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HAVE I FALLEN ON THE KNIFE? BIG MISTAKES I HAVE MADE TEACHING MY KNIFE COURSE OVER THE DECADES

 

Or…How To, or How NOT To, Maintain a Popular Knife Course

Through time, the who, what, where, when, how and why, my original, once quite popular, Force Necessary: Knife combatives course “fell down,” “fell away” from pop culture. While I still get to teach it around the world, it has slipped way below the pop radar in lieu of other pop programs and my business mistakes. So, when did I take the fall? It happened slowly and then one day you are down looking up.

You see, the “new kids on the block” don’t know that before the fall, I once was “somebody.” In the 1990s I was part of a resurgence, a re-look, a re-examination of older knife material (which essentially was mostly a lot of knife dueling, and much of that based on swords). Things needed evolving. Things needed converging into performance coaching, modern law and rules of engagement. 

There were just a few of us on the combatives teaching circuit, in the magazines and on the video tapes. 30 years ago his January, I created the Force Necessary (FN) program, with a main motto, “Using only that force necessary to win or survive.” The program includes four main courses FN: Hand. FN: Stick, FN: Knife and FN: Gun (and I still teach FMA when asked). In the 90s, I’d been in police work since the 1970s both in the Army and in Texas, most of that time as a detective. I’d seen and experienced working on a lot of knife crime, as in aggravated assaults, rapes, attempted murders and murders. I myself have been attacked by both a knife and an ax. I won’t fail to mention here for the new kids, I’ve also been rather obsessively doing martial arts since 1972. Fifty-three  years next January. From the military, police and martial arts, I hold certain perspectives in the use of the hand, stick, knife and gun that your friendly neighborhood Spiderman might not have…or know.

Studying and teaching “knife,” for 30 years comes with its own inherent, stigma problems and limited interest, we all struggle with. The knife world is also very small. What is this knife world? Who then prioritizes the knife and in what ways?

  • Group 1: Hobbyists (martial artists and collectors.) One interest group are people who “hobby.” There is something historically and visually appealing about the knife and the certain shapes construction, sizes and history of knives. People collect anything and everything, that includes knives. Think about the simple collectors of knives. To collectors, practicality and use do not factor much into knife collector’s minds. Just the aforementioned make-up. Most collectors never train to fight with them. As a juxtaposition, look how many people-hobbyists WATCH the UFC versus DO the UFC? A very rare few are “doing. The category of hobbyists includes martial artists. Filipino martial artists place some priority on the knife but seem to overdo the stick. Just look at all the FMA group photos and the practitioners holding sticks. Most other martial artists spend some time in sports and some work on only “unarmed versus the knife.” Just obsessing over dueling alone, is not maximizing knife survival. I am well on the record for supporting your martial hobby. Be happy. Just know where what you are doing fits in reality.
  • Group 2: Worriers. Another interest knife group is the “Oh no!, Oh, crap group! Knives exist everywhere! “So, we need to ‘do’ them, to survive.” This group mostly includes some aware ground-floor workers and worried citizens. Ground-floor workers? These are line operators as in “ground-floor” police and “ground-floor” military. And even then, knife studies are usually far from a priority for most of them.
  • Group 3: A smaller group of both. The third and smallest group include folks interested in both 1 and 2.

From a business perspective, these groups are the ones you need to advertise with. Good luck finding them all. As a practitioner, I am mostly in the above “worriers group.” When you worry, you worry about before, during and after the attack. None of this is a hobby for me and I don’t do cartwheels over various knifes, no more than I would if I looked at hammers or saws. They are just tools. But, the above groups are the knife world we live in. What were my and other ‘s business mistakes?

Business Problem 1: The Knife Business is a Stigmata. I mean to say that studying knife fighting was and is still not at all popular. It might be a origin mistake to bother trying. A very rare few are “doing” it. Once teaching and learning, I don’t like many terms, images, messages, logos, etc. relating to the negative stigmas surrounding knife fighting, A rebel, thug, skull etc. persona.

Another motto I have is “Help me, help you, stay out of jail.” In short, I really worry about you going to jail. Every act of violence is both a trauma and a drama. Situational. This realistic and serious approach has outcasted  me over to a non-popular, non-trendy knife course. With many existing, pop knife courses, the teachers and dogma-doctrine have a terrible persona of thug, prison shiv, skulls…basically some sort of mafia, under-sub-culture. Some even look like the Mexico death culture. They think it’s cool. But it is actually stupid. If your instructor looks and dresses like a thug? Well…think about it. This macho, rebel, leaky-criminal persona does not serve you well in worldwide, criminal justice systems. I might add in this context that the gun culture of civilized countries is extremely concerned about the law and staying out of jail. The knife culture should pay close attention to this approach also.

These realities are not too popular for the “new kids” that want to learn and-or teach slicing, dicing and gutting people with a knife, void of situations and the law. This marketing can be naïve, reckless and immature, incomplete and a ticking, legal time bomb. For you. All the legal prosecution needs to do is show a jury a few of these system names (course names are so important) photographs, logos, teachers and characters and you the associated user, become jailbait. I say stupid, but they are “money smart.” And more popular and sought after than me. By the grace of God they go…until…. Mature survival is enduring before, during and after a violent event. The end game – as in the legal aftermath, is a big part of a well-thought-out, course.

