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Combative Measures for Law-Enforcement?

It is a given that law-enforcement needs training in police tactics. Whether they receive training in Taiho-Jutsu or some other system in the "art of making arrests", it is not simply helpful but vital to ensure the safety of both officer and assailant, as well as to enhance the efficiency of the officer(s) involved.

However, if one were to view the many programs offered to law-enforcement today, and scan the many volumes of books on this subject advertised in magazines, the "reality based" police course are actually Combative Measures programs rather than Taiho-Jutsu in its most generic usage. The question now becomes, are these types of programs appropriate for law-enforcement, or are they better left for the military?

Let us first look at the underlying purpose of police tactics. As mentioned above, the techniques should help ensure the safety of both the officer and the assailant. While striking techniques are certainly justified when the situation warrants, police tactics includes restraints, takedowns, and come-alongs. Using the U.S.T.J.F. Taiho-Jutsu course as an example, one sees a humane, all-around program which offers law-enforcement personnel choices of responses appropriate to the situation. While not every possible scenario can be anticipated by any police tactics program, the defensive options Taiho-Jutsu offers covers the vast majority of common and not-so-common encounters officers from all walk of law-enforcement life may confront.


This is not the case with Combative Measures. Again turning to the U.S.T.J.F. program as an example, we find a heading stating the program is for military and special operations personnel. It is certainly obvious that the military faces different challenges than non-military law-enforcement, and that given the very nature of the military milieu, and the hostile areas they may find themselves in, defensive measures will differ, and offensive measures often emphasized. It is within these parameters that many of the "reality based" police tactics programs seem to fit! Responses to non-lethal attacks in the harsh manner seen in many of these courses not only seems unjustified, but opens the officer up to potential legal problems. Even in the event of, for example, a knife attack, where a most severe response (if not a lethal one) can be justified, there are techniques to subdue the assailant quickly and efficiently without the continuous use of harsh techniques often taught in these programs.

In essence, this article is not a critique of the techniques of any given police tactics program, but a questioning of the appropriateness of the nature of the officer's response if he is trained with the mindset which accompanies a Combative Measures program. While one could present the argument that S.W.A.T. divisions may have need for these techniques following a Taiho-Jutsu program, the average law-enforcement officer, whether in police patrol, corrections, investigations, government or private security, parole or probation, does not appear to need the techniques of a Combative Measures program to function most effectively in the "art of making arrests"

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