Monday, August 25, 2014

Thinking of Terry Gibson

     On a more serious note, I think about some of my old instructors sometimes. Ernesto Presas has died. Remy Presas dead awhile now. Keith See - my first Parker, Kenpo Karate instructor has died. Ray Medina has died. And another one died in the late 1990s. A very important one. Terry Gibson - had a huge influence on me and was a rare, fully certified Inosanto instructor. To good to be forgotten. All before the internet, so his name is not bounced around the digital waves.

Terry and me in Tulsa, OK, maybe 1990-ish or so.

     I was sure lucky to met him in the late 1980s. I hosted Paul Vunak in Texas in the 1980s and one time Terry showed up. Instant connection. He had a vast interest in the arts that Dan Inosanto taught and in his day, Inosanto said that Terry was one of his top 5 instructors. He was thee major player in this multi-state region surrounding the state of Oklahoma. I hosted Terry many times in Texas and would travel to the seminars he did and hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ones conducted by himself, or by Inosanto, Mark McFann, (no, that is not this "animal" McYoung guy - Mark McFann) Master Chai, Vunak, Hartsell, many of the era. I also took multi-day, privates lessons with him up there in Tulsa, staying at his house at night. We usually did these in 3-day sets. 5 hour privates in the daytime, and this included attending all the evening classes too.

     We did Thai, JKD, Silat, varieties of Kali, Shoot Fighting from Japan. We were all ground fighting years before the UFC/BJJ craze. Remember that Dan Inosanto Concepts many decades ago was way ahead of the curve we have today. Virtually all martial arts are a collective of moves from the past, but many get frozen in doctrine. The first real, known, widespread "Mixed Martial Arts" of the day was largely from Dan Inosanto. Yeah! 95% percent of the existing martial arts back then were virtually virgins to other the forms of martial arts. Each one was guilty of thinking they were superior to the others. Worse, most simply could not even grasp a mixed, "best of blend from all the good stuff."  Their dogmas prevented evolution. Inosanto's did not. I was all-in for this evolution.The blend is the key to superiority.

     Terry was also a lawyer, by the way. Unfortunately, But, Terry had serious brain cancer that just wouldn't go away. I can't help but think that if he were alive today with these problems, there would be newer, better treatments and technologies. To my memory he had three different, major brain surgeries, each time, changing him. How could it not!

     He was a powerhouse! One of my favorite memories was once, while spending time with Terry while in the hospital after his second brain surgery. The second day after the surgery he really was barely recognizable. His head and face way swollen and wrapped. He looked at me and said,

     "you know the doctor told me to get up and try to move around. Want to go for a walk?"

     I said okay and we proceeded to walk laps around the entire floor of the hospital. Before we knew it? We were trucking around at a pretty fast walking clip, he in his gown, his "turban" and barefoot. As we past the elevators on about the 6th lap, the elevator doors swung open and his brain surgeon appeared.

     "Jesus! Terry! What are you doing!" he demanded. 
     "Walking!" Terry said." You told me to get up and move around."
     "I meant you could stand up and look out the window! Not run laps!"

     Terry was that kind of health nut and powerhouse. Splurging to him meant eating two ice popsicles. 

     I also recall him telling me about his and Mark McFann's trip to study Suwanda Silat in Indonesia. They had to wear those traditional "dresses" and it just killed these two macho dudes to walk on the streets in all that garb. I have a photo somewhere of him and McFann that he sent me, all duded up in indo-like skirts.

     In or around 1995, and after his third surgery some martial arts business politics got in the way of our training.  I studied many systems back then, but hit it pretty hard with Terry for about 5 years. I realized that Terry was more skilled and knowledgeable than all the others around. In the 90s, non-martial arts related programs became a financial priority for me as a teacher, and it captivated more and more of my time. Absolutely, no reflection on Terry himself.

     Terry eventually died from this cancer two years later in 1997.

Great photo from the Smokey Mountain Camp days. Tim Tackett, Larry Hartsell 
and Terry. Tim is still alive and kicking. 
No pun intended.


    Probably if there is an heir, the heir of the Gibson era would have to be Harley Elmore, who is tucked away in the Wichita Falls area in north Texas. Harley is a great guy and a fanatic student/expert in these subjects. On his webpage you can still get some older Gibson videos, converted over to DVDs. Terry had many video tapes, but if lost? The info is probably in Harley's DVDs.
Gibson (and Elmore DVDS) click here

      But, Terry Gibson taught me an absolute ton of stuff and remains one of the nicest guys I have met in this business. A very, special person. Long may his name bounce around the digital waves.

Thai Association remembers Terry


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Diary of a Mad Hip Replacement

by W. Hock Hochheim

     Many of my friends, (and many more strangers) are searching the web and,or inquiring about getting hip replacements. I tell you this little quick, medical summary so that you might be aware of some future concerns or problems for yourself, your families and significant buddies/others.

