Just about everyone knows by now, that “bare-knuckle” punching upon parts of the head can be damaging. Specifically I like to remind people that it is the “bicycle helmet” area of the skull, especially prominent, especially manifesting, when an opponent naturally ducks or ducks-and-turns versus your punches. You hit the “helmet.” Broken hands. Split knuckle breaks. Etc. (Boxing gloves hide all this angst.)
Otherwise, lower, the jaw moves and the head can move when punched, helping to “cushion” your punches – jeez – is cushion is a good word for it? “Gives,” maybe? The head “gives,” or “gives-way” with lower punches. (Think about why we wear mouthpieces.)
There are just times when the neck gets solid, coupled with the ducking “bike helmet zone” and punching folks break their hands. I really don’t want to dissect this, you know, start the tiresome, age-old debate about palm-strikes versus punches again here…what I really want to specifically mention here is, tell a simple tale about uppercuts to the jaw. What if the head, neck, jaw, even shoulders tighten up versus an incoming uppercut, punch?
Decades ago I had to punch a guy I was arresting. An uppercut under his arm like in this photo. My hand hit his particularly sharp jaw and instantly hurt my “middle finger.” While I was booking him into jail, I looked at his jaw. Real pointy, for what that’s worth. Years later? I had surgery to fix this finger. I have hit a few “heads though time,” closed fist punches and had no other – zero- hand injuries. (They can be done.) Once, a swollen ring finger. But nothing serious. Then, a middle finger problem on my right hand seems to have gone away with time. But this one uppercut caused years of on-again/off-again discomfort. Then surgery.
So, way back then, I began to consider and list uppercuts as a tricky head punch along with hitting the bicycle helmet area of the head. I would be remiss not to mention while on this subject that that the uppercut usually/often causes the head to whip back and forth, not leaving the head back for follow-ups, such as a high hook, unless you are super fast. A number of combatives people, trying to set up scenarios, often do not know this.
Recently one of my friends, a pro-fighter whose name you’d recognize, wearing the regulation MMA gloves, threw an uppercut to a jaw in a pro fight. He broke his hand. Here is his x-ray. He passed it to me for educational purposes and I now pass it to you. But we are not sure yet if we should release his name for a host of reasons. Maybe later. He does hit really hard. Word is the other guy saw it coming and “hunkered” down. SNAP!
File under: Uppercuts to the jaw. File under: Punches to the “bicycle helmet” area of the head. File under: Head, jaw, neck, even shoulders when punched
Hock’s email is HockHochheim@Forcenecessary.com
Get Hock’s Book, Fightin’ Words for way more of these “Fightin'” subjects. ( Click here)
First off that’s me and the “Irreplaceable” Tim Llacuna in March, 2018’s big Central California Stick seminar weekend at Ron Esteller’s Kaju. Though the Bay Area, CA seminar that weekend was listed as Force Necessary: Stick, I also promised a little segment on Filipino stick too, just to round things off. And, as a result, we got a request for…Filipino Sumbrada. And since I “sing for my supper” as Sinatra use to say, so we, by God, did us some Sumbrada.
Which…can be complicated for some folks to do such things. I am not a fan of Sumbrada, per say. I certainly do not believe it should be the foundation format for a system, as it somehow is for some, which I find short-sighted. It is but one drill in a bunch of skill drills/exercises. It has been declared a “dead drill,” blah, blah, blah and yes, to some extent I agree with these naysayers. But it is still a very universal drill for many, many Filipino systems and I…in good conscious, cannot put a PAC/Filipino practitioner out on the street that doesn’t know about Sumbrada and hasn’t fooled with it. I just…can’t. I’ve been forced, more or less, to mess with it since 1986 and that is why. It does develop a few healthy attack recognitions and mannerisms.
I first learned Sumbrada from Paul Vunak in the 1980s. Sumbrada means a few things, like “counter for counter” and sort of like “shadowing.” Sumbrada range is when the tip of your stick can touch the opponent’s head and your hand can touch the opponent’s hand. That hand contact is a very deep subject. People tend to forget that on the end of all these drills, you break the pattern. Like the Bruce Lee example, folks get busy looking at the finger and not the moon, people get too busy worrying over the pattern and forget you are supposed to free-style fight.
In that FMA-PAC course I require folks do hand sumbrada, single stick sumbrada, double stick sumbrada, Knife sumbrada, espada y daga sumbrada. And, we make folks do at least three inserts/interruptions for each, all in Level 7 of the PAC course. Sumbrada is just another exercise, among many exercises, which include wind sprints and chin-ups and beating tires and war posts, etc. Doing too much of one thing and not enough of other things is the real problem.
But the Force Necessary: Stick course is NOT Filipino martial arts stuff. There is no sumbrada in FN: Stick. The FN: Stick course is laid out this way:
Impact weapon vs hand
Impact weapon vs stick (rare, huh?)
Impact weapon vs knife
Impact weapon vs gun threats
Level 1: Impact Weapons & their Stress Quick Draws Level 2: Stick Retention Primer Level 3: Stick Blocking Primer Level 4: Single Hand Grip Striking Primer Level 5: Riot Stick (Double Hand Grip) Level 6: “While Holding,” Supporting the Stick Level 7: The Push Series Grappling & Spartan Module Level 8: The Pull Series Grappling & “Chain of the Stick” Level 9: The Turn Series Grappling & “In the Clutches” Level 10: The “Black Belt” Combat Scenario Test Level 11: Intensive Stick Ground Fighting Level 12: “Crossing Sticks” Stick Dueling Expertise Level 13: …and up…levels upon Individual request
I can’t say how old this list is. I saw them all in the 1970s in police training. This list. It’s not in any order.
The list was distributed in a police-only textbook in 1975 called Officer Down, Code 3,by Pierce Brooks. The list also applies to the military. One might think that this doesn’t completely apply to citizens? But it does. For example, some civilians might think that Number 9 doesn’t apply, but there are situations, concerns and applications about controlling suspects while waiting for police arrival. I have taught those “arrest, control and contain” methods for over 26 years to people because I think they need to know them. They can be important. I have always said,
“I’ve never learned anything as a cop I didn’t think citizens needed to know too.”
If a person will stop and think about it, every point can apply to their safety.
Many of you out there think some of these topics are “new” and recently invented by young “geniuses.” Like the pre-fight indicator lists which has reached new fad-like heights of late. None are new. I do think they have some merit as I have seen them unfold before my eyes. But they are not as important as one might think when you add criminal and military ambush into the equation. But the police spend an inordinate amount of time intervening, interviewing, investigating and prowling into areas regular people shouldn’t do or go and interacting with people. So too do soldiers and Marines going to house-to-house, village-to-village in the last 20 years. Knowing these, essentially biological tip-offs and learned tricks like sucker punches and so forth, can be helpful. I have a while chapter of these pre-fight tips in my book, Fightin’ Words. I started collecting them in 1973 from a class in U.S. Army military police academy.
