View Full Version : YouTube: Aikido and Police Work

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08-21-2008, 08:07 AM

08-21-2008, 02:43 PM
Not being in law enforcement I cannot comment on how well you are doing what you are doing, but I enjoy watching the videos and appreciate what you are doing.

One thing missing though, where are the little ones running and crawling around during your demos?:)


08-21-2008, 04:58 PM
Hi David,
just to be clear, what is the thinking behind this kind of exercise? It looks a lot like the kind of thing I do when I'm walking down the street, though I'm raising my "hand-blade" and cutting toward random/spontaneous imaginings.

08-21-2008, 05:21 PM
Here's some context - I seriously recommend looking at all of the following police videos:


I also think anyone can comment on what they see - as specialized as some in law enforcement would like this to be, in my opinion, it's not. (Granted weapons both complicate and make things simple.)

For example, here's a civilian side of the same issue (originally posted in the atemi thread):



08-21-2008, 06:38 PM
When it develops into street fighting (like in the cops movies), the adrenaline sky rocket and you loose your wits pretty fast.

08-21-2008, 07:31 PM
I think Aikido, if trained with resistance is probably the best-commonly available, martial art for "LEO".

Thanks for your work David. I am however looking forward to seeing some video's with a little more "rough and tumble"!

08-21-2008, 08:15 PM
When it develops into street fighting (like in the cops movies), the adrenaline sky rocket and you loose your wits pretty fast.


In Tai Chi Chuan, at least for those who practice it for "martial intent", the control the exterior of the body by controlling the "Qi/internal energies.

The closer the "tiger" the more the exterior of the body tenses. The muscles strain and the breathing accelerates. The adrenal glands secrete adrenelin and cortisol further tensing the body. The body feels jitters and the mind is no longer in control. Fight or Flight is understandable.

However, by softening the muscles and regulating the breathing, in tai chi chuan, martial practice we can control the emission of hormones, the tenseness and involuntary jittering of the muscles.

Emotion is controlled it no longer hinders action...

Thank you again for the National Geographic Video. In my opinion, the practitioners in this video aspired to 1) controlling their body 2) limiting the falsities of their minds and 3) making a direct connection of mind to weapon...by passing their aging bodies.

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

08-21-2008, 08:34 PM
Here's what we are figuring out:

The presence of a duty belt with weapons, both complicates and simplifies things in person-to-person combat.

If you look to go hand-to-hand against an aggressor, when size and weight make leverage and the capacity to bring force to bear critical issues in deciding whose work (the cop's or the suspect's) gains and then maintains a tactical advantage, you are more likely to complicate a hand-to-hand combat situation with the presence of a duty belt donning weapons because you are more likely to enter a combative range wherein in order to gain leverage and develop a work advantage you must raise the issue of weapon retention.

By default then, you are more likely to have to defend your weapons directly, to indirectly defend yourself. Pressed then to an indirect defense of the self, the capacity for an offense is greatly reduced. With the capacity for an offense greatly reduced, the opportunity for gaining and maintaining control of the suspect is greatly reduced. I think this can be clearly deduced from the videos posted - which were taken from in-field.

In brief, and for example, we are finding the following to be true:

1. Go hand-to-hand.
2. You will probably have to enter a range wherein weapon retention issues are brought to the forefront of your tactical concerns.
3. You are forced to forfeit offensive tactics for the sake of addressing weapon retention concerns.
4. Control becomes difficult and/or impossible to achieve.

The rate at which this happens is determined and compounded by the weight, size, and skill differences between suspect and officer. For example, a bigger, heavier, and more skilled suspect vs. a smaller, lighter, less skilled officer makes this happen almost immediately. The process is slowed down as the officer gains size, skill, and weight over the suspect, however, even when the elements fall heavily in the officer's favor, the work output necessary seems excessive and/or highly inefficient.

On the other side of things, a duty belt with weapons can simply these encounters, almost regardless of size, weight, and skill, if you first:

1. Get good at utilizing your equipment (weapons), as seen in the practice being done at the beginning of the video, then,
2. Seek to gain an angle/distance by which you can utilize your skill at utilizing your equipment/weapons without raising weapon retention issues.

