Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Winning, Which Fight?

Surviving? Escaping? Destroying the Enemy?

    You find yourself in a 6-man foot patrol in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. You suddenly are confronted by an entire battalion of North Vietnamese. Do you stay, fight and try to win? Or, you are a city police officer on patrol and suddenly you are jumped by three vicious men with guns. Or, what if you are surrounded by an armed cartel gang on a supermarket parking lot? Must you always stand and fight? Must you win? Must you win every encounter right then and there, no matter the situation? Muster up the mojo to stay on in the face of impossibility and win-win-win? What if you are a citizen in the same mess? What is the definition of winning anyway? Well, it differs.

     There have been numerous police and citizen instructors in the last 20 or so years with the "winning is everything," or a generic "win" message. It is a simplistic message and sometimes even suicidal. And I think this drumbeat misses a lot of typical war and crime-fighting situations.

     This isn't a business negotiation deal, a Sunday football game or a MMA match, a lawsuit in court, or even a one-on-one arrest. I do think a lot of these rah-rah instructors naively seem to view the world – view the only kind of fight you'll fight as sort of a one-versus-one, or maybe at worst a one-versus-two alleyway? Or bar struggle? Or, in police circles, they only see an officer having a fight with a single suspect. 

     Yet, studies for many years have proven that you, as a citizen or a police officer, will be fighting two or more people 40 percent of the time, and now more recently, some say as high as 90 percent of the time! Yes, 90 percent! One FBI study actually hit a 90 percent high figure! Now let's add the other stat from the FBI that 40 percent of the time, the person you'll fight with,  will be armed with a gun, a stick of some sort, or a knife. Not good.

     So, must you ever and always stand your ground, outnumbered or under-gunned in the jungle or surrounded in the street to stay and win, win, WIN! As so many modern “Win Instructors" declare you must? As they pound this into your psyche with their winning macho courses? No. I think we need to expand the definition. We need to take a look at situational problem-solving. We need to further define the word "win" and not let it get confused with a Rocky movie.

"We need to further define the word win and not let it get 
confused with a Rocky movie or a UFC match. "

     In the who, what, where, when, how and why of this, what exactly is winning?
  • Who are you? Cop? Soldier? Citizen?
  • What is it you are doing exactly? Arresting someone? Fighting the Taliban? Defending yourself?
  • Where is this happening? Home? Out? Battlefield?
  • When is this happening?
  • How is this unfolding? How might it end?
  • Why is there even a confrontation?

     Define "winning" for all of the above. Everyone's definition of winning is really situational. Mission-based, different and situational. It is indeed situational. It is small-minded, inexperienced, immature and plain wrong for instructors to preach this simple “must always win” mentality to prep everyone, every time and not explore the actual situations and the related responsibilities. Their small perspective isn't from a high enough altitude to see how these win messages spread across the board to police, military and citizens and can create a generic, confusing and dangerous message. Missions are different. Daily life is different. Citizens, soldiers and cops have different goals. Winning means different things to different people in different situations at different times.

     To a police officer winning usually means arresting the suspect, or at times, just staying alive. To a citizen it usually means escaping a crime or escaping injury, or possibly confining a criminal until the authorities arrive. To a common citizen? Just leaving. Like for one example, escaping a parking lot crime unscathed is win-win. For the officer or citizen, this may also mean killing a criminal. In the USA, there are about 320 million people and only a few rare times citizens shoot and kill criminals. Same with the police.

     If you are in the military, winning means – winning both small and big battles. And it may mean also winning the hearts and minds of the populace around you. Winning may also mean an escape to fight another battle another day as in the aforementioned Mekong Delta ambush. A prisoner of war wins by escaping, not stopping and fighting and winning/killing every guard and soldier along the way in hand-to-hand combat. Situational.

     For all these groups, we share the temporary solution that discretion may be the better part of valor, at times. Live now to fight another day when there is chance to win. Yes, the orderly retreat! Cowboys have a "get out of Dodge" plan. I know some contractors overseas who jokingly say - 

     "when in real doubt, head for the airport." 

     Colonel David Hackworth always had a "go to hell" plan for when all other plans have "gone to hell." (Hack once told me even his "go to hell" plan had yet another go to hell plan within it.) 

     Discretion is the better part of valor. Have you heard this line before? This idiom officially means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems. Experts say the phrase comes from:  "the better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life," – Falstaff in Henry IV, Part One. Shakespeare strikes again. Later Churchill would use his own version.

Winning – by the retreat! This Shakespearean passage is the original sentence-structure-version of “discretion is the better part of valor.” Wordsmiths say this phrase usually means caution is better than rash courage. In my world for decades now, especially in the military business, the phrase is a common rule and guideline for the smart time to retreat. So, despite the rah-rah-must-always-win speeches, all military in combat, big or small, recognize the time to retreat and do so properly. Orderly.
     For example, when Alexander the Great retreated his troops, they remained in the phalanx formations, never turning their backs to the enemy and flat out running off – this historically causes the greatest casualty figures in war. In retreat, "winning" then and there meant escaping with the least amount of casualties, via the orderly plan. I cannot tell you exactly what to do for every orderly retreat in every aspect of life, combat or crime-fighting. It is way too situational, but Alexander could predict his problems! Orderly retreat in the phalanx. Study the who, what, where, when, how and why of your life and make "go-to hell" plans. 
     I myself have been in numerous jams. Once in a drug raid on a military base I was chasing a dealer in a large building who escaped the raid and I was suddenly surrounded by him and five more accomplices. What was I to do? Shoot six unarmed people? Get beaten to pieces by six people in a fight? I shoved my way out and left and got help from the other raiders downstairs. We arrested our target dealer within minutes.

