Tag Archives: fma

Mixed-Up Martial Arts?

MMA – Mixed Martial Arts? Or MMA – Mixed-up Martial Arts?

The tabulators tell me that 2022 this will be my 50th year doing martial arts – having started in Parker Kenpo in 1972. I’ve always been looking for the best most realistic arts and systems through those decades, hunting for the next best thing, but for the first half of those 50 years, for about 25 years, I’ve done so rather poorly and confused. Mixed up.

From the 70s on I was working out with what was available, old school jujitsu, boxing, karate, police judo-defensive-tactics. Then in 1986 I starting with the Inosanto Family systems (Thai-JKD-Silat-FMA-Shoot fighting) and Presas Arnis. In 1990 I started Aiki-Jujitsu with a professor in Oklahoma. I guess I was spinning a whole lot of plates? But on some level, despite the differing outfits, patches and the nomenclatures, many times I noted I was often doing the same basic, good moves in different systems, despite the change of systems with a tweak here and there. Sort of a name-game change.

Makes me think of the Bogey movie song, You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is…” But you really must remember that a “punch is just a “punch,” a “kick is just a kick? I recall Bruce Lee doing some Zen paraphrasing from the famous Zen Buddhist – “ Qingyuan declared that there were three stages in his understanding of the dharma. The first stage, seeing mountain as mountain and water as water.  The second stage, seeing mountain not as mountain and water not as water. And the third stage, seeing mountain still as mountain and water still as water. Bruce modernized the phrase a bit, then replaced the nouns with “punch” and “kick.” He did this name-game switch often from Buddhist sayings.

I see my martial life that same 1, 2, 3 way that Mr. Qingyuan suggests, which leads me to my mixed-up-martial arts phrase and phase. Bear with me. You might see yourself in this dharma-dilemma-development?

For quite some time I played a name-game switcheroo. I changed clothes and mindset with various martial art class scheduling. Often in the same night! I can best describe this with two quick stories.

  • Parable 1: Years ago in the late 1980s and early 90s, one of my favorite instructors was Terry Gibson, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I would host him in Texas, attend his seminars up there and also visit him for multiple day private lessons. At the time Terry was considered one of Inosanto’s top five instructors (Terry has since passed). He was terrific. When there for privates in the daytime, one could attend all the night classes for free. There was a battery of them, an hour of this or that, JKD, FMA, Thai, Silat, etc. And I stayed for all of them from about 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night. Different students came in and out for their flavors and I recall the change of mindset and clothes for each one, even with the folks attending two or more of them each night. Me? FIVE of them. All the classes were mixed with careful instruction and some fighting. The Thai Boxing (in traditional shorts, etc.) was particularly rough and it was suggested that Thai sparring be limited in class to prevent statistical injuries and therefore it was mixed with lots of choregraphed Thai drills on pads. Yet two hours later, the Jeet Kune Do class (this one in gym clothes) sparring was wide-open, and anything goes. Same kicks, elbows, strikes, just not “Thai” in Thai clothes and no “shwoshing” mouth sounds, stance, etc. 
Terry Gibson and Hock Hochheim
       Terry Gibson and Hock Hochheim, Tulsa,                                          Oklahoma, 1990.

Each of the classes definitely had a different mission, feel and goals. I’d got the vague idea back then that these things could be blended, especially via the Bruce Lee ideology I was trying to grasp, but they were not. I was also a PFS Paul Vunak instructor back in that day and Paul was very much on mission for the one blend idea. He only used FMA for skill developing methods, but he was trying to blend everything into one thing, one approach. Vu was a pioneer in his own way, a real shock treatment to late 1980s martial arts. I was all in.

