolate the skill steps and build them. In the Who, What, Were, When, How and Why questions I live for, this is a big “who question.” Who are you? Shape, size, age, strength, etc. Who do you mimic?

Who are your heroes and to what end? Coaches and teachers in these essentially cookie-cutter, sports and martial arts programs must be careful and recognize these differences. Is your “ku-roty” or combatives or self defense teacher a super-star athelete, power-lifter that oh-so does-looks the part? And…you’re not…can you recognize these reaities?

This is why I am obsessed with identifying and teaching the universal, versatile, achievable, core, survival basics foremost. What can most people do? Grasp? Get that stuff done. Work on the probable problems first, then the improbable. Then with good coaching I.Q., recognize natural attributes, steer developments and push people to their private mission success. Its one thing to play a lot of “baseball,” it’s another to excell at third base. At some point, customization must step in.

There are dreams of advancing, then there are tools to become advanced: Two very different things. A major way one advances is  with speed, flow and skill drills-exercises. You can’t over do these as many do, else you become a “drill master.”  Ask these classic questions:

  • Who are you and who can help you?
  • What is your push about and what methods exist for your push? What should you realistically expect?
  • Where can you work on this push?
  • When can you do this? (Willie did off-season!)
  • How far and fast can you, should you, push the envelope?
  • Why are you motivated?
  • Continue to ask and answer these and related questions. 

I am 70 years old now. I have been training and teaching all over the world, meeting with and working out with all kinds of people. Listen to me for a great and important tip. Your “who” changes with time…oh…what…every 5 years or so? Can you still do your once favorite moves? That high kick? That sacrifice fall on the mats, lest of all on cement? Can you still clearly see that front sight on your gun AND-OR your target as well, or are they blurry blobs? Can you still hit that fast ball? Do you need to alter-evolve, dismiss some of your favorite things? Can your 50 year-old self, mimic your 20 year old self? Take stock every 5 years or so of what you do.

There’s a lot to this “mimicry” subject.


Check out Hock’s free Survival Centrix newsletter . Send your email address to Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

Ten Fighting “Stances,” Positions

In 1986, I became fascinated by the Bruce Lee’s essay on “the stance of no stance,” idea. Whether hand, stick, knife or gun, I opted for the loose “ready stance,” and the “balance and power in motion” concept, a motion-picture-idea rather than a still-photo-idea.

Thanks to Bruce Lee, the Inosanto Family (and Ed Parker) when teaching since the late 1980s, I organized and demonstrated the Ten Probable Position-Problems to prepare people for the full spectrum of mixed weapon fighting possibilities. I was a cop then and we had to fight on the ground periodically, so even before the BJJ madness-fad, many of us trained in a diverse Police Judo, later re-named Police Defensive Tactics (both very incomplete). And, I was deeply involved with the Inosanto Family and they were deeply involved in “shooto” – “shoot wrestling.”

One might say there are three generics in “street fighting-survival” challenges. 1) standing, 2) kneeling-seated, 3) floor-ground. But inside each there are differing heights and needs, making up the ten. For me a system-art that spends too much time in one of the categories is forgetting the importance of the others. In any fight you may well transition through some of these ten. Investigate them through the Ws and H Questions, the who, what, where, when, how and why questions to best explore combatives. One such “Where” question is…”Where are you?”  Standing? Kneeling? Seated? Floored-grounded? 

  • Problem 1a: Unready Standing unprepared – the “stupid bus top.” This is a concept I learned from Ed Parker Kenpo karate in 1973. You are standing normally (like waiting for a bus). You are probably zoned out and unprepared.
  • Problem 1b: Ready Standing Ambush – the “prepared bus stop.” You are prepared but don’t look so to an opponent. (Think sucker punch approach, concept.)
  • Problem 2:  Ready Standing – “Weapon” Forward or as in a right side lead. (Weapon as in hand, stick, knife, gun.)
  • Problem 3: Ready Standing – “Weapon” Neutral or as in hands-torso showing no lead. (Weapon as in hand, stick, knife, gun.)
  • Problem 4: Ready Standing – “Weapon” Forward or as in a left side lead. (Weapon as in hand, stick, knife, gun.)
  • Problem 5: Knee Height (or seated,) versus Standing.
  • Problem 6: Knee Height (or seated,) versus Knee-high or Seated.
  • Problem 7: Knee Height versus Someone Below You. This is the top-side of a floor-ground fight. (Might be two knees down, right knee up or left knee up.)
  • Problem 8: Floored-grounded On Back. This means fighting standing, kneeling and grounded enemies. Full spectrum, head to toe (think north-south-east-west).
  • Problem 9: Floored-grounded on Right Side. Usually this means fighting enemies that are knee-high or grounded too. Full spectrum, head to toe (think north-south-east-west).
  • Problem 10: Floored-grounded on Left Side. Usually this means fighting enemies that are knee-high or grounded too. Full spectrum, head to toe (think north-south-east-west).


