Thursday, May 29, 2014

Zero Tolerance and the Bully Epidemic

Zero Tolerance and the Bully Epidemic

     First they hit us all hard with Zero Tolerance on “violence” in school systems. If a kid literally pointed a finger at another kid, they were snatched up and expelled. For years now, we read in the newspapers and watched on TV how ridiculously extreme and nonsensical this rule was. Even if a kid was obviously defending himself, he was expelled. The message was never, ever, under any circumstances, fight. Or fight back. Little picked-on Johnny must escape to a “safe zone.” This annoying zero tolerance rule has been in play for many years now and in many “civilized” countries. 

     At home, many a dad wants to teach his kids a little boxing and ground fighting, too, (the old classic “schoolyard” fight). A lot of tough talk flies around, but the normal kid and society knows he really can’t fight back, “teach lessons” and not get expelled, and tagged as “violent.” Sorry, Dad. Wake up. It's a brand new psychosomatic, nanny-state world. 

     What happened to us next? The Bully Movement. Ohhh, the big bad bully movement and all the poor, suffering, and helpless victims. Who made many of these kids helpless? Who built that structure?  Parents and schools are in a panic now about the bully pandemic. 

     There are cottage industries now built on dealing “properly” with bullies. Who is a bully? What makes a bully? Where are the bullies? When do bullies strike? How do they bully? What do you do when a bully bullies you? None of this advice can include a swift kick in the nuts or an elbow to the jaw.  

     Is Zero Tolerance and the Bully Epidemic connected? I think so. One helped make the other. Surely I can’t be alone in making this connection?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Nothing Replaces Ring Time" - Joe Lewis

     Champion Joe Lewis once said, "nothing replaces ring time." It is a quote I have used in classes and seminars for years. And when I say “years,” I mean decades. 

     At our Force Necessary: Hand, Level 10 “black belt” test, everyone does all the system strikes and kicks, the big 15 takedowns, the Stop 6 ground program, and about 125 combat scenarios versus unarmed and weapon attacks/confrontations. I know it is pretty damn exhausting. Ask anyone who's been through it.

     And then ... we also kick box, as part of the test. MMA gloves, head gear, etc. They do takedowns and some kind of ground finish. I just think it is an important requirement for the so-called "modern Black Belt."  I DO NOT want to create kickboxers or wrestlers! No sir. But we still do this because, as Lewis said, "nothing replaces ring time." Real time, real speed, real force, ring time. 

     Call me old-fashioned, but I see it that way. Sure I am really interested in the event-based, "reality combatives" end result. And I offer up the materials void of all dogma. In a way, it’s an old school Black Belt idea. Remember in the olden days, your training, your understanding of fighting really begins at a black-belt level. You begin there. Remember that?   

     And, yes, we automatically cover self-defense, too, as it runs through the “Who, What, Where, How, and Why Formula" and the “Stop 6 Formula.”  They are extremely comprehensive modules. We cover anger, fear, and pain management. But a foundation of all that end product is also partly founded in some "ring time."

     To me, a part of a good mid-term or long-term course must include some ring time for all the great attributes it develops. If you are studying the knife, some of that should include knife dueling. Not all. Some. If you are studying the stick? Some of that training time includes stick dueling. And if you are proclaiming to teach gunfighting, if you aren’t using simulated ammo in interactive shooting against moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you? You ain’t really training to gun fight. And so, yes, if you are doing hand-to-hand fighting of any kind? You should also be kickboxing once in awhile. And further, kickboxing with takedowns. And further still - worry about how this fight ends when on the ground.  

     Now this “ring time” message is not meant for these three-hour, one-day, or two-day official “self-defense” crash courses where you see total out-of-shape, un-athletic rookies, strangers off the street. People that you will never see again. Of course not. I myself can't do these types of courses because I find the challenge overwhelming. If I had to teach people “self-defense” in three hours? I wouldn’t know where to start, so I never do this. I am not an official self-defense instructor. That's not a good throw-down label for me. I have a bigger agenda for you.

     You and me? We have to have a longer relationship. Longer term because we need to cover fighting standing and on the ground, We are going to pass through all the good strikes, all the good kicks, all the good takedowns, control measures, and all the basic ground maneuvers. We’ll cover the core material I think everyone must know, from which they pick - based upon their size, weight, shape, strength, age, speed, etc., - the favorite things they want and can do.
     But to me and many others, so much of that all is meaningless and forgotten without a commitment to regular training. Lost. Gone. "Perishable" is a common word used for eroded skills. We need a commitment to me or several instructors to stick with the program for as long as possible. Not three hours once in their lives. Not a weekend. A while. 