Winning – Taking One for the Team. Sometimes losing means winning. Lose in the short run for a win in the long run? In sports we see a lot of dramatic "victims" overact and fall down and cry out to be noticed. When they are fouled or almost fouled. The fouled players like to be seen by the referee and they overact their injury. Penalty flag! The other team gets penalized. This is evident in soccer, basketball, karate tournaments, well, in any sports really, and in life too! Frequently when police arrest people, the poor suspect screams out for all to witness, to hear how they have been injured and abused by the officers. A very common ploy, but it seems to work a lot, doesn't it?
     Have you ever taken one not for the team? Lose, but for the overall cause? I have been in a few, odd situations such as once in a court room and in the halls outside. The situation heated up and it looked as though there might be a fight. There is no question that if I got hit in public, either inside the courtroom or out in the hall with witnesses, I knew it would be smarter to drop like a stone and cry out like a wounded, soccer or basketball player! FOUL! The bailiff would have cuffed the puncher, and we would build an even better case for my client and entangle the puncher and the puncher's defense team with even more distracting trouble and another charge to the list to bargain a plea. I was prepared to take one for the team. 
     Taking one for the...war. In the bigger picture, one has to only think of the 300 Spartans and their loss at the Gates of Fire, to see their loss was Greece's, overall eventually gain.Same too with the Alamo in Texas. The enemy stalled so their comrades could later succeed. 

Winning – And In The End. Remember that for citizens in modern times and civilizations, your willingness to fight, no matter how righteous and defensive your actions might be, may often end with you going to jail, with considerable legal fees and maybe with some added doctor bills to boot. You may well be vindicated later, but at a physical, emotional and monetary loss. 
     Who are you and what is winning, surviving, escaping? We all share these same possibilities and goals in the situational combat of crime and war. I warn you to be leery of these one-note, Win-Only courses and teachers. Their altitude and perspective are unsophisticated, short and low. Their message can be dangerous. Suicidal , even. Crime and combat are not like a Sunday football game. In real life, an escape, even a tie or yes, even a loss, can still be a win.

Winning might be:
  1. Escape from the opponent (using the "Orderly Retreat" concept).
  2. Threats, demands and actions to make the opponent surrender and/or desist and maybe even make him leave.
  3. Less than lethal injury to the opponent. Injure and/or diminish to a degree that the opponent stops fighting, and,or stops chasing you.
  4. Control arrest, contain and restrain. Capture and escort the opponent. Or, you detain/capture the opponent and await the proper authorities.
  5. Lethal methods. We fight criminals and enemy soldiers. Sometimes we kill them.


   I think the term "innocently" as used inside the above photo...some people/courses/instructors just automatically think that the bar fight is what fights just "are." Innocent in that they cannot even detect their material is heavily slanted toward that bar theme. They can't even see the slant  themselves. Their verbal skill drills are talking with bully-drunks. Some build fake bars to train in. They have seminars in bars. Or, worry about the bar bathrooms. In a way, it would be like having all cops train for fights only in traffic stops. Some mechanics of the fight might be universal, yet the overall dialogue and surroundings are a traffic stop. There is nothing wrong with training for traffic stop fights or bar fights once in awhile, just as long as everyone knows the bigger picture.That's what I mean by innocent.

  Yes. We fight criminals and enemy soldiers. Even if your drunk brother-in-law takes a poke at you during the Christmas party, at that very instant he actually, technically, becomes a criminal. You will react accordingly based on the situation. But we fight criminals and enemy soldiers. Sometime we escape. Sometimes we wound them. Sometime we arrest/control/contain them. Sometimes we kill them.

"Missions are different. Daily life is different. Citizens, soldiers and cops 
have different goals. Winning means different things to different people 
in different situations at different times."

 (Think this is common sense that everyone must already know? After this essay was first published in a police magazine a few years ago, a rather famous, police "WIN" instructor back then changed his program, turning the course title "WIN" into a clever acronym of W.I.N., and switching the message to "What is Important Now." instead of just generic winning. He was able to salvage his old foundation, ad campaign, etc into this smarter, more broad, yet refined approach. Your welcome. - though I never heard a thank you.)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's Not Real About Simulated Ammo Training

      I teach over 2,000 people a year in all kinds of spaces and places, in some 12 allied countries and we cover hand, stick, knife and gun material. For the gun subject, most of the time we do not have access to a shooting range and, frankly, I really don't want to teach live fire. I don't like all the range logistics and well…to be honest, it very quickly bores me to shoot, or guide people to shoot endless paper targets all day, all year, for decades. Forever (remember I started shooting in the late 1960s). It just does. You can get that live fire instruction from someone else, which is usually good caliber, almost anywhere. I urge you to do that and I partner with many great instructors who do so. They teach live fire. I teach the simulated ammo, combat scenarios.

