Law Enforcement Training

Combat Hapkido’s John Pellegrini on Women’s Self-Defense, MMA and Military Training

To help us learn more about traditional training in a modern world, our friend GK Zachary from AdultMartialArtist.com sat down with combat-hapkido founder John Pellegrini.

Pellegrini’s been inducted in more than 20 martial arts halls of fame and has been on the cover of 17 self-defense magazines, including our own. Why? Because he’s the perfect ambassador for the arts.

Long before Pellegrini became one of the world’s most popular self-defense instructors, he served in the elite 1st Airborne Regiment of the Italian army. Following that, he used his martial training to work in law enforcement, corporate security, investigations and executive protection.

Pellegrini now holds ninth-degree black belts in hapkido and taekwondo, and his combat-hapkido system is extremely popular with law-enforcement and military personnel. As if that weren’t enough, he is also a certified jeet kune do and aikido instructor.

If ever someone deserved the title of grandmaster, it’s Pellegrini. Enjoy.

—Jon Sattler

GK Zachary: Do traditional martial arts still have relevance for martial artists in an area increasingly dominated by MMA and reality-based martial arts systems?

John Pellegrini: Absolutely. Mixed-martial arts practitioners are wonderfully trained and highly disciplined fighters. But this training is only for a few individuals willing to dedicate themselves entirely to the sport and accept the rigors of the training, the pain and the inevitable injuries. Most people will not ever contemplate that kind of training.

By contrast, martial arts are for the other 99 percent of the population. They are not just a sport or fad. Instead, they are a philosophy of life and a discipline of combat that requires serious training and dedication but also the right martial spirit. True, some overly traditional and ritualistic martial arts will continue to lose popularity and maybe fade from the scene, but the major traditional, mainstream arts, such as jujitsu, aikido, hapkido, kempo and taekwondo will always be popular because they have so much to offer to so many people.

Zachary: What are the three most important principles an adult martial artist always needs to remember?

Pellegrini: First, self-preservation. In other words, don’t get hit. Avoidance of physical conflict is extremely important. You want to understand the range of a confrontation. If you can’t walk away from a potentially violent confrontation, you want to know how to close the gap on your opponent and take control of the situation.

Second, the speed and accuracy of a technique are more important than simply being strong. You don’t want to get involved in a slugfest with an assailant.

Third, self-control. Adult martial artists need to exercise exceptionally good judgment within society’s moral and legal framework. A measured response to any threat is essential.

This moral angle cannot be emphasized enough. The “gladiator approach” that MMA and other fighting sports have popularized are often inconsistent with the martial arts philosophy. Consider, by contrast, the samurai of feudal Japan or the Hwarang or Sun Bi warriors of ancient Korea. Yes, they could be violent. Yes, they could kill. But they always did so within the context of a strict, indeed indispensable, code of honor.

The unrestrained violence that typifies gladiator sports is not a good role model for today’s youth. It is in part responsible for a culture of violence and as such has lost much of the spirit of the traditional martial arts.

Zachary: There have been several notable cases of sexual assault in the media lately. Is combat hapkido a good choice for women looking to learn how to defend themselves from rape and sexual assault and why?

Pellegrini: Combat hapkido is perfect for women because its self-defense techniques are easily learned and do not require great strength. They are based on science. When a 100 pound woman can confidently and routinely take down a 200 pound man using combat-hapkido techniques, you know that there is a science behind it. That’s what makes combat hapkido exceptionally effective for women’s self-defense training. Knowledge and skill, not brute force, is the key.

And it blends well with other women’s self-defense training programs such as Melissa Soalt’s Fierce & Female, RAD, PPCT’s Sexual Harassment and Anti-Rape Program, and similar programs.

Zachary: Your commitment to the U.S. military is well-known (and appreciated) in the martial arts community. Are you continuing to train military personnel here and abroad?
Pellegrini: Yes, but our policy is to talk about such training only after the fact. There are issues of security and confidentiality that require us not to disclose the sites of our future training seminars for the military and the specific units involved. But, yes, we maintain very close relationships with the military and the law-enforcement community. For example, two weeks ag,o we conducted a military combatives seminar for the German Luftwaffe (air force) at their base in Germany. Military combatives is what …

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques: Elbow Lift

To help you improve your grappling game, we asked George Kirby to share with us the top 10 jujitsu techniques from his book Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art Expanded Edition.

Here’s what George Kirby had to say about the elbow lift:

“This is one of those ‘dirt-simple’ ketsugo techniques I learned from professor Harold Brosious. It works really well against someone who just grabs your sleeve or upper arm from behind and tries to walk you somewhere.”