YOU WILL BE FIGHTING “HERE”… In many a fight, certainly an ambush, you might never get a chance to strike up a defined “stance.” Still, this study reminds everyone that fighting includes all these up-and-down height categories and they should not be ignored or forgotten.

EVERYTHING you learn, must be experimented through these 10 position (stance) problems. Every strike, kick, lock, etc…can you do it there? Can it work here? There? Up and down? Yes or no? This is the goal of the seamless survival fighter. You fight where you fight, where you are.  A true fighter-survivor, so-called “combatives” person, fights standing, kneeling-seated and on the floor-ground, in and out of buildings, in rural, suburban and urban areas. Dissect, identify and discard sports and artsy cancers. A combatives fighting system is about doctrine-doctrine-doctrine, the training skeleton which recognizes chaos, crime and war and best prepares people to respond.

I ask again, “Where are you?”

More on Shooto, click here


Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary,com

Get these Training Mission, second-edition books in Ebook, oversized paperback and full color, collectable hardcover textbooks. Hundreds of pages of thousands of how-to photos. (there will eventually be about six Training Mission books. Click here






The Bruce Lee YMCA Boxing Program

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

Binge and Purge – The Martial Arts – Or, How I Learned…

Binge and Purge – The Martial Arts – Or, How I Learned Not to Need Subsection 3B of the Ukulele Islands Miasma Fighting System

I was watching medical doctors discussing things in a lecture and one said, “Remember back in med school? They told us that 50% of what we are learning will be disproved in ten years.” The board of doctors all nodded. 50% is a lot. In a way, in all fields, the sands can shift under your feet too.  Psychology, medicine, science, athletic performance. Fighting. Acne removal. Shoe polishing…prepare to be wrong.

There is a usual amount of talk about the evolution of the martial arts through the centuries and in recent years. The islands of Hawaii were a filtering point for many martial methods as they passed from Asia to the USA. Bruce Lee publicized the barrier-breaking ideas of Jeet Kune Do. MMA (with ground n pound) has evolved to maximize success in sports fights. MMA fights are great laboratories.

I am known for confessing that I am not in love with martial arts per say, nor am I addicted to any one, two or more of them. Per say. I seem to have other odd motivations. These motives have somehow caused me to travel and teach. People say to me,

“It must be great to travel around and do what you love.”

Well, I…I don’t love this. No. Teaching is just a job. A job I got in and evolved in a very odd way from my…my odd “disorders.” Basically, I learned a lot of stuff. Then people learned that I learned a lot of stuff. As a result, people wanted to learn what I learned. I slowly started teaching on the road in the 1990s. Things slowly grew.

Why did I learn a lot of stuff? What motives? I have a very odd, sickness or obsession about tactics, since I was a kid. I don’t care where it comes from, but rather how valuable they are. I am not a historian, pigeon-holing methods into period pieces. If I know that history stuff, it’s just by accident. I suffer from a neurosis that has no name? Martial Syndrome? Martialitis?

I am not a copy machine, replicator of old stuff for the sake of hero- worship, or system-worship.  I want to evolve or even de-evolve if need be. So, like the doctors mentioned above that some things are fixable/replaceable? Smarter, better? Replace it. Since I don’t care about martial arts…per say…I don’t really care about collecting a dead (or living) guy’s subsections of subsections.

After years in “Kuratey-jujitsu” since 1972 and military and police tactics, some sort of sickness then switched on in my head way back in 1986 when I saw the Inosanto/Bruce Lee approach. I can honestly say that not a single day since 1986 has my mind not thought about, or wandered to, some kind of martial subject. Obsessive thoughts. Pervasive thoughts. It’s unhealthy.  I don’t know why. I could collect baseball cards or stamps or bowl like the Dude Lebowski. Instead I collect…hand, stick, knife, gun tactics. Are there any drugs for this malady?

And in pursuit of this collection, I have a peculiar paranoia. Not a typical paranoia, like a fear of “the streets” and being “attacked.” Not a paranoia of what is lurking behind every corner. Not that kind. Not that those things don’t cross my mind, but rather I have a serious fear of…”missing something worthy.”

