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Ever hear that expression, “wait for it. Wait for it!”
Or how about in American baseball, that infamous ”off-speed”
There is always much ado about training too slow and plain slow,
to later train and perform fast and even faster still. The topic of “fight-speed”
is always popping up in social media, sports, seminars and classes. Dan
Inosanto once said in a seminar I attended years ago,
“train slow, fight slow.”
He was suggesting that you needed to up-your-speed. I think we all get this point
intellectually, but we don’t always physically train speeds proportionately. Much time is spent on slow and half-speeds? How much can we safely do full speed? And is super-fast always the best? What about a needed change of pace?
Changing the pace? Breaking the speed? The rhythm? This essay isn’t exactly on Bruce Lee’s Broken Rhythm Method. I mean, it can be, partially. On his view of broken rhythm, he said, “there is nothing better than free-style sparring in the
practice of any combative art. In sparring you should wear suitable protective
equipment and go all out. Then you can truly learn the correct timing and
distance for the delivery of the kicks, punches, etc. It is a good idea to spar
with all types of individuals--tall, short, fast, clumsy. Yes, at times a
clumsy fellow will mess up a better man because his awkwardness serves as a
sort of broken rhythm.” – Bruce Lee interview.
But to break a rhythm, you have to first create a rhythm.
And in so, so many typical, “street fights” there is no time to officially create and establish a rhythm or a pattern, to create a set-up if you will, as in a sports duel
or ring fights. Maybe not so much in a 5 second, so-called quick, street
fight. There is no round 2 or round 3 in the street fight, as they say. (There might
be in military battlefield strategy.) No time to observe, experiment, and probe, probe, probe
with jabs, set up patterns, rhythms, etc. But, I think a smart/savvy
person can still slow things up very quickly if needed in those short 5 or so
seconds. That application is not breaking a rhythm where none existed, it's just velocity and targeting.
Through the years I have noted that fakes I have worked on
in kick boxing or weapon sparring can fail. Oh, they were very clever, and they were so very logical. But, I worked them fast or very fast against very fast-read-and-react
people. But when doing them against slower or newer people, these folks did not
have time to react to the fake and the fake did not make an opening or an
opportunity. Against these folks, I had to slow myself down, sometimes
ridiculously down, to get them to see them and react to these fakes and feints.
The need for working at medium speed? Sometimes race cars just
have to slow down to take a curve. Or, wait and swing differently to hit a slower
pitch in baseball. You need to have an opponent see and react to a fake, for
the fake to fake him out. More important than being just flat out fast all the time, is also being able to adopt to another moving person, which might just be a move or two
at medium speed. Or a “stop action even!” How that other person moves, his
arms, torso, head, and the speed by which they move needs your adaptation.
Hitting moving things at different speeds, reading the speed, is quite different than
hitting focus mitts and heavy bags, which leads us back to the need for sparring, for interacting.
“The feint's value is as an attack. It is not a physical
attack on the opponent, but as an attack on his position, his wits, and on his
confidence. Human reaction times are around a quarter of a second on average,
higher in athletes. This means that for all intents and purposes the difference
between a feinted jab (from appropriate range) and a real one is whether there
is an impact—be it on the glove or on the face—or if the opponent recovers from
his flinch reflecting on the words of Marvin Martian—“where's the kaboom?”. The
more fatigued a fighter becomes, the more he goes to what has been trained into
him or to his instincts, and the more predictably he starts reaching after
feints.” – Fightland by Jack Slack Guns and speeds? Of course in the subjects of hand, stick, and knife
fighting, understanding and using various speeds may be important. In some gun fighting
when drawing the pistol flat-out speed, speed, speed is needed. But there are
times in history, when turning slowly and pulling a gun slowly drops off the
reaction radar of another gunman, one expecting the fast cues of a quick draw, one prepared to react to sudden fast speedy move, not slow.
This is a great book on the subject of seeing, reacting and how the "pros" are capable of reading movement and waiting, even in milliseconds.
“Once I saw a
prizefighter boxing a yokel. The fighter was swift and amazingly
scientific. His body was one violent flow of rapid rhythmic action. He hit
the yokel a hundred times while the yokel held up his arms in stunned
surprise. But suddenly the yokel, rolling about in the gale of
boxing gloves, struck one blow and knocked science, speed and footwork as
cold as a well-digger's posterior. The smart money hit the canvas. The long
shot got the nod. The yokel had simply stepped inside of his opponent's
sense of time.” - Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man
Timing. The Force Necessary, “Combat Clock” I use for
training is not just about angles of attack and footwork, it is also about
timing. What clock isn’t about timing anyway? The Combat Clock concept also works
within the Who? What? Where? When? How and Why framework embedded in every aspect of our training. The word “when,” is
all about time and timing. When will you fight? That is a big question, the
Macro question. Then the smaller questions fall into place - like when you take a left step? When will you throw a right hand strike - all the many Micro questions.
