Q&A with Loren W. Christensen on “Fighting in the Clinch”

I reviewed Loren Christensen’s book Fighting in the Clinch here and he graciously agreed to do a quick follow up interview. Here it is:

Q: Fighting in the Clinch” came out a little while ago. How has the feedback from readers been?

A: All positive – so far. But there is always someone in the martial arts community who feels compelled to say, “Well, your heel is up in that photo,” or “A better way to do that move is…” But so far everyone likes how we laid out the book with Mark Mireles showing his grappling moves for half of it and me doing my tearing, clawing and ripping techniques for half. Mark is an amazing grappler with over 30 years experience training and 20 years using his stuff in the street as an LAPD cop.

Q: For which audience did you write the book? The average martial artist? Grapplers? LEOs?

A: We wrote it for everyone because it’s been our experience – we have 50 years of police street experience between us – that there is a moment in most (not all) physical encounters where there’s clinching. I’m not talking about a nice Gracie jujitsu type clinch, although that does happen, but rather a desperate moment where both fighters are trying to dominate the other as they clash body-to-body. A broad definition of clinching includes grabbing/holding/clinching the side of the body, grabbing from the back, grabbing in the classic bear hug, tackling around the waist and tackling around the chest.

Loren calls this the "Mike Tyson technique" to use against clinchers. Chomp deep into the gristle and shake your head like a dog does with a rabbit.

Loren calls this the "Mike Tyson technique" to use against clinchers. Chomp deep into the gristle and shake your head like a dog does with a rabbit.

Q: Could you give an example of how you used the grappling techniques from the book in real life situations?

A: Mark Mireles has used and continues to use all the grappling moves he shows. I’m a better grappler now than I was when I was on the police department (I’m retired) and needed it most. So since my grappling didn’t match my other martial arts skills when I was on the street, I relied far more on the nasty stuff that I show in the book. Techniques like the brachial stun, muscle twisting, pressure point gouging and so on.

Q: Do you have any other projects in line, specifically geared towards grappling in the street?

A: I’m currently working on a book that I think will be titled Fighting Monsters. It describes ways to fight attackers who are impervious to pain: mentals, dopers, drunks, very large people, enraged people, and people who just like pain. Not all the techniques in it are grappling moves, but many are. I ran into these types of people often as an MP in Vietnam and as a street cop in Portland.

Interestingly, I asked a high-ranking jujitsu guy the other day about the mechanics of a particular move. After he answered my question, he added, “Done right this technique will work on anyone.” I didn’t say anything to him because clearly this guy hadn’t faced one of these monsters I’m talking about. But the truth is – no, that technique won’t hurt everyone. I discuss some extraordinary accounts in the book of people continuing to fight though gravely injured, such as two people who had both been shot five times in their skull and a guy who continued to fight until the only thing that stopped him was that there was no blood left in his body to pour out onto the sidewalk. He completely ran dry and died, but fought all the way to that end.

Q: If there’s only one thing the reader remembers from the book Fighting in the Clinch, what would you like it to be?

A: I would argue that many fights include what we can call a clinch. It might be slop, as opposed to the polished clinches we see in boxing and in the grappling arts, but it nonetheless fits the definition. It would, therefore, benefit every martial artist to have a game plan in place as to how to defend against it.

Loren supports one side of the attacker's head as he rams his elbow into the brachial plexus on the other side.

Loren supports one side of the attacker's head as he rams his elbow into the brachial plexus on the other side.

Q: Can you tell some more about your upcoming books?

A: Hookers, Tricks and Cops is coming out this summer. Through dozens of anecdotes and interviews, I show the sordid subculture of street prostitution. Some of the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, some are gross and some are sad. It’s been my experience that people shake their head in disgust when the subject of prostitution comes up, yet they are immensely fascinated with it. The book was initially an e-book and was nominated for The Frankfurt Award. Now it will be regular book.

We expect Warrior Mindset to be released shortly, a book I co-wrote with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Dr. Mike Askins. The sections on using imagery and dealing with fear are worth the price of the book. There are lots of fantastic new findings on using imagery (sometimes erroneously called visualization) that are right on the mark for martial artists.

I shot a DVD with Paladin Press last winter based on my book The Brutal Art of Ripping, Poking & Pressing Vital Targets. I think it’s coming out this winter. There is nothing like grabbing an attacker’s eyelid and his boobie and violently twisting both to make him see your side of the argument.

That’s it for the interview. Thanks again to Loren for taking the time.

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