Tag Archives: hock hochheim

Knife Dueling?

Knife-to-knife dueling is a controversial subject. I have come to believe that knife dueling is way over emphasized and over-practiced in these so-called “reality” knife training courses. This is something I have long called – “the myth of the duel.” The “myth of the duel” is complex subject in the splitting and organizing of martial arts and survival training. (You don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
 
Too many knife practitioners, fooled or ignorantly thinking they are studying realistic, modern or military knife combatives, express themselves through too much knife versus knife dueling. A methodology that is a mythology.
 
If you should escape a prisoner of war camp with a sharpened butter knife, the people who hunt you down have machine guns and dogs. It is unlikely you will be in a Rathbone-Fairbanks duel. Though it has happened in peculiar military circumstances as I have recorded in my Knife Combatives book. It took extensive searching into auto-biographies, biographies and history books, here in the age of firearms, to collect military knife duel events. They are quite rare in the big picture of combat. There are a few more civilian-criminal events than military. The second murderer I caught in the act, in Texas, had killed a rival in a bloody. kitchen-knife duel!
 
We in modern times live in a hand, stick, knife and gun, mixed-weapon world and a stand-off duel of sorts is not common. Still we must practice a proportionate, appropriate amount of knife versus knife dueling because the uncommon event has and will occur. We always need many knife skills in combinations, slashing, stabbing, support strikes and kicks, footwork and many aspects of knife awareness.
 
For example, in the “who, what, where, when, how and why of life”, if you are standing with a knife in your hand, in front of another person with a knife? Why are you still there? If at all possible, an orderly retreat is in order. You better have a good reason to stay!
 
 
I think knife course instructors may knife spar at each and every one of their own classes and seminars for exercise as they wish, as long as they teach and grasp the Myth of the Duel concept. The legendary Dan Inosanto said once in a seminar I attended, “knife dueling is really about developing footwork.” Instructors have different reasons for pursuing the subject. History? Fun? Competition?
 
Reality knife dueling can occur! They have happened. But common instructors usually forget the stress quick draw, the usually complicated, overall situations, and the physical layout of indoor and outdoor grounds/flooring where duels occur. These are overlooked factors in reality dueling training.
 
Strange places? I worked a murder case once where a big-knife, Bowie versus K-Bar, duel occurred between the driver and passenger in the cab of a big lumber truck, traveling down a two-lane highway! Driving and dueling. The driver won!
 
When survival training we should work on the obvious things first, and not spend a lot of time on things less likely to occur. Once this doctrine has been proportioned, we can delve into the less likely, because, as I have said, these things happen too!
 
The same holds true for stick fighting. It is unlikely most people will be in a 28-inch stick fight, duel. Of course, if you do these things for fun, as a hobby? As a sport? Go for it! I am happy if you are happy. I just hope people know what they are doing, and why they are doing what they are doing in the big picture. (As I said earlier, you don’t learn how to play basketball to become a football player.)
 
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Less Than Lethal Knife Fighting

Less-Than-Lethal Knife Tactics

At times, missions, rules of engagement, the law, and use of force standards require the capture, containment and control, not the death of an enemy. This is once called by professionals as “non-lethal” measures, but military and law enforcement specialists recognize that the term “less-than-lethal” is a smarter, and a more comprehensive phrase than “non-lethal” – as various tactics and equipment designed not to kill and called non-lethal, might still actually kill despite the intent, design and name. This renders the term “non-lethal,” into an operational misnomer and confusing liability.
 

A comprehensive knife program also covers less-than lethal applications. This is important for the mission and legality. Your knife course must drop all the death cult, over-the-top, violent, macho imagery (unless you are a member of an elite military unit where such imagery is psychologically smart -which is NOT the majority of us). The knife is “just a tool,” as the old saying goes, but a tool with stigma. The following tactics are less-than-lethal and can be substituted for lethal movement.

We know that the knife strikes with:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-the tip
  • 3-the edge or edges
  • 4-flat of the blade
  • 5-the clenched hand-fist grip on the handle

Less than lethal applications of this are:

  • 1-the pommel (and or the ends of a closed folder)
  • 2-if single-edge, a dull edge for striking.
  • 3-flat of the blade.
  • 4-hand grip as a punch.

Less-Than-Lethal 1: Verbal Skills and the Art of Surrender

Your presence, your weapon presentation, your speech, your threats, your disarm, in the onset of a fight may cause the enemy to surrender. At times, getting in and getting the tip of your knife up against the enemy, along with a verbal threat, may coerce him to surrender.

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Less-Than-Lethal 2: The knife pommel strike

The pommel strikes, saber or reverse grips are other less-than-lethal strikes unless it cracks the skull. Or, your pommel has a “Klingon-spiked-end” which renders a whole range of pommel use, useless.

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Less-Than-Lethal 3: All support hand strikes and kicks

Striking and kicking the enemy are less-than-lethal moves.  The enemy has dropped his weapon and is theoretically an unarmed man and in many situations, both military and civilian cannot be killed.

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Less-Than-Lethal 4: The knife hand grip punches

The practitioner can turn his knife grip into a punch with the flat of his fist, forgoing the stab or slash, with a saber or reverse grip.

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Less-Than-Lethal 5: The closed folder

The practitioner may fail to open, or close his or her tactical folder and use the closed folder as a “palm stick,” impact weapon.”

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Less-Than-Lethal 5: Knife slashes on secondary targets

With a working knowledge of anatomy, a practitioner may slash various “secondary” targets like muscles and so forth that may cause an enemy to surrender or collapse, without a fatality.

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Less-Than-Lethal 6: The flat of the blade strikes a stunning blow and grappling

Many militaries teach the flat of the blade strike to the head of an enemy to stun and bewilder them, as a set-up for further action. When a less-than-lethal mission becomes mandatory this flat strike becomes an option for striking, as well as a considerable amount of pushing and pulling of grappling. 

