you work for a small municipality or a large state agency
somewhere along the way you received some defensive
tactics training. Make no mistake that the #1 reason
for that training like all other things related to use
of force was to limit the liability of the agency. Not
to protect the line officer.
They give you a set of tools to deal with problems.
If you deviate from that and nobody cries foul then
there is no problem. If you do deviate and someone makes
a complaint, they will just sit back and say, “he/she
was never taught that.” Notice that nowhere did
I talk about what you were taught being intended to
How much DT training is based on a compliant subject?
Most of it. After all you can't get too out of
control or someone will get hurt. Was there any kind
of overall cross training between the DT and firearms
staff? Did the DT guys ever talk about striking someone
with your pistol? Did the firearms guys ever discuss
having to strike someone with your open hand to give
you time and distance to draw your pistol?
There are basically three types of police defensive
Martial Arts guys- yeah, you know them. They have a
black belt in (insert art). They either got it before
or after they got on the job. Most of the time these
guys are found in small agencies without a whole lot
The bosses like them because they are into it and don't
require the agency to spend money to train them. I mean
after all the police need to learn to fight so why not
have what's his name do it, he has a black belt
Many times these guys will do anything they have to
do to make their “art” fit police work.
They are usually not gun guys. You may also hear them
complain that while demonstrating the opponent did not
“attack the right way.” There are a few
things they just can't get around though.
#1 No Martial Art teaches you to attack people, which
is basically what an arrest is.
#2 No Martial Art teaches you to fight someone with
the help of a buddy.
#3 Most techniques in Martial Arts end with the opponent
laying flat on his back. Not on his stomach where you
need him for cuffing.
#4 Most Martial Arts are not practiced in body armor
and full gear.
#5 Most Martial Arts take time to become proficient
in and the majority of cops are notoriously unmotivated
and lazy when it comes to training.
#6 No traditional Martial Arts include carrying a handgun.
As a matter of fact in most Martial Arts if you have
a weapon your strong hand and foot are forward unlike
wearing a sidearm.
The “Instructor” - you know him, he may
or may not have had any Martial Arts training but the
job sent him to whatever instructors course. Most of
the time it was 1-2 weeks. Long enough to learn how
to do it, not necessarily how or why it works, or even
how to teach it but hey, he got a certification and
the department paid good money for it.
You can usually spot these guys; they come back with
a cool polo shirt or a nifty new pin for their uniform.
They will go so far as to put in the proper position
to start a technique. They will get really pissed off
if you ask them why the technique works or what if it
doesn't work. If you ask them anything about how
to retain your pistol if it is out of the holster their
eyes will just glass over. They are usually not gun
The last type is the guy you want. He has at least five
years on the job. Chances are he was once or is currently
a Martial Arts guy or an Instructor. Might be a firearms
instructor by the departmental standards or just a decent
shot. Most of the officers call him Tackleberry and
say he is a little intense. But the same ones who say
that don't mind having him on a hot call.
He is an intense student of everything that has to do
with humans and interpersonal conflict, psychology,
anatomy, open hand, impact weapons, edged weapons and
firearms. He sees things as they are and not how he
wishes them to be. He realizes that just because he
likes a technique for himself that does not mean that
it will work for everyone.
He likes to make what I call Tactical Stew. He takes
everything he has been involved in or exposed to and
puts it in his tool-box, some of it as examples of what
to do and some as examples of what not to do. He knows
the benefits of hitting first and how to justify doing
so in a report.
After reading about the last guy you might be saying
to yourself, “that is all good and well but we
don't have anyone like that.”
Maybe you don't right now but maybe the person
who needs to work towards being that guy is the same
one who looks back at you in the mirror. If not you,
then who? Who will bring them home if not you?