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Old 09-01-2000, 11:30 PM   #11
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Law Enforcement Training

Erik wrote:
There are Aikido programs designed for law enforcement, just as I'm sure there are Judo based programs as well. In fact, I'm pretty sure that George Ledyard does or has done some, although he's a long car ride from Toronto. He might be a good source of advice and you could probably do a search on the forums, hunt down a post and send him an e-mail.

Hi! Just caught this post. Yes, I do have a Defensive Tactics Program for Security and Law Enforcement Personnel.
It is not however an Aikido program despite the fact that many of the arrest and control techniques are based on Aikido.

Our program is quite eclectic and combines impact techniques from several arts with control techniques from Aikido and ground work from Jiu Jutsu, etc. As a total system it most closely resembles the Jeet Kun Do work done by Larry Hartsell if you know who he is.

It is my considered opinion that the first skill that you need for law enforcement work is the simple ability to knock an opponent out using empty hand impact techniques. This is because the main reason that use of force problems occur is because the officers involved are scared. Fear of having a situation get out of control causes an officer to escalate the amount of force he is using to subdue a subject. If an officer has the knowledge that he can handle himself in an all out fight if needs be, he has the confidence that allows him to use lesser levels of force because he isn't scared of losing control and getting beaten himself.

Once an officer has the knowledge that he can effectively defend himself, the next set of skills are basic arrest and control techniques which allow him to take a subject down and cuff him without inflicting serious injury on the subject. Aikido techhniques are generally more useful for this level of force as they involve a variety of takedowns and locks that make shifting the subject into cuffing relatively easy. Also, with a bit of adjustment from the standard dojo versions, Aikido takedowns can be easily be done that require no ukemi skills on the part of the subject to avoid injury.

If training time is limited, then focus on just one technique: Sankyo. It is the crescent wrench of the control techniquesw in that it can be used in virtually every context one might encounter. It is a fine escort technique for moving a resistant subject around, it can be used as an effective vehicle extraction technique, In basic arrest and control situations it can be used to take a subject down either backwards or forwards, it can applied easily against both linear and hook type striking techniques as a method of deescalating from an impact situation to control, it can be effectively employed in ground fighting situations to lcok an opponent's arms and get him off you and finally, it is one of the only takedowns that allows the officer to stay on his feet and still maintain a pin (important in multiple subject situations).

Judo ground fighting is useful but since grappling on the the ground is really not what an armed officer wants to do with a subject (weapons retention is an issue) if he can avoid it, and the chokes are basically equivalent to shooting the subject with your firearm in most states, these skills aren't what I would say are primary.

Basic Aikido is a bit too cooperative to be directly relevant for most officers. In Aikido we practice receiving an attack. In most law enforcement applications of force it is the officer who is putting his hands on a subject who is basically eggressive and quite resistant. Unless you practice with this in mind you will find that typical Aikido training doesn't prepare you for the realities of the street. There are many dojo heads whose Aikido is quite advanced who couldn't bring a totally resistant subject under control. Judo has the edge here because it involves competition in which you are throwing a partner who is really trying not to let you throw him. But the techniques are less generally applicable than the Aikido techniques are.

So in conclusion I would say that lacking a program that is specifically deveoted to police techniques (rare) Aikido has the most to offer from the stadpoint of the techniques that you need the most on a daily basis ie, low level force control techniques. But try to set up some training for yourself that is more realistic than typical dojo practice. Take the techniques that you are learing in class and then ask yourself "what do I need to know how to do on the street with real badguys?" Then get a partner and try to practice your Aikido techniques on him to accomplish those tasks.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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