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Old 07-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #126
senshincenter
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I agree, there is a time issue here. That is a problem, indeed. Howe we choose to deal with it, well, that's a choice we make. That said, I can see where Mike and Kevin are coming from, and I can very much appreciate their view. It's just not mine, and I would never presume to have folks do what we do. I have my reasons for why we do what we do, at the same time that I know it's not for everyone (nor can it be).

I've recently come to the conclusion that while we'd like to believe otherwise, there simply are no shortcuts to being effective (i.e. putting as much chance of surviving and mission success - whatever that may be - on your side as is possible per a given situation). That said, when it comes to luck, or when it comes to playing the long odds, yes, there are shortcuts - including doing and/or training in nothing. I choose to see training as an attempt to not rely so heavily upon luck.

I know this is not a very popular view, this being the age of shortcuts, and many industries (self-defense, law enforcement, military, etc.) spending a lot of time and money on getting all of us to believe in and even admire shortcuts.

I used to teach law enforcement personnel with shortcuts in mind as well. No more. I refuse to train to the lowest common denominator, because, in truth, the lowest common denominator doesn't train. Do you see the contradiction there? Training folks who do not train? What a losing battle, what an impossible task! Contradiction lies at the very foundation of said process and the need to provide training doesn't take that away - it simply adds to it.

I had one guy at my last "open" session keep asking "what if" question after "what if" question - which is perfectly fine. However, when you can't do the move at all, and your talking is just keeping you from training (and others), and you have no chance of showing up on a regular basis because of character flaws... Well, the truth just popped out of my mouth: "What if the guy is stronger than you and pulls out a knife right when you put your hands on him?" Answer I gave: "You'll probably get killed, because you don't train regularly."

Nowadays, when folks tell me, "this is too hard" or "too complicated," etc., even my own law enforcement students - the answer is the same: "That's why we train. You want to be elite at our craft - train. You want to be a common denominator - don't train - nothing is easier than that, no shortcut is shorter than that."

I should also say, a lot of this has come from my own training in live environments. That is to say, in those kind of environments, you see who would likely die and who wouldn't, and the correlation is pretty consistent regarding those that train and their likely survivability. In my own experience, the truth of these type of training environments is being reduced to some sort of hazing ritual and/or some sort of imagined process that breads a combat mindset. This has gained a lot of fuel with the new, "never give up the fight" slogans that have spread with the popularity of this type of training.

Personally, what we do is quite at odds with this. Again, not at all a popular view, but if someone starts "superhuman-ing" things in our live environments, we hit you harder and shoot your more, etc., till you figure out like everyone else present that you are not being tough - you are dreaming, and its time to wake up, before your nightmares turn real.

Why bring up live-training environments... Well, for me, the point of such training is not to make you tough or teach you to never quite, the point is to reflect upon one's skills and one's training. When you do that, when you see folks fall apart in said environments, where all they can do is "tough it out," and you are coming from this latter perspective, you quickly realize, there are no shortcuts, just the delusion of shortcuts.

So yeah things take time, lots of dedication, etc., but that need, as great as it may be, does not make the opposite true - that one can achieve something, even anything, with minimum to no commitment. Again, this is not a popular view, getting less popular every year, but this is the view I feel I need to adopt to remain a responsible instructor in this profession.

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:00 PM   #127
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David wrote:

Quote:
I used to teach law enforcement personnel with shortcuts in mind as well. No more. I refuse to train to the lowest common denominator, because, in truth, the lowest common denominator doesn't train. Do you see the contradiction there? Training folks who do not train? What a losing battle, what an impossible task! Contradiction lies at the very foundation of said process and the need to provide training doesn't take that away - it simply adds to it.
indeed. I agree with you on that, and also refuse to teach "shortcuts" or "one day SD courses". It is a process. However, you have to make sure that process is "battlefocused" and their are certain "mission essential task" that should be focused on to ensure the method you use is as relevant as it can be without becoming technique based.

It is a big reason we drastically altered the Army Combatives Program away from technique based training.

David wrote:

Quote:
Why bring up live-training environments... Well, for me, the point of such training is not to make you tough or teach you to never quite, the point is to reflect upon one's skills and one's training. When you do that, when you see folks fall apart in said environments, where all they can do is "tough it out," and you are coming from this latter perspective, you quickly realize, there are no shortcuts, just the delusion of shortcuts.
Yes, this is key. To measure and hold accountable your skills and abilities, and to provide you a model of where you are at in your training. It also follows the "train as you fight" paradigm and the "default to the level of your training" paradigm which says you will do in reality what you do in training.

David wrote:

Quote:
So yeah things take time, lots of dedication, etc., but that need, as great as it may be, does not make the opposite true - that one can achieve something, even anything, with minimum to no commitment. Again, this is not a popular view, getting less popular every year, but this is the view I feel I need to adopt to remain a responsible instructor in this profession.
yes lots of time and dedication. It is about being a warrior and being mastery. A colleague and I were talking the other day about the concept of mastery and it's low social value in our society.