Various ultra-violent, “skully” death messaging should be reserved as a primer mentality for very serious, military, combat groups. THEIR psychology. Their prep. Their world. Not cops and certainly not every day, walk-around citizens. Mimicking them makes you look like a wannabe punk. Look at the lawsuits filed on cops and citizens – go ahead –  have a little death-engraved-logo on your gun (or knife) and see what happens when you shoot someone. Have a patch or tattoo of a grim reaper with a knife, or a skull with a knife through it, and see what happens when you have to legally use a knife. We the police, the prosecutors search your history. Take this idiot for example – I read one New York City, very popular, international knife “cartel-liberty” group headline atop a Facebook page:

“I love it when I carve someone’s balls off and put them in his empty eye sockets.”

Shit man, you think you’re Rambo? You probably work in a fucking supermarket. And you think and talk like this? You need to be on watch list. Fantasy jerk-offs like this give us all a bad name. But images and expressions like this, or near like this, this mystique, does attract a certain sick customer, usually young, or young in the brains anyway. (By the way, after my public complaints and comments on this, this must have reached the then Colorado headquarters and this sick-moron took that line down.) 

Stigmata-wise, many still call knife training, “knife fighting,” but I don’t like that term, even you are still indeed, fighting with a knife.

Business Problem 2: Failing to Emphasize the Knife. I escaped all existing systems by 1997. I had-have a dream! I seek to produce the seamless hand, stick, knife and gun fighter, standing through ground. You do what you got to do, with what you got, where you are. So, this halfway means I do not over-emphasize a knife course or any single course. While I was once in the 1990s and 2000s well known in our small world “for the knife,” I am not now, which puts me behind the knife marketeers. I have built four great, competent individual, non-sport, survival courses which I blend. I can clearly debate ANYONE on course doctrine points. Each course stands a lone, but shooting for the big hand, stick, knife and gun fused end-user, final product has cost me in the knife marketing “ground.”

Business Problem 3: Being too Independent. Another business problem for me? No “flags.” I have no crutch system, no flag to fly, like Pekiti, JKD, Brazil-Mania, Krav-mania. Silat. Arnis. Bruce Lee. UFC. No uniforms. No 12 knives on a vest. No tribal brotherhoods. It’s just little ol’ me flapping in the wind about the knife. I can’t attract these extraneous-system-people, capture super search martial arts terms, as some of those are obligated to attend. We business-mature know the established advertising fact the “the grass is always greener on the other….” side of the street? Other country? The sewers of Spain. The temples of Thailand. The monasteries of China? The borders of Israel…the…and so on. Me? I appear to be just a bland, white boy with some info. I don’t even have any tattoos! 

Business Problem 4: Rise of the Replicators. Of course, with all businesses, this 1990s and 2000 knife movement kicked off a new interest and a fair number of new knife courses popped up often by less experienced, less organized people, and in my opinion doing less comprehensive programs. But this business evolution is to be expected. Invent a new “widget?” There’s a knock-off widget. Then knock-offs with an “S.” In the big picture of training and education however, not widgets, this can be a positive thing. Awareness. Curiosity. Growth. Evolution. And then sometimes no growth. Still, the old often helps the new. The “standing on the shoulders” thing.

Some 25-odd years later, in about 2015, on a popular public forum someone asked me what I thought of Johnny Swift’s new, knife, quick-draw article in an internet magazine. Of course, it wasn’t called knife quick draws. It was named something super-spiffy like “Armageddon Instrument Production,” but it’s just knife quick draws. Brand new, Biblical-worthy advice Swift preached, and published in the new amazing world of web-jargon magazines called like “Organic Micro Evolution of Edged Prophetic Dynasty.” (I really just made that magazine name up, but how far am I off? You remember that recent trend of densely tech-naming courses and articles?  Weren’t you impressed, or can you see right through the disgusting, abject pretentiousness? Twenty and 30 year-olds salivated with these techno titles though! But thank goodness that trend has been dissolving. In this case, it’s just “stress quickdraws.” It’s not “Rapid Production of Edged Antiphon.” or other poorly veiled, douchebaggery. 

Anyway as requested, I read Swift’s ground-breaking, testament as featured in “Retrograde, Skill Supremacy, Elite Magazine” and I replied on the public forum –

“Oh, I have to like Swift’s article. It is virtually, word-for-word,
from my 1995, Knife Level 1 quick draw outline.”

“WHAAAAT” said the young world? My review/remark caused a lot of guffaws and a few smart ass remarks, among the 20 and 30 year old readers, most of whom were so submerged in modern “dynasty jargon,” up to their fad-beards in mystique, and lost in the web world. They’d never even heard of us older guys from the 1990s and 2000s. I mean, who am I to comment like this on their latest fad-boy genius? I added that I was not suggesting that Johnny Swift plagiarized my outline, as it might have innocently been co-opted, or the older info has become so, ever so embedded into the “knife world” it was deemed as open knowledge. Or it was invented, like language, in isolation. I get that. Sure. That happens. (That level 1 knife outline is/was free to the public and has been distributed for literally 3 decades now, and my knife book – declared as the best knife book ever – has been for sale since the 2010s.)

One guy was clever enough to say, “Well, sorry I missed you when I was 5 years old.” Ha! I told him that really was a pretty damn, clever, funny retort. It was really. But missed me? Dude, I never left. However, actually, he never knew I was around to begin with. That is part of…the “fall.” I added in that discussion with Mr. Wise-asses that the spread of education was a good thing, and I  probably partook in that process. I reminded the “guffawers” that I participated. I said that the old helps the new. As a great gun instructor Dave Spaulding likes to remind us, “It’s not new. It’s just new to you.”