WHAT am I missing , I fear? Who is teaching what? What do they know that I don’t know? How far am I falling behind? What’s that move? That drill? After all these decades, I do understand that most martial things for me are redundant and repetitive, and there is a lot of repetitive bilge. But maybe not sometimes? When you suffer from this malady, the desire to collect and fear of missing something,  you have to keep eating – and you can’t help yourself –  but…but…eat and purge. Eat, eat, eat and then purge.

You know that bad news about eating/binging and purging. People can die! It rots your pipes! But many people don’t die. In the process they seem to retain enough vitamins/mineral/nutrients to stay alive!

New for the sake of new…is not new. This has been going on a long time for marketing and business. And the grass is always greener. People fall for the esoteric just because of mystique. In the USA, the new “pain rub” medicine must come from Australia. In Australia, it must come the USA. You need to have an educated eye to see through this manipulative crappola.

After these last forty-odd years of odd study, working with smart people, sparring with and without weapons, shooting sims, arresting hundreds of people and working assault, aggravated assault, rape, robbery, attempted murder and murder cases. I have an “eye.” While I am deficient in so many, many things and ways, and I cannot do many things, I do have an evolved eye for fighting things. I can dissect them. And now more than ever I see the vast number  of tactics and techniques on all these video clips. I can instantly spot the esoteric, flashy unnecessary moves people do. And sadly I can see the salivating onlookers, so naively impressed. They often fall into cult-like hypnosis and hero worship over “new-that-ain’t-new,” or some fall into utter nonsense. Often what I see them do what they do, I can cut in half, even thirds, but what’s left ain’t sexy or cool.



(The…ahhh….sexy “Turban Defense,” as in over-wrapping your head, way too often because…because… ahhhh….well….) 



I hope this sort of time and grade maturity reaches the salivating masses someday? But I also want everyone to be happy, to pursue their hobbies too. If you know you are addicted to the artsy  esoterica? Then fine. Just know you are.

And so, my paranoia. My paranoia. Am I missing something? I will always be looking around, feeling inadequate. And I will go with you to see Miasma Swami Jo-Jo Lukahn teach his subsection 3-A and B from the Ukulele Islands. I’ll fool around with it a bit. Sure. But, I will most likely purge it later as redundant and unnecessary.

Binge. Question. Purge. Binge. Question. Purge.


Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Email Hock and get his free news-blast newsletter.


The Equal Opportunity Stabber, Saber or Reverse Grip?

The Equal Opportunity Stabber. Saber or Reverse Grip?

I am an “equal opportunity stabber.” Sound weird? Hear me out. I’ve heard the knife whisper. Have you? About the secret “best grip tip.” You know the one, “If you see a guy hold a knife like this (reverse grip) watch out! He really knows what he is doing.” 

Now for the novice reading this, real quick, the saber grip is the most popular nickname for holding the knife like a sword with the blade sticking out the top of the hand. The reverse of that, the reverse grip has the knife blade sticking out the bottom of the hand. Both are quite natural grabs. New or experienced, young, old, whatever, the knife is a great equalizer and both can deliver bloody devastation.

Ahhh, but “the reverse grip is best,” so whisper the tipsters who know nothing, learned from yet another tipster who knew nothing. I have heard that “insider reverse grip tip” numerous times through the years. One example-

“I was at a seminar once where an “expert” told us that if we see a man using a knife in that grip to “Run! That man is a professional!” – Carl Flume    (So you don’t run if the robber has a saber grip?)

I have nothing against the reverse grip. I teach it too. But, how many times have you heard or been told, or taught the reverse grip is the only grip to use? Because there were and are some popular courses out there preaching this idea. Mindless followers will whisper and argue that:

  • “Well, the reverse grip is the Filipino way.”
  • “The reverse grip is the Pekiti Tirsia way.”
  • “Ex-super-copper Pete Smith says the reverse grip is the best.”
  • The Marine whisperer claim.

People! People….people. FMA does BOTH grips. Pekiti Tirsia also teaches tons of saber grip material. And Pete Smith? He is just, flat-out, wrong-headed about this. He is not as smart as you think. He’s not as smart as he thinks. The whisperer? Let’s explore that now.