In Summary… Of course the use of the knife is always stigmatized trouble. It is a nasty weapon, but every one who dares “study” the knife for the military, for enforcement or self defense, one who engages in a knife system, should be aware of its full potential, and that includes the “who, what, when, where, how and why” to minimize its damage.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

Get all of his Hock’s films and books here

The “Second (or Third) Round is Yours” Sports Theory

I really enjoy the numerous youtube videos of people being attacked and the victim unleashes a smart boxing combination and the badman drops like rock. The smart integration of boxing, kickboxing, Thai combinations are worthy studies in self defense combatives, not the whole systems remember, mind you, just what’s smart. Just what applies. (Untrained people – mostly everyone – respond differently than trained people, but we can’t go off on that whole topic here.)

“There is no second round in the street,” might be an old and corny expression for some, but some folks need to hear it once, or once in a while, to get them back on track for what they want, and what they are forced to do in classes and programs.

Attrition is defined as – “the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.” It’s a word used in military battles and war, and here in sport fighting “physical attrition” is a strategy.

In sports, it is indeed the coaches job to map out a strategy to your first or next fight, give you a game plan. You know that in amateur and pro fights, where a history and film exists on your next opponent, these histories are studied and strategies evolve. A properly prepped, fighter, MMA, BJJ, UFC or otherwise needs to walk in with a strategy, a plan. And in this process, the plan is made and you might hear from your coach, “Do this, then do this and this, and the fourth round is yours.” “You…make your move,” Kind of talk. Or ideas about tiring him out in among the battle plan. “First round? Check him out, probe. Probe with the jab. See how he reacts. Second round do ‘this or that’ with the discoveries from your probing. Third round is yours, as you will…”

Coaches say – tire him, move around, also deliver body shots too and kicks too in kickboxing, to weaken and confuse the opponent in round one and round two for the theoretical victory in Round 3.

In one example of body shots, there were numerous successful (and unsuccessful) boxers who spent rounds pounding the upper arms of their opponents so that eventually their guard, through multiple rounds, would eventually drop, their beaten arms down for their eventual, head shots, so that the… ” ______ (fill in the blank) round is yours.”

I think it would be odd for a coach to simply say, “knock him cold with a head shot in the first two seconds. That is all. Now go jog and hit that bag.” Fighters do indeed knock people out quickly, but aren’t they always handed an overall, planning, staging, strategy, etc.? Despite the delaying plans, bingo!

For many fighters, this plan is laid out in the first meeting for training for a specific fight. This fighter then and quite possibly gets this message buried in his head for months, “Third round is mine. Third Round is mine.” Even in the first round, he is fixated on the third round, deep in his head.

This type off delay-progression, advice was advice I had been given for decades by various boxing, kick boxing, and even Thai boxing coaches.

The transition of these delay ideas and advice can get blended over and into, for lack of a better term, “self-defense-street-fighting” courses. Training by short-sighted, self defense course trainers and coaches can, have and will get these borders confused. I was told these off-mission tips at times in several self defense courses that included boxing, kickboxing and Thai methods. For examples:

  • I was in a very, popular, modern, street-fighting system back in the 1980s, in a course considered a pioneer program back then, that emphasized, “the probing jab.” In fact, the association newsletter was called “The Probe.” The head guy would often take months of money from certain “monied” people and make them study the jab only…for four to six months. The…probe. Yes, jabs only for many months? Imagine that. Then you graduated to the cross punch – for who knows how long – $$$$? People did not stay with him for that long when he tried that approach. Yet, he did many other things too, effective things too, but some of his people got caught in this “jab scam.” Once again that odd mix of overdoing some boxing strategies in with some survival strategies.
  • The military police academy boxing coaches, assigned to create a fighting spirit with a boxing program, taught off-mission, sport boxing concepts and strategies that weren’t the smartest things for street survival. I am convinced these instructors did not understand what I am saying here. Despite the generic “toughness” mission, they were immersed in boxing, taught boxing only, with boxing strategies. Wrong place. Wrong time.
  • Martial arts can get easily confused, innocently blending sport strategies with self defense themes, and vice-versa as self defense courses can get sporty-artsy.

The “who, what, when, where, how and why” questions arises again.. Briefly, as these questions run deep…

  • Who am I, who is teaching and who am I really going to be fighting?
  • What do I need to learn? What are they teaching here? What do I really want? What are my real goals? What are they turning me into? What am I wearing? What happens when I am not fighting a mirror-image of myself and regular thug?
  • When will I use this? When is this legal?
  • Where am I going with this course? Where will I use this training?
  • How will it work?
  • Why I am doing this in the first place? Why are they telling me and making me do these things?

I called these off-mission, missteps – “sport cancers” to be on the lookout for in all transitions from sports to the non-sports world. This is actually quite hard to dissect, especially buried within small steps. Even after 40 years I STILL spot things that I, or we, should not be doing. Enlightened coaches look for these, but I must tell you I don’t find many such enlightened coaches. Many are so immersed in what they do systemically, via their mindset, via hero or system worship or franchise dues, they will not or can’t detect the discrepancies and will not or cannot rebel against them.

“There was no second or third round in the street fight,”…to use a corny phrase. These street fights/arrests I was in and ones I had to break up and later investigate had little time for the experimental probing jabs, trick footwork or secondary blows to wear an opponent down through time, and other “second-third-or-more round,” ring sport, strategies.”

Upon self-examination, be happy with what you do and know why and what you are doing. I want you to be happy in your pursuits.

Physical attrition. We don’t have time for physical attrition. I hate to use the over simplistic term “street fight” because real encounters occur inside and outside of homes and businesses in rural, suburban and urban locations. But these so-called “street fights” were almost always hard, fast, crazy and over quickly. You were bum-rushed, or wild-man-tackled and, or sucker-punched, hit with chairs and lamps, etc…I was attacked once by a man with a big ax. No time for several probing, experimental sport jabs versus the swinging ax man.

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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The Dead Grenade That Wasn’t Dead

(In my true police/detective books, I wrote an essay called, “Most Dead Ever,” a compilation of the calls and cases I went on where the tally was high to horrific. Here is one…)

1970s. North of our Army base in the U.S. was an enormous artillery range. Troops were constantly blowing up all kinds of big and small ordnance. For those not familiar, “ordnance” is defined as:

“All munitions containing explosives, nuclear fission or fusion materials, and biological and chemical agents. This includes bombs and warheads; guided and ballistic missiles; artillery,
mortar, rocket, and small arms ammunition; all mines, torpedoes, and depth charges; demolition charges; pyrotechnics; clusters and dispensers; cartridge and propellant actuated devices; electro/explosive devices; clandestine and improvised explosive devices; and all similar correlated items or components explosive in nature.”