     Some readers don't know me, but after 5 years of several doctors, chiropractors and therapists, mis-diagnoses and off-target treatments, back on July, 2012, I had my right hip replaced. Unique in this operation, was that the old hip ball and spurs had to be chiseled out with a hammer and chisel causing some complications and a guarantee of extra "uncomfortably " (think pain) for awhile. Dr. Peters of Dallas, who was excellent, has been replacing the hips of all kinds of people to include sports stars, for decades now, and he told us in post-op that he has had to chisel out a hip only a few times. I could tell he was a little invigorated by the 15 minute chiseling experience. That was how hard my hip was locked in. Chiseled or not, all should be fine by the end of September.

     The biggest misdirection from off the hip that I and many patients experience is a switch over of attention to the back. Back problems? Insiders know that if you have a back problem (my two lower discs are deteriorating) many doctors start looking at your back as the real problem in your hip and legs. Very common. "Referred pain" from your bad back. After a process of elimination the truth hopefully bleeds out.

     Probably the most irritating little group I've dealt with are what I will affectionately call here, "hippy-alternative" types. These are the over-believers who think they or their guro are bonded into the real healing powers of the galaxy. One guy in Europe in 2010 insisted that he could fix all my problems by working on the high center of my back, between my shoulder blades. At that point I was having surgeries on my upper thigh muscles, which really needed doing. I said no, but in a hallway, he snatched me from behind in a bear hug and bent me back in search of the ultimate "pop." It didn't happen.

      "Ve vill verk on this later."

     "THAT will be a... no!"

     I have a new rule now - if you can't read an x-ray, or authorize one to be made, you can't work on me. When the veteran, hip doctor tells you that you are in "Bone-on-Bone, Stage 4," and there is no stage 5, a tulip bath, a massage and a yoga session ain't gonna help you out. But it does seem that everywhere you go, there are these tribes of "non-x-ray-readers" that insist you should avoid a board-certified, med-school grad, doctor and meet them instead down at the old incense studio for a life-changing event.

     Any-who, they chiseled out the old and rammed in the new. through a 13-inch cleaved slit on the outside of my hip. It does feels as though I was hit by a car doing about 25 miles per hour, right there in the in the hip. Took about 90 minutes in the "theater" to finish the replacement. I got to see this busy theater, just before my eyes went narcotic, night-night.

     Woke up and the road to rehabilitation began. The docs now worry about blood clots and a host of many common problems like infections and those pesky "unsafe moves" - which threaten to fire the cobalt/titanium orb out of my hip socket like a canon ball?

People luv em some yoga don't they? But I don't. in the last three years yoga has almost KILLED me or made me wish I was dead. Let's get a little more mainstream in treatment. A normal, hospital, physical therapist almost KILLED me with certain leg stretches to the rear. And a chiropractor almost KILLED me by pulverizing the length of my right thigh weekly with some kind of rubber grommet machine that looked like a belt sander. Let me tell you I crawled out of some of those places. None of them knew I needed a new hip as none were x-ray readers. Nor, did I at the time. (The chiropractor did read x-rays but only concerning the spinal cord.) Looking back now, we can see why those types of moves and treatments should-not/could-not be done to a guy with a Stage 4 hip.

     How did I get this condition? First off - my left hip is just fine. Perfect. "Like a 25 year old." So, the loss of the right one is probably not genetic, but rather from abuse they say. A few guesses? Thousands of power kicks since the 1970s? I always did equal time with the left, but probably not while sparring, huh? Another is a propensity to land on my right side when taken down because I had better "landing tricks" with that side. This is a known, football player problem as they subliminally try to land to some cousin and some advantage whenever possible. So takedowns since the 1970s are a good guess also.

     Anyway, feel free to email me if you have any problems or questions about hips. I have made all the mistakes, so maybe I can tell you them. It has been a long, strange road.

The Summer of my Discontent. Diary of a Mad Hip Replacement Continues..

     Thanks for all the calls and emails, cards etc. Quite a number so I figured I would make this health post as a centralized update. Plus, it may help some folks considering this operation and about to deal with one coming up.

     I know a lot of older people get this done? But it is a big operation and it really does suck. It is a major surgery. Resuscitator. Catheter. Our neighbor, a surgeon says it is a very bloody mess of an operation. Simple. But bloody. Imagine sawing off the leg bone too. Someone told me the operation is like being hit by a car doing about 25 mph in the hip. Yup. I can see that now. Or rather, I can feel that. It's all muscle pain as they cut 6 inches of muscles and skinned/lifted muscle off the bone. Then they stretch the muscle afar too, like REALLY far to disconnect the leg from the pelvis and do their sawing.

     I am Into the third week of rehab and can walk, albeit a bit painfully, without even a cane. But I like having that cane in my hand right now because once in a while, I totter. Plus, at the end of the long day, I need the cane more. You just get tired.

