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The first murderer I caught in Texas was an interesting case. I think this was the first one there, but it might have been the second. I can’t remember for sure. If you are indeed used to that kind of thing, it was typical of murders in many ways; if you are not and new to it all, it was shocking. But all murders have many intriguing, classical aspects in the timeless, human drama and trauma of life and death.

After years in patrol and an investigator in the US Army, I was no “first rodeo’ guy when I got to Texas. In my first few months on patrol in in Texas in the 1970s, I was riding shotgun with Officer Ron Atkins. About 4 a.m. one night, we got a call from an angry neighbor in what we once called “shack-town,” the projects, or the “poor” part of our city … you get the nickname; you get the very sad picture. The neighbor reported men fighting in the house next door. I later heard the original call on tape: “They’s fightin’ something horrible next door.They’s young, drinkin’ people, and I don’t know what all is goin’ on over there. They’s yellin.’ They’s screamin’ something horrible. I can’t get a nod of sleep!”

On this street, the walls of those single-story, old, small, wooden houses were very thin; and noise would carry. I reported “10-4” to the dispatcher, and Ron headed that way. As we got close to the block, Ron turned out the headlights to approach the house as quietly as possible. Classic patrol tactics. Then, as now, we boys and girls in blue would get ambushed in route to disturbances with some frequency. Lights out. Never park right in front. All that tactical stuff.

It was pretty chilly as I recall, and it surprised us both to see a nearly naked man alone and busy in motion in front of our target house. He was a tall, thin, black male dressed only in cut-off jeans. We coasted closer and watched him. Ron finally decided we needed to see what was going on; and he pulled on the headlights, high beams, and our takedown lights, powerful light bar beams from our car roof that really turned darkness bright like a movie set.

WELL! This young man was busy working at the trunk of his car. The trunk was open, and he was wrestling with … a lifeless body. The body was as long and lanky as he was; and as quickly as he would shove an arm into the trunk, a leg would roll out and vice versa. The man was covered in swirling blood stains, that is, blood painted in circles and swirls on his skin. In my business, that generally means people were bleeding and fighting.

He froze in the bath of those bright lights. I can still see that picture in my mind today. He was half crouched over, eyes wide. Incredulous and shocked. There was no way he could identify who we were behind our bright lights.

I turned to Ron and said calmly, “I guess we got a murder?”
“Yeah,” Ron, too, said calmly.

I sprang out of the car and pulled my Colt Python .357 magnum and pointed at the man. “Police! Hands up!”
He stood straight up and shoved his hands up high.

Ron and I approached from opposite flanks and handcuffed the man. Ron knew him immediately, “Terry, what is going on?” he asked.
“Ohhhh, MANNN! This mother-fucker tried to kill me.”

Terry was indeed cut by a knife and had multiple slashes. I looked in the open trunk with the help of my Maglite flashlight – the large black male in the trunk was also cut up. He, too, was naked except for cut-off blue jeans. I felt for a pulse. None. It was more than obvious that Terry had put the body in the car planning to dispose of it later. Terry tried a few real Swiss-cheese excuses as Ron walked him back to our squad car and used the hand mike to call for an ambulance, a Sergeant, and for CID. He sat Terry on the ground and started to talk with him and inspect his wounds.

Curious, I walked into the house with my gun up and out. The house was partially furnished and, where so, it was with very old and pitted junk. All made worse, if possible, by the signs of a struggle. The living room was an upturned mess; and where it connected to a dining room, a cheap table and chairs were tossed away and turned upside down. There was an ancient carpet on the floor, and it was covered in a giant bloodstain. And atop this ritual, wet, red site? Two big kitchen knives. I imagined two 6 feet 2 inches lean black guys in matching cut-off jean shorts, no less, ducking, stabbing, and slashing. And yelling loud enough to wake the neighbors.

I saw a dim yellow light on down a short hall; and gun barrel first, I made my way into the room. On an old bed lay a white girl about 20 years old, later I discovered quite drunk, and with long blonde hair. Her shoulders were bare. She clutched a soiled and crusty sheet up to her chin.

They were fighting over me,” was all she said to me. That pretty much told me a lot.
“Get dressed,” I told her. A duel. A duel for the “fair” lady.
She did, and I guided her out to the front of the house. By now, ambulances and supervisors were arriving. With my arms folded and the two of us leaning against a car on the street, I got a preliminary tale from the girl.