A Dud defined: A dud is all of the above that didn’t go boom.
Now, enter the ordnance, the grenade. And enter then, the dud hand grenade story. Officially also – “DUD-a thrown grenade that failed to detonate after the expected fuze time has elapsed.”

As I said, artillery troops were always out on the northern ranges, blowing all kinds of stuff up. And a small percentage are duds. As the later investigations discloses – One fine morning, out on a said field, a young private stumbled upon what appeared to be a very old hand grenade. He closed in on it and looked it over. No pin. No lever. Hmmmm. A dud, he presumes. What fun!

He threw some rocks at it. His buddies giggling nearby. Nothing. Deadness. He hit it with a stick. Then he kicked it and jumped back. It bounced across the rocky, dry terrain. He picked it up, tossed it up and down a few times and then stuck it in his jacket pocket. What a coup. What a toy.! A dud grenade!

The unit took a long, one-hour bouncy ride in the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck. The private pulled the grenade from his pocket and declared to those around him, “Look what I found!”

The others leaned away, aghast. But it became clear by his manipulations and juggling, it had to be a dud.

Once at their multi-story barracks building, they bailed out of the trucks, unloaded and hit the showers. The private went to his multi-person quarters and tossed the grenade on his bunk. He combed his wet hair, got in casual clothes – civvies – picked up his dud grenade and walked to the day room (TV, pool tables, a rec room, etc.) for some fun and games with his new toy.

He got to the day room door and peeked in. He saw many of his friends day-rooming about in there. Some were with him on the training day, and some not.

“GRENADE!” he yelled. He tossed the dud grenade into the middle of the room, then he ducked back into the hall, just for effect. Big joke.

The so called dud hit the floor and exploded. It blew with all its originally designed and planned intent. BAM! In the middle of the day room.

Our private and other nearby troops in the hall and other rooms ran to the door. The room was a bloody mess. Shreds of the room still floating in the air, they said. One or two seemed dead. Others wounded. Dying. Splinters everywhere. Lots of blood and guts and whines, yells and screams. The first instinct of bystanders was to call for an ambulance. Someone did, and the hospital called the police.

I was one of the units dispatched. I was assigned that day to the patrol district next to this one, or maybe as a rover? I just can’t remember.  When I arrived, I was not the first. The district police car and the patrol sergeant’s car were there and several ambulances. At the moment, I was not clear exactly what had happened, nor was our police dispatcher clear either. We only knew that some kind of a “bomb” went off on the third floor.

 

A sample photo of the actual building, another day.

 

 

Hearing of a possible “bomb,” as I parked, I looked up to survey the building. I didn’t know what to expect. Was the huge barracks building bombed? By whom? By what? I saw broken glass in some third story windows and curtains flapping in and out with the wind.

Soldiers were standing outside, looking up too. As I got close to the main doors, someone told me a grenade touched off up there. I entered the building, climbed the stairs to the third floor, and saw the commotion in the hallway.

When I stepped in the room, it looked like some 8 or 10 guys were pretty hurt. Another two or three were slightly hurt. Some laid dead still, mashed and abandoned. The room looked like, well, like a small bomb went off in it! I wandered around and tried to help out where I could, but the paramedics had done their triage assessment and were hard at work. Plus, some of the unit cadre were Nam vets and were already pitching in with the EMTs.

I walked out of the room and asked some Sergeants in the hall what had happened. They pointed to the kid who threw the “dud” in. I spoke with him. Our patrol sergeant walked up and listened to us talk it out. The kid was practically crying and in real shock. The district MP (military police) came over to us.

The Sarge pulled us aside and told the district MP to arrest the kid.
“For what Sarge?” the district MP asked. “What charge?”
“I don’t know. For something. Charge him with something,” he said. “We have to arrest him for this. Manslaughter. Something. Negligent something.”

Then the Sarge’s portable radio announced that, “CID was in route.”
“Ten-four,” he said into the radio, and told us, “Good. Okay. We’ll let CID decide what to do with him.”

We stuck around until two CID investigators (our FBI, more or less) arrived. We filled them in and pointed out the kid. They looked around and marched the kid off to one of the nearby offices. And we were ready to leave. As the Lone Ranger would say, “Tonto, our work here is done.” A few hours later I had to go and give blood at the hospital. Three or four troops died, best I can recall.

I have thrown a few grenades. I have even qualified as expert on the old Army, grenade throwing range. I got the targeting knack quickly. It was like throwing a football only heavier, so I aimed higher than the target to offset the weight, be it a window or whatever set up we were supposed to blow up.  I always joke about how cavalier vets and movie actors are about these small bombs hanging off their uniforms, in comparison to the very first ones they hand you and you baby them like they are nitroglycerin. 

But they are certainly no joke. Very generically speaking, the grenade kill zone is 5 meters or 16 feet. The injury range is 15 meters pr 50 feet. Shrapnel can go even further. A hand grenade, especially an older one, ’70s and pre-’70s had a varying reputation back then. Some called them as devastating and some didn’t. There are lots of fascinating, jaw-dropping stories. They weren’t all always perfect like the distances  above. I guess it was situational.

But that “dud” took a toll on the day room and the unit that late afternoon, and also took a toll on my memory. 

 

 

“If you did not drop it? Don’t pick it up!”

 

 

More on this…

Military warns – Leave unexploded ammunition and war trophies alone!

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Participation vs. Observation in Seminars

 

Now more than ever I see in seminars (and some classes) this odd idea to make participants stand around and watch just two of the attendees fight in the drill. Then the next two. Then the next two. If you have 10, 15, 18 or more people that is a lot of stand around time, watching.

I was recently at a gun range where a terrific expert was running a class of about 22 on a topic. But when it came time to shoot, each shooter stepped up and…shot alone. One at a time. That means  21 students stood and watched as each person shot.  Many other lanes were open. This is a magnificent waste of time. Your time.