     On the subject of the cane and the "fighting cane." As has been said before by many, if you really need a cane? You REALLY NEED a cane. You can't be picking it up and fighting with it. The day before the operation I did 45 minutes on the treadmill and another 45 of exercises, so I am a unique patient compared to many of these older people who get new hips. I am cruising along with my rehab exercises and even doing a light weight hand weight routine also.

     The biggest problem for me so far is the mandatory anti-blood-clot/blood-thinner meds. They give many people flu symptoms and I must be very susceptible to them. I take them, get chills, achy all over, etc. Like the flu. Then they wear off and I have a few decent hours. This medicine is essentially poison given at a lower dose that debilitates your blood. They will be over in one week.

     I've lost 9 pounds since 27 July. Some of that is muscle but some is fat too. I'm down to 227 and I would love to hit 220 or 222 and stay there. As Buffalo Nickels calls it - "the operation diet."

     I told you that they had to hammer and chisel my hip out, which is an oddity. My hip was so locked in and growing worse. Now I can easily stand straight up again instead of being bent over. Jane said the very afternoon of the operation, when they made me get up out of bed for the first time (fearing blood clots you have take a few steps), I stood up straighter than she has seen me stand in ten years. That first afternoon.

     Martial artists Bill Wallace has two new knees and two new hips. I remember years ago when martial artists Larry Hartsell had his replacements. Back then it was like scary, brain surgery. Of course it wasn't really, but we were all worried for Larry. Now, we all seem to know several people with new hips. 70 year-olds playing tennis and skiing. I am very optimistic.

     I am under some writing and film work deadlines and have to FORCE myself to sit and work. But, I am a bit lethargic and want to stare at the TV - and there is really nothing on television. I know I will quickly forget the discomfort I am having this "summer of my discontent." I would suggest anyone needing this operation to have it. It is a big deal in a way, but then it is not really.

     You all pace yourselves with your work outs. Pacing is hard to define in present tense, but in past tense you know exactly where you screwed up.

Diary of a Mad Hip Replacement Continues

     Yesterday, I hit my 4 week mark and the doctor "released" me. Released means no more drugs and home health care needed. Of course they would continue pain medications for anyone at this point, but I am only on Tylenol right now anyway. The drugs were really bothering me. This also means a bit more of a workout and I did a bit more, by tiptoeing through the gym and doing the sit-down, upper body machines, after our morning walk, or as I have been calling it, my "morning limp."

     But starting today, I have split the walk up in three sections - 1) with cane, 2) no cane, and now 3) SLOW jog. There are light poles on the walk and I use them as markers to rotate through. It hurts to walk without a cane and slow jog, but Barnhart has hurt me way more than this in training. And in stick fighting, your thighs can take a whooping. Leg pain not new. So, my personal goal is to multiply these into more slow running segments. I will not rush this. The hip bone structure must heal.

     Yup, this picture to the right is actually called "jogging" today. HA! Small poodles walk faster. Cane in right hand. But, that is 4 weeks and a day after the operation.

     All the pain is still muscle pain. Within the next 4 to 6 weeks the hole they created to insert the replacement will continue closing up. And within 9 months to a year, it will reach its peak. Unlike Bill Wallace, it is not my plan to replicate all the abuse that brought me to this point in the first place. There are certain moves, like the "reaching-back-high- over-my-sholder"moves that I cannot do for a year.

     But it is obvious that I have not walked properly in years. Walk? I have not even stood up properly in years. I see now how I have favored that right leg if just standing still. And it is depressing to discover a flight of stairs and say - "ahhh - damn! Can I do that?"

     Get this, on July 26 I weighed 237 pounds. Which is way too much. On August 24, I weighed 222 pounds. If I could somehow maintain that it would be great. Some muscle gone, but some fat too.

     This is a tough guy group, so have a look at my scar one week after the operation. This way, if you need one of these operations, be you a regular, or be you someone searching the net on hip replacement information, looky here. The scar is 5 to 6 inches, but I know people who've had them as long as 15 inches. I think though these modern days they are able to limit the scar length. In this photo, the scar has been sealed by that great clear plastic bandage - Tegaderm. This seals it from germs and prevents bad scarring. The gauze under it is a hole that ugly bodily juices drained out of. Small bottles of stinky dark red yuck while I was in the hospital. The hose and bottle were removed my third day. The gauze was placed there, sealed, in case I leaked any more. Tegaderm - don't leave home without it!

     I sometimes wonder how many times since the 1970s I have been thrown down on my right hip by partners? How many times have I blasted round and back kicks into heavy bags? Did crazy exercises?  Makes ya wonder...

    At the very bottom of the picture to the left, on the top of the other leg, you can see the top of the support hose/socks one MUST wear 24/7 to prevent blood clots. The doctor also released me from them yesterday today too. But he wants me to wear them while flying for awhile. I have to take an aspirin and wear these socks for the next few flights, but get this - he and all his doctor buddies take one aspirin before every flight as routine anyway. A habit I will start and maintain.

