Monday, May 4, 2015

Slash Across The Forehead? And 3 Things You Fight, When You Fight.

     When I was a guest on the old G. Gordon Liddy radio show many moons ago, Liddy made the statement –

     “you know the first thing I would do in a knife fight?”

     “What’s that, G-Man?” I answered.

     “I would slash the man across the forehead. This way the blood would soon pour down into his eyes. Blind him, and then I could finish him off.”

     Since we were live on the air, coast to coast, I decided to let that one pass…but no.

     I have heard this little forehead-slash ditty for years before and continue to hear it. Just three weeks ago in California, a seminar attendee asked about such a face attack, saying it was a big strategy in ____ Kali.  Others report that some Italian knife systems promote this strategy.

     Well, again, no.

     Some seem to emphasis it with a backhand slash, as though that attack is somewhat exclusive to forehead slash. Nope. I guess could be any slash or even a forehead stab. (In fact a good stab that hits the skull and slides off to the side, can do a lot of rip-up, damage.)

     Briefly, let’s look at this touted forehead slash. So...I am in a knife fight for my life. Every second counts. The heavenly clouds have opened for me somehow! His arms cleared an open path to his head. And I…choose to cut the forehead. I cut the forehead, then I continue on with this deadly duel and battle, back and forth, back and forth, and wait until sufficient streams of blood work downward, like spilled paint from a paint can that flows over the eyebrows and down into both eyes, thick enough to blind the enemy, whereby I deliver the death move.

     Huh? If the heavens opened for me? I would rather cut the eye or eyes themselves, or the throat, not aim at the forehead. Get a much quicker finish. Why wait for blinding blood flow, because in the subsequent, post-forehead-cut, seeping blood moments, while I am waiting for his total blindness, he could get lucky and...KILL ME FIRST!

    A moment to bleed?  Could be. Yes. Maybe more. Here's why.

    When we fight an enemy, we are dealing with three big problems

 Problem 1: His athleticism (natural and, or acquired)
 Problem 2: His pain tolerance
 Problem 3: His adrenaline (which could increase the aforementioned 1 and 2)

      These three important things are at play in a fight, and do not make Jack a dull boy. Not at all. They can turn Jack into an overpowering engine. Now I could pontificate on these subjects ad nauseam. All righteous observations, but we’ll stick with the subject here on forehead slash attacks and select Problem 3: Adrenaline, for discussion.

     One of the benefits of adrenaline is it pushes/sucks the blood from the surface of the skin, protecting the body as much as it can from bleeding. Medical history as well as my personal experiences can attest to this. I have seen people slashed with a knife and start to bleed normally a bit later, post adrenaline. This can be different than a surprise, accidental cut on the face. No fight. No adrenaline.

     So, if you get a slash across his forehead, you really can’t predict how successful that slash might be, how much blood it will produce, how much and how fast it will "seep" down and how quickly it will blind. And you cannot and should not waste that "heavenly opportunity" of an opening, with a forehead slash, and should instead go for a better attack on the eye, eyes and, or a neck shot.

    Now that I have written this anti-forehead-slash advice here, I will no doubt hear from at least one person, from someone who "knows" someone, who "knows" this worked once, with an anecdotal tale. But really, in the big picture? Forget the forehead slash. You might accidentally slash the forehead, sure. But, don't fixate on this as a super-secret, insider, "knife-fighter" success strategy. It ain't.

     And you haven't got the time to mess around with this.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, every time I had a new book published, the G-Man had me on his show. He is a quite a colorful character and has a great American story.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Knife Surgeon Says...!

These are some comments from a surgeon with martial arts experience on knife injuries he's treated, posted on my old talk forum many years ago. Interesting to read.

    "...anyway, the upshot is killing someone with a blade isn't as easy as it looks on TV. The scene where someone gets stabbed in the belly, then looks shocked, then drops dead is unrealistic. Either a fair amount of damage needs to be done, some very vital structures injured, or a fair amount of time to pass if the wounds aren't horrendous in order for someone to die from stab or slash wounds.

    There's quite a bit of variability as to how folks respond to trauma in general. Some seem to die with minimum injury and others seem to withstand huge blood loss and horrific injuries. I haven't a clue what differentiates these two populations but wish I knew...

