Ju Jutsu,
Made for Subject Control

Most police academies and many other law enforcement agencies teach a combination of Ju Jutsu and Aikido to today's recruits.

For subject control purposes this speaks well for the overall suitability of the principles and techniques these arts offer.

When I speak of Ju Jutsu, I'm using the term very generically to refer to any of the Eastern Style martial arts that emphasize joint articulation and take downs. You could equally apply various forms of Chin Na, Hapkido, Aikido, or various Aiki Jutsu.

That's the up side. Now for the down side. While it's important to learn a rounded art because you might not always be in full patrol officer-type uniform, remember that your uniform, particularly your duty belt, will place restrictions on what you can and cannot do.

Any Ju Jutsu instructor teaching law enforcement personnel needs to understand this and teach accordingly. Body throws should still be taught in order that a student be properly able to defend against them and/or use them when not in uniform.

When wearing a duty belt however, any of the host of hip throws, most shoulder throws, and a variety of variations of body throws would be ill advised as the duty belt will get in the way of the throws.

Furthermore, officers are taught to protect their weapons, particularly their side arm.

Body throws such as hip throws would literally stick that side arm right up against the subject. You might as well say "Here, help yourself."

Don't give your subject ideas they don't already have!

For security and law enforcement purposes your martial art style should emphasize take downs, hand throws, and a variety of joint articulation techniques. If the instructor has a street or enforcement background and teaches legitimate weapon retention and weapon disarm techniques, this would be invaluable.

While many instructors do an excellent job of teaching their arts, as an enforcement officer, never take the word of a purely dojo fighter over the realities of the street.

Also be cautious. What you train is what you'll do, which means normal dojo etiquette could become a problem. Specifically, the near reverent respect given to weapons.

Case in point. If you're practicing every day that when someone goes to hand you a weapon, you stop, bow, and receive the weapon; you may build in a hesitation any time a weapon is presented.

Your body can't readily differentiate between presentations at you and presentations to you, and will default to what you do every day in training.

Likewise with things such as knife defenses and weapon disarms. What's common in dojos? Well, let's see. First you come at me with the weapon. Then I take it from you. Then give it back so we can practice again and I can get faster and cleaner on my technique until eventually it's your turn.

What a disaster waiting to happen! I can site at least two instances where in fact it did. Both involved very experienced street officers. One involved a knife, the other a gun.

In both instances, as incredible as it sounds, the officer disarmed his assailant/subject and then automatically handed the weapon back to them.

You guessed it! The one officer was shot, and the other stabbed. Obviously they both lived to tell about it or we would have been left to assume that their first disarm attempt simply failed them.

Leaves you to wonder how many officers out there didn't live to tell about it because they too, handed the weapon back.

Train for the Streets,
Train for the Job

Shinaido Ju Jutsu is the name I gave to the Ju Jutsu I teach following the encouragement from my 8th Degree instructor. He advised me to put my own name on what I was doing, as it now differed from what I'd been taught.

Shinaido Ju Jutsu is an eclectic art, geared to the street and to law enforcement. Whether you study from us or from someone else, I believe it's critical that the right mindset exist in your training.

When we talk about training for the job, the first thing we usually do is look at your department's training. I must tell you rather sadly that what most departments use as a base curriculum will get you hurt out there. Not because the original techniques themselves were poor. But because they were altered to be more politically acceptable by persons who simply didn't understand the essential principles behind each technique.

Over time the teachings are further watered down because most police departments consider it a promotional cherry to make it into a training position. Many of these trainers are politically astute, good people, good officers, no fault there.

However, their martial or combat training usually amounts to a few martial arts classes, possibly even as much as a black belt in arts such as Karate. Then they are given "instructor training" from the department. This training provided by other people who got there the same way.

I'm not knocking the people, and I'm certainly not knocking Karate (in which I too have advanced black belts). But just as departments these days have other systemic prejudices to deal with, so too, their physical skills or combat training is laced with systemic faults and prejudices.

I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many departmental instructors who are incredible people and an asset to their department, especially their training branch. I am not seeking to offend these people, but rather, am writing to support them.

The problem is there are so many other people who would barely qualify for a yellow belt in any martial arts style who are now out there as supposedly "certified" combat instructors and experts in the use of force. Hello!! See what I mean about systemic prejudices and systemic faults?

If you're in the field you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're not, head's up! This is what you're getting into.

Now that the cards are on the table, let me step off my little soap box and discuss what is needed.

The quandary for all departments is that most civilian Ju Jutsu instructors have neither the street experience nor the required departmental service or use of force academics to be able to stand to up cross examination in a court of law (For those of you who may be in doubt, I'm not interested in pointing the fingers of blame here, only pointing at a systemic problem we all have to deal with.).

The best solution I can see to these problems would be for existing departmental chief instructors to carefully select and hire in the physical skills instructors who can provide the essential skill levels for the necessary training. At the same time ensuring that the in house trainers remain responsible for the credentials and academics within the department. This might be a working marriage.

These days I restrict myself to teaching professional use of force, Ju Jutsu, and the Irish Combat Arts. Yet I do have advanced backgrounds in Judo, a couple each of Karate and Gung Fu styles, and by last count at least five styles of Ju Jutsu and two Aikido.

I've had the pleasure of working with people from many other styles including Korean, Phillipino and Indonesian stylists. I have found across the board the same advantages and disadvantages regardless of country of origin between martial arts.

What it comes down to then is that if you can find an instructor with an enforcement background who is indeed an accomplished martial artist, consider yourself blessed. Otherwise, find the best instructor you can and then take everything you're taught with a grain of salt. Test it, test it, test it!

For example, many dojo self defenses only seem to work in the dojo. You don't want to find that out in a back alley with the odds stacked against you.

Learn it, then test it intelligently with a partner you trust.

In weapons training one partner attacks with a weapon, the other does the disarm and becomes the attacker. Never pass that weapon back and forth. It's about building habits. Some habits will keep you alive, some will get you killed. Which ones would you rather have?

While we're talking about habits, did you know it takes 12 successful repetitions to develop a habit? It takes 12 times that many repetitions to break a habit. Moral of the story? Taking the time to develop good habits will save you an awful lot of work later!

How does that relate to martial arts? Sit through a class you don't participate in. Watch carefully. Participate in a class before you sign up. Ask questions. Explain to the black belt ahead of time why you are being so careful and what you're looking for.

Finally remember, most martial artists running clubs are businessmen making a living. You're looking for training so you can stay alive. Don't let them mix up your priorities.

Your #1 priority at the end of every day is to come home safe to your family. Any and all training, Ju Jutsu/martial arts included, should be one more piece in your defensive tactics arsenal to ensure your well being. Decide at the onset whether the martial art you choose is because you want sport or to help you in your job. The two are rarely the same.

Ju Jutsu training will generally come close to what you want. Not groundfighting so much, an officer on the ground, is an officer about to be stomped on by the first opportunistic third party to come along.

Police Ju Jutsu is simply Ju Jutsu geared to law enforcement. Shinaido is one such style and stands as an example. In the end, it's all about subject control for their safety, the public, and yours.

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