Review of the FN Combat Clock essentials:
* The When of the "Ws and H" Module.
* So easy to remember
* Angles of Attack, Basic 4 and Advanced 12
- Basic angles training – the 4 corners of the clock, 12, 3,
- Advanced angles training – the 12 numbers of the clock
* Directions for Footwork and Ground Maneuvers
* Body and Arm Positioning by the numbers
* Apportioning and Prioritizing Training Time Topics/Subjects
* Fighting Speeds and Adaptability.
* Length of the fight. How long will this last? How much “gas” do you have?
Have you heard about the Five Minute Rule? It goes like this.
"If someone shows
me a fighting tactic or technique, and I can't learn it in five minutes. Its
worthless to me. Or, if I show someone something and they cannot learn it in
five minutes, its worthless."
It is a rule that declares if a move is too
complicated and too hard to learn it should be forgotten. We do have a 2 minute egg and 4 minute mile and now a five minute fight technique?
This often gets quoted and I mean to say, I agree with the idea in general, conceptually to
some extent. I get the premise. In the same way that I think and say "fighting is more like checkers and less like chess."
But, it is situational. For example, there have been times I have shown to a group, say, a
jujitsu-like move and the group, as though it was struck with
a contagious brain disease, simply failed to "get it." A move all others get pretty easily, pretty quickly. I scratched my head watching them
struggle, while for years other groups have caught onto the idea and movements
very quickly. So the five minute rule depends on the person? And, or
then the individuals in the group? Perhaps a new "Group-Dependant, Five Minute
Rule" is in order? Perhaps?..
Learning, grasping it and then using it is different, in this world of perishable skills. Being "good" at doing something is different than seeing and "learning" it's concept in 5 minutes.
But I do sometimes wonder. Who came up the "five-minute" part. Why FIVE
minutes? Why not 10? Or 20? Is it just a casual expression? An arbitrary figure?
Surely there is no cognitive science, neurological and biological to that selection. Maybe some of the best
stuff may take all of six minutes and 14 seconds?
That is why I never use a 5 minute rule, or any rule in any discussion. I prefer -
"fighting is more like checkers and less like chess," To sum such things up.
This blog itself is called “Who,
What, Where, When, How and Why.” The phrase was first presented to me in the
Army military police academy in the early 1970s. It was a checklist on how police
officers should write a report. Answer those questions, big and small. But
later I learned that a detective must further answer these questions, and a
prosecutor must delve even deeper. You never know what weird little thing
becomes vitally important in a trial.
Then I learned I could really apply
all the questions to training objectives, and then…to ALL phases of life. Yes! I
could certainly apply it to self defense, training and protection. And also…to buying
a house. Getting married. Even trying to get to and use a neighborhood ATM
safely. Even planning a military invasion like D-Day. Body guarding the president?
Answer these W and H questions as a framework.
I have used this Ws and H idea for
about 25 years now as a spinal cord and mainstay of my personal protection jobs and my training courses. I
introduce the Ws and the H in level one of all my training programs to set the
stage for all subsequent levels. Others have gotten on this “Ws and H” band
wagon too, certainly everyone I have instructed. But some believers I haven’t instructed
personally, but have read me or seen my films - so - some were inspired by me.
Some were inspired by me and just won’t admit it. Others found it by themselves. You
know who you are. Still, few beat this important drum hard like I do. I didn’t
invent it. I just use the hell out of it. You should too.
Using it really takes about three
rounds, three passes though, to really cover the questions well enough, because
you realize you need to jump back to a previous W to answer the next W and so
on. And, you certainly need the latest, unbiased, solid intel to evaluate your
With the who, what, where, when,
how and why, survival and preparation questions, two variations are important
to consider. First, all have “duality”
Duality By duality I mean a “you” and “him” duality. Or an “us” and “them”
quality. The classic idea of dualism is really a two-fold division in several
spiritual, religious, and philosophical doctrines. Confusing sometimes, but at
times this idea is the best way to properly explain the diverse aspects of
Take the duality of first “Who”
question for example. You must answer “who are you?” and “who do you think you
will be fighting?”
Macro and Micro/Big and Small The second variation covers micro
and macro answers. The answers can be big as in concepts or small as in very
detailed and specifics. An example of that? “What” will he do? He will rob you.
