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Monday, June 26, 2017


Judo has been practiced by police in Japan since 1886 when the Tokyo police department sponsored a competition between the new Kodokan Judo school and older jujitsu schools. After the Judo students soundly defeated the jujitsu schools, the police adopted Judo training methods and techniques. The close association between Japanese police and Judo has continued from 1886 to this very day. Judo has since been used in training for police and military forces around the world.

The duties of a law enforcement officer focus on protecting people and property. They patrol the areas they are assigned, which sometimes include entire jurisdictions, respond to calls, enforce laws,  and make arrests. Law enforcement officers are subjected on a daily basis to two primary complaints, one is that the cops are brutal and rude and the other is that they don’t do enough to stop crime.  On one had they are deemed as being too tough on the other they aren’t doing enough. Balancing more “compassionate” policing with more effective law enforcement is one of the great challenges facing law enforcement agencies today.

The highest probability of assaults against police officers is during the point of the officer’s first contact with a suspect, often during the process of trying to bring an individual into custody. The officer encounters suspects who willfully "resist" arrest, they want to fight, hurt or kill the officer. In some cases it's an ego thing, they ARE looking to be restrained or they don't want to look like a punk and go quietly. In these instances the suspect knows that the officer is not trying to kill him or her, so they resist.

The main goal of policing, whether it is lethal or non-lethal force, is compliance from the subject. However, law enforcement personnel find themselves under constant scrutiny regarding  their use-of-force, from  bystanders  screaming police brutality to the I-Phone Paparazzi  all the way through to the department, criminal, and civilian oversight type committees.  There are a lot of disadvantages when it comes to officers trying to make arrests. It is a complicated situation when the media chooses highlight the worst arrests and never reports on the good examples of officers taking someone into custody. 

The primary purpose of non-lethal force with law enforcement is to get the suspect to comply. What is the most realistic way of getting someone to do something that they don't want to without seriously damaging them? The goal is to remove mobility from the subject and exert maximum control for handcuffing. The principle is that in order to handcuff a subject, an officer needs to control them first.

Judo has historically been an integral part of police training that focuses on control and compliance of a subject.  The control and arrest techniques (renkoho waza In Japanese) found in Judo, were developed to assist in controlling suspects enabling  the law enforcement officer to force compliance and to move a subject without having to use excessive or deadly force. These techniques also provide the officer(s) a low-key, effective means of taking a subject into custody and instill the skills and confidence that will assist in the effective and ethical use of force when it is required and most importantly will help keep the officer safe during this process.

 Judo control and arrest tactics are best suited to street-level policing and self defense. Though an arrest may start on the feet statics show us that approximately  80% of all arrests end on the ground.  Judo can quickly transition between standing and groundwork to tactically re-position or to go hands on when the opportunity presents itself to gain control/compliance of a subject. 

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