Numerous tips are instinctual for many, but the list attempts to stick a label on it – which is fine and can be educationally important. New people are learning old stuff all the time and “old,” “been-around” people need reminders, maybe through new ways (as well as learning new things too).
People are constantly ridiculing police actions and police training. The root, the backbone, the steering for quality has been present for decades and decades. Apathy, manpower and budget problems get in the way. It’s left to the individual officer to spend, train or to stagnant. As with a citizen. Learn, train or stagnate. Use it or lose it. Ignorant and or, Perishable.
People – cops, may tire of seeing the list and their eyes might brush right over the poster in a blur after awhile, as it appeared on many a squad room wall decades ago. All of the “fatal mistakes” are important. All are old pieces of advice you can live or die by. May all good people live by them.
When someone is on top of you, beating the snot out of your face, you are not thinking about “why” he is doing it. Not the psychology of why. Not then. But when?
But later in the “drawing room,” it might at least be interesting?
In my courses, in the “genesis chapters” of them, if you will, I place major league importance on the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions. I…we…need this mandatory outline to properly prepare for the interviews and ambushes in our lives. And so, securely fastened in the formula of this “bible” is the “why question.” Why is he, she, they committing this crime? This war? There are other whys also.
I think that some people in the pursuits of fighting or self-defense – whatever you want to call it – may find this “why” too interesting in the wrong place and time, so to speak. Often at the expense of the vital, physical fight training time. I cover the subject briefly in seminars, but not too much, because it is a “drawing room study” and not something to over-dwell upon in action, physical seminars that I and most people conduct and attend. If you are teaching in a room full of sweaty guys and gals with mouthpieces, that is not the time to start a psychology session.
When? For example, I cover the “why” extensively in my book, Fightin’ Words, for one avenue because I too am overly interested in all these “why questions.” They are fascinating. I just find them fascinating. “Why” covers a wide berth of psychology, culture, history, economies, brain maladies and disorders…on and on. Why? Why? WHY! Why also helps you unravel the other “who, what, where, when and how.”
The “Ws and the H”- the genesis of fighting, crime and war. The biblical questions. Not to be ignored. Just remember the best “where” for the “why” questions. Best mostly… for the drawing rooms, I think.
“Guns stolen from cars! This is outrageous.” – civilian
“How can police be this stupid to abandon their guns unprotected in a car?” – civilian
“I’m wondering why you would ever leave a gun in the car if you’re not there?” – civilian
“I never leave my gun in the car.” – civilian
“My gun is on me 24-7.” – civilian
Outraged, critical citizens. Panties in a twist because awhile back, a police officer’s squad car was burglarized and stolen from within – an AR-15 and some pistols. I can’t recall why it made the national news, but it did and the auto burglary report was passed around Facebook. The car was legally parked while an officer ate dinner at a restaurant. Many righteous, indignant citizen comments, even cusswords were made about him by the Facebook gun experts, rampaging about these guns “left” in a car. (Remember that the horrible, negligent, police officer himself was still armed while eating.)
I too am guilty of leaving guns in my police car. I confess. For the record, someone burglarized my unmarked, detective car one night in my driveway, first breaking the window glass to find nothing quickly removable, then prying open the trunk and snatching a back-up revolver and a shotgun. The good news was that the very next day while I was stewing over this personal violation, I had a midnight-shift, worker- a “snitch/informant” in a factory contact me, saying that a guy was snooping around the parking lot of the factory, trying to sell some “police guns.” He said someone he knew in the factory was interested in buying them. I told my guy to help massage the sale and keep me posted. That night, myself and another detective, Danny McCormick observed the night shift transaction on the lot from afar. We swooped in and “fell” upon the suspect. The two guns were indeed mine. I was very lucky.
Hey, it was a lucky recovery, but that loss only happened once in all my years of cop guns, cop cars and crime, over some 10,000 nights of parking. When you think about the overall total 40 some-odd, years that various and multiple guns have been inside my cars off and on, 20,000 nights? The odds were and are pretty good that they remain safe. (There are indeed some pretty goofy news stories about cops forgetting their big and small guns. )
What about the rest of the US cops? There are some 2 million law enforcement officers (depends on the definition) in the US. And there is no sure way to know how many take-home cars there are, but we can safely guess are thousands and thousands and thousands of patrol, detective and admin cars are take-home, on the drive-ways and streets of America at night. “Abandoned,” as some civilians might critique. Some car salesmen in a news article suggested a quarter of a million police cars are take-home cars. Some in garages? Two main ideas for the take-home programs are visibility (parked outside) and quick response. There are some studied that police cars parked in residential areas deter crime.
Do you think that each and every night, every single officer carts every single weapon into his or her home? I’ll bet not. And still there are hardly any police car burglaries in comparison to the big national, picture. I know for a fact that hundreds of agencies in the US “assign” a shotgun to a patrol car or detective car. Take-home cars or not. Those guns are in those cars on government parking lots all the time too. (Alarms today do help.)
So, Dear, Panty-Twisted, Rambo, do you not realize that every time officers leave their cars on a call, and lose sight of their cars when inside a mall, a business, a house, where ever, they are leaving a car with guns in it? Every single time. Shotguns. Rifles. Pistols. Like that officer did when eating on his dinner break. Brace yourself. Armed police cars are left unattended ALL THE TIME, everywhere.
How about you? Do you leave some guns in your car for even a few minutes? An hour? Overnight? Once in a while? Think they are safe in the trunk? Mine weren’t. And for this indiscretion I too, will be called all these derogatory invectives by these Rambo, virgin, gun-toters, the same denigrations as the ”holier-than-thou” disparaged on that hungry officer on a break mentioned earlier.
There are no reliable numbers for guns stolen from US cars in general. But the best guess is thousands. Locked cars and even unlocked cars. But the theft issue is one thing, the other is the lack of a handy handgun when you need one, because it’s, “out in the car.”
But this essay so far is just a round-about way to get me to pontificate about, and for you concealed carry people to think about…guns, cars…and…the gym. Yes the gym? Yes, the gym and your cars on the parking lot of the gym. Or how about parking on a lot and taking a jog?