     Rather, I want people to explore and learn things about close quarter, interactive shooting. Since 1995 or so, I have used any tool I can get my hands on to develop some interactive combat shooting awareness and skills. Many if not most times, I am stuck inside the confines of training room or a martial arts school, a hotel business meeting room, academy class, public school gym, or maybe even an open, back lot of a building. It is what it is and I adapt. We'll throw tennis balls at you to make an "incoming point, shoot the hard core Simunitions if we have them, use gas guns, BB guns, Airsoft guns, even rubber band guns, anything so as to create an experience of an exchange of “bullets” while two or more people are thinking, reacting, moving and fighting with guns in close quarters inside and around cars, stairways, buildings, parking lots, businesses, you name it.

     One year we had an entire, multi-floor building, with an indoor parking lot, about to be gutted for remodeling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. We helped destroy the place with sims and gas guns. As I like to say, you are not really learning how to gunfight unless a moving, thinking person is shooting back at you. It changes a lot of things and some say – almost everything. I say that is situational. You still need to pull the trigger and shoot.

      Once ridiculed in the mid-1990s for these ideas and tools, I now sell bulk quantities of rubber band guns to police and military groups AFTER they use them in my training sessions. They get the idea, intent and plan. (These wooden “toys,” fire 6 to 8 times in a semi-auto fashion) and like the battery powered “electric” Airsoft guns are cheap, safe and do not damage people, buildings or cars. This allows you to work some aspect of gun material no matter where you are. (Warning-If you use the Airsoft long guns, like machine guns or shotguns – these babies can be charged up to property and vehicle damaging levels. We have blown out lights, dented cars and broken windows and mirrors).

      When you introduce the gas-powered guns in training then you have worries about the neighbors, your pick-up truck and all things that shatter, dent, break, scream and howl. But, the gas guns at least give you some level of explosive sound and a little wave of shock and a dose of pain when you are on the wrong end.

"…you are not really learning how to gunfight unless a 
moving, thinking person is shooting back at you…"

      Unless we are doing special long gun training, I usually teach very close-in handgun tactics, stretching the distance limits to say – one or two car lengths. But at times, gun fights inside buildings in various scenarios like buildings searches, protection escorts and the like, we have our practitioners shooting these simulated weapons and ammo at greater distances than very close quarters…topics like “gun-arm grappling.”

      Getting off the "Dime." That's what we use to call it in the old days. Somebody recently called it "getting off the X" and he is treated like a new tactical genius? Like it was a new idea? Anyway, believe in the old “getting off the "Dime" or the new "X” when shooting? Try it interactively with simulated ammo and see if you can actually get off anything when the bullets fly.

     Interactivity is the lab you can't find on the gun range. It's on the stairwell, on the parking lot, the store, the restaurant, and inside homes, offices and…well anywhere and everywhere but not the square range. Lots of live-fire guys, dabbling with simulated ammo, make the mistake of doing it right on the shooting range. No, sir. You need to make the locations as real as possible.

      In a perfect world, training weapons used should look, feel and weigh like their real counterparts. But, realistically, other than some classic Simunitions ammo or high grade paint-marker bullets used in real firearms, all the other so-called “simulated ammunition” will obviously not react like live rounds, and I always make this “what's not real” speech at the beginning of a dedicated training session.

     Some examples of “what's not real with simulation ammo shooting” when not using special Simunitions guns or your guns with special marker bullets

     No realistic malfunctions
     No real gun blast/explosions in your hands or in front of you
     No realistic weight in your hands (unless you buy such a replica)
     No real recoil or ‘weapon climb”
     No real pain/wounding
     Each gun is a marksmanship challenge. The more powerful, the straighter the “arrow.”
     No rounds passing through the scenery (walls, etc.) that you use for cover or concealment
     No realistic skips or ricochets
     No real fear
     No real reaction to being shot. You can act like it, which is okay to do, but it is still acting
     Usually no realistic reloading
     Keep experimenting and building this list.

      Now if you have the expensive packages of "Simunitions Gun and Ammo Sets" as well as certain good, "marker bullets" that fit into your actual weapons, you will not have half the problems listed above. These are expensive, not easy to transport for travelers like me. Plus, you must train in areas that these bullets won't destroy walls, cars and just about anything in range. These are the best, but not the easiest to acquire or use.

     Do I sound negative, being a proponent of interactive shooting? Perhaps. But the truth is the truth. These are some of the downsides everyone must know. You still must shoot live ammo. My idea is that once you fully qualify/certify with your live-fire weapon, I believe that all your further shooting practice should be in that special 25 percent / 75 percent split or even a 40 percent / 60 percent split. Your choice. 50-50? That means for the next training trips, 25 percent up to 50 percent of the time is spent for a quick re-familiarization of the weapon with live fire, and then 75 percent, or maybe half of the rest of the time is spent in interactive, simulated ammo scenarios and situations.