Jujitsu Technique No. 4: Elbow Lift

Japanese Translation: HIJI WAZA

1-2) Your attacker approaches from behind and grabs your right sleeve with his left hand.

3) Turn to your right toward your attacker, raising your right arm and turning it clockwise to your right.

4) By stepping toward him, your attacker’s arm will bend slightly with your forearm up against the outside of his elbow.

5) Continue the circular movement (keeping your palm facing down), raising his elbow to get him off-balance. To set a come-along hold, clamp onto your left forearm with your right hand and raise your forearm just enough to keep your attacker up on his toes. (See inset 5A.)

6) The upward force of this move causes the attacker to fall backward.

7) Follow through even after the attacker has let go and fallen.

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques

Technique No. 1: Shoulder-Lock Hip Throw

Technique No. 2: Rear Leg-Lift Throw

Technique No. 3: Basic Drop Throw

Technique No. 4: Elbow Lift

(Black Belt Hall of Fame member George Kirby has been teaching jujitsu for 40 years and is the co-founder of the American Ju-Jitsu Association. To learn more about these and other basic jujitsu techniques, check out Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art Expanded Edition by George Kirby.)

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques: Basic Drop Throw

Black Belt asked jujitsu master George Kirby to tell us about a few of his favorite techniques from his new book, Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art Expanded Edition.

Long before Brazilian jiu-jitsu came to the United States, George Kirby wrote a book that would shape America’s understanding of jujitsu for decades to come. A 10th-degree black belt in jujitsu as well as an internationally recognized martial arts instructor and author, George Kirby is the co-founder of American Ju-jitsu Association (an educational foundation of and amateur athletic organization), a tactics consultant for the LAPD and organizer of the popular Camp Budoshin in California.

The following technique is found in chapter 4 . Here is what George Kirby had to say about it:

“I like this technique because it is one of the fastest “judo” type throws out there. Once you get this throw [and its variation down, you’ll be amazed at how effectively you can use an attacker’s momentum to bring him down with very little effort.”

Jujitsu Technique No. 3: Basic Drop Throw

Japanese Translation: TAI-OTOSHI

1) Assume a ready position as your attacker is about to strike.
2)Block his punch away to your left with your left forearm, then
3) slide your left hand down and to grab your attackers sleeve, stepping across with your left foot.
4) Pivot clockwise (to your left) on the ball of your left foot as your right hand grabs your attacker’s clothing on his right shoulder.
5) Lift your right forearm to strike your attacker under the jaw as your right foot blocks his right leg below his knee, as close to his ankle as possible. Your right knee should be bent slightly against his right leg, with your right foot lined up right next to the outside of his right foot. Ideally, your right big toe should be tight next to his right foot little toe. This will guarantee that he is blocked low at his ankle. Before executing the throw, be sure you are balanced. This is initially done by looking directly forward and down. If you can see your left kneecap and the front of your left foot directly below it, you should be well-balanced for the throw. As you develop a feel for the throw, this will no longer be necessary.
6) Strengthen your right leg sharply as you pull with your left hand and push with your right, turning to your left (all at the same time). Be sure to keep your entire body in a straight line from your right foot to your shoulders.
7-8) Once your opponent is down, slide your left hand so that your fingers are underneath. Bring your right thumb and fingers next to your left hand to grab his wrist as you drop down on his biceps (optional move) with your left kneecap for submission. Dropping fast can break his wrist.

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques


Technique No. 1: Shoulder-Lock Hip Throw

Technique No. 2: Rear Leg-Lift Throw

Technique No. 3: Basic Drop Throw

Technique No. 4: Elbow Lift

(To learn more about these and other basic jujitsu techniques,
check out Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art Expanded Edition by George Kirby
.)

Behind-the-Scenes Video of Jeet Kune Do Expert Harinder Singh Demonstrating How Bruce Lee’s Martial Art Became the Ultimate Fighting System

Harinder Singh is a senior instructor in jeet kune do and a certified kettlebell instructor. He is the CEO and senior training officer of Paul Vunak’s Progressive Fighting Systems and Descendants of the Masters programs. His two-part article, “Roots of Combat,” appears in the July and August 2011 issues of Black Belt magazine and discusses how Bruce Lee’s martial art became the ultimate fighting system.

According to Singh, for Bruce Lee, JKD was not a style so much as it was a path and process of self-discovery and constant growth. “[Lee] refused to refer to [jeet kune do] as a style because he believed doing so would be tantamount to limiting it,” Singh writes in his “Roots of Combat, Part 1” article in Black Belt.