“What” will you do? Stop him, for the macro, or big plan, big picture. Then
move down on to smaller specifics such as if you move here, precisely what will
he do next? The micro.
example is - when I ask you the big questions like, “when do you think you
might be mugged?” You might answer with something big like, “at the ATM.” Good
answer. Big answer to the big question. But the “when” question has many little
‘whens “ to it also. Little whens that are important to counter-tactics and
survival. Like - when does he step in too close to you? When does he actually
pull and show his gun? When does he actually turn to leave?
Why are the little questions also worth
mentioning here? All fighting is situational and positional. The big "when"
question is the situational part. The little "when" questions are the small positional
parts. A lot of fight training starts with the situational and then eventually
concerns itself with positions. These precise answers, the small and little
physical steps of the enemy are important when planning to fight or run for
“who, what, where, when, how and why” essays to follow are about getting a working knowledge of problem solving.
Coming soon…The "Ws and H" part 2: The
First W Question – The Who?
I get a little sick of this short sighted, bias, meme going around,
regurgitating by flippant little, half-baked, emotional, detached from reality airheads. Saw it
again this morning and it caught me at a bad moment, I guess. Here's the one that fired me up a bit today.
Recently in the USA, in Indiana, two dudes home-invaded a residential house and raped and murdered a pregnant wife. Much scuttle passed around the the next few days after the arrests about how we all wished that the wife was armed with a firearm and could have killed these bastards. Wishful thinking.
Then, along came some little dip-shit, English crank with long hair and a hippy attitude who broke into the conversation to report that
"if the wife had a gun in her home, she would probably have
killed herself before the crime"
Because? Because of the the above stupid stats he fell instantly for in his own bias brainwashing. You know what, bubba? The woman was actually killed. She and her unborn baby were brutally murdered anyway. Without any fighting chance. Even this English crank would like a gun in that last moment if this were happening to him or his wife. If he wouldn’t? He would be a complete idiot.
I only mention this Brit here because these study numbers have reached the rest of the world, further black-balling USA gun people us crazed lunatics. So, much of the world has been subjected to this little study. I wonder...
- precisely define "likely."
- precisely define "acquaintance." - what are the exact years of this study? Since the dawn of man? 1999 thru 2002? - does it include gangland, inner city violence, which distorts everything?
Lets see some facts now.
- 340 million people in the USA.
- Over 320 million guns
- About 140 million households, guess the 2015 US Census for 2015.
Lets do the math on this....how are we all not dead yet? How?
Shouldn't half of us be dead by now? Ohhh, wait, there's that word "likely."
do think the New England Journal numbers are correct too, but In a very small "snapshot" way and
in an incomplete way in terms of the big picture. If these numbers were
extrapolated out to the entire country, over many years, half of us would be
dead, or nearly all of us. But then, we fall back to the word "likely."
Likely? Here's a stat. The quiet gun stat. We are a gazillion times more likely not to do
anything at all with a gun we have in our home. 300 plus million guns -
guns and guns and guns sit quietly in a million and a half of homes, of hundreds of
millions of people, every day, year after year. Years. Lifetimes of
quiet. Generations of quiet. Ever think of that gigantic stat that
doesn't fit into short-sided, liberal bias? Its called...the big
Also, no one can? Or cares to? To fully count the times the presence
of guns have stopped crime. How many crimes? How much violence will
"likely" be stopped? Since the dawn of man? 1999 thru 2002? Remember that the US Department of Justice put out a stat a few years ago that the presentation of a gun, or knife, scared criminals off about 67% of the time. 67%! I believe there are many more. You can't successfully record all the stopped crimes. Interrupted crimes. Scare-offs. A "get lost."
Oh, I could go on...don't get me started. But anyway...Chris Reinholt reminds us that this study is:
"the famous Kellerman study. This picture cites the New England Journal of Medicine to give it an air of authority, but it's actually a study of only King County, Washington, using data from 1978-83, published in 1986."
Somehow it has become a hippy favorite to distort reality and push their limp cause.
Dear Cupcakes. I hope someday you realize how tiny and off-base this little study is in your desperate arguments. Take on lung cancer and car crashes.
Cracking somebody on the back of the head or neck. We all, by some
instinctual common sense know that smacking somebody with really hard
blasts on that area has a stunning effect. I knew this. But many years
ago, for some reason it came home to me more at a Tim Tackett JKD
seminar, when Tim highlighted this strike, stopped and talked about how
it was used in a Marine Corp fighting course, etc. Nicknamed the “Gerber
Strike” (because you would be eating Gerber Baby Food for a week
or two after being seriously hit there) it seemed to sink in for me at
that moment as a serious tool to use. You know - those “aha” moments.