I also frequently read these days, what is considered catchy and new terms, ideas and expressions that I published and advertised decades ago. For just one example – a newer knife course (populated by death skeletons and skulls and counter-culture) uses the working-man-world word terms of “Journeyman,” “expert,” etc. Tradesman titles, etc I used first in the 1990s.

Contemplating these copycat things, I consider this list:

  1. I was pirated. Or,
  2. I contributed and was not credited. Or,
  3. I contributed to a base of general knowledge, of which no one knows the sources. Or,
  4. The information grew organically and independently and by coincidence and it matches my old material.
  5. If a “new kid” saw my knife book and rank list levels today, they probably would declare that I stole it from another new kid. Oh the irony.

But anyway, inside a comprehensive knife course should be:

  • Who what, where, when, how and why questions
  • Knife vs hand. Knife vs stick. Knife vs knife. Knife vs some gun threats.
  • Standing, kneeling, sitting and on the ground.
  • Saber and reverse grip experimentation.
  • Skill, flow, speed developing exercises.
  • Knife combat scenarios and situations.
  • Lethal and less-Than Lethal Applications.
  • Legal issues, rules of engagement and smarts.
  • Who what, where, when, how and why questions
  • Criminal history knife research.
  • War history knife research. 
  • Here’s your subject-topic outline list. What are you doing to maximize each subject-subject in your knife doctrine?

Mistakes in business. So, me? Boring. No mystique. Not isolating the knife enough. Not promoting people fast enough. No skulls. No flags. No carved out-eyeballs. No macho persona. Just generic methods. No weird hats, clothes or tattooes. These are some of the ways I didn’t play the game, have shot myself in the…well…stabbed myself in the foot in the fad, knife training business. How about you? Are you maximised? Subject to fads. Watch the market?

Just a few of us were those innovator pioneers and helped turn the tide in the 1990s and 2000s into what it all has become today, for better or for worse. Maybe you young fellers will learn from my mistakes? Establish new standards? Flesh out topics?

It’s always good to mention and/or thank your prior teachers once in a while. I always do. But, before you young knife guys make any sarcastic jokes about me and the few other 1990s guys again, keep in mind…your modern instructors might have “peeked” at all my and our long, established materials. Some will not confess to it. Or, our materials have become such standard, general doctrine that these younger guys don’t even know of us. But, guess what? I might just be your long-lost grandfather.

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Hock’s email is Hock@survivalcentrix.com

Get what is still called by so many, the greatest knife book ever, 1000s of how-to photos in the topics above, click right here. (Now in a big second updated edition.)

RIPPED CALLUSES AND SMOKING RATTAN

 
On a rather famous FMA page, a member asked for opinions on-about the pros and cons of Remy Presas Modern Arnis. I answered…
 
Three people are responsible for spreading FMA around the world in 70s, 80s and into the 90s. Leo Gaje, Dan Inosanto and Remy Presas. This reality is somewhat lost in martial history.
 
There are just a few of us left who remember a period of a more complete, diverse, head-banging, Modern Arnis. I hate to start naming names and not mention everyone, but people like Dieter Knuttel, Tye Botting, Dan Anderson, Tim Hartman, Chad Edward, Mark Lynn – well please, please forgive me for the too short list of names, you know who you are – that recall a hardcore, very diverse “old school” Modern Arnis.
 
For one example, through the years getting Remy to teach knife was like pulling teeth. Unarmed vs. the knife? Plenty. Filipino knife fighting? Disappeared with him through the years. I had to cajole and beg him to do a 2-day knife seminar in 1993. As long as it was a small group, he did it. (It was-is hard to teach knife in a giant seminar that included kids and young adults.) Some things just evolve away.
 
By the way, Remy NEVER looked artsy and flashy. If he ever did, it was a total accident and not his plan. He was committed to efficient, clean stripped-down movement. This was one major lesson for me. “Don’t look pretty. Don’t look stylish. No dance. Do!” THAT…is “tattoo-advice” in fighting. In that vein, he was also pretty vicious as ANY stunt-demo person will confess.
 
(Tattoo advice is a joking term I use about advice so important it should be tattooed on your body!) 
 
 
As time and age marched on, it changed a bit into, well, more of a realm of stand-still, stick, Tapi-Tapi, which was always a part, but became a bit more prominent. For example, I recall a time when working on super-power-hardcore stick strikes were mandatory, long training sessions. He would stalk around yelling at you to strike harder. HARDER! Things like that. Ripped calluses and smoking rattan. These elongated sessions, well, can become boring, exhausting and not very “commercial.” The newer, later materials seem to be taught more today.
 
In the big picture (and nostalgically) I like those old days. These “old timers” know that era, that material too, and know what I am talking about. Ripped calluses, and smoking rattan.
 
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ADVERTISING MARTIAL ARTS AND COMBATIVES SEMINARS

 
Instructors! Instructors! Instructors…
In the last 29 years I have made certified instructors and black belts around the world from the USA to Australia. I think about 150 or so. You can see them on our instructor page. While some are inactive, many are active and frankly quite active. And by active I also mean very busy making and doing seminars. I get the news of these seminars, and some ask me right out –
 
  • “HELP ME ADVERTISE MY NEXT SEMINAR!” or,
  • “HELP ME SELL ____,” or
  • “HE KNOWS I AM GOING TO _____, WHY ISN’T HE…”, or,
  • “WHY ISN’T HE LISTING ME, I Will BE…”
I would love to, but with some 150 people, this would turn my Facebook pages into non-stop ads for seminars and products! (This is a similar problem I have with Presas Legacy page. I cannot allow FMA seminar announcements or stick sellers, etc.)
 
