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Author Topic: Killshot by Joe Hubbard  (Read 3813 times)


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Killshot by Joe Hubbard
« on: November 01, 2010, 07:53:48 AM »

Are You Ready For the Next Level in Combat Stick & Knife Sparring?

By Joe Hubbard

"It's sparring night again and this week we are going to do some knife sparring", the teacher declares. The students, filled with adrenaline and knives at hand begin with their weekly showdown. They both move in and out like two kick boxers exchanging blows. Protected with helmets and pads they begin to ignore all the diminishing and deadly killshots they have exchanged. To somehow end the round, one charges in, takes the other person down and proceeds to wrestle. The so-called deadly knife fight suddenly ends with a submission choke. Slashes to vital targets are totally ignored even though real slashes to exposed vital targets would have ended the fight way before the choke. Often the guy who was choked out is the one who would have survived the real encounter because he had landed the first shot to the neck seconds after the fight started. But unfortunately, after a while most sparring that takes place becomes more of a study in endurance submission fighting than knife fighting.

Does this sound like a ridiculous way to prepare for a real knife fight? It's only one step away from the esoteric jokers who'll tell you that you must hit that pinhead nerve two inches above the wrist under a puffer jacket in a dark alley or nightclub to render your opponent unconscious.

In fact, so much of sparring training is disproportionate to actual events that you may experience in a real confrontation. This causes great concern because the strategies and tactics designed to protect your life are programmed right out of your muscle memory in favour of a college-wrestling match!

Knife fights are supposed to end by hitting vital areas of the body. Any knife expert will tell you that it is not whether you slash, stab or hack, it is where those strikes land that are important. The same is also true with impact weapons. I love those guys who tell you that you won't hurt anybody with a rattan stick, let alone a metal pipe! I have witnessed grown men who were champion fighters get rapped on the knuckles and were doubled over in pain. You cannot afford take one of these shots. Not to the arm, the legs or more importantly to the head. Yet how many hardcore, helmeted stick fighters virtually ignore headshots and keep on fighting eventually hitting the dirt, throwing their stick away and turn themselves into Brazilian pretzel fighters?

Real impact weapon fighting is about the attack and defense of the headshot, along with a keen focus on the weapon-bearing limb. OK, it is possible while in the heat of battle that some adrenalised humans may withstand a shot to the torso, the arm and the leg, while the hand/wrist, elbow, knee and of course the head may diminish, devastate and even cripple. It has to be said that a power shot to the head may also kill!

Does stick and knife sparring prepare you for actual combat in these areas? Most are led to believe this from their instructors, many who know very little at all about this subject. Sparring (weapons or empty hand) does not prepare you for real combat! It is part of a whole training matrix that prepares you for the actual event. Tactical application of attacking and defending the headshot while employing the use of force continuum will start to provide you with an understanding of a real-world fight whatever the context.

Stick fighting competitions are often set in an unrealistic and maddening format of point fighting where the headshot only gives you a single point. Many of these matches also do not allow empty hand strikes, kicks or moving footwork. One such match I attended displayed two world-class stick fighters standing in front of each other trading fan strikes and pummel shots. The deciding factor at the end of the round was the victor had landed 52 strikes while the loser had only 49. COME ON! Who hit who first?

Throughout his police career, W. Hock Hochheim has witnessed and been involved many impact weapon and knife attacks and has viewed countless prison¹s riot footage. From this real world experience he observed that while some people could take blows to the body, very few would ever endure a headshot. In 1997 Hock created the Killshot Training Program and has hosted tournaments that has brought real strategy and tactics back into this ever fading picture.

In Killshot training and fights, hitting the enemy's head diminishes his power, consciousness and sensibility either by a shocking jolt or by knocking him out cold. Even if your helmet gets nicked, it represents a stun that without that protective layer may cause you to see stars. This is a fact! I have seen people hit by accident in training to the head and it momentarily short circuits their brain giving ample openings to takedowns, disarms and finishes by their opponent. Don't let the unqualified tell you that disarms won't work. You must hit the head first with a baseball bat, and then they will work.

In the Killshot blueprint, referees must oversee each fight. Participants still wear protective padding and of course helmets! But if either fighter receives a solid shot to the head, the coach immediately breaks up the fight. After, there is an instantaneous debriefing between the coach and the two fighters. "You are dead or possibly just unconscious" or "Your head is split wide open." This verbal acknowledgement of taking a serious blow trains the participant¹s muscle memory and creates a realistic impression of what exactly happened to him. A headshot is no longer a transition in the quest for that fang choke on the ground. With each and every headshot, the fight must be stopped in order for that body/mind connection to be driven home time and time again. Only then will the practitioner strive to protect his vitals, re-educating that free-for-all mentality with a reality-based replication scenario.