By the way, this division of subjects is a martial arts school business model. More classes. More themes. More students. More money. Nothing wrong with that – just saying. With many other instructors and schools in this business model, we studied to become one system-artist when doing that one system-art. MMA, the evolved business model became a study to learn different things – yes – but, inadvertently, keep them separate. Divided. Which, whether I fully realized it at the time, was NOT what I wanted, but I wasn’t quite “martial-mature” enough to realize it. I had no “eye” for it. (More on “eyes” later…)

  • Parable 2: I was kind of trying to blend, but I was really off-mission. Mixed-up. Not clear. In my Texas classes that I taught from 1989 to 1994, I started out running the same multi-theme format on weeknights. Man, it was fun! People had fun! I had fun doing such a variety of martial arts too. Playing around with all kinds of stuff. I continued to see more of the basic similarities when organizing the class outlines. So much good stuff was the same wrapped in a different packages and lingo. Parts of the karate class looked like parts of the JKD class. What? As they say, you don’t really know something until you teach it. Some customers were in and out doing the mixed subjects, some stayed for all theme classes. Some customers got confused back then too. One lifelong karate student who sought me out only for self defense survival, asked me why did I show a complicated Judo Gene LaBelle wrestling move for a sport tap-out. These little situations were popping up, things that belonged in one umbrella were popping up under another umbrella. And not the umbrella I really wanted.                                                                                                                                  So, I wasn’t doing mixed martial arts really. I was doing…all mixed-up, martial arts. I was all mixed up (All this while I was a cop making arrests and realizing that fighting was more like checkers and way less like chess). In late 1993 I started organizing my mission better. I really started to recognize the off-mission sport material, the off-mission art material, the hypocrisies between the arts, and unnecessary, artsy editions. I’d been right on target with FMA since 1992 thanks to Presas Arnis, but these other topics? No. So, I worked on the blend. The REAL mix. (Oh, and by the way, this work is a never-ending assessment of search and destroy.)

I used the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why questions.

  • Who was I? Who is the student? 
  • What was I really teaching? What did they really want? Really need?  What is the generic, simple good in all of them? 
  • Where should I teach and what? Because differing places want or need different things.
  • When should I teach and what? When do they understand what I am saying?
  • How will I best organize all this? How will I teach it?
  • Why am I teaching what I teach? Why are they here?

While turning the all-mixed-up to the mixed-blended, I have a lot of teaching stories for each “W and H” question from these last 26 years, the second half of the 50. I believe these to be informational, entertaining and educational stories, but book-length, and not good here for a short blog.

It should come as no surprise that in the big training picture, modern MMA (as in a blended “UFC style” With ground n’ pound, and I repeat WITH ground n’ pound), Combatives or Krav Maga formats evolved to fill in that anxious, wandering market place of folks like my early self, seeking the stripped-down blend, the best mix. It’s just business and filling the gaps.

Something much bigger is going on though. In the history of mankind, its overall DNA, a small group of people – us – struggle to keep fighting skills perpetuating, alive, for the drastic times that come and go, and keep us all alive. This genetic drive manifests in many different ways, like karate or combatives. It’s that big picture, so big we don’t see it, down to the smallest of pictures. You. You and the quizzical questions and choices in your head. Why do you do this stuff? Well, I just gave you one big DNA reason you might not have thought of. For some of us? It’s our inherent duty to mankind. We are the odd, weird ones, keeping this alive.

I certainly don’t regret all the mixed-up, past exposure, the blood, sweat and cussing since 1972, even though I wanted simple, generic hand, stick, knife and gun. But still, the background-depth, time and grade, experience is irreplaceable. Mike Gillette said once, “you are really paying Hock…for his eye.”

His eye? Eye? Look for a moment at my Australian friend Nick Hughes, currently in North Carolina, USA. Yeah, he teaches Krav Maga, and yeah, so does every Tom, Dick and Henrietta these days, every six city blocks, some at worst from just very quick certification courses. But Nick Hughes is a lifelong, skilled, multi-system trained, articulate, former military Legionnaire, international body guard, very smart, talented and also a champ kick boxer and boxer. He can teach any martial subject very, very well. All this wisdom and experience is the real deep foundation of his version of…Krav Maga. All this time and grade makes him irreplaceable. Depth. He has…an expert’s “eye.” and is several cuts above almost all the rest. I have often said, “If I ever had to build a Dirty Dozen? Nick Hughes would take up two slots.”

I often peruse the internet martial arts pages and I read stories of 25, 30 to 45 year old martialists and martial artists and their compulsion to publicly write – as one might in a personal journey or diary –  about this or that small martial epiphany.  Been there, done that, kid, and I quickly get impatient and bored which is my flaw, because I have to remember everyone is on their own splayed and fileted journey. Their mission, however on or off it might be.

