Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Black Belt Magazine article about Hock Hochheim. Some excerpts:

Since retiring from law enforcement, he’s concentrated on spreading all that hard-earned knowledge to those members of the public interested in learning
state-of-the-art self defense, including knife, gun, stick and empty-hand skills.

His philosophy is all practical:
Practice hitting hard. Even though it sounds way too fundamental to ever be neglected, more than a few martial artists overlook it, he claims. Instead of power, they focus on precision, speed and even the innocent ability to stop their foot or fist a fraction of an inch from their target. None of those attributes will save your hide in a dark alley. Unloading a full-power kick, punch, elbow or knee will. "The same can be said of swinging a knife or stick," he says. "Always try to hit training objects hard and envision hitting a body part while doing it."
I agree with this. That's why I emphasize hitting the shields and pads (bags at home) in between controlled, light to medium contact. Practice hitting lightly and that's how you'll react.

Don’t neglect unconventional strikes. Martial arts instructors earn their living by telling students that precision kicks and punches are the way to go, and that’s fine, Hochheim says. "But you should also think about using other techniques such as the forearm strike and the body ram. They can be unexpected and effective. Just beware of the head butt, for you can stun yourself or even knock yourself out in the middle of a fight. God did not make the human head to be an impact weapon."
When all else fails, throw a palm to the chin. An upward-bound open-hand blast to the chin can be a knockout blow that shoots in from an unexpected angle below the line of sight. And if your fingers are long enough, he says, they will snap forward
on impact and hit him in the eyes.

Venture outside your safe zone. Good kickers tend to make every sparring session a kicking-only match, and good punchers tend to make every self-defense drill revolve around hand techniques. "To prepare yourself for any eventuality, however, you must familiarize yourself with all ranges of combat—standing, kneeling, seated and on the ground with and without weapons—and become proficient at them," he says.

This is very true. I find myself going back to what I'm comfortable with - boxing and knees, then kicking, in that order. I need to challenge myself to grapple more.

Train for skilled and unskilled assailants. Of course you’ll want to develop the skills you’d need to combat the most dangerous adversary you can imagine, but you also have to think about how you’d handle a sloppy drunk at a party and a recalcitrant teen-ager caught trying to vandalize your mailbox. "Most of the criminal world is untrained," he says. "Martial artists routinely train to defeat the jab, for example, yet 99.9 percent of the population does not know how to throw any type of sporting punch. Focus on preparing yourself to deal with sucker punches and haymakers before you problem-solve sporting punches."

Follow the skill-development progression. Whether you’re honing your weapons skills or empty-hand techniques, you should methodically work your way up the ladder of mastery. "First, learn the new tactic," Hochheim says. "Second,
perfect the skills you need to do it using partner drills. Third, trouble-shoot it for the typical problems. Fourth, work on counters to add depth to your troubleshooting. Finally, practice it in combat scenarios." It’s a tried-and true method for committing new techniques to memory, and it’s the best way to make them available to you during the heat of battle.

It's good. Read it all. Also, check the link to his site and blog on our Links.


Sam Bertolino said...

This article makes me think about a lot of things. Especially training against unskilled opponenets. Toward that end, I'd like to train defense or counter to the takedown attempt.

Nathan Teodoro said...

Send me an idea of what you want to try, and we can incorporate into our training. I like both ideas.