“But you helped Joe with his seminar! It’s not fair!” That is what I am afraid to hear from a friend. Once the advertising dam breaks, to be fair, if I start doing this for one instructor? Then I must be fair to all my instructors and the damn water floods the pages and people stop reading the page. Hey, I am actually a little uncomfortable advertising my own seminars, but I must, lest of all promote ALL of the ones of others. My name supports your name in the big picture. The more I am known, the more the instructors benefit from our affiliation.
 
To write this “dam” message, I use these guys in the attached photo as an example of a few of our great guys doing some upcoming seminars. Please look at their tags and see what they are doing, but I still have to maintain the “Advertising Dam.” My thumb is now back in the dyke hole.
 
 
  

KNIFE FIGHT and the JAILHOUSE SUPERBOWL RING

It’s time boys and girls to rerun my knife fight story and the Superbowl player and the ring…
 
 
Our city in North Texas boasted two Superbowl player residents. And the two of them were as different as day and night and as racially typecast as one could imagine. One was a retired white guy in a very big house with many investments. The other was a black guy from what one might call our slums, or projects. He had no such monied investments. And no such home. He was older than most players but still playing ball. And every off season, he would return home to Texas. And every off-season he seemed to get into trouble of some sort. Both these guys wore the big brash and legendary Superbowl ring. I never met the white guy, but I did meet the black guy. In fact, he kind of saved my ass one Saturday morning, back in the 1970s…in a knife fight.
 
In one “hood” in our city we had a old drinking place called The Wine Tree. It was a bar, but not a bar. It was an open house with a jukebox and the booze flowed (illegally sold) along with the drugs. An old, crippled man named Willie lived in the back room and “ran” it with a henchman or two.
 
Through time you learn, either by emergency calls or by investigation that many of that area’s crimes, at some point started, ran through, or ended up at the Wine Tree. Did Willie have a liquor license? A business permit? No. It was just a house. An open house party 24/7. The neighbors didn’t care. Hell, they hung out there, too.
 
The attendees parked everywhere and the dancing and drinking and conniving and hustling spilled out onto the pounded-down and dry front lawn, and out onto the streets. There was even a jukebox in there.
 
The next mornings, especially after weekends, The Wine Tree had a hang-over. There were always stragglers still hovering on or about the property. One Saturday morning either a neighbor reported a fight in progress out front of the Wine Tree, or I drove up on this fight. I just can’t remember. I was a young turk back then and worked this district. I was just as fearless as I was dumb. As I drove up to the Wine Tree, I saw at least three men arguing and another two others apparently interceding and peacemaking. The peacemakers weren’t doing so well. In total, five knuckleheads bandied about.
 
Two of the arguing guys started a sloppy fight. The other three guys started in cheering or jeering. Some in the general area scattered. Some remained at a distance, on-looking, rubber-neckers in the general area.
 
I got out of the car and tried my hand at this peace-keeping routine too, but these men were charged up on who-knows-what-all from the night before and pissed off. My Gestalt therapy training just wasn’t working, and the two main men crashed in on each other. I dove in trying to separate them. And wild fists flew. Then a third guy jumped in, and I’ll tell you it was a free-for-all. Everybody against everybody, and I wasn’t winning. I wound up half-wrestling, half-punching with one of them as the other two, struggled off a few feet and bumped into us.
 
Then one of them pulled a knife. It was a switchblade. He was cursing up a storm, and this whole event was going south very badly. He was not cursing or pointing the knife at me, just the other guy he was originally mad at. Then, to satisfy the arms race, one of the onlookers passed the other unarmed man a knife!
 
“Put down those knives!” I ordered.
 
They did not. The peacemakers and a few gathering onlookers did bail back about 15 feet when those knives came out.  Some onlookers got involved and grabbed my arms. I think, as if, to stop me from shooting their friends I think. They tried to keep me away. They tried holding my arms as if to protect their fighting friends from me.
 
HA! So that “drop it,” command of mine didn’t work and I had this gut-crushing feeling this would end with my gun out, maybe shooting somebody and it all turn, six different kinds of crazy bad. I pushed back, got free and damned if they didn’t re-grab me.
 
These two armed goons cursed a blue streak and were dueling as in a comedy of moves, slashing and stabbing at each other in uncoordinated, wild lunges and swings. But a knife is a great equalizer from fools to kings.
 
Then suddenly a stout black man charged up. From the proverbial “nowhere.” He was not drunk. He hit the guy hanging on my right arm, using his shoulder and we both pushed this pain-in-the-ass off of me. Without hesitation, he pivoted and ran up to one in the knife party dance and belted him in the side of his head, with a fist, a forearm, or an elbow? I can’t say which. It was a blind side, sucker shot. The man did not see it coming and was so stunned, he dropped the knife on impact, stumbled off and fell.
 
Arm now free, I pulled my Colt Python pistol. The onlookers gasped and cursed and groaned at its sight. I stepped before the other armed man and told him I’d kill him if he didn’t drop the knife. I got in such a position that the other drunk that was first fighting with me, now shared my gun barrel time too.
 
The guy with the knife just stood there, tip of the knife aimed at my face, his eyes all google-eyed, bloodshot and watering, his lip busted open and bloody. He was wavering before me like a heat wave on booze and drugs. It would have been funny, but for the knife, the jerks around me…well, frankly, actually I guess it wasn’t much funny at all.
 
