Re: Is Aikido effective for police?
To be sure it is the artist as well as the art.
Here is my personal law enforcement history.
In 1987 I joined the Border Patrol and worked in South Texas. Patrol agents often work in remote areas, alone or with one partner and little back up. I had 13 years of Kenpo and Tai Chi along with two years of Pakua and Hsing-I under my belt. I knew a bit of Aikido as Fred Levre, back in the (1970's) used our dojo to ply his trade in Ocean beach, CA before he moved to what is now a dojo run by Bernice Lam. I took a few months of training from him but was not ready for it. They were just techniques I could not use against Kenpo guys when I was sparring.
Upon being confronted with the reality of my work in the Patrol, I quickly decided that I needed something that would not get me in trouble. Kenpo is all about blood, broken bones and bruises.
Luckily, I met three people who assisted me. One was Mark A. Miles of Ingleside, TX (Lt. Colonel, U. S. Army- retired). He was belted by Masato Tamura in the early 1940's. In 1941, he was the defensive tactics instructor for the Para-Marines in WWII at Gillespie Field in So. Calif. He took his jujitsu to the trenches at Sugarloaf hill and survived. His Jujitsu/Judo was soft like Mifune's. Not driver leg Judo. There was Aiki elements in it naturally. It was all military. We studied lethal force first so that there would be no doubt and then toned the same techniques down for compassion's sake.
Close to 90 years old, he is still my jujitsu teacher. He is all business. No sport in him.
I also met Russell Waddell (Kingsville, TX). Russell was a black belt under Reynard Jackson in the Tomiki System led by Karl Geiss of Olympic Judo fame.. Russell was a good Judo player and karate man as well. He had a great impact upon my developing police strategy for come-alongs and restraints. But when a fight went stagnant, as it often does (force on force with little movement) my training in Tomiki Aikido did not help. The jujitsu did.
Through Reynard, I met Hal von Luebbert, an Olympic Judo coach who was the toughest man I have ever met. Also the slyest. He just loves to fight. He is 73 years old and can still take on multiple opponents half his age. He trained with Judo rules but knew how to transcend the rules without hesitation. He is still my Judo teacher.
During my time in law enforcement, I attained a pretty cool goal that I had set for myself. I did not want the karma of hurting people unless it was absolutely necessary. I still hold to that ideal today.
Perhaps I was lucky, but I had over 40 "resisting" while in law enforcement. Some of these resisting included multiple opponents going for my gun while wielding sticks at me. I slapped some temporary pain on folks but I NEVER had to draw blood, break a bone or even bruise someone.
The stuff that helped the most was Colonel Miles' Jujitsu and Hal von Luebbert's 21 Grip Kata. In fact I still teach that Kata to those who do not want to take the time to learn a full martial art. It is pure genius.
Upon leaving Law Enforcement in 1991, I revisited the Aiki arts. I studied with Ray Goldberg (Daito Ryu in New York) for about two years and John Clodig (Yanagi Hara Ryu in Fallbrook, CA) for about 6 years and counting. John Clodig is the most impressive Aiki technician I have ever met. He made my Tai Chi, Hsing-I and Pakua make sense.
I have been a bodyguard for about 15 years now. I have worked in some real cesspools of the world. Who knows what style has kept me alive. As Bruce Lee might say, "it is my style". My aiki art training has made all my other skills better. But more seriously, Aiki strategy has kept me alive. This, to me, is the real win in studying Aiki-- STRATEGY.