I was and still am a gym rat. I was and am in a gym 4, even 5 days a week if home. My dilemma was what to do with – first decades ago, storing my big-ass .357 magnum Colt Python, then storing my .45. Oh, and my badge too? Leave them in the car? The trunk? You know the lockers in the gym were burglarized regularly and the idea of leaving them in one was too dangerous. So the lockers were out of the question. Could I…wear the big-ass Springfield Armory .45 while working out? What about those extra magazines for when MS 13 invaded the weight room? (Have there been any mass shootings in gyms? I don’t know.) Should I be one of those people that hauls around a gym bag with my hand chalk, lip gloss, shark repellent, tourniquet, 3 mags and…my handgun? Those gym bags also had a knack of disappearing off the gym floor too. Could I absolutely keep track of that bug-out/work-out bag, 100% of the time?
“Dear Chief…I was star gazing into the aerobics room and someone grabbed my gym bag, with gun and badge inside.”
“Dear Chief…I was bench pressing and while concentrating on my max, someone grabbed my bag with my gun and badge inside.”
…or how about this crime report from a citizen “Dear Officer, some one peeled that cheap gym locker open and stole my Desert Eagle.”
Should I wear one of those “fanny packs?” (Watch out with that term around the world because it means different things in different countries.) And then worse, I also ran both inside and outside the gym when possible for a portion of the workout. It’s no fun running with a Colt Python or a .45 bouncing in a fanny pack. But there are tighter “spandexy” kinds of fanny packs and drawers (underwear) body holsters. Do you carry a smaller gun for these gym workouts and runs? If so, where’s your big main gun? Whoops….in the car?
I did a casual, little survey back in 2016 on this subject with a whole bunch of cops I know from around the world. Know where their guns were? Especially when at the gym. Locked in their cars, for most. I only found a few officers that wore a smaller gun in some manner in the gym or running (yeeessss, primary gun was – back in the car). And there were a few who did the gym bag thing. One officer got in a bind with some bad guys he’d once arrested and pulled a gun from his gym bag for a threat while in the gym. That incident was the single, gym-gun-pull incident I could find in my gossipy, non-scientific study.
But never mind the police. What about concealed carry people? What do they do with their handguns when at the gym? They have the same problems. Police and citizens! Where is that gun or gun-tottin’ gym bag when you take the shower? In that flimsy locker? In a safe in your car? Just in the car? In the trunk? If you will listen to some zealous, gun guys? That’s a no-no unless its strapped on you. Some sound like they shower with their pistols on them, or have them resting on nearby soap trays.
A whole lot of people leave their guns in their cars, even the Rambos, even if they refuse to admit it. The clever line is, “a car is not a holster for your gun.” Many states have business locations that forbid carrying guns. Does Rambo walk up, read the legally posted sign, then…leave his gun in his car?
Look, I don’t care where your gun is now. I am not preaching about grafting a pistol to your body. I don’t really care what you do. But, just ask yourself – when you’re at the gym, or for that matter a restaurant? Or on a quick shopping or business visit? Work? A jog? Or, sleeping in your beds at night? Where are all your guns, Mister Rambo? Honestly?
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Play it again Sam… “You must remember this. A stick is just a stick. A stick is not a sword. The fundamental things in FMA, changed as time….goes….by…”
Filipino stick training. Filipino martial arts. When it comes to the FMA stick, it’s kind of schizophrenic. As usual I write about things as they “come up.” And last weekend’s seminar was another example of the routine question I hear once in a while – “Hock, I study Escrima, and the instructor told me you can’t grab the other’s guy’s stick because it’s supposed to be a bolo.” (Bolo being FMA for the sword or machete)
“Yeees,” I say. “True,” I say. “But what we have here today is…just a stick.”
The fact that this question continuously pops up, is reason alone to write about it. A Filipino stylist should know about this sword/stick thing and be able to explain and articulate on the subject. A stick is a sword? A sword is a stick? Not really. Can’t grab? Shouldn’t grab? As a person doing Arnis/Kali/Escrima since 1986 as an obsession at first, and now as a curious hobby of sorts, let me sketch this out for you.
There are MANY Filipino systems, way more than you have heard of. We just know the lucky-break ones. And systems are being invented all the time. In most of these old and new systems, practitioners have replaced the “wooden” (rattan) stick for the machete, sword as a safer training device. This replacement causes the confusion.
Do Filipinos carry sticks around? No. I’ve been to the Philippines several times, in some big cities and out in the provinces like the Negros Islands and whether it be the municipal areas or the isolated jungles, no one is walking around with a rattan stick on their belts. Plenty of machetes though. Plenty of sharp knives and sharp farm tools. No sticks. In the Philippines, or say, in Mexico and just about any farming culture locations anywhere really, if you are to be killed with an edged weapon, it will probably be a nasty old, rusty farm tool. In Mexico I am told, the expression is, “you will be killed by the $5 knife.”
Remy Presas would tell me stories of his youth and how he watched men with crop machetes fight and die for sport and money on the Negros. But there was a safer way to do this! And they used the round stick instead, which Remy Presas did for money also. So, a sporting/betting alternative to the machete was born. The stick! (And by the way they did have dulled “training machetes” to use also, but the round stick caught on better. Oh, the lucky breaks.)
I guess for some I should introduce or remind folks the difference between a round stick and a flat sword/machete. You see, one is round. One is flat. There ya go! But really, they swing different, weigh different and if you are limited to flat edges, one should really be applied differently. A stick is an impact weapon that strikes with the tip, the staff of it, and the handle.
On the subject of the stick and sword handle – the sword handle can be round so to speak, but often very contoured and form-fighting for the hand. While the Filipino stick is usually just round with no designated end for an official handle. In fact it might be a little taboo to have a designated handle on your FMA stick? We sometimes grimace a bit when we see an over-taped or customized baston handle, don’t we? While FMA swords have all kinds of admirable, customized grips. And proud of it, too.
Many of the machetes around the world are single edge, and the swords are not necessarily single edged, and can come in all kinds of interesting and elegant shapes, but FMA swords usually that not big and wide like…like say, European broadswords. (Please do not send me photos of giant, Filipino broadswords – I know they exist – I used the word “usually.”) But with the “roundness” of a stick, you lose the very vital, flat-edge-ness of the sword. Oh yeah, and swords are more deadly, faster finishers and need less power application than sticks.
To accept the stick hand grab is too ignore sword tradition and perhaps believe that in our next street fight, we would be stick-dueling with some thug? The designated thug will use the exact same-sized, designated stick we have! Then again, will you be sword or machete dueling? Outside of a few big “civilized” countries? Well…yes.