Check out our FREE guide to learn more about Bruce Lee’s views on jeet kune do—Bruce Lee’s Biography and the Birth of Tao of Jeet Kune Do.


Singh goes on to discuss jeet kune do’s inherent design for growth and change, for adaptation to just about any fighting or self-defense situation. Singh writes, “From its classical wing chun beginnings, [jeet kune do] morphed into an ultra-effective fighting system that meets the needs of civilians, military personnel and law-enforcement officers around the world.”

Topics for Hardinger Singh’s two-part martial arts article, “Roots of Combat,” appearing in the July and August 2011 issues of Black Belt, include:

  • wing chun
  • jun fan gung fu
  • jeet kune do techniques
  • kettlebells for martial arts fitness
  • mixed martial arts training
  • Lyoto Machida and his strikes in shotokan karate
  • execution of destruction techniques
  • kina mutai training
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s influence on modern combat fighting
  • mind/body coordination
  • biting, gouging, destructive techniques
  • martial arts conditioning for optimal fighting performance

JEET KUNE DO + BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU + KINA MUTAI ACTION
Martial Arts Video of Harinder Singh Behind the Scenes at Black Belt Magazine


How the Bushido Code of the Samurai Influences Japan’s Police Force

Judo and kendo are part of law-enforcement training in Japan, and many police officers continue to study the martial arts throughout their careers. In most cases, the toughest dojo in a city in Japan is a police dojo. Civilians who have gone there for martial arts training or who are hardy enough to become members tell some harrowing tales.
“I would go to the dojo some nights, wondering if I was going to make it out alive,” one kendoka said of his training at a police dojo in Kanagawa. “I’d get hit so hard on my forehead that even wearing a helmet, my knees would buckle.”

“In other judo dojo,” recalled a young man who trained at a police facility while teaching English in Osaka, “they would back off when you were thrown and let you get up so you could take a grip and continue. Here, they’d be standing over you, and when you tried to get up, they’d grab you and throw you again. It just kept going until you learned to get to your feet a second after you’d hit the mat.”

How Samurai Enforce Japan’s Laws

From one perspective, the image of the tough police dojo speaks to a preconception involving officers who like hard physical contact and enjoy confrontation. That may be true. In Japan, however, some context is necessary to understand why things are that way.

Once the samurai caste was abolished in 1867, Japan created a national conscript army. They drew young men from the lower classes of society: farmers and tradesmen, mostly. Meanwhile, men of samurai ancestry were drawn to the police forces. That’s understandable because samurai had for centuries been law-enforcement officers.

A mentality had long existed among the samurai that they were the protectors of the other classes. The transition from protecting warrior to protecting police officer was natural. Today, Japan’s police forces are far more militaristic and, from an American perspective, far more intrusive in the lives of citizens. (One official task of Japanese police is “enforcing public morality.”) The koban, or police box, is a common sight on city street corners. Cops know who goes to work and when in their neighborhoods, and they don’t hesitate to stop and question strangers. When I visit one of my sensei, who lives in a small town outside Nara, it’s only a day or two before a police officer is at the door, politely asking who the foreigner is.

Foreigners living in Japan complain a lot, and rightly so, about the sudden stops to which they’re subjected. Asked to produce identification at the drop of a hat, they’re usually told that there’s been some criminal activity by non-Japanese in the neighborhood. Savvy foreigners, however, know that no matter how irritating this can be, it’s a good idea to be polite and respectful in any interaction with Japanese cops.

The Bushido Code of Japan’s Police

It would be a ridiculous exaggeration, though, to say that Japan’s police are its modern samurai. As in the West, the law-enforcement agency in any Japanese city is bound to have its share of less-than-perfect characters: the barely competent, the way out of shape and the plodding bureaucrat. It’s not inaccurate to say, conversely, that the esprit de corps of the police who are serious budoka is formidable. They tend to see themselves as the line of defense between criminals and society.

I’ve trained with some Japanese police. I was just a visitor, and clearly they were taking it easy on me. It was interesting to see them smoothly and efficiently adjust when I ramped up my energy. They always stayed a step ahead of me in their intensity. None of us ever really poured it on, but they always poured just a little faster and a little harder than I did.

Afterward, over sake and nibbles of fermented squid, I asked about the spirit of budo in the police dojo. “It’s simple,” one of the officers told me, his answer reflecting the samurai heritage. “I might not win, but I won’t ever lose.”

(Dave Lowry is a freelance writer who’s trained extensively in the Japanese and Okinawan martial arts.)

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