Three years later...
If I were a normal "walk-around" person, my hip would be just fine. But since I do what I do, as in martial teaching and training, I sometimes hurt the hip area and can feel discomfort it for days. Three times now I have had to take the 5-day, steroid packs to calm things down.

But, it has been a great thing and improvement for me. Good luck to you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Old Cowboy's Advice

Just an old, yet wise, cowboy's advice. My favorite from this batch is "always drink upstream from the herd." It's a tattoo moment.

* Keep your fences horse-high, pig-tight & bull-strong.

* Keep skunks & bankers & lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not 

* Meanness don't jest happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Don't corner something that would normally run from you.

* It doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about is never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Don't interfere with somethin that ain't botherin you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* Sometimes you get, & sometimes you get got.

* Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, & a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

* If you get to thinkin you're a person of some influence, try orderin somebody else's dog

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Louis Awerbuck

His Sword. His Shield.

      I got the latest issue of SWAT in the mail today. Yes I still get SWAT magazine. I like to read what Scott Reitz has to say, (LAPD SWAT retired – one of the original SWAT team members - and well, just awesomely experienced vet and solid teacher). They often feature my FBI, veteran friend Bob Pilgrim. You know, all in all, it is difficult for me to get excited by this-or-that-shooting instructor that pops up while some men like Scott Reitz and Paul Howe still walk the Earth.

      And, I always enjoyed Louis Awerbuck’s back page column in SWAT, and I have told him so. He had written this SWAT column for years now. If you are a not a writer, assigned such a task 12 times a year for decades, you won’t appreciate the chore. Each month, he’d always came through, with his South African flare for words. Yes, “had.” That is past tense. This new issue of SWAT is the last issue for Awerbuck. Months back, he’d passed on and the magazine has just now caught up with that sad time.

      The world will always have some bad-ass men in it. And, with these messes in Afghanistan and Iraq, with these battles versus the sick, twisted scum of Islamo-Facsim, and with never-ending crime on our streets, a new breed of smart, experienced folks are also arising. They made the grade, made the cut of bad-assery. A percentage of men, and some women too, that not only have taken up the sword and shield, but also have been culled out genetically to carry on. To do and to teach. To carry on the wisdom and ways (and wit too) of hand, stick, knife, gun fighting in war and crime. Louis was in this very necessary breeding and tradition to protect and keep humanity in the human race.

      Lay down your sword and shield, down by the riverside. And rest in peace.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Approach. Trouble Walks - "non-verbal behaviors presage criminality"

The Approach. Trouble Walks - "non-verbal behaviors presage criminality"
by W. Hock Hochheim

     Trouble walks up to you. You walk up to trouble. Anthropologist and zoologist Desmond Morris once proclaimed that scientists have identified 40 different “walks.” Experts like to remind us that we see these walks all the time, listing as popular examples, movie star walks like John Wayne or even Charlie Chaplin.

     A lot of training time is spent worrying about two people in a verbal stand-off, like for one example, before a bar fight. Real life is more complicated and diverse than bar fights. But not enough time is spent  on worrying about how you got there before the altercation. Lots of people walk up and into problems, or the problem walks up to them. 

     There is even a zombie walk we all recognize. But walking tells a lot about us and even our ever-changing moods and plans, and we don't always recognize it even when we do it. Oblivious.

"There's a kind o' walk you walk when the world's undone you,
There's a kind o' walk you walk when you're walkin proud,
There's a kind o' walk you walk when the neighbors shun you,
There's a kind o' walk you walk sets you 'bove the crowd."
                                                  - Jimmy Van Huesen and Sammy Cahn

     I always refer to my Stop 6 structure when defining common confrontations, fights and arrests. The common stopping points, not ranges. Stop 1 is the first stop and it involves a study in the classic interview, stand-off or showdown range. In that Stop, we cover the usual and numerous issues like positioning, verbal skills, "stances", overall assessment of the trouble maker, etc. But to cover the Stop 6  competently, we also have to stretch Stop 1 out a ways geographically because sometimes, trouble walks up to you and sometimes you walk up to trouble. This essay is all about the walk. It is about – the approach. How he or they got there. How you got there. What can you see and read along the way?

     In my days as a police patrolman, I had an opportunity to watch a lot of people. I recall one afternoon parked in a neighborhood just looking around. A black male, approximately mid-twenties was walking down the street in a very natural or normal gait, just like anyone walking anywhere, perhaps preoccupied by the thoughts in his mind. But up ahead was an intersection and just a bit down that cross street was club. A bar. And pretty much morning, noon or night, other males congregated in front of that bar. I noticed that when my pedestrian got near that intersection, effectively within the sight of the bar, he changed his gait. He suddenly strutted and added a short slide to a foot. He effectively became "cool" in the eyes of the guys in the front of the bar. They did not wave. As soon as he dropped out of their sight across the street, the "cool" shuffle was dropped and our man returned to his normal gait. He'd been “profiling,” “show-timing,” or any other description you choose. People do this type of thing all the time, for all kinds of reasons, whether they know it or not. I repeat, whether they really know it or not. The walk can represent the brain. The thoughts.

