Nanka Police Judo Committee

Following the George Floyd tragedy last year upon viewing the video from the perspective of a seasoned judoka, it was obvious that Derek Chauvin had his knee place perfectly on Floyd's carotid artery. I knew instinctively that holding that position for a prolonged length of time would cause certain death. I thought to myself how all police need to be judo black belts just like in Japan. As judo is the perfect martial art for the police work from both a technical as well as philosophical perspective.

Gary Goltz Police

For over a decade back in the late 1990's I served as a Defensive Tactics Consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). That group in addition to many outstanding martial artists, included a lawyer and a physician to carefully review the techniques being taught to their officers.

Based on this experience I recommended that Nanka (the SoCal Judo consortium) form a Police Judo Committee. Improving our society with judo was Kano's mission. This is at the core of our group chaired by Robert Draper.

Police Judo

Why Police Judo? By Jess Duran

We're sure most people reading this have observed different martial arts classes before. I know I have and I'm a fan of them all. I love the precision and focus of karate, the high flying kicks of taekwondo, the methodical groundwork of BJJ and the many styles of kung fu. I'm a fan of them all, but I found my way through judo. Anyone can walk into a judo class and find practitioners of all ages learning to gain control of an uncooperative opponent while standing and attempt to take them to the ground where they can subdue their opponent with one of many holds or pins. Judo really does stand alone in its ability to manipulate an opponent while standing and take them to the ground in a controlled manner. Other styles practice similar techniques, but just as I cannot deny BJJ's technical brilliance while grappling on the ground, judo's superiority in relation to throws, sweeps and holds cannot be disputed.

I have been a peace officer for over twenty years. I have experienced a lot and have been involved in and successfully avoided many use of force encounters. Judo has helped me get through them all. The techniques have proven highly effective in overcoming the resistance of a combative subject and aided me with bringing violent and potentially dangerous encounters to a quick end. Judo has never failed me. It is more than just the techniques that have aided me. One of judo's strong points is its focus on randori live open practice.

Most judo classes end with two practitioners giving their all to take their opponent to the ground with a big throw or beautiful sweep. Nothing is held back. Judoka learn to become calm and efficient during a fight before exploding into a well-timed technique. Once it's all over, the two combatants bow or shake hands with genuine respect for each other. These experiences on the mat have also helped me avoid encounters. The physical and mental conditions one experiences while doing judo are similar to what an officer will experience during high stress encounters. The ability to perform calmly during stressful encounters will aid in rational decision making processes and may, in some instances, help an officer resolve a volatile situation without using force.

In service to others...The way of judo

As law enforcement officers, we are in service to our community. We protect, build relationships and dedicate our lives to the service of others. To all people, regardless of their opinion of us or our profession. We remain humble and do what is right, without expectation of thanks or reward. We take pride in our ability to do this, to be guardians of all.

Judo practitioners share this goal of a common service to the people of their community. A judoka bows before entering and exiting the practice area. They bow to their opponent before and after a match, win or lose. Judoka should not brag or boast following a victory and must contain their emotion after a painful loss. Judoka are taught to respect all people. This is the way of judo.

Judo clubs are commonly found in community centers or other non-profit organizations that are run by instructors with full time jobs who sacrifice their personal and family time to share what has been shared with them. They commit themselves to anyone who steps onto their mat. They do it because it is the way of judo.

For everyone

Judo is practiced all over the world by people of all ages, young and old and of all physical abilities. It is an Olympic and Paralympic sport. It is for everyone. The curriculum established by the Nanka Police Judo Committee (NPJC) consists of basic foundation techniques that are both effective and capable of being performed by all. The techniques can be used in combination with one another and allow an officer to maintain control of a subject throughout an entire use of force encounter.

Jess Duran Judo Class
Jess Duran Judo

Jess Duran at his Dojo located in Adrenaline, San Bernardino, CA

An officer will learn to control a subject while standing, take the subject to the ground and safely restrain the subject. This is what judo was created to do. It is what judo specializes in. I look forward to seeing my law enforcement brothers and sisters on the mat and I welcome your families to share in your journey at your local judo club. Remain vigilant and stay safe!

Gary Goltz Self Defense

Gary Goltz in a Black Belt Magazine Self-Defense Video

Police Judo combines techniques of throwing, ground control and striking techniques that produce high yield, low-risk techniques for control options as well as self-defense. The program is also designed for those who do not have a martial arts background.

In today's environment law enforcement is under constant scrutiny of their Use of Force techniques. Police Judo provides a low-key, effective means of taking people into custody. The Police Judo 1-2 day seminar program is not a "quick-fix" to Use of Force insufficiency, but it is a start.

Nanka Judo's Police Judo program has been developed by judo black belt ranked police officers and Use of Force instructors along with high ranking judo advisors whose ranks are 7th dan and above. Other benefits of being involved in a judo program are enhanced fitness, arrest and control development, confidence, and reduced Use of Force complaints.