      To move up and on, you have to break the bonds of the "shooting-paper-target-range-mentality-only." This does not have to be expensive or dangerous to people and property with gas guns and other types of training guns. And it will extensively enhance awareness, experience and survival. (Hey, I get rave reviews for teaching this stuff, every time and every where I go. It's up to you.)

     This looks like a long, negative list. Like all sorts of hand, stick and knife training, Simulated ammo training is not perfect and at times far from perfect. We have to recognize the problems listed above, but there are a lot of benefits. I think it still is a mandatory practice for understanding aspects of human behavior in interactive gunfights, in actual locations. It's the next step very few take for a variety of business and personal reasons – but it is the a step, the next step in testing your tactics before you see how you might get yourself killed.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Force Necessary Black Belt Test

Unarmed Combatives Black Belt. Level 10.

Hand versus hand
Hand versus stick
Hand versus knife
Hand versus gun

     Mission statement: We fight criminals and enemy soldiers, with and without weapons, standing, seated, kneeling or on the ground. Sometimes we take them prisoner. Sometimes we kill them. Sometimes we escape. Certain sports are ways to hone parts of these survival skills.

    Before you start reading the test list, here are my thoughts on how and why I constructed the test, the way that I have. I dis start with the test and worked backwards. There are many quick fix fighting programs on the market. Not that there is anything wrong with the idea because sometimes that can be helpful, and that is indeed what I try to cover in my Stop 6 program. But, I am concerned with the the "older,: or "old-school" concept of a more complete slogging and slugging it all out in a comprehensive, longer-term, depth-building progression. Where are those long term, commitment courses? Well, there's mine.

     I say every week -

     "I will never tell you how to fight. We just get together 
and work out. In the end it is your job to create your personalized little fighting system for yourself." 

     We live in that "mixed person's world, where everyone is a different size, a different shape, age, strength, different physical problems, etc.   My job is to adequately expose you to numerous, good, survival options. You work with them, experiment with them, and either like or don't like them. Build your own thing. Remember, we live in a "mixed persons" of different sizes, shapes, ages, etc.  Experiment. There are things your students may not like and, or cannot do like you can. And vice-versa. An instructor has a higher level of responsibilities.  And don't confuse your hobbies with self defense fighting. Don't impose your hobbies on people and further this confusion. Be clear as to what is, or what isn't a hobby, or a sport and in the big picture, where it all logically fits. It can often, fit together

     My goal was to create a big system that is a like college level study into fighting. I am sure that the term "college-level" is not the best term for this, but nonetheless, the overall concept is what I am shooting for. This covers the broad fundamentals of fighting survival and it is not complicated, not brain surgery or rocket science. This is, in a very, very abstract way, like a black belt in "karate" and "jujitsu," (small "k" and small "j") combined, minus all the dogma and katas, etc. This too, is not the best explanation either.  It seems to me that may courses and instructors today are either doing almost classical, or at least the "new classics," like sport fighting, or these quickie or quicker solution courses. Who is doing the best of both in the best way? I hope my system does. That is a better explanation.

     In the somewhat shunned and, or ignored advice of yesteryear, they told us that getting a black belt was the very beginning of your learning process, not the end. The core foundation. Now,, you begin. This advice I do like. Armed with this Black Belt as an overall foundation, you should move on into specific subjects like one pursues a masters degree. Be it sport or whatever, you move on to specific areas. You will discover that I have constructed a foundation here for you to spring forward and create a base understanding of the big picture to help this goal. This is also the best time for the Stop 6 program materials because you are using skills you have previously honed through proper time and grade. Anytime is a good time for the Stop 6, but learning the angst and depth of fighting is a major insight and help.

    In this modern world of mixed systems and certifications and so forth, why have a "corny old" Black Belt ranking, you might ask? Well, one reason is that I can. I have tested up in the blacks. But there is a business reason. I still think a goodly portion of the populace recognizes the term. Respects it. Asks for it. Looks for it on your office wall. For that reason I offer it. If such a rank  makes you feel uncomfortable, then just use the term "Level 10." Another reason is that it signifies a certain rite of passage. A ritual for yourself and others. I promise you I will make the passage worthwhile. Ask anyone who has done the whole test. Many people just lay down on the floor when they finish it.

    Boxing? Kick boxing? Kick Boxing with take downs? Take downs with situational finishes? Yup. Nothing replaces this rough and tumble knowledge, the angst, and practice and the precious time spent doing it. It creates depth and savvy and numerous benefits. I am rather oblivious to the whole "combat sports" versus "RBSD" debates. I like to do the more simple and the obvious, and support it with the best skill exercises I can find, and dodge the dogma. That approach transcends the debate for me. (I still pick those little "sport cancers" that can get into your way)

     I am not an expert in every aspect of this process. We use many sources and experts and I fully expect you to use many, many sources to improve yourself. It is, as they say, your journey.

    For the test, for the system, I cannot emphasize how very important the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why Module is, as well as the Stop 6 Module. They are the skeletal applications of everything psychological and physical. They cover use of force, laws, all the popular preemptive tricks, counter-crime, mixed weapons, well, they are simply imperative.  

