The grab strategy is now deemed possible and “okay.” In the 1990s and early 2000s, I received a considerable amount of talk forum ridicule for demonstrating and suggesting that – if you could grab the knife bearing limb, it was good idea. The common criticism back then by the “know-it-alls” was that such grabs were absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!
Ridiculed, my High Home Films videos and the bigger TRS “Unarmed vs the Knife” video segment in 2002 were so maligned. I Had suggested that IF you could, you grab the limb and should INSTANTLY fight on.
This is a lethal force attack, you grab and knock-snot out of the attacker’s eyes, face and or throat, etc. I have collected news-feeds for decades on knife attacks and totally untrained people have been winning (and even disarming knives) with regularity, world-wide. Grabbing the knife limb is-was a consistent factor. As with medieval art attached, if you need to look back-back-back.
Some of you will say “What? We’ve done this grab all along.” But some of you can’t say that. Training is tricky thing. Common sense does not always reign supreme. You see there are always several martial “boys clubs” out there that are rather mindlessly revered and followed, then replicated. They now show the knife limb grab a lot, thank goodness. They do tend to grab with two hands and maybe, arm wrap and body turn, etc. But some I see, I think, spend a bit too much time in the arm-grab-wrestle moment when they should be instantly attacking the face-throat. Whatever, at least the grab is deemed okay!
But what of this other arm? I have seen MANY (and rather famous) experts doing this grab-wrestle on film and both parties, the attacker and defender frequently ignore the other’s free arm. Standing or ground. Watch for this next time. Watch these workouts with an open mind, keep an eye on the free hand and think what it could do to the demonstrator if actually used.
Specifically, the knife attacker gets grabbed, plays along with the capture in training and never instantly buzz-saws in with the free hand to the face and neck of the defender-grabber. Then the opposite, the defender grabs the knife limb and the attacker doesn’t instantly destroy the defender’s face or throat. This works both ways.
This ignorance, this miss-step neglect of the other free arm-hand drives me BONKERS-NUTs especially even when watching quite a number of BJJ/wrestling moves. The free hand of the semi-captured or captured partner often just dangles out there, doing nothing. Or, the free hand does something non-fight ending so the wrestling can continue.
But, it is only bonkers to me when the instructors claim what they are doing is “street.” Sports-okay, because the free hand cannot cheat. (I don’t do sports so my bonkers filter is extremely low.) And why are sport people doing knife anyway? They are off-mission and their solution-blend is also often off-mission.
My ridiculed 1990s formula for “grab knife limb and attack” was:
A: Single-hand limb grab and instantly support hand strikes face-throat. Buzz-saw continues…
-B: Double-hand limb grab, when knife limb seems sufficiently secured, one hand instantly releases and strikes face, throat. Buzz saw continues.
– Extra! Get your knife limb grabbed? Your attacker’s support hand instantly busts in on defender’s face, throat.
I could write a small book on this “other hand” subject, but at least the modern boys clubs like the grab again! Defending or attacking, knife or not, the support hand is a both a vital tool and a vital worry. You should not be taught to mindlessly ignore it.
I was doing a seminar in early 1990s and an attendee approached me during a break and said, “I see you’ve studied NLP.” “No,” I said. “Oh, you use NLP methods. I thought you did.” In England years later, another guy said the same thing. I said no again. And then a host there said that I “used NLP.”
Neural Linguistic Programming. What then exactly, precisely was NLP “methods?” I was just “doing my thing.” Saying “my thing.” Of course, I had a vague idea of NLP because some pop instructors of the day were using it as the next sales pitch magic, promoting it to sell their courses. “Learn NLP!” Was it a form of hypnosis? Svengali-manipulation?
So, I had to look this up to see what I was doing naturally that was so NLP-ish. After a library visit I deduced that EVERYONE was “using NLP” to some degree. Using your words to influence, to teach and sway (and hopefully improve) was not new. Selecting and understanding wordings and the nuances thereof, reaching and influencing people, did not and does not have to come from NLP.
Common, related NLP topics were told and old:
Stress inoculation (not new even then).
Crisis rehearsal (not new even then).
Visualization (not new even then).
Advanced learning methods (not new even then).
