Aikido for Law Enforcement
A few years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting a sensei from the east coast who worked as an undercover air marshal. The stories he gifted us made each one listening secretly wishing they could have witnessed first hand. Derek Sensei from London told us about his irimi nage take down of a large bodybuilder while working as a club bouncer that was equally incredible. This week, we want to share with you one of our friends Yannick sensei from Canada describing using aikido on the job as a police officer.
“I miss aikido. But I still get to practice a little though.
I protected myself yesterday for hooks by getting the guy on the ground with a swift ikkajo ni (first control pivot) and transitioned to a nikkajo (2nd control) pin to cuff him.
A week ago I got to transport an aggressive detainee with a yonkajo (4th control) pin.
Also did a hiji ate (elbow control) to lift someone who did not want to get up from the ground.
Did a gentle irimi tsuki (front punch) to someone who did not want to be transported and tried to kick me on my knees…
Unfortunately there is always a story behind why each acted out to do what they did as it always finishes with someone in jail (that part of my job is not so friendly).”
Lots of people argue aikido doesn’t work in the real world. That is correct – if the person executing the technique comes from an equally or more aggressive behavior, a false sense of superiority, or egotistical tendencies. The above successful experiences are all from high level (3rd dan and above) instructors who actually earned their time and rank. In aikido, our mindset is probably one of the most important aspects of training. For example if your mind is clouded and already labeled someone as a suspect like in the recent Ahmoud Arbery shooting, you’ve failed by your pre-judgement even before you met the situation. True power actually comes from moment-to-moment assessment of reality with a clear mind – which our higher level students are able to do with more and more frequency. The goal is Mushin (無心 “no mind”) – which is a mental state martial artists aim to achieve.
While we are doing more at home trainings during COVID-19 pandemic, please look into how to train your mind as well as your body.