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11-24-2006, 02:31 PM
I am curious, how many of you out there are emergency services personnel? (ie..law enforcement/ems/military) Is your pursuit of Aikido related to your profession? If so, was it prompted through in-service training, real-life situation or personal commitment? Any input will greatly be appreciated... :)


Al Williams
11-24-2006, 11:22 PM
Hi mate.

I am a state police officer in Australia. I stated my aikido training long before I joined the service. I had always been into MA but never found the one that fit. Aikido was the missing piece.

Not only is it a great form of self defence, but also it has given me a different perspective eon how I view certain aspects of the job. I need to train constantly or my job would eat me up. I am able to turn off work the moment I step into the dojo. Even thinking of training allows me a form of escape.

The defensive tactics that are taught to cadets, only time our service teaches defensive tactics, are very basic. For two reasons, 1 there is not a lot of time to teach complex locks movement or techniques in the training course and 2 some PO has no MA training at all- it would be near impossible for them to recall any type of throw complex lock in a pressure situation.

I also have the luck of having a sensei who works in a prison. No wishy washy technique in this dojo my friend. Hope this what you wanted.

Double M
11-25-2006, 12:36 AM
I work in the law enforcement area (private security [SCOP and community policing], executive protection related [bodyguarding], and officer survival instructor), and Aikido has played a huge part in my job on several occasions. I found Aikido before I found my profession but I must say that Aikido has been a perfect fit for my work.

Living in Virginia, USA, the state Dept. of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) requires training and in-service training but nothing on a "hand to hand" related topic. Just constitutional law, statutory law, etc. and if armed you have to range qualify to state standards as a minimum. In my view the standards are sub-par and Virginia is one of the stricted states in the Union when it comes to the industry. In Personal Security Specialist (executive protection) the gun time is much more indepth but still no H2H anything for training. Anything in Virginia that is hand to hand related aside from handcuffing tactics is up to the company you work for, if they choose to supply internal training. I happen to manage a Navy SEAL owned and operated security company, and the company owner is also an instructor at ESI International and we do have some internal training standards and requirements. We take things seriously, unlike many bigger companies.

Back to the Aikido part, I helped divise a "H2H" related training program for our fulltime security officers and EP agents (most of our high speed low drag international guys have some serious military training so they are exempt). Much of what I teach and preach is Aikido related, from the passive nature (not escelating the situations, not taking things personally, etc.) to simple wristlocks and takedowns. Aikido is perfect because there is no striking like in other arts, there are no forceful tactics. A civilian on the street would be hardpressed to yell "brutality!" against my workers because they are taught to go from the interview stance to open hand/palm out defensive stances with the weapon side of the body covered, which shows non-aggressive defense, not offense.

Further, the Aikido based physical tactics have worked wonders when defending a third party in which an officer must seize physical control of a perp. In my eyes, my Aikido training has enhanced my abilities and have allowed me to share the skills and knowledge to better the people in the field and not leave mounds of bodies in the wake of a domestic dispute. Aikido is so wonderful because nobody expects to receive or witness what Aikido has to offer, especially in a physical aspect.

12-03-2006, 04:31 PM
I am new to the forum. I'm an Aikido stylist and former Hapkido stylist. I have been into the martial arts long before I was in law enforcement. I am currently a Federal Police Officer in Alaska. I feel that I use… no need Aikido to do my job every day. I know you understand I mean living Aikido. This was especially true when I was a Correctional Officer (before I was a cop).

I would work around up to 140+ inmates and Aikido forged who I was and how I projected myself to the inmates. In addition, a powerful lock, throw or projection when the chips wear down helped a lot to :) . Aikido has saved my bacon many, many times. And a side note to the people that question Aikido as a self defense art, It works (with the right mindset).

Thank you for having me on the forum,

Stay Safe

12-25-2006, 08:33 PM
Thank you all,

I thought that there would be more of us here, I guess not. We know the true effectiveness of Aikido...Aikido has saved my behind many a time.

Be safe..


