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#1
Old 04-28-2004, 05:40 PM
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How are policemen trained to fight in hand to hand confrontations?

There are obviously numerous martial arts available for self defense. In that policemen are among the most likely people to be involved in hand to hand scuffles in the course of their jobs, I'm curious as to how policemen/policewomen are trained to defend themselves in real world hand to hand combat situations, without a gun being available.

What martial art(s) do the people that probably need them more than anyone else really use?
#2
Old 04-28-2004, 06:25 PM
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.. you'd be suprised.

This would vary from department to department. We didn't get much hand to hand fighting training in the academy. Most of the Defensive Tactics stuff involved take-downs, cuffing techniques, and various arm and wrist locks. The only "fighting" that was taught involved using the baton and a little bit of disarming guys with guns and knives using only our hands. The couple hours spent on the subject was nowhere near enough to actually make someone skilled or competant in the maneuvers, but it was better than nothing, I guess.
The few cops that do know how to fight, learned and continue to develop their skills on their own time. So their particular martial art will be an individual preference.
Even specialized units like SWAT spend way less time learning to "fight" than other more important skills.
#3
Old 04-28-2004, 06:30 PM
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I don't know what formal training they receive at the police academy, and it probably varies a great deal from place to place. However, I have trained with a lot of police officers in martial arts. I knew a number of them who studied Wing Chun but most of them finally gave it up for something gentler because they could not afford to have those instincts on the street. While police are very likely to need martial arts, they're also very constrained in what they can do (more or less depending on the locale, but my Wing Chun friends were in a very liberal city where any hint of force brought brutality charges). I know a lot of police officers who study Aikido and JuJutsu because the joint locks and pain-compliance techniques can be used effectively on the street without too much trouble. A good solid punch, or roundhouse kick to the perp's knee could potentially end a cop's career.
#4
Old 04-28-2004, 07:23 PM
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I agree with Bear_Nenno. Most cops get really very little training in hand-to-hand combat. We learn a few good take-downs that work for us, and that usually is all that we need. Of course, some do make the effort to really work on this and some study martial arts, but the majority rely on a few proven techniques.

We have annual training in defensive tactics, and each year I learn something new. But when the fight is on, I always go back to the techniques that work for me - hair hold take-downs and arm-bar take-downs.

Our needs are far different than someone learning to street fight. As a rule, we aren't in it to hurt our opponent or to beat him down. We have one goal - control them enough to get the handcuffs on them. Also, we often just have to keep them from hurting us until backup gets there to finish handcuffing.

That is also why more and more agencies have moved to other less-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray and TASERs. These allow us to take the person down and control them with minimal risk of injuring the suspect or the officer.
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#5
Old 04-28-2004, 07:37 PM
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I just had a friend of mine go through the police academy in a major city to be unnamed. During his training, he had to be sprayed with pepper spray. He said it was one of the worst experiences of his life. So I guess that's a great tool.

I asked him once what he would do if attacked. He said, "I'd mace him". "What if the guy has a knife?", I said. "I have a gun" was the reply. He said the key to self-defense is to ALWAYS have the upper hand. So the ultimate goal is to never get into an even hand-to-hand combat situation.
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#6
Old 05-02-2004, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ummm... yeahh...
I just had a friend of mine go through the police academy in a major city to be unnamed. During his training, he had to be sprayed with pepper spray. He said it was one of the worst experiences of his life. So I guess that's a great tool.
Yeah, that stuff really hurts! I've only used it on one guy (I'm pretty good at talking people into doing what I want) and it dropped him instantly. It doesn't work on everyone, but it at least slows them down.

Quote:
I asked him once what he would do if attacked. He said, "I'd mace him". "What if the guy has a knife?", I said. "I have a gun" was the reply.
There is an old cop saying: "They don't pay me to fight fair. They pay me to win."
#7
Old 05-02-2004, 10:24 PM
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I'm surprised to hear that any hand-to-hand fighting is included in any academy program. I'm not a police officer or an expert in law enforcement, but it's been my impression that police are expected to be in control of a situation, which duking it out ain't. If a suspect, perpetrator, or arrestee resists, cuff him. If he fights, hit him with a baton or pepper spray. If he fights with a weapon, shoot him. That's what I expect, and I'll never blame an officer who follows those rules. I suppose it's all very nice and non-lethal to take down a suspect with one's bare hands, but it's also a good way to get killed.
#8
Old 05-03-2004, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag
If a suspect, perpetrator, or arrestee resists, cuff him. If he fights, hit him with a baton or pepper spray. If he fights with a weapon, shoot him.
I am not in law enforcement, so this is based solely on my discussions with the officers I used to train with. There is a huge range of people, let's call them law-abiding citizens, who may interact with a police officer in a less-than-cordial manner but don't warrant a beating. This may include a spouse, parent or neighbor objecting to an arrest, a couple of people agitated by a minor traffic accident, or many other situations where a police officer is required to exert some physical control over a person without resorting to a beatdown. I absolutely agree that if a dangerous suspect resists arrest, the officer should escalate so it's never a "fair" fight. However, I'd also expect an officer to be able to control bystanders without just gunning them down.