Special, catchy language (never new.)
I am going to talk about the base NLP methods only and NOT the vast majority of people’s problems the base methods must be fine-tuned for. The raw, overall solution-methods were “camp-fire old” in many ways. In another whim-follow-up years later in 2018, I downloaded several newer concept NLP books via audio (by actual doctors NOT martial arts guys). I listened to them, which expounded the evolved additions of the NLP world, yet still dense while shallow, (one of the NLP complaints is that they use vague language – see inside the link below). I still remained unimpressed.
It’s the gun-guy, Dave Spaulding’s old, wise line again, “It’s not new, it’s just new to you” that holds true over and over. And by the way, speaking of guns, there was an NLP influence within certain firearms crowds too, back then. So, why the martial arts and shooter fuss ages ago?
Being in and around the martial arts, military-policing and guns since the early 1970s, I have seen many fads come and go. Oh, they might last a while, but still are a fad. We are in the middle of a few right now. The influence of how NLP had some voodoo magic in the 1970s, 80s and even the 90s martial artists and other folks is an interesting business study. First off, martial artists, shooters, police, military being human, can fall for any sales pitch. Business people use faddish sales pitches to increase sales. NLP can be by itself, its own manipulative sales pitch about a sales pitch about a sales… (the circle continues).
The Death of Marcus Wynne (February 2022) Army vet. Air Marshal vet. Creator of courses. Why am I thinking about the faded away NLP? Wynne’s recent death made me re-reflect on those NLP-times, because with his passing his old friends mentioned the things he taught. And for some, they say Wynne somewhat-somehow changed their lives! They recall he taught things mentioned above like “crisis rehearsal,” visualization and the magical – NLP. In fact, Wynne was revered by some folks, as some sort of “Jedi” in those days gone by.
Jedi? Star Wars? The timing for such lingo was perfect, as the army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were looking into any and all ways to enhance soldiers “brains” and performance. The book, The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I read years ago was described as – “a non-fiction work by Jon Ronson concerning the U.S. Army’s exploration of New Age concepts and the potential military applications of the paranormal. The title refers to attempts to kill goats by staring at them and stopping their hearts.” But, known by most folks, this storyline was satirically covered in the movie version with George Clooney. This was an era for insider, mind-expanding stuff. NLP seemed like one of the magic paths, especially with the underway, whispered “goat-army” connection.
I knew at the time Wynne was teaching here and there. I saw him in some training films, but I just…I just didn’t care as many of us were also “looking around” at science, sports, medical and psychological incorporations for fighting and performance. For others, Wynne seemed to be their introduction to progressive ideas, which was a good thing. Everybody learns stuff from somebody else. Plus, Wynne had an engaging personality (which that in and of itself is NLP-ish). Then his popularity seemed to shrink away into a, not-quite oblivion through time, as will we all. And after all, he survived a serious near-death cancer back then, taking him “from the scene,” for a time. I am pretty sure Wynne moved on from NLP. Anyway, his recent death brought all this up from my memory. You “rookies, young-ins” will find some martial folks and firearm old-timers lamenting his passing and now you know why.
And now back to NLP itself… for quick examples…
Crisis rehearsal, new? I mean just look at old football practice and old shoot-room training. Are they not crisis rehearsal? Sometimes you are already doing what you have been told is new, and have not made the connection.
Visualization, new? In Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate classes in 1972, there were discussions on the power of visualization training. Sort of rehearsing in your mind katas, techniques and fights in a quiet room or moment. For me, a believer in the tenant of “reduce the abstract,” when feasible, I will never grasp significantly replacing this closed-eye, sit-down with physical action. There is much science today that proves such visualization-meditation has only fractional results in comparison to reality, or smart steps toward reality. My point is not the success ratio, but rather that the practice of visualization already existed in martial arts. Take shadow boxing. It can be be quite shallow without visualizing an opponent. I am sure readers here will and could list this martial, mental rehearsal practice going…back…ages.
Advanced learning, new? No. There’s always more learning. In the “mind-game” you have to keep up with the ever-changing improvements. I have a friend in Australia who is a double-doctorate in psychology, a working counselor and college professor. He told me that a psychology doctorate must be completed within two years because that’s how fast the world of neural-plasticity changes! (Psychological therapies are VERY complex, the training complex, and require a customized, deep-dive into clients with careful scripts.)