Somehow the sword shape-shifted into the stick so deep in our hearts and minds. Oh, for the love of sticks! For decades, the FMA lover just used sticks, stick, STICKS! The art, the tricks of STICK fighting, stick-centricm alone developed. Many lovers do not know, or do not care that the sticks are supposed to be swords and machetes. And with the stick, comes a lot of double-hand grabbing and opponent stick grabbing. Look at Tapi-Tapi and Balintawak, for just two pop examples. We all accept the rules that sticks are sticks, sticks have become embraced in FMA and by God, we’ll grab them whenever and where ever we want.
So, in the 1990s stick enthusiasts came out of the traditional closest and started declaring “you must remember this, a stick is just a stick, a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things of living, as time goes by.” And I agree! Just understand you are using a stick. The round stick acceptance was easier for me perhaps because, being a cop, I always thought of the rattan baston as a police stick (or an axe handle). My interest in the FMA stick was not an esoteric, artsy pursuit. People are not “Kung Fu fightin’ – fast as lightning” with matching 28-inch sticks in the alleyways of London (I hear they are throwing a lot of acid these days) or on the south side of Chicago. I wanted to know stick/baton stuff.
Then, I somehow eased into decades of fun, hobby, certainly social, Filipino stick fighting/dueling stuff. I actually run TWO kinds of stick courses. One, the main big one is Force Necessary: Stick which explores blocking, striking and grappling with an modern impact versus hands, sticks, knives and gun threats. There is zero implication that this is based on any swords. And if you want me to? Ask me to? I will do the Filipino stick vs stick materials I have learned since 1986. Granted I have cut that down too. I play stick-checkers not stick-chess, seeking the essence of it all and not mindlessly, endlessly replicating established – and often BLOATED systems. Or while away my time, seeking out the next stick system, and oh the fascinating magic that THEY do. I don’t run a stick museum, and hell…it’s just a damn stick. (As Remy would often say – “of course, you could just hit the man in the head with the stick.”)
Isn’t it odd that a round stick is chosen to replace a flat bolo or sword? That is like replacing a flat katana with a round broom stick. Isn’t it? katana practitioners would never accept that.
So we learned that legions of FMA-ers picked up their rounded sticks, sewed on their Filipino patches in revolution and clickety-clicked onward. As though machetes and thin swords never existed. It really is amazing how many FMA-ers blindly accepted the rattan stick as the real-deal McCoy when you think of it. I mean what would Japanese Katana fanatics think of waves of people using broom sticks and calling themselves Katana experts? Would golfers use hockey sticks? Would Chinese fan fighters use tennis rackets? Would a carpenter use a file instead of a saw? Thus the odd, FMS Stick, schizophrenia I suggested.
Everyone seems so happy with their sticks and stick bags. But still, you can hear these darn spoil sports complain that you should not and cannot grab your stick with two hands, nor can you grab your opponent’s stick with your free hand because it’s a sword! You fool! How dare you! It’s a sword! A bolo! A machete!
The stick is just like the sword? Is this an excuse? That the universality of FMA weaponry makes them ever so interchangeable? Swords, sticks. Hands. Thin lamps. Rolling pins? “Who throws a shoe, honestly?” I don’t know because while some elements are the same, there are differences bigger than mere nuance. A sword…is kinda’…just like a sword.
In the last few years I have noticed an increase in…Filipino sword fighting! Yes. Haven’t you seen it? Hundreds of FMA folks have picked up the thin sword. FMA sword grandmasters have arisen from the ashes. I applaud their interest and their understanding that the whole FMA shebang really comes from swords and machetes. My old friends like Chris LaCava and Christof Froehlich, just to name a few, have jumped deep into the roots, understanding the big picture.
And listen up you “grab-complainer instructors!” If you are so damned offended by people grabbing sticks and forgetting the stick is a machete? Look what’s in your hand! Look what YOU teach with! PUT DOWN THE DAMN STICK AND PICK UP A TRAINING SWORD INSTEAD! That will straighten things out. You know, you can buy dull, safe training swords and plastic swords and machetes too. You are NOT limited to the round “wooden” stick as an abstract facsimile. If you are going have hissy-fits about it? Then practice what you preach and use a damn sword! Pick a theme! A direction! Seriously! If you think the stick is a sword? Don;t confuse your people. Just use a training sword.
If you use a stick? It’s a stick. Grab it.
So, play it again Sam…
“You must remember this.
A stick is just a stick.
A stick is not a sword.
The fundamental things in FMA, changed as time….goes….by…”
See something interesting about this photo from a gun magazine? Anyone? Can you spot it?
Two guys. Apparently a fight has started. But some readers and viewers haven’t spotted it yet? The bad guy is…unarmed. No knife. No gun. Your eyes may glaze over the fact because we see the likes of it so often. Unarmed, yet our hero has decided in this unarmed scuffle, to pull his pistol. Will he threaten or shoot the unarmed man? We don’t know? Because so many published demonstrations end with the gun pull, like this as the last frame. But, in several ways, pulling a gun is a new beginning, not an end. Pulling a handgun is a “last resort” option. You shoot an unarmed person and now all the ugly “after” of the “before, during and after” begins. Is the gun pull on an unarmed man the end? Or the beginning? Why “freeze” there.
Many gun and martial magazine photos, web films fail to tell us what happens next. Did this able-bodied man decide to…to draw and shoot this unarmed man? This is a particular problem in modern police training films also – as we commonly see barefoot police on mats, wearing gun belts and drawing rubber pistols on unarmed people in arrests scuffle exercise. The scenario ends with the pistol pull. Ends? Who? What caused this? Where? When? Why for? How come? What happened next? I don’t know. You don’t know. We often just get the gun-pull photo or short film flashed ending in our head, working its way into a subliminal “okay” ending. I have had to arrest a lot of people, struggling with many, they were unarmed and I never dreamed of pulling my pistol unless something really drastic happened, like him pulling a weapon.
Questions unanswered. Where is the real finish to the fight? I have worked many shootings and murders through the decades as a police investigator. I’ve attended dozens of schools on this subject. I’ve also been “taken to legal-reality school” by vet prosecutors, vet criminal defense attorneys and courtroom testimony. We investigate, indict and move to prosecution, (no matter what country the process is in) and I learned the cracks, the elements, the loopholes and yes, the distortions that can exist in each case. The simple becomes complex. The small-big. The big-small. Shooting someone is a financially and emotionally expensive rollercoaster ride. Trust me when I say that the gun pull is a last resort move for you, for who you are.
Oddly and interesting, many gun magazines and youtube films, the better ones, spend a lot of time discussing self defense, legal issues, yet there is this unfinished detachment found when exercising, drilling.