The officers I trained with focused on a variety of joint locks, low-impact throws and pain-compliance techniques that allowed them to confidently control people who needed to be controlled but didn't deserve the consequences of an all-out brawl with the police. They also focused on both tactics and strategies to stay in control because even the most alert officer is going to get taken off guard sometime, and whether they end up in control of the situation depends on how they handle that transition from sucker-punch to takedown. The ones who were expected to always be in control and never trained for it will go down.
#9
Old 05-03-2004, 01:14 PM
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[QUOTE=Badge]Yeah, that stuff really hurts! I've only used it on one guy (I'm pretty good at talking people into doing what I want) and it dropped him instantly. It doesn't work on everyone, but it at least slows them down.
QUOTE]

Sorry for the slight hijack, but I have also heard that mace affects light skinned people much more than dark skinned people. Must have something to do with the pigment in the skin? Obviously someone on PCP will probably not be affected either.
#10
Old 05-04-2004, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag
I'm surprised to hear that any hand-to-hand fighting is included in any academy program. I'm not a police officer or an expert in law enforcement, but it's been my impression that police are expected to be in control of a situation, which duking it out ain't. If a suspect, perpetrator, or arrestee resists, cuff him. If he fights, hit him with a baton or pepper spray. If he fights with a weapon, shoot him. That's what I expect, and I'll never blame an officer who follows those rules. I suppose it's all very nice and non-lethal to take down a suspect with one's bare hands, but it's also a good way to get killed.
All true, but some people just won't be controlled without a fight. And putting the cuffs on someone who doesn't want to be cuffed requires hand-to-hand fighting.

When I went through academy, pepper spray wasn't on the market and mace wasn't nearly as effective. And even now, pepper spray won't stop everyone.

In the end, sometimes we've just got to get dirty and roll around in the street with a bad guy!
#11
Old 05-04-2004, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Sorry for the slight hijack, but I have also heard that mace affects light skinned people much more than dark skinned people. Must have something to do with the pigment in the skin? Obviously someone on PCP will probably not be affected either.
I believe that this is true. When we were first issued pepper spray, we were all required to be sprayed with it. One of our guys is a very fair-skinned redhead, and he was in pain for hours! It was far worse for him than anyone else.

And yes, people who are on some drugs or enough alcohol, or if they are just pissed off enough, will not be stopped by pepper spray. But even with them, it will usually slow them down enough to give us the upper hand.
#12
Old 05-04-2004, 07:31 AM
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This is a slight hijack but is still in line with the OP. So Badge as a cop have you ever been in a situation where the hand-to-hand training you were given was not enough to apprehend or at least contain an individual? Obviously if it's 5 against 1, you've got a problem but in a reasonable case has there been reason to have more.

If not, it seems that the few holds and takedowns you are taught are enough for any cop.
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#13
Old 05-04-2004, 10:02 AM
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What sort of baton training do you get? I've been wondering about this question for a bit. My husband takes Kobudo (ancient weapons) and he's started training with paired tonfa (nightsticks). He's learning a lot of very complicated stuff with them.
#14
Old 05-04-2004, 10:33 AM
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As you will know the British police don't carry guns.

My brother used to be a copper. He was taught shitloads of holds and locks and various techniques for getting people into them, but not "fighting" as such. the Old Bill seem to have it figured out very pragmatically, based on real world experience rather than the traditional or ritualistic approach of a martial art.