Law Enforcement Judo
Police Judo Logo

INTRODUCTION TO POLICE JUDO - Saturday June 26, 2021 1000 to 1600 hours

Intro to Police Judo

245 E. Redlands Blvd, San Bernardino 92408

Come join us for the free introduction to Police Judo Course. The program was recently developed by law enforcement professionals throughout the U.S., Canada and Japan.

The course is intended to introduce law enforcement officers to the program, which utilizes judo techniques for arrest and control of a subject. A brief history will be discussed before moving on to instruction and physical application.

Students are encouraged to dress comfortably. Bare feet or wrestling shoes will be worn on the mat. To ensure care of practice equipment, no other shoes or clothing containing any type of hard or sharp objects will be allowed. The program was designed for officers with no martial arts experience.

Email: if you would like to attend.

Video Summary of the June 26, 2021 Nanka Police Judo Clinic

Nanka Police Judo Committee Members & Advisors

Police Judo Committee Members
BBM Judo

Tony Cortina - Black Belt Magazine Photos

For more information, contact:

Robert Draper:

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Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Jackson Rudolph
Photo Courtesy: Century Martial Arts

Sport karate has been buzzing on the Black Belt Magazine platform recently with a live stream from the Pan American Internationals, a world tour event of the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA), reaching over 6.3 million users on Facebook earlier this month. The millions of views and thousands of engagements show evident public appeal for the sport, but I have found that sport karate is heavily underrepresented in martial arts studios across America. Some of this is due to traditionalists who are set in their ways and never intend to accept sport karate, this article is not for those people. I believe that much of this issue is the result of martial arts instructors who have never heard of sport karate, don't think that they are capable of teaching it, or fear that tournaments could introduce a toxic environment for their students. However, I feel that the potential benefits of sport karate with regard to student retention far outweigh those concerns. I'll begin by describing these three key retention-boosting benefits, then provide some helpful resources for learning sport karate at the end of this article.

1. Meeting Student Expectations

Martial Arts Superhero

Photo Courtesy: HarperKids via

I started my journey in martial arts, in part, because I loved the cartoon series Samurai Jack. The generation before me may have started martial arts because of The Power Rangers, and before that it was the iconic martial arts movies of the 70's and 80's. Today, many students come to martial arts schools because they see their favorite super hero kicking and punching their way to victory in a Marvel or DC Comics film.

The funneling of super hero-loving kids to martial arts studios is great for the industry, but this source of inspiration presents the challenge of new students who expect to become the next Superman or Captain America through their training. Imagine if you were the eight-year-old girl who begged mom and dad for karate lessons after watching Black Widow, then you had to spend the first three months of your training learning how to do basic blocks, stances, and stand at attention. You would probably be pretty disappointed, and would decide to go play soccer or be a cheerleader with your friends from school.

I'm not saying that those foundational skills aren't important, they are essential to basic martial arts training. My point is that supplementing traditional curriculum with sport karate skills can be a valuable tool in meeting the expectations of those students who are anticipating superhero-level training. If they are already learning stances and punches, is there any harm in adding a leaping "superman punch" with a big kiai to make them feel like they just took down a big, bad villain?

The moves commonly used in extreme martial arts routines at sport karate tournaments for performance value, like the "superman punch", are often criticized by traditionalists in the comment section who proudly proclaim that it would never work on the streets. Maybe it won't, but it just might keep students coming back into your school so that they can learn the techniques that would actually be effective.

2. Curriculum Enrichment

Black Belt

Photo Courtesy:

Another period in which schools often lose students is right after they get their black belt. They may stick around for a little while so that they get to wear their new belt in class for a few months, but over time many of them fade away before climbing much higher in rank. I believe that this is frequently caused by a lack of satisfactory curriculum beyond first degree black belt. I have observed many martial arts schools that have a seemingly random black belt curriculum, in which the "black belt class" really just consists of whatever the head instructor feels like teaching that day. This lack of formatted curriculum quickly becomes repetitive and it is easy to see how students inevitably get bored.

Introducing a sport karate curriculum is an excellent way to provide a diverse program beyond the rank of black belt. This can be done in a variety of ways. Maybe your traditional style doesn't feature much weapons training, which would be a perfect opportunity to bring in sport karate-based training of the bo, nunchaku, kama, or sword. What if you don't want to steer away from traditional martial arts at all? Then maybe your students can have the opportunity to learn another style of martial arts (like Tae Kwon Do black belts learning a Goju-ryu style form) to use in tournaments. If you are more willing to try the extreme aspects of sport karate, those students could take their kicking skills to a new level by learning tricking. I haven't even mentioned point fighting yet, which introduces a multitude of new techniques and strategies for students to wrap their minds around.

Regardless of which element of sport karate is selected for your school, each of those examples could provide years of additional instructional content that will keep black belts intellectually and physically engaged in their training. We are taught as martial artists to always be students, forever seeking to learn as much as we can. Give your students the opportunity to keep learning through sport karate.

