Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tactical Breathing

     Let me stake out some points about the "Three Managements,” that of managing fear, anger, and pain. Each subject needs a book and a Ph.D. But I have performed best in my life within these three problem areas when I have been slightly or somewhat adrenalized. Some experts might call this time, “riding the flow” or “in the zone” of some sorts. I say “some sorts” because behavioral and sports experts have some highly refined definitions. For me, I think the zone and the flow are mostly about half-adrenalized states. Just enough juice to function on all cylinders.

     Looking back into my past where I have been both a hero and a goat, some of my worst performances as a cop have been when I have lost this overall control, let adrenaline run amok. And let me tell you a good ambush can snap the sense right out of you. A car going zero-to-sixty in seconds becomes difficult to control. Unless it's a race car. Are you a race car in the race track of life? Some people are. Most not. Most of us need work.

     In my past, mental and physical distracting problems like the lack of sleep, hangovers, family problems, constipation - you name it - have interfered with my job performance in many ways; but these problems also interfered with my ability to handle surprises and to control my temper and these adrenaline rushes.

     How to get to this somewhat or half-adrenalized state? And stay there? Get into that flowing zone? It's a connection into your personal calm. There are tons of training programs about this, mostly for civilians, and unfortunately with a lot of voodoo, buzz words. "Find your ... center." The core steps can be packaged in science or religion or even in the science fiction of Luke Skywalker's  “using the force.”

     Strip all of this out for the biological truth. The generic core. All medical and psychological experts agree that there is one common thread to counter and contain some of the anguish of anger, pain, and fear. Breathing!

     Yes, simple breath control. No matter who the experts are, from the toughest, scarred, tattooed war vet to the armchair Ph.D. or robe-wrapped yogi guru, or the collared Catholic, all agree that deep and slower breathing can really help control and stabilize the body under stress. You don’t have to seek a monk in China, pray to a god, or contemplate your navel in front of incense and a pink candle. This universal, raw method truly bridges the gap between the police, the military, the martial artist, and the citizen.

     In today's mental health industry, Stress Management is a major challenge as well as a very prosperous treatment business. For them, the majority of problems are marital, jobs, rush hour traffic, raising children, and the like. Civilian problems. Dr. Beth Greenberg says - 

     “Stress. Unless you live on a cloud, you deal with it every day. Can you count the number of times you’ve heard or said, ‘I’m completely stressed out!’ in the past week? Unlikely. It’s probably become routine. And routine, in fact, is what it is. Research has shown that over 70 percent of all doctors’ visits are stress-related problems, and in a city the size of Boston, an average citizen has 60 fight-or-flight responses to stress every day!”

     We all have sudden and slow-burning stress problems that involve distorting our bodily chemistry and functions. We all have “before, during, and after” stress problems. But a training and treatment doctrine that includes routine violence and combat is far more complex than for a citizen in Massachusetts or London, England. It is far more complex than athletics weight lifting or running on treadmills. Citizens in “everyday life” and soldiers and police have different kinds of stress. In everyday life, this “during stress” might be a tough business meeting, or haggling over a plumber’s fee. This “during stress” situation for a soldier or a cop may be incoming missiles or a butcher knife plummeting down at his face. The first group deals with stress, the second group deals with proper response to sudden and planned combat AND stress. Response. Even in most planned and prepared combat, you turn a corner? And boom! You are in sudden combat inside the planned combat.

     What do all these people feel in their bodies when they feel anxious or threatened? Here is, once again for the record, the classic list. "Rapid heartbeat, shallow, rapid breathing. Tense muscles. Physiological changes take place in the body. The brain warns the central nervous system. The adrenal glands produce hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline). The heart beats faster. Breathing becomes more rapid. Fast breathing. The person's body is getting ready to do one of two things, confrontation or departure (departing, as in leaving)."