The “Mister Freeze” Finish – If you have been “around,” I think you’ve seen this draw- and-freeze, in training, books, magazines and videos. Think about it for a moment, the photo spreads and films of standing or grounded folks ending with a pulled rubber gun pointing at an attacker. The attacker is often unarmed. And if the attacker is armed with say – a knife and about to plunge down? The knifer still just freezes at gunpoint like a statue when the rubber gun is pointed at him. Even if a charging knifer was shot, (see below photo) he could still fall down on you in a gurgling, wounded mess. The knife still very much an after-shot danger, something the shooter needs to experience in training. Freezing is not good realistic, legit finish.
Part of the confusion begins with using rubber guns. You know the typical “force-on-force” training, right? The term? The idea? This innocent, thoughtless “Mister Freeze Finish” is not just a police problem anymore either. Citizens do this constantly now too. As a result, this mysterious sort of “freeze” ending appears in magazines and videos even more. This was and is unfortunately often practiced without verbal commands – yes – unless the instructor insists. Man freezes. Set done. Photo series over. Film clip over. But, what happened next to Mister Freeze? Was he shot and wounded? Or shot dead? Fled? Surrendered? Arrested? Controlled until authorities arrive? If so? How? If an instructor only wants to teach the raw movements of a stress draw, isolated from beginnings and endings, this should be explained.
Beginnings Through Endings. Where does this stress draw fit in the bigger situational picture of a shooting? Here are the big events of draw decision, far more from just shoot-don’t shoot.
Event 1: There-Not-There. Why are you there? Or then, why are you still there?
Event 2: Draw-Don’t Draw. Getting the gun “out.”
Event 3: Aim/Don’t Aim. The gun can be drawn out but not pointed. Threaten off? Scare away? How do you do this? Another whole essay.
Event 4: Shoot-Don’t Shoot. Now you are aiming. Threaten off? Scare away? How do you do this? Must shoot? Another whole essay.
Event 5: Stay-Don’t Stay. For many in certain circumstances this might be an option, or sometimes the only option. The “orderly retreat.”
Every one of these 5 events requires a full lecture and a physical exercise or two, three, to actually experience, with safe, simulated ammo. You might conjure up some live-fire-on-target versions to support them.
This Shoot-Don’t Shoot Conundrum. In the who subject of “who are you?” My friend and very smart, NRA Texas gun Instructor Karl Rehn, owner of KR Training reminds, “One of the flaws in the presentation of this all this unarmed combatives material (and people’s perception of it) is that all the demos in magazines and films involve young, fit, male people fighting other young, fit, male people. To those that are martial arts enthusiasts, it’s easy to believe in the outcome of winning in an unarmed fight. That’s not true for all gun carriers, many of whom are older, weaker or simply do not have any training or confidence in their skills.”
Fighting like this is not golf or tennis, maybe a bit like football, rugby or Australian “Footie.” Certainly more like MMA (which is superior to BJJ in material and intent). It strikes. It’s rough. It’s tumble. People can and do get hurt in training. The vast majority of gun owners worldwide can’t, don’t and won’t work on this…this sort of “Gun-MMA” for a variety of reasons most won’t-can’t do any exercising at all.
In this same vein, one of my long time students years ago was very successful heart surgeon. He was about 55 years-old and in moderate-to-good shape. He always worked out in our hand, stick, knife, gun materials. He does well enough with it all, but routinely proclaims aloud that, “if some young punk tries to rob me, unarmed or not, I can’t fight with him. I’m an old man. I am shooting him dead.”What can you say to that? It is all very, very situational. He’s already heard all my speeches, warnings, advice and worked through the shoot/don’t shoot exercises. I just say, “Well…okay, Doc, I hope that works out for ya.”
Old friend and attorney David Kenik wrote in Shooting Times “Bubba is heading right for you, smacking his fists together and yelling that he is going to beat you to death. You are scared for your life and rightfully so, but the advancer is unarmed. Can you you use your firearm to defend yourself? The answer is 100%, unequivocally, positively…MAYBE!”
Remember the Treyvon Martin-Zimmerman case in Florida to name just one? Shooter shoots an unarmed man that’s on top of him, punching down on him. Zimmerman, losing, pulls and shoots. Seems logical, but LOTS of legal and social, situational problems. Zimmerman was set free in the end. Of course there are some situations where a person can legally justify shooting an unarmed attacker. Situational as it’s a who, what, when, where, how and why study.
Mister Freeze Summary. I do not want to create the doctrine, artwork (photos and films), and the muscle memory of people indiscriminately drawing on, or indiscriminately drawing and shooting, unarmed people. Nor should you. I am just here warning you to watch out for the “Mister Freeze” imagery from some popular magazine articles, books, photos spreads and videos “out there,” that show folks mindless pulling training guns when they shouldn’t and about to shoot attackers when they shouldn’t, or not explaining the various important things that happen before or next. Art imitates life. Life imitates art. You might know better, but still do it impulsively anyway from brain imagery, oh those nasty Mirror Neurons in your brain! If you draw, if you draw and shoot an unarmed person, you’d better have great and understandable reasons.
Solo Pictures and Series of Photos. It will always be difficult trying to convey a big lesson, and the context of such, in one single photo, or even a photo series. It’s a real challenge for authors, magazines, books, even short films. Because of this, we must be careful of the unintended consequences from these words and images being scattered around. Are you inadvertently training to shoot unarmed people?
Read up on the precise laws of “fear of life,” “lethal force,” “self-defense,” “imminent, bodily injury, “stand your ground,” “retreat,” etc, with examples,click right here.
Frigid to Red Hot Fighting – Fighting Cold from Red Hot No, fighting cold is not about being mugged in Alaska or just a concern for the 10th Mountain Division. “Shooting cold” is a term thrown around here and there by smart people in the gun training business, but also relates the ambush in hand, stick and knife world too. It should be a major concern for all, because generically, it’s really about the ambush, the surprise attack. And you must respond – cold. Usually you hear the term with snipers or hunters. Folks who have to suddenly shoot a long gun from a distance. And from a clean barrel. Once in a while you will hear of a “one-shot” competition-
“Participants will be allotted a single shot, cold-bore (unfired rifle) @ 1000 yards. (30 Caliber & under) Time & hit determines the winner.”
They have those things because, they are challenging. The sin weighs heavy with that icy-cold rifle, but what of the shooter? There’s also an important concept of “cold bore shooters.” I guess you could remove the word “bore.” Cold shooters. I think in terms of training and then real life crime and war ambushes, there might be a nickname, “Frigid Bore Shooting,” or “frigid shooting.” Here’s what I mean.
