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Old 01-11-2008, 11:43 AM   #1
erogers
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Is Aikido effective for police?

found an interesting article by a former cop. just thought it might stir up some conversation.

http://www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/544
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:26 AM   #2
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Evan Rogers wrote: View Post
found an interesting article by a former cop. just thought it might stir up some conversation.

http://www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/544
Bernie is an old, old friend of mine. I've known him since I moved to Seattle in 1981. Bernie was a student of Yoshioka Sensei in Hawaii originally. His shift to a different way of running his techniques didn't come about simply due to techniques that didn't work... if I remember what he told me there were techniques that worked too well i.e. the subject was injured because he had no ukemi training.

Bernie's technique was adjusted to increase the pain factor without increasing the impact on the subject. I had the fortune to take ukemi for him a few times at demos and I have to say, it was entirely unpleasant. He'd pinch, torque, and otherwise "persuade" you into compliance. You'd have to be on meth not to react to his various tricks.

Despite Bernie's change of name to Aikijutsu, I never found anything he did to be the least incompatible with what I had been taught by Saotome Sensei. It was just a very "applied" form of Aikido. I think that Bernie was largely reacting against what he saw as the move towards a less than martial Aikido, especially on the West Coast.
I think you can still get his videos here: Bernie Lau Videos

Interestingly, it was Robert Koga who first taught Aikido based defensive tactics to the LAPD back in the sixties. He founded the Koga Institute and continues to teach to this day I believe. He is by far the most influential of the Aikido teachers who have put their stuff out for the law enforcement and security community. The US Secret Service incorporated much of his material into their training with great success. I recently had a conversation with a retired agent in which he commented on the similarity between what I taught on my Defensive tactics video and what they had been taught. When he told me that they had done some training with Robert Koga, I said that explained it...
Website: Koga Institute
He has a very fine set of videos available for anyone interested in the practical application of technique.

The other Aikido teacher who had a fully developed defensive tactics system was David Dye. He appeared at the second Aiki Expo where he taught a class. He started as a Yoshinkan practitioner although he has now founded his own style. He was a Costa Mesa police officer for years. He also has a collection of videos, available from Budovideos.com, I believe, which outline his DT system. Once again, it's straight Aikido with a practical application bent.
Website: David Dye

The perpetual discussion of Aikido application in the so-called "real world" would tone down a bit if folks were familiar with the work these men have done. All their stuff has been done on the street with real bad guys. It's practically oriented but it is straight Aikido.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-14-2008 at 12:33 AM.

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Old 01-14-2008, 12:56 AM   #3
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Mr. Lau doesn't know me from Adam, but when I was on AIKIDO-L back in the early 90s, I always looked forward to and enjoy his posts.

That said, I find it somewhat ridiculous to suggest that "aikido failed him." In a very specific sense one might say that his teachers failed him, or rather, failed to prepare him. In a larger sense Mr. Lau may have failed himself by not training with the necessary mindset. But the idea that "aikido" is not "real-world" effective, but "aikijutsu" is, strikes me as the same one-dimensional thinking we see here time and again.

For starters, there is nothing in the "aikijutsu" examples of sankyo and munadori ikkyo that aren't part of basic Iwama style aikido. (Although of course, cuffing uke at the end of the technique is not a typical Iwama practice. ) As I mentioned in a thread just last week, the Tokyo riot police practice Yoshinkan, and have made it work for years.

People need to understand that "aikido" is layered. It's adaptable to the needs of those who practice it. Aikido can be a marginally combat effective art that provides health and "ki training". It can be physical and spiritual exercise that provides the average person with as much self-defense knowledge as they're likely to need. And it can be a very effective art useful to those whose jobs put them into conflict, and who need to resolve those conflicts with firm but measured responses. But it's important, and incumbent on the student, that they find the aikido that is right for them. The Average Joe or Jane seeking to improve their health and ki may not find what they're looking for in the Yoshinkan senshusei course. The police officer or bouncer may not find what they need in "middle-of-the-road" dojo. The solution is not to write off "aikido", but to find a dojo (aikido or otherwise) that offers what you need.