     One of my favorite walking stories comes from my old friend Mike Gillette, former Army paratrooper and police chief. Gillette was hired to do security assessments on some of the biggest amusement parks on the planet. This required him to spend a lot of time walking around these big parks and...assessing everything from possible counter-terrorist attacks as well as crime. Gillette said that he was constantly stopped by park attendees and asked questions, like - "Where are the bathrooms?" "Where is Bazooka Ride?" Etc. Finally Gillette asked a father why the dad was asking him for directions. The dad said, "well, you must work here. You are the only guy walking around here, not having any fun." In the course of Gillette's inspections, he was indeed walking around like a serious employee on a mission, and his face, pace, walk and busy attitude was easily and subliminally perceptible to others.

     But, our subject here is a short study about violence and the approach - the walk-up, or even the run-up and subsequent trouble. As I am fond of saying, life is either an interview or an ambush. An ambush is well, an ambush. Often undetectable. When you can detect people approaching you with crime on their minds, they may well change or have a different their gait than normal. The approach is expressive. See the list below. If a criminal wishes to approach you in a surreptitious manner, if they can control their gait because sometimes they can't, their gait might well be "smaller" perhaps, maybe head down or face turned away, but this too is often perceptible because it is different than normal.

     If several people plan to rob or attack you, they might approach you a different pattern of normal friends on a walk, and still they might not even know they are doing it. I recall a lone victim on a case I worked which is a great example. One night, my victim was out too late in a closed, outdoor shopping mall area. In the distance he saw three men who were walking together in what is perceived as a normal manner. Three abreast. Usual common distance apart. They suddenly stopped. They conferred all while taking turns glancing at him. Then they advanced, but their style of walk was suddenly now different.
     Show time. The very plan in their heads made them walk differently than before, like getting into character for the parts they were about to play. Plus, my victim recalls that one of them split from the other two by a few feet, different from how they walked before the little conference. One off to the right. Two close to each other (this being one classic approach of a wolf-pack attack). When close, the one that split off talked to the victim. The classic gibberish question. He got the victim to partially turn away from the other two, and you guessed it, whereupon the man was jumped. And he saw it all unfolding. He saw trouble "walking," coming in the approach to him. He was able to recall every step of this for me, yet did not react to the impending signals. When I asked him why in our interview, he shrugged his shoulders. No good answer came form him, but I and many others, believe ignorance and denial are two common causes. "What should I do?"  "That won't happen to me."

This subject matter fits right into the Stop 1 problem areas of the Stop 6. Stop 1 concerns itself with the stand-off "showdown" or interview confrontation. But the distance runs as far out as "sniper range," and participants coming in and out of it.

     Trouble doesn't always approach you, sometimes you approach it. You can walk into brewing trouble, or a crime in progress in any store, a school, a bank or a restaurant. Anywhere, anytime in any rural, suburban or urban environment. The only detection clues you have are educating yourself in the who, what, when, how and why of crime and the where of location, location, location. When you approach a place, take a read of those folks already there or nearby.

     In his book and classes, retired FBI Agent Joe Navarro singles out the famous "Stop and Frisk" law, the Terry versus Ohio Supreme Court decision as a perfect example. The case is based on a Detective Dennis McFadden watching suspicious people linger "unnaturally" in front of a store. Fearing a robbery, the detective moved in and searched the men for weapons and found some. The Court's brief included the idea that some "non-verbal behaviors presage criminality," if properly decoded. It's the decoding part we have to explain.

  "'s the decoding part we have to explain..."

     As with the Terry versus Ohio case, if the suspect on your approach, or on his approach, is armed, he may give himself away. The burden of a handgun, or a long-gun under a long jacket, or long knife, or the subliminal desire to tap or touch the weapon etc, may cause a person to walk and, or move oddly. Part of the weapon's shape may protrude from normal clothing outlines as he walks - something we pros call - "a print."

     How do you, yourself walk? It is of course, certainly my hope is that everyone by now knows that how they carry themselves is very important (along with their dress). If you walk timid, you seem to become an easy crime target deep in the minds of observing bad guys. If you walk confidently you seem to be less of a target. Need we bloviate on that common sense subject? I hope not.

     For decades, law enforcement has been taught methods to detect suspicious behavior. Since the early 1990s I've used as a motto. "I have never learned anything as a cop about criminals I didn't think citizens shouldn't also know." This is all part of my "bridging the gap between the military, the police, the martial artist and the aware citizenry" mandate and philosophy as a teacher.

     I would like to add that these surprise, seemingly Instinctual  tip-offs you perceive are not from some magical, Spidey-Sense, some innate gift of fear, a "gut reaction" from some voodoo organ near your gall bladder. These tip-offs come from your brain's subconscious and conscious - your acquired intelligence and learned education and experience.