Chilly? Cold? Frigid? After all, who wants to fight cold or shoot cold in competitions for scores, trophies, money and bragging rights? Who doesn’t want to take a few warm up shots? I know I often like to do a few dry-fires before live-fires. I use to participate in some police shooting competitions and they were often complicated paths, chores and obstacles involved. You had to be briefed on your routes and goals, and this would include a “walk-thru,” or a dry-run,” or even a live-fire run before the official run. Same with police training courses and qualifications. It could be safety issue.
How cold is it, though? Completely frigid? Cold? Or chilly? They call it “cold shooting,” or reverse the phrase, “shooting cold,” and it kind of’ is, in a way. Sadly, oddly, some of the best shooters I know, don’t do as spectacular in their first set, as they wish, and this is one reason why they keep score of this process over time. And often they do about as good as I can when we all start, and I do not shoot as much as they do, nor do I labor and belabor and ponder the art, science, love and dedication to trigger pressure and bulls eye, pistol, target shooting as they do.
They admit, fighting and shooting cold is challenging for most. And, it frustrates some. Then they very quickly get much, much better after a “warm-up.
The subject of cold shooting comes up on the web once in a while. Some regular, range shooters I know and hear about will always keep score of their first set, their “cold shooting” when they first step up to the firing line and shoot a set. A virgin experience of the day? Was it completely virgin? They want to keep track of how well they do after they:
set the time and date, pack their gear at home,
drive to the range,
get out of the cars,
get some gear from the “back” of the car,
maybe sip some coffee, talk about guns,
chat with the “range masters,” and course instructors,
carry their gear to the spot/stand/table/shelf,
If at a class? Listen to the instructors intro, lecture and in some cases.
shuffle up to the target and paste up a new,
wander back to the shooting line and shoot…”cold.”
So a cold shooter on gun day is not “frozen-solid-ambush” when they shoot at a range. Neither are folks starting a gym workout or a hand, stick , knife class. The mind and body are cooking just a little to go train. A hunter has worked on the trip, sometimes insanely so, before departure, going over equipment and plans in his or her head.
I became interested by this idea of shooting and fighting cold. What does it mean in the bigger picture? How does it relate to self-defense, in crime and in war? You know, all the “who, what, where, when how and why” questions I like to kick around. Subliminal preparation? Years ago it was common knowledge in the fitness field that if you packed for the gym and drove to the gym about the same times, your body/brain knew the routine as we are such creatures of habit. You drive, park, walk the lot, climb the stairs. All the while your body/brain is saying, “Okay, okay, we’re coming. We’re getting ready.” Once in the gym, is this moment a true zero? Or, maybe 10? 10 to 60? Last month I parked on my gym parking lot and saw another guy, a bit older than me, park too. He got out of his car, got a gym bag and stopped. He took his ball cap off, looked to the sky and said a prayer. I spied his lips moving. Then he donned his cap and made for the gym doors. He really pre-prepped for a work-out! What did he say in prayer, I wonder?
“Dear Lord, let me crush everything?” “Dear Lord, don’t let me die of a heart attack this morning?” What would your prep prayer be? Have one? Need one?
Routines. Preparation. Getting ready. Not always short term. We have all gone to a shooting class, or a martial tournament that we anticipated and our inner engine was revved up more than just the morning before. Even the night before. Even longer than that. I once took a shooting course, to prepare for the tougher shooting course the following weekend.
How powerful can mental preparation be? Surely you have heard of, or read the studies about how positive this mental approach can be. It is important. I recall even back in 1972, in Ed Parker Kenpo Karate, teachers and students gossiping about another martial arts system and how the system sequestered students in dark rooms, assigned them to imagine the moves over and over in their heads as a basis of performance. 1972! None of us could fathom this being successful. Yet, quite a number of studies say this works! It somehow works for some. So, does the simple act of going to the range to shoot on gun day, mentally prepare you for the target/bulls eye process? I think so. A bit. It is one step back from dry-firing if you think about it.
Just getting dressed for work, be it a guard, or police, lawyer, truck driver, or an accountant starts churning up, the work mind, whether you realize it or not.
Frigid? How about being asleep? It’s especially cold-cold when you consider the old attempts at testing the responses of police when THEY WERE ASLEEP! Yes. They would bed down a series of state troopers in a sleep clinic environment and tell them that they would be harshly awakened at some point and they would have to wake up, grab a nearby gun and shoot a target near the foot of their bed. The results were not so good. Often bad in fact. Another similar sleep-study let tested police wake up on their own and they had to remember this assigned chore of immediately shooting. They were groggy-slow to remember the assigned chore, but most did grab and shoot…and also not too well, but they did remember. Where does this information fit in the “chilly, cold and frigid” charts of our considerations? Frankly, I don’t exactly know, but it’s interesting.
It starts in the mind. When you actual started doing physical stuff on your jogging route, or at the gym, or at the “dojo,” or the shooting range, you are not really, fully working out “cold.” The same is true with getting your uniform on for work, or slinging your vest on in the military. You are not cold-cold (unless of course, much time passes between the prep and action and you “chill out,” which is a whole other set of study we talk about in other essays). And the same mental prep is true of the drive to shooting range, the lugging of gear, the chat with the range master. The inner gears are working. This type of first round scoring, cold shooting is not as frigid as you think. Not like a zero-to-sixty ambush frigid. (Think for a moment about all the mental and physical prep before SWAT arrives on a scene.)
Life is either… My old catch phrase is – “life is either an interview or an ambush” that people hear each week that I teach. I hope they never tire of it. The greatest armies in the world have been defeated by ambush. The simple element of surprise. The greatest fighters too. I get a kick out the internet comments when location cameras around the world catch a criminal jumping a victim in the most “ambushy” types of locales.
It does come back to the element of surprise and the ambush, doesn’t it. There is always a wise-guy, arm-chair-est that comments “that person was not alert!” and the sage advice, “you must always stay alert.” As if he, she, or we all, walk around with enough cortisol scarring our veins and heart, to be scanning EVERYWHERE, ALL the time. We always hear the expression “you don’t pick the time and place of your attack, the enemy does,” so as everyday walk-around folks, or someone on common police and military patrol, you will probably, suddenly be fighting chilly or cold. It is certainly a good idea to worry about and consider “cold-fighting” and “cold shooting,” in your training, even though we simply cannot really replicate that “zero-to-sixty” frigid to red hot, encounter. I don’t think we need a chart the size of a doorway like the new OODA Loop demo diagrams have become, to explain this simple “Boo/Surprise” idea. The element of surprise and reaction to it, can be as simple as a foot fake in football, rugby or soccer.
