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23 April 2012: Another Hicks Hiccup
Yet another in the never-ending, shallow regurgitated lines of the Hicks Law comes to us this time from the clichéd, charismatic Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman from his book On Combat . In it, he breezes over Hicks Law on page 37 in the typical shallow fashion we so often see, and he even brings Sun Tzu into the mix…
“When learning skills and ingraining them as muscle memory or autopilot responses, it is important that only one way be taught. W.E. Hicks' 1952 study found that as the possible responses increased from one to two, reaction time increased by 58 percent. In other words, having to choose between options takes time, and the more options you have, the greater the reaction time. This is often referred to as "Hicks' Law," but Sun Tzu said the same thing many centuries ago: "The more possibilities you present to the enemy, the more diffuse he is forced to become. The more diffuse he becomes, the more difficult it is for him to concentrate sufficiently to make a successful attack." We want to confuse the enemy with a variety of possibilities…” - Lt. Colonel Grossman
“58% more time.” “Greater Reaction time.” Two classic, shallow, flippant terms experts from other fields love to throw down as important to their field. I must ask again, 58% of what exactly? One selection alone is about zero seconds since there is no choice. So then two choices takes 58% more time? Since Hick's Law deals in milliseconds, so now we take 58 milliseconds, out of 1,000 milliseconds of one second, to pick one choice from two options? 58 milliseconds? Do you know how fast that is? Very fast. Using suggested logarithms, not exponential rates as many Hicks quoters mistakenly do, how many choices waste a full, complete second? A lot of choices. Is Hicks Law even worth mentioning as a tenet in fighting theory? No. There are numerous other reasons for hesitation, that have nothing to do with Hicks Law, yet Hicks Law always takes the rap. When you scientifically split reaction time, you find many varied reasons for the delays. Once you define the reason, you work on that problem. You can't ignore the real potential problem and solution by simply blaming everything on Hicks Law.
Scientists like to split things. They split seconds. They split atoms. They split the genome. If you split confusion on an actual big battlefield, there are hundreds of reasons for confusion, and hardly within the milliseconds of Hicks Law. Yet, somehow Grossman sneaks in the Sun Tzu quote, right in conjunction with Hicks? Confusion? Let's say Sun Tzu attacks by two possibilities - by land and by sea. The enemy has a strong army and a weak navy. Some of the army must be sent to the beach to support the navy. How many army troops? Exactly where on the beach? What has this confusion got to do with Hicks Law and millisecond reaction time? Nothing. There are so many other factors that confound military reaction time on a battlefield that this add-on statement to Hicks Law is just…flubber. Flubber on top of flubber.
20 April 2012: Knife Ground Fighting DVD Released
Paladin released my Knife Ground Fighting DVD
19 April 2012: Terry Gibson Silat DVDs
Terry Gibson was a terrific person to know and taught me me a lot of material in seminars, classes and privates at his Tulsa, OK. school in the late 1980s and 1990s. I hosted him numerous times in Texas. He fought back brain cancer and then we lost him in the 90s. During his time, Guro Dan Inosanto called Terry "one of his top 5 instructors." Terry made a series of video tapes all well before anyone knew DVDs were even possible. Now, his top guy Harley Elmore has organized the DVD release of some of Terry's work. Anyone interested in Silat should get these...
"The Terry Gibson Silat Collection This series is a reproduction of Mr. Gibson's original Silat VHS tapes. After his passing, this series was no longer available. Now with permission from the Gibson Estate and the assistance of his many loyal students, we are proud to re-release this amazing series that helped bring the arts he loved so much to people around the world." - Guro Harley Elmore Warrior's Way International, Inc. Click here
Harley Elmore is really the heir apparent to the Gibson System and a terrific source and place to learn Filipino Martial Arts as well as other subjects in the Inosanto Family of arts. I recall him to be a dedicated, obsessed student and teacher who has found a home in Wichita Falls, TX area. Getting with him, or getting any of his films would be a boon to your knowledge. Click here
17 April 2012: Pee Wee Herman Targets His Focus on the Hulk, and Other Combat Billiards Problems.
At about 2 am the phone rang.
Not untypical. It was Saturday morning. I was the on-call detective.
“Hey there, Hackenhammer!” It was Lt. Walter Keen. “Sleepen? Ha hahahaaaaa.” This was Keen's usual wake-up-the-detective call. He continued. “A man's been shot in the head a bunch of times and is at the hospital.”
“Where'd it happen?” I managed to ask.
“At Lemona's Pool Hall. We got a man there working the hall, but there's not much evidence.”