So, aside from the Austin Powers Judo Chop, the Napoleon Solo Judo Chop and the infamous internet "Ninjer Judy Chop," what of the power and the glory of the “Gerber Strike?”
When I evaluate a move, I run it through two filters, and I am being very generic here and not splitting hairs.
Filter 1: Have I seen it in the UFC? This is important. These folks are
going full bore, full bear, evolved to win (yeah, there are rules, more
on that next) and if you see it done successfully several times, with
full out hate and speed? That matters.
Filter 2: Should I even use the UFC to evaluate a move? Sometimes the UFC kinda doesn’t count in an evaluation.
Which leads us to the old UFC rules thing, "legal/illegal" debate,
which I do not want to tear that crap-storm open. I do not. Overall, I
did find it interesting that the UFC grapples with the legality “back of
the head” area strike. It is so serious that they worry about this
strike, even just sneaking it in or doing it by accident. (see below link with some interesting definitions. Oh, and in boxing, striking the back of the head is also illegal and one definition of the term "rabbit punch" (see "protest" link below). But the MMA/UFC and self defense world, sans the bulbous boxing glove, have palms, topside hammer-fists and the top and bottom of forearms to consider.
Then, check out this Bas Ritten’s video dissertation in the link below for use.
I have decided that the back of the head and neck shot, the “Gerber
Strike” is a major self defense tool, standing, kneeling and on the
ground. More on those applications in the usual seminars I do. Years ago, I have put this strikes in the Hammerfist and forearm strike modules.
And, just as an aside, this part of the head often hits furniture and the ground, etc, when a person is knocked down. They may not be knocked out from the blow, but may be knocked out (or killed?) when their heads crashes into the next thing.
Check out these (rather subdued color, but really here!) links:
Michael Keller checks in: "It's
a great strike and one I favor if you can get it. An instructor of mine
years ago demonstrated it on me with probably 10% of his power and it
brought me to my knees and caused a stunning effect. I can imagine a
full power shot would be devastating. The target area was the base of
the skull between the spinal cord and ear. I like it."
One thing I wrestled with my whole “martial” life, starting
back in 1972 with Parker Kenpo on up to today to some extent, is the very question
of why exactly do I do martial stuff at all. What was the reason, “THEE” reason I
did all that? Because, whether I fully realized it or not during those beginning times,
there was always a sense of discomfort. A lack of reality focus. A
misdirection in the systems I studied. (And by the way I was no little kid back
then. I was like eighteen or nineteen years old. Back then, there were nary a
child allowed to do this stuff.) I asked myself, "is this really, real fighting?" I was assured it was and the demonstrations looked rough. But the whole motif confused me.
My first, real taste in trying to understand this
confusionwas when basic training, US
Army instructors in 1973 would say, “this is how they will try to kill you.”
Then, themilitary police academy had
similar phrases and one time, one instructor said, “this is how they will try
to kill you Saturday night.”
Saturday night? You mean this Saturday night? This really
caused me to pay much closer attention to the instruction. And in both courses, they taught actual attacks used by the local enemy or the local criminal. They advised us that when we got to our assigned stations there would even be more training on how the locals worked and assaulted us. It was also the first time I heard the
phrase “who, what, when, where, how and why,” in conjunction with police work. Who is coming after me on
Saturday night, anyway? What will they do exactly? Etc, etcon the ”Ws and H” questions I still use today. And what about
Wednesday nights too? Can’t forget them.
But, I found that most of my martial arts life, martial arts in
general, minus this clarity and full of one-off materials I did not really need on the Saturday nights of
my life. There was plenty of extra stuff,
trappings so to speak, dogma. Rules. So much…snatching of the pebble. And system
worship and system-head worship.
I kept studying different ones. Many martial artists back
then were also looking for the next, best thing. Searching. I was. Trying to find the closest thing to reality.
We jumped ships, we looked around. I am not really interested in self
perfection as a main motive. I am not interested in “art for art sake” as any
main motive, nor other esoteric and abstract pursuits. I was interested in
those Saturday and Wednesday nights, first and foremost, especially as a cop looking to survive and win.
This dissatisfied feeling kept on. But, in the mid 1990s, I started defining my problem, my
neurosis, my dysfunctional family relationship with the martial arts. I decided
“We really fight enemy soldiers and criminals. Sometimes we escape.
