police training

In the current tumult surrounding the use of force by law enforcement officers, one of the most controversial topics is the employment of choke holds. While many police departments across the nation have banned what's now commonly known in martial arts as the "rear naked choke" (a term first coined by "Judo" Gene Lebell more than 60 years ago) some law enforcement agencies continue to use it, at least for the moment.

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Anytime martial artists get together to discuss defensive techniques that employ the empty hands against a knife in a real-life scenario, arguments ignite. Then proclamations start: “There’s no way you can make that work against a real attack.” “Do that and you’ll get cut for sure.” “That move will get you killed.” So goes the banter in discussing self-defense techniques, and the debate often gets hot when practitioners are talking about knife fighting. It’s interesting that very few of the speculations about knife fighting are based on criminal case studies or military research. Instead, the speculations about self-defense techniques employed in a knife attack revolve around anecdotal observations and shortsighted, nonscientific testing. Which “get you killed” self-defense techniques incur the greatest wrath of martial artists? The arm grab and the knife disarm are usually the first to go. Other tactics — such as verbal skills, footwork, strikes, blocks, passing and takedowns — are frequently relegated to the trash bin even though such self-defense moves are just as likely to come back into favor next year. The debates about the dynamics of knife fighting really hinge on three critical points on which all false arguments are built. They are:

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The art of policing doesn’t change much from one country to another. When citizens commit crimes, the police respond and arrest them; and if a suspect resists arrest, force is frequently used. What changes a lot is how much force may be applied under the law and which martial arts techniques officers are permitted to use. The Federal Republic of Germany prides itself on having a modern, professional police force schooled in the latest martial arts techniques. The buzzword there is einsatz training, which translates as “tactics training.” It doesn’t describe an original martial art derived from an ancient Asian tradition; rather, it refers to a system that incorporates several Far Eastern fighting disciplines, modern firearms skills, police tactics and control methods. The following is a brief history of its origin and development.

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