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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pistol Disarms, Etc. in the Land of NO-Guns.

I do hear the…

– “I’ll never have a gun, so why should I…” and,
– “I can’t/don’t own a gun, so why should I…” and,
– “I don’t like guns (or knives), so I’ll NEVER have one.”
– You get the picture. The blind, never-never land excuse.

     …speeches from all the world.  People doing self-defense yet don’t want to hear anything about guns (or knives too). It is ironic because many of the naysay, narrators also do various forms of Krav Maga –  systems often chock, so chock full of pistol disarms, and some from the most bizarre positions.

     Whether you are a person doing martial arts that are supposed to be realistic too, or a Krav person, cop, or military, whatever, you are probably messing around with pistols and pistol disarms. Or you should be, even in the magical, lucky charms lands of NO-Gun.  You’ll maybe do disarms, but it ends there. Does it?

     No. With a pistol disarm, 2 things will happen to the gun after you disarm.

One – The gun will hit the “floor,” or…

Two – …the gun will now be in your hand. Are they virgin hands?

     This is the point I am trying to get to. AFTER the disarm. Do you have gun-virgin-hands? SUDDENLY, no matter who you are, and where you live? What you say and think – you are now suddenly, like it or not, a “gun guy!” Do you know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of? How this gun works? Do you know where the “on and off” switch is (as USA Gun-God Clint Smith has nicknamed the safety. Is there one?) Does the gun need a real, quick, common, simple “fix.” You know what they are? 

     And if the recently disarmed guy comes back for his lost gun? Now you have to worry about your “pistol retention” vs his “pistol recovery.” (two old, decades, decades old terms in the gun-fighting world. Ever heard of them? Heard of one? Not the other? ) These terms not in your language?  

     The history of war and crime is replete with people getting the guns of other people and knowing, or not knowing, how to use them.  Remember Tunisia? The Jihadist with a sub machine gun that killed all those people on the beach? The security guard with his own sub-gun, dropped the gun and ran away. A tourist to the rescue? A tourist picked up the sub-gun to kill the bad guy and…and…well…jeez. Couldn’t work it. The tourist was from a NO-gun country and probably never thought he would see, hold or use a gun. Surprise!

     Aron Takac, an instructor in Serbia says ” I remember the seminar in 2011. The instructor was currently one of the most wanted in the shooting industry, and he was talking about rifle disarms. Two guys from Norway said, “There are no guns in our country, we don’t need this”. Not two months later Utaya Island attack happened. Breivik killed 77 people.”  There is a long, international list of such events.

     It is a hand, stick, knife, gun world. No matter where you live. No matter what the local laws are. As a result of this reality, I have been teaching “gun-arm grappling” with any kind of simulated ammo guns I can get my hands on for over 20 years now, as far away as Australia. And yet, for some people this stuff is new…or fairly new? Invented in the last few years or so. It is not new. As another famous gun instructor Dave Spaulding likes to say, “It’s not new. It’s just new to you.”

     Gun crimes occur EVERYWHERE in the world. And, ever hear of terrorism? In the “who, what, where, when, how and why” of life, it is important to predict and prioritize your high stat encounters. Even in the NO-gun world around you. Sure. Prioritize, but not ignore realities. It has and will, behoove all so-called, “self defense” practitioners to do some work on, to deal with, hand, stick, knife, gun while standing, kneeling/seated and on the ground. Or just realize what you are doing a sport for a hobby with some very good or perhaps bad abstract benefits.

     Prioritize. A good instructor organizing a class, thinks of these things as training time minutes and, or percentages. No matter the subject. How many minutes in night class? How many hours in a day class? How many days in a week class, should be spent on any particular subject? It’s the totally ignoring something by way of thoughtless excuses  that is a doctrine problem.

     Sometimes I think about deathbed interviews of people. How many 75 or 80 year-old regular folks/citizens on their deathbed can say, “I’ve never been punched in the face. Why do so many people do these martial arts? Odds are they will never be punched in the face.” Most people. many people. Most people have never been a victim of crime, attacked or punched or shot at. Some cops got through their entire careers and are never punched in the mouth. Is this a “throw-down” excuse not to train…anything then? “Odds are it won’t happen? Why bother with unarmed vs unarmed material, then? Why bother with pistols? Why bother with anything then?  

So, please do re-think things about these excuse, throw-down lines – “I live in a country without guns, so I’ll never…”

Email Hock at Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

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