     Back to this very critical term of “fast breathing,” because breathing is the key to this study. A normal breathing rate for an adult at rest is 8 to 16 breaths/minute. Most people are not really conscious about the way they breathe, but generally there are two types of breathing patterns.

     1. Shallow Thoracic (chest) short breathing
     2. Deep or Diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing.

     The stressed body needs air, and we need to pump air to the performing muscles. Slow-twitch fibers affect muscle endurance provided enough oxygen is delivered to them. Fast-twitch fibers, which affect muscle strength, develop peak tension quickly and fatigue easily. That is one reason why slower nasal breathing, not fast mouth breathing often works better. Nasal breathing runs by the vagal nerve, which sends calming messages to the brain. Breathing through the mouth bypasses a large portion of the nasal cavity process of warming, moisturizing, and eliminating particles from the air before it reaches the respiratory system. Breathing through the mouth also further triggers the fight or flight response! Sort of a double-whammy, if you will.

     Lots of people call wrestling with breathing under stress a “Combat Breathing Event.” Combat breathing to me should cover just a specific study in the “During stress and while-it's-happening category,” the actually engaged combat. Instead, I like the overall term “Tactical Breathing” title for the before, during, and after. Three parts to it. This allows us refined categories and outlines for each. Combat Breathing should be a sub-category under Tactical Breathing. (Remember, good training programs are all about doctrine, doctrine. Doctrine! The proper skeleton allows for the proper fleshing out.)

Tactical Breathing (three parts)

     1. Before the event - preparation breathing before the event
     2. During - the combat breathing, hardest to remember to do because you are distracted
     3. After - breathing after the event to recover

     Because Combat Breathing means breathing WHILE in combat, it means more than just simple calming and regulating the body before or after combat. For many real performance experts, combat breathing is in the “act of doing.” Doing what needs doing with what you have on hand to do with. Human Kinetics says that combat breathing techniques bring the mind and body together to produce some amazing feats on the sport field. Feats well beyond the subject of simple calming and relaxing. Power!

     Athletes must learn to apply the laws of pneumatics - the science of pressurized air, in this case - as a power source by absorbing and transmitting energy in a variety of sports' situations. Most commonly, we know about the exhale when you say - push up in a bench press. Exhale, if you can (as sometimes you can’t) when you punch or strike. Firearm shooters and combat shooters (snipers or otherwise) constantly worry about breathing during their trigger pull, but in the chaos of combat, you have to strike or shoot when you have to shoot. Breathing pace be damned.

"... Power! Athletes must learn to apply the laws of pneumatics - the science 
of pressurized air, in this case, as a power source by absorbing and 
transmitting energy in a variety of sports' situations...."

     Deep breathing. The only problem is ... remembering to do it. It seems that fast breathing is a dirty trick in the biology of survival, doesn’t it? She makes us do it even though we shouldn’t. It is so easy to forget to breath when the knife is dropping onto your face. But you must try. For an example of pre-conflict breathing, here is a trick I learned decades ago from police instructors in the 1970s. I continued teaching in the 80s and 90s when I taught regularly in various police academies. I would suggest connecting this type of breathing with every time you turned on your police car siren or answer a "hot or hotter call." Hot calls equal calming breaths. 

     What SWAT officer or military mission team, while being transported to a mission, shouldn’t make this breath-in-transport a mandatory habit? If you can't maintain the pattern throughout, then breath deep on breaks in between segments of action. Then, as quickly as possible, afterward (drink copious amounts of fluids afterward, also, to help flush out the adrenaline chemicals quickly).

     Another trick I noticed was no matter what great shape I was in as a younger man, how far and fast I could run, often when I dashed up a flight of stairs, I would still become winded. I could run about a 6-and-one-half-minute mile just a decade ago, but a sudden, short dash up the stairs, at times, would bother me. "What good does all this running do when I can't dash up a flight of stairs?" But it is a classic “zero-to-sixty” situation. I swore then that I would slow/deep breathe every time I climbed any stairwell anywhere. A habit. Every time I looked at a stair step! I made it a personal habit. This turned into a major survival tip as we chase and even fight on stairs frequently. Climb any stairs anywhere? Deep breathe. (And, of course, you could run stairs as a workout, another testimony to practicing exactly what you need to do.) But the point is, pick a good time to breath like this and make that practice an engrained habit.

