Hock Hochheim Online Interview
MAVR: Mr. Hochheim, can you tell
us about your organization?
Hock: Sure. The Scientific Fighting Congress now
has three divisions and three specialty courses, but I started about three years
ago with only the Congress of American Knife Fighters. It caught on quite well, but
there was also demand for empty hand combat and for Arnis training too! From there
I stepped back to create a bigger, broader concept I called the Scientific Fighting
Congress. So, the initial 10-level Knife Congress course became just one of three
major divisions. The other two divisions are the Hand-To-Hand Combat Congress and
the Filipino Combat Arnis Congress. People pick what they want.
Then we also
have 3 special courses, one called E.A.G.L.E.S (Educating American Guards, Law Enforcement
and Security) the DMS (Dos Manos System-two handed CQC stick fighting) and finally
we offer Pistol and Shotgun Combatives-taught by Congress members who are police
officers around the country. All are currently on SWAT teams.
I think it
is a big mistake when you try to lump all this material together and offer one and
only system, so I made the separate distinctions. If a guy comes to you and only
wants to learn empty hand fighting, why should he spend years stick-fighting? The
separation of subjects and courses also allows for intense, focused study in any
In the end, if a person has rank in all three divisions, then there
is an actual overall 10 level S.F. Congress rank, something I call the “Warrior Elite
Group.” It is very diverse and difficult, and there are only about 30 people out
of the 1500 members that hold these W.E.G. ranks. It is totally optional and achieved
by toiling in all the divisions.
When someone joins us, they become a member
of the Scientific Fighting Congress, not any one division. Once inside they study
anything they want.
MAVR: Congress is kind of a different name...
In martial arts terms, yes. Its either institute, association, or academy, that type
of thing. But in the political world, or citizen groups, the term Congress a common.
I like it because we are a collection of many systems and ideas, all connected by
our pursuit of the true essence of combat. It also connotes a certain freedom or
theme, an acceptance of all races, creeds and colors. I believe strongly about all
that too, so I think its perfect.
MAVR: We know that you have quite a background
in military police work and law enforcement. How does this affect your perspective
on martial arts?
Hock: Going on 26 years now and I spent all those years working
as a patrol officer or detective in line ops-that is operations on the line, in the
field, on the street-level. No admin jobs. My choice. Since I have recently moved
from Texas to Georgia, I am not sure if I will transfer my Private Investigator’s
license. We’ll see. But it all has created a...desperation. A desperation in learning
and a desperation to teach only life-saving, real world tactics and strategies, supported
by a collection of only the best skill-developing drills. " Fighting first,
systems second! " is one of our mottos. The experience has given me a certain
discerning and defining perspective that takes me out of a martial arts mentality.
Still, some martial art training, a certain martial progression and format, MUST
be maintained to maximize your survival skills.
MAVR: How long have you been
in the martial arts?
Hock: I started in a Ed Parker Kenpo school in Texas
in 1973. You could say I was a product of the Billy Jack and Carradine Kung-Fu era.
Those shows got me first interested. I enlisted into the Army from Texas and returned
there, where I remained a karate and jujitsu guy, never really satisfied with the
programs. Meanwhile there were plenty of police tactics and survival fighting courses
to go to which were much more real, modern and practical to me, put on by those politically
incorrect old-timers, ex-big city cops, ex-feds, ex-secret service back then. All
these guys had also studied martial arts but altered them for the realities of the
job. These are the guys who left a lasting impression on me. In 1987, some of us
fell upon the JKD Concepts world of Inosanto. They called it JKD back then but really
it was mostly the Filipino martial arts, Shoot wrestling, some silat and Thai Boxing.
It changed my life! I then became totally consumed, and I mean that on a daily basis.
The once open mind of Jeet Kune Do has lately closed up horribly into a who's-who
civil war I want zero part of. They can have it all. To me Bruce Lee was just an
athletic movie star with some good ideas. There were many others evolving the same
theories all over the world, but they didn’t star in Enter the Dragon, you know?