What is your mission in this dharma-dilemma? Are you…”martial-mature?” How’s your “eye?” Look, I want people to be happy. Do what makes you happy, sports, art, combatives. Mixed? Mixed-up? Fun? Comradery? Whatever. People even like all kinds of mixed-up, martial arts to fool around with! Just know where it all fits in a big picture. Your big picture.

You can use your mature eye to take the “mixed-up” out, and to leave “mix” in. You can take things from a martial art that has a high percentage of success and NOT take the whole damn system. Or not? Just don’t be…off-mission, off your personal mission. In the mixed up, forked roads of martial dharma  – the “eyes” have it.

____________________________

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get these books here! Training Mission Three will be out Fall 2022.

Football “Hand-Fight” Exercises and Drills for the Martialist

A lot of American football coaches and players watch game films. I instead, have watched hours of football “how-to” training films to see how these players TRAIN. If you have ever spent time with me, you’ve heard me brag for years, decades even, on how American football training methods can be diced and altered to enhance, inspire and supply power-contact exercises for martial fighting. You’ve heard me say that a knife fight might not look like a movie duel, but might instead look like “football with a knife.”  Same with sticks.

Hand fighting! Lord knows football takes from us and you’ll see Chinese, JKD and Filipino hand drills are used to develop what football already called “Hand Fighting,” (To the left, Tim Tackett is showing Cowboy great Randy White some classic hand drills decades ago. Tim is one of the earliest martial artists showing the NFL these types of work-outs.) You’ll also recognize some of the hand drills in the below videos I’ve listed.  There’s also a drill in Football called by many, the Karate Drill, where one player tries to strike the chest at random of another and the other guy tries to slap the attempt away. One or two hands. 

To me the offensive and defensive line of scrimmage, football battles cover some Aikido (because they are dealing with real powerhouse collision energy) on up to the UFC and MMA…and…yes, within it, ”trapping hands.” Trapping exists. I get a kick out of a lot of people dissing trapping because I guess they watch too many Jackie Chan movies? I don’t know. But the pinning, passing, pushing and pulling of trapping exists and I look for it in Football, boxing and MMA-UFC world. It might only go “one deep,” as in one beat trap clearance so to speak, maybe two. Three? Three might be pushing it. I started trapping in 1986 with the Inosanto family of instructors and FMA, but through the years I look to combat-contact sports as a foundation for reality trapping. What works? What can work? Boxing, Football, MMA-UFC. Fast, Short. Furious.

As with Football, line collisions are violent, with very quick trapping hands within. In the boxing, MMA-UFC world there are arm clearance, raw, ugly traps. Since I am obsessed with mixing-blending hand, stick, knife and gun wherever possible, I prefer to call them “invasions,” or invading____ . Like, “Invading Hands,” “Invading Sticks,” “Invading Knives” and, “Invading Guns” ( pistol and long gun). What pinning, passing, pulling or pushing of arms work in those realms. How are they alike? How are they different?

So, I take a hard look at football, hand drills-methods that enhance all that. The of quality football players, starting at college on up, is record breaking incredible now. These increases come from several methods, but two methods are clever drills and exercises for functionality. 

One Quick Observation in and around on this subject. Australian football – or “Footy” is tough as hell, and like Rugby, sort of like soccer, are  “chase-games” without the consistent line of scrimmage collision battles that can be reminiscent of, and can resemble a common collision in a fight, crime or war. Every football play starts with what a chiropractor might call, a small car crash.

Speaking of chases, I might add here that a high percentage, arrest-fight problem for law enforcement is chasing. Foot chasing suspects and tackling them down. Virtually no police academy or training covers or practices a Footie-Rugby-USA Football, chase and tackle. In my Defender-Police Judo course I do, but rarely because I need a matted runway and the “suspect” suited up for safety. And still, chase tackles are crazy and it is not very safe, especially due to the lack of conditioning and physicality missing in today’s new or even established police officers. Cops who’ve played, and still play with contact sports are better cops at this.