What we are finding is that once 1. and 2. are achieved, weapons, above anything else, are the only true equalizers - not hand-to-hand techniques. As I have written elsewhere, hand-to-hand techniques are not what you use prior to having to use your weapons on a use-of-force continuum, but rather, at the most, if they have to be employed at all, they are tactics one uses only toward achieving 1. and 2.

To be blunt, the following either does not work and/or is highly inefficient (as determined by the size, weight, and skill of the suspect and officer) when compared to what can be achieved with 1. and 2.


A few things...

The angles/distance achieved in 2. are best achieved via footwork, bodywork, handwork, and strategies I have come to associate with and identify as Aikido. That said, even if you are not a cop, as witnessed in the Atemi thread videos I posted above, if folks want to talk about Aikido interpretations that do and/or do not have this capacity, please feel free to do so. It's all related in my opinion.


When the intensity increases, which I'm looking to put a video together as well/soon, if one cannot achieve 1. and 2., or if they can only achieve 1. and 2. poorly, they are lumped very quickly into the first (complicated) situation. However, as you will see when I get the video up, if they can achieve 1. and 2., the intensity of the situation has no affect on the outcome (nothing is different from what happens in the slow training) but from bringing that outcome more quickly in Time.

Michael Hackett
08-22-2008, 12:20 PM
That has always been a problem for police agents. Something starting out as fairly routine and benign going south quickly and unexpectedly. A simple, non-resisting arrest situation in which the officer is starting to handcuff the suspect and then all hell breaks loose and the fight is on. Regardless of how big, strong and well-trained the officer is, the situation is potentially life threatening or at least career ending. If he stays connected and "fights" there is always the chance he will lose. If he backs off and goes to his "Bat Utility Belt", he has to choose the right tool at the time and has to maintain security for the other tools. Pepper spray and TASER devices are wonderful additions to the traditional baton and firearm.

I think David's training video demonstrates how important it is to train realistically to make those split second choices in the safe training environment. If you have to think about whether or not to stay and duke it out (so to speak) or which tool to use, you are simply too late. It has to be ingrained and that takes repetition after repetition after repetition. David is really on to something here with his well-reasoned training curricula. It is refreshing to see someone providing police tactical training with a lot of common sense and experience added to the mix.

Early in my career we lost four California Highway Patrol officers in one event. All four were bright and well-trained young men and they were shot to death by two guys as a direct result of their training. At least one of the officers died after reloading as he picked up his brass - just as he had been taught to do every time he fired at the range. That was just one training failure in that terrible event and there were others as well. I'm certainly not knocking the fallen officers as they did exactly as they were trained to do. The CHP gave them the best training that they knew of at the time and we've learned a great deal since then. The kind of training that David is working with anticipates that kind of action under stress. It will save lives.

Lorien Lowe
08-22-2008, 02:23 PM
I have what is probably a rather naive question: why (in the first video) do you keep your heads down and your shoulders hunched? Is it to present a smaller target if the other person also has a gun?

08-23-2008, 03:48 PM
Don't think it's naive at all. I don't have in mind being a smaller target, nothing that conscious is going on. I'm feeling it's a mixture of old hand-to-hand habits (e.g. keep the chin tucked), plus a tad of over-exaggeration due to the slow training, and a hint of form not yet corrected.

08-23-2008, 05:07 PM
So, of course, this is a project in development, as we are learning what is and/or can be teachable within a class setting, etc. Along the way, we are jotting down our "principles" - things that are proving to remain true or valid over and over again.

They are listed here in random order - as they came to reach "principle level" for us.

They are presented here for your consideration and in furtherance of discussion.