12-25-2006, 08:41 PM
I have been a police officer for 16 years. I am now a Detective working part time in gang enforcement. I have used Aikido several times on the job and I find it very useful in our Liability concious atmosphere. I have been out of it for a few months due to a very busy schedule at work but I plan on getting back to it shortly.

Janet Rosen
12-25-2006, 10:10 PM
I thought that there would be more of us here, I guess not. l
Maybe if you'd titled it "law enforcement" or "peace officer" or ? -
As a RN I keep looking at this (Ok, as a middle aged RN my memory isn't what it used to be...) and then going away quietly cos to me Emergency Services are medical :-)

Eric Webber
12-26-2006, 03:47 PM
I am a former Treatment Counselor in a correctional setting that housed as many as 1200 inmates (individual units had as many as 96). Being a direct supervision setting, I had direct contact on maximum, medium, and minimum security units, as well as special needs units, such as mental health, medical, and therapeutic community units. I had started aikido before working there, but was thankful for it once I was there because it helped me from ever having to resort to physical techniques in the face of conflict. As a side note, many of the restaining techniques taught to the CO's are aiki based, recognizable as nikkyo, kotegeishi, etc.

01-14-2007, 02:28 PM
Thanks for the replies folks...I appreciate your input.

I am a twenty five year veteran police officer..all of those years on the street. Narcotics, SRT/SIU and covert operations, those are my forte. I have many stories, my own and those of my students and peers, that validate Aikido.

I started Aikido as a way to enhance my abilities to serve and protect, protect me as well as everyone else. I was fortunate to have a friend and mentor as Merritt Stevens Shihan.


Michael Young
01-14-2007, 03:19 PM
I'm a 14 year veteran of the San Antonio Fire Department. The majority of our calls in the area I work are assist EMS calls. Part of my district is a rough area of town. We make everything from headaches to assaults and hopped-up junkies. I've had to physically use Aikido techniques/principles in several situations to protect both myself and patients. Its my job to deliver aid to patients, and I've often had to restrain people who are not in their right mind due to drugs, alcohol, mental disorder or emotional stress. The potentially non-damaging techniques of Aikido have been very effective.

At this point in my career I am also in charge of a crew of men, and am responsible for decisions that can be (and occasionally are) life threatening for all of us. The mental clarity and calmness that come from my practice have been very helpful on the job. Coming home from a stressful shift and looking forward to practice keeps me sane too...no doubt about it.

I have been practicing MA's since I was a pre-teen. I took up Aikido a little bit after I started working for the FD, so I can't say that taking up the practice was specifically related to my job, but it has definitely proved very beneficial over the years.

The head instructor at my dojo is a Federal Marshall, who started as a street cop working vice in Baltimore. He started his Aikido practice before getting into law enforcement, and has plenty of stories about using Aikido on the job too.

Anyhow, I'm sure part of the purpose of this thread is to emphasize that Aikido does work in real life. It always makes me chuckle to read the the posts in this forum, and others, by part-time martial artists or even competitive MA's (particularly the MMA folks) who will denigrate Aikido's effectiveness. People who will compare what they do to a real-life situation. A few years ago I would have waded right in to those discussions and defend Aikido, but now-days I feel like, why bother? Its not like you're going to convince someone by writing about it online...people will always have some way of justifying why someone who uses it effectively real-life just got lucky and happened to make it work, or why it wouldn't have worked in some other situation. Well, real life is real life...Aikido works...at least it has for me on many occasions. But just like anything else, you have to approach it seriously and professionally if you are expecting real and usable results.


01-16-2007, 02:25 PM
have you ever had the attack go to the ground? If so, what was the outcome?

Peter Ralls
01-16-2007, 09:58 PM

I have spent twenty three years in Law Enforcement and am currently a sergeant assigned to patrol. I am also in charge of my agency's defensive tactics program. I started aikido when I was a teenager, so I was already a yudansha when I entered police work. I have found aikido to be a tremendous benefit to me in my work, both martially and emotionally. I have found aikido to be martially effective, but it took some actually fighting experience in the beginning to learn how and when to use aikido, and what kind of circumstances in which the technical repertoire of aikido worked for me and when it didn't. I have, and continue to cross train in other martial arts, but aikido remains my primary martial art.

