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Thread: proportionate violence/proper reaction

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    Default proportionate violence/proper reaction

    Hi,

    my first post on this forum. I've been reading here for some time now. I've been practicing kendo for 15 years (I also did six years of shotokan karate in this period). A while ago, I took up aikido because I felt I needed to do something unweaponed as well. I thought this would complement to my kendo. Recently I've been thinking of changing aikido for judo though. Although aikido has great concepts that I really like, I feel that my practice has to be pressure-tested, in a way like we do in kendo (keiko or randori). I think this is even more true if you don't get to practice daily. Now, these are just my personal thoughts, not exactly the point I want to discuss here, but I thought I'd give it as a background.

    The other day I witnessed an incident that disturbed me ever since and which had me thinking a lot.
    I was in the main hall of a big bank in town, there was some ruckus going on between an African woman, a security guard and a female cop. I don't know what happened before, but as they were talking, the female cop took the woman by the hand and the male guard used this distraction to hip-sweep the woman from the back. (uchi mata, I believe) She was rather big, so she fell flat on her face with a big loud smack. (after which they put on handcuffs) Ouch! I was amazed at this sudden burst of violence, since I thought it was uncalled for.
    She might have been unwilling to comply, but I didn't see any violent physical behavior on her part. She was big but seemed unlikely to have any fighting skill, so to throw her violently on her face without first trying something less violent like a wristlock seemed very disproportionate to me. It even raises questions as to police brutality or racism. As I was on my way to work, and the "arrest" seemed "official", I didn't interfere, but I've been worrying about this ever since.
    From a MA point of view, I thought I'd ask someone more knowledgeable than me:

    1) in subdueing an unwilling person like in an arrest, is a wristlock (like, eg nikkyo) a realistic approach? Or is, it as some state, that "locks don't work"? Especially when the arrestant is rather strong and resisting.

    2) Basically the same question: in a "real" arrest situation, is it the officer's best choice to go into a sudden (and violent) neutralization technique like a throw, or should he use more "gradual" techniques, like a wristlock? Would the latter put the officer in danger?

    3) I felt the security guard was testing his skills using an unnecessary technique, rather than doing his job. (i.e., violently attacking an unathletic woman from the back) To me this seems rather cowardly. (and I wonder how he would have fared against a big strong athletic guy) Would you have interfered? What would be the right way to react to such a situation?


    All the best,
    Christophe Verhaert

  2. #2
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    Christophe,

    What is legal depends widely upon the jurisdiction you are in.

    To me, I feel the forward drop may have been unwarranted unless they feared real violence from her. If (and this is in my area of the US), your subject has made physically aggressive moves or statements and is moving to hurt someone, and if you have the legal right to do so in your position, you may(and are likely expected to) take them to the ground and cuff them. It would be arrogant for the cop and guard to assume the woman was no threat if she's stated violent intentions and they feel she is serious. She could have any sort of hidden weapon upon her or some sort of physical capability unapparent from her build and for the safety of themselves and those around her, she could reasonably be taken down rather firmly if need be.

    Locks can and do work, I've taught a number of bouncers who've used them successfully, myself included, the important thing is to use them at the right time and to use the correct lock with the correct footwork. Most physically capable people in my opinion can break free of a lock if you do not take them off balance first or use their energy properly(if none is given, wrist locks are not usually the first choice as it's easier for the initial pain/panic response to cause a violent retraction of the limb that succeeds in pulling them free if they aren't fast enough to realize to attempt it on their own), they are however useful from a grab/hold or strike where energy has been overcommited(or just committed if you are skillful) and you need to control someone. That said, You usually will not use Only a single lock the entire time to restrain someone. There is often additional pressure coming from your other limbs, body position and footwork. I.e. Nikyo works, but you'd pull towards you as they grab, pulling their energy for imbalancing them, as you'd step around them to their outside/rear to assist your circling and position with your footwork and bodyweight, once you've snapped their wrist/arm and body downward at their centerline with nikyo, you are unlikely to want to hold it until they are grounded if they seem the resistant type instead switching to any of varied armbar walking or circling takedowns for a pin either with their arm locked behind their back and pinning their head or kneeling on the arm just above the elbow and the other pressing firmly into the upper back(kidney or spine is preferred, but for security, you use ribs unless they really get out of hand).

    Considering the apparent situation however, I'd have said a simple come-along/wrist gooseneck might have been sufficient, but none of us really know exactly what happened from the beginning of that incident and it's just sort of backseat analysis at this point.

    As to your initial paragraph. I doubt this will make me popular with lifers, but if you feel you've gotten what you wanted from the aiki training, I'd say go test it in randori with the judo or do both.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Damion Waltermeyer
    Damion Waltermeyer

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    Thanks for your answer, Damion.


    Christophe Verhaert

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    Christophe,
    Since we are not privy to all the events leading up to the arest it's difficult to assume what would have been "appropriate".
    My father got his nose broken by a smaller, unathletic woman when he was working the Bus Terminal in NY. Bottom line is cops don't get paid to fight fair, they get paid to win and go home safely.

    Regarding wrist locks being "less violent", back in the day when i was studying Aikido one of the Uchi Deshi was recovering from a spiral fracture to his forearm he received because he decided to play "what if" while practicing with another Deshi. Also any type of hold or lock will not work if applied gradualy. The minute the suspect feels your hands on him he's not going to wait and see if it hurts. You pretty much get one shot to apply it correctly before you have a fight on your hands.

    Do LE somtimes go over board? Yea, unfortunately it happens sometimes. Maybe by approaching her this way and taking her down by supprise he was able to avoid a prolonged altercation that would have possibly resulted in a more serious injury to one or both parties involved.
    Joe Stitz

    "Black belt and white belt are the same, white belt is the beginning of technique. Black belt is the beginning of understanding. Both are beginner belts."
    - Doug Perry -Hanshi, KuDan -Shorin Ryu ShorinKan

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    When you have no idea what precipitated the situation, or what the background/prior incidents involving the woman are, you tread a very perilous road deciding what you think is/is not called for.

    Police can, do, and should use the highest level of force that is articulable as quickly as possible to control a subject/situation.

    Some cops do go overboard, just like everyone in life does. Rarely this is because the cop wants to "beat someone down." Usually it is because the officer is poorly trained and doesn't practice and tends to "fear bite."

    Locks work against people who allow them to work against them. Most people do, and they are mostly used in the vast majority of arrest situations - low level control - where people don't want to feel pain and are not willing to up the ante against LE.

    For those that aren't willing to submit to the lock, they cause pain, which causes them to fight back harder. People naturally fight against pain. Or, due to Three D's (drunk, drugged, deranged) they may not feel pain at all. As well, the breaking of bones is for many combative people is not a game ender. They continue to resist as if they had no broken bones.

    Consider this - if someone were attempting to assault or kidnap you and broke a bone, would it stop you??

    If I was dealing with a person that I knew, or could reasonably articulate from the circumstances at hand would be a fighter, and would resist a locking technique to the point that I would injure them, I would choose what would ostensibly be a more "violent" technique like a throw to put them down and gain positional control which did not involve pain compliance.

    Ultimately in many situations the technique which may appear more violent to the ignorant public - not pejorative, just a statement of fact - in fact does less damage in the overall scheme of things.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Cool @ Christophe (since I don't find your current e-mail address - I reply this way)

    Christoph (see below for Dutch version)I found this event you might be interested in:Brussels CoachcaféTuesday November 18: Aikido Communication and intelligence of the