In our Killshot stick tournaments, a power shot to the head results in an immediate and swift loss. This could happen in seconds. As a bouncer, I soon realised that all my years of training resulted in a four second fight! This concept comes to light in these tournaments. Champion point fighters have "lost their lives" in the first few seconds of a Killshot tournament. We also use ankle and wrist weights to simulate wounding. The Killshot concept emphasizes shots to the opponent¹s weapon bearing limb in order to clear a path to the head. If a fighter receives a blow to his weapon-bearing limb, the coach stops the fight and instructs the victim to switch hands. We then strap on a five-pound weight on the wounded arm simulating a swollen, heavy injury. It is important to note that a bigger, stronger person may not be affected by the five-pound weight as a smaller, skinnier person, but then a power blast to a bigger arm may cause less injury to the stronger person. Remember, size does matter, but size along with the proper training matters more! If the leg or knee takes a significant attack, we strap on ankle weights. The fight rages on. These simulated injuries will slow the practitioner down and teach him the consequences of his tactical mistakes.

If the second newly armed hand is smashed, the fight is stopped again. We take away his stick, weigh him down and he is forced to fight empty hand against the stick. These all constitute realistic possibilities in combat. Sometimes the result of this scenario ends with the unarmed man defeating the armed man. As in real life predicaments ¬ the chaos of combat rules - learn to thrive in it!

Stick ground fighting still happens, but empirically with much less frequency when headshots get counted for real. Killshot fighters do clinch, but a smaller percentage end up on the ground. When they do we do not throw away our weapons. This is where the use of the Dos Manos (double handed system) comes into play. Simulated pummel strikes, chokes and a variety of other life-saving ground combat tactics, previously weaned out of your stick ground fighting, suddenly have true merit.

There are pros and cons to everything. There is no perfect way to run any form of competition or classroom sparring match. But at the end of it all you must ask yourself, "What have I learned?" If your goal is to get together with friends, duke it out with each other and eventually end up on the ground wrestling, then understand it for what it is. Just remember there is much more to the true science of hand-to-hand, impact weapons, knife and real world survival ground fighting.

In paintball games, when the referee sees the paint hit you, you are out of the game. Oh, it would be great macho fun to ignore the paint splattering all over you and charge in guns a' blazing. The only problem is you are training for suicide by doing that! Why is this so easy to see in the context of paintball, but so hard for stick and knife fighters to understand? Training with plastic knives is fine as long as you don't forget that when one hits you in a vital target such as your neck, although we do simulate "bleed out" time, you are dead. Don't end up dead wrong just because you are repetitively programming your "muscle memory with erroneous training methods. Train hard, but more importantly train smart!

Impact Weapon, Knife, Stick and Knife

 1) Winner of 2 out of 3 rounds is declared a winner.

 2) Winning is achieved by a participant deliering, what is assumed to be a knockout or killing blow. And in the act of moving in and out while delivering that blow, the deliverer does not receive a killing blow. If both receive "death blows" then neither win. The event must be played over, unless it is the deciding round, in which case no one wins.

 3) In a stick battle, a killing blow is to the head or neck.
    Note: Witik and Abinikko strikes to the head will not be considered Killshots. However,
    any Power follow through single strike or combination to the head will end the fight!

 4) In a knife battle, a killing blow is to the head or neck, or an obvious inner thigh or obvious inner wrist cuts.

 5) Rules of wounding and simulating injury.
     a) If the weapon-bearing limb is significantly hit, the fight is stopped. The victim
         places a wrist weight on the injured hand; switches weapon hands and the fight    
         resumes. If both weapon hands are struck in the event, then the victim puts on
         another wrist weight and faces the enemy unarmed.

     b) If a kneecap or other leg strike is considered significant, the fight is stopped.
        Some device will be placed on the ankle or knee to weigh down or limit leg
        movement. The fight resumes.

 6) We ask the participants to be honest about their successes or failures.

 7) Judges start each round with participants facing each other and an announcement that the match begins. We ask that one to three judges work on each match. We ask the judges to feel free to have confusing clashes "played over" if they cannot decide who-hit-whom first and have trouble determining the events.

 8: We ask viewers and participants to understand that no simulated tournament is perfect and to be patient with the process.

 9) All participants must wear protective equipment including helmets, elbow & kneepads, shin guards, groin guards and gloves. Further proactive equipment may be worn such as chest guard.

 10) As a default rule, padded sticks & knives will be used. However, if any two fighters agree, they may use rattan sticks of their choice.

  • Stick vs Stick
  • Knife vs. Knife
  • Stick vs. Knife
  • Double Weapons vs. Double Weapons
  • Double Weapons vs. Single Weapons


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Re: Killshot by Joe Hubbard
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 09:39:01 PM »


I still have the Katana from our first tourney.   

(The winner of the tourney got to fight me me for the sword).

It rest as a war trophy now.

  'Advanced' is being able to do the basics, despite what else is happening. 

Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"  --- Chesty Puller, USMC


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Re: Killshot by Joe Hubbard
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 09:45:26 PM »

I think that was....1997.


Joe Hubbard

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Re: Killshot by Joe Hubbard
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2010, 07:26:58 AM »

I've still got all that footage from the first and second London tournaments.  There is some cool stuff going on.  I'm thinking about putting together a DVD collectively of the best hits from the two.

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Re: Killshot by Joe Hubbard
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2010, 08:34:38 AM »

great insight  on the kill shot program-thanks -WW