In the military we have seen an increase in "warriorship". I can get guys out to train on a regular basis at my office that would have never considered it before in years past. The war has something to do with it. Our culture has shifted in the Army some.

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Old 07-11-2008, 10:08 PM   #128
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Like I said before Kevin, I'm sure you are right on the money, and I would never outright disagree with you, never dismiss it this way or that. It's really my thing, if you will allow me that. I'm allowed many "luxuries" - things that come with offering no one anything but a chance to train, no certifications, no rank, no nothing but to share in a journey that is completely individual.

Along those lines, I can see how it makes sense to "train as you fight," etc., but from another point of view, the one my position allows me to adopt, I can reject it fully. For example, I've seen folks that can face the "sh-t" in the midst of chaos, remaining trained and disciplined, etc., but then see these same folks fall apart when asked to sit on a cushion and not move, not sleep, not make a noise. Inversely, I've seen folks that can sit for hours, but freak out when they get less than six hour of sleep and their kids are wanting them to build all their lego star wars toys NOW.

What I'm trying to say is that I've taken the position that there is always going to be a gap between training and application - that one implies the absence of the other. This is compounded more for me when I realize that it is impossible, numerically impossible, to cover every situation I may ever have to face in life in training. In fact, my experience has determined that what marks application, what marks the non-training environment, what marks reality, more than anything else, is infinity, the unending possibility of it all. In the face of Infinity, for me, it is silly to look for whatever is thought to be the most common, the more likely, etc., let alone mission specific. Reality is what it is, and what it is can never be captured. This is the exact opposite, as I hinted at earlier, of training. Training is concrete, has to be, marked both in terms of time and space, with beginnings, middles, and ends, boundaries, rights and lefts, inside and outside, etc. - so artificial, so not reality.

Rather, I use the artificial of training to work on specific things, concepts, philosophies, etc., and ultimately to provide me with the paradox of finding the Infinite in the finite, which for me is the highest martial skill, the true key to fighting as you train and training as you fight - the only key to that.

So, at our dojo, sometimes we make the naturally aggressive sit on a cushion and demonstrate and cultivate their discipline that way. Sometimes, we make the one's that can find peace and center in the quiet and stillness of meditation build lego sets for their kids after they've worked all night and have to do so again this night.

Again, it's not for everyone, this training, not by a long shot. But, in my experience, it works. And, more importantly, for me, it's much more consistent in thought, which I have found to be the first step to being consistent in practice - which shows a depth of training and achievement, a good use of time.

Again, I know this is very individual, very personal, and I only mention it here in case others my be thinking along these lines and wondering on it all. More food for thought - that kind of thing.

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-12-2008, 04:09 AM   #129
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Oh I agree with your thoughts 100% for myself. On a personal and individual basis your approach is one that I would follow for myself personally and encourage others to do so as well. It is sound and it is holistic. Holistic is what is key.

You are correct, the boundaries are artificially subscribed. they allow us to put things into neat little boxes that perceptionally allow us to control and manage our lives.

Family, Work, Weapons, empty hand training, golf, playing with the kids....

all go into neat little boxes that we open, focus on things in what we percieve to be the most efficient manner and we close it up and move on to the next one.

"Combatives" training for military can be approached this way as well. One thing I do like about the Marine Corps program is that they at least formally recognize that the sum of the parts equal the whole.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Synergy.png

They also have a motto "One Mind, One Weapon".

Unfortunately, most out there will use the "box" method of management of their lives and have "gaps" where the stuff that does not fit definitionally into a particular box gets lost.

These gaps prevent us from synergy and seeing a bigger picture sometimes, and can affect our development/evolvement.

Yes I do think you are correct in your approach.

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Old 07-12-2008, 04:10 AM   #130
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

I will have to explain more later...have to go to aikido right now.

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Old 07-12-2008, 12:08 PM   #131
Michael Hackett
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David,

You and I view this issue from two different perspectives, from two different roles. As a result we disagree in part. I think we totally agree as individuals however.

My basic premise is that Aikido is effective for American police IF they are willing to train. If they are not willing to train, then some Aikido techniques will prove effective particularly if they are supplemented with some other skills.

What I think you've been saying all along is that you are a purist and insist in drilling down to the core principles of the art and aren't willing to give of your time and effort to provide anything less to students. I applaud that and am trying to emulate it as well.

I view the issue from the perspective of a police administrator who is (or more accurately was) responsible for fielding well trained police agents in a world of conflicting priorities and limited resources. At least here in California traditional police agencies are expected to be all things to all people at all times. Obviously that is an impossible task and police leaders have to set priorities in all aspects of the agency; calls for service, training, recruitment, equipment, organization, and even personal conduct of employees.