The sad story went that the girl was from out of state and attended one of the two big, local universities we had. She met Terry somehow (as Terry was hardly college material) and began this…this so-called affair. Terry then shared his best friend with her, but the sharing became too tense and complicated. Call it love? Territory? Honor, I guess? Call it what you will. And so, Sir Terry and this Sir Friend had to duel it out with kitchen knives over the fair lady in the dingy little dungeon of the castle. Murder ensued.

In the end, it was another torrid love story in the near-naked city of cut-offs, a mythic melodrama as old as the knights of yore. The duel of edged-weapons, as if told by Shakespeare himself. In the end of the courtroom case months later, the third act you might say, the prosecution could not prove who was defending himself against whom? And Terry Raygins received about a six-year sentence. He was out on the street in two and a half years on parole.

Terry was the first or second murderer I caught in Texas, that I can remember (after 50 years). The very least the first one with Ron Atkins. I got to know Terry as the years went on. He stayed out of major trouble after that. These fair damsels can make you do crazy things.

Post Script: And through the years, I also got to know most all of the Raygins family. All was not well at Raygins’ family castle either. They had a huge family and were a colorful bunch of troublemakers and sad sacks. Poppa Raygins was a hard-working factory man whose feisty wife had tossed him out of the house one winter. Tossed him out … to the garage, that is. Daddy Raygins lived in the unattached, dilapidated garage at the end of the driveway for several years. No heat, no air. We used to drive by and look down the driveway and see ol’ man Raygins watching TV in his garage, or showering in boxer shorts by the yard hose, cooking on a hot plate, and sleeping on an old couch. If he sneaked into the house, his wife would beat him and toss him out. A time or two, I had an occasion to walk up the drive and talk to him, because? Because that is what good patrol officers do. They know the people of their beats.

One day Daddy Raygins decided his hot plate was not enough. He needed an electric stove in his garage. With a stove he could cook better than on the hot plate, and he could also leave the oven door open and heat the place in the winter. He bought a used kitchen stove from RayBlevin’s Used and Repaired Used Appliances. He cleared a space in his cluttered garage, plugged it in, turned it on, touched the metal contraption and electrocuted himself. Fried stone dead. His crispy self lain in the garage a few days until someone eventually saw him, found him and called us. Kilt by a stove he was.

His wife said, “Good riddance to that old bastard.”
Sometimes, life ain’t so pretty in the various Camelots we find for ourselves. Things can get mighty rotten in Denmark. Sometimes.

Book 1 coming soon about the patrol years. But get this detective years Book 2 of Hocks Memoirs right now: Click here for it.



“Interrupting the Quick Draw.” or, sometimes I’ve call “Gun Arm Grappling.”  Martial, police and military material I have been working on for decades. When teaching this segment, I must cover as first  prep, a review the Stop 6 problems. The gun (pistol and long gun) (also in the stick and knife course.)

  • Stop 1: The stand-off no contact, Showdown “collision”.
  • Stop 2: The Hands-On collision – fingers, hands, weapons grabbing.
  • Stop 3: The forearm collision.
  • Stop 4: The Frankenstein collision, hands ranging from biceps through neck grabs.
  • Stop 5: All the Bear Hugs collisions.
  • Stop 6: Groundfight collision.

    Through the Stop 6, must-be-covered topics are:
    * Identify situations.
    * Identifying gun carriers.
    * Identifying gun carry sites on the body.
    * Identify reasons why guns and knives are drawn.
    * Identify many physical tip-offs of quick draws.
    * Identify your drawn decisions (see photo attached).
    * Identify the elbow and-or hand position of common draws.
    * use arm-elbow-hand-catch grappling of many draws.
    * and more…

    The draw process for you and your enemy starts at the carry site, through the draw on up to the presentation, and firing-use. The photo above describes the actual decision steps of a crime or war draw. Some people think it’s just “shoot-don’t shoot.” But life… situations and circumstances define the big picture.

    -Sometimes, why are you there? Why can’t, didn’t you leave?
    -Sometimes, why actually did you see fit to draw?
    -Sometimes, weapon out, but should you lift and aim it?
    -Sometimes, shoot-don’t shoot?
    -Sometimes, stay or don’t stay? Wait-don’t wait?

    All this and way more in my FORCE NECESSARY: GUN (and FN: Knife and FN: Stick course applications) course. My gun course is nothing but sims ammo combat scenarios. No live fire.