     Professor Paul Slovic, Psychology Professor, University of Oregon, and said to be one of the world's most respected experts on risk, says that the intuitive system is fast "...and swayed by experiences..." Another clinically recognized reason why experience, connected with emotion, is considered the best teacher. Short of experiences, we must watch, read, see, question and absorb. Your brain is constantly absorbing information, recording the normal, to spot the abnormal. Continue to educate yourself in every way possible.

     There are a lot of semantics tossed around on this subject of fear and intuition, which enable entire books to be written about it, but your real, true gift is your ability to educate yourself, and tutor the subcommittee in your brain that sends messages "up" to your conscious.

Some 'approach" things to think about and look at:
   Pace (speed?)
   Face  (appropriate expressions? Chin jutted out?)
   Eyes (where's he looking?)
   Arms  (swinging? Still?)
   Hands (clenched fists? Patting body where weapons might be?)
   Chest and back (spread out?)
   Clothes (appropriate for weather? For the occasion?)
   Accomplices nearby (in various patterns?)
   Surreptitious (ambush attempt, any or all of the above, only "smaller") 
   Other situational problems...

     Being a student of the obvious, the normal and the natural helps you spot the opposite. When you and trouble start bridging the gap of distance, try and the read that approach, that "walk." Because you know, there's a kind of walk you walk when...


(For more on these subjects, check out this great book, What Every Body is Saying, by Joe Navarro.  It is a keeper on this subject.)


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Blood Rust, by W. Hock Hochheim

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Fight Start! The Trauma and Dramas of Initial Punching and Kicking!

Fight Start! The Trauma and Dramas of Initial Punching and Kicking!
Striking and Kicking from Stop 1 Positions of the Stop 6
by W. Hock Hochheim

     I invented and teach the Stop 6. The 6 common stopping/collision points in a typical fight or arrest.  Just about everything good that you have ever learned can be inserted as tools within the Stop 6.

      In the Stop 1 of the Stop 6, is the stand-off or “showdown” range and we deal with several different topics. One topic is loosely called "stances,” or how you are going to stand when confronted. In Stop 1, for whatever reason, whatever situation, you are standing some meters off with another aggressive person. You can make your own list of the problem topics that caused this confrontation - road rage, bumped, grazed, disrespected, messed with his name it. The sky is the limit in our crazy world.
     How you stand is important. It does or does not send a signal, escalates or de-escalates the problem in either very obvious or subliminal ways. It can be a quiet, non-aggressive positioning of you, your face, your arms and legs. Or, if there are physical threats and, or serious movements of aggression coming at you, your hands should indeed pop up like some kind of barrier, like a negotiator or fighter.

     (I should note here that I am not big on the classical  term “fighting stance” and its over-emphasis and importance. As the old expression goes, "there is no basketball scoring stance, or football scoring stance."  When the fight starts there is only balance and power in motion and the idea of obsessing about standing in one system-approved" statue-like pose, and worrying about precise positions of each knee and elbow...well it just doesn't relate in the movement needed in a fight.)

     In Stop 1, you will either leave, calm, strike/pull weapons preemptively or defensively in the beginnings of this potential fight. The rest is all aggression at whatever level you deem necessary. Force necessary, as we call it. There is much more to discuss in Stop 1, so many topics like verbal skills, positions, enemy assessment, weapon concerns, but this essay is just about training people to strike out and kick out from these stand-off, ready positions in the initial confrontation. Some of these strikes are very like sucker punches and some not. or, sucker kicks to the groin and shins. A more in-depth look at sucker punches appears in another article.

Zero to sixty power.
There is a method of explosive power from a still position to bolster a strike or kick, providing of course you make it so through practice and support exercises and training. A more modern martial arts suggestion is to consider an engine of a car spinning in neutral. Revving. Then suddenly you drop into a gear and the vehicle jolts and blasts off. This vision helped me and others generate a concept of explosive power. Of course there are many more of these to investigate.  Like an athlete in a sports game, take care not to tip off your opponent by making faces or moves that telegraph your intent.

Striking and kicking from the stances/positions

Striking from...
   1: Strike from the classic “bus stop” or arms down stance
   2: Strike from a body turn or twist
   3: Strike from the hands up and,or surrender position
   4: Strike from a conversational position
   5: Strike from the prayer position (hands up or down)
   6: Strike from the crossed arms stance
   7: Strike from the lapel hang stance
   8: Strike from a ready fighting stance
   9: Strike from…other

Kicking from...
   1: Kick from the bus stop or arms down stance
   2: Kick from a ready fighting stance

     With all these standing positions, try to keep your body and feet somewhat bladed or angled from the opposition. Somewhat. Not like a full fighting stance, just slightly bladed. Just do not stand in a straight line in front of a problem person. You are more easily charged and knocked over.

     All athletic action is done with bended knees. As a police officer in many a hot confrontation, when I felt the degrees of a situation rise, I would bend slightly in my knees, getting ready for some athletic endeavor. Once you establish this practice, it also becomes like a biological fight switch turn-on.