Knife Confusion. I am often both depressed and fascinated by the paths, choices and ideas of various knife courses. Some obsess about dueling. Some appear to me like death cults, others have what seems to be oddball, incomplete conclusions. Most never cover legal issues and just cut and stab away. No knife ground fighting. No knife versus unarmed or mixed weapons. Some way over-emphasize Filipino Sumbrada patterns. Some have only three or four stabs with zero concerns about the before during and after, the old “just sticking the “pointy end” in. How about those little rounded-handle knives that can turn easily in your hand? I could go on. Another, probably big dichotomy is this grip thing and the various obsessions with the one, bestus’, mandatory, knife grip.

In the 1980s, I was at a Dan Inosanto seminar and Dan said. “there is no one perfect knife grip, just the best one for the moment.”  Wow! That little phrase stuck with me forever as a baseline. With my Force Necessary: Knife course, I insist that a practitioner learn and experience BOTH the saber and reverse grips standing through ground, right and left handed. Then after much COMPLETE study, they choose what their favorite grip is, based on the “who, what, where, when and how and why” of situations and their lives. I never tell them to automatically favor any one grip. Make it an EDUCATED choice (and not follow a whisper tip). 

How Favoritism Gets Started? Here’s one example. The first time I received any training with a knife was in a Parker Kenpo class in about 1972 when that day they received a package of Kenpo knives and dull trainers from Gil Hibben. The knife was designed to be held in a reverse grip and used in a kickboxing format. There, me as a yellow belt rookie, we were allowed to fool around with the newly arrived tools. This initiation, this design I think caused decades of Kenpo-ists to hold their knives in a reverse grip as though Moses, not Gil Hibbens, had handed them knives from the mountaintop.

Did Ed Parker demand the knife and all subsequent training be in a reverse grip? I don’t know. It is widely reported that in 1968 Gil designed the Kenpo Knife (sometimes called the Ed Parker Fighting Knife) for his black belt thesis on knife fighting using Kenpo tactics. These tactics are conducive to karate-kickboxing. Maybe some historian reading this will know and tell us. But the reverse grip stuck.

In the late 1990s I was teaching in a multi-instructor camp and a old Parker Kenpo black belt was there with his imported group. I was covering saber grip material and he would horde his people over into a corner after each demo and show them the “proper, reverse grip way” to fix what I was doing saber style. Which by the way his was more complicated and somewhat awkward than the simple saber applications I was covering.  

Finally he just had to approach me and said, “you know, the reverse grip is the superior grip.” I said, “No it isn’t.” He glared at me. I added, “You can do just as much or even more with a saber grip, often simpler, with more reach.

Well, he stormed off – his 7th dan “master” self, all upset that someone younger in blue jeans and a polo shirt told him flat-out, no. (Oh, did I mention that he also makes and sells reverse-grip-only knives?) My next session by the way, I covered some reverse grip material, as I am…as I said…an equal opportunity stabber.

People pick grips for odd reasons too. I read from a guy writing about his grip choice. He said he once saw someone with a training knife, saber grip, stab a mitt and the guy’s hand slipped up on the blade. This made him pick the reverse grip. Really? That? Because if you don’t have a good guard, saber or reverse your hand can slip onto the blade.  As a detective who has investigated knife crime for decades, I can tell you such slippage happens with BOTH saber AND reverse grips without a guard. I have solved attempted murders and murders when the attacker’s hand slipped up on the blade and he himself bled on the weapon, the victim and, or surroundings. We “ran” the blood, and in today’s world, the DNA of today works greater wonders. 

Let’s talk Marine whispering. Once I was told this reverse-grip-only tip by a civilian who had never been in the Marines, but heard this tip from the ubiquitous “Marine friend.” The irony was at the time, 1990s, I was in a Triangle, VA. hotel restaurant next to the Marine base Quantico, where I was teaching Marines in their Hand to Hand combatives, “Train the trainers” school, teaching “knife,” among other topics. Some of it was saber grip knife, some reverse grip. They didn’t care what grip we did. They were fully open to both.  (Quick note: old school military holds that “hand-to-hand” training does not fully mean unarmed, it refers to close-up fighting, with or without weapons.)

And saber grips survived. Take it from the Sandboxx article by Marine Travis Pike in 2021, “…your blade is always pointing at the bad guy…”

While in the Middle East or “Southwest Asia” as they like to call it, while in several PXs (military stores), I saw walls of all kinds of fixed blade or folder knives for sale. It seems everyone smartly has all kinds of issued or purchased knives, carried all over their bodies and who knows how they hold them. Fortunately about 99.9% of the time they are used for chores. A rare, rare few get any knife training. Some a small bit.