In the Force Necessary: Hand! Course, one studies:
  The Who, What, Where, When, How and Why Module
  The Stop 6 Module Maneuvers - which include :
       "kick boxing footwork
       "obstacle course footwork"
       "basic ground maneuvers"

  All good strikes, standing and ground and their counters
  All good kicks, standing and ground and their counters
  Good variety of take downs (which automatically include some joint cranking)
  Some kickboxing that includes take downs
  Ground fighting and escapes from ground fighting
  How firearms and knives operate and are used
  How impact weapons are used
  Counters to knife attacks
  Counters  to stick attacks
  Counters to pistol and long gun threats
  The 125 Worst Case Scenario Combat Scenarios

Here is the actual FN: Hand! Black Belt Test
Explain the Stop 6

Explain the Who, What, Where, When and How Module
Satisfactorily complete the first nine levels of the course  

The Striking  Review: Review and repetition sets on gear, standing and on the ground

  Eye attacks
  Palm strikes
  Forearm strikes
  Hammer fists
  Punching - Jab
  Punching - Cross
  Punching - Hook
  Punching - Uppercut
  Punching - Overhead
  Punching - Combination feeds
  Body Rams
  Uses of the Head Butt

             All of these strikes will be done from:
                      * Sucker punch - "bus stop"
                      * From hands-up surrender
                      * Ready stance
                      * While being held
                      * While holding
                      * Ground top
                      * Ground bottom
                      * Ground side by side

The Kicking Review- Review and repetition sets on gear, standing and on the ground of:
  The Front Snapping kick
  The Stomp Kick
  The Knee
  The Thrust Kick
  The Rear Round Kick
  The Lead Round Kick
  The Side Kick
  The Mule Kick/Back Kick
  Kick Sparring

              All of the kicks will be done from:
                    * The "Bus Stop"
                    * Ready stance
                    * While held
                    * Ground positions

Be prepared to demonstrate on demand some Critical Contact, Hand Speed, Flow and Skill Drills/Exercises

Overview of the Mandatory SFC Big Take Downs and Throws. You have to know what each of these are and do them.
    - Battering take down
    - Head twist take down
    - Tornado throw and Half-Tornado-Push
    - Outer leg sweep, rear take down
    - Inner leg reap sweep, rear take down
    - Frontal take downs
    - The big wrap and dumps
    - Wrist crank/arm torque take downs 
    - 3 finger crank take downs
    - Reverse (back-to-back) hip throw
    - Rear pull take down
    - Rear choke take down
    - Wheel throw/bent torso
    - Sheonage-style Shoulder/Bent Arm Throw
    - Clothesline
    - Under-the-Arm take down
    - Rear "Hammer Lock"
    - Front arm bar
    - Reverse bent arm bar
    - Over the shoulder arm bar/break    
    - Foot/ Ankle sweep
    - Tackles- and single leg and double leg picks and scoops

The 125 Big Worst Case Combat Scenarios
These scenarios are not choreographed. They are freestyle. The better your partner? The better the test. The partner can of course and should wear gear. 
  Several rounds of boxing
  Several rounds of kick sparring
  Several rounds of kickboxing
  Several rounds of kickboxing with take downs and situational finishes

8 combat scenarios vs stick attacks
4 combat scenarios, you are knee-high, he is standing with stick
4 combat scenarios, you are grounded, he is standing with stick
4 combat scenarios, you are bottom-side ground, stick on top
4 combat scenarios, you are topside, stick on bottom
1 combat scenario, grounded, side-by-side versus stick
1 combat scenario, interrupting a 3rd party stick attacker
1 combat scenario interrupting a stick quick draw, standing
1 combat scenario interrupting a stick quick draw, ground, bottom
1 combat scenario interrupting a stick quick draw, ground, top

8 combat scenarios vs knife attacks
4 combat scenarios, you are knee-high, he is standing with knife
4 combat scenarios, you are grounded, he is standing with knife
4 combat scenarios, you are bottom-side ground, knifer on top
4 combat scenarios, you are topside, knifer on bottom
1 combat scenario, grounded, side-by-side versus knifer
1 combat scenarios, interrupting a 3rd party knife attacker
1 combat scenarios interrupting a knife quick draw
1 combat scenario interrupting a knife quick draw, standing
1 combat scenario interrupting a knife quick draw, ground, bottom
1 combat scenario interrupting a knife quick draw, ground, top

4 combat scenarios vs pistol threats
4 combat scenarios vs long gun threats
2 combat scenario interrupting a 3rd party pistol attacker

8 combat scenarios vs unarmed strikes
8 combat scenarios vs kick attacks
4 combat scenarios vs bear hugs and clinches
4 combat scenarios vs tackles
4 combat scenarios, you are knee-high, he is standing
4 combat scenarios, you are grounded, he is standing
4 combat scenarios, you are bottom-side ground
4 combat scenarios, you are topside, ground
2 combat scenario, grounded, side-by-side
2 combat scenarios, interrupting a 3rd party attacker
2 combat scenarios vs multiple attackers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And that's the test. If you look good? If you look like you are winning? You got it. Every unarmed thing I teach fits into this test in a part, supported by skill drills, like a piece in the puzzle. There is a method to my madness.

Dropping in for just a short haul? We'll also do the Stop 6. But, are you tough enough for the long term commitment? Plus, use everything you've already learned. It'll probably fit in somewhere. This is your route. You do this, and from your experiences, build your own personalized, custom fighting program. 