    “Marksmanship aside, you are not really learning how to gunfight unless you are training versus moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you (with sims).” – Hock

See all the free, full hand, stick, knife, gun and FMA training films click here:



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.”)

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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.


Force Necessary: Hand Level 6 Strike: The Elbow Strike

Yes, the popular elbow strike is number 6 in the strike list. Not that it is 6th in importance, it’s just that everything cannot be number 1, and things need to be stretched out for digestion. Remember our mission is not to create champion kick or Thai boxers, but develop self defense, survival skills.

The elbows are very close quarters strikes. Sport applications can easily be confused with survival applications by naive instructors within the spinning worlds of self defense and sport. I have heard various self defense system instructors regurgitate a lot of sport doctrine. Survivorialist borrow (some like to say “steal”) from sports and shouldn’t automatically, completely replicate them. So what’s different? 

Cutting AND Smashing? Take for example the generic instruction that the elbow is used for both cutting and smashing. Suffice to say that the best smashing impact deliveries are the striking surfaces just a bit below and above the elbow. 

The Striking Version. Many experts suggest incorporating your big bones as much as possible. You might say, “elbow-area” striking for self defense and elbow tip striking possibilities for sports cutting. It’s more than semantics.

The Cutting Version. Hitting with the very tip of the elbow may cause pain and bone chipping injury to the striker (and yes and damage to the receiver). Ever walk through a doorway and nick the tip your elbow? Your elbow tip is nicknamed the “Funny Bone,” but the sharp pain comes from the Ulnar nerve that is near-surface at the hard elbow tip.  This hurts in an odd way. Merely cutting the opponent’s face with your elbow tip is a sports assignment to mostly cause bleeding. Such is a “clock move.” A street survivor cannot, should not count on, or watch the clock tick-tock away for debilitating bleeding into the eyes. There’s no time for that. And also there are no refs studying the intensity of medical injuries to call the fight. I believe if you took a survey, Thai fighters would probably be hoping for, working toward smash hits and not little,  superficial cuts when striking the head zone. Cutting is an after  thought when a full smash failed. (Also, classic boxers will try to “cut” the face with twisting boxing gloves and maybe illegal, sneaky elbows to cause bleeding. Once again in boxing the clock and rounds and refs count for a lot strategy.)

Never an elbow tip? In being comprehensive, I would be remiss not to mention this “blocking” move. Some systems suggest stopping-blocking an incoming face punch with an elbow positioned in front of the face. Very Filipino. Standing or on the ground, this involves raising your bent arm up quickly, getting your elbow aimed at an incoming bare fist. Yes, this can damage the incoming fist. Some people have the wrong impression about hitting the incoming fist with one’s elbow in general – they think it’s like hitting a bullet with a bullet. “Chasing the fist.” The supporters say the attacker is punching your face, and your mission is to position your elbow up into the line, the punch’s common path. You are not chasing anything. You are placing not chasing. But, when upright, standing there are a lot of ancillary skills like prediction, athleticism and situations involved with this whereas simple dodging and blocking basics might be way more reflexive, comprehensive and simpler. And actually it’s easier on your back, on the ground. Less…”geography.” We report. You decide.

Better to Give than Receive. When in elbow delivery range, you are in elbow reception range, a common Thai Boxing theme.  Where does your support hand and arm go? Inexperienced practitioners, especially those who have played American football often innocently go fist-to-fist, or fists-near-fists, striking in what sometimes looks looks like an overly-done torso upper body pivot. This is an unsafe in that it  leaves the head exposed. Elbow striking Thai boxers usually put their support arm forearm up and somewhat straight up. Some Thai systems will place the back of their thumb on their the top of their foreheads as a matter of routine, creating a vertical “bar” in front of their face.

Catching-Trapping. Then at times the support hand might be used to capture targets like the head, and even the arms. And the thrusting elbow can be used like a strike for elbow hyperextensions and for shoves inside takedowns. 

Note: Thai boxers often deliver horizontal and near horizontal incoming elbow strikes with that arm’s wrist bent and hand pointing down. This allows for the deeper range and penetration of the strike, whereas the straight wrist and hand inhibits that deeper strike because your hand hits your torso. In big gloved Thai fights, this hand position is hard to observe. The bent wrist might not matter much. This is just what I was taught in the Master Chai Sirisute Thai Boxing system. We report. You decide.