Some military units around the world like to watch-spy and imitate each other, and sometimes this jump innocently does replicate faults. In the mid-to-late 2010s and 2020s, some worldly units started copying other units by spending copious amounts of money buying vests, sheaths for knife carry in or near the center of the chest, along with a knife that has a ring atop it to run one’s pointy finger through and draw. The double-edged knife and sheath come in different sizes. This set-up forces troops into a reverse grip, whether they like it or not. The center staging does allow for right or left handed access. (If the knife hung upside down with a solid sheath and minus the ring, one could draw right or left handed to a saber grip. Just saying. But too late now! $$$$)

The Inside Edge Only Miasma. And on this subject, I will go you one more crazy level with a reverse grip oddity that’s worse. There is a small, knife sub-culture out there that wants you to fight reverse grip, with a single edge knife, and with the one sharp side, “inside,” as in facing back into your body. Not edge out to the outside world where the enemy is attacking you. The edge is aimed back at you, Dull side, flat edge out facing the enemy. This is its own unique thinking disorder. The world you are fighting is OUT there, not in your armpit. This is essentially a one-trick pony.

The reverse grip, edge-OUT offers a slashing possibility, an ADVANTAGE that might diminish or end the opponent alone. And a double-edged, or 1/4 or 1/2  or 3/4s or full sharp edge on the outer side is ALWAYS going to be a doctrine advantage. Maximize your survival with the most versatile knife. Reverse grip, edge-in? This is like only putting 2 rounds in a six gun.


Reverse grip tip in accidents. When the Samurai commit suicide – seppuku – they do it with a reverse grip. There’s a reason for this. It’s easier. The tip is already aimed inward  at you. (Incidentally, the helper that will kill him if he fails? Holds a saber grip.) This “easy-tip-inward” is one more point no one seems to consider when raving about reverse grips. The tip is often aimed back at you. About once every 4 weeks on the nightly reruns of the “Cops” TV show you can see a reverse grip knifer get tackled by cops. When they turn the suspect over? He or she was – “self-stabbed” in the grapple. One of our main lesson plans with the reverse grip is self-awareness of these maneuvering and grappling realities.

I cover dropping to the ground and we see people stab their thighs, and when tackled or shoved against the wall, we see the same “Cops” incident of the accidental self-stabbing. Tell people to practice falling-rolling while holding a reverse grip knife and watch the accidents. If people are running and holding a reverse grip knife, and they trip and fall? Watch out! There are more reverse grip “selfie” accidents than saber grip ones. Just be aware of this.

Years ago I was grappling with my training partner and had a wooden training knife in the reverse grip. Long story short, we went to the ground and I fell on the training knife and caught the tip in the ribs. That definitely made my eyes water. Since then I’m very iffy whether I’d ever use that grip with a live blade in a real situation. I still train both grips but I much prefer the saber grip due to the added reach, maneuverability, and the sharp end isn’t pointing back at me most of the time.” – Neil Ferguson, USA

A Summary. I think by now we might have dispelled the caustic “Reverse Grip Marine Whisperer.” Still, there are many pros and cons for each grip. I HAVE MUCH TO SAY FOR THE REVERSE GRIP. I teach it also and I believe better and more comprehensive and thoughtful than most others…or I wouldn’t bother. I just don’t like the blind acceptance, the secret whisper about which grip is the best and which is to be mandated and or ignored. And It bothers me that people thoughtlessly accept courses about these main things. Question everything. Get educated with both. Then pick a knife and a grip you need in situations. I even hate to tell you my favorites because I don’t want to influence yours. 

The knife is a very forgiving weapon, in that you can do a whole lot of screwed-up, stupid shit with a knife and it will work. This is not an excuse to stay stupid. You have to think beyond that to create a comprehensive program and promote real knowledge.

I can’t shake the fact that people essentially eat with a saber grip and most may well reflexively grab and use any knife in this manner. Look, I really don’t care what grip you use as long as it is an EDUCATED, informed choice, and not some mindless, mandate from some thinking disorder and, or brainwashed person, or from that ignorant knife whisperer who knows somebody, who knew somebody else, who…

Having written my extensive and popular knife book, which took years, studying crime, war and forensic medicine, working cases and the streets, I am an equal opportunity stabber. And I will only leave you with what Dan Inosanto said decades ago, – “there is no one perfect knife grip, just the best one for the moment.”