“Don’t even think about it,” I warned him.
 
Good God, was I going to have to shoot this stumbling drunk? I decided I would if he lunged at me.
 
Meanwhile, this hard-charging citizen hero snatched up the loose knife from the ground and walked right up to the man before me and removed the knife from his hand while the drunk just stared at me. I ordered the two men on their knees. The first was already grounded.
 
The hero stood there like my professional backup! And, I wondered where my official back-up unit was, speaking of backup. They didn’t get there in time. One thing I could tell was, everyone there, knew this guy and were obviously more afraid of him, than me….me being the PO-lice! Who was that un-masked man?
 
Two pair of handcuffs hung on my belt, and I had three men to shackle! I cuffed the bystander guy fighting me with one pair, figuring if he were damn fool enough to fight with me before, I needed both of his hands linked up now. Then I split my second pair of cuffs with these two so-called, “knife fighters.”
 
“There ya go. Now go on and beat yourselves to death now,” I told the two handcuffed together slobs. “See if I stop you again.
 
At this point I didn’t care if they clobbered each other down. One cuff to one’s right hand, the other cuff to the other man’s right hand. This way if they both ran off, it wouldn’t be too easy to run. In theory, one faced one way, one faced the other, (but in actuality, one of them could cross their arm over for them to run. Anyway, that didn’t happen.)
 
Other units arrived, and we carted the men away. I had to get the name and address of this hero for my crime and arrest reports. I thanked him profusely. He was all smiles and told me everything. I’ll call him “Ray Wilson” here.
 
At the station, our Patrol Lt Gene Green wandered into the book-in room and wanted the sitrep. After my report, he said,
 
“Ray Wilson? He plays for the _____________. Ya’ met Ray! Ya’ see his big Superbowl ring? He comes home every off-season and stays with his momma. He gets into some kind of trouble every year.”
“Well, he sure helped me out of a mess here!” I said. “He needs a medal.”
“Just wait,” Lt Green warned. “You’ll see him in here for somethin’ er’ another.” By “in here,” he meant the book-in room.
“He comes home every year and sorta cleans up after his relatives’ and friends’ bad business. He has a helleva’ family. Always in trouble.”
 
That Wilson clan. Oh, yeah. Those kin folk! Well, I saw his point. What a shame. The guy just charged right in and helped me.
About a month or so later we were on midnight shift, and I walked through the station to the squad room. The old headquarters was situated kind of funny because you had to walk through the book-in room of our jail to get from the front side of the station and into to the back squad room. There on the book-in room bench, sat a handcuffed Ray Wilson. My Wine Tree hero.
 
He was arrested for assaulting some men with a baseball bat! Some kind of a family, revenge/vendetta, just like Lt. Green had suggested would happen. Ray nodded to me as I approached and passed through. His possessions were laid on the book-in counter, ready for safe-keeping collection. A worn wallet. Some pocket change. An old watch. A belt…and a big, golden, Superbowl ring.
 
“Take care of that ring,” Ray asked cordially.
“We always do, Ray,” the arresting detective said.
 
He retired in our city, took over the family’s, older home and then years later died of old age, but a poor man. He was one of the regulars I would stop and talk to, once in a while, through the years. He was a really good feller from and in a bad place.
 
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Hock’s two new novels. Check out all the books right here.
 

QUADFECTA MARTIAL ARTS!


You’ve probably heard about the word Trifecta (three-bees,) but how about QUADfecta (four-bees?) Yeah. It exists in the Fourth Dimension, no big deal according to Dr. Strange.

Beyond the interview, beyond the avoidance, past the de-escalation, when push comes to shove, etc., in reality we struggle-fight the big three: criminals, enemy soldiers and our “drunk uncles” (a nickname I use for all those relatives who act up.) In researching solutions, I investigate the Martial Quadfecta:

1: Kickboxing
2: Ground n’ pound
3: Wrestling (I prefer Catch)
4: Weapons (modern – sticks, knives, guns, not ancient stuff).

What if any, can I use-adopt from these sources for fighting crime and war, not mirror images of one’s system in arts and sports. Some people like to say “steal” from these sources, some say “take” or “co-op.” “Borrow?” “Adopt.” Whatever. I am always on the hunt, keeping it checkers not chess. “Do it Fit – Don’t it fit?” Running it all through the “Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions” to embrace or dismiss. Picking and choosing should be debated by people with a high 4-D Martial I.Q..

4-D? Any one of those categories alone is one dimensional. Two are two dimensional. Three? Three dimensional – and most old science discussions end with 3-D, huh? BUT we are now in the Multiverse says Dr. Strange (and so do MANY leading scientists by the way!) so we enter the FOURTH dimension, so to speak. The Quadfecta.

Lots of folks like being in their one or two or three dimensions. Great. I’m happy if you’re happy. All I ask is don’t be ignorant about it and know where your limited dimensions fit in the Multiverse, which I reckon is another way of saying “stay in your lane?”

Me? I hunt on a four-lane highway.

(I wonder if anyone will ever call their new school “Quadfecta Martial Arts. You can! I haven’t copyrighted it.”)

Watch these full hour free training films, click here

 

WRIST TWIST THROWS

 
Many moons ago, as a young naive lad, I grabbed a guy’s hand and thought…okay, well, outer wrist throw…. I did it and the guy pretty much stood there and screamed in very anguishing way. I had ripped some tendons or something in his wrist-forearm. He just didn’t know “Oh, I am supposed to fall over now.” Next stop before jail? The hospital. Not only did I not want to damage the guy’s arm, I now had to spend hours at the emergency room, The next time – I was still naive and stupid – I tried it again and HEARD it! Like a subtle stalk of fresh celery being torn in half.
 