     When certain people consider the Lewis “ring time” statement, it causes a lot of emotional reactions. Panties get in a twitter. It seems the martial training world, since about the year 2000, has been splitting into two civil war sides. The martial arts (some like to upgrade the term by calling it “combat sports”) and the so-called “reality-based, self-defense” group. And both are quick to criticize and belittle each other. Which is a shame because there are benefits from both. And let me tell you, much bath water has been thrown out with the babies from both sides. Much water and many babies.

     Recently a dedicated reality-based, self-defense instructor read this Joe Lewis message and said that if Joe Lewis had just seen the amazing wonders of the new, modern, brilliant “pressurized-combat-scenario-training,” he would have amended that statement to say, “nothing replaces pressurized, scenario training.” I said no. No amendments. Ring time is ring time. Combat scenarios are different. Combat scenarios have a story attached. “It was a dark and stormy night” kind of story. Ring time, however, is mindless. “Ding! Go!” And it builds so many, many things like character. Endurance. Savvy. Pain tolerance. Speed. Athleticism. 

     A deep word, this "athleticism." But let's add a word in front of it - “fighting athleticism.” Well … need I go on and on with an obvious list of ring-time benefits? (I guess in some quarters I have, too.) Ever spend time or hang with a seasoned boxer? Or a seasoned MMA person or a veteran UFC fighter? Train with them? These people know things about fighting that a pressure-tester RBSD person doesn't know. "There's what you know, what you don't know, and what you don't know you don't know," as the saying goes. Pressure testing (which can be also an abused, misused, and misunderstood term) scenario training and sparring are two different animals.  I like to see people do both. And I actually catch heat over that idea.

"I said no. No amendments. Ring time is ring time. 
Combat scenarios are different."

     Catch heat? These positive “ring time” and positive “combat sports” statements I make have caused dissent and really bizarre emotional outbursts sometimes. On one reality forum, a RBSD person declared that I would be responsible for a raped girl left for dead in an alleyway. (I guess because I wasted her time teaching her to mix a little kickboxing into a workout program?) And one expected that “the next time someone holds a gun to my head, I would drop down into my pansy/artsy "Kuraty stance," and then I should ...“see what happens.” 

     These knuckleheads have no idea about me, my life, what I teach, or what I do. But some act as though if you so much as rub your hand across the rope of a ring or do a little catch wrestling, you are completely wasting your time; and you’ll lose some precious, super-honed, street-survival edge. There is nothing wrong with strapping on some gear and just duking it out once in awhile. And needless to say, parts of many real fights can square off and look like a kickboxing match for a few seconds at a time. That inside event has happened and will happen.

     Yeah, I've caught heat. Through the years, I have basically been called a martial-artsy miscreant by RBSD people and a shallow, misguided fool by MMA people. They don’t know I am both things. Oh, I don't mean a miscreant or a fool, but I am in it for the reality and also any and all “combat sports” moves and ideas I can use that support the growth of the practitioner. It's the evolution of both sides, from both sides. This evolution thing takes a little time.

     It's all about apportioning training time for your mission. And in the "who, what, where, when, how, and why," understanding what your training mission is. I do not want to make kickboxers. 
I do not want to make wrestlers who endlessly wrestle and wrestle. Nor do I want to leave near-dead women in alleyways! I sum it up this way. I want a tenacious, educated, skilled, versatile, savvy athlete. That includes hand, stick, knife, and gun.  It's a mixed-weapon world no matter what state or country you live in.

     On paper and in theory - who would you bet on in a "street-survival" fight?

     1. A person who only does pressurized combat scenarios?
     2. A person who only does kickboxing with takedowns?
     3. A person who does both of the above?

     My pick will always be Numero Tres - a person who does both. Which is my whole point. If you don’t see this evolved advantage, you have a screw loose.

     Because, like Joe said … nothing replaces “ring time.”

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pirate Skunks of the Electronic Seas

     Pirate Skunks! My face, video clips, and pirated films and books have been used worldwide as a draw on pages to sell everything from pepper spray to porn from here to China and Russia. 

     Nothing like writing and working and filming and then having some skunk somewhere steal it. Pirate it. This has been a giant curse for us, and we do battle with it constantly. But there is usually a price a customer pays for dealing with such pirates. Many files are corrupt and laden with all kinds of viruses.