I spent time with a bunch of other instructors in all kinds of systems an
seminars. I actually started teaching in 1990 when our local JKD instructor, another
very talented fellow named Ray Medina, faded out of the scene. I inherited the class
we started in Gold’s Gym there in Denton, Texas, just north of Dallas. Without Ray,
I continued hosting and training with Paul Vunak, Terry Gibson, Remy Presas, Ernesto
Presas and other lesser knowns.
MAVR: What individuals have had the most effect
on you as a martial artist?
Hock: In terms of martial arts, well there are
a couple, and for different reasons. I have to mention again Ray Medina. Ray was
a black belt in karate and Tae Kwon Do, a Vunak PFS instructor and a seminar junkie.
One shocking day after he returned from one of his many week-long training sessions
in California, Ray slipped off his gi and belt forever. He hauled me around to all
kinds of seminars back in the late 1980’s. At first he whipped my ass, then he taught
me how to whip his ass. He set me free and taught me how to fight and how to flow.
So Ray had a profound and personal effect on me. Profound! In an impersonal way,
though I have seen him a dozen times in seminars and have barely spoken a word to
him, Dan Inosanto is responsible for this overall movement and revolution in this
country. Dan “begot” so many of these guys, who begot and begot and so on...So in
a way Inosanto has had quite an effect on me and he doesn’t even know or care who
I am! Dan begot the late Terry Gibson of Tulsa, Ok and I spent a lot of time teaching
me the all Concepts systems. He took me to yet another level, but I soon ran afoul
of those guys because I continued to train 'outside the JKD family" by going
overseas, working with so-called "original JKD guys" and basically not
kissing the floor of the altar some call "Guro Dan". We all know Dan himself
wants no such altar, but a few of his down-line people around the country can drive
you crazy. If you get a chance to see Inosanto go for it. He is a great guy with
an truly incredible collection of history and systems.
But there can be no
doubt that Ernesto Presas, with whom I have studied with in several trips to the
Philippines and the U.S. has had the biggest impact. His diverse, hard-core approach
to Filipino combat, void of all frills, answered all my questions for me, establishing
a mindset, a certain training priority that I am still building upon today.
his brother Remy has taught me a lot and advised me. He just about ordered me to
start the Congress years ago when I first spoke of the idea. "You must do this!"
He was the first Filipino stylist who emphasized to me how important two-handed stick
grappling is, with which I later weaved with military pugil stick, police night stick
and riot baton into the DMS system. I love Remy like an uncle. He is a pioneer, one
of the very first, along with Dan and Leo Gaje, who toured the country spreading
the word years ago.
MAVR: What other contemporary martial artists do you
admire or look to for inspiration?
Hock: On one hand that is a tough one
because I am going in a different direction than the martial arts. I don’t even consider
myself much of a martial artist anymore, no more than a police survival trainer or
a Marine D.I. would call themselves a martial artist. I am going some place else,
you know? I still to this day remember things my Drill Sgt. Macaskill yelled at me
in Army Basic. Those D.I.s were all Korean and Vietnam vets back then. Even some
WW II vets popped up to teach on occasion. Their mission had a certain personal impressiveness
that is lacking today and is lacking in the martial arts. Read "About Face"
by Colonel David Hackworth (U.S. Army, ret.) Now THERE is a physical and intellectual
warrior and an inspiration! These Hackworth-types are my real heroes, real inspirations...not
movie stars. On the other hand there are many great martial folks out there. Oh there
are some GREAT guys out there, guys like Burton Richardson, Joe Lansdale, Roger Machado,
John Pelligreni...I can’t name them all, hundreds worthy of anyone’s respect and
admiration. Don’t make me get started making that list!
MAVR: Your courses
appear to have a strong influence from the Filipino arts. Would you agree?