     Also, for many years I ran a local martial arts class. Often I would have to spar/kick box every student in the class. This was demanding; however, I discovered within myself a calm zone of performance where I could think, coach, and kick box everyone rather tirelessly! I recorded this ... this calm spot in my physiology. This zone. Whatever. I could often find this very spot under police stress and confrontations, too. In ways, some might call this a biofeedback method (another subject).

     In the course of practicing combat scenarios, if you can attach combat breathing and this air force of pneumatics to the physical steps of the scenario, you may be front-loading your muscle memory for survival. Check this out and experiment with it.

     Extended and serious exercise usually starts demanding fast lung work, and we find ourselves falling into shallow, mouth-breathing mode. But the better shape we are in, the more we push back that mode. How about some real Before/Pre-breath control practice? Wind sprints are another way to introduce your body to and get in touch with your physiology while it grapples with rising and falling heart rates. Know where you are and how you feel and think about breathing while wind sprinting. Long-term breath control? Exercise. I repeat and re-shape the above line for it is a most important point....

     The better shape we're in, the more we push back that falling-apart, disaster crash.

     Get up and get out and do something. It helps in so many more ways that simple slow breathing cannot alone. If you are having a heart attack while fighting off a criminal or a Jihadist, slow breathing ain't gonna help you much. Develop both heart and lung capacity.

     Once in so-called "combat," you have a lot going on, and your body wants to immediately breathe a certain way. You make it breathe your way. The best way you can. Good instincts. Good training. Good coaching. Good mental tricks. Good luck. A car going zero-to-sixty in a second becomes difficult to control. Unless it's a race car. Become a race car driver.

     Technically, tactical breathing goes like this. Breathe in through the nose for four or more counts. Deep into the lower lung and the upper “belly” should expand, unlike a shallow breath. Hold for four or more counts; exhale through the mouth for four or more counts. So simple, so respected. So proven, from Lamaze to Basra. It works. For the record, the U.S. Military suggests:

"Combat, Tactical" Breathing

     This technique, known as combat or tactical breathing, is an excellent way to reduce your stress and calm down. This breathing strategy has been used by first responders, the military, and athletes to focus, gain control, and manage stress. In addition, it appears to help control worry and nervousness. Relax yourself by taking three to five breaths as described below.

      - Visualize each number as you count.

      - Breathe in counting 1, 2, 3, 4

      - Stop and hold your breath counting 1, 2, 3, 4

      - Exhale counting 1, 2, 3, 4

      - Repeat 

     (Word to the wise. I have heard some folks suggest five or six seconds a breath and a much longer exhale - as in exhale until it almost hurts! But surely that is for meditation-like situations and not when you are about to kick a door or are inside a room searching for a suspect. And some people have bigger bodies and need another second or two to fill up and out.) 

     In summary, Tactical Breathing is more than just relaxing. It is three parts, the before, the during, and the post of fighting with hands, sticks, knives, and guns. While there are some similarities to a meditative style of breathing, "tactical" breathing is not for the yoga mat. It is almost impossible to forget to breath properly in a meditation class. It's hard when you are chasing a car at 100 miles per hour or fighting someone.

     The methods you use may be very personal discoveries. Generic in concept. Personal in execution. In the end, my friend? I want you to breathe the best breath of all, that sigh of relief when it's all really over and you are still in one "piece" and in one "peace."