     But worse - we got the info yesterday that some jack-off in Florida was selling the "Whole Hock Package" (over and over again). All my films and books for $700. A customer bought it with a money order to Florida. For months, he received nothing. Then to his surprise, a package came, minus a return address. An external drive that contained all my titles at least in a list on a screen! Only two of some 70 films worked, and they were poor quality. Seven hundred dollars later! So, folks, don’t be buying that pirate skunk crap. Meanwhile, we'll be trying to track down the skunk in Florida.

     "Porn?" asked one reader here? Yes. A certain kind of porn operation uses video clips of fighting and action and violence to draw a young or a certain demographic to their pages via search engines. Quite popular a few years ago.

     Another scam - at one point, “several” companies
had porn sites with my name in the URL! You clicked on that URL, and it took you straight to a porn site. This was several years ago, and I think Jane somehow shut that down. I was not alone with this problem; several other martial names from martial magazines were caught up in this little “bait and switch” operation.

     Other companies (and I call them "low-running" companies) that sell safety and security products used me and others to draw people to their pages. The center column had pirated videos, clips, and so forth; and down the sides, they sold their products that they sell. This was in the USA and international.

     I am not going to get started here about what goes on in Russian and Chinese sites. It involves other people and their incomes, sometimes their sole incomes. 

     But once again, there is nothing like sweating and toiling away on books and films and having some little weasel take it and sell it.


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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do You Do Wind Sprints? Or Just Box?

What Is a Martial Drill? An Exercise? What is Martial Exercise?  By W. Hock Hochheim

     "Look at these guys (doing arm flow drills). Can anyone tell how this fits into a real fight?"  RBSD person complaining about a Filipino flow drill video clip.

     But if I showed you a video clip of Mohammad Ali chopping wood, would you ask - 'how does this relate or fit into a real fight in any way at all?' " Oh, but it's okay if Ali does it? But how does chopping down a tree fit into a real fight, then? Most can answer that, recognizing a classic boxer exercise, but they won't afford the same logical conclusion to many other martial arts drills and exercises. It is a prejudiced thinking disorder or just plain ignorance.

     The key word being "exercise." Do you do wind sprints? That’s an exercise. Do you maybe do push-ups? An exercise. Chin-ups? Another exercise. Weight lift? Exercise. People in American football “run tires” laid out on the ground. Exercises. If you showed me a clip of the football guys running tires on a football field, you could say, “Hey! Does this look like football?                                                            In any way?” 

     No, it doesn’t. Because, it’s just an exercise. Any power, speed, flow, and skill movements are just like that. Just exercises that often do not look like a hockey or street fight. No better or no worse than chin-ups. They are just simply EXERCISES. Yet, some of the greatest MMA coaches make their folks run, do push ups, run tires, chase chickens, hit heavy bags, work peek-a-boo drills, etc., etc. All for exercise. I do find it interesting when some groups blindly “OK” and approve some of their own abstract exercises like chopping down trees, wind sprints, etc., and then ridicule other exercises people in systems do.

     This essay comes off the heels of numerous internet comments from MMA and RBSD martial practitioners publicly making fun of video clips of some Filipino hand drills. One finished up with a video clip of a hockey game fight. 

     Now the video Kali clip of the Kali guys doing arm drills is out of context on several points too long to mention here but out of context nonetheless. But you could show me videos of guys hitting heavy bags or boxers chopping down trees or whatever, and I would view all that in the “exercise” context. I might add that the "hubad drill" - not hubUd - the block, pass, and pin drill format in that film is about number six in a series of FMA mano-mano sets. The first four look like … wait for it … simple boxing. 

     Most critics don’t know that by the time people are doing the hubad moves, they usually have done simple boxing-like moves FIRST. I learned this progression/formula in the Philippines, and I will tell you that many Filipino instructors don’t seem to know (or care) about this homeland progression either. Technically, by the time you are doing the block, pass, and pin drill, you should have done a number of strikes, bobs, weaves, ducks, covers, etc.

     Are the drills worth it? Prior to 1986, I did only karate and jujitsu and was introduced to Kali (which I did quite extensively, along with other things, for years). We did lots of these different “drills/exercises.” I cannot tell you how it increased my speed and coordination and other attributes in thousands of fast repetitions. (And, by the way, the patterns are meant to broken, a point usually missed or unknown by critics.) Breaking the pattern should be the last stage of the workout. 

     I have come to believe that everything you do should be supported by some kind of skill building drill, er, I mean … exercise. What are those? Make them up if they work. Take the advice and examples of others. For me, a lot came from mixing martial arts.