“Got who done it?”
“Know who done it?'
“Oookay,” I groaned. “Be in route.”
I got out of bed, threw on some clothes, put on a gun and stepped out into the night air. I figured I'd better get to the hospital first in case the guy died. I envisioned him all tubed and bandaged up and on life support. Unable to speak for sure.
On the way over I stopped at a 7-11 down the corner and got some coffee. Drive on. Then with my notebook and coffee in hand I walked into the emergency room. I was sound asleep just 35 minutes ago. Not to bad for a response time. And the ER was not too busy for a weekend night.
“Hi Hock,” and ER nurse said.
“Hi. I guess we have a guy here shot in the head?”
“You guessed right.” But, she made an odd face. “Follow me.”
I followed her down the hall and into one the rooms. And there he was?
He was a big, black man. About 50 years old. His shirt was off, but there were no tubes or life support present. He was partially sitting up on the table, the table's back section elevated so he looked like he was in a lounge chair. It looked more like a scene in a Dentist's office, not brain surgery. One of the docs was standing behind him. The guy's bald head was kind of messed up all right, but he was far from dying or dead. Beside them on a table was a silver bowl with some liquid in it. The shallow liquid was rusty red. There were two metal lumps in the bowl.
“Looks like .22s,” the doctor said. I looked closer in the bowl and saw the mangled metal slugs.
“I'm okay. Yeah. Yeah.”
“How many?” I asked the doc.
“Looks like four.”
“So you were shot in the head, four times?”
“Know who shot you?”
“No.” He was lying.
“I was shooting pool and some fool shot me. He was from Dallas.”
“From Dallas? How do you know?”
“I've seen him around, you know. But I don't know who he is.”
“And he shot you In the head four times. Why?”
“Don't know.” He was lying.
“Where you from?”
“Dallas…” and I proceeded to draw ID info from him like molasses through a strainer. I learned he was up from Dallas and just wanted to play some pool. He walked into Lenora's, started playing and then, you know, some fool shot him in the head four times like he said. Yeah.
Meanwhile, the doc removed the 4th slug with his tweezers and dropped it with a plunk into the bowl. Four rounds hit this guy's head and traveled around the outside of his skull and under his scalp like snakes hunting wild mice. The classic .22 pistol round has been used by hit men world-wide because once the round enters the skull, it usually bounces around inside the brain tearing the holy hell out of your think tank, killing the brain and its owner. The key word here being… “entered.” How thick was this guy's skull anyway? When all the molasses was drained from our conversation, I was still without much of a case.
“You don't want me to work on this do you?” I finally asked.
“Oh no, no. You don't need to do anything. I am okay. Fine. Just some scratches on my head.” The doctor was stitching up the scalp holes. “As soon as he is done, I'll be getting on back to Dallas.” And then came the quick, true slip of the tongue, “I'll take care of it.”
He'll...take care of it. He was declining an investigation and declining prosecution so to speak. This was most likely a drug deal, or a bad, history revenge deal. Uncooperative complainant. There would be another shooting, but maybe down in Dallas.
“You won't be going anywhere for awhile,” the doctor warned.
But, within an hour, and disregarding the doctor's advice, the man who was shot in the head four times walked out of the hospital and into a taxi. The taxi took him back to his car at the pool hall, parking lot. He drove himself home, or to the next level of revenge. But shouldn't he be in critical condition? Or dead?
I tell you this story of a man shot in the head multiple times not to offer up a medical or criminal mystery. I have told you enough of his story to get my real theme started right here. There is no medical mystery, really. No big surprise. The choas of combat produces very chaotic results. Through the years I have seen many people shot, stabbed, blown up, tortured, raped, hit by all kinds of things, sticks, chairs, bottle, axes, cars, trucks, run over, tossed from speeding vehicles, all kinds of stuff. I've been to numerous assault and violent death police schools put on by medical examiners from the largest cities in the United States. I have worked on, or been involved with, or been briefed on thousands of violent crimes. I have written a popular book on Knife Combatives that involved researching tons of military incidents that took years to amass. In the last few decades I have been working in, researching and experimenting in the fields of violence and crime. Plus, I am dedicated to exercising a critical and skeptical eye on everything in life. I could go on and on about this. I tell you this because I am here to declare with the up most certainty, that you cannot guarantee what a fist, foot, knife, stick or bullet will do to a person. You can guess. You can hope. But you cannot guarantee. To think otherwise is immature, uneducated and or ignorant.
"I am here to declare with the up most certainty, that you cannot guarantee
what a fist, foot, knife, stick or bullet will do to a person."