Second Quick Observation in and around this subject. A fad move today is teaching an arm drag to get outside of an opponent’s arms and then pivot around them to get a rear bear hug. In demos and seminars, many “show-ers”  just…just end right there with the rear bear hug. They show no more. Huh? They stop there, as if, with the bear hug it’s…over? Nope, it’s just getting started. Yet naïve rookie, seminar attendees (usually gun guys exploring unarmed combatives) think its manna from heaven. Some instructors will show a follow-up. They demo a bear-hug follow-up solution and they will lift up and body slam the opponent to the ground, of course falling with them too, to enter into the world of non-stop, one-dimensional wrestling. Such is their brain-washing. Usually both these demo people are 30ish-year-old athletes. But when we look around at ourselves, at each other, differing sizes, ages and strengths, is a 150 to 250 pound body lift and body slam of the enemy practical for the masses? Hell no. I can’t pick up, least of all, body slam a  175 or 200 pound person! And anyway, I want to remain up as much as possible.

rear-pull-takedown-hock-force-necessary When pivoting to the rear, one could pass on the ubiquitous rear bear hug.  Instead maybe try a whole variety of rear hits, kicks or takedowns where we might remain standing or at least knee high. I bring this topic up here because there are great, rough defensive line drills that use things like the “D-Line Chop,” (a trap) instead of a grabbing arm drag. In the movement there’s a follow-up shoulder hit, and quick pivot to the rear. And these are practiced in football-game-“hike”-tough drills that martialists should investigate. And, batting, zipping past, and around folks are also handy skills versus multiple opponents, where I add “imagine you are a running back” advice…(okay, okay, enough on rear bear hugs, that’s another big subject…)

A Third Quick Observation in and around this subject. American football obviously deals with face-to-face, frontal to frontal tackles, and not always chase tackles. They also cover power drills with pads to counter tackles, done in clever ways that any citizen should try and would enhance the subject, beyond typical martial arts classes.

In Summary, The Problem Is, His Arms! They are almost always are in the way. And they have muscles and seem to have a “mind of their own!”  Here is a fast, short list of some football training drills I have collected on trapping and the “Football-Hand-Fight.” I can’t put videos in a book so I have to share them here. They incorporate Stop 3 Forearm Collision materials, and Stop 4 Shoulder Line collisions. Would you watch them for training ideas, adaptations, and inspirations?

 For more diverse training…

  • Top 3 Exercises To Improve Hand Fighting For Football Lineman -video Click here
  • Football Drills – Defensive Line Workouts and Technique  –  video Click here
  • Don’t be Afraid to Teach Your Defensive Linemen the Chop-Spin Trap Block – video Click here
  • The D-Line “Drop-Snatch”  – video Click here
  • Under the Microscope: The Cross-Chop Trap Block- video Click here 
  • Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do and Football – article Click here
  • Thai Hand trapping video, click here

More on this coming up in Hock’s Training Mission 3 Book, coming in 2022…

 

HANDS-LANDS Touching the “Hands” of the Master in the “Lands.”

HANDS-LANDS – Touching the “hands” of the master. Touching the “lands” of the master. Hands-Lands.

(This was a spirited discussion on FMA Discussions. Many say you MUST go to Philippines to “get it.” Many say no. Not needed. I said…)

I started attending Remy Presas seminars in 1986 and I was just another person in the crowd. One attendee was also an Ernesto Presas guy who asked me if I knew Ernesto. I did not and he pulled me aside into a curtained-off meeting room from the big seminar. Two others were there too and we started doing Ernesto stuff. This guy trained me in Ernesto’s material for years, which is different than Remy’s. Four or five years later we wound up in the Philippines. Once back in the USA, at the next Remy seminar, attendees told Remy I was over there for three weeks and even stayed at his old Negros house, etc. He liked this, called me over and wanted family gossip and so forth and only then did we made the solid connection, because he knew I was THAT committed to go over there. I started hosting Remy for years, etc.

Later at a Remy-Dallas seminar at Steve Selby’s school, Remy made a speech about training and with whom and “Touch hands with the master,” or as he would say it, “Touch hans’ TO de’ master.” He pointed to me and said, “Hock has gone twice to de’ Philippines already. I don’t know why? Because…I am here!” Everyone laughed as did I, shaking my head. You could tell by his smile that he making a joke. But why go?

The pro-go Filipinos in the FMA Discussion seem to want you to see the lands, walk barefoot on grounds, breathe the air, eat the food, dive deep in the history otherwise you won’t really “get it.” Like live there? “Going native” – is  “to adopt the lifestyle or outlook of local inhabitants. Furthermore, must we also “go native” with all these martial arts we take?  While Bruce Lee said all these things were just “Kicks and punches,” must we go down a national rabbit hole and become Colonel Kurtz?  I went a little native in South Korea. Lived in the village, etc, but didn’t become a Kurtz. The military grants you time and grade in obscure locations, otherwise you are in-and-out tourists.