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-14-2008, 07:39 AM   #4
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Mr. Ledyard, thanks for the links. i founds them informative. i was by no means trying to imply that aikido has no "street worthiness", but i just happened upon that article. i think it's from 1981 or close to that. thanks.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:44 AM   #5
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
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Mr. Ledyard, thanks for the links. i founds them informative. i was by no means trying to imply that aikido has no "street worthiness", but i just happened upon that article. i think it's from 1981 or close to that. thanks.
I didn't take it that you, personally, were calling it into question... I had just been reading the other thread which is dealing with the perennial question.

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Old 01-14-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Alongside Koga Sensei's method is also the Aikido Control Tactics System, co-founded by Rocky Izumi Sensei (he tends to be lurking around aikiweb these days). A link on Aikiweb where this sort of stuff was discussed appears here - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7210.

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Mr. Lau doesn't know me from Adam, but when I was on AIKIDO-L back in the early 90s, I always looked forward to and enjoy his posts.

That said, I find it somewhat ridiculous to suggest that "aikido failed him." In a very specific sense one might say that his teachers failed him, or rather, failed to prepare him. In a larger sense Mr. Lau may have failed himself by not training with the necessary mindset. But the idea that "aikido" is not "real-world" effective, but "aikijutsu" is, strikes me as the same one-dimensional thinking we see here time and again.

For starters, there is nothing in the "aikijutsu" examples of sankyo and munadori ikkyo that aren't part of basic Iwama style aikido. (Although of course, cuffing uke at the end of the technique is not a typical Iwama practice. ) As I mentioned in a thread just last week, the Tokyo riot police practice Yoshinkan, and have made it work for years.

People need to understand that "aikido" is layered. It's adaptable to the needs of those who practice it. Aikido can be a marginally combat effective art that provides health and "ki training". It can be physical and spiritual exercise that provides the average person with as much self-defense knowledge as they're likely to need. And it can be a very effective art useful to those whose jobs put them into conflict, and who need to resolve those conflicts with firm but measured responses. But it's important, and incumbent on the student, that they find the aikido that is right for them. The Average Joe or Jane seeking to improve their health and ki may not find what they're looking for in the Yoshinkan senshusei course. The police officer or bouncer may not find what they need in "middle-of-the-road" dojo. The solution is not to write off "aikido", but to find a dojo (aikido or otherwise) that offers what you need.
The right teacher and the student mind set, are most important in learning any M.A. find a match, and you can get very far, in any direction.

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
That said, I find it somewhat ridiculous to suggest that "aikido failed him." In a very specific sense one might say that his teachers failed him, or rather, failed to prepare him. In a larger sense Mr. Lau may have failed himself by not training with the necessary mindset. But the idea that "aikido" is not "real-world" effective, but "aikijutsu" is, strikes me as the same one-dimensional thinking we see here time and again.

For starters, there is nothing in the "aikijutsu" examples of sankyo and munadori ikkyo that aren't part of basic Iwama style aikido. (Although of course, cuffing uke at the end of the technique is not a typical Iwama practice. ) As I mentioned in a thread just last week, the Tokyo riot police practice Yoshinkan, and have made it work for years.

[snip]

The solution is not to write off "aikido", but to find a dojo (aikido or otherwise) that offers what you need.
I think there's a few things that need to be taken into account when reading this article. First, this is from 1986. The amount of information available to us about Aikido and its history is hugely different today than it was then. Draeger's assertion that 'do' was purely for personal development and 'jutsu' was practical applied martial art was still king (at least in the west) and this is from BB mag.

Expanding on that a bit, when Bernie broke away from Aikido and started using the term "Aikijujutsu" it was in large part a way to emphasize that what he was focusing on was different from what you were seeing (particularly in NW) Aikido. Bernie was getting a huge amount of, "That's not AIKIDO!!!" from the aikido community. It was also a time when there were lots of politics and crap going on in the US Aikikai. Bernie got tied of it, and decided to step out of that and do his own thing. The name change therefore reflected a different focus in the training, a broadening of the curriculum and a stepping outside of the hierarchy of the various 'mainline' factions of US Aikido.