Former French Foreign Legionnaire Military and martial expert Nick Hughes reported after reading this, “Too funny. I was explaining how some twat said you guys jump for each other in Aikido, and how I told him, “you bet, for the same reason you tap for an armbar or leglock. If you don’t, shit gets fucked up. I then told them about the first time I did a kote gaeshi on some twat at a bar. I slammed it on. I expected him to do the big flip. He didn’t move an inch, his wrist did, though. Then there was a tearing noise and he started screaming”.
 
On this subject, with a side joke of fainting, My old patrol and detective partner Roger White added, “I did a gooseneck wrist lock on a guy (you would remember him) in the middle of E. Prairie St. To my amazement he passed smooth out in the middle of the street! I told people I choked him out with a wrist lock…”
 
I certainly still must show the 5 big twists and bends of the wrist (and ankle, very similar) because we martialists must investigate and experiment with these things, but I also WARN about expectations and the realties.
 
Standing or ground, throws (or captures,) the “Big Five Hand-Wrist Attacks” are:
– The wrist-hand turns all the way out. (Outer wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand turns all the way in. (Inner wrist throws.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way back. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand bends all the way forward. (Goosenecks.)
– The wrist-hand cranks side-to-side. (Center locks.)
 
(I learned these 5 concepts in a Judo Gene Lebell seminar, if you don’t agree me, go argue with Lebell. Yeah, I know he’s dead, it’s just an expression.)
 
 
 
 
 

STAYING APART IN COMBAT

I am full of old-school mainstays. Some I like. Some I don’t. In military training tips – I was in at the tail-end of Vietnam and went through Basic Training in Fort Polk , LA. Dubbed “Little Vietnam” for its weather, look and occasional “swampiness.” “Tigerland.” We were advised to stay a machine gun burst apart when maneuvering around. At times even a hand grenade blast apart if space allowed. Plus, distance apart opens up fields of vision and fields of fire. Ralph on the far right sees more than Jimmy on the left, and vice versa. (Jody is at home with your wife or girlfriend, there ain’t no use in looking back!) But, these very generic distance tips makes you think about moving formations of two or more troops. There was a lot of fire and maneuver with cover fire lessons to advance when seemingly un-advanceable.
 
In the old police academies, we were told to stay at least “one shotgun blast” apart. Okay, as they were not overly-worried about machine guns or like…bazookas. What about semi-auto pistols? They can spray pretty damn fast too, kinda like a machine gun burst.
 
So still, police, military or civilian common sense, staying apart if possible is a good generic plan. If you can. But in narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots of life, often there is no space to spread. Always risky.
 
I wonder, is the distance idea emphasized today like the olden days, though? Today (like many recent years) there seems to be a lot of clumping taught, even when there is space to un-clump. Sometimes you can’t. Take a look at the associated photo . A hallway. Not much space to spread. Narrow hallways, passageways and tight spots, no space to spread. Always risky. But now consider the guy in the back. The guy in the back might shoot the guy (or guys) in the front if the feces suddenly hits the proverbial fan. Some of these formations have the guy in the back, walking backwards! That’s some serious “6 Watching” right there. And not a terrible idea at all.
 
Or line-ups. Is trudging single file in a SWAT line some form of clumping? Lots of SWAT folks line up like toy soldiers to get from the staging area, say, van point A to point B doorway. It’s an efficient way to move, yeah. I could tell some interesting stories in sims classes about that. But I always wondered that in a world of planned terrorists and bad guys, after they have worked on a hostage deal or raid, or robbery, do they ever say to each other,
  • “Okay, now…where will SWAT park?”
  • “Where will the response team stage?”
  • “Where will the Bradley stage?”
Bombs and snipers are next to thwart the good guys from the get-go. Reminds me of the great L.A.P.D. SWAT plank member Scott Reitz recalling, when the van doors opened up once, he instantly had to shoot an armed bad guy right there at the doors! In my city, if any residents of bad neighborhoods saw the SWAT team van driving anywhere day or night, cell phones would light up with warnings. “SWATs out!”
 
Getting there. Getting into position. Sometimes just to encircle and guard-watch via a perimeter, toss in the phone? Or gain entry into buildings? SWAT has become very efficient “room-raiders,” perhaps at the expense of “open-field” crossing training, ignoring Point A to be Point B transit training worries? Does getting there sometimes mean crossing open spaces under sudden or known fire? Cover fire is an advancement solution but a tricky thing in the civilian world, Cover fire as in the right side laying down a field of fire so the left side can advance, then vice-versa. I’ve had a number of SWAT commanders and police admin say, “no way” to firing for such cover. Taboo. You either justifiably shoot directly at a bad guy or you can-not, do-not take any shot at all. (I do think there can be very controlled cover fire, but the generic response is no to the concept. (I still teach the concept to all with simulated ammo, and the subject of another essay.)
 
Anyway, citizens, police, military! To clump or not to clump? That be the question. One Shakespeare never pondered. But I wish more people would think about it.
 
 

“DEAD DRILLS AND THE FMA BLACK SWAN”

 
I have been around FMA since the 1980s. FMA was very popular in the late 1980s, 1990s and growing, but there was a stutter-step that lasted years, two surprises what is called “Black Swans” and their application to the martial arts. You know that Black Swans are surprise, rather unpredictable events. Randomness. 
 