 

Tourists. I often look at folks traveling to the homelands of their martial arts. So many go to Okinawa, Tokyo. South Korea. A friend of mine even went to NORTH Korea for a Tae Kwon Do pilgrimage! (He said it was scary.) All serious Thai Boxers go to Thailand (although in my “heyday-times” of Thai -1990s- many also went to Scandinavian countries for Thai). I think it’s a pilgrimage some want to take. I think it is situational and circumstantial. After my P.I. trips, we got Ernesto coming over the states with gigs and the P.I. trips were long and expensive for me (and my job). The circumstances, the situation, the need was over. But I will confess, me having “gone over” several times was a big marketing help for me.

People like to travel and touch for really unique reasons, lest of all over martial arts. I have a good friend in England who worships the Spaghetti Westerns of Clint Eastwood. He and his wife visited the small town village in Tabernas Desert and the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park in Spain where they were filmed. He has small glass jars of the sand from there as souvenirs. The human drive to visit. 

Look at all the people running to Israeli for religion and Krav! The Japanese see Americans going over and dressing like they are ninjas and they laugh. One Japanese-American told me it would be like Japanese coming to America and dressing up in Civil War clothes and taking part is a Civil War recreation. WHY!? 

I like for people to be happy and if they want to go, and afford their journeys if they can and should go. I would like to go to Frank Sinatra’s house in Palm Springs. I might not get a glass jar full of booze, but I would like to sing a song there in the backyard.

What of the name-game and FMA? This is actually a whole other FMA discussion subject, somewhat related though, but the real success stories in FMA, those with sought-after instruction and with bigger groups are really all Filipino people. Or they have a name-game-stretch-connection, with Spanish or exotic sounding names yet have never gone to motherlands. Dan Inosanto, a real important FMA pioneer, has never been to the Philippines that I recall. How many land-locked, Americans just have exotic foreign names and have large groups? (They could be good or bad but still get the immediate attention.)

Even though I have been over there – this is why I do not flash myself around as some kind of special super-duper, FMA Person. I will never be an FMA real deal. I am happy to help others get an understanding, etc, if they are interested, but I am just a white boy in Texas. I can only think of a very few white boys with consistent, international FMA success, oh like Bill McGrath and Deiter Knuttel from Germany. Otherwise you gotta’ be Filipino or have a Spanish sounding name and,or seem to be Filipino or could be Filipino. Or else, you better be seriously attached to one. The truth (skill) bears out later.

Origins and names…this is a universal, martial idea-draw. As a parallel, looking at ads and videos would you want to take Brazilian Jujitsu from a Tim Smith? Or a Jose Gonzalez? Who has the immediate advantage? Most would instinctively go with the Jose. (Makes me think, speaking of other parallels – how many Yankees are going down to Brazil to learn BJJ, to go “native” in that native homeland, or have all the experts moved up North?).

On “Going native,”  furthermore, must we also “go native” with all these martial arts we take?  I do think back through the years of Systema people getting so wrapped up in it that they started becoming communist. Posting pictures of Putin and remarking in pro Russia statements. How some Silat people became Muslim? And then even radical Muslim. I’ve seen it. Krav people becoming Jewish. Like Bruce Lee said – all these things were just, “Kicks and punches,” must we go down a native rabbit hole and become Colonel Kurtz?  Studying how to kick and punch should not ordinarily alter your politics and religion. 

Touching the “hands” of the master. Touching the “lands” of the master. Hands-Lands.

__________

Hocks email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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The Last Time the Presas Brothers Spoke

There’s some Presas gossip lately that I was the only “recent” (many years) person to get Remy and Ernesto “together.” But it was just on the phone! To clear things up, here is the story…
 
 
“It’s a Brother Thing?”
There was and is always a lot of talk about the various feuds between Remy and Ernesto through the years. How friendly were they? Could they work together? (They did a few times VERY early on.) We have covered some of this history and you have to scroll down through the Presas Tribute Page I started to find the stories. But, I can write about one of their last, if not THEE LAST interactions here…
 
Remy married Canada’s Yvette Wong. She was a terrific girl and a Tai Chi instructor who had a Tai Chi video distributed by Walmart. Many of us met her in the 1990s and we all were very impressed with her. I was. Soon he had kids with her! I can still picture Remy pushing a baby carriage.
 