The Basic Elbow Smash List:  The old saying is, “if you have a good hook (punch) you have a good elbow (and vice-versa), as the body dynamics are somewhat similar. The combinations seem endless and class time should be spent working on them. Do these standing, kneeling and on the ground (as in top, bottom, right side, left side), all where feasible.

Horizontal or mostly horizontal elbows.
– right traveling left.
– left traveling right.

Vertical or mostly vertical elbows.
– mostly downward direction, including diagnials.
– mostly upward direction, including diagnials.  

Thrusting elbow.
– to the front, sides and back.

Spinning elbow.
– mostly horizontal.
– 1/4 or 1/2 or 360  spins. Requires some foot and torso set up that at times can be similar to spinning kicks.
– should you feel uncomfortable spinning, you still need to see them used on you and defend against it.

This Level 6 Elbow Module includes all this and elbow scenarios, tricks and skill drills, all too much to to list here. Level 6 also includes the Level 6 kick – the Thrust Kick Module, the Level 6 Emergency Medical Module, and the 6th Stop of the Stop 6  Program which is the survival ground fighting module. Ask for the new and improved Force Necessary: Level 6 Requirements Outline. It’s free and available after 15 February, 2024. 

See all the free full training films on Hock’s Combatives TV Channel, click here.

The Butter Knife Cuts Both Ways and The Total Evidence Theorem

I have been in court a lot, military, state and federal, helping prosecutors win cases I brought forth, for three decades. I even worked for defense attorneys in the subsequent years as a private investigator. This process was an incredible legal education. I came to believe that the best patrol officers are former detectives. The best detectives are former prosecutors. The best prosecutors are former judges (especially appellate). Of course, this reverse engineering ladder of sorts, this learning curve is impossible to officially implement.

But, I feel lucky to at least have worked in these worlds. Back then, District Attorney Jerry Cobb and his top assistants were better than most investigation schools on what details gets convictions. (Two such great and dedicated staff minds were Alan Levy and Lee Gabriel.)

(Me atop the Denton County, Texas Court House, circa 1980s. In the distance is the original courthouse on the classic downtown square. )

The law makes you think about all things big and small. The who, what, where, when, how and why.  A police officer asks those questions for the crime report. The detective digs deeper. In the grand jury and trial stage we must dig even deep – deeper because you never what what tiny problem might arise in court.

Law school should export critical thinkers. All lawyers should be critical thinkers. They are often not. But they should be. I know lawyers who are doffusses and some think like criminals.

Juries and Jurors: And Lord knows common jurors… your wonderful peers… have no training in critical thinking. It’s the pot luck, roulette wheel of your freedom and fortune.

When I was an investigator in the US Army and in those court martials, the juries consisted of officers, usually college grads. No guarantee of critical thinking, but on paper at least they appear  probably smarter than civilian “Joe-Shit-The-Rag-Man,” juror, often was-is someone who was never taught civics in school, the law or government or unbiased history. Often was-is someone that when questioned think Abe Lincoln was the first president. Often someone who failed to avoid jury duty and sometimes even fall asleep in the jury box. (Oh yes, I could tell you stories – well, I have, in my book below, actually. Judges are supposed to “wake up” jurors. Naps never happens in military tribunals. Oh no. And in federal court the judges are VERY powerful and sleepers are awakened by “thunderbolts” from the bench. But in state and county courts, not always. To counter the snoozers, I would sometimes fake a loud sneeze into the microphone when testifying and coming to a vital speech point. I would watch the nappers’ heads bolt up. I would wait a few seconds for them to come to their senses. Everyone in the court knew what I was doing, but it was a Oscar-level, sneeze performance with which I could contest any objections.)

One of the many things I learned that for the colonel, the scientist or the carpet-layer to totally draw conclusions, they need to hear and analyze total evidence. Thus…the “Total Evidence theory.”