Of course, you can always just train for knowledge. This is about you, not me. What your do with it.

Email Hock at hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Death of Captain Waskow

The Death of Captain Waskow by Ernie Pyle. This short, precision piece by the war correspondent Ernie Pyle, the author of oh so many poignant reports from the front lines, struck a chord with civilians and the military alike, not just at that time, but was recalled many times for a few decades later here and there, back when I first saw it. Some say this was Pyle’s most reprinted war report. It remained in many minds but now remains lost in history, as I guess, all things must pass. But this is not about Ernie Pyle. Let's think about Captain Waskow just one more time.

* * * * * *

The Death of Captain Waskow
By Ernie Pyle:

AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, January 10, 1944 - In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.
     Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

     "After my own father, he came next," a sergeant told me.
      "He always looked after us," a soldier said. "He'd go to bat for us every time."
      "I've never knowed him to do anything unfair," another one said.

     I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow's body down. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley below. Soldiers made shadows in the moonlight as they walked.
Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came lying belly-down across the wooden pack-saddles, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking out awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

     The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.
The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road.

      I don't know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions.

     We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.
Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead man lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall.
     Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. "This one is Captain Waskow," one of them said quietly.

     Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don't cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

     The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

     One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

     Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I'm sorry, old man."
Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

     "I sure am sorry, sir."

     Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

     And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

     After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.

* * * * *

When I think of the crushing, crippling loss of all our guys and gals since 1944 in every fight. All of them. The death. The dismemberment and the pain. I too want to say, "God damn it. God damn it to hell anyway."

Email Hock at hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com
Hock's webpage www.forcenecessary.com
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Simple Military Ear Palm Strike They Showed Us

To hit the side of the head with a palm strike?

What are your end goals? Unconsciousness or inner ear damage? Or both?

Will you use:
   - a somewhat flat, slightly curved hand strike, or
   - an oddly-shaped, hollowed-out palm, a canoe-like, curved, suction-cupped hand?

      Both are distinctly taught in various quarters. I think the old manual word "cup" causes some confusion.

     99% of the time, I think the primary goal is snacking the head and splashing the brain. I say take a pass on the extra, canoe-shaped, hand config and use the flatter palm. The flatter, only slightly naturally curved hand will blast the side of the head and some of the face with better force, and also quite probably clap the ear, too. The hollowed-out, like-a-suction-cup, palm hand version will not be this versatile. And, remember we are often fighting moving targets.

      Maybe the above photo series helps explain what I mean. The natural palm shape is slightly curved anyway. I have attended martial and police classes where the suction-cupped hand was used to strike not only the ear, but the side of the neck, the liver, etc. Why?

     Also, remember that all experts since WW II's Fairbairn state that the inner ear injury at best is only a possibility. No guarantee. You may, or might hurt the inner ear and to then what degree? None of these martial and military instructors are ear doctors. And the doctors treating concussive ear injuries from fights in emergency rooms and in their offices cannot state the exact shape of the striker's hand when their patient was hit.

     When I was in Army basic training way back when in the early 1970s, we had an ear strike pattern to work on, in conjunction with eye attacks.

    1: Right palm strike to the left ear, eye gouge the left eye with the right thumb.
    2: Left palm strike to the right ear, eye gouge the right eye with the left thumb
    3: Double ear strike, double eye gouge with both thumbs

     Not one drill instructor (mine were Nam and some Korean vets with several tours) ever mentioned an extra effort of hollowing-out, and cupping the hand in a special pre-constructed, pre-hit position for an attempt at some sort of sealed (?) air bubble attack onto the ear. If you also want to hurt the inner ear? Then just hitting the head and ear with the flatter, slightly naturally curved palm will do.

      I still teach this 3-part, pattern above as an introduction, standing, and ground too - as I have added it to the ground for topside, bottom-side and downed, side by side exercises for introduction to the ideas and for familiarization. There are both hooking palms and thrusting palms. Thrusting palms usually strike with the heel of the hand, and his may look also like some form of a semantic "cup hand." as in the chin jab or chin push. We deliver this on the combat clock standing, kneeling and on the ground. No suction or forced air concerns in any other strike but the ear one.

     The natural palm strike probably well be somewhat curved slightly to best hit and fit the curve of the head (or torso, or groin). Is that officially called "a cup?" The military "cupping hand?" Or is it a canoe-shaped, hollowed out, cupping hand as some teach?

In summary:
 1: The primary goal of the strike is to blast and slosh the brain. The secondary goal might be to concuss the inner ear. The success of the concussive impact on the ear varies.

2: Any palm strike that surrounds and seals the ear significantly could cause damage to the inner ear. No special odd hand configuration and extra training is needed to do this. A simple, natural, palm strike will do.

 3: The added, extra shaped, hollowing-out, cupped position suggested by some is an odd and a bit unnatural position when compared to the simple palm strike. The added hollowed-out, hand position requires more training and makes for less of a power shot.

4. Cupping. The word. the term. Cupping Hand Strike. Is this really just semantics? I mean, just how cupped do some people want us to go?