As for Aikido failing him. I understand your argument, but you do need to realize that Aikido was being sold as a nearly invincible way to neutralize attacks. Further, in this region, Bernie was one of (if not the) senior dude in Aikido. He had trained very hard for quite a few years and been recognized for that by Hombu. The fact that he couldn't make what he had been taught work for him in the very real situations he found himself in, must have been very difficult to take. His focus (for better or worse) shifted to finding the tools he needed to make him and his partners safe. In the same way that George doesn't require LEOs who come to his Defensive Tactics classes wade through 10 years of Aikido basics before they find something they can apply on the job, Bernie started looking for what he could get to work quickly and what he could teach effectively. So while a lot of it was still recognizable as Aikido, it was in fact different.

With the stronger association of the term "aikijujutsu" with Daito Ryu (and to a lesser extent Yanagi ryu) we've kind of dropped it in favor of "aikibudo" which feels like a better fit for how the art has progressed and the current focus.

Oh, and Bernie's finger locks still hurt like hell...


Edit note: I don't want to imply that I'm a long time student of Bernie's. I have only trained with him a few times. I do train under Neil Yamamoto who Bernie left in charge of Icho ryu when he retired from teaching regularly. I'm sure anything I got wrong in the above will be brought to my attention ASAP.

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 01-14-2008 at 10:45 AM.

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Old 01-14-2008, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
I'm sure anything I got wrong in the above will be brought to my attention ASAP.
Yeah, think any finger locks will be involved in that??

Tell all the guys I said hey!

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-14-2008, 12:04 PM   #10
Chris Parkerson
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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.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:43 PM   #11
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Yeah, think any finger locks will be involved in that??
You beat me to it, Ron... I was going to suggest that he sit on his hands for a while...
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:48 PM   #12
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Despite Bernie's change of name to Aikijutsu, I never found anything he did to be the least incompatible with what I had been taught by Saotome Sensei. It was just a very "applied" form of Aikido. I think that Bernie was largely reacting against what he saw as the move towards a less than martial Aikido, especially on the West Coast.
Point well taken.

Looking at "Explosive AikiJujitsu" a tape Bernie Lau made with Ray Ibarra and Roy Goldberg in the 1990's tells it all. His techniques are very different that those of Ibarra and Goldberg. They look more like traditional Aikido to me.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:13 PM   #13
erogers
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

this thread has produced some good conversation. i'm a little curious if anyone knows why o-sensei chose to omit some of the pain compliance aspects of aikijujutsu like finger locks and the such? the article made a few points about that being one of their differences. locally there is an aikijujutsu guy who has mentioned a lot of that art is meant to maim and even kill, but there are techniques that people in law enforcement use for pain compliance only. i'm interested in knowing what specifically he used as his basis for techniques to keep, discard, and change if one of you wise fellers' know anything.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:30 PM   #14
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Not that I am even remotely qualified to state what O Sensei thought...

I tend to believe that he saw aikido as a transformative process, a base formed around the principles of aiki to achieve personal growth and fulfillment...peace, harmony, happiness.

He kept the principles that allowed us to walk the fine line, showing us alternatives to conflict...showing us that we have other choices and options other than to cause pain, damage and suffering.

I think we have enough problems with people understanding the purpose of aikido without those things thrown in there! If they were emphasized...it would only serve to further confuse!

What would be the point of teaching them. That said, just from studying the basic principles of aikido, I think i have pretty much figured out where to use those things in the places where they would belong!

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Old 01-14-2008, 09:30 PM   #15
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I think there's a few things that need to be taken into account when reading this article. First, this is from 1986. The amount of information available to us about Aikido and its history is hugely different today than it was then. Draeger's assertion that 'do' was purely for personal development and 'jutsu' was practical applied martial art was still king (at least in the west) and this is from BB mag.
Ah, of course! I should have realized it from the bad hairstyles and pornstaches. In which case, I stand by the general point of my remarks, but obviously it doesn't apply to Mr. Lau. As I said, I enjoyed his posts on AIKIDO-L, long after he'd made "the switch."