    I said it before and I'll say it again. In a conflict for my life, I would rely on a blunt force instrument to the head before a bladed weapon to just about any anatomic structure to most quickly stop a threat. It doesn't matter what level of adrenaline you've got or what drugs you may have in your system. If you're struck hard enough in the head, you're going down. Also, the long term implications of a survived head injury are (in general) worse than those of a knife wound you recover from.

    Trauma and human response to trauma is very interesting. I don't know if I believe that primates and humans in particular are harder to kill. Hunting injuries to animals are typically(hopefully) quite precise and should result in a rapid humane kill. Fighting injuries to humans presenting to trauma centers are less so. I would guess those folks shot by skilled snipers die quickly, similar to hunting wounds.

    Anyway, at risk of being accused of being "disturbing" again, here are some generalities for delivering fatal wounds with a bladed weapon.

     First: the blade must absolutely be sharp. I've operated on plenty of folks in which a dull edge pushed structures away rather than incising them. Arteries are relatively thick walled and elastic, a dull edge will displace rather than cut them.

     Second: All other things equal, a larger blade will be better.

     Third: Relying on a single wound to incapacitate an opponent is a bad idea.

     Anatomic considerations: The body's actually pretty well designed and protects the most important structures. If you want to get to the heart there are two reliable ways: A very sharp and sturdy knife thrust strongly just left of the sternal border around the 4th interspace (about nipple level on a guy) will do it. Otherwise, just go under the sternum(under the xiphoid) and aim at the left shoulder. This is basically how we place a needle in the pericardium to drain fluid out from around the heart.

    The flexor/medial/anterior surfaces of the extremities are where the money is. In the arm, that's the inner aspect of the upper arm, the crease at the elbow, the palmar aspect of your forearm. In the lower extremity imagine a line from the crest of your pelvis to your pubic bone. About 1/2 of the way up(usually a bit less actually) you get your femoral artery and vein. If the weapon is directed back and up into the abdomen a bit, you can get the iliac vessels. These are especially hard to get to surgically and can not easily be treated with direct pressure. The femoral artery goes medially down the thigh (there's a deep branch as well) and then behind the knee in the mid-line roughly. It breaks into three vessels below the knee and is no longer that great a target.

(This was a case I worked back in the 1980s. Road rage. This kid, got cut on the arm, then fought back against the bigger knifer, and disarmed the knife! Swung it back at the guy. The guy fled. I wish I could show the kid's face here. He was smiling a lot in the emergency room. He was totally untrained. I arrested the knifer a few days after. - Hock)

      In the abdomen, you'd be trying to get to the aorta or the vena cava. This would be actually VERY difficult with anything you're likely to carry around. There are some posterior approaches that would work, but I doubt they'd be useful in the middle of a chaotic fight. The liver occupies the right upper quadrant and is a giant target. A large knife and multiple wounds would be necessary and there no guarantee whatsoever that this would end a fight quickly.

    Stab wounds to the chest in general are likely to get the lungs which can result in collapse (by pneumo or hemothorax) and bleed quite a bit in general. Here, you might actually do well with a smaller knife, since if the opening in the chest is big enough, they won't get what's called a tension pneumothorax. In a similar vein, a small wound to the heart, like an ice pick doesn't kill by bleeding. The blood gets in the sac around the heart, and when the pressure builds up the heart can't fill. If it can't fill, it can't pump and that's that.

    The neck is a tried and true target for bladed attacks. A tracheal injury in and of itself may well do nothing. The carotid artery is medial to (on the inside of) the jugular vein and is a good target. Honestly, if I were able and wanted to inflict maximum damage from a bladed attack to the neck I would insert by stabbing where I thought the jug/carotid were and direct the knife to the contralateral side and backwards. When withdrawing, I'd try to pull the whole thing over to the other side. Alternatively you could direct it to the other ear (the back of it.) If you make a muscle in your neck, you'll see your sternocleidomastoid muscle. There's an inverted V formed by this muscle as one head goes to the clavicle and the other goes to the sternum. the hollow at the top of this V is a pretty good shot on the carotid and jugular.