This is not at all just with shooting courses. In the last ten or so years I have seen this new stagnant version, this “observational emphasis” in combatives classes. I am not talking about the demo part where attendees see an instructor’s demonstration-lecture. That is expected. But when its time to “do it” many “new” instructors have two people step up and “fight.” And everyone else just stands around…and spectates.  And spectates. They are paying to…spectate!

I have been doing seminars worldwide for 25 years now and classes years before that, so you might listen to me on this point. I ask you, what is the seminar ratio of observing versus participating in your seminars (or classes)? Or the seminar and classes you pay good money to attend?

My point is not just about guns, but as an example, let’s say you are off to the gun range for a shooting seminar. Two, seven hour days. Twenty “gun” people signed up. When you get there, you discover that, after lecture times, only one or two people can shoot at a time. Yet, there are numerous, other, open shooting lanes available. Still, the other 18 people must stand and watch the 2 people shoot? And wait their turn? Is this the best use of your 14 hours (and money)  You will spend 12 hours observing, and maybe 2 hours shooting, participating.  I would say that this format at the gun range is counter-productive and makes for unhappy customers, or should if they have any sense. 

I understand that sometimes you might be forced into this, into “waiting for a turn.” Such as a session with shooting around cars. You might only have one car out at the range and have to rotate people through the access. And, there are occasional, firearm safety issues with various topics. Common sense things that shooters understand, like taking turns working through a shoot house. Or take a bunch of “NFGs” (New F___ Guys)  in an intro machine gun class. You can’t turn them all loose! They need hands-on oversight.  And anyway, NFGs are often amazed and entertained just watching people shoot fully auto. I am not talking about these limited resource situations.)

I have been in these limited resource situations numerous times especially with sims ammo courses and I apologize and regret over their lack of group participation and too much stand-around, in “observation-only.” I hate to see paying customers congregate and wait. However…but…being forced into this by circumstances and apologizing, is different than ignoring them or not  allowing/planning for them.

That’s with guns.  Why should “stand-around” time, work within some fighting, martial seminars? When you attend a hand, stick, knife, self defense, MMA, BJJ, ballet, baseball, whatever topic, do you find yourself stuck in the teacher’s format where you are standing around, watching half, three-quarters or most of the training time? Do you mindlessly accept this idleness? Have you even thought about how much of your hands-on experience time is being wasted?

This unhealthy, “observational movement” in martial seminars that I find to be off-mission, distasteful and wasteful – this observe, “stand around and watch.” Maybe 1 group of 2, or 2 groups of 2, participate with each other and do the exercise. The rest, just…stand around, with their thumbs up their internal exits. Why aren’t all 20 people doing the drill in groups of two? Over and over again. Reps.

Think about this from the lazy and/or small curriculum, instructor’s viewpoint. This is a fantastic stall. Look at the seminar time it takes to observe 5 to 10 or more groups of two, one at a time, as they go through the drill. Everyone else watches. Does this pass the time? 20, 30, 40 minutes? An hour? Maybe the instructor pontificates a bit too. When instructors have only a little material in their repertoires, this kills a whole lot of teaching time. And it kills off the student’s participation/repetition time too. The clock keeps ticking. 

There is always a warm-up concern too. Martial classes need a little warm up, stretching, etc. for a host of reasons, lest of all worrying about injuries. In an observational-emphasis format, the watchers cool down while watching-watching-watching and that could be for a considerable time, then they are suddenly picked to go into action. Some of these modern instructors think they are teaching the oh-so-real-deal, fighting too, (but often forgo realistic striking and kicking so they wind up, full-out wrestling). This cold-to-hot burst could cause injury. 

These observe-emphasis instructors have some handy excuses for this observational-emphasis. They will claim that:

  • “It teaches people to be better witnesses to crimes.”  THAT, is a real stretch. S..T..R..E..T..C..H  excuse.
  • “Well, it adds stress to be watched, and this stress is good.” At what point in a training progression is stress really good? When you are first figuring-learning out how to do something? No, not really. And having 95% of the attendees standing around, 95% of the time is a big WASTE of THEIR time and money in comparison to physically doing it themselves.
  • “Time spent watching is learning too. “Watching something is learning,” they will say. Somewhat. Hey, I’ve watched about 40,000 hours of pro-football in my life, but no one has asked me to play, or coach, or even advise an NFL team. Watching is one, very, very limited thing. Doing something is superior, having done something is superior, actually having done something for real is even better, especially when the subject matter is physical. (Speaking of football, all the football, film footage, play breakdowns on sports shows are always explained by veteran, retired football players. When watching Monday’s game films, we hear from coaches vets and their experience. their wizened advice is worth something.) Watching/observing is very limited learning in the physicality world.

“Counters” to standing around. Having a good facility and some extra instructors is a great plan. For one example, years ago in Las Vegas, Steve Krystek of Progressive Force Concepts and I concocted a great, simulated ammo gun, set-up. We had several rooms at the University of Las Vegas. We wanted to run a car-jacking scenario outside and a restaurant, robbery scenario inside. We would be running ONE PERSON at a time through each! But what to with the some 24 people/students not participating in the scenarios? Plus, we also wanted to surprise each practitioner with the scenario topics by just walking them into concealed locations. So, we ran an interactive, safe ammo, pistol class in one big room with the 20 some folks with an instructor, and pulled two people out of that room, one at a time, to go through the car and then robbery scenarios. When done, we swore them to secrecy and shoved them back in the big room with the 20, to work out some more with the large class, and picked two new people.

Recently in Karl Rehn’s, KR Training in Texas we were challenged with running a weekend seminar of “shooting in, out and around cars.” Karl invented some ingenious methods and car-like inventions to keep separate, small groups busy for the live-fire portions. Small groups at several stations means much less stand-around time. Then with very safe ammo, we had all the cars in play in two-person drills for everyone. No stand around time! No…idle thumbs up those external exits. Make the observe/participate ratios the best they can be. 

In any seminar, I watch – as the teacher, I try and watch everyone as they work out.

“I show. You do. I watch. I correct when needed.”