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-14-2008, 10:39 PM   #16
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

It is a shame that the article mentioned the lack of atemi in Aikido. For the most part, that statement is true. I do practice atemi, and I do it in most of my techniques. Atemi is very necessary when it comes to doing Aikido. Also, I think that everyone practicing Aikido, needs to do research on what I call practical application of Aikido techniques. Some of these I have been taught, and some I have figured out on my own. You need to learn how to apply the techniques on the street as oppose to the way you do in the dojo. The variation is only slightly different, but it will make a big difference. You have to try and remember, that when applying Aikido techniques to someone on the street, they are not going to take ukemi or respond the same way someone in the dojo will.

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Old 01-15-2008, 03:06 AM   #17
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

For what it's worth, my two pen'orth is:

My TKWD friend did an Aikido hold on me once. He went so far as to bruise the bone. My arm hurt afterwards. I'd go that far if I had to use Aikido in a real fight. I think you'd have to.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:02 AM   #18
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

When I interviewed to join the border patrol, I sought out some coaching first. One wise retired cop told me to look at arresting someone like this,

You are just the conductor on the train. The perpetrator can choose to go home, go to jail, or go to God. You are just punching his ticket.

Sounds very Aiki to me.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:47 AM   #19
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Evan Rogers wrote: View Post
i'm a little curious if anyone knows why o-sensei chose to omit some of the pain compliance aspects of aikijujutsu like finger locks and the such?
I'm no expert on Daito Ryu, but I don't believe that finger locks are a large part of that art, so they wouldn't really have been in his bag of tricks in the first place. In Bernie's case, these mostly came in from the Wally Jay small circle stuff.

This is a bit of thread drift, but since it applies to your question, OSensei was not the one who actually truncated down the techniques of Aikido from Daito Ryu. That mostly happened under the direction of the nidai doshu after the war (or under other influential Shihan like Saito Sensei, depending on your lineage). I think it's safest to say that OSensei changed the way he thought about and executed the techniques of Daito Ryu, then later his students attempted to codify those techniques into a cohesive syllabus. I don't expect that to be a universally accepted view of the progression of Aikido, but it's how I now see it. I know that I've been taught things by at least one uchideshi who was only exposed to OSensei very late in his life that are decidedly not part of the basic syllabus of the Aikikai but that he insisted were taught to him by OSensei (knuckle strikes to the backs of the hands, pinches, shimewaza). These are all things that most people would consider to be the kinds of things that were truncated in the formation of Aikido, that I feel there is evidence of him doing and teaching very very late in his lifetime.

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Old 01-15-2008, 08:48 AM   #20
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Also, here's the image from my earlier post re-hosted.



Thanks ImageShack!

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Old 01-15-2008, 09:12 AM   #21
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I'd have to agree with your last assessment Chris. And I think aikido is the worst for it...the loss of striking skills and chokes is a really big problem, in my opinion...

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-15-2008, 02:35 PM   #22
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I always enjoyed watching Steve Segall's punch...

The one he did in "Above the Law" where he walked up to a guy and blasted him in the solar plexus. His weight shift, timing, breath, were in perfect form.

As for finger locks, "what happens if "Uhhh Mondo don't care".

Chokes are decent. Trained fighters can survive blood chokes for quite a while.

Juji gatame (straight arm bar) Now that is a great technique. Upward bent arm (ude garami) is sensational. It works against the infraspinatus and Teres group. Those small muscles behind your shoulder joint that you just cannot train very well.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:37 PM   #23
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Is Aikido effective for police?

Yes.

Moreover, Aikido training, which is not necessarily the same thing as "Aikido," is even more effective for police. What do I mean?