There are many startle responses to the sudden boo/jump, (one modern textbook counted 30 responses) not just one or two, hands-up, as you might have been sold to believe by martial and gun marketeers. Let’s hope you don’t fall right down or feint, which are two of the startle responses! You instead, have to deal with the attack.
Immediate Action Drills The element of surprise has defeated the greatest militaries of the world. I first learned about all this Ambush/Counter- Ambush in the U.S. Army in 1973, and it was a big deal. They trained us in what was called back then, “Immediate Action Drills,” things done so many times that you may well jump right into that response groove when ambushed. Hopefully. It is reinforced by many, many repetitions. Here are some of my old Army manual notes (minus the small and large unit suggestions they offer) on the ambush drill idea that relates to citizens and police.
“Immediate action drills” are drills designed to provide swift and positive reaction. They are simple courses of action, dome immediately. It is not feasible to attempt to design an immediate action drill to cover every possible situation. It is better to know few immediate action drills for a limited number of situations that usually occur (in a combat area.)
1- Can be designed, developed, and used by anyone, (any unit) 2- Are designed and developed as needed for the anticipated combat situation. 3- When contact/ambush, is at very close range and maneuver may restricted.”
This does work often, and then…sometimes not, because you might be too frigid, or too cold to respond well. Just some notes. As I have stated many times before, when students approach you with concerns about “how-fast” and “will-they” react properly to an sudden attack, you can honestly shove them back on the floor and tell them to do more reps, and explain why. “Fortune favors the prepared.” Build confidence, yes, but darn it, cold is still cold, and frigid is still worse.
But, back to the shooting guns cold subject. One of my friends said after reading this when first published in 2011-
“Hock is right about this. I suck shooting cold, but that is how I am going to shoot, cold, stepping out of the Waffle House and suddenly in trouble, on any given night.”
So, it’s hard to replicate shooting cold or fighting cold in training, because you are never completely cold-cold when you plan, dress and travel and lug-in and gear-up for training. Maybe they should call a real ambush response “Shooting Frigid?” or “Fighting Frigid” instead of just being cold? Frigid bore shooting? Am I getting warm, yet?
Knives have personalities. The generic look. The generic history. Military look. Kitchen look. Slashing look. Stabbers. Think of some more! Even the personality of the person carrying or holding the knife changes the…personality of the knife. The personal attachment look. What is the personality of your knife? I think there are several factors in knife personalities.
I think there are several factors in knife personalities.
Culture of the knife Personality – One is the culture of the knife. Certain edged weapons have a history, a geographic flavor. Just think of the Japanese Tanto. The Kris. The Bowie knife. The Italian stiletto. The medieval dagger. The double-edged, commando knife. One in the martial business, or the knife aficionados, or makers recognize the aura/genre of many knives. This cultural attraction alone might be a main reason someone buys to collect, or buys to carry a knife. Somehow, some way, the look captures one’s fancy, imagination, expectation or whatever connection to books, movies, TV or past affiliation. Sort of a mysticism we mentally project upon a simple inanimate knife. After all, what makes us select the cars, pants, churches or sports teams we do? We are tribal, particular and peculiar from our hats down to our shoes. Hats and shoes as in style that is, not in size. We can’t change the size of our head or our feet. We can change the size and shape of a knife, but will the size be appropriate for our…”heads” and ”feet?”
Slashing, hacking and stabbing personalities – The shape and size of the knife tells an experienced handler what it can do best. Some are better hackers. Some long, thin ones are better stabbers. Some are wide and are better shaped for slicing. Like a carpet layer needs a certain angle for exactly what is needed, so do all knife users. A novice to so-called, knife “fighting,” a new-be to say, construction work, will not know what kind of knife does what best. Experience and education is called for.
Personal, knife personality examples – I knew a Green Beret, Vietnam vet who passed on standard Army/government issue knives and preferred his old own Bowie Knife, replete with a carved stag handle. It was a family heirloom you might say, and therefore more important to him than any generic, legend of Jim Bowie. He said it gave him a certain power, a certain mojo from which he garnered mental and physical strength. This is a personal touchstone, reminiscent of many cultures, such as some of the native Americans might carry a medicine bag of mojo. Same-same.
Another friend of mind sought an old-fashioned, traditional looking (and hard to open) pocket, folding knife with stag handles, with multiple blades, because his dad had a similar one and it was lost through time. Both, more “personal, private” personality, touchstone selections. Still, with game points awarded for symbolic and personal mojo, on the battlefield or for back porch whittling, the knife size, shape and handle must fall within a scope and range of usable practicality and common sense. Switch this over to a parallel concept – you wouldn’t a pack a flintlock pistol around for self defense, just because you love the early American history era. Extrapolate this idea over to other weapons and survival.
What personality knife do you really need? – Not just want for whatever abstract reason, but need? I think we have to return to the classic, Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions I use all the time to best determine this.
Who are you to need a knife?
Who are you to carry a knife?
What do you really need or want a knife exactly for?
What do you exactly expect to do with this knife?
What training do you have to make this a wise choice? What are the local laws for such a knife? What state and, or country do you live in?
What happens next? You use the knife and what will the police and prosecutors think of the name and look of your knife?
Where will you carry this knife? Job? Protection? Handiness?
Where on your body will you clip, or sheath or cart your knife?
When will you need this knife? Work time? Off-time? Daytime? Nighttime? All the time?
How will you acquire this knife?
How will you use it? Do you know how?
Why will you select a specific knife?
Another, longer “what” question. The chicken or the egg? What came first for you? Or, what will come first, if you are just now thinking about knives? That mysterious adulation of …“the knife,” and then a knife training course? Or did you need a knife first for a task first, then seek a training course? This consideration might help clear a path for your knife selection and proper training. The collector, the historian, the practical user, the adulator? Who are you?
But that last line of questioning…the “why.” Why will you select a specific knife? I suggest that you do not make a selection based on looks, genres, eras and or culture alone. I think you should select a knife on its ultimate practicality. Of course if you are a collector looking for this or that showpiece – “I own one! It’s a beauty!” – have fun! (I am not much of a collector of things so I cannot relate to this, but of course, I do understand a hobby.) Or, if you are fanatic about say, old European sword and dagger fighting. Whatever. Get those weapons and mess around with them. Have fun and exercise. Shoot flintlock firearms (just don’t carry them as a self defense weapon).