PLEASE Read this article on the Neurobiology of Grace! Click here

Stop 6 of the Stop 6
The Bottom-Side of Ground Fight with Mixed Weapons
Hand, stick, knife, and gun solutions

(Different cover shown there; no worries, same film)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thinking of Terry Gibson

     On a more serious note, I think about some of my old instructors sometimes. Ernesto Presas has died. Remy Presas dead awhile now. Keith See - my first Parker, Kenpo Karate instructor has died. Ray Medina has died. My Kempo man R.J. Oak has died. And another one died in the late 1990s. They were all important to me, but this story is about a very important one. Terry Gibson had a huge influence on me and was a rare, fully-certified Inosanto instructor. Too good to be forgotten. All before the internet, so his name is not bounced around the digital waves. Let's bounce it around a bit here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     "Jesus! Terry! What are you doing!" he demanded.

     "Walking!" Terry said. "You told me to get up and move around."

     "I meant you could stand up and look out the window! Not run laps!"

     Terry was that kind of health nut and powerhouse. Splurging to him meant eating two ice Popsicles in one night. 

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

     In the early 1990s, Terry paid a student (and this included some kind of class attendance deal, too) to be his training partner, as in a "beat-up" uke. Terry was always concerned about his own training, his workouts, versus other competent practitioners. He said he was teaching too much and not building his own skills. When I would go up to Tulsa for privates, this guy would also be my work-out partner for all the evening classes at the Gibson school. It was part of his deal with Terry. I can't remember his name, but he was a good and motivated guy. Terry said that so many times, private lessons with students could easily slip into the instructor's workouts, and this wasn't fair to the private student. So this guy would come into the school on afternoons a few times a week and would be Terry's "trainer" in a way, as Terry worked through his drill and sparring lists upon him.

1994 - a Terry Gibson newsletter/magazine cover from Jack Lee's collection. Back in them-thar days, the more popular instructors had a magazine-ish or a newsletter approaching a magazine-look, for their organizations. Six times a year? I had them all once. I have no idea where they are now. (I think one of my ex-wives tossed them?) Terry's was Quest. Terry said they were a pain to oversee, print and mail out, but it was something a martial leader had to organize. They all went away from these production problems and costs.

     In or around 1995, and after his third surgery, it was a serious baddie. The cancer would not go away. I was and had been training with everyone I could, and some typical martial arts business politics got in the way as I continued to latch on and grow in many other systems. I studied many systems since the mid-80s, but I hit it pretty hard with Terry for about six or more years. Early on, I realized that Terry was more skilled and knowledgeable than all the others around my region. In the mid-90s, non-martial arts related programs on hand, stick/baton, knife and gun became a financial priority for me as a teacher, and it pushed and captivated more and more of my time. Absolutely no reflection on Terry himself. Also, I simply grew away from being totally immersed in the martial arts formats, which as a whole can include so much unrelated dogma and sport compared to simple survival.

     Terry eventually died from this cancer two years later in 1997. Terry was alive and well  all before the internet really took over, so his name is not bounced around the digital waves much. Let's bounce it around a bit here.

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


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


Two great and talented guys, Kevin Seaman HQ-ed in New York State and Terry.

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

Thai Association Remembers Terry



Strike! Thwart! Thwarted!
The 35 PAC and Filipino Stick Essentials

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Diary of a Mad Hip Replacement

by W. Hock Hochheim

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

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

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

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

      "Ve vill verk on this later."

     "THAT will be a ... no!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of a Mad Hip Replacement Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three years later....

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

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

An Old Cowboy's Advice

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

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

* Keep skunks & bankers & lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere

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

* Meanness don't jest happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

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

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

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

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

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

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

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

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

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

* Sometimes you get, & sometimes you get got.