    If you get stabbed or cut and the guy runs off (or if it's an accident, etc) the common treatment is DIRECT PRESSURE. Don't use pressure points above the injury. Get some rags or whatnot and jam them right on the wound and push HARD. Tie that pressure off if you have to. Virtually all extremity injuries and even direct pressure on most neck injuries can be controlled by this maneuver (of course don't choke someone to death).

    Bear in mind that a fatal wound won't necessarily equal stopping your opponent. It does you no good if you get killed and then your opponent dies later in the ED or in the ICU."

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Two Ways a Fight Physically Starts

 I would like to identify two types of physical, attack "starters." But first as for situational starters, when I often say - 

"life is either an interview or an ambush," is in the most broad and generic of terms. Whether in business, marriage, child-rearing or in gang fights, you are either surprised (ambushed), or have a few seconds or even longer trying to figure out some course of action (interview). So, in the most generic sense, most fights, even arrests, start this way. A clever person once added that - "you could have an interview to set up the ambush, or an ambush to set up an interview!" But its still starts with these two terms and situations.

      Having covered that set of two very broad, primitive ideas - the interview or the ambush, let's be even more definitive in a category of two actual physical, "fight-starting movements and moments," because this smaller, refined slice of a fight is important enough to discuss. Very important, especially when it comes to training methods. I have come to believe that many people train one way or the other way, rarely both ways.  

     The confronting aggressor does two common fight starters in the Stop 1 "showdown" of our Stop 6. The Stand-Off confrontation and the Mad Rush attack. You might summarize by saying, "close and not close"

Close - The Stand-Off. He stands before you with his routine, be it the stare-down, the bullying threats, the yelling. Finger pointing? Even stupid, chest bumping. You know what a bully does. You know what the instigator does. The pusher. The prodder. He's the trouble-maker and the sucker puncher.  

     His measured and acquired distance is usually way too close for natural comfort. You try to fix that quickly and you move and he dances in and around with you, trying to maintain that distance. This attack starts too close and tries to stay too close. Lots of sucker punch problems here. Lots of strikes and not from a classic, fighting stance either. 
     I know instructors will bark at you that you screwed up by letting him too close, but let me warn you that this sudden, surprise closeness can and does happen to the best of us in real life situations. In a flash! I should know. I too have been jumped, despite all the warnings I spout.  

Not Close - The Mad Rush. I have coined this term for our training programs back in the 1990s and made some video tapes on the subject, but now the original format is long gone with days of the VHS. But the idea of the Mad Rush remains. This is when the guy is a bit distant, makes a mean face, maybe roars and charges in like a madman.  Think about a road-rager for one example.

     Maybe there was no stand-off argument, encounter, or maybe he steps back from the above verbal encounter, and then charges in on you. But the real action officially starts not too, too close in but from a bit back. He has time and distance to intensely charge in. He creates momentum.

Training for the Stand-Off and the Mad Rush
     So, through the years when we (and all teachers by the way) organize material and training, one phase of the instruction looks like the stand-off.  You have to start somewhere! You have to practice in a digestible progression. Two people stand before each other. Kind of close. He throws. You respond. 

    "And a one, and a two, and a three..."

    Maybe four? Etc. But I think this level, this speed, this intensity, this space, is also the part practiced too much in many systems. We forget to experience the opening mad rush attack. 

     Just one example easy to relate to? This is especially evident to me in the tons of martial arts, and to name one, the martial stick work people do with each other, the key word being with. People spend a ton of time doing these specific stick routines or something like 3-step-encounters with partners, really not registering any real speed or intensity involved. So at that slower, speed level, they "get it." They get good at the move but at that training speed. 

     Not to pick on stick training, because this approach is done by all, wrestlers, BJJ-ers, boxers, Kravers, you name it, everyone digests these things in bits. This is a staple method. Understand that the Stand-Off is an important part of the learning progression. And, usually people get good at that specific thing, at that specific distance and at that rate. But then, are you now done? No.     

     Next, I'll ask one of the two practitioners to take a few steps back, make a mean face and yell and charge in. A mad rush. Very often this other person cannot do what he or she had previously done so well at the stand-off range. Quite often, the first time these people are charged they step back and collapse under the pressure. They loose the plan. 

     I think this Mad Rush training is always a good idea, with just about anything you are practicing. Do the "Stand-Off" version. Do the "Mad Rush" version.  Get folks used to ALWAYS doing the "Mad Rush" version with each set of moves. I know some instructors that will start with the mad rush version, almost like a demo first, and then break it down for skill development, building back up to the fast version. Such is a proven learning method. 