     It is also wise to keep some distance, unless of course you are planning on charging in for action. I would like to warn you that most people can spring at you very fast and get all over you in any instant. It is very typical to completely underestimate this distance.
     Here is some basic advice and information about the positions of initial confrontations.   

1: Striking from the classic “bus stop” or arms down stance. I first learned of this idea in Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate back in 1972. It is an appearance of relaxation. Daydreaming even. Every facet of your face, neck and body posture must represent this false premise.  This is a true zero-to-sixty, explosive response. 

     In training, when you strike pads/mitts/heavy bags from this position, hit, then drop to a fighting ready stance, because the fight is obviously on. Then for strike training. Give up on the fighting posture, return to the bus stop, and strike again. This is a problem for the trainer and trainee with short attention spans because they will follow this format and usually start striking from the fight stance. The trainer must correct them.
     Practice all your strikes from this position.

2: Striking from a body turn or twist. Turning away, with subsequent arms swings has long been a successful method to conceal a sudden strike, sucker punch. Acting is required. Act like you are looking around, turning to implore help, or leaving? Or just out of frustration. Many a turning sucker punch has laid low many a sucker.

      Practice all your strikes from this position. 

3: Striking from the hands-up surrender stance. Could there be any more classic suggestion than to give your problem person a hands-up ‘what now?” or ”I give up,” surrender stance?  Showing your palms is like a subliminal animal surrender signal. It also creates a field/shield between the two of you and shortens your intended impending strike, providing you don’t innocently or dumbly retract your hand to do this. 

     It is advised by many that when possible, move these “up-hands” nervously about a bit. This is said to help disguise your next action, in a bit of the same way kick boxers move their hands to disguise their next moves. Others like the still hands and they like the sudden “zero-to-sixty” approach. Up to you. Practice for yourself. Practice all your strikes from this position.

4: Striking from the conversational position. Often sarcastically described through the years as the “Italian method,” this involves having your hands up and in natural motion with your words. This allows for your hands to be up for action.  They are usually still when listening though and look awkward when up and still. Many resort to the classic “Prayer Positions, which are next.

      A classic tip here, but it fits throughout many Stop 1 encounters. While in these positions it is said to be a good idea to strike in the middle of your sentence or the middle of his sentence.  Perhaps within his sentence is better. It is believed that his brain, might be distracted while talking or listening. Either way if it is time for a preemptive strike, do not wait until either you or he finishes speaking to do one.

     This could also be your hands-up "barrier" position, the ones so popular in all self defense programs. I think if you pop up these palms, it looks to the aggressor that your thinking of fighting or becoming a pleading victim. But hands up in an obvious barrier is, in and of itself, an escalation of the incident, if even on a subliminal level for both of you. Sometimes you have no choice no matter and have to.

     Practice all your strikes from this position.

5: Striking from the prayer position. Palms somewhat together in front of you when your speak. Not too popular but still taught, so I must show it here. Not my favorite, either. This is often taught in conjunction with the above conversational hand movements. It gives your hands something to do when listening. They are still up and ready.  I think a lot people find this uncomfortable because it doesn’t appear very natural in everyday interaction.

     Often police officers interview and interrogate people from the "prayer" or the above conversational hands positions. Part of their problem is the excessive amount of gear on their uniform belts, creating such a girth it hinders their natural arm positions and even movement.

      If you chose the prayer hands, up or down, practice all your strikes from these position.  

6: Striking from the cross arms stance. This is also a classic, but cross them “loosely.” Do not let yourself be pinned into a bow tie on your chest. This positioning allows you to block, push and strike out and to do so powerfully with that lead arm, and even pull your weapon with the other hand.
     Some people like to cross their arms and put a finger up to their chin, called the “Jack Benny Pose,” based on the very old and golden age, TV comedian. The problem is many people today do not know who Jack Benny is anymore. Personally, I find the "Benny-chin-stroker" intellectually pretentious and therefore, possibly antagonistic, unless the person has a beard.
     Crossing your arms, perhaps tightly, is also a subliminal message of closure to communication, so beware of that stigma. I am not sure that lightly crossing your arms disatched the same message. 
     Another advantage with this position is it gets your gun (or knife-side) back and away from the problem-person. This helps you retain the weapon as well as gives you space for a sudden draw, even some deception for one.

     This is one of my favorites. I taught it at police academies to recruits for many years in the late 1980s and 1990s. Then, I decided it was best for people - the police cadet - to develop their own favorite stance, based on their size, shape, age, strength and personality. Practice all your strikes from this position.

7: Striking from the lapel hang stance. I learned this idea back in the 1980s in a “Plain-Clothes Shooting” class put on by retired FBI agents. One might casually grip the edges of their sport coat, suit jacket or outerwear jacket during an interview or the beginnings of a confrontation. Your hands may run up and down the edge as needed and are already in a half-fist position if you need or want to punch.   
     Just let them fly forward! There are other tricks and advantages to this. Practice all your strikes from this position.