There are martial training systems in the market place right now advertising a claim, that pitch a so-called “autonomic” mandate to fighting. Basically, they promise that if you strike a body in such-and-such place, that person will always and ever react/respond/bend etc. in a certain, exact, precise way, absolutely setting up the next shot without fail. Think of automatic…billiards. Every ball goes everywhere you want, each and every shot you make, no matter the layout of the balls on the table, or if one pool table leg is shorter than the other. Or upside down. Or in the rain. Promises. Promises.
Practitioners in this automatic, billiards approach are taught to anticipate certain required, mandatory reactions and they do not plan for common chaos that actually occurs. Taking blocking and defensive precautions? Why? After-all, how can a man possible counter-strike back at you, after being hit in the stomach as a targeted, focus strike? He absolutely must bend over from the strike, and therefore not be able to strike back, right? Right? Well…No. We do not live in a world of automatic billiards or bodies.
Worse, not only the guns of people vary, people themselves involved in violence are different. Since we live in a mixed person's world, people with all kinds of different sizes, shapes, strengths, ages, attitudes, etc, will be doing the striking and getting the hitting. These variations alter the autonomic, billiards equation dramatically. If Pee Wee Herman punches Hulk Hogan exactly in the right spot on the stomach, or jaw, or wherever, will the Hulk always and ever bend over at a precise, prescribed angle?
No. You can't even expect these results when you shoot someone! Least of all hit them. Saying you can is a misleading, misguided sales pitch. If you take out the automatic billiards sales pitch then you are left with so many, many other training systems who teach common sense in this regard. You try hitting and stunning, hoping to distract and wound the opponent. Hoping to, NO GUARENTEE! We call it in my courses the “diminished fighter” theory. There are no guarantees.
I repeat for the record - you cannot guarantee what a fist, foot, knife, stick or bullet will do to a person. You can guess. You can hope. But you cannot guarantee. To think otherwise is immature, uneducated, misguided and or ignorant.
8 April 2012: Knife Speed, Skill and Flow Exercises. (Exercises? Did someone say "drills?")
Rawhide Laun and I have been busy shooting a training film on this knife subject. We will be finishing up the main footage - as the pros would say "principle footage" - the end of this month. It will be "in the can," as they also say, by May 1. Finished? Maybe June 1? Folks have been suggesting this theme to me for years now and I always nodded and said "yeah," but I was really overwhelmed and intimidated with such a project. All the knife drills? Say what? All? How many? How many is enough?
First off, I was concerned that the term drill has become a dirty word for many in the modern martial arts industry. Drills have been deemed "wastes of time," or remember the fad by untrained, and immature practitioners a few years back calling all drills, "dead." "Dead drills." Well, not all drills. Just yours. A guy would declare the drills of others dead, and then turn right around and teach his own...drills - which was also just as dead, yet label his drills as "live drills." They weren't bright enough, mature enough in the training/coaching field to understand this. You see all drills are dead in a way. They are simply like running tires in football. We all know there are no tires on the football field. Just on the practice field. A lot of these complainers were also making a sales pitch as well targeting a vendetta against others in the industry.
Running tires in football. They still do that or use other modern obstacles and gear to replace the actual tires, and now they even flip truck tires in Cross Fit and offshoots to gain strength and endurance. All are abstract "drills" to develop a foundation for a later physical event. I wouldn't call drills "dead," maybe just "abstract?" Or, maybe something else? How about calling them...exercises?
Exercies! HA! Then I outsmarted them. I now simply call them all - exercises. I have outsmarted and tricked them in this name game and I even announce blatantly and beforehand how I have done it. Because who can criticize the simple and broad word "exercise?" Every exercise develops something. Stretching. Yoga. Even chin-ups. In the military, the term exercising includes large battle/combat scenario, simulations. Exercises can be intense, or specific, big-goaled or small-goaled, etc.
"Drills? But, you see I have already outsmarted them. I now simply
call them - exercises."