     Plus, without getting too technical, these coaching methods of learning are recorded as tried and true based on a progression of research starting since the 1950s and really enhanced in the 2000s.

     Next, deal with the chaotic, freestyle aspects, and that's another essay - but the chaos still starts either close up or from a rush, so you see that recognizing these two "starters" are important for training. 

    Close and not close start-ups. Learn the stand-off. Face the rush.

The Stop 1 Training Film: Interview or Ambush

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Axe Handle Fighting: A Crash Course

     Several years ago I picked up a 28 inch axe handle. It didn't have an axe head on the end, just the handle itself. With an open mind at the moment, it just felt amazing in my hand. What ergonomics! The perfectly, slightly curved handle, the diameter, shaped like a fatter sword still with an edge to it. The flattened end where the axe head fits was an amazing striking surface. 

    The axe handle is a tool specially built through the ages for striking, and hardened for pressure and duress. It is manufactured to withstand a lot hard impact beating.

      The round Filipino training stick, in my hand routinely since 1986, was also about 28 inches long, but, I asked myself:

     “Why must I use this round stick?” 

     "Why am I not using this more perfect axe handle?

      Why? Was it politics? Or mindlessness? Social pressure? Tradition? Why? I began to convert the stick basics and training methods from the ages of martial stick doctrine over to the axe handle. Keeping some of it. Dropping much of it. My same old story. No dogma. No hero worship. No uniforms. No politics. Just do the best thing with the best thing.

     People say, "well, when do you have an axe handle handy?

     Well, more times, or as many times as a Filipino training stick handy. Think about it. The trick of course is to get the 28 inch handle. Lumber yards and stores commonly carry longer ones, up to 36." Maybe that size would be okay if you were a professional basketball player? And people mistakenly get the bigger, thicker,  pick handle to train with. usually too big. The thinner, 28-incher -  the same size as the common Filipino stick - is best for most people. In my hunt, this 28 inch size usually is found on the internet.

     The goal for me is to keep the one-handed grip's full potential (with two-handed grip optional but not mandatory) and make applications to and from police baton, and the overall, general"stick" work. In this one-hour training video I shot, learn these axe handle tactics, exercises, skills and combat scenarios:

 - Single-hand grip strikes
 - Double-hand grip strikes
 - Blocking
 - Retention
 - How to train
 - Introduction to grappling
 - handle versus unarmed.
 - handle versus any and all other sticks
 - handle versus knife
 - handle versus some gun threats like countering quick draws.
 - ....and much more.

Axe Handle Fighting: A Crash Course

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To Punch or Palm Strike

Got this question from John...

     "Hi Hock, just got your punching module download, busy watching it, have got a question though. When do you punch? Not talking about before, after or during his attacks, as you say on the film, but instead when do you punch and when do you palm strike? I think I get it about "the target determines the weapon," but is that all there is to it? Really enjoy your stuff by the way. All the best John."

      Thanks John. No matter what I say here will be argued and controversial for some folks. There are people fixated on the palm strike and vice-versa. But here goes. The old rule of thumb is, "hit something hard with something soft, hit something soft with something hard."

      I am not one of these "anti-fist-you'll-always-break-your-hand" stalwarts. While I have hurt my hand punching people's faces? Not always, and I have never flat-out broken my hand. Though I've had to have surgery a few years back correcting damage from hitting someone's pointy chin with an uppercut. The chin! (and no, I could not have used the beloved "chin-jab" from my side position.) I have had numerous friends with broken hands from punching people to the head, most were cops. I suspect they did not "know" how to punch, but some of them did know how and still had problems.

      I think the really dangerous part to punch on the head is the bicycle helmet area of the skull. Otherwise lower, the jaw usually does give when hit. The head even gives on the neck when hit. But that skull top, once reflexively dropped or turned down to the side when incoming punches are perceived, are the really dangerous times for the fist. The bike helmet area!

