What got you into the martial arts?
That is a very long story, but even as kid, I was always interested in tactics and fighting. Maybe movies and TV spurred my interest? The how-to tricks. A vehicle to learn this stuff was martial arts, which I started in 1972 with Ed Parker Kenpo. I was about 18 years old? No kids back then. But martial arts were never my end goal, just a ways to learn those tactics and tricks. I personally find martial arts themselves to be distracting. All sorts of biases and things happen in this training process that gets one off the path of clean, unarmed and mixed weapon, generic fighting.
Incoming mob/crowd, you have 30 mins to teach a complete novice how to fight. What do you teach them?
The suggestion in the question is – me and a group are about to be bombarded by a mob or group? My questions to best answer that question is who, what, where, when, how and why? The answer has to be customized for the situation. Who is the mob? What do they want? Where are we? When is this happening? How specifically will it happen? Why? If IO knew that? I could answer something. It is so, so situational.
Short times? Generally, I almost never, ever do short, self defense training classes. I have to be really be pushed, coerced or “guilted” into doing one. Fighting info is too big and too perishable as it is for people in regular training. I know some people that like to do that but I don’t for that reason, I am just not geared up to cover short segments/deals. I do have do a speech on “Who, What, Were, When, How and Why,” though. A speech, nothing physical, that is pretty important for all to know and that speech can be squeezed into all kinds of very short or longer time frames.
As a self-protection expert, what do you consider to be under-taught or under-appreciated concept in the self-protection field?
The seamless mix of hand, stick, knife and gun training is way, way and foolishly under-taught. No matter where in the world you live, no matter the laws and rules, criminals and enemy soldiers use knives, sticks and guns. You fight them, you pick up their weapons. “We live in a mixed weapons world” is one of my opening mottos.
It is commonly taught that if someone demands your wallet or purse, you should throw it to the ground and run. Is this good, universal advice? If not, are there cues as to when we should do this or not?
Many instructors just say “always run away, which is “simpleton” advise. “Simple” better advice is “run away, if you can.” Based on military and police history as in crime and war, you should pick and choose and gamble with just “turning around and running away.” Sometimes the mugger wants your watch and ring too, not just the wallet. They chase you. Then, they also chase you out of a predator instinct. The military once called it “The Caveman Chase.” And remember, you are easier to kill from behind, another long known concept that goes back as far as Alexander the Great. Easer to kill, not because you can’t see the attacker, but the attacker can’t see your face, doesn’t personalize you. Much more about this in my knife book. The goal is an “orderly retreat,” as a method to leaving, whatever that is situation-by-situation. Also, who are you leaving behind when you run? How fast and far can you run? How fast and far do you think the attacker can run? What clues do you have that you can run? Maybe the physical make-out the robber? I can’t answer that with any certainty.
A common argument in the self-defense community is that if you really want to protect yourself, buy and carry a gun. What are your personal thoughts on guns and conceal and carry?
Oh yes, on the handgun. But you just have to figure out and be trained on how and when to use it. Well, the whole who, what, where, when, how and why to use it. That goes for any weapon for that matter. But I use the breakdown for training.
- There/Not There – why are you “there” in the first place? Why can’t you leave?
- Pull/Don’t Pull – When and if do you pull the weapon out?
- Point/Don’t Point – Is the weapon out, or ready in some way and concealed in some way? Bladed body, etc. Or, do you point it at the enemy?
- Shoot/Don’t Shoot – All of these require an essay to dissect.
If you look at the entire self-defense community, the majority of people learning to defend themselves are men. Men with little or no fighting experience are often concerned (apart from being harmed) with defending themselves and getting sued, taken to court and/or arrested. What do you tell your students/clients who are concerned with this issue?
In the end, remember that for citizens in modern times and civilizations, your willingness to fight, no matter how righteous and defensive your actions might be, may often end with you going to jail, with considerable legal fees and maybe with some added doctor bills to boot. You may well be vindicated later but at a physical, emotional, and monetary loss. You can very easily be arrested and you could be sued. Violence sucks. It’s a negative experience. But you are stuck in that nasty vortex.
Regular people should fight criminals to escape (and a criminal could be your drunk Uncle Harry. Once he attacks you he is officially a criminal). So, winning for most, regular people is just fighting to escape. No over kill, no maiming, no killing unnecessarily. (My courses are called “Force Necessary”) You fight to win, but what is winning?. There are 5 ways to “win,” or to “finish” a fight, whether soldier, citizen, security or cop.
- You leave. You escape from the opponent (using the “Orderly Retreat” concept), with no physical contact.