8: Striking from a ready fighting stance. You know what this is. This is your so-called favorite fighting stance. Develop your own from practice, not mindlessly listening to some martial figure head. Question  everything. Test everything. 
     You are probably practicing all of your strikes from the ready position. Keep doing so.

9: Striking from other. Other? A nice catch-all? I once worked with a police officer whose favorite ready stance was hooking his thumbs on his gun belt. Too low? Not for him. He practiced from there and was a very fast and excellent kick boxer. He made this his ready stance. Of course, when the fight switch was thrown, his hands came up. But in the early stages of confrontation, his hands were down. 

     Other? How about throwing things that you are holding? Or hitting with things you are holding. This would mean that your Stop 1 stance and body and arm positioning includes maneuvering over to other off-the-body weapons. Arms-down might mean your hands are near a hefty lamp?

     Crime occurs everywhere and in all situations. Potential victims are often holding things when confronted, from groceries, and drinking glasses to empty shotguns. Think about the “combat value” of the items being held for possible tools to win.

      As a topical aside to this “other” category, some things being taught as weapons should also be evaluated. There are many fighting systems, martial or “tactical” that suggest the use of, for example, things like small keys on key chains, or scarves. I would rather fight with the full potential of two empty hands – I can do more – than trying to tie up, in elaborate knots they show, angry, adrenalized people holding knives, with scarves.  If you can actually do this? Wow! But, then you have spent way too much time trying to learn how, at the expense of more more faster, efficient stuff.
      I am sure some martial artists will find this advice shocking because they have seen “Master So-and So” do it, or they can do it about 80 percent of the time with much practice, to slow-motion students in a classroom.  And, unless you are going to get lucky and stick a key in someone’s eye, I don’t think fighting with your car key is worth it, either. These items are low percentage tricks I would not rely on, or advise people to rely on.. I am also not fond of these tactical pens.  Yes you can stick it in people's eyes. You can also stick your fingers in people's eyes, and your fingers are always with you nd you are really use to using them.

     I would rather just use my hands than hold scarves, keys and pens. I have seen people teaching entire programs with small flashlights and pens, using elaborate joint locks. Keys, pens, scarves, small flashlights - all this stuff can be dangerously misleading, over-sold and create misdirected confidence. And if successful once in awhile, don’t let these anecdotal stories fool you.  I would rather keep my hands free to fight, or to pick up more sensible, valuable items in the area to fight with. Never discount a really good punch. What’s better? Multiple punches/strikes.

The Force Necessary: Unarmed! The Complete Strike List

   1: Finger (as in eyes, rips, pulls etc.)
   2: Palm strikes
   3: Forearm strikes
   4: Hammer fists
   5: Punches - jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, overhands, sucker punches
   6: Elbows
   7: Body rams (are a bit closer in and relate better to other Stops)
   8: Limited use of the head butt (again, close in and better for closer Stop problems

 Kicking from the Stances/Positions

1: Kicking from the classic “bus stop” and arms down stance. I first learned of this idea in Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate back in 1972. It is an appearance of relaxation. Daydreaming even. Every facet of your face, neck and body posture must represent this false premise.  This is a true zero-to-sixty, explosive response. 

     In training, when you kick pads/mitts/heavy bags from this position, hit, then drop to a fighting ready stance, because the fight is obviously on. Then for strike training. Give up on the fighting posture, return to the bus stop, and kick again. This is a problem for the trainer and trainee with short attention spans because they will follow this format and usually start kicking from the fight stance. The trainer must correct them.

     Practice all your kicks from this position.

2: Kicking from a ready fighting stance. You know what this is. This is your so-called "favorite fighting stance." Develop your own from practice, not mindlessly listening to some martial figure head. Question everything. Test everything. 

    You are probably, already kicking from your fighting ready stance. Keep on keeping on.

The Force Necessary: Unarmed! The Complete Kick List
   1: Snaps
   2: Stomps
   3: Knees
   4: Rear leg hooks
   5: Lead leg hooks
   6: Backs
   7: Sides
   8: Thrusts

In Summary
You should also practice your blocking skills from these stances! But, that is the subject of another essay, isn't it? This is about striking and kicking. Work the training matrix. Pick a stance and then with a trainer holding gear, or by yourself using a heavy bag, incorporate the strike the strike and start hitting.

      Stance + Strike + Gear + Reps = Explosive 
              Strikes and Kicks from Stance

      In the big picture, the full Stop 6 picture of all the 6 stopping collisions, you will strike and kick from standing, kneeling/sitting and ground positions. This essay is just a study from the Stop 1. And finally, never forget all this is occurring inside situational family violence, crime and war trauma and a drama. Striking and kicking in the isolation tank of a classroom or school is less than a complete preparation for life and its ugliness.

 Combat Kicks and Counters to Kicks Video

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