      Other point? The individual's hand or fist. How big is their hand? How solid and tight the fist? Some people are never meant to punch. Some, with cinder-blockion-fists should only punch! I think every student in a class, needs to hear this fist/palm inspection and briefing
at least once. (As an aside? Fighter's hands inside boxing gloves are not making tight fists. This is a problem for some people when suddenly have to go bare-knuckle/glove-less. Remember when Mike Tyson hit that mugger with a bare fist and broke his hand? MMA gloves are so much better. I think people should limit wearing classic, boxing gloves to a bare minimum. I understand they are needed for some drills and exercises. I too use them for that, but I think people overuse boxing gloves, like when hitting heavy bags. Use MMA Gloves!  Now, if you're just a boxer and you know it? Then sure - use the boxing gloves.)

      Other point? The aim. If you aim at the nose, as many systems naively suggest, when and if the head drops, the forehead/bike helmet area is hit instead. BAM! So aim lower. And that high, hook punch? He turns and drops his head and you have that classic knuckle splitter problem. So aim lower still.

      Other point? Whenever an arresting fight would begin for me? If I had to get into a ready-fighting-position? I always kept my hands open, as opposed to the option of the fighting stance with closed fists, so I started with an "anything goes," open-hand, kind of platform. From there? All options open, to include grappling.


Another point? Many proponents of the palm strike condemn the fist punch as ever-so breakable. "use palm strikes only!" they demand. But, you could also hurt your hand and wrist doing palm strikes. I have had some serious aches and pains with palm strikes too. Hyper-extended wrists, etc. So have a few of my martial veteran friends. I know! Desk-bound critics will declare you hit on the wrong part of the hand. But with two parties in motion, stuff happens.
      People will occasionally mention punching the teeth and what a shame that is. But you can also palm strike the teeth area and get some from toofus injuries. Fact is when you use your body to hit somebody else's  body, you might hurt your body in some manner.

     Yet another point? Fists? Palms? Which causes more damage? Would they be on par to each other for causing injury? Hmmm. Honestly I don't know for sure. Palms to ears are great (flat palms are fine - you don't need these extra "cupped-palms-versions.") But that is another situational question. I worked a case once where a guy was shot in the head 4 times and walked out of the hospital that night. The rounds did not penetrate the skull and just traveled around the scalp. They plucked the slugs out and sewed him up. After you think about that? How can we effectively list damages and effects on a chart within the chaos of life, bodies and weapons? If I can't promise that shooting a guy in the head will kill someone? What else can I promise. You never really can predict what a shot, a stab, a punch, a kick or a palm strike will do to someone. You can hope! You can guess. You can bet, but you really cannot be sure. 
      And more still? There's probably more but I am just typing away freestyle here with stuff right off the tip of my tongue. No doubt this will kick off more opinionated discussions.

      Looking for that "magic bullet advice" on how to instantaneously decide between the two? I will ever be able to tell anyone once in a fight, once over him or under him, or standing before an opponent, in that split-instant, when and where they should decide to select a palm strike or a fist punch. That is so situational. 

     I teach and exercise people through both strikes. I issue the above warnings, and leave it to them as to the "whens and wheres," and to their own little personal arsenal they must customize for themselves. If they want to ignore punching? Ignore palm strikes? Hey, I don't care. Just experiment with it all. 

     Think about it. Work it out. Decide. Make that intelligent, informed choice is all I ask.

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Combat Strikes 1, 2, 3

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hicks Law, Another Visit

Hicks Law

     It deals in sheer milliseconds and choice. There are 1,000 milliseconds in one second. Can anyone truly fathom the passing of just 150 milliseconds? 430? 612? Just how fast can we get within one second anyway? You know Hicks Law by now? The more choices you have, the harder and longer it takes to choose. Misguided instructors say it might take "about half a second" to decide between choices. So, you learn three things? That's a second and a half delay. You learn 6 things?  That's 3 whole seconds? Has life or sports ever played out like that before your eyes?

     The generic, 1950's Hicks Law test is over-rated as a vital, foundation for training. I beat this drum all the time, written articles and debated. but to little avail for the deaf ears of some brainwashed groups. Hicks has been abused, misused and flat out flagged as a MAJOR sales pitch for several fighting programs since the 1990s. At its worst, misunderstanding Hicks Law has lead to a unnecessary dumbing-down of many a training program. I saw an article in the popular POLICE ONE training webpage recently, touting the devastating effects of learning too much within Hicks Law choice inhibitions. 