That’s the relationship. I correct if possible. Watching…as the teacher-watching is important. I try and watch everyone as they work out.  If the problem exists with several groups? I stop and make a point to mention it to everyone. That’s my job. Their job is to work out and experiment as much as possible in the confines of the material, raining time and location. I do not make everybody watch everybody else one at a time as a matter of time-wasting doctrine. This is a magnificent waste of time.

Numerous professional doctrines rail against the observation-emphasis. Alain Cain, old friend and Force Necessary Black Belt, retired British military war vet reported, “they had a lovely acronym in the British Army when I did my NCO course. ‘EDIP.’ It stood for explanation, demonstration, imitation, practice. The key point being as a military instructor, that at very least 50% of the lesson time had to be devoted to practice.”  50%…at very least.

What is the seminar ratio of observing/participating in your seminars? Or the ones you attend? I suggest you shave it to a minimum with inventiveness and ingenuity. Or shave off the instructors who do it mindlessly or on purpose.

Let’s keep these thumbs out of exits and keep everyone as busy as possible.

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Knife Fight and The Jailhouse Superbowl Ring

Funny thing, I was watching the DVDs of the first season of FX’s TV show, Justified and in one episode there was a side character who was a retired football player and Superbowl champ in the plot. There were some photo shots and discussion about his Superbowl ring. Made me think of the story I wrote and published many, many years before the TV show, of a similar situation that happened to me with a Superbowl champ. Funny how these coincidences occur huh? Funny how they wind up in a TV show later. Anyway, here again is the story.


Our city 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 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 did meet the black guy. In fact, he kind of saved my ass one Saturday morning…in a knife fight.

Saturday morning, 1970s. Patrol.
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 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.

The peacemakers and a few gathering onlookers did bail back about 15 feet when those knives came out. Some did! Some onlookers got involved and grabbed my arms. I think, as if, to stop me from shooting their friends? They kept 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, because I couldn’t get a handle on the situation. 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 drunks! Slashing and stabbing at each other in uncoordinated, wild lunges and swings. Wild enough for one fool to almost fall over.

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, 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.

Don’t let your imagination run wild about this, as if it was a cool, fight scene in a movie or something. These guys were staggering, stinking, drugged jerks. Yeah, yeah, dangerous and all, sure, as the textbooks would remind us, but a lot more low-key than it reads here. 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 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. Armchair, Sunday-morning quarterbacks would say that I should have waited in the squad car until backup arrived. But how do you do that? Imagine sitting in a police car like a timid, church mouse while men fought with knives for several minutes just a few yards away? Waiting for backup? Impossible. What if one killed the other while the police watched safely in their locked car? No way. No way. No way.

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 said.

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 through the years.

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@forcenecessary.com

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Innovating and Re-Inventing the Basics

Are you an martial innovator, or a martial replicator? After a thought provoking discussion on Facebook, starting with this photo…

…the comments came up that the basics (of fighting arts, or perhaps anything). Are so basic, that how could one possibly innovate the basic-basics. After all, they’re so darn basic!

On the basics, I replied – I am constantly impressed, year after year, how college and pro football trainers invent, and re-invent better ways to enhance the basics of football, the basics of positional football. Open-minded trainers, always looking, always thinking. That’s an open eye to innovation… of the basics.

Can…should the basics be innovated? Yes. But, you first have to find your end goals. Your Mission.

  • Why in the world are you doing what you are doing?
  • Is it just for exercise? There might be better exercises?
  • Survival? There might be better ways?
  • Is it just a hobby-love? Like: “I am addicted to wrestling.” “I just live double sticks.” “I just love shooting paper targets.” “I just want to thoughtlessly do whatever Master Quan wants to do. He is my hero!”

Then…your happiness is achieved! I get it.

Once true mission/goals are established, then the future training  can be kicked around, and one thing is to examine the whole approach to those “basics,” the collection of “basics.” The martial arts for example are loaded down with unneeded “basics.” Even when you want to become THAT specific martial artist, you are still, often dragged, mired down into doing unnecessary basics. They should all be examined and after a while, re-examined. It so important to be free of dogma…unless you like dogma?  It’s my old “who, what,  where, when, how and why question game again.

  • Who gets to make the basics? Who made them your basics? What really are your basics?
  • Who suffers, or needs or flourishes doing these basics?
  • What is the real mission, the real goal to establish what is basic
  • What better, smarter ways are there to teach the basics?
  • What can best motivate people to keep doing the basics?
  • Where will these basics actually be needed?
  • Again…who gets to make the basics?

For example, one dissection of “why do you do this?” A friend of mind was proudly showing a martial arts, ground movement, kata on youtube. Eight guys and gals, all dressed the same, flipping and rolling and stopping a second in a position. It was an elaborate show.  He was proud of them. They were proud of themselves. I watched the routine a few times and could see that really,  the “stops” were about 7 stretches with dancey’ moves between each one. The dancey’ moves did not conceal the point to me that they were actually stretching and in actuality, the kata itself was about stretching. For a guy like me? I would much rather do the 7 stretches. No dance. One could probably do each stretch longer and deeper, if they just did stretching alone.  But, I understand my goal. My mission.  Some people like to…dance around. (There are professional dancers!) And some people derive pleasure from it, memorizing it, and performing. Not me, but some do. That’s why I always ask people, to ask themselves, why they do what they do.  If their happy, I’m happy. Just be on-mission, on-goal. And know…

But, if the basics are so basic? Can you innovate the basics?

  • Is there another way, another drill to enhance a basic?
  • What do individual people, not groups need to advance?
  • What do groups need, not individuals, need to advance?
  • Can you innovate, customize the education format?
  • Can you reduce the abstract?
  • Can you innovate the inspiration?
  • Can you recognize that, what is basic for some is advanced for others.
  • Can you recognize that, what is advanced for some, is basic for others. 
  • I mean, shouldn’t we always be asking, “Is there a better way?” About everything?

 I often see many instructors spend 30 (or more) minutes explaining some painfully, simple movement. Some people love all that. Some don’t.  But we don’t need to hear about the DNA of the Missing Link through current mankind to show how to punch someone in the nose. Unless you are a virgin geneticist? 