Trained psychologists and motivational speakers were teaching these generic principles of speech, motivation and improvement, here, there and everywhere. I mean, Zig Zigler or any business guru said more or less the same things. The Power of Positive Thinking was a 1952 self-help book by Norman Vincent Peale. Age-old common speech classes produce verbal influence methods. Books and speakers have preached the copying of successful people’s habits, their messages and ideas were-are very much language influencers. They all use and preach the nuance of language to communicate, focus, sway and improve. President Lyndon Johnson would write speeches, then hand the crude outline to his speechwriters and say, “Here, put the music to it.” The music to it. To really work, you need the soundtrack.
So, I walked out of the library in the 90s, and finished the books in 2018…remaining unimpressed. I am a skeptical, hard-sell by nature anyway. I did suspect early on that learning this NLP stuff from actual veteran, certified psychologists would be smarter than from some martial arts guys or gals who may or may not have graduated high school?
Any-who, here are some fast facts about the old and new NLP:
Linguistics is the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language.
NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who believed it was possible to identify the patterns of thoughts and behaviors of successful individuals and to teach them to others.
NLP originated when Richard Bandler, a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was listening to and selecting portions of taped therapy sessions of the late Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls as a project for Robert Spitzer. Bandler said that he recognized particular word and sentence structures which facilitated the acceptance of Perls’ therapeutic suggestions. Bandler then approached John Grinder, then a linguistics lecturer. Bandler and Grinder say that they studied Perls’ utterances on tape and observed a second therapist, Virginia Satir, to produce what they termed the meta model, a model for gathering information and challenging a client’s language and underlying thinking.
NLP tries to detect and modify unconscious biases or limitations of an individual’s map of the world.
NLP is not hypnotherapy. Instead, it operates through the conscious use of language to bring about changes in someone’s thoughts and behavior. (Some naysayers call it “covert” hypnosis.)
Camp-fire old? Many experts (and little-ol’ me) believe that your world – as in your personal predilections, and our world as in history, governments and religions, are totally built on, and re-enforced by, fiction and non-fiction stories. Mine was. Is. Story-telling from the campfires to the upcoming “Metaverse” has shaped and is shaping the world. And these stories are made up of single script lines…single sentences. Phrases even. Verbally, spoken, these sentences are bolstered by intonations, gestures and facial expressions. Lyrics without music. Poems without rhymes. How somewhat engaging they all are, somewhat hypnotic…how…NLP-ish sounding, but not NLP.?
Oh, the everlasting, simple wonder of manipulative words! Monks chant. Writers write. Poets poet. Singers sing. Preachers pound the podium. Speakers-talkers sway and influence. Oh, the pulse, the orchestration of words to create positive (or sadly, negative) emotional, intellectual bonding and states of mind.
NLP was a martial arts and shooter fad. Since…oh…2003-ish, maybe earlier, NLP has not been in the martial arts, shooting world vernacular. The universal training topics were there before NLP and remain after. Today, you have to be careful about NLP though. I don’t think it comes up much in modern discourse. Despite being around for nearly half a century, NLP is currently not recognized in mainstream psychology. It seems like today’s NLP business wants to make “life coaches” out of just about anybody, high school grads or not. And, the old “NLP” initials are easily confused today with a modern approach for computer, language programming for A.I.. ( I await the hate mail on all of this.)
Thanks to the internet, today’s citizen, police, military, martial studies are diverse and wide-open to new worlds of modern science, sports training, medicine and psychology. Look around. Be conscious of fads and sales pitches. Oh, and this genre talks about being a “hard target?” Also be a “hard-sell,” skeptic.
And I now hereby conclude my manipulative words for today…
We all hear about how ground wrestlers shouldn’t wrestle in the proverbial “street fight,” and one reason name-dropped is the catch phrase “multiple opponents.” In the win-some/lose-some in real life, our lives, my life, I have a pivotal story about this, and some lessons learned. I wound up in the hospital.