     In some 65 years of further studies, some directly related to response time and others indirectly, a review of Hicks Law is barely mentioned or usually not mentioned at all. When mentioned in new textbooks it sort of like mentioning that Alexander Bell invented the telephone, and then they quickly move on the amazing new world of communications.

     For example this terrific textbook by Dr Joan Vickers, Perception, Cognition and Decision Training, a most modern accumulation of research on the subject, and the best I’ve found of late, is crammed with sports and other deep response time studies; a 280 page, over-sized hardcover textbook that mentions Hicks in…TWO PARAGRAPHS. Like Bell and the history of the phone. And at the end of the second paragraph on Hicks, Dr. Vickers says on the Law…it is also important to emphasize that with practice there is a

   “corresponding decrease in response time.”

     So practice can improve your response time. So if you even practice taking the primitive Hicks colored light selection test, you can get faster response times. To me that is the true message behind mentioning Hicks. Practice. Practice specific skills and combinations, whether you are a boxer, a tennis player or a fighter pilot.

     There are many reasons for slower response time other than the body mechanics Hicks purports to study in the 50s, such as alertness before the event to name one. There are many methods to improve your speed and skills. There are textbooks full of solutions and situational training. And in the end, it is still really all about milliseconds. Just how fast can you get anyway?
Did you know that in other studies, the world’s fastest people have “failed” the Hicks little test! What does that tell you about the value of the test? The core idea of Hicks Law does exist, I just don’t think it’s as important as many systems sell it to be.

     Stay alert and ready to respond. Work out. Do speed training. Clump moves together, Etc. Anyway, read Dr. Vicker's  book, It is a vast treasure-house of information about performance in general, in sports as well as fighting and shooting training, and not just diminishes the importance the over-inflated importance of Hicks Law.

A synopsis on the book, click here

The World's Fastest Men Flunk Hicks Law, Click here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Storm Channel Jumper and a Moment About Clovis George

     On the east side of our city, there ran a series of waterway, storm channels to handle the bad Texas rainstorms. I know some cities don't have any of these drains, but I guess everyone has seen storm channels in the classic movies and TV shows about Los Angeles. Just like theirs in the City of Angels, ours was an "open top" system, quite wide at parts, deep in sections and branched off into all parts of the city.

   The channels were usually dry unless it rained heavily. But like in this photo here, there was usually a skinny stream from somewhere. I have seen them flood and overflow. I have had a few foot chases, some fights, arrests and a couple of mishaps down in the the dirty ditches. Here's one.

     My first real adventure down below in the water channels....was back in the late 70s. There was a series of armed robberies plaguing us, on the east side of town and the detectives were doing the best they could with stakeouts and interviews to break the cases. Solo actor. Big revolver. Black male. 30s. Afro. Cheap bandanna over the lower half of the face. We were all convinced that the suspect was a local. No one ever saw a getaway car and each time the occasional witnesses said the man just melted off into the back lots and alleys behind the businesses.

     Several nights a week back then I rode with another patrolman named Clovis George, a very sharp and real funny guy, a prior border town city cop, down Mexico way. Even back then the Texican border towns were all hotbeds of all kinds of criminal activity and yes - drugs too. The Interstate that split our city ran from old Mexico straight up the center of the USA. A drug route then and now, but that's a whole other story. Clovis had seen a lot of street-level action down there on the border. The George family was big in our city and he returned home after several years to settle down. Our city produced one Miss America,  Phyllis George and she was his cousin.

     Another one of these armed robbery calls went out late one weeknight while we were paired up in one car and it had us and other cars running every which way, hay-wired, trying to find the suspect either running or driving away in a getaway car. Not a clue. A clean escape yet again.

     When the dust settled, we drove to a Taco outfit and got tacos and some ice tea, sat on our squad car hood and ate, contemplating the world as it blew by us. We also contemplated the armed robber.

     "I'll bet that squirrely bastard is jumping down into these dry channels and running right home," Clovis said between bites.

     "I'll bet we could jump in at one key point and cut him right off," I said.