Vetted, core, basic things. Oh, like wind sprints. You might say, “How can you innovate a wind sprint? But wait, wait! Innovating coaches and trainers have developed numerous ways to improve your basic sprinting, and they have with all kinds of core basics.

You can’t always innovate. everything, but you can always think and worry about innovation. 

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Cornfield Combatives – How Urban Is Your Combatives Cotton Patch?

     I live in the outer reaches of the ever-expanding Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in north Texas. This geographic term “DFW” just continues to grow and grow, but up north here we are still surrounded by farmland and ranches. Around here, it looks like an occasional housing addition, then a ranch, then a strip center, then more farmland and ranches. That breakup is what I like about the area.  It’s still very much country and wide-open spaces. I am a good judge of what is rural, suburban and urban because I grew up in the thick, dense New York City area. Basically, I know city and I know country, and today’s cavalier, tossed around term “urban,” confuses me. So…what is urban combatives?

     So, there’s a new, small strip center in the cornfield near me. The first entry in this isolated small building was a place called Urban Nutrition. Brick wall, graffiti, art sign. That ubiquitous claw ripping through the brick art, too. Urban Nutrition is a big city name suggesting, well, what exactly?  Real, inner city … ahhh…inner city eating? Inner city, muscle growth? Inner city…vitamins? What exactly does it mean, Mister Franchise Owner? Who is it supposed to attract? Because, last I read, and for some years now, urban areas were having trouble getting available fresh food and good nutrition. Food deserts! So…copying urban nutrition plan is not much of a goal.

     A photo of this store as we see it, with cows walking around it, in open fields, would capture the very dichotomy of that name in that place. “Wazzup, Farmer Jones? Howdy, neighbor! Learn how them inner city boys get real big and muscular?” (Wouldn’t you rather be a big strapping country boy? Eat fresh country food?)”

     Sure, sure, sure, in the next 20 years a few things will pop up all around the nutrition store, but I will never say that it will look remotely urban, like Watts or Harlem, or any urban city around here. It will look suburban at best. The name sends an odd, off-mission message. It’s just odd to have an Urban Nutrition store in the middle of a rural cornfield.

     Urban. Suburban. Rural. The U.S. Bureau of the Census defines urban as a community with a population of 50,000 people or more. To me, I think people attach an inner-city feel, mood, culture and look to the word “urban.” The dictionary says that – “Rural areas are referred to as open and spread out country where there is a small population. Rural areas are typically found in areas where the population is rather self-sustaining . Suburban areas are references to areas where there are residences adjacent to urban areas. There is a marked difference between the three. We all know this.

    I see a lot of urban stuff these days and, of course, even the rather ubiquitous urban combatives name dropped here and there in system names and school system descriptions. I wonder why? I find this title curious, too. Urban Combatives. A sales pitch might be …

 “… all these techniques have been tested … in, you know … urban … ahhh … areas.”

“Wazzup, suburb boyz? Country boyz! Fight like inner-city, urban boyz! Word!”

“Fight like Boyz in the Hood.”

“No crime, no fights happen in the suburbs or out in the country, you stupid rednecks, just so you hicks know, down in the projects is where you really learn how to fight.”

 “Are your punches and kicks all kinda’ … urbanized? Run through that special, ‘urban” filter’ of urbanized special fighting that only urban thugs can do.

     Seems to me urban people have no monopoly in fighting well. Have you investigated the UFC champs for example? You know Matt Hughes is a farm boy from southern Illinois. Brock Lesnar is from Webster, South Dakota. Randy Couture is from Cornellous, Oregon. I could go on and on with this country-boy list. Not exactly an inner-city or urban majority. I’d put money on Randy in a Harlem alley fight, wouldn’t you? WORD! And they say words count, so who are you training to fight where?

     We’ve defined the geography, now for the terminology. We know what “Urban Combat” is for the military today – fighting with firearms inside cities, as opposed to say … jungle warfare or the “forest combat.”

     So, what does “urban combatives” really mean to citizens? Actually, crime and/or fights will occur anywhere. Rural, suburban, or urban. Some of the worst crimes and baddest fights have occurred behind the barn in Idaho or in an alleyway in Branson, MO. Alleyways are everywhere, even in Mayberry. Per capita, a whole bunch of violent crime happens outside the so-called “urban” inner cities.

     Let’s talk martial business. Yes, fights, crime and war occur in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Indoors and outdoors. A comprehensive fighting program, appealing to the most customers, must include all these turfs. Generics at first, specifics later as the “who, what, where, when how and why” are developed and explored. Picking one name like “urban” is actually quite limiting as far as a smart business plan goes, unless you are in a specific urban zone, teaching specific urban people, to solve specific urban problems. Just like the military jungle fighting school teaches jungle fighters to fight in the jungle.

     Just let yourself think about this for 30 seconds. The marketing name of something, or advertising catch phrases, counts both overtly and covertly as in subliminal or obvious. Subliminal advertising is a major influence in the success of business. (Hey, businesses can be tricky and tough to name. I empathize.)

Flip it abound and look at it this way:

  • Will “Georgia Barnyard Combatives” work in Manchester or Prague?
  • Will “Harvey’s Suburban Combatives” work in Camden, New Jersey?
  • Will “Jimmy Bob’s Hearth of the Homeland Combatives” work in Detroit?
  • Will we ever see “Outer City Limits Combatives?”
  • Is there even a “Rural Combatives?”
  • Is there even a “Suburban Combatives?
  • I have seen the expression, “wrong side of the tracks,” used in advertising, for rough-tough, rural background creds.

Funny thing is, many rural and suburban people that don’t otherwise like the “big city,”  don’t like the laws, politics  and restrictions, some still embrace the term “urban” this or that,  despite where they are and what they need. I guess “urban” sounds just way, way cooler to someone who doesn’t think about it past 30 seconds?

“Urban.” It’s a big city word, but also a very small one in oh so many ways. It’s not cool to me. Not at all.  

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Hock’s email is HockHochheim@FoceNecessary.com

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Preemptive Strikes and Weapon Brandishing

Preemptive Strikes and Weapon Brandishing,
or “Officer, The Guy in the Red Hat Started It.”