Principles of Arrest and Control

• The duty belt must be “run and climb” capable to be fight-capable. All gear must be secured to the belt by at least tension and/or friction. For example, flashlights should not be worn in a pocket but rather secured in a holster.
• Flashlights should be worn even during day shifts.
• Weapon retention technologies are a must. They are an obstacle but for those that do not practice with their equipment.
• A “slow deployment” weapon system is a system you will not be able to use under stress. As one should not have a piece of equipment he/she cannot use under stress, one should not have a “slow deployment” weapon system.
• Weapons for which no active retention technology exists should be worn well to the front of the body, well anterior to the lateral apex of the torso. For example, batons and/or knives should not sit to the rear of the body nor on the side of the body.
• Noise discipline is a must where cover cannot be found, where concealment is all that is present. If your partner cannot maintain noise discipline, he/she becomes part of the factors you must consider “hostile.” Thereby, you must account for the effects of his/her lack of noise discipline and calculate them into your overall strategy for control and/or survival.
• Your equipment placement must be ambidextrous capable, with no piece violating the capability or ready deployment of another. For example, you should not need to move your keys or your Taser to open your magazine pouch.
• Weapons are the great equalizer. Empty-handed techniques are not. Empty-handed techniques are auxiliary to weapons before weapons are auxiliary to empty-handed techniques.
• To be a warrior is to be weapon-based, as weapons mark the craft and the craftsman warriorhood.
• Continuous training in a traditional martial art is a must for developing good mechanics relative to power, spatial relationships, and timing – the core of fighting viability. Additionally, traditional training provides the body-mind with a code by which the heart-mind can better process the insanity that is human-vs-human violence. This, in turn, allows the warrior to function repeatedly without degrading from a sense of wellness.
• Just because something has not happened on duty, does not mean it will not happen on duty.
• It is easier to downgrade one’s tactical position than it is to upgrade one’s tactical position.
• If you error, error from a position where errors are reversible and minimal in their affect. Do not error from a position where errors are irreversible and maximum in their affect.
• Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain, pain equals immobility, and immobility equals death.
• You are only as capable as your train – as you train consistently and efficiently.
• You should train for yourself. If you cannot do that, you should train for your family. If you cannot do that, you should train for your squad members and their families. To not train, to not train regularly is a dereliction of duty.
• Do not hold on to what has passed already. Stay in the moment of the Now. For example, if you are holding the suspect’s arm, but it is no longer offer you a point of control, let go of it and look to the next point of control.
• Avoid the ground. If you are on the ground, look to get up. If you are up, look to stay up.
• Your gear on your belt will most likely work as anchor points for the suspect. Look to keep his hands off your belt entirely, or, if you cannot look, look to use those anchor points against him/her, using them in conjunction with your hips and footwork to take their balance.
• Keep your initial verbal commands simple. Establish control of both Time and Space before your proceed in raising your tactical advantage in terms of positioning. For example, say, “Don’t move,” and freeze the situation (Time and Space), before you say, “Put your hands on your head, go down on your left knee, then your right knee, and lay your stomach on the street,” or “Drop the weapon!”, etc.
• Footwork should be multi-direction, multi-dimensional, and spiral in nature.
• Secondary weapons such as the Taser should not be worn in a cross draw position and/or firstly drawn with the primary hand. Such weapons should be worn for and drawn with the support hand in a regular fashion.

08-23-2008, 06:26 PM
Same drill, upped the intensity a bit:


As I suggested, the mistakes get bigger and/or amplified, the correct movement works more efficiently.


08-23-2008, 07:39 PM
Very interesting.

08-23-2008, 07:39 PM
I should add: We narrowed the field of play in the last video.

Michael Hackett
08-23-2008, 11:11 PM

I agree with each and every point you've made in your description of principles learned. As for the oral commands, they must be simple and spoken slowly so they can be understood. Under stress by either or both parties, commands can easily be misunderstood. On the same issue, commands should only be given by ONE person. If more than one is issuing commands, they surely will be counterproductive. Good stuff you're doing.

Lorien Lowe
08-26-2008, 05:54 PM
what do you mean by 'noise discipline'?

08-26-2008, 09:39 PM
The effort and wisdom to reduce your noise output.

Michael Hackett
08-27-2008, 02:26 AM
That wasn't very helpful now, was it? What noise discipline means in practical terms is securing your uniform and gear so nothing rattles or makes unnecessary noise. Things like keys and whistles, portable radios and cell phones all tend to make noise that will give away your location while doing building searches or similar activities. Some cops sound like the parachute landing of a drunken Ooompah Band and it does take some effort to prevent.

09-03-2008, 03:25 PM
Here's another drill - same transitions skills but with two officers. Brings up additional considerations but the concepts remain the same. This drill, like the first clip, is a slow practice.