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Weapon Dependency and Taiho-Jutsu

When I was a beginning student in the martial arts, I, like many of my peers, wanted to learn weapons. After receiving an adamant "no" from my initial instructor, I signed up for Karate lessons in addition to my Taiho and JuJutsu lessons. One day, while a brown belt was quietly teaching me nunchaku, the Karate sensei walked in and chewed him out for teaching a white belt the weapon. That ended my early Kobudo training.

I stayed with the arts of Taiho-Jutsu and JuJutsu, and at one point, as a senior student in the class, joined in a respectful badgering of the Shihan to teach us knife fighting. To my great surprise, he agreed. We were instructed to grab a rubber knife, and chalk it up thoroughly. Since we wore black gis, any marks would show up clearly. The Shihan then told us to attack him. At the end of the fiasco, the Shihan had (maybe) three chalk marks on him. Our gis looked like checkerboards, and many of us were on the floor as well.

We were asked how long we thought it would take us to arrive at that level of proficiency. Then we were asked how long it would take if we coupled that with the other weapons we wanted to learn. We were then asked, "what would happen when, after putting in the countless hours of training and practice to learn the weapons to the point of great proficiency, we were attacked by someone?" The immediate action would probably be to reach for the weapon(s) we trained so hard with. What then would happen the first time we were confronted by an attacker and we didn't have the weapon(s) with us?! A normal psycho-physiologic response would no doubt be anxiety, to say the least. Herein lies the problem.


Once an individual in any branch of law-enforcement reaches the point where s/he starts to depend on one or more of the weapons available to him/her, that dependency could prove as devastating as almost any other type of dependency. Rarely is the baton or taser carried all the time. While the firearm may be carried more often, the vast majority of situations do not warrant its use. Even the taser or baton is not warranted in every threatening situation. The weapons become a false crutch, and false sense of courage to the officer.

How can an officer guard against dependency? Through regular, committed practice of the unarmed techniques of Taiho-Jutsu (or other unarmed police tactics courses). Through this training, true confidence is built up to where an unarmed response is "instinctive" in the vast majority of situations. I've written many articles for Arresting Solutions on the use of different weapons, and in those instances where I advocated learning a particular one, it was almost always at the advanced level, following the successful completion of at least the basic Taiho-Jutsu course, and often at the advanced levels of the complete curriculum. As my old Shihan taught, depend on your hands, your feet, your body, and your mind. Depend on yourself first, not on a weapon.

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