Two main events occurred in the 1990s, 2000s that led to a decline in the growth and popularity of Filipino Martial Arts. One event was of course the cleverly orchestrated UFC and it’s “More Real” fighting. The second, separate proclamations from some “real-deal-rough-guys” that FMA was mostly full of “Dead Drills” that didn’t relate to really-real-deal-tough-guy fighting.”
 
These two events put FMA on the side shelf for years. The demographic of the time (what? 18 to 35 year-olds?) of macho boys fell for this hook, line, sinker. Even Inosanto-world,- which we were doing Thai and Shoot – was included in this disparaging.
 
But alas…“More Real” fighting, as it turned out, is-not, was-not just wrestling-BJJ, but actually “MMA” that had to evolve with an emphasis on kickboxing and ground n’ pound atop wrestling. Still though, through it all there was this lingering stigma-idea that FMA-ers were dancing, prancing around in abstract, dead drills.
 
But time passed. Decades. A new crop of young macho guys appeared in the marketplace of the same demographic of old. They missed that early FMA Black Swan. They saw the evolution of MMA-UFC was not just BJJ submission fighting. They saw weapons in a weapons world, a whole new breed of folks. They ignore the FMA dead drill commentary because they understand the learning progression, the concept of…drills.
 
I and a few others back then, with a little influence in the martial magazines and the growing internet, spoke out against this FMA Dead stigma. I began a name-game change when I simply publicized a semantic name title switch, from “Drills” to “Exercises.” It was not speed, flow and skill DRILLS, but rather speed, flow and skill EXERCISES. All fighters run, or weight lift, or do all kinds of support exercises vital to their performance, yet such would be declared “dead” and ignored in the definition of knuckleheads in comparison.
 
The word “exercise.” Calling them ALL merely exercises sort of changed the “dead drill” mindset name-game and shut some of these people up. All kinds of exercises improve and in many military, police and martial worlds, lots are called “__________ Exercises.” In fact, big themes are often called “________ Exercise Week,” etc.
 
While the words drill and exercise are interchangeable, using the term exercise is an all-inclusive, mind-changer. Big mind, if you will. Small-minded experts would declare “FMA Dead Drills,” then turn around and introduce their own drills that were in theory and practice, essentially the same ’dead’ as what they were just ridiculing. This displays a mental and intellectual detachment. One dead drill mastermind had to publicly backtrack a bit in a film, admitting that all performance exercises were…“okay.” This had to shake up their minds with inclusive definitions.
 
Through the decades, the most publicly recognized stick fighters were-are the Dog Brothers started by Eric Knaus, Arlen Sanford, Burton Richardson, et al. I have been close with many of these guys and done some minimum safety gear stick sparring myself until age limits healing time. As bad-ass as that gets, in the actual classes? Skills are slowly, carefully, professionally developed in progressive drills that would-be, officially have-been, declared “DEAD” by knucklehead standards.

(Ray Medina on the left, me on the the right.)
 
Martial drills of all kinds are bits and pieces of a fight (or sports) that enhance individual moves and puts them in a “before and after” action puzzle piece, all with progressing levels of speed with inserts. The only 2 major things to worry about are:
 
  1. Is the core movement-mission subject important enough? and,
  2. Do not over-drill and become mere “drill-masters” unable to freestyle fight. (This is important)
ALL drills to some extents are a bit dead, even sparring is, as they are not a real fight in crime and war, but, it’s probably a good idea to ignore these few remaining, “dead drill” hypocrites. Apparently, a whole bunch, a new breed of tough guys, a new wave of FMA interest these last ten years or so, agrees.
 
________________________
 
Check out the many free, full hour training films on Hock’s Combatives Youtube channel. Click here.
 

RUNNING TO FIGHT. FIGHTING TO RUN

 
Standing – Upright Footwork Routine #14: The Footwork Run
Number 14 in my Force Necessary courses. Many people just run laps, which is fine. Fighters will do their road work with shadow boxing. Moving forward. Fighting. Smart. I have incorporated fighting footwork into the process along with some balance exercises and what I nickname “gyroscopic” exercises.
 
First, one has to define a lap. Whats is a lap? The classic, universal track has 4 laps covering a mile. Inside and outside many gyms, with space constraints, covering a mile usually takes many more laps than the classic 4 – maybe something like TWENTY laps may accrue a mile in some places.
 
I find this more multi-lap-to-a-mile handy because I change “themes” on each lap and easily remember to do so. I don’t think I have the time and the mojo to do my whole workout listed below, changing themes every classic quarter mile on the big boy track. If you did one of these chores as one full lap, and four laps make for a mile…it would be a long (and exhausting) many-mile day.
If you are on such a classic 4-lap-track, you might define in your mind quarters, halves and so forth for points to change your footwork. For the purposes of this explanation I will use the simple term lap – but such is flexible based on your location, your “track” and your health-endurance.
 