    Palm strike the side of the head in a natural position. If you get the ear with your palm, you may well still have a shot at the concussive damage you seek. This still offers a flatter hand sealing over the ear and is better than an extra-cupped hand where air will escape and which will probably not offer any kind of a seal.

    Pre-constructing a pre-hit, special, suction-cup, hollowed-out, hand position for a force-air, strike bubble, and the extra training for that position is really unnecessary when you spend a few moments to think clearly about it. This is not some kind of myth-busting big deal. This is a small observation, but that is why I don't teach that version of the hollowed-out, "cupped" hand strike to the ear.

Post Script:  In South Korea in the 70s, my partner and I were on a foot patrol "walking the beat" and he had his pistol snatched right from his hand, right in front of me, when he decided to arrest an uncooperative knucklehead. My partner drew and pointed the pistol at the guy. The guy (untrained missile jockey) twisted the pistol barrel right out of his hand and pointed it right back at my friend. My MP friend instantly double-ear slapped the guy. The guy fell to one knee and dropped the pistol. His jaw dropped. Eyes went lifeless. He "left the universe" and if we hadn't grabbed him he would have fallen over for sure. Like a slo-mo TKO. We carried him back to our little headquarters, where he remained jacked up for some time that night. This was no special suction-cupped shaped hand. Just two flat hands to the ear. I don't want to get into the pistol issue. The gun was aimed right at his chest when he ear-slapped the guy! (Was there a round in the chamber? Safety on?I don't know.)

I can't say I know anything about the guy's medical condition as a result. I do recall he was back in the village creating troubles again. So he recovered.

Email Hock at hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

This Illegal Immigrant Thing by W. Hock Hochheim

Immigration and Texas...with the latest news, I thought I would print this true story from one of my books...

“Units 61, 63, 69 report into the squad room,” the dispatcher said, interrupting the 3 am calm of a Fall, midnight shift, circa 1977. 

“10-4,” as unit 64, I answered. This was new to me. Several units called in like this? Such a thing not mentioned in the squad room briefing as a meeting or training? This was still my first year at this job in 1977, so maybe everything was still new to me? I drove across town, parked and walked into the squad room as ordered. I did take notice of four large buses on the front parking lot of the police station. 

Our shift Sgt. Jacksboro and LT. Blue were in the room with about a dozen or so other men and women dressed in brown and some in black. Border patrol and Immigration. The Feds. 

Sgt. Jackson spoke up and said that the Feds were raiding several known illegal alien houses through the city and we were to offer support. He handed us papers with addresses on them. There were three houses just off the interstate in my south side district. I recognized them immediately. Very large, older wooden homes that we all knew housed  illegal immigrants from Mexico. Many illegal aliens. Lots of them. The Feds were gathered to arrest them and the buses on the front lot were for transport. 

The other officers present from our agency had done this work before. As a rookie in Texas, I hadn't, but I gathered the Feds would be doing all the heavy-lifting. I noted they were armed and badged-up. We all filtered out to the parking lots and I introduced myself to guys hitting District 64. 

“Anything in particular you want me to do?” I asked the senior agent. 

“No, podna. Not really. Just be there in case something happens. We like to have local law enforcement present.” 

I nodded. Frankly, anything that didn't involve any extra paperwork was just fine with me. I mounted my squad and drove over to the first house on the list, leading the way. I parked up the street and waited. Several black sedans slowly drove by me, waved at me and parked quietly by the house. Suddenly they all bailed out and I followed suit. No car doors were slammed. They flooded the massive house front, sides and back and I didn't quite know which way to go to help? I was a professional sore thumb.

Silence shattered! Doors where kicked in, some windows busted out. Yells. Screams. I heard all kinds of intro shouts, 

“Federal agents!” 


“US Border Patrol ” 

I had nothing to say to add to that. I dashed through the splintered and bashed front doors…. 

Once in the living room - well, it was once a living room - I saw quite a number of people were sleeping on the floor in makeshift beds. Mexican women screamed and children cried as they emerged from various hallways and doors. They were not shoved by the agents. Herded. Some men busted a move for a door or a window. One ran for the front door and I played a game of side-to-side tag with him until an agent grabbed him. 

    Honestly, it felt like I was in a science fiction movie where they rounded up the people for some reason, like Soylent Green or something. When you are actually part of the process, its different. Agents outside were still yelling.

     Everyone was handcuffed. Man, woman but not child. Long lines were formed. Two buses were called in on a handheld radio. I stepped out onto the yard. The buses pulled up in front of the house, making those old, big bus brake-and-stop screeches and gush sounds. The doors were shoved open by levers and an odd hue of yellow and orange lights came on, peppering the lawn and street. 

I was surprised at the long line emerging from the house. That many people were in there? Sleeping? Living? They were seated on the buses. A bus and a half of Mexicans. The remaining agents jogged to me and passed me.

One said, "the second house." 

Okay then, to the second house we go. I started my car and waited for the agents to get onto theirs and off we went. It was only three blocks away. The same game plan unfolded. The third house. The same again. I drove back to the station along with the last of the buses and agents. The diesel engines of the buses groaned and chugged on the city hall parking lot as the agents said goodbye to us. They climbed into their cars and drove off with the buses full of Mexicans.