3. Prolonged Goal Setting

Jackson Rudolph Chuck Norris

Photo Courtesy: UFAF

The most common reason that students stop training in martial arts is because they achieved whatever goal they set out for in the beginning. Oftentimes this is obtaining a black belt, sometimes it is meeting a weight loss goal, and other times it might be gaining a baseline knowledge of self-defense. We try to combat this with the classic adage about "pursuing the unattainable goal of perfection" or preaching the "never give up attitude", but sometimes this just gets old. Some students need a clear, well-defined goal to continue sacrificing their time and money to come to class.

Once again, sport karate can solve this problem. Although a school does not have to participate in tournaments to use sport karate in their curriculum, much of the philosophy behind the techniques is designed to make a practical movement more visually appealing or optimize it for speed in a point fighting match. Therefore, it just makes sense to compete if you are teaching sport karate. The world of competition organically introduces a near-endless list of goals that could never be obtained within the walls of a single studio. Competitors can seek to win first place in their division, become ranked by some league or region, win a grand championship, get sponsored by a national team, become a world champion, compete on television, and so much more.

The two most common anti-tournament concerns I hear from school owners are fears that losing will make their students want to quit and the fear that if another school's students win, students might leave for the school across town. As for the worries about quitting after a loss, I believe this 100% comes down to culture. If students are appropriately taught to view losing as a source of motivation to train harder and improve their skills, it is hard to imagine a circumstance in which losing a tournament makes a student quit martial arts all together. Regarding the concern about losing students to another school, I have seen this extremely rarely in my fifteen years of competing in sport karate tournaments. The only times that I have seen this occur is when there is direct mistreatment of the student by the original instructor, such as the instructor threatening the student to only train with them and not seek private lessons. If the instructor handles the student and their parents professionally, I have never seen a student change schools simply because they lost a tournament.

In addition to the goal-setting benefits of competing in tournaments, I would be remiss to not mention the importance of the social relationships built through sport karate competition. Sharing the ring with other martial artists, going to dinner with them after the event, carpooling on the way home, and so many other aspects of competition are proven to foster lifelong friendships. These friendships will keep students coming back to continue their martial arts training even when times are tough, because they know that the next tournament is when they will get to see all of their best friends again.

Helpful Resources

Sport Karate University

Photo Courtesy: Black Belt Magazine

I could list dozens of more reasons that people should start training in sport karate. I firmly believe that this sport and style of martial arts has shaped me into the man that I am today, and I wish that every martial artist could experience the same blessings that I have. From a martial arts school owner's perspective, a sport karate curriculum could be your key to meeting students' expectations early on in their training, retaining those students after they achieve their black belt, and giving each of them a multitude of goals that will keep them in the martial arts for years to come. Here are some helpful links to start sport karate training or introduce it to your school:

Sport Karate University is probably the most diverse and cost-effective training tool to get started on the forms and weapons side of sport karate. I joined Sammy Smith in this project to provide world class training on bo, nunchaku, open forms, tricking, and more for as little as $29.99 for one program.

The Flow System is a more in-depth option that is a bit pricier for martial arts schools that want to go all-in on introducing a weapons program. I started the project with a complete bo curriculum, and Mackensi Emory was recruited to include a kama program as well.

Retention Based Sparring is an excellent program that was created by Team Paul Mitchell Executive Director and successful school owner Chris Rappold to help instructors teach sparring in a way that will keep students coming back. A world champion during his competitive career, he balances teaching techniques that really work in the ring with methods that make sparring a more inviting experience.

Adrenaline Action Design is a new product founded by Maguire and Jimmy Kane that directly introduces Hollywood stunt training into a martial arts curriculum. The featured instructors include actual stunt doubles who have performed in blockbuster movies, such as Caitlin Dechelle who doubled Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman. Their Adrenaline Worldwide website also has a membership that provides a ton of content for tricking and extreme weapons training.

There are plenty of other resources for learning sport karate and bringing it into your school, but these are some programs that I have intimate knowledge of and would recommend to anyone interested in this unique aspect of martial arts. I would also highly recommend hosting seminars with world champion competitors or taking private lessons to learn specific elements of sport karate. I encourage you to contact me personally on social media for recommendations. If you have already identified a notable competitor who you would like to train with, most of us are easily accessible via social media and are happy to spread sport karate to as many people as we can.

Bruce Lee museum Dickson Lee

An immersive feature in the revamped Bruce Lee exhibition in Hong Kong.

On what would have been Bruce Lee's 81st birthday Saturday, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum unveiled a new Lee exhibit which opened to the public on Sunday. Following on the heels of the museum's previous Bruce Lee exhibition, which ran from 2013 to 2020, the new exhibit, A Man Beyond the Ordinary: Bruce Lee, is slated to run until 2026.
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