Sometimes we contain them. Sometimes we injure and maim them. Sometimes we kill
That was that. Bingo. A motto. Mission statement. A
commandment I could live around. Work around. Fit it all together in. I could
build a mission around. I could build courses around. And, if you or I messed
around in other martial arts? Found a hobby? I could place it in a proper
“support’ perspective. Plus, I still am hunting around for good stuff I could use and stuff worthy of
teaching to other people on this same path. Drills, exercises, fighting, whatever.
The MA world also matured around me too. Mixed martial arts. And
now the MMA of today is better than yesteryear, better than the MMA of recent decades where
people just kept adding on full arts like suits in a closet. I mean the UFC’s
version of MMA today, I guess is the best way to describe it. There is much material and experience that is useful.
UFC/MMA has evolved beyond the collection of complete, individual martial arts, and I use the word evolved
in its truest sense. Evolved to survive!
The most modern, evolved MMA can’t and don’t and won't waste much time
doing abstract things. If you are going to study fighting for survival or
otherwise, time and grade spent in today’s MMA (boxing, kick-boxing, ground
WITH ground n’ pound) is a good idea. Boxing is great, but it can’t exist
alone. Kick-boxing is great too but it can’t exist alone. BJJ wrestling and
Catch is great but they can’t exist alone. Not in theory. Not in practicality.
The big picture is the smart mix. And the survival mix of “hand, ”must also include “stick, knife, gun”
as primary, platforms. Oh, but need I add - overall athleticism too! Sheer athleticism can
solve a lot of problems and cover over some technical mistakes. Let's be even more specific about this - Fighting Athleticism.
Here is a collection of definitions for athleticism:
“Athleticism” (Noun) The state of
being an athlete, or of taking part in athletic events. A show of athletic
prowess,physicallyactiveandstrong;goodat athletics, involvingtheuseofphysicalskillsorcapabilities, such asstrength,agility,
Let’s add the term “fight” or “fighting” to the above
description of athleticism and see what it sounds like:
“Fight Athleticism” (Noun) The state
of being a fighting athlete, or of taking part in fighting athletic events. A
show of fighting athletic prowess, physicallyactiveandstrong;goodat fighting athletics, involvingtheuseofphysical
fighting skillsorcapabilities, such as
fighting strength, fighting agility, fighting coordination or fighting stamina
Sounds good to me. Building time, grade and athleticism.You know, I don’t regret my time and grade
experimenting too much through these years since 1972. An old Green Beret I know once
said, “most real bad asses have a black belt in judo or karate hanging in their
closet. Hidden away.” And, if you study military and espionage history, you
will find that all the major Cold War agents and spies had mentions in their dossiers that they took boxing, or karate or jujitsu, and had “good pain
tolerance.” (Remember years ago Jujitsu was a much broader study and involved a
lot of stand-up fighting too, not the wrestling of today. Karate was different also. Judo remains Judo.)
When I see something complicated in the martial arts today, as in
silats for example, or other systems, too much flash, even some super-complicated BJJ - as it
too sometimes flies off its rocker, I know I can’t and shouldn’t be doing that
or certainly not showing that. I mean, I can appreciate the skill level. Wow!
Amazing. I might even get on the floor and mess around with it for fun. But can
I, can we, really use that on Saturday night? I really don’t mind people doing
all that stuff in classes for fun and exercise, just as long as they know, and still can retain the
simple, “muscle memory” of what little really goes on in a fight. But, can they tell
the difference? Problem is…sometimes I really don’t think so. Do they have ‘the
My friend, Mike Gillette once advertised, “What you get with Hock,
what you are really paying for, is his 'eye.' His filter.” Which I appreciated
the remark. My job is to show a lot of good, trusted stuff, for you to work on
and pick your favorite 6, 8, 10 things. It really is a customizing job. You
learn from the experimentation. The experience. That is great for the self defense seeker. But then, future instructors need to
know all the good, solid stuff because they have the responsibility of helping
people get down to their smaller collection of needed favorites, as well as creating other instructors. But in the end, knowing how to do 6,
7, 8 things or so, depending upon the person, will never really replace full-on, fighting athleticism. You know this right? My job is also to
really encourage, push and enforce fighting athleticism, as defined above. You can't go wrong doing modern, evolved MMA as a big part of fighting athleticism.
People really do ask me a lot, (and I paraphrase here) “you
have done martial arts for decades, and you have arrested a lot of people. What
have you used?” They expect an exciting, thrilling answer.
Used? Well, very little really. My few favorite things actually. What? Just 6? 8
things? 10 maybe? Over and over and over.
And now, for you?
Here’s how they will try to kill you.
Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why?
What are your favorite things for this next Saturday night?
Then, do you have the fighting athleticism to really do them for real?