My base, my foundation, is truly the Presas Family style, and really Japanese Aiki
Jujitsu, because both have so much, but I will never try to pass myself off as some
kind of super Filipino or Japanese martial star. I do teach a very militant Filipino
Combat Arnis course because I have students that want this help or rank. I think
I can help some of the other Filipino practitioners, especially those who are largely
seminar-trained, with my organization of, and understanding of, the material. I have
received many compliments from experts on how I have organized the diverse material
of Kali/Arnis/Escrima into a digestible progression, while filtering out the dance
and the flash. It is a "best of the best" Filipino combat collection. It
is no coincidence that a lot of it looks like Presas style, because...Presas style
passes that "best-of-the-best" requirement! I can also award authentic
rank if they qualify, something many modern Kali systems seem to get lost in doing.
The Filipino skill-developing drills they offer are some of my favorites but you
have to take care not to become a drill-expert instead of a fighting expert-this
is my major complaint with kali instruction today.
I will tell you that I
have come to detest the overcomplicated drills and the prissy, "dancy",
Filipino techniques I sometimes see. Flow is one thing. Prissy is something else.
Priss causes a cancer that can get you and everybody you teach...killed. I do not
teach any kind of Aiki-Jitsu because how I teach is so modern it would never satisfy
the old-timers. I just use the material inside the other courses.
program comes from many diverse sources and research, only some of which are Filipino.
The Hand-To-Hand Combat Course is also made up of many parts. When you start exploring
the true essence of hand, stick and knife combat, the truth-which can be found in
many good systems-all starts looking the same. Is that Filipino? Sometimes....yes,
MAVR: What is your opinion on the grappling craze that has
seized the martial arts community in recent years?
Hock: Ok, are you ready
for a profound observation? We know that the stand-up fighters were shocked by the
UFC years ago. Thus the "craze". The succinct point that they missed was
how ANYONE who broke the "tennis-match", back-and-forth rhythm of kick-boxing,
could crash into them and take them down. They saw this crash and blindly attached
it to a system of submission wrestling. They did not have to become college wrestlers!
They now pursue the floor game as blindly as they once pursued the stand-up game.
But at least they are two steps closer to the truth than before, huh? But you know
if they are doing it all for the exercise and the fun and the sport I am very happy
for them. But if they think they are learning some kind of ultimate and undefeatable
self defense...well, they are fools.
What I find criminal is the new trend
to teach police officers, all carrying pistols, knives, mace, batons, etc. to become...college
wrestlers! I have been shown photos from these cop classes and there is one of a
uniformed police officer (brainwashed into PURPOSELY getting into the guard and mount
positions of course) leaving his pistol totally undefended. In the photos the bad
guy on the bottom is resting his hand on the unprotected handle of the pistol., while
the officer is seeking an armbar. If you are a cop and you’re down with a real hostile
you’d better be "spitting nails" and cheating like hell. Screw a bunch
of college wrestling. And really, can’t the same be said for citizens in the same
predicaments? So many are legally carrying guns now! But the food chain is evolving.
Now, what I call "horizontal kick-boxers" are competing in these fights
all over the world, spreading a more violent and real ground fighting.
And they are closer to what truth?
Hock: The truth is diversity, versatility.
Preparedness. You simply fight where you have to fight. Learn it all, but don’t become
any one thing! Don’t capture yourself as a ground fighter or a kick boxer. Be the
bastard ! Study to learn how to defeat these things, not to become them. Be free!
And then most importantly on top of that, cheat! It is a cop thing. A soldier thing.
I never show a ground fighting technique without some nasty, cheating trick attached
MAVR: So you teach ground fighting and grappling in your Congress?
Absolutely. Hand-to-hand, stick, knife and gun-threat practice must include stand-up
throws, takedowns and ground fighting. Even a working comprehension of locking. And
we cheat like hell in every part too. Remember, we are practicing to beat bad guys
and enemy soldiers. Sometimes we take them prisoner. Sometimes we kill them.
In your Congress programs, do you address the psychological/mental components of
street fighting such as pain tolerance, adrenaline dump, etc.?
Are modern programs such as yours against doing katas, the forms of the martial arts?
People often tell me they disagree with me and say that kata is good. They misunderstand
my position. I am not at all against kata. I am specifically against stupid moves.