Your average roundhousing drunk (the usual customer I'd guess) doesn't stand a chance.
#15
Old 05-04-2004, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
I believe that this is true. When we were first issued pepper spray, we were all required to be sprayed with it. One of our guys is a very fair-skinned redhead, and he was in pain for hours! It was far worse for him than anyone else.
This may also be attributable to culture and diet. The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, the same as the active ingredient in hot peppers (hence the name). Basically, pepper spray is just really hot hot sauce. And it is possible to become acclimated to capsaicin. Maybe your experience is just indicative that your Irish buddy is accustomed to eating bland food.
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#16
Old 05-04-2004, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badge
I believe that this is true. When we were first issued pepper spray, we were all required to be sprayed with it. One of our guys is a very fair-skinned redhead, and he was in pain for hours! It was far worse for him than anyone else.
According to at least one study, it's been suggested that red-heads are more sensitive to pain:
Quote:
In people with red hair, the cells that produce skin and hair pigment have a dysfunctional melanocortin 1 receptor. Liem says this dysfunction triggers the release of more of the hormone that stimulates these cells, but this hormone also stimulates a brain receptor related to pain sensitivity.
I was always curious as to why it takes more pain-killers to be effective (as in I stop feeling the pain) for me than other non-red-headed members of my family.
#17
Old 05-04-2004, 02:53 PM
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For anyone not aware of it, Badge has a long-running thread in MPSIMS called Ask the cop, in which lots of questions like this have been asked and answered.
#18
Old 05-04-2004, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag
I'm surprised to hear that any hand-to-hand fighting is included in any academy program. I'm not a police officer or an expert in law enforcement, but it's been my impression that police are expected to be in control of a situation, which duking it out ain't. If a suspect, perpetrator, or arrestee resists, cuff him. If he fights, hit him with a baton or pepper spray. If he fights with a weapon, shoot him. That's what I expect, and I'll never blame an officer who follows those rules. I suppose it's all very nice and non-lethal to take down a suspect with one's bare hands, but it's also a good way to get killed.
Not realistic in all circumstances. Take this one. I went along with three other officers to execute a warrant. The woman was resisting -pulling her arms away and trying to break free. She was not punching, kicking or being otherwise assaultive. After a bit of rolling around on the roof, we finally got the handcuffs on her. When we got back to the office, one of the supervisors wanted to know why we didn't use the pepper spray. The answer was because there was no way to spray her without also taking a very big risk that at least (probably more) one of the officers would also get hit with the spray.
#19
Old 05-04-2004, 04:04 PM
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Ooo, ooo - I have a question -

Have any of you law-enforcement types ever encountered a person on whom the joint locks and pressure points you've learned don't work?

The reason I ask is because they don't work on me. At all. Ever. I've studied Hap Ki Do and my instructor was a 8th degree black belt in Hap Ki Do and a 4th degree in Kempo - he couldn't get any of them to work on me - I'm just not wired that way.

How big of a fake out would it be if you attempted to do an arm bar or a wrist lock on someone (who was not particularly agressive - just being a pain in the ass) and they wiggled out of it? Would you crack them in the chops? Mace them? Punch them out?

Not that I plan on having an altercation with a member of law enforcement, but one never knows.
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#20
Old 05-05-2004, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nocturnal_tick
This is a slight hijack but is still in line with the OP. So Badge as a cop have you ever been in a situation where the hand-to-hand training you were given was not enough to apprehend or at least contain an individual?
No, I haven't had that happen yet (knock on wood). I've had situations where I probably would have lost a fight if I hadn't had back-up with me. That's one advantage that we cops have - we usually come in packs! And that's why we carry all that stuff on our belts, for when the hand-to-hand stuff isn't enough.
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#21
Old 05-05-2004, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissla Lissar
What sort of baton training do you get? I've been wondering about this question for a bit. My husband takes Kobudo (ancient weapons) and he's started training with paired tonfa (nightsticks). He's learning a lot of very complicated stuff with them.
I had about eight hours of training in the basic academy, and we have a refresher (usually 2-4 hours) every year. Basically it's just practicing hitting where you're supposed to hit and missing what you're supposed to miss. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've been at this for 18 years and have yet to hit someone with a stick. But I know that the day will come.
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#22
Old 05-05-2004, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Saltire
For anyone not aware of it, Badge has a long-running thread in MPSIMS called Ask the cop, in which lots of questions like this have been asked and answered.
Thanks for the plug, bro!
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#23
Old 05-05-2004, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by doreen
The answer was because there was no way to spray her without also taking a very big risk that at least (probably more) one of the officers would also get hit with the spray.
Yeah, we all pretty much assume that if someone gets sprayed, we all get sprayed! And getting it in my eyes doesn't bother me nearly as much as breathing the stuff. With the slightest whiff of pepper spray, I start coughing like crazy.

A few years ago one of our officers really hosed another officer. They were fighting an assault suspect, and Officer 1 decided to use pepper spray. He warned Officer 2, who pushed the suspect away from him so that he could be sprayed. Officer 1 sprayed the suspect but then his gloved finger got caught in the cap on the pepper spray cannister so that he couldn't stop spraying. As he pulled his hand back, he completely sprayed his partner. Not a happy man!
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#24
Old 05-05-2004, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
Have any of you law-enforcement types ever encountered a person on whom the joint locks and pressure points you've learned don't work?
I've never had it not work at all, but sometimes it is definitely less effective. The answer to that is try something else until something works, and that may mean moving higher on the "Use of Force Continuum" - from hands-on to pepper spray to TASER (if you carry one) to baton.
#25
Old 05-05-2004, 03:32 AM
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I once dated a girl J.R. Zienty who later became a police officer. We took karate together at the YMCA, and she was able to more than hold her own against me despite my outweighting her by fifty pounds (sorry to say that was seventy pounds ago). From what I here she is one of the most effective police "people" in her area. In any case, I think many women can be very effective in hand to hand combat especially if they keep in shape and practice resistence training. However, I think they probably do best with "non grappling" techniques (although they should be familar with these since these situations will occur).
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