Then…then…disturbing…he suddenly picked up with a Dallas area woman that was, frankly…a mere shadow of a woman compared to Yvette. WHAT? We asked. HER!? Really? And he wound up living at her house very near to where I lived. Near the DFW airport and near me. We could just go out for coffee! But, we all really felt sad for Yvette and the kids up in Vancouver. I had Remy’s new phone number with this Dallas girl, and while it was nice to have him so nearby, but jeez you know? Yvette!
 
Ernesto came through the USA again after that. It was about…I think…199…7? And once again stayed with me for a while for our seminars as well as passing through to some of the others. He would use me as a stayover for several USA cities as thr DFW airport was so centrally located. On this trip he mentioned Remy a few times and how much he really missed him and wished he could talk with him. Ernesto was really a “true-blue” family/loyalty kind of guy. Well, hell…I had Remy’s local phone number and he wasn’t that far way. I told Ernesto-
 
“I have his number. He lives now in the next city from here.” (they might even…gulp…meet?) He wanted to talk to him. Hmmm, this is tricky for me to be in the middle of this. But, I got the number out and dialed it. It was a weeknight and I got Remy on the phone. Ernesto stood looking out the balcony. Nervous. Waiting.
 
“Remy…hello…yes…hey, I have Ernesto here in my apartment. He says, he says he really wants to talk to you.”
“Ern…esto?” Remy said.
“Yes.”
“Ahhh, is something wrong?”
“No. He just wants to talk with you.”
“Ahhh, okay.”
 
Whew! I handed Ernesto the phone and he sat at my kitchen table and they talked. I tried to make myself busy around the apartment. From what I could hear from Ernesto’s part, it was going very, VERY well. Sounding very friendly. They spoke in Tagalog and some English. Laughed. I was feeling good about this. This call lasted about 30 minutes, during which Ernesto told Remy that he was his brother and he loved him. The phone call started winding down. It was going so, so well!
 
Then…then…Ernesto asked (he told me right after)-
“Can you…can you helpa’ me, become more pamous’?”
 
Well, crap. I knew question was not good. Something Remy did NOT want to hear. And from Ernesto’s face, I knew there was a mistake at the end of the call. Remy apparently, immediately got mad. It almost seemed like this help request was the real secret reason for wanting to talk with him. Which it wasn’t. I guess the conversation was going so well, Ernesto just asked. The decades old, sort of rivalry they had reared up again. The whole, younger brother vs older brother thing, doing the same business thing.
 
Ernesto hung up after that request and shook his head. I don’t know what Remy said but it was not good.
“It was good to talk to him.” Ernesto said. “But, he becomes mad at me at the end.” He told me about the seminar question and the conversation.
 
Yeah. You have to think that Remy spent his whole life slowly developing contacts and having seminars and working, working, working to establish this…list. The hard way. The old, “original” way. A path-blazing way. Very few people were doing seminars back then. He and just a few others kind of “invented” the seminar path, when you think of it. And to…to give it away or give a portion away, is very difficult. Even to your brother.
 
Many of us use to think how cool it would have been to have at least one big, Presas Brothers weekend seminar. If I were involved, I could have organized it in Kansas City, center of the country for all to get to. But it would and could never happen. I do believe if Ernesto had not asked that final question, while things would have been so friendly and so fine, and a good memory of what I think was maybe their last conversation, Remy still would NOT actively help him or do something with him like a seminar.
 
In the end I don’t think that Ernesto needed the help anyway. He was doing fine. What would a Remy and Ernesto seminar be like? Look like? Would Ernesto people like to delve so deeply into Tapi-Tapi? Would Remy people like to get back into longer-range, hardcore, diverse head-banging and do so much mano-mano and knife, etc that Ernesto did? Would something happen, or be said and would the two would stop talking again? Even…fight!
 
It’s just a….a macho brother-thing of two macho brothers trying to do the macho “seminar” thing.
 