Well, in a conversation like this, the idea that all one needs is the "perfectly adapted" art is hogwash. I realize folks are not saying this, but it is nevertheless implied in the question.

In other words, if you want to be an effective law enforcement officer, train to be one. I mean, to be effective, folks have to put in the time - they have to dedicate themselves to mastering the craft. The notion of learning something fast and easily is such crap, and this, besides the painfully embarrassing fact that most cops do not train regularly in any of the perishable skills, is what ails law enforcement to no end. This is my opinion as a California Certified Arrest and Control Instructor.

I don't care what you call it but as far as arrest and control/defensive tactis is concerned a person only need two things:

1. An art form/practice that includes all of the basic tactics (joint locking, striking, ground-fighting, weapon usage, etc.) but that has them operate under a strategy capable of addressing agency use of force policies (e.g. Head-butting someone in the face, or repeatedly kneeing someone in the groin, or repeatedly elbowing someone in the spine, etc., when they pull their hand out of your grip during cuffing, OR taking someone to the ground so you can put them in a closed guard while on a city street during business hours, etc., is not in line with this kind of thinking.).

2. An art form/practice that expects and demands prolonged and continuous exposure and exploration, such that such exposure and exploration hones the overall law enforcement officer according to traditional warrior virtues (e.g. integrity, courage, honesty, etc.).

Again, I don't care what you call it after you are able to fulfill the first element - just fulfill it. And then, after you fulfill the first element, make sure one's butt is capable of fulfilling the second element. Because if one cannot, again, it doesn't matter what you call the first element, since everyone else, including the criminal, is going to call it crap. (Note: the second element is the hard one to fulfill, which is why I think someone should be asking first, "How can I get my ass to train continuously and consistently over the length of my career?" before they ask, "What art is best for police work?")

This reminds me of an event that happened in one of my ARCON classes. I don't know, I guess I was not in the mood for the dabblers. So, I'm teaching, and this one officer asks me a what-if question, even before he learned the embryonic technique he needed to learn so that he could qualify, and my answer was this: "What if? Well, if a guy does that on you, you are going to get your ass kick, because you never train. Me? I'd do this (did it), and the guy would placed in cuffs without incident." Just another version of Ikeda's "my Aikido works" statement - sure comes in handy. :-)

d

David M. Valadez
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:08 PM   #24
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I became convinced early on the the salesmen who developed PPCT (Pressure Point Control Tactics) and all of the other three day wonder courses that are out there understood their client quite well.

Police Departments were begging for someone who could be an expert witness with a program (whether it worked or not) that (1) fell within the annual budget and (2) could absolve them from liability. There was little real concern over whether the stuff really worked.

One guy I hired at Frontsight was the former DT instrucxtor for LAPD and later San Bernadino SO. He came from a 3 generation Jujitsu family. And he had added Krav Maga to his teaching curriculum. His experience was similar to yours. Cops do not want to train.

In the early 1990's Hal von Luebbert developed the 21 Grip system for suppressing attacks. The system is pure Genius. Hal was a military tactics expert and applied "suppression" rather than "attrition" to police Defensive Tactics simply because suppression has a better combat efficiency value.. He was also interested in helping police find humanitarian ways of dealing with resistance. Hal was also an aau state wrestling and Judo champion, an Olympic judo coach with 3 national championships under his belt. He was also belted in Jodo and Aikido.

The system did not go far as it took about 3-5 weeks to train in for proficiency. I was given permission to post portions of Hal's system on U-tube. I hope to do it this week.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:23 AM   #25
mriehle
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Okay, so I've been reading this thread with considerable interest.

First of all, I personally know someone who is a cop who has used his Aikido repeatedly and effectively in his job. His words were something to the effect that Aikido got him home to his family more than once over the years.

What prompted me to respond to the thread were the comments about cops not wanting to train and this acquaintance of mine.

What sets him apart is that he does train. So does his son. In fact, they often train together. Bottom line, he trains. So when he's faced with a problem, his Aikido works.

So, I guess I'm chiming in with agreement that the key to any art being effective is constant training.

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