If you are doing thousands of unsafe repetitions in the form of kata then you are
damaging your muscle memory-your last, best defense in the chaos of a combat. If
you are doing thousands of safe repetitions in some kind of kata format...I think
that’s great. Our Congress program insists on a three step approach. Solo training
for flow and muscle memory. Power training-hitting a bag (hand, stick and knife)
to experience and develop power. Then partner training”in drills and combat scenarios-working
with another human being. Those three TOGETHER maximiz e productive development.
But we do not do any katas.
MAVR: What do yo u think of these new modern
military courses advertising out there?
Hock: The comic book advertising...man!
Are people really that stupid? The latest trash is so
me guy who viewed secret "cop tapes" and is out showing the world. Secret
hit men are after him or some crap. Are people that stupid? If you want the scoop
on these Navy SEAL trainers and so forth call the SEALS or look up their webpages
and ask them. You’ll find the truth. Better you hear it from them than me. The thing
I have found is that most of the western military combatives courses show only the
combat scenarios. Some really belittle and dismiss the martial arts. But in doing
so, they fail to instill a blend of flow, strength, sensitivity, coordination and
skill by using the best of martial art drills. In trying to sound modern and tough,
they have "thrown the baby out the window with the bath water!" Fighters
NEED the martial arts as one source from which to study and grow. The biggest difference
between me and them is, while I too prioritize combat scenarios, I also support the
techniques with drills as a secondary building block. Hell, even football teams require
drills. Remember the Congress "bridges the gap". These cats destroy the
bridge and worse-they bend over and moon the other side! And I don’t like that one
MAVR: Your program and you have been around for almost three years now
and already you seem to be well known and in great demand around the country. Why
do you think this is?
Hock: Everything is relative. Compared to the Rolling
Stones, I am not in great demand. Compared to Vanilla Ice...Hey, I am in BIG demand.
But seriously, as of the summer of 1999, we have almost 1500 Congress members and
I travel from coast-to-coast. 28 seminars in 1999. We have some 40 instructors and
class organizers. We have members in Australia, Canada, Mexico, England and more.
I am going to Australia this December. Our mailing list of seminar attendees, book
and tape buyers has several thousand names. But to sum it up as to why?
believe all of my material is very strong, very real and I have some real world experience
behind it. Plus I am constantly learning and evaluating new material. We did not
get where we are today as
a human race by stopping where the last guy stopped
behind us. We MUST evolve. The police and military, hell, medicine, science and technology
are constantly coming up with new ideas. I am very affordable. The certifications
and instructorships are achievable. I am non-political. I do not care who else you
train with. You need to know it all and you need to know it all now! Then I have
some very well-received books as well as tapes. The books are sold in bookstores
around the country, and that helps. The biggest overseas market for my Knife Encyclopedia
is...The Philippines! (You see the grass is always greener!)
My mission statement
is "bridging the gap" and as a result, I wind up as welcome at a gun range,
or a police department, as I am at Tae Kwon Do school. It also helps that I am completely
to get out and travel and spread the word. If the word is good, then
we do good. It is all about the material, not me. The material! Then we grow. ALL
these things create the momentum, this..."demand" you mentioned.
more importantly, I think I have defined a very unique and vital mission that only
a rare few can teach- bridging the gap between the military, the martial artist,
the police and the aware citizenry.I have years of connections, experience and research
in all those areas. In the end I want to do for others what Ray Medina did for me,
what my Army Drill Sergeants did for me, what some of my police instructors did for
me. It is far more important than just winning some wrestling match or some gloved
kick-punch bout. This is life and death, man!
MAVR: What are your current
and future plans for the S.F. Congress?
HOCK: Be. Do. Create. Move. Progress.
Prosper. Evolve. Grow. Ensure. Shape. Make. Become. Influence. Mold. Develop. Inspire.
Educate. Deliver. Improve.
MAVR: Thank you.
Hock: ...and thank you!
W Hock Hochheim can be reached at P.O. Box 601, Keller, TX 76244 817-581-4021. www.hockscqc.com Now has the Training Mission Series. The Knife Encyclopedia has been absorbed into this series. He's up to level 4 on the book and level 7 on the dvd sets.
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