It was my job and responsibility to provide the most efficient self-defense training possible to my subordinates in that world. As a consequence, it became apparent that it would be impossible to train every officer to the level that you attempt to achieve in your own training and in your own school. There simply isn't the money available or the buy-in from governing bodies, the public or from the officers themselves. And we have to also provide training to the least common denominator in our staff. Most of us have chosen to provide an amalgum of various "arts" in an effort to give our troops a few successful tools to work with. I think that's why Krav Maga has become so popular with some police agencies. Its like the AK-47 in that it is crude and always seems to work no matter how rusty it is or how neglected it becomes.

As I recall, you teach POST defensive tactics courses as well. POST curriculum teaches the "bar arm takedown" technique which is little more than ikkyo omote. I've seen it done hundreds of times in training and in the field and have yet to see done correctly by Aikido standards. It was effective though and looked just like what the DT instructors taught.

In my perfect world, I would provide an hour each working day for DT training and it would be based almost entirely on Aikido. I would want some of the time spent on handcuffing and other techniques and processes as well, but the bulk of the training would be Aikido. Unfortunately, I had to spend a great deal of my time defending my already inadequate training budget and never got to see my perfect world.

In addressing this to you, I realize that I am preaching to the choir and so will step down from the pulpit now.

Michael
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Old 07-12-2008, 04:57 PM   #132
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Like I said, there's no way I can disagree with anything you guys are saying, as these are just choices and sacrifices we choose to make in light of the agendas we allow ourselves to adopt. There's give and take in everything going on here.

In the future, in fact, my position may change - as that is the great unknown. Up to now, the largest group of folks I've been officially responsible for is an Academy class of recruits. By choice, because of the pressure to become other than I have chosen to be, I've limited myself to "advanced" training, "outside" training, "extra" training, etc., regarding law enforcement personnel.

Right now, even though all folks are welcome, and the training is offered free, four times per week, people still have to seek me out and come to me, on my ground. As I said before, I offer them nothing (e.g. certification) but the chance to continue working on their craft. I try to stay as unofficial as I can be.

We'll see how that fairs next year, since I've already been slotted by my department to assist with the arrest and control training for the entire agency on an "official" basis.

When I taught the Academy class, and I was forced to play off my court, forced to place my convictions next to the agendas at hand. I chose to deal with things this way: I told folks what they were learning was the bare basics, meant to address folks that were at most passive resistant during arrest. I explained that the ARCON program they were being certified in was meant to operate as a base, for them to build upon. Building upon it was left up to them, in the very same way that learning to operate a firearm in the Academy was. As no one expected them in the field to only be able to shoot from a static position against stationary paper targets with safe backdrops, etc., no one expects them to only face passive resistant suspects.

I felt fine telling them this, being very clear about it, because I also offered to them the training that goes on top of the base they were learning - for free, four times a week.

We'll see if this holds up against an entire agency. If it doesn't, for better or for worse, I usually am "self-destructive" enough to side with my convictions and return to my unofficial status.

thanks for the great replies.
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-12-2008, 05:21 PM   #133
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David,

In many respects our Army Combatives Program works much the same way. We have a certification process that is the "basics".

We also conduct formalized unit training as well from time to time.

We also encourage "extracurricular" activity outside of the workplace. We kinda unofficially have "clubs" that offer training that is a little more holistic and focused on the art and game.

For instance in the Wash DC area, we have a bunch of senior Martial Artist that have formed the Pentagon Combatives Association. We offer free training to military members in BJJ and "Contemporary Combatives". We have locations at major buildings and post around the area. You can pretty much recieve high quality training for free everyday of the week...about 12 hours of training if you like.

It seems to work well for those that want to take the time to learn more.

Yeah, I agree Michael, when you are doing "formal" training, you have to distill it down to the basics, cause that is all the time you have to spend. I think our basic program does a decent job of baseline stuff, but of course, it is not enough, only a beginning.

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Old 07-12-2008, 05:54 PM   #134
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Sounds good to me. :-)

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:06 AM   #135
Michael Hackett
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David,

When I read your account of the academy training, I had a flashback to my own boot camp days at MCRD, San Diego. We went through a lot of hours in "hand-to-hand combat" instruction from some pretty talented people (guys who followed on after Frank Duran Sensei) and I remember that we thought we were pretty hot stuff. At the conclusion of the last class the instructor told us what skilled warriors we were and then finished by telling us that we would probably get the snot beat out of us on boot camp leave by an angry Girl Scout. That didn't happen to me and I still am cautious around Girl Scouts.

I hope some of them listened to you and will take advantage. My bet is that if you had a class of thirty, you will get one to follow through. Man, would I like to be wrong here. How about following up in a few months and let us know if anyone was awake that day?

Michael
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:08 AM   #136
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Yes, that is exactly what happened: out of forty, one took me up on my offer and trains with us regularly. For me, this is one of the reason why I've chosen what I've chosen.

d

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Old 07-13-2008, 07:00 AM   #137
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Yup, that is about the same ratio that we run into. This summer I bought a portable flexiroll mat and started training outside while the weather is nice at our office. I have picked up about 4 guys so far that will come on a regular basis now.

Picked up a couple out of our most recent combatives class. We will see. However, Only a couple ever seem to keep with it over a year.

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