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

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

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

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

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


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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Approach. Trouble Walks - "Nonverbal Behaviors Presage Criminality"

The Approach. Trouble Walks - "Nonverbal Behaviors Presage Criminality"
by W. Hock Hochheim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     If several people plan to rob or attack you, they might approach you with a different pattern of normal friends on a walk, and still they might not even know they are doing it. I recall a lone victim on a case I worked that is a great example. One night, my victim was out too late in a closed, outdoor shopping mall area. In the distance, he saw three men who were walking together in what was perceived as a normal manner. Three abreast. Usual, common distance apart. They suddenly stopped. They conferred all while taking turns glancing at him. Then they advanced, but their style of walk was suddenly now different.

     Show time. The very plan in their heads made them walk differently than before, like getting into character for the parts they were about to play. Plus, my victim recalls that one of them split from the other two by a few feet, different from how they walked before the little conference. One off to the right. Two close to each other (this being one classic approach of a wolf-pack attack). When close, the one that split off talked to the victim. The classic gibberish question. He got the victim to partially turn away from the other two, and you guessed it, whereupon the man was jumped. And he saw it all unfolding. He saw trouble "walking," coming in the approach to him. He was able to recall every step of this for me yet did not react to the impending signals. When I asked him why in our interview, he shrugged his shoulders. No good answer came from him, but I and many others believe ignorance and denial are two common causes. "What should I do?"  "That won't happen to me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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Monday, August 11, 2014

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

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

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

The Stop 1 of the Stop 6 is the standoff or “showdown or interview - even interrogation" range, and we deal with several different topics. You tend to get "stuck" there, thus the official stop. One topic in Stop 1 we loosely call "stances” is about how you are going to stand when confronted or even when you are doing the confronting. This chapter is more about striking and kicking from those stances. You might call it "preemptive strikes."

Here is some basic advice and information about the common positions of initial confrontations.  For the record, I never took so much as one promotional test, and I remained a "line operations patrol officer" and "line operations detective" and investigator for 26 years. I have arrested a lot of people in my time in military and civilian police forces. Well over a thousand. I have investigated decades of assaults, robberies, and murders. This is what I have learned from my mistakes, failures, successes, police and martial arts training, and watching and learning.

In police work, you would be expected to really articulate the reasons for a preemptive strike. Pros are quite good at observing and documenting very subtle verbal and physical tips about the escalation of a crime and/or attack upon them. Obviously, citizens best know their way around these subjects, too, to justify what actions they take.

In Stop 1, for whatever reason or whatever situation, you are standing some meters off with another aggressive person. You can make your own list of the problem topics that caused this confrontation - road rage, bumped while walking, grazed, disrespected, military checkpoint, "messed with his sister,"... you name it. In the military, security, or enforcement positions, you are interviewing, interrogating, or arresting. The sky is the limit in our crazy world of confrontations. But it has happened, and here we are.
How you stand in these moments are important. It either does or does not send a signal and escalates or de-escalates the problem in either very obvious or subliminal ways. It can be a quiet, non-aggressive positioning of your face, your arms, your hands, and your legs. Or if there are physical threats and/or serious movements of aggression coming at you, of course, your hands should indeed pop up like some kind of barrier, like a negotiator or even, if necessary, a fighter.

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

"... there is no basketball scoring stance or football scoring stance."  

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

Zero-to-Sixty Power

There is a method of explosive power from a still position to bolster a strike or kick providing, of course, you make it so through practice and support exercises and training. A more modern martial arts suggestion is to consider an engine of a car spinning in neutral. Revving. Then suddenly you drop into a gear and the vehicle jolts and blasts off. This vision helped me and others generate a concept of explosive power. Of course, there are many more of these methods to investigate. Get them and make a list.

Also like an athlete in a sports game, take care not to tip off your opponent by making faces or moves that telegraph your intent.

Here is one prep trick I used to use as a cop and investigator. When I felt the situation was percolating up to a physical problem or arrest, inside my pants legs, if I could, I would bend ever so slightly at the knees. Not much. All athletic endeavors involve bent knees. This was a great yet unseen, surreptitious prep that can switch on all kinds of important biology. I mean, I wired myself to make it so. We are all capable of this wiring. This bend helped me with a spring for a zero-to-sixty takeoff.