Preemptive strikes and brandishing. How are these two subjects connected? In an unarmed preemptive strike, you are detecting an impending attack upon yourself. You are making an educated or uneducated guess, smart or not smart, and you slug the other guy first before he slugs you. With brandishing a weapon, you are detecting an impending attack upon yourself, and with an educated guess or not, smart or not, you somehow display your carried weapon with just a peek or a flash of a jacket or vest, or…do a full pull out of a pistol, knife or stick.

In my Stop 1 Showdown-Standoff training module, and in the Level 1 of the hand, stick, knife and gun courses I teach, we cover sudden, unarmed attacks, and a whole lot of weapon draws. Stop 2 through Stop 6 and Levels 2 through 9 cover the mixed weapon, standing though ground, follow-ups. But…so, in the auspices of the Stop 1 boundaries, and in the Levels 1, it is imperative to discuss these two violence initiating subjects. Who does the physical initiation?

Unarmed Preemptive Strikes
The topic of preemptive striking and kicking a pending attacker has always been suggested in martial systems. So many folks think this is the best idea. But there are a few drawbacks. Just a few. “Red hat” drawbacks, I’ll call them. In recent years there have been a lot of YouTube videos of superstar, fad martial artists beating the snot out of a training partner who is just standing still, hands hanging down, before them. Presumably there has been an argument to kick this off? The two are close and our hero springs forward, slaps, pokes, shin kicks and smacks the other guy down in a pile, in one second. The surrounding crowd is thrilled with his amazing skill. So amazed, I hear that he charges some $800 for a two day seminar.
Where’s the “red hat” come in? It just helps define whose-who and whats-what. If the superstar is wearing a red hat, witnesses will report to the police,

“Officer, those two guys were just talking, and the guy with the
red hat hit the other. He started it.”

Handcuffing ensues. Of you. I am not saying that preemptive strikes are a bad thing, they might be wonderful at times. It just can be tricky in the big picture (especially with witnesses around.)

Weapon Brandishing
In simple terms, is just pulling a stick, a knife or a gun always sheer brandishing? When is it? When is it not? Like with an unarmed preemptive strike, what is the pre-draw situation? Federal law defines brandished as:

“…with reference to a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) means that all or part of the weapon was displayed, or the presence of the weapon was otherwise made known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the weapon was directly visible to that person. Accordingly, although the dangerous weapon does not have to be directly visible, the weapon must be present.” (18 USCS Appx § 1B1.1)”

In Canada, a weapon is referred to in legalese as an “object.”  So, one must do a dog-and-pony show on what “object” was used in the situation. Pencil? Screw diver? Tooth pick? Potato chip? Thumb? (Thumb? Actually, few, if any – there’s always one wacky place – regard unarmed tactics as a “weapon,” and the myth of karate-people required to register their hands as lethal weapons is just that – a myth.)

The US Carry webpage says, Brandishing a weapon can be called a lot of different things in different states.
– “Improper Exhibition of a Weapon.”
– “Defensive Display.”
– “Unlawful Display.”

Retired special operations Ben Findly advises, “…‘brandishing’ or ‘improper exhibition’ or ‘defensive display’ or ‘unlawful display’ (or whatever your state and jurisdiction calls it) depends specifically on your state and jurisdiction. Very generally, however, for an operating definition “brandishing” means to display, show, wave, or exhibit the firearm in a manner which another person might find threatening. You can see how widely and differently this can be subjectively interpreted by different “reasonable” individuals and entities. The crime can actually be committed in some states by not even pointing a firearm at someone. In some states it’s a misdemeanor crime and in others a Felony. So, focus, think rationally, know your state’s law, and be careful out there.”

In other words, say you are the one wearing the red hat again. Things go bad and you try to scare off trouble. You pull your jacket back to show a weapon. Or, you pull a weapon to scare off this problem person, what will the witness say?

“Officer, they were just arguing and the man in the red hat pulled out a big ___!”

Fill in the blank. Knife? stick? Pistola?  Handcuffs ensue.

A quick review of several state, weapon brandishing laws include  words as legal terms like:
– rude, (was the gun-toter obnoxious and rude?)
– careless  (was the knife-toter waving it around?)
– angry, (was the stick-toter yelling and red-faced?)
– threatening manner…

…threatening manner? What? For many the whole point of aiming a stick, knife and gun at a brewing bag guy is to be threatening! What then is the line between a smart preemptive strike, a smart weapon show or pull and a crime? How can we make it all become justified self defense?  As a cop of three decades, I am alive today because I pulled my gun out a number of times, just before I REALLY needed it. This idea can work.

The remarkable researcher and police vet Massod Ayoob says, “When an unidentifiable citizen clears leather without obvious reason, folks start screaming and calling 9-1-1, and words like “brandishing” start being uttered. Thus, circumstances often constrain the law-abiding armed citizen from drawing until the danger is more apparent, which usually means the danger is greater. Therefore, often having to wait longer to reach for the gun, the armed citizen may actually need quick-draw skills more than the law enforcement officer.

A. Nathan Zeliff, a California attorney reports, “Brandishing – drawing your firearm pursuant to a lawful act of self defense should not be considered “brandishing”. However, if it is determined that you drew your firearm and the facts and circumstances show that you drew or exhibited the firearm in a threatening manner, and that such was not in self defense or in defense of another, then you may face charges of brandishing.”

I am not to sure this brandishing topic comes up all that much? Or not enough. So, here’s some collective words of wisdom on the subject. A collection of advice looks like this:

  • 1: Prepare for problems by using the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why  questions.
  • 2: Avoid possible dangerous arguments and confrontations when possible. Conduct yourself with smart, self control. Leave if you morally, ethically can.
  • 3: Obtain a valid, concealed carry license for all your weapons.
  • 4: Keep your weapon concealed. Do not open carry it.
  • 5. Do not display a stick/baton, knife or pistol, or threaten deadly force unless you, or others are threatened with imminent death or serious, bodily harm .
  • 6: Do not in any way reveal your stick/baton, knife or gun, point to it, indicate that you have a them.
  • 7: Attend a fundamentals of fighting with and without weapons training and learn the use of deadly force laws in your city, county, state and country.