Back in 1980 I and other officers were dispatched to a “big fight.” Two fraternities fighting in the basement of a large frat house. The college police were there and needing help. Who they gonna call? The city police. When we got there it was a mess. About 30 guys fighting in and out of the building. And so, we made our way into the melee and tried to…”stop it.” It looked like the brawls I was use to as an Army MP when units would get drunk and fight, or just fight without getting drunk.
So, this was not my first rodeo, so to speak. I got inside the large basement – which was actually the first floor – and tried separating people when suddenly for some reason, the rush of humanity pushed and pulled about 10 or fifteen of us down on the cement floor. It was as they say, asses and elbows, and everything else, including feet as I found out later. Kicks.
Suddenly, I was knocked out. Other officers told me that they saw it happen. Another college guy got up into a crab walk position, crab walked a few feet over to me, from the crab, from behind my head, and thrust kicked me in the head. I never saw it coming, so to speak.
Numerous people were arrested and my sergeant decided it was time to leave. He said,
“Somebody go over there and wake Hock up.”
They said they slapped me awake. I was out, out cold in a nauseous dream. They told me I was out for about 15 minutes. Maybe 20. If you are in the “knock-out and brain business?” You know this is really bad. They helped me up and I stood, trying to unscramble my brains. I was floating on another planet as I got to my squad car, and I actually drove with the caravan back to the station. It was near the end of the evening shift. And I floated to my car, and sick and confused, and drove home.
At home, I started vomiting and I couldn’t think straight. My wife drove me to the hospital with my head hanging out the window like a dog. They gave me drugs and kept me over night for observation. You know…concussion. It was a bad night of bad, whack-job thoughts. Two days later? Back to work.
It’s funny but I can still remember part of what I was dreaming on the basement floor. I was at some carnival. If I try to hard to recall it? I can feel the beginnings of getting nauseous again. It’s a brain damage, rabbit hole. We counted up the times I have been knocked out and it comes to 14. Two car wrecks, two kick boxing, two boxing, I fell on some rickety, odd-shaped stairs trying to arrest a guy one night. Twice in baseball (odd stories) well 14 “I am out, bubba” incidents. Now brainey-ologists tell you that little mini-second black outs start adding up too. Oh crap! I have been tested to have brain damage with symptoms too complicated to explain here as a side issue.
Part of me wonders, how anyone today can box, kick box, Thai, MMA long term and never be knocked out? Not once? I meet these “virgin” people. I guess it’s old school training that bazookas your brain? (I know the competitors get knocked out once in a while and they are really trying to limit that. I say “good.”)
I learned that I can control the symptoms somewhat with good sleep (and solid REM dreaming) and a simple diet, and some daily, almost aspirin-like medication. I have an odd problem with dreams and it’s too long to explain here.
But back to the main issue. I was knocked out on the ground by a kick in a multiple opponent scrap. And as I said starting out, we all hear about how ground wrestlers shouldn’t wrestle in the proverbial “street fight,” but I want to add that you absolutely must learn and hone wrestling/ground fighting. A mixed-weapon style with a consistent filter for survival.
A real expert ground fighter, Catch, BJJ, etc. can and will still eat up your standing (or ground) incoming arms and legs into arm bars and leg bars. But, they have to be fast, AND…they see to see the damn things coming.
“Hi Hock, I really enjoy your website. It is definitely the best on the internet covering all areas of self defense. In response to you being knocked out by a kick to the head, something similar happened to me, when i was with the PD prior to my retirement. In the early hours of my shift on a weekend, several officers and i were dispatched to a large biker party, in a back yard. Upon arrival, approximately 60 subjects were present. There were 8 officers including myself present. A fight began and one officer was on the ground attempting to handcuff a suspect. I dropped to my knees to assist and the next thing I realized I was in the back of a patrol car in route to the hospital. I had blood running out of my mouth and it felt like I had gravel in it. Upon arrival, I was checked for injuries, and the gravel turned out to be shattered teeth. I had been kicked under the jaw by some punk with steel toed boots. Three of my bottom back molars on each side were shattered from slamming my jaw together. The guy went to jail and got 30 days. To this very day i have TMJ but things could have been worse. Take care and stay safe.” – Doug Boal, RET.