- He leaves. No physical contact. You use threats, demands and intimidation to make the opponent desist and leave.
- He stays. Physical contact. You inflect less-than-lethal injury upon the opponent. Injure and/or diminish to a degree that the opponent stops fighting and won’t chase you.
- You and he both stay. Physical contact or verbal control. You control as in arrest, contain and restrain. You capture and, or escort the opponent. Or, you detain/capture the opponent and await the proper authorities.
- He dies. Lethal methods. We fight criminals and enemy soldiers. Sometimes we kill them.
I get concerned that so many systems teach fighting like everyone you struggle with is a Nazi commando doomed to a neck break or scooped out eye balls. The system you train in, the things you say on the web, the tattoos you have, the names of the weapons you carry, your associates, everything can be used against you in court. I can tell you story after story about this.
Many self-protection specialists say that self-defense is more of a mental game than a physical one. Is this your opinion? Why or why not?
That is one of those intellectual hair-splitters that I don’t care to hair-split. I guess you need both but to what “exact” percentage at any given time, I can’t say. 50%-50%? You could be mean as hell in your head, but gas-out in 40 second fight. Then your mean/tough mind is in a skull on the ground getting bashed because you didn’t physically train enough. It’s both sides seamlessly working in unison. Why split it? Some folks got it, some folks can get it, some folks never will.
Women and children are the most victimized individuals in any society. Should women and children be taught differently than men? Why or why not?
“It’s a mixed person’s world” is one of my mottos. In many ways everyone should be taught differently. Every person is a different size, shape, strength, age, fitness level, job, situation, etc. with weak spots, ailments and laws to work around. There is no cookie-cutter fight system for all. In the end, it is the responsibility of each person to find their favorite things they can do well, for facing the problems they most likely will face. The instructor is supposed to facilitate that process, not make cookie-cutter robots. At some point you can teach statistically high “blanket” items like “hand striking” of course, especially in the beginning, but we can’t forget the eventual, necessary customization. And customization and prioritizing shouldn’t ignore lesser, probable events. Crazy stuff has and can happen.
Another big concern and why so many people are doing jiu-jitsu now is the perpetuated line that “most often the fight will end up on the ground.” In your experience, do you find that this is true? Either way, what traits/abilities are essential in someone to adequately defend themselves?
Well, for starters, when I did jujitsu it was a different time. Lots of standing solutions and takedowns. Judo was the ground wrestling arena. Today, the Brazilians have utterly redefined the term, as well as advanced the ground chess game.
But I think that everyone should be able to up, down and fight everywhere. I don’t like to see Billy Bob’s Kick boxing school on one street corner, and “Big Ralph’s Wrasling” school on another corner. Fighting is fighting and you fight where you fight. Seamlessly. Standing, kneeling, sitting and on the ground. You fight where you fight, with and without weapons. That is the end goal for me and what I teach people to pursue. But, in order to amass an education in these subjects we must meet experts in each of these fields. Again, all sorts of biases and things happen in this training process that gets one off the path of clean, unarmed and mixed weapon, generic fighting.
A collaboration of criminal justice colleges years ago came up with the four common ways we hit the ground, as best they could from research.
- We trip and fall
- We are punched down (usually sucker punches)
- We are tackled down
- We are pulled down
The very fact that you can often land on the ground, is reason alone to worry about it. I am a big fan of generic, MMA-ish, fighting with an emphasis on ground and pound. MMA has become very clean and generic for it does. It wants to win and system borders be damned. Plus, nothing replaces ring time -to quote Joe Lewis.
We are now in the New Year. What resolutions do you have and/or goals for the year?
I am supposed to be retired, you know. HA! I hope to trim my seminar schedule down to one USA city a month, one international city a month and one Sunday a month in the Dallas/Ft Worth area where I live. Technically, this means I am home two full weeks a month, but I can already see this is stacking and packing up differently than I planned for 2017 already. But, I would like to teach way less, write way more, and just hang out with my wife most of all.
Bonus Question – What book or resource (besides your own material) have you suggested or gifted most and why?
Oh man…DON’T get me started on THIS list, as I recommend a different book in every one of newsletters every three weeks for years, but here are just a few.
- Smarter Faster Better : by Charles Duhigg. Tremendous, enlightening, myth-breaking into on performance
- The Talent Code : by Dan Coyle
- Streetlights and Shadows : Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making by Gary Klein
- Anti-Fragile : by Nassim Talib
- Bounce : by Matt Syed
For more information on Hoch Hochheim and Force Necessary please visit his website.