     Sounded plausible to me, so we made a plan. A large percentage of criminals lived in a nearby projects in our beat and we drove around to calculate possible routes from Tell Ave businesses to the government housing districts. We knew the CID stakeouts were spotty and all above ground and vehicle based. No way the detectives could cover all those locations, every night, night after night. So, if we were free and patrolling and heard a report of another east-side, armed robbery on our radio, and if our man was indeed a storm channel jumper, we would guesstimate the time and location where the robber would be running, jump in the drains at some point and stake that spot out.

     Well, within a few nights, a chicken restaurant was hit by our lone suspect. Handgun presented. Money grabbed. Mask. In and out. And Clovis and I raced to our own planned stakeout. We parked the squad car and in a huddled-over, combat run slipped into the open channel by a viaduct at a bend in the system where we couldn't be seen from afar. There was less than a small stream of water in there. In less than one minute, we heard some splashing and footsteps and we exchanged surprised expressions like..."well damn! That could be him!" 

     And sure enough it was. He rounded that corner, huffing and puffing with a paper bag of money in one hand and a revolver in the other. We spread out, hit him with our flashlights beams. We pointed our pistols and started shouting,

    "Drop the gun or we'll kill ya!" etc.... Words to that general effect. You know what I mean. And they were true warnings.

     Our man dropped his pistola and bag and put his hands up. Bandanna in his back pocket. We cuffed him, hauled him up the side and "took him in," as the expression goes. 

     CID was kind of thrilled. And they took over. Our suspect was not a local as it turned out. He was visiting locals and thought he'd run up some traveling money while in town. Mask, Gun. Money. Flight. Matching size and clothing description. Wow. Nice little arrest. Hey, three cheers for the Clovis George idea of ditch jumping, all over some tacos and tea.

     Through the years Clovis and I were also detectives together too. First him, then me. Starting back in the early 1980s, I had a bit of reputation for getting a lot of confessions and Clovis often asked me to partner up with him when he had extra, troublesome witnesses and suspects in his cases. Plus, I was his choice when he served an arrest warrant on some of his cases, because we knew how to work in unison.

     So, we worked these numerous cases together. Always had a blast too. I remember he had an affinity toward Tonight Show's Johnny Carson suit line. He thought he was really styling it, in a Carson brand suit. You know what? He was!

     We went out with our wives to various country and western establishments in those days, some TX/Mex locales and drank way too much as I seem to recall. Admin often made the mistake of sending us to various investigation training schools in Austin, whereupon we had entirely too good a time above and beyond the classes. We'd drive to Austin on Sundays to be in position, in class on Monday mornings. On some of the trips we'd bring a small, camper's, black and white TV set with us to try and watch the Cowboy's games in the car, on the drive down. It was a war with the rabbit ear antennas, trying to catch the local channels as we passed through cities on the Interstate. Back then, you could legally drink and drive in Texas (not be drunk - just you know -sip up until), and this adventure always included beer. One guy drove, the other guy operated the rabbit ears. What a team! (Imagine doing that today. We would both be serving life sentences.)
     Clovis took a few promotion tests while in CID and went back into uniform as a supervisor. He continued his professional career rise, while I, never testing for any rank, remained back in line operations, working in the trenches, not unlike the stinky, water ditch system where we made the aforementioned arrest.

      Then he had a severe heart attack in the early 1990s. He recovered, and became a supervisor for our communications division. He also became an avid runner. Then, he suddenly died in 2002. The heart again. Couldn't outrun those genetics, no matter how hard he tried. I was working out of the country at the time and missed the funeral. 

     Many years later, the next century actually, our agency developed a truly amazing, modern police academy. They dedicated the police library part in his name, which I thought was just a damn, fine idea. 

     Clovis George was a really good guy, a good friend and we had a lot of laughs, tacos, beers, margaritas, plus together, we handcuffed a number of felons too. What more could you possibly ask of a friend? What more?

In November, 2014, Police Chief Lee Howell with Dana George, dedicated the George Police Library, in this Record Chronicle news photo.

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"Don't Even Think About It!"
The first book in a series of my true adventures and misadventures will be published and distributed in May, 2015, after a 2 1/2 year long coma in "Publisher Purgatory," a no-man's land of frightened agents, timid editors, lies, delays, deceit, laziness, confusions, firings, buy-outs, lay-offs, and altered plans. This is different than "Development Hell," where someone flashy buys your finished book for a movie and then the movie is never, ever made.