“There’s a crucial principle in probabilistic reasoning known as the ‘total evidence requirement’. This is roughly the principle that we should always use the most specific evidence available to us. Suppose the prosecution tells the jury that the accused always carries a knife around with him, neglecting to add that the knife in question is a butter knife. The prosecution has not lied to the jury, but it has misled them by giving them generic information – that the accused carries a knife – when it could have given them more specific information – that the accused carries a butter knife. In other words, the prosecution has violated the total evidence requirement.” – Phillip Goff is professor in philosophy at Durham University, UK. Writing in Aeon Magazine 

But then, moments later, the defense is supposed to step up and clear that information up. Fingers get pointed. Phony outrage erupts, “What the prosecution didn’t tell you is, the knife was a butter knife!”
In theory, each side in court – the defense, the prosecution presents their best side of information only, Together the truth is supposed to come out. But, this “halfness” cuts both ways. It does leave a bad taste, a flavor of concealment in the process. You hear, “Well, if that’s the case, why didn’t the prosecution tell us right out that it was a butter knife?” The juror declares, usually with a little or a lot of disdain, and unaware of the give and take process of… “the show.”
“The knife cuts both ways.” Professor Google reports “The 17th-century idiom “cuts both ways” drops a hint at a double-edged sword without mentioning it directly. Once drawn from its sheath, the weapon could cut if driven forward or pulled back—like a saw. The idiom was first used in a book by Edmund Hickeringill titled Priest-Craft: Its Character and Consequences.
The dull butter knife cuts both ways? My next question in the deeper dig would be “why is this knucklehead addicted to his daily butter knife?”

(My book covers much police action and many issues like this. The title was invented by the publisher and not my choice. When you sell a book, titular things like this are out of your control. Ebook or paperback. Click here. )


Decades ago, I was working out with karate expert friend, and I grabbed his arms. He’d never been grabbed like this, and he had the epiphany-realization in that moment he needed grappling. But he then started years of Judo. But, this was yet another sport-art. They are both sports-arts. Combining them is still two isolated segments of sports-arts, each deficient in their own categories. Adding and doubling, tripling up on more sport-arts atop each other is not going to best solve the survival problem. It complicates it. It distracts it. It needs blending, not adding.

I see a lot of Mixed Martial Arts being taught and spread. This morning I saw a school advertisement for a “Boxing and Ground fighting” school. Their attached photos show official sport “boxing” and official sport Brazilian wrestling. I get the idea that the advertisers, as well as the customers must think…

“Wow! That’s so complete. I’m getting both.”
“Ready to be attacked by any and all!”

Combatives is supposed to be above all this isolation. But, once you accept the combatives mission-mindset you are faced with the next problem. Collecting and cleaning up the material, material that mostly comes from sport-arts! And you must possess the “martial IQ” to evaluate the material. This process is not as easy as it sounds. It needs blending, not adding.

Try if you must, there is still much sport leakage around. Even in some Krav Magas – present supposedly as a final cure for sport leakage, but I still see…sport leakage, naively, accidentally falling back too far into sport-art. Instructors are often brainwashed from their old art-sport systems. They still think and solve within their brainwashing when there might be a better, faster, unbiased way. Hey, I still find more of this cleansing about every week – “Why am I doing this when I should be doing that.” The process never ends.

Some things the “Ws and H Questions” for you to ask and answer…

* WHO are you?
* WHO is the instructor?
* WHO do you want to become?
* WHAT are you seeking exactly? Precisely?
* WHAT – is there a better, faster way?
* WHERE do you go to seek your result?
* WHEN have you really found the “it?”
* HOW will you find “it?” How do you or he dissect “it?”
* WHY are you motivated to try?

“Learning different martial arts is pretty much useless in modern MMA. It is now its own sport and anyone interested in learning MMA would be much better served to join an actual MMA gym. Learning separate martial arts before starting MMA would be, quite frankly, a waste of time.” – Sprawl CO.

Modern MMA as we see in the UFC etc, is the closest art-sport you will get to reality. But you still need to add weapons, cheating, delete safety rules and weight classes and worry about trying all the moves of these full time, young professional fighters. I’ll bet you are not a full-timer, young professional fighter-athlete – 99.99999% of us are not – so you probably can’t and shouldn’t try to do what they do.

(And of course people have hobbies and they want to pursue their hobbies for a variety of reasons. They should answer those questions, know what they want to do and its limitations. I just ask, do they know what they are doing? If so? Hobby, hobby, hobby on and be happy!)


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Boys and girls! Another episode in the thrilling days of yesteryear Texas Policing….

When I walked onto the Criminal Investigation Division floor to start my evening shift, I could tell something was “up.” The day shift guys were scrambling to get their tactical vests and assorted personal gear and standard-issue, shotguns.

“Hock!” said one, “Hurry up here!” and they directed me up to the third floor meeting room, which was a large room constructed like a small theater.