I stood on the lot beside Lt. Blue who smirked at me and said, "they gotta' do that every once in awhile." He turned to the rest of us and said, "you all check back into service. Just fill out a general report for the dispatch card." 

We wandered back to our squad cars. It was about 6 am now, and a red sun was just barely cracking open a new day. I still had a few things to do before shift change. I got behind the wheel of my car, but sat still for just a moment. 

"That was weird," I thought. Three houses raided. Crying women and kids. Men. Bus loads of them. Carted off to Dallas, where they would be "processed." I had an idea what that meant. Then shipped back to ol' Mexico? Probably see many of them back in three weeks. 

Weird because about 6 blocks from the police station, about 20 or more illegal Mexicans would soon be gathering at well-known street corner looking for day work. Seven days a week. And nobody cared. Not us. We weren’t raiding them. In fact, people needed the help. Nobody would raid them. We would not cram them in buses every single morning for deportation. Not us. I guess not the Feds either, because they only came once in awhile.

I recall every other Texas city I'd been to has these "street corners" of Mexicans, like hitch-hikers waiting for a ride, they waited as construction bosses, or whomever drove by and picked up workers. Housewives drove by and picked out guys for landscaping. In all of my years, I can’t recall a single problem from them. 

In fact we'd see dozens of illegals every day, everywhere. Dozens and dozens of them. In stores. Walking around. Everywhere. Did we arrest them? Why not? 

The moral of the story, the thing must people wonder about the good ol' days, is why every cop in Texas, every cop in any border state and eventually in all 50 states weren't arresting busloads of illegal aliens back then. Just as the newer laws in states like Arizona suggests, you only arrest them when your paths cross legitimately. 

Here's how my old agency handled this. Back in the day, we were...unofficially...required to do at least "5 pieces of work" each shift. That is, let's say 1 ticket, 1 arrest, 2 crime reports and an accident report. Or, any combination thereof of any significant police activity. Too much of one thing meant you were obsessing about one topic. Well rounded was appreciated. There was no "mark," no piece of work for an illegal alien arrest on that basis alone. Such was uncounted and unrewarded. ANYONE could walk out into the street and fill a busload. We simply could not handle the enormous job and could not over-reward some obsessive officer who did 5 illegals a day to make their unofficial quota. So they simply went uncounted for. The operative order was leave them alone unless something happens that causes you to take such action (and even then, it didn't count as illegal immigrant arrest. It was an arrest, plain and simple for a charge). I certainly did not want to arrest illegals back then. Too much paperwork! You could investigate the immigration status. Sure. But such was used as a tool for some other goal. 

I think in the late 1970s the word came down from the Feds that we were to stop arresting them at all for those charges. Like an official freeze. It came from so far up the chain, said to be "the Feds," that we did not know who issued the command. At first it seemed like a temporary legal issue. But it never went away.

    I became a detective and discovered other related problems. Illegals were afraid to report crimes. Afraid to become witnesses. Fugitives fleeing to Mexico. Lots of problems. We had to work with the local so-called "coyotes" and then some of what might be called Mexican Mafia. These were area people who transported, hired and housed these people. Some of these guys were taking a percentage of their pay, selling them cars with never-ending payments...it was much like the old coal mine stories. 

"You load 15 tons and whatta ya get, another day older and deeper in debt." 

We had a local kingpin that owned and operated out of a barber shop. I'll call him Mayan Cando here. The shop looked like the northeastern mafia pizza parlor or some such place the Sopranos would operate. Cando had a gaudy mansion in town with very old school, Mexican design architecture. He ran the runners, the housing, the jobs and the justice. Made loans. Smuggled relatives in for fees. 

Sometimes he would be a big friendly help to us and other times, a real pain in the ass. I dealt with him on a very grass roots level. A personal level about Hispanic on Hispanic crime. Sometimes to chase down Hispanic fugitives. It was that classic, uneasy, creepy alliance. I never quite knew how I would be treated when I walked into the Cando Barber shop on a case. 

The USA has big problems now. Security problems. I want everyone to enter legally. I have no great solution to offer to this mess. I do like that expression, "tall fences and big gates." This would help some to clean out the underworld, shadow network that prostitutes these poor people. 

Today in my old city, the Latino groups have constructed a picnic grounds, park-like areas for those standing around seeking some morning, "pick up" work. This evolved through time. Like a fancy, covered bus stop. Almost daring the authorities to challenge the spot and the cause? It is an uneasy alliance. The cops drive by. They wave. We wave. The employers and housewives stop, hire and pick up. The Mexicans work very hard in the heat and in the rain and on holidays. It is almost like the people ranted about in the news are not the same hardworking, friendly people I know and we see and like in our neighborhoods everyday down here in Texas.

     Yeah, yeah. I get the big picture. Yeah. It's important to remember, this ain't no "perfect union." The country is just a "more perfect union." One shot full of holes, trying to be more perfect. But anyway, in this old gringo's mind - and I not the least bit religious - if I said “God bless em all,” I think you’d know what I mean.

Email Hock at hockhochheim@forcenecessary.com
Hock's webpage www.forcenecessary.com
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