Striking and Kicking from the Stances/Positions

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

Kicking from ...
  1. Kick from the bus stop or arms down stance
  2. Kick from any arms-up "talking" stance
  3. Kick from a ready fighting stance position

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

It is also wise to keep some distance, unless of course you are planning on charging in for action. I would like to warn you that most people can spring at you very fast and get all over you in any instant. It is very typical to completely underestimate the distance from which a person can suddenly spring upon you. I can't emphasize how important that is.

Do not telegraph your moves. Have your trainer observe you closely for such tip-offs.  In training in all of these when you strike pads/mitts/heavy bags from these positions, hit without telegraph, then drop to a fighting-ready stance because the fight is obviously on now! Then return to the stance or position for more zero-to-sixty strike training. You must give up on the fighting posture and return to the bus stop stance and strike again. This is a problem for the trainer and trainee with short attention spans, because they will follow this format and usually start mentally drifting off ... and start striking only from the fight stance. The trainers must correct them.

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

Some people complain that good law-abiding citizens should not be sucker punching anyone, least of all with their hands way down like this. I think that is completely situational. The situation is not just about countering bullies or muggers or boys in bar fights. We teach all kinds of professionals within all kinds of worldwide problems. They need all kinds of ideas and tools, too. This setup is to look very calm up to the very last second. While it might be best to get your hands up in some manner when a situation gets quizzical, I wouldn't totally ignore this option. At least experiment with it. Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

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

Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

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

It is advised by many that when possible, move these “up hands” nervously about a bit. This is said to help disguise your next action in a bit of the same way kickboxers move their hands to disguise their next moves. Others like the still hands and they like the sudden “zero-to-sixty” approach. Up to you. Practice for yourself. Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

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

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

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

Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

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

Often police officers interview and interrogate people from the "prayer" or the above conversational hands positions. Part of their problem is the excessive amount of gear on their uniform belts, creating such a girth it hinders their natural arm positions and even movement. It looks and sometimes is resting your elbow atop all the gear you must wear.

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

See what you like or don't like.

6. Striking from the cross arms stance. This is also a classic, but cross them “loosely.” Do not let yourself be pinned into a bow tie on your chest. This positioning allows you to block, push, and strike out and to do so powerfully with that lead arm and even pull your weapon with the other hand.

Some people like to cross their arms and put a finger up to their chins, called the “Jack Benny Pose,” based on the very old and golden age TV comedian. The problem is many people today do not know who Jack Benny was anymore. Personally, I find the "Benny-Chin-Stroker" intellectually pretentious and, therefore, possibly antagonistic to many unless maybe the person has a beard. Check out how natural you look when doing it.

Crossing your arms, perhaps tightly, is also a subliminal message of closure to communication, so beware of that stigma. I am not sure that lightly crossing your arms dispatches the same message.

Another advantage with this position is it gets your gun (or knife) side back and away from the problem person. This helps you retain the weapon as well as gives you space for a sudden draw, even some deception for one.

This is one of my favorites. I taught it at police academies to recruits for many years in the late 1980s and 1990s. Then I decided it was best for people (and police cadets are people, too!) to be free to develop their own favorite "stances," based on their size, shape, age, strength, and personality. Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

7. Striking from the lapel-hang stance. I learned this idea back in the 1980s in a “Plain-Clothes Shooting” class put on by retired FBI agents. These agents worked in the late 50s, 60s, and 70s.

One might casually grip the edges of his sports coat, suit jacket, or outerwear jacket during an interview or the beginnings of a confrontation. Your hands may run up and down the edge as needed and are already in a half-fist position if you need or want to punch.

I want you to really think about this one. Just let the hands fly forward! There are other tricks and advantages to this. Practice all your strikes from this position. See what you like or don't like.