Hock’s email is Hock@Survival Centrix.com

1700 how-to photos. 300 pages. Get the collector’s item color hardcover, The black and white, oversized paperback and now the Kindle Ebook!  Click here:

The Big Filipino Martial Arts Turning Point

   When was this? This big, “Filipino martial arts turning point” for me? Keep in mind, this is just me and my personal view on things. Don’t hate me cuz I’m viewtiful!

tissue ears 2

I started doing FMA in 1986, in among other arts like JKD, and had been doing the classic karate and jujitsu (not the Brazilian wrestling version of today). By about 1993 I had covered a lot of FMA material, been to the Philippines twice. Got black belts from both Ernesto Presas and Remy Presas.

The big turning point came with double sticks, of all odd, obscure things. In 1993, a friend called me and said, “Hey Hock, this weekend, Guro ______ is coming into Dallas! He is going to do two full days of the ______ double stick drills. Are you coming?”

Two full days of…double sticks? I guess this phone call had an epiphany moment for me when several ideas flashed through my head. I found myself confessing…

“Two days? Double sticks? Well, I think I’ll pass. I mean, how many double stick drills are there anyway?”

“You’re gonna miss it! A chance to learn THEE _______ double stick drills!”

When we hung up, I examined my epiphany moment. Well, from the Inosanto world, the Remy Presas world, and Ernesto Presas world, I’d already collected about 50 double stick drills according to my anal retentive lists I keep. FIFTY ! I suddenly asked myself,

  • “Why am I doing this?”
  • “How many more double stick drills could there be, anyway?”
  • “How different could they be after a certain basic point?”
  • “What makes them different and worth knowing?”
  • “How are they the same?”

How ARE they the same? I realized that it was more important to organize the drills, not from the hero-worship-“who” or the hero worship-“what” fan club systems, but instead how are the drills all the same? (It is counter productive and stifling to worship system-heads and systems.)

How are they so similar. And how and why am I wasting my time collecting endless double stick drills from a nearly endless group of known and unknown system-heads who all think theirs are ever-so-special. Many of which are so much the same and with only one slight different tweak here or there. Rather, smarter, I should instead try to understand the essence of all of them. The essential core. Then, teach the universal core.

I was already contemplating the differences between the Remy and Ernesto double stick programs. Remy seemed to have 5 or 6 basic patterns with variations. Ernesto had the classic “must know” list.  

     Then…then I asked myself why I didn’t view ALL aspects of the varied FMAs the same way? Why not find the universal core of FMA itself? Find the very of essence…

  • mano-mano
  • single stick
  • knife
  • double weapons

…in this clean, kind of scientific manner? Study these cores first. Deal with the needed and dismiss the probably unneeded and-or redundant and-or prissy variables. 

Ray Medina and me doing the double deal, 1986. It all starts from the stick fight first!


There will always be happy museum and happy history collectors, who collect ANYTHING from ANYBODY. And then those who like to sort-of, name-drop stuff like – “at this point, Roohan moved his kneecap this way, while Roohan kept his meniscus right here…” I can talk some of that artsy smack too, just from training years osmosis. I can delight the esoteric fanatics with these tidbits of meniscus positioning. I can also tell you that Ed Kranepool played first base for the Mets in the 1960s. Hey! I do know stuff! But how useful is it?)

 Annnnd with that idea? I started constructing the generic PAC course. Pacific Archipelago Concepts, an irreverent, skeptical look at the related core of those related arts. This includes all the big systems in the Pacific Ocean. A lot of this work had been done, like with Kajukenbo (karate, jujitsu, kenpo, boxing)

This clean, generic, non-worship approach did not make me popular with some existing FMA entities, (some are cult-like) in fact I was suddenly shunned by some. And in the seminar business, it is still not my most popular or even my favorite course to teach, as I usually cover generic “combatives” for lack of a better term. But hey, FMA is fun to do, good exercise, a hobby with numerous abstract mental and physical benefits. And when asked to, I will happily cover it. I feel like if I can spread the core-foundation. Then anyone can more quickly blend into any FMA system they wish to pursue. 

(By the way, I carried this “core” perspective over to combatives. In a way, this “double stick epiphany” in 1993 was an important idea in more ways than one. It gave me a mission. A purpose. A vision if you will. My pursuit, my study, my interest, my goal, is the universal generic.)

Back to 1993! I later asked that friend back in 1993,
“How was the _______ double stick seminar?”
“It was great!”
he said, “We did 30 drills. Most of them we already do, others just a little different here and there.”

Already do? Imagine that! 


Hock’s email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary,com


Get the full info on the PAC-FMA course right here, click here