We have also heard from various quarters of drill naysayers, the broad declaration, "learn to fight by fighting." It too comes from these immature and misguided people. Sounds cool and tough though doesn't it? Learn to fight by fighting is another classic training myth/misunderstunding. It suggests that just fighting is all you need. It is usually used as a slur against people who "waste their time doing dead drills." In this regard I think back to my teen age years when we all played tackle football in the park on weekends. No one had gear, but we were teenagers. Everyone performed at some level. Good athletes did very well. Mediocre did mediocre, etc. This really did not change year after year. If someone wished to excel they needed a coach. The teens who also played organized football did well. They had organized coaching. I noticed that people needed outside, off-the-field training. (Star Jerry Rice only played 11 minutes per game and depended/thrived on drills. See more of that here - Tony Torres article )
Guess what these coaches did? Brace yourself. They made you do exercises and drills to improve. Duh. Yes, you can learn a lot by playing football. You can learn a lot of things by fighting a lot. But to excel you need also good coach, drills and exercises. If you just play football without advice, you will be stuck at your genetic, athletic level. I could go on and on about this topic, but I won't here.
Once I figured out this silly name game thing, and call all the drills as exercises, then I felt better taking on the project. Next, I wondered about ALL the systems doing knife drills...ahhh, sorry...exercises. Can I do them all? Should I? I decided two things. I should certainly teach the ones I like and also the universal ones that cover as many systems as possible. My chosen ones are my favorites for a good, teachable reasons, which I explain in the film.
And of course, the training film will explain and demo many of the pitfalls of over-emphasing the flow drill - a very common problem. Sadly, many systems only create fastidious drill masters. Like dancers. Not good. I think these drill masters were the real targets of the "dead drill" attackers, but their critical arrow missed its real mark. It wasn't the drills they should have aimed for, it was the system that over-emphasized these drills, or the people who let that happen within the systems. Right arrow. Wrong bullseye.
Here below are the knife exercises I selected to teach on the film. My go-to knife drills...I mean exercises! We discuss and cover them extensively. Chances are, if your favorite isn't listed here? I have one so similar that it won't matter. The Windmill for example, is so diverse in its small and large circles, its thrusts and hooks, including high, medium and low heights, it encompasses a large amount of other drills. Remember that the patterns of each are the basic formats of movement. The options or the inserts, the actual half-beat interruptions are almost countless. You can interrupt the format with so many options. We demonstrate a lot of knife options in the film, over 50 in fact, but no one can show all the strikes kicks and takedowns. Too many options.
Grip Switch Exercises
Critical Contact Exercises
Counters to Common Blocks
Block, Pass, Pin (Hubad) Exercises
Horizontal Blast Exercise
Panannanstas (The First Chain) Exercise
Give and Take Exercises
Any expertise instructor in my Knife Combatives course should know all of these as they progress into the upper deck levels of my course. But they are not mandatory. They are good prescriptions to prescribe to practitioners to add speed, skill and flow to their trainees. If you are in my PAC course however, you MUST know all of these. I am not too big on Knife Sumbrada for tactical, practical knife work. It is very structured and at times, peculiar. But a PAC instructor must know Sumbrada. As I have said before I will not put an a veteran PAC/Filipino student out on the street without knowing their way around Filipino Sumbrada. Too many Filipino systems do forms of Sumbrada for it to be ignored.
Knife Speed, Skill and Flow Exercises. The topic was enormus. I tried to do it some justice.
4 April 2012: David Hackworth - "No we have not forgotten you..."
Remembering Hack, my friend, supporter and hero.
"Always have a - go to hell plan, when things go to hell."
See an hour interview
1 April 2012: End Days at the Las Vegas Gun Seminar
We wind the last day down with Ak-47s, some fire and maneuver drills with live fire and with sims and the celebrated Walmart Madness parking lot shoot outs. Folks came from Iowa, Tennessee, California, Delaware, Texas, Colorado and of course, the usual Nevadans.
Chuck Burnett checks out the line before live fire, which we'ill mix live fire with "force on force" simulated ammo, scenario training through the day. Chuck is an excellent, polished, articulate and intelligent instructor. And, Chuck is - as Gus would say in Lonesome Dove, "good company at suppertime."
After pistol and shotgun, in the afternoon, I took the group over and problem-solved the classic "Prison-Knife-Pumper" attack by...you guessed it - shooting the attacker. But we developed various skills that led up to shoot/don't shoot options. Standing and on the ground.
"Remember you are really not learning how to gunfight unless moving thinking people are shooting back at you..." - Hock
Finished up the Vegas Gun Seminar last Sunday with the really fine folks at Rifle Dynamics (great people, great staff, great gear) and AK-47s a blasting. "Boomshaka!" We'll see them again. More Stop 6 Stress pistol quick draws with gas guns, airsoft, etc...and the infamous, interactive, can-happen-too-anyone, Walmart Madness parking lot scenarios.
Chuck Burnett did a fantastic job organizing and problem solving. See y'all next year and Chuck and I already have some super new and different plans in mind for 2013.
The New Battle Comp...