     I am not defending FMA. I rarely teach Filipino martial arts anymore. Only when asked and paid, too. While I owe a lot to FMA, I am not such a big advocate or have a tattoo of one system on my arm. I do see it more as a hobby and the people doing it studying it like a hobby, like golf or something. (Hey, it's exercise! Go for it.) But I use any and ALL drills from ALL martial arts (many from FMA) to develop skills and depth in people as needed. Sometimes I apply them like a doctor applies a prescription for some problem areas. 

     The real problem to actually discuss remains that Kali people (and other people/systems, too) overemphasize drills. Become drillmasters. Get too involved with them. Over-teach them too much and miss the end point. Miss other segments of training as a result. A proper training program has to organize and partition itself out to properly emphasize proper things in apportioned time. Otherwise, they lose their way. Miss the point. By watching that film clip, I don’t know what the full system is, what it did before the clip or after.

     The key point, the key question, is not seeing a video of a boxer chopping down trees, a kickboxer running wind sprints, a wrestler doing squats, football players running tires, or Filipino people doing arm drills and comparing them all to actual fights. The key issue is this: how much time does a system set aside for what types of training within itself? What percentage is conditioning? What part fighting? Attribute development? How is that all worked out and assigned? The true value of a system is its doctrine.

     What is the system doctrine?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flipping Tables and Shooting

 by W. Hock Hochheim

     I was kicked back at a restaurant in Alabama one afternoon reading some gun magazines and waiting for my order. I read one article about a shooting range training company bragging on how rough, tough, and real-deal its training was. To demo this point, they showed a series of photographs. The theme? Some sit-down situations seated on chairs, at tables, and, well, not unlike the very table and chair I was in at that very moment at the steak joint. The purpose was to teach folks how to draw and shoot under stress while first seated at a table.

     The photo series started out with a classic outdoor “square” shooting range. Sunny day. About eight guys were seated in chairs on the firing line. Each one had a table in front of him.  Both the tables and the chairs appeared to be cheap and old. The best I could see they were folding tables and folding chairs. Throwdowns. It was a regular range with a surrounding berm.

     In the series, it became “shootin' time” at about Frame 2. Obviously upon some signal, the men stood up from their seated positions and with poster-boy perfection formed into two-handed grips and shot the hell out of the targets.

     I could see in the photos that one of the chairs had tipped over. All the tables were still standing, and all the men loomed over the tables like giant targets themselves, full-frontal to the imagined “threat” they were in a gunfight with. I instantly thought these final frames in the series were wrong, wrong, wrong.

     Why not consider flipping the table up and drop behind it for cover while drawing and shooting as a part of the training day on this subject? How’s that for some muscle memory? Instead of ignoring the whole idea completely?


     Daring to write this here now, I will now add the usually anticipated banter of the “Gun World” tribe/consortium to anticipate some armchair expertise comments about bothering to flip a table. (And I admit, I added some actual comments here after the fact, too.)

    “... the ‘threat’s’ handgun ammo will tear through every table.”

    “... there won’t be time,”

    “... my first perfectly placed round from _____ (insert handgun and ammo) and ten years of
      _______ (insert gun course or school) training will make all that extra mumbo jumbo

    "... you can’t tip over every table, so why learn to do it at all?”

    "... all tables are not bulletproof."

    "... wood won't stop or deflect bullets."  (not all tables are wood, and wood can sometimes)

    "... drop to a knee below the table. From the attacker's point of view, it will offer just about as       much concealment as flipping it on its side ... and gives you a direct line of sight to his pelvic       girdle and lower extremities."

    "... draw and shoot. The table is a false problem."

    "... I will just run off to cover and shoot!"  (and ... that is ALWAYS an option? If the table is 
      solid, cover is right there.) 

    "... flipping a table means I won't have a two-handed grip or be able to clear malfunctions!"
     (and ... how long will it take to flip a table?)

    "... throw the chair!"  (well, maybe sometimes, huh?)

     And a quick tip of the hat to people who are so obsessed with gun parts, actually using a firearm to shoot criminals becomes an abstract distraction....

    "... how long should the spring be in my ammo magazine?"

    "... some AA1680 powder that I could buy to try in .300 blackout subsonic loads? Some 4198        might also do in a pinch. I'm not having much luck with W296."

    "... how many grains of powder could a powder-grainer chuck if a powder-grainer could chuck        powder?"

     The problem here in the comments is that many folks immediately envision what their shootout is going to look like. Then they solve that very singular scenario in their head. Some think of it as a western cowboy shootout. Others think of an active shooting deal. Some might envision a house-to-house search in Iraq. Or a scene in a movie they saw?

     "I'll jump!" 