Knives have personalities – The generic look. The generic history. The personal attachment. If you plan to actually carry and use a knife? Whether on the job as a telephone lineman, a surgeon, a soldier or a cop, or just a citizen with a hankering for a knife, think of them as tools and well…think of them as shoes. You’ll be wearing them too, and like your hat and shoes, you can change the style, but you can’t change the size of your head and feet. Get the appropriate tool/knife. See clearly, be fleet of foot for the trails and paths of life, Kemosabe. Don’t stumble around with the wrong size, else you’ll trip, fall and fail. And like “running with scissors,” running with the wrong knife can be a minor or costly mistake.
On the east side of our city, there ran a series of waterways, storm channels to handle the bad Texas rainstorms. I know some cities don’t have any of these drains, but I guess everyone has seen storm channels in the classic movies and TV shows about Los Angeles. Just like theirs in the City of Angels, ours was an “open top” system, quite wide at parts, deep in sections and branched off into all parts of the city.
The channels were usually dry unless it rained heavily. But like in this photo here, there was usually a skinny stream from somewhere. I have seen them flood and overflow. I have had a few foot chases thru and in, some fights, arrests, and a couple of mishaps down in the dirty ditches. Here’s one such tale.
I once chased down and cuffed a child rapist through those channels, but my first real adventure down below in the water channels … catching an armed robber, way back in the late 70s. There was a series of armed robberies plaguing us on the east side of town, and the detectives were doing the best they could with stakeouts and interviews to break the cases. Solo actor. Big revolver. Black male. In his 30s. Afro. Cheap bandanna over the lower half of the face. We were all convinced that the suspect was a local. No one ever saw a getaway car, and each time the occasional witnesses said the man just melted off into the back lots and alleys behind the businesses.
Several nights a week back then, I rode with another patrolman named Clovis George, a very sharp and real funny guy, a prior border town/city cop down Mexico way. Even back then, the Texican border towns were all hotbeds of all kinds of criminal activity and, yes, drugs, too. The interstate that split our city ran from old Mexico straight up the center of the USA. A drug route then and now, but that’s a whole other story. Clovis had seen a lot of street-level action down there on the border. The George family was big in our city, and he returned home after several years to settle down. Our city produced one Miss America,Phyllis George, and she was his cousin.
Another one of these armed robbery calls went out late one weeknight while we were paired up in one car; and it had us and other cars running every which way hay-wired, trying to find the suspect either running or driving away in a getaway car. Not a clue. A clean escape yet again.
When the dust settled, we drove to a taco outfit and got tacos and some ice tea, sat on our squad car hood, and ate, contemplating the world as it blew by us. We also contemplated the armed robber.
“I’ll bet that squirrelly bastard is jumping down into these dry channels and running right home,” Clovis said between bites.
“I’ll bet we could jump in at one key point and cut him right off,” I said.
Sounded plausible to me, so we made a plan. A large percentage of criminals lived in the nearby projects in our beat, and we drove around to calculate possible routes from Tell Ave. businesses to the government housing districts. We knew the CID stakeouts were spotty and all above ground and vehicle-based. No way the detectives could cover all those locations every night, night after night. So if we were free and patrolling and heard a report of another east-side, armed robbery on our radio, and if our man was indeed a storm channel jumper, we would guesstimate the time and location where the robber would be running, jump in the drains at some point, and stake out that spot.
Well, within a few nights, a chicken restaurant was hit by our lone suspect. Handgun presented. Money grabbed. Mask. In and out. And Clovis and I raced to our own planned stakeout. We parked the squad car and, in a huddled-over combat run, slipped into the open channel by a viaduct at a bend in the system where we couldn’t be seen from afar. There was less than a small stream of water in there. In less than one minute, we heard some splashing and footsteps, and we exchanged surprised expressions like … “well, damn! That could be him!”
And sure enough it was. He rounded that corner huffing and puffing with a paper bag of money in one hand and a revolver in the other. We spread out and hit him with our flashlights’ beams. We pointed our pistols and started shouting,
“Drop the gun, or we’ll kill ya!”
“Drop it or yer dead right there!” Words to that general effect. You know what I mean. And they were true warnings.
Our man dropped his pistol and bag and put his hands up. Bandanna in his back pocket. We cuffed him, hauled him up the side, and “took him in,” as the expression goes.
CID was kind of thrilled. And they took over. Our suspect was not a local as it turned out. He was in from Arkansas visiting locals and thought he’d run up some traveling money while in town. Mask. Gun. Money. Flight. Matching size and clothing description. Wow. Nice little arrest. Hey, three cheers for the Clovis George idea of ditch jumping, all over some tacos and tea.
Through the years, Clovis and I were also detectives together, too. First him, and then me. Starting back in the early 1980s, I had a bit of a reputation for getting a lot of confessions; and Clovis often asked me to partner up with him when he had extra troublesome witnesses and suspects in his cases. Plus, I was his choice when he served an arrest warrant on some of his cases because we knew how to work in unison.
So, we worked these numerous cases together. Always had a blast, too. I remember he had an affinity toward the Tonight Show’s Johnny Carson suit line. He thought he was really styling it in a Carson brand suit. You know what? He was!
We went out with our wives to various country and western establishments in those days, some Tex-Mex locales, and drank way too much as I seem to recall. Admin often made the mistake of sending us to various investigation training schools in Austin, whereupon we had entirely too good a time above and beyond the classes. We’d drive to Austin on Sundays to be in position for class on Monday mornings. On some of the trips we’d bring a small camper’s black and white TV set with us to try and watch the Cowboy’s games in the car on the drive down. It was a war with the rabbit ears for antennas, trying to catch the local channels as we passed through cities on the interstate. Back then, you could legally drink and drive in Texas (not be drunk – just you know – sip up until), and this adventure always included beer. One guy drove and the other guy operated the rabbit ears. What a team! (Imagine doing that today. We would both be serving life sentences.)
Clovis took a few promotion tests while in CID and went back into uniform as a supervisor. He continued his professional career rise, while I, never testing for any rank, remained back in line operations working in the trenches, not unlike the stinky water ditch system where we made the aforementioned arrest.
Then he had a severe heart attack in the early 1990s. He recovered and became a supervisor for our communications division. He also became an avid runner. Then he suddenly died in 2002. The heart again. Couldn’t outrun those genetics no matter how hard he tried. I was working out of the country at the time and missed the funeral.
Many years later our agency developed a truly amazing, modern police academy. They dedicated the police library part in his name, which I thought was just a damn fine idea. Here’s a picture of one of the best Police Chiefs you can find, Lee Howell, dedicating the library with Dana George.
Clovis George was a really good guy, a good friend, and we had a lot of laughs, tacos, beers, and margaritas. Plus, together, we handcuffed a number of felons, too. What more could you possibly ask of a friend? What more?