8. Striking from a ready fighting stance. You know what this is. This is your so-called favorite fighting stance, whatever that might be. Develop your own from practice, not mindlessly listening to me or some martial figurehead. Question everything. Test everything.

You are probably practicing all of your strikes from ready or fighting positions. Keep doing so.

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

Other? How about throwing things that you are holding? Or hitting with things you are holding. This would mean that your Stop 1 stance and body and arm positioning includes maneuvering over to other off-the-body weapons. Arms down might mean your hands are near a hefty lamp? (You can block with some of these items, too - another essay.)

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

As a topical aside to this “other” category, as a caveat, some things being taught as weapons should also really be evaluated. There are many fighting systems, martial or “tactical” that suggest the use of, for example, things like small keys on key chains, or scarves, or slim pens. I would rather fight with the full potential of two empty hands – I can do more – than fighting with a variety of some gimmickry and tricks.

For example, this idea of trying to tie up into elaborate knots angry adrenalized people holding knives or smashing at you with scarf moves is a kind of addictive magical thinking for some. If you can actually do this? Wow! But then you have spent way too much time trying to learn how to at the high expense of other faster, simpler, more efficient stuff.
I am sure some martial artists will find this advice shocking because they have seen “Master So-and-So” do it, or they can do it about 80 percent of the time with much practice to slow-motion and half-speed students in a classroom. And unless you are going to get lucky and stick a key in someone’s eye, I don’t think fighting with your car key is worth it, either. These items are low percentage tricks that I would not rely on or advise people to rely on. I am also not fond of these tactical pens, either. Yes, you can stick it in people's eyes. You can also stick your fingers in people's eyes, too, and your fingers are always with you and you are really used to using them.

I would rather just use my hands than hold scarves, keys, and pens. I have seen people teaching entire programs with small flashlights and gizmos using elaborate joint locks. Keys, pens, scarves, small flashlights - all this stuff can be dangerously misleading, oversold, and create misdirected confidence. And if successful once in awhile, don’t let these anecdotal stories fool you. There are plenty of stories where they weren't successful. I would rather keep my hands free to fight or to pick up more sensible, valuable items in the area to fight with. I challenge any scarf master to get in a ring with even a moderate MMA fighter (or coal miner) and try to tie him up in knots. I'll even give him 3 out of 4 or 6 out of 10 chances. I just don't think it'll work out with the scarf.

And lastly, while I have your attention? Your first strike? In those first "critical five seconds" so many advertise? Don't ever, ever think that a punch or strike will automatically work and will "automatically" force an opponent to move precisely into the next position for your next pre-staged, follow-up strike. Too many variables. This type of promise is a crap shoot, hogwash. You can never count on what a person will do when punched, stabbed, shot, or smacked with a stick. You can hope. You can pray. You can think and even dream about it. But you can't guarantee it.  

The Force Necessary: Unarmed! The Complete Strike List

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

 Kicking from the Stances/Positions

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

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

Practice all your kicks from this position. See what you like or don't like.

2. Kicking from any arms up and ready fighting stance. You know what this is.

Arms down. Arms up. We discussed these above.  Develop your own "stances" from practice, not mindlessly listening to me or some martial figurehead. Question everything. Test everything.

You are probably already kicking from your fighting ready stance. Kick from non-fighting stances. Keep on keeping on.

The Force Necessary: Unarmed! The Complete Kick List

  1: Snaps
  2: Stomps
  3: Knees
  4: Rear leg hooks
  5: Lead leg hooks
  6: Backs
  7: Sides
  8: Thrusts

In Summary

You should also practice your blocking skills from these very positions and stances! But that is the subject of another essay, isn't it? This was about striking and kicking. Work the training matrix. Pick a stance and then with a trainer holding gear or by yourself using a heavy bag, incorporate the strike and kick and start hitting. Remember, no telegraphing!

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

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

 Combat Kicks and Counters to Kicks Video

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