     "I 'll move!"

     "I'll dash to the side to cover while shooting" (and run from the stone table in front of you?)

     "What I always do is...."

     "Why, if that happens, I'll...." 

     Right! Most of these people have absolutely no idea what they are talking about because in their minds they have set the stage of their gunfight and have little idea about the real chaos of real life. Others never consider the physical constraints of where they will be. Here in this essay, I am taking a more generic look and examining the possible use of some types of tables when they are nearby, because it is all very situational, you know?

     Many of the table-naysayers adopt the classic police idea of sitting with their backs to the wall in restaurants, thinking that is, oh, such a cool tactic. Yet they won't consider dropping down behind their flipped table in a gunfight? Even though it has been done successfully?

     Not sure about just dropping down to one knee idea? Can you ALWAYS just drop down like that? What about the chair? Now you will have to move the chair back to drop down. Will the chair just scoot back? Can it scoot back far enough for you to just drop down to one knee? And a flat table, even wooden tables, may be open fields for ricochets, bouncing just like off the top of a car or many surfaces at certain angles. (One reader argued with me that bullets will not bounce off of wood! I told him bullets will even bounce off of water. Stubborn or ignorant - he still doesn't get it.) Anyway, it is all very, very situational.

     What might a flipped-over table do for you? How about some possible cover? Or at the very least, some confusing concealment? What about stopping and/or deflecting various types of bullets? Lots of people argue about “stopping power” and “knockdown power” on humans. I myself have seen big rounds not kill people and small rounds kill people. But these "big and small" bullet arguments never seem to include shooting into, through, and bouncing off and around things in the environment. These "pop" ammo debates are rarely mixed in with cover and concealment issues. Ballistics is not always about just knockdown and stopping power upon humans.

     Will every caliber bullet go through every table on the planet? Every wall? What is the bad guy carrying anyway? That is your best prediction, a bad guy in your predictable world?  Will your table offer you some cover?  Even some concealment? Would some upturned tables stop some rounds? Slow them down? Would tilted tables, tilted at least from the bad guy’s perspective, cause his bullets to deflect/bounce rather than pierce straight into you? Think of all the kinds of tables. Or would we, should we just completely forget the flipping idea and stand up there all tall and all looming over an upright table like a giant silhouette target?

     Tables and flipping them over. There are all kinds of tables if you think about it. There are wooden ones and sometimes very thick wooden ones. Stone ones. Yes! Stone. Metal. Metal on wood. Tile on wood. Stone on wood.... Round. Square. Triangles. Some are a single-center leg with big center-leg podiums. Four legs. Six.
     Some are lighter than others. I remember a story from my friend, U.K.'s Mick Coup, told me about being in a fight in a pub. The guy stood before him across a table. Mick was prepared to flip the table up between them. BUT, he reported, when he tried? He discovered the table was extremely heavy. And while he was trying to "curl" up the almost unmovable table for a second or two, he took the first blow to his face. Mick warns – “check your table!”  (And sometimes, by the way, the tables are actually bolted to the floor.)

     A lot of fast-food places have a little table and are seat-braced traps if you think about it. There have been some sad shootings of officers recently with them more or less trapped in heavy booths.

     What about your dining room and kitchen table at home? Your poker table? I thought about these things at the steakhouse that day when I was reading the article and looking over the photos. I feel as though the author and the editor/publisher of the article were a bit lamebrained on this one. They missed a lot of notes in their song. The simple idea of flipping up and dropping down wasn’t even remotely mentioned.  I looked down at the table before me at the restaurant. All the tables in the steakhouse were big, thick, metal, and certainly able to be flipped! Bullet deflectable. Bullet-slow-down-able. And it would/could offer some cover and help against the common guns of many thugs.

     Logistics. I know the possible back story on this type of training, too. In the gun article, the author owned the range, and he had to supply all the chairs and the tables himself. Eight of them. Or 12, whatever, at each class. He stored them in his building on the range. No big deal for “Mega Gun Range,” but for most of us, it’s a hassle. They will be flipped, and flipped, and soon busted up pretty good. So the instructor must supply the furniture. If it is not his shooting range, he also has to both supply and cart the appropriate amount of chairs and tables to and from the shooting range that day. Is the whole idea too much of a hassle?

     I say, “Flip up and drop down,” while drawing and shooting from the seated "table-and-chair" scenario as a lesson inside a package on this subject. It certainly gets people to thinking about what's around them and what they can use. Mess around with the idea.

     In the "who, what, where, when, how, and why of life? Next time you are in a restaurant? Take a quick look at your table.


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