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A Glance at Two Non-USTJF Courses

by Steven J. Kaplan

If one views the shelves of bookstores, the pages of the phone book, or the internet, a sea of courses with the titles of police tactics, close quarter combat, "reality-fighting", and many others with a myriad of colorful names come at you like a tidal wave. As with many things in the martial arts over the past forty or more years, fads ebb and flow. There were, however, some pioneer systems and individuals who have not only been around for many many years, but whose contributions to arresting / defensive tactics have been significant. Two such systems and their practitioners will be briefly looked at, not simply for historic significance, but for the influence these systems have today. These systems have not labeled themselves as Taiho-Jutsu and do not have the S.A.C. training program as a foundation.

The first system to examine is that which was created by Bruce Tegner in California. It has been said, and in the opinion of this writer most accurately, that Bruce Tegner was responsible, via his many books, for more people entering the martial arts than Bruce Lee was with his movies and television fame. Tegner's books, written on various Eastern and Western arts, were everywhere. His philosophy in the basic self-defense and police tactics realm generally paralleled that of Taiho-Jutsu, i.e., techniques needed to be easily learned and retained, should be limited in number, and provide the officer with a great degree of safety.

The course was put into book form, with the last revision (1978) titled, Defense Tactics for Law Enforcement: Weaponless Defense and Control and Baton Techniques, published by Thor Publishing Co., Ventura, CA. The Table of Contents is divided into four major areas, titled, Introduction; Weaponless Defense and Control; Search and arrest, Prisoner Transport, Institutional Control; Baton Techniques. The complete work is 191 pages.

The course is extensive, informative, and as seen by the Contents, quite complete. The techniques themselves, however, are not as effective in terms of being the "high percentage" techniques found in Taiho-Jutsu. While it is certainly true that all martial artists have their biases toward certain type techniques, those presented for the most part do not adhere to the philosophy of the style of the Taiho-Jutsu techniques, i.e., the underlying dynamics of why the technique is applied as it is.


Is there anyone teaching this system today? To the best of my knowledge, there is not. Mr. Tegner passed away some years ago. I am in touch from time to time with one of his Black Belts in CA, and he informs me that other students of Mr. Tegner are getting up there in years, and none are actively teaching the system so far as he knows. Police departments in various cities in CA who may have been using the system years ago are now training their officers in other styles and systems.

A second, most interesting system to look at is Nippon Goshindo Kempo. This system was created by Naraki Hara, a martial arts legend, along with Russel Kozuki, a high ranking Kodokan Judo practitioner. It is remarkable how both the philosophy of the system and the techniques themselves mirror those of Taiho-Jutsu. This is not the result of one system "stealing" techniques from another. Mr. Hara had a vast knowledge of the techniques and approaches of a great many different arts, and different styles within each art. His partiality was JuJutsu, and in this realm, he chose techniques from the various ryu, as well as the old Taiho-Jutsu curriculum, and along with Mr. Kozuki, redacted a system whose techniques were easily learned and retained, provided maximum officer safety, and utilized taisabaki in the same way as Taiho-Jutsu. We need remember when reading this, that the formation of the Taiho-Jutsu course in 1947 was created in much the same way, including the modifications made in the mid-1960s.

What of this system's legacy? It seems to be alive and well today. Mr. Hara is now in his late 80s, and long retired. Mr. Kozuki passed away, and Mr. Kozuki's senior student, Mr. Anthony Sabato, retired from active teaching. Sabato's senior student, Joseph Riccobono, Kyoshi, a recently retired law enforcement officer, is now head of the system. He has vast experience teaching Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel, and continues to operate a dojo on Long Island, NY. In his mid-40s, Mr. Riccobono continues to teach and train officers in the Hombu from all walks of law enforcement life this highly effective system.

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