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MODERN COMBATIVE SYSTEMS - Training - Modern Combatives System
ARTICLES - Root of Excessive Force
  Article written by George Matheis, founder of the Modern Combatives System.  


CAT Theory
Edged Weapons
Preparatory Movement
The Pistol Against the Spontaneous Attack
Spyderco Rescue Knife for Personal Protection
The Ground
The Stick
CQB Pistol Panic Push
Carry VS Deployment
Folder into the Fight
Are You Training for Personal Protection or to be a Bodyguard?
Keep the Light Moving
Knives I See on the Street - LEO and Security Personnel Awareness
Deadly Force is Deadly Force
Police Defensive Tactics
Combative Anatomy
Offensive Defense for the Wounded Combatant
Accessing / Deployed / Attacking
Individual Protection Program
Bag of Evil Contents Revealed
Office Space Survival Volume #1
Root of Excessive Force
CAR/IPD Course Review
Five to Survive the First Five
Which Knives Work Best with the Mercharness
MCS Doctrine as it Relates to Appendix Carry
Musings About the Defensive Use of the Pistol
Edged Weapons - Good Guys vs Bad Guys
Evolution of Combative Anatomy

When the majority of people think about the role of police it conjures up thoughts of peace keeping and protection, or at least it should. And whom do they protect us from, who is the traditional opponent of the police? The criminal right? We are familiar with the phrases “fighting crime” and “keeping the peace”. The words fighting and keeping imply that some force or effort is going to be needed to fight crime and keep the peace.

In order to obtain the position of police officer you have to have a clear criminal and in most places traffic record, a high school diploma and in more and more places college credits. A history of drug use has to be minimal and in the majority of places nonexistent.

This usually means that you had a somewhat normal background. Managed to get through school and a few years afterwards without getting into any real trouble, chances are that you did not grow up in an environment brewing with chaos, crime, drug use and physical interpersonal conflict. Your life was injected with right and wrong and the learning of appropriate behaviors.

In contrast research shows us that the average criminal is produced from a turbulent child hood where abuse and substance abuse are the norm. A lack of parental support leads to the belief of a shortened future and impulsiveness.

Sometimes this leads to dropping out of school, more substance abuse and more time to get in trouble. Lying and stealing are survival instincts that have to be removed during early childhood. Fighting for survival is also required in one form or another is also the norm for these individuals.

Criminals are typically impulsive and fear of getting caught far outweighs the fear of punishment. This leads them to being very violent, especially when cornered. This is before you add in alcohol and other substances both legal and illegal.

In years past our police candidate was given a uniform, badge, gun, nightstick, and in many cases a sap. He might have had a high school diploma and maybe a few years of military experience. Usually he was put into service with little to no training except the wisdom he could steal from the old timers.

Even today in many big cities officers start out on a foot post. What is very different today is that they have radio and no longer have respond to a call box for an assignment or drag a bad guy back to the call box for the wagon to pick him up.

Another thing that is different is that you no longer see officers walking down the street with nightstick in hand. Can you imagine the public outcry? So even if he came to the job without much experience with the other side of the tracks, he was dropped off there and learned to survive. He learned how to hurt bad guys before they hurt him, in most cases by himself since back up was coming of foot if they came at all.

Fast forward today when majority of police of police academies are 4-6 months long. Officers carry a semi-automatic handgun, two spare magazines, OC spray, ASP Baton and Tazer on their belt. A radio on their belt keeps them in touch with communications. Their training covers a broad range of topics from constitutional issues to use of force. Or more importantly warns them against excessive force. When not to hit, when not to shoot.

They are trained how to take compliant subjects into custody. In most cases force on force training implies Simmunitions and when those situations deteriorate into chaotic hands on situations the scenario is stopped. I mean after all someone could get hurt and they have a lot of money invested in the recruits. They never really get to test what works in a real fight.

Therefore they either have over confidence in their training or lack of confidence in their options. . Because of lack of experience just not the ability to recognize limitations and the need for other options. Recruits who refuse to use the appropriate amount of force are ignored while a student who fails to pass a test is recycled.

So there is a very good chance that an officer might make it from birth all the way through the graduating the police academy without getting punched in the face. First protected by their upbringing and then by the institution. So more than ever there is a separation between the mindset and “training” between the officer and the criminal.

What happens when the good guy and the bad guy meet in the street? The majority of the time that suspects are injured it is not a result of the use of deadly force. It is a result of several officers trying to take a subject into custody. We have all seen this, several officer swarm an individual. Much of the time punches, kicks, OC and the baton are used.

Very often the strikes are ineffectual because of two major factors, one is the suspect being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, two, especially in the case of baton strikes, the strikes are targeted towards major muscle groups, which have no mechanical effect and rely on pain compliance.

The petri dish of excessive force is when officers experience task fixation when techniques fail to perform as advertised and their heartbeat rises towards 220 beats a minute which is the level at which most people are unable to switch gears and try something different. The only thing worse that seeing a video of an officer beating a subject with a baton, is a video of several officers doing so.

The officers of the call box days would have laughed at the idea of striking a bag guy on the side of his leg to get him to stop doing something. They knew that it did not work. They knew the trick was a sap tap to the head, collar bone or chin depending on the circumstances. They also knew how much force to apply either from experience or being schooled from the old timers.

What else did they have that too few police of today do? Confidence in their tools besides their sidearm and stress inoculation resulting from immersion in the criminal environment. I would imagine that they were also quicker to use force since they new that help was far away.

I am sure many of you are saying, “oh my God, I can't believe he is advocating hitting people in the head”. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. When you have several officers hitting a subject with batons and he is continuing to fail to comply, chances are sooner or later he will take a headshot or more likely a shot to a major joint that will drop him.

Just too bad it is after the 30th strike. How about doing that in the first few strikes. You give police a stick, arguably the best martial tool in the world and make them impotent by telling them to strike large muscle groups when the rest of the world knows that impact weapons seek bones.

And while we are at it, saps should be brought back into the mix. A traditional weapon of the police that have been all but outlawed, and why? Because they work and people got hurt.

There are a few things that are never going to change. One is that criminals have the choice not to commit the crime. Two they have the choice to submit the authority of the police. And three, no matter who the officer is, and not matter who the criminal is, at some point they will meet and the officer has to make physical contact to arrest the criminal. If the criminal chooses to resist he needs to accept the consequences.

As criminals get more daring and violent we owe it to the police and the society they serve to ensure that that their selection, training and equipment allows them to meet the level violence needed to complete their mission. If we continue to fail in doing this don't be surprised when we just trade criminal's lawsuits for the funerals of the police and citizenry.

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