It’s always fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. I did it for years too. Rather…mindlessly too. I knew it had abstract benefits for reality, and frankly, mix and match was good for my school business and student retention. And we all know doing just about any martial arts is certainly better than sitting on the couch. But I still only “kept” what I could to glean in the “what works” essence for police work. Fifty years later, this filtering is still an investigation I am addicted too. I still find little and big things to alter and totally remove.
But some things I knew right away, decades ago were “street-wrong.” Like a few “boxing glove cancers” for one of the categories of no-no’s. This photo above and those like them, drive…me…crazy when I see them. This is obviously a police training session. Could be a rookie academy or an in-service class. They are mindlessly replicating a sport, face-cover from boxing as a routine stance. Police, military, combatives and self-defense people should not be exactly, mindlessly emulating boxing, (wrestling too), sports or arts as a doctrine principle for crime and war, survival fighting. Each martial, application-blend needs to be investigated.
In crime and war survival, not this peek a boo. It’s a boo-boo. To support my observation of common sense I will use two recognized authorities.
- Foremost, the great champ. Bass Rutten, – who is in a world of small MMA gloves not boxing gloves – described this peek a boo “stance” and face cover as, “It’s a ‘meat block.’ I will punch and kick right through that.” Okay. Well, that about sums that up!
- Secondly, JKD great Larry Hartsell agreed, as I heard him say in seminars. He said it was a big, boxing glove position. Hartsell, a former state trooper and Vietnam combat vet, also advised that, arts aside, from a JKD “street fight,” perspective, keeping your hands up and right on your face as a standard, also allows the opponent to get closer into you, even closer than when hands up and out, further shaving off your reaction time. “Make him EARN that space,” he said with his hands up and away from his face. This was a great quote that really stuck with me. Of course, Hartsell also taught the art-sport of boxing, kickboxing and Thai – all wearing big gloves. Hartsell taught those sports-arts and you will see photos of him in that formal process, too.
Allow me to go one step deeper here in this subject. If you train in a sporty-art system that emphasizes the “peek a boo,” and you see an opponent, a criminal or whatever take up this or any tight face cover pose in front of you, you might be brainwashed into thinking, “Oh darn! That guy is ‘covered,’ I can’t punch him,” from much big glove training. Actually though he is not safe. Punch those hands on or around his face as though his hands are not there (yes, yes, palm strikes and hammer fist too. Yes.). Be like Bass!
Arms and hands can move very fast, and people might overcome a myriad of strategy mistakes with sheer speed. But, fast hands are not an excuse to teach thoughtless, off-mission, doctrine.
Many reality systems, retreat to a doomsday position and protect their heads with forearms WHEN NEEDED. It is NOT their full-time, formal fighting stance. They retreat momentarily into it. (Don’t get me started on these mandatory, “turban-arm-wrapping-head” systems. Another topic for another time.)
Which leads me to the “who, what, where, when, how and why” questions and doctrines. Are you teaching-doing sports or reality? As I said, it’s always great fun and exercise to mix and match martial arts. But beyond fun and exercise…what is your real mission? Are you making the mistake of mindlessly mixing sport-art things up with survival? What are you trying to do?
In Summary, are you, as an instructor or practitioner of police, military, combatives and self defense systems…are you creating and-or enforcing the best doctrine for your mission? I groan EVERY time I see this bare knuckle version of the peek a boo stance. It actually hurts my soul! I groan. Bass Rutten, just…just smiles. For him? It’s…lunch.
Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com