“We will hit this house….” …and the briefing went on, conducted by a new sergeant who also was a traffic cop at heart promoted to detective sergeant in the foolish card shuffle I call the “admin police fandango.” I’ll just call him here, “Sgt Larry.”

Down in our city’s projects, in an old, two-story wooden, house bound for demolition, a local crack/cocaine dealer, ex-con named Willy Vics was running a dope house. It was a magnet for bad guys and hookers from the region. Our narc guys had a freshly signed warrant in their hands, growing stale by the minute.

“David, Benny, Jeff…you three will enter here and will move upstairs…Tony…you…” and Sgt Larry laid out the plans. There was a somewhat discreet effort to rest the SWAT team a bit in those days. Recently, a certain team had set a house on fire with a flash-bang that – once shot through a window, ignited a curtain, and the ENTIRE house burned down. And, well, there was a movement, you might call it, to tone down militant appearances. Some line operators finally started asking the question, “Do we really need SWAT to do this?”

At some point, someone in the fandango decided regular detectives should do this one, not our SWAT team. This was reminiscent, pre Sgt. Larry and of the pre-SWAT days. We detectives were once the “SWAT team.”

So, his chalkboard was filling up with tactical brilliance. White arrows were laid down aggressively, but there was a bit of a problem manifesting. Call it – “the back.”

You see, the back of the house emptied out to a big yard beside a side street and connected to a neighborhood of other yards. On the board, the arrows ran out of people to cover the escape routes! I would say there were at last six detectives assigned these arrows. Sgt, Larry looked up at newly arrived me, gearless at this point and still in the required suit and tie-

“…and Hock…you take the back.”

Huh? Famous last words. Okay. Me The back. Take it. Pretty big back “take” though. A few of us had run dozens of these deals through the years and we all had “taken the back,” at one point or another. Still, this was a pretty big “back.” Nothing new here, though. Most of the time, the suspect, and or suspects, upon hearing officers at the front door, would then peek outside a rear window, see a troop standing guard back there, and often surrender. Usually. Some hide in the house. We still had had to chase a few. I would often put something across the back door causing a fleeing felons to trip. There’s a few tricks there I won’t reveal. I witnessed one investigator throw a brick and hit a fleeing suspect in the head. Took him right down. He couldn’t shoot him! So he bricked him.

Within a few minutes, everyone hit the streets in their unmarked cars. I threw on my body armor and raid jacket and left the shotgun in my car (too cumbersome in close quarters for me on most deals of this nature). The plan was to give me a minute to park down the street just a bit and trot up to the yard. This was a corner house. Then =once I was ensconced, several cars would skid up to the house front, men bail out, destroy the door, and rush in.

I barely had time to jump the very tall, pre-demolition, chain link fence, when I heard the sound of skidding tires and men yelling out front. The usual soundtrack. It is always tricky to exactly coordinate these things.

There were about six back windows and a back door. The first floor extended out beneath the second story. This extension made for a sloping, large ledge under the upstairs windows. I tell you this now because in an instant, every hole in the back of this building had people pouring out of it, out the first floor door and windows as folks leapt, hung and dropped from the ledge to escape. And here they came!

“Halt! Police! Stop!” I yelled from the middle of the yard, my .45 drawn. HA! I recall at least 10 unarmed people ran by me as though I was not there. Fat hookers, skinny dopers, teens and old fogies. You name it. If I had actually started shooting at them? Well hell, I’d be writing this from the penitentiary right now.

BUT! One of the escapees was Willy Vic himself! He ignored me, too, so I figured since he was the subject of the entire raid, I would chase him. The sprint was on. Willy had to vault a fence, and I was counting on that slowing him down. I holstered my weapon. I couldn’t shoot anyone here anyway.

He jumped on the fence and starting climbing, and I reached up and grabbed him. He clung like bat on the chain link. I reached around, cussed and slapped his face a few times. Hammer-fisted his hands, loosening his grip. He dropped back into the yard.

Thereupon came the scuffle. Willy landed on his back and my mission was to get him cuffed, which he didn’t want either. He still had “rabbit in him” (which was Texican lawman talk for he was a runner).

He was a big guy, but in his mid-50s and these guys are still dangerous when excited, plus I was rather surrounded by his escaping customers and his gang who could double and even triple the odds in Willy’s favor. Ever try to fight a mean, angry, fat hooker while trying to handcuff someone else?