These are for inspiring, not confining. Note that every other lap is “regular” running (intermingled with shadow boxing and wind sprints).
  • Pre-Lap: You might stretch a bit? Warm-up speed. Up to you. 
  • Lap 1: Regular running with a warm up in mind.
  • Lap 2: Side-to-side pendulum-style footwork, facing out.
  • Lap 3: Regular running.
  • Lap 4: Side to side pendulum-style footwork, facing in.
  • Lap 5: Regular running.
  • Lap 6: Run backwards.
  • Lap 7: Regular running. Start incorporating segments of wind sprints.
  • Lap 8: Moving forward with “zig-zag” footwork, (Do you have painted lanes on your track? I usually use them to guide control my zig-zag forward stepping)
  • Lap 9: Regular running, with some wind sprints and now some shadow boxing.
  • Lap 10: Moving forward with zig-zag footwork, leap-step and turn in (with a hop) with each advancing step and shadow box a punch (one or two?) when facing inward. Very practical.
  • Lap 11: Run backwards with shadow boxing.
  • Lap 12: Regular running, with some wind sprints and shadow boxing.
  • Lap 13: Three lane leaps. Traverse-hop three lanes while still moving forward in a bigger zig-zag, right to left, left to right. You may turn (or hop) inward and punch again, (I’m not to sure how practical the turn and punch is after a THREE lane advance, but you can still do it. The two-lane, turn-in seems to be more practical in a fight.)
  • Lap 14: Regular running with wind sprints and shadow boxing.
  • Lap 15: Run heel-to-toe on one painted stripe to build agility and balance.
  • Lap 16: Experiment with some kicks while moving forward, even if you have to stop for a second to do it. See which ones work or don’t work on the mover.
  • Lap 17 and Beyoooond. Continue on and create variables for your laps or segments of your laps. Some people add hand weights. Whatever. Review your footwork drills and see you can do them on the move. Experiment. Customize. Improve. Swing sticks and knives on the way. Try a few steps drawing out pistols, or carting long guns. The world is your violent oyster. Just don’t get arrested running with weapons in your hands, bubba! You will freak out onlookers.
I usually do this indoors because I can’t count on the weather and as my mind wanders, the shorter laps help me remember to change. Plus, much of Texas is blistering hot for months and one should not let weather interfere with your plans to conquer the universe. On average I cover a meager 15 miles a month.
 
Running will always be smarter than walking. Walking will always be smarter than “couching.” Couching will always be better while watching television with a handy coffee mug full of Merlot.
 
 
 
 

My GREATEST THANKSGIVING STORY

 
I have been going to and teaching in Australia since the 1990s, a chain broken by Covid. Often twice a year. I have friends in many cities that hosted me coast to coast. I have a very special place in my heart for the people I know there and Australia in general. I knew that I had to get my then wife Jane down there to meet them and see Oz. She went with me several times for a month and one year, a two-month long trip. These trips were adventures in rental cars and sometimes we had to fly. Jane called much of it “Windshield Tourism“ because we had had drive from city to city, weekend to weekend. We “freestyled” saw…a…whole…lot.
 
One year we went in October and November and over a Thanksgiving. Being that far away from the USA, the American holidays don’t loom. On Thanksgiving Day, we stopped in a smaller town and stayed in a rather primitive, worker’s-style hotel that had a hot plate, a fridge and a microwave, all in the short hallway of the single room. With that were a few crappy, dishes and silverware.
We had enough time to walk about the downtown area and wandered into a grocery store where Jane got the idea that while we could not have a turkey, we could at least have chicken and some vegetables for Thanksgiving.
 
I said, “How can you make all that with a crusty old hot plate and that nasty old ancient microwave in the small hallway of our room?”
She knew how. She proceeded to buy the ingredients. We returned to the motel, and she started in with milk, eggs and flour she breaded chicken thighs and prepped the vegetables (by the way, the veggies in Australia are science-fiction-huge!) We bought some Australian wine, which y’all should try.
 
When it was all done, we had our Thanksgiving dinner in this little motel room. It was way more than delicious. It was amazing, as she was amazing. I declared then and there that this was my best Thanksgiving ever. It wasn’t turkey, but it didn’t have to be. We even had to eat in bed because there were no tables or a desk. But it was still so special, spontaneous and perfect. Years later, it was and still is my best Thanksgiving ever. A magic day in a magic time and place with a magic person.
 
I lost Jane last July from a sudden heart attack, after 30 unforgettable rich, adventurous, deep years. Are there enough adjectives? I’ll run out of them. I was ripped from reality. I am very close to her daughter Sherry, and we worried about the upcoming holidays of which Jane was always such a brilliant foundation. Sherry asked me was there anything special she could make for me, for our upcoming Thanksgiving. I am not a desert guy, and I just couldn’t think of anything at the moment. But a day later, I thought about this…the baked chicken memory. Of course! I told her. She looked at me funny at first, but then she remembered the story I have told probably way too many times. So, yes, at her house many are coming and there will be the usual turkey and sides, but she is also also making me breaded chicken thighs.
 
Thanksgiving Day will be a real tough one. Some say they all will be from now on, to some level, no matter what else happens. I could see that. And oh no, not just for me, but for so many who have lost others from age, health, crime and war.
 
Past, Present. Future. You know Zen is not a religion, it’s a philosophy. Zen wants you to concentrate and live in the moment as much as possible along with solving some riddles. And when folks say Grace before a meal, they are stopping time. Freezing it, slowing things down, and saying-appreciating the moment, the luck, the joy, the irony that we somehow have some damn food in front of us in this crazy world, along with…somehow…at holiday times like these, people we love, like and know around us.
 
We can stop the clock for just one precious moment. It might be those valuable moments that gets you through life. May you have many such valuable moments, like a simple makeshift meal in a cheap hotel, or a festive gathering, or maybe just days, hours, or minutes of “windshield tourism,” if even just a trip around your town.
 
And that’s my greatest Thanksgiving story. I suspect it will remain so for the…duration. And hey, do try some of that Australian wine, why don’t cha?
 
Thanks,
Hock