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Taiho-Jutsu And Maritime Law-Enforcement

Among the very many specialties and branches within the broad parameters of law-enforcement, one which is often overlooked is maritime law-enforcement. This arm of law-enforcement reaches out into both the public and private sectors, and even within this specialty, there are sub-specialties.

Beginning with the public sector, the responsibility for Federal maritime law- enforcement falls under the umbrella of the United States Coast Guard, now under the Department of Homeland Security. The enforcement of Federal laws includes, but is not limited to, boarding procedures, handcuffing, use of force, pressure points, nonlethal techniques, theft, criminal and constitutional law, arrest procedures, hostage situations, confined spaces, and firearms (both training in and enforcing laws). All of the training is undertaken at the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in South Carolina. In addition to the Federal agency, many states and cities have their own marine patrol units, with the N.Y.P.D. a most notable example. They are the only maritime unit that has divers available by boat and helicopter 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Let us briefly turn to the private sector. Here, we see yachts and boats of various types and sizes, some leisure and some commercial, hiring their own security to protect their clientele and their possessions. A large handful of private agencies across the country offer training in various aspects of maritime law-enforcement and security, from arresting techniques to combative measures, firearms use to hostage negotiations. With all of the above as a background, what place and of what importance is taiho-jutsu?


Regardless of whether a water craft is under public or private auspices, the law- enforcement aspects which place the officer in direct contact with assailants of any sort essentially require an art of arrests. Space may be limited and confined, there may be others’ safety to consider, and the use of firearms or combat of measures approaches may be inappropriate. Here is where we witness the value and importance of taiho-jutsu. As a system where there are techniques from infighting, mid-range, and long-range, when the safety of the officer is coupled with the safety of innocent bystanders, where the use of force can be minimal or extreme depending on the situation, where defenses include those against unarmed as well as armed assailants, it would seem that it is the ideal system for arresting tactics.

As mentioned, there are facilities which teach unarmed methods. However, if the description of the curricula is read, they appear to fall into two general categories. Some are truly combat measures rather than police tactics, and others have a karate emphasis. While both may be effective in the appropriate environs, ships and yachts and boats require greater flexibility from officers. Those trained in combative measures need to use other type of techniques for the individual who was simply drunk and boisterous, but not aggressive or violent. A violent, hostile individual in a very small, confined area on board may smile as a karate trained officer attempts to use a kick.

This is not to belittle either karate or combative measures. Rather, in environments where there are many special and unique factors to consider, and many variables which are apt to come into play, logic would dictate that a flexible, versatile, and most effective system of police tactics would be the wisest choice. Taiho-Jutsu certainly fits this bill.

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