Join the The Presas Family Tribute Page

Training Arnis in Luneta Park

I was thinking about the classic park in Manila. “Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in the Philippines. Formerly known as Bagumbayan in the era of colonialism under the Spaniards.”

For many a decade if you trained in Manila, the Philippines, a must go-to place is this park. Many, many famous people have taught and gathered here. And when we were in Manila, we were either at the Presas school, this park or at the college where Ernesto taught Arnis at those times.

It did bother Ernesto a bit at times at the park, because various FMA grandmasters would set up folding chairs and watch us. He would whisper, “You see dese guys? Dey are grandmasters. Dey are spying on me.”

This above photo is me and Shelley. Early 90s. There were only like 6 of us there, so it was pretty intense. Under his scrutiny all the time. We would go about 4 hours in the morning and about 3 1/2 hours in, there would be a break. Ernesto would say, “Take a break, then…examination time.”

This photo –  Since we were so few, we also had his black belts as partners too, who were very helpful too. With Renato “Boks” Centro.

“Examination time?” we’d say in the beginning days. He was always “testing” us, but this would be a more real test for the last part of 3-4 hours. So…there was no break. We would walk off behind some trees or bushes and work through those ten minutes to hurry-review what we did. Then some water.

Then…the 
“Come on, COME ON!”
“Speed motion!” 
…observation “test.

Then lunch. Then another 4 hours. 6 days on. 1 day off pace.

That top  photo again. Me, Shelley Millspaugh and the big man GM watching us.  Captain Rene, a Honduran fighter pilot is behind us. Shelley Millspaugh added: “Great memories. That first camp was as intense as you could’ve made it. I haven’t had that type of intensity since. GGM was the Energizer bunny. Never stops.”

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Check out the PAC-FMA-Arnis Training Films. Click here

“I AM LEFF.” – Remy Presas


Remy Presas frequently told this story in seminars. Many of us have heard this “leff story.”

After witnessing several bolo (machete fights) which I chronicled earlier on the Presas Group Page) , and after the somewhat underground “sport” of bolo fights began to disappear from deaths and maimings, rounded sticks replaced the bolos in fighting for money. (Not sticks shaped liked swords but rounded ones – something else I wrote about on the Presas page.)  Remy fought these fights for money in boxing rings, cockfight arenas and wherever betting groups might gather. He told us that after a while, numerous people approached him to teach them and their sons how to stick fight.

“But I am leff,” he told them. Left-handed. “And dey were right.” He said he could not teach them. They pushed the requests.

“But de money became so good…I become right.” He started to teach them the stick with his right hand. Much of it was longer range stick dueling (“of course, you could just hit de man in de head with a stick.” – he would often say, when discussing complicated moves.)

And as Remy has said often, the double sticks help teach the “other side” anyway.

In short, really short – lefty versus righty has always been a big thing in sports. The southpaw boxer. The lefty pitcher versus the righty hitter in baseball. Lefties are 1 in 10 people. This is an advantage for them simply because most sports folks and fighters have built up a “versus righty” repertoire, a library in their head, even like in their “subconscious” of what tiny steps and moves a righty does to hit, kick and position them. The most subtle increments are stored in the brain. We use them as tip-offs. We see less of these reps from a lefty, as there are less lefties.

“I become right. I become good.”

And he made a lot of money teaching righties. But still fighting too. (and he had a few jobs too. Working at a family shipyard and…not known by many, a barber.)

He would say in seminars about the money stick fights…

“Round one, I am right.
– Ding.
Round two, I am right.
– Ding.
Round three…I am leff. I win!”

His eyebrows would raise. We all would laugh. We got it.

Remy became as ambidextrous as possible. In close quarters, he could switch hands effortlessly and really foul up your brains. He taught this inside the newer tapi tapi. He taught this on the single stick versus double stick drills, as you must go single stick right and left-handed versus the double sticks. (Ernesto did this too.) These were Presas “leff” priorities which I can’t say I found “up front” in many other FMA systems.

(I remember one Inosanto seminar many, many years ago in Irving, Texas where, for about 2 or 3 hours on a Sunday, we did left-hand sumbrada. It freaked all the experts out. We became bumbling idiots)

“You must do boff leff and right!” – Remy Presas

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@forcenecessary.com

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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!

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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. 

EPSON MFP image
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! 

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Hock’s email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary,com

 

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