I think that a lot of the people who discount aikido completely as a effective martial art do so on the basis of their experience in competitvely oriented martial arts formats, where aikido techniques are really very difficult to use. In my experience though, real fights are very different from sparring, in that you tend to get the kind of big, sloppy, fully committed attacks that we train to defend against in aikido. Having said that, I think that people who need to use aikido in physical conflicts probably should do some cross training in other martial arts as well, as there are circumstances where aikido is going to be of little use.

Gregory, I have been in a lot of struggles which have gone to the ground. Most of the time when this has happened it was with a single suspect and multiple officers. In these circumstances conventional ground fighting like BJJ and judo ne-waza are not very useful, as everyone else jumping on top of the suspect tend to prevent any kind of conventional grappling. (I train in BJJ and used to train in judo.) In these cases, usually what happens is you have enough people grabbing onto the suspect's arms and legs so that it is possible to get the suspect's arms behind his back and get him cuffed by sheer muscle, but having knowledge of the kind of control holds we use in aikido like nikkyo, sankyo, and rokkyo make the process a lot easier.

There have been a few times when I have gone to the ground with a suspect one on one, and in those cases having grappling skills have been invaluable. It's pretty obvious that wrestling on the ground with an opponent is a major area where aikido isn't going to help you much. However, the struggle in which I have gotten hurt the worst was when (a long time ago) I went to the ground with a suspect, using an aikido throw to bring him down, and got control of him using a judo pin. (Yoko Shiho Gatamae). I then got kicked in the face by one of his buddies, causing me to let go of the suspect and rearranging my features rather prettily. He and his buddies ran away and we never figured out who they were. I just consider myself lucky that the didn't stick around and put the boots to me before the cavalry came to save my butt.

Peter Ralls

Michael Young
01-17-2007, 12:01 PM
Hi Peter,

Sigh, here I am discussing this again when I said I wouldn't...I'm not sure why, but usually when I (or anyone else) talk about Aikido's efficacy, there is this automatic assumption that the opinion being expressed is that Aikido is the end all or be all of MA's, and that others MA's aren't effective. This isn't what my post said. I would never say don't cross train, explore, or expand your skillsets and experience. Personally there are some other arts I specifically want to study when I get some time...namely Russian Systema, and some Phillipino form or other knife fighting system.
I have trained in other MA's before starting Aikido. Obvously I found things lacking in those arts (nor do I think traditional Aikido practice is perfect and doesn't lack or place enough emphasis on certain aspects that should be better developed) The thing I find specifically satisfying about Aikido though, is the aspect it has of "absorbability"...the principles are what Aikido is about, not the specific techniques. These principles can apply when dealing with weapons, multiple attackers, or (gasp...blasphemy) even going to the ground (last place I ever try to be though, as demonstrated by Peter's example of getting in trouble on the ground).

What are people really expecting in the "real world"? This isn't ancient Asia where martially trained warriors meet on the battlefield or for "one-on-one duels of honor". That's movie stuff, and not what I deal with. There is some kind of fantasty that people have of this stuff that really doesn't apply out there in our current culture.
Peter, you summed it up nicely:

I think that a lot of the people who discount aikido completely as a effective martial art do so on the basis of their experience in competitvely oriented martial arts formats, where aikido techniques are really very difficult to use. In my experience though, real fights are very different from sparring, in that you tend to get the kind of big, sloppy, fully committed attacks that we train to defend against in aikido. Having said that, I think that people who need to use aikido in physical conflicts probably should do some cross training in other martial arts as well, as there are circumstances where aikido is going to be of little use.

I would like to add something to that above description though. If you want to learn to deal with more focused, well balanced and tight attacks, you should train that way...Aikido can definitely deal with that stuff, but you do have to be very good at it. Of course, if you aren't training to get good at this stuff, then why bother anyway IMO.