Witnesses and “pointed-at, victims” can be stupid, bias and vindictive. They have cell phones and big mouths. And, don’t get caught wearing the red hat!

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Hock’s email is hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com

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Protecting the Belt: Impact Weapon Retention

It has always mystified me that Filipino stick people virtually never consider from whence their stick comes from. I don’t mean the rattan farm. I mean from their body’s carry site. Like knives, the stick is just…in their hand. Poof! Magic. How did it get there, in hand, to do all their dastardly moves. Usually, it’s a belt.

I started in Ed Parker Kenpo in late 1972 and we never touched a stick. “I come to you with empty hands…” was the motto we memorized. No sticks. No stick carry site. But once in the Army Military Police Academy, I was taught the L.A.P.D. and L.A. County police baton course. It matched the NYPD version and was extensive with a ton of stick grappling back then. Now, all police stick courses are worthless, paranoid, watered-down junk, or gone.

We started the police course back then with…pulling out your stick! From your belt! So I had this grounding in stick, stress, quick draws since 1973. As with a pistol, you had to pull the damn thing out before you got to use it. It also included stick retention, because bad guys either wanted your stick or wanted to stop you from drawing your stick. Pretty important stuff.

For an example of such stress draw  importance, in the 70s, I was dispatched once to two Army units brawling (on a gravel picnic ground). At least 20, 25 guys. I was punched off my feet by a soldier who did a 70s version of the “Superman Punch.” He and others landed on top of me and Superman was beating my face. I then…then…had to draw my baton from my belt. A…stress quick draw. (Did I mention the rock-gravel ground?) It is not always the stand-off, gentleman’s duel where you pull your weapon and declare, “En Garde!” Should you spend your life with a stick magically appearing in your hand? Like a pistol.  Or a knife,

The same baton course was taught in the Texas police academy I later attended in late 1970s. I started doing Filipino Martial Arts in 1986. The various systems have HEAVY doses in stick versus stick. Which, being respectful, curious and thirsty, I followed the progressions. But in the back of mind I thought two main things.

  • From whence do these sticks come from on their bodies?
  • And do I really think I will be fighting another guy, with the exact same-sized stick?   

I mean, as a cop, I have responded to a few fights with various impact weapons. Two dunk guys fighting with softball bats at a tournament. Two business partners fighting, one with a tire iron, the other with a  crowbar. Stuff like that. It can happen, sure, but not much in civilized countries.  In uncivilized countries, there is also a lot of mixed weapon fights.

I did the entire FMA courses to black belts and instructorships. I survived , committing to the idea that I was studying…an art. A hobby. With only abstract benefits. This is true of almost all martial stuff I attended. A naivety of thoughtlessly exists as you fight the other guy, a mirror image of yourself, dressed the same, same sized weapons, with the same book of techniques.  Something I like to call, the Myth of the Duel. I have arrested a lot of people, and investigated a whole of cases since the 70s and real life doesn’t play out that same-same way.

But this lack of a belt and a draw concerned me as a doctrine problem. For a 4th degree black belt in Kempo in the 90s, we had to pick a traditional weapon for demonstration and scenarios. I fortunately picked the katana. I learned that Japanese martial arts concerning the Katana carry has belt-line, long-weapon retention methods I still find useful and show with modern, impact weapons.  Drawing of the katana from the belt is a big deal in Japan. 

While we were in the Philippines, Ernesto Presas taught a 4-count, two-stick diamond pattern, nicknamed “Chambered Diamond.” You have to chamber your arms (hands virtually under your armpits) twice in the 4-count. He said, and only once, “this is how you draw your sticks!” Okay! You start with the pattern empty handed, then the chambering hands pull a stick from each belt side and you continue the pattern with the sticks. A STICK DRAW! You have to have a belt. But, that was it.

But I will tell you, 99.5% of the time, a stick draw is never mentioned in FMA. And lots of people in FMA classes and seminars NEVER have a street belt or even a martial arts belt on to draw one from. (This drives me crazy.) The drawstring, karate pants don’t cut it. I once had a major, major league FMA person a little pissed at me when he declared that there were “no belts in Filipino martial arts.” No belts? What? Huh? Said hero had never been to homeland/motherland.

In my non-artsy, Force Necessary: Stick course, I use a lot of the old L.A.P.D. course and some of the Filipino material. It is “stick versus hand, stick versus stick (a little), stick versus knife and stick versus various gun threats world.” It very much includes expandable – collapsible  batons. It has an emphasis on stick-baton, stress quick draws because as I said, that thing doesn’t just appear in your hand.

When you ignore belt or carry-site, quick draws, you forget that you must draw one and you forget to retain your stick at it’s carry site from take-aways. Weapon disarmings,

  • – begin at the carry site,
  • – happen during the draw process,
  • – happen when the weapon is presented only,
  • – happen when the weapon is being used.

On the other end of this list is you. And your weapon retention during that process. Lose it? Get it right back. Then you are the stick  grabber!  They call it “weapon recovery.”

I cover stick retention (and knife and pistol) in two study groupings:

  • Group 1: Protect the Belt.
  • Group 2: Protect the Pulled Weapon.

A lot of FMA stick vs. stick has disarms and counters (retention) but, when the weapon is produced (drawn) and-or used. And stick versus stick, and as I said, this comes in a hobby, art format. You have to work to glean and decipher useful, reality from it. Unless you are a hobby-ist, replicator?  In which case, copy on. Copy that!

I still teach Filipino material. I am happy to do it when asked. It’s fun. But I add my concerns with it, like drawing the weapon from a belt under stress. 

I ask attendees in my seminars to wear “street clothes.” Pants with pockets, even shorts with pockets. And a “street” belt.  Wear a regular belt. We need all these things to train properly. Gun people might think me crazy that I even need to ask this, as it just makes utter common sense, but I deal with differing “worlds.” But, I sometimes also have to ask gun people not to dress like they are being dropped into Cambodia for two weeks.

In the “who, what, where, when, how and why of life, “WHAT are you wearing? WHY are you wearing that? And don’t forget the belt, the draw from the belt, and retention at the belt level.

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Hocks email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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