Meanwhile, the “team” was cautiously SWAT-tip-toeing through the house as though terrorists with sub-guns and bombs were behind every corner. I could hear them yelling, “Clear! Clear!” as they secured every empty room and closet in the 2 story house.

One thing was very “clear” to me, I was all alone in the yard, fighting a guy right beside all his buddies, who I hoped were all busy trying to escape. I had to toss a few snappy body punches into Willy, all the while yelling for him to give up. He quickly ran out of gas, and I muscled him into cuffs. His passing help? There was no loyalty among these thieves, and all the escapees got over the fences and were log-gone daddies. Some climbs I saw were comical. I stood alone with the drug dealer, and I was, all at once, a failure and a success in my mind.

I pulled the portable radio out of my back pocket and called Sgt. Larry. I reported that I had caught Willy Vics in the backyard. I hooked his arm, lifted him, and walked him through the house to the front porch where the dopers who were caught in the front rooms were cuffed and sitting on the steps. It made for great front page, local, newspaper photo of about six guys, now Willy among them, cuffed and sitting dejected on the front porch steps and about six of our guys in raid jackets and shotguns towering over them. What a picture. What a photo op!

I stood off from the victory photo-shoot and was a bit disappointed in myself because I had let about, oh, 11 people get away. I was about 29 or 30 years old then and had very high expectations for myself. Hell man! “One riot? One Ranger!” Audie Murphy and Sgt. York took hundreds of prisoners. I couldn’t stop ten dopers and four fat hookers?

But, it all became quickly apparent that, in the end, I had caught the big fish they were after, and there was a tactical mishap in planning. Being me alone…”taking the back” – you know, the place where everyone seems to go when the front gets raided?

This mishap became an “inside joke” with the troops for awhile. For the next year or two there was running joke with CID that anytime we would plan anything, (even a football party), it would finish with, “…and Hock, you take the back!”

Sgt. Larry really was a traffic cop at heart and no Kojack. (This is a common problem in policing, promoting football players into basketball games and vice versa. He returned to that position after much negative ado.) If he heard the rib, he took it with good nature. I guess?

There was an old 1960s comedy bit done by the now disgraced Bill Cosby about the Lone Ranger and Tonto. (I once loved Bill Cosby.) The Lone Ranger would say, “We’ve got to go to town and find out what the gang is doing,” meaning that actually Tonto himself, – alone, – would have to go to town. Whereupon he would routinely have the snot beaten out of him. Bill Cosby said he and his young pals would scream at the TV set,

“Don’t do it, Tonto! They’ll beat the snot out of you!”

Cosby suggested Tonto say instead, “Who’s ‘we,’ Kemosabe?” Which for a while back then, that line become a bit of a cultural, well know joke. You might still hear it a bit now.

But that one day? I was Tonto out back for sure. And Kemosabe was nowhere to be found.


Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com

This story is excerpted from Hock’s Dead Right There book and appears in the Wolfpack E-book Omnibus Kill or be Killed, click here for more on these books.



Your “table setting” and “know your table” have big meanings, in the self defense shooting world. Ever shoot from a chair, behind a table at the live fire range? Not often I’ll bet. When done, the seated, range training set up, the “table is set” this way – it takes-makes the assumption that you are the “Lone Ranger,” seated alone, shooting an unidentifiable, abstract somebody (the paper target imagined threat) always shooting straight forward from your seat.

I still some see gun courses on film and in photos with people sitting at tables and drawing and shooting while seated, (even reloading there in the chair! And at times doing really awkward 360 checks while seated.) Or shooters fully stand up exposing most of their bodies. Does the table ever get flipped over in this ‘Lone Ranger’ model? Think about all the calibers out there and the fickle deflection angles and how some flipped tables might help. 

But this essay is not just about flipping tables. Sometimes you can’t, but rather about all the probable table situations and responses. “Know your table and the table-setting” shooting training via the “Who, what, where, when, how and why” question checklist.

  • The WHO questions. Who are you? Who else if any is at the table? Nearby tables? Who is the enemy? 
  • The WHAT questions? What is going on? Robbery? Domestic? Crazy guy? What kind of table? May it offer you some level of protection, even concealment. Shape? Heavy? Metal? Plastic? What’s on it? What kind of gun does the enemy have? What kind of chair are you in?
  • The WHERE questions? Where is this happening? A home, restaurant, conference, meeting? Gun show? Trade-days? Thanksgiving dinner (don’t laugh!)  Where exactly is this armed enemy? Where do you carry your pistol? In a booth – probably some 50% of the time you are in a booth not a table. Where is this table anyway? The table? Where are you seated? Is there space to do this between the table and the wall?
  • The WHEN questions. When exactly should you shoot in this situation? Or not shoot at all? Flip a table? Stand up? Dive? Finish dessert?
  • The HOW questions. How do you react?  How close are you seated to the table for your draw? Will the chair move easily on the carpet? Maybe flip this table? How do you shoot around it? Will the table completely turn over? How often are you seated alone to flip a table over? 
  • The WHY questions. Why did you go there? Why are you still there. Why are you still seated? Why reload while seated? Why stay seated?
  • Continue asking and exploring and answer these “Ws and H” quesions.

Set the real table with questions and answers. Hopefully in these live fire range classes, these samples of the “Ws and H” Questions checklist was-is mentioned in the opening lecture to introduce and remind the bigger problems of the table-setting shooting?

I do wonder, do the table-chair courses ever finish the live fire range segment with any of the best training experiences? Doing the simulated ammo situations with actors (just other attendees) in common makeshift table settings. (Sim-ammo is all I do.) Real, vital “shoot-don’t-shoot” decision making, interactive experiences.

Yes, you must shoot some live fire from the chair and table a bit. Yes. And then hopefully, in this ‘Lone Ranger’ range set-up, practitioners might practice a segment of oh…flipping tables over and shooting too, and also worrying about where Tonto is, and work on all the other probable things in simulated ammo situations, rather than completely ignore all the training of many other chair-table probabilities.

How do you set the table for table-related gunfights?


Watch full, free training films at Hock’s Combatives TV Channel, click here


A DEEP HIP STYLE ROLLOVER THROW (Or a standing “Fat Man’s Roll?)
This application of an “arm” takedown I have done once in police work in a domestic disturbance. While sorting things out in a house, a man charged me from the rear, having escaped the verbal control of another officer nearby. I heard the officer yell “Stop!” Before he could wrap my torso with two arms (to do what, did he know?) I was able to react.

This reactive move is found a few places but was based for me from high school wrestling from back in the 1960s! (Back then was only some 10 years earlier.) In such wrestling, there are “neutral starting’”positions and “referee positions.” One of the common “referee position’ starting points inside a match was one person was down on their knees, the other atop and somewhat beside him with one arm wrapped around the bottom guy’s torso (rules can differ). No clasping “bear hug” allowed yet at this point. This is not a collegate wrestling course so we will leave it at that.

One of the series of moves we practiced back then was the bottom guy grabbed that wrapped arm and rolled him over. When just freestyle practicing, this also happened when the bottom guy partial stood up at times. I frequently did and saw this work. This complete standing version starts looking a bit like like a classic hip throw, at least in part. Anyway from high school I still had this move, this concept embedded in me.

I remember that the guy rushed me to the point that I might fall over forward anyway. I tried to turn and then this old move from inside me busted out. Stepped back, dropped and rolled. His feet smashed into furniture. We arrested this man and the jailer told me the next day that the man begged for aspirin from a bad headache all night long. I think he hit his head on the floor, possible like in these photos.

  • Note in photo 1 the one arm grab.
  • Note in photo 2 the arm blocking his second arm from coming in and clasping me.
  • Solid grab on his arm in photo 3, which includes capturing his elbow.
  • Note in photo 5 the man landing on his head (in a perfect world).
  • Note small photo 6…keep rolling! As you roll over him to get up, an elbow strike oportunity might arise.

I am a proponent of the “double the force” concept – a late phase counter when being taken down. Can you grab the attacker, hang on, join with and add to the force of falling maybe with a turn? Putting him at a disadvantage 1) upon, during impact, or 2) after impact? Sometimes. Yes.

If you are going to practice it, try it a few times about knee high like some Judo (this known as Soto-makikomi) and wrestling does. Watch out for your partner’s head! Don’t forget to hit him at every opportunity, which Judo, BJJ and wrestling does not.

(I only did this one “for real,” one time in my whole life, but I ain’t dead yet.)


Check out Hock’s new western, Swellen’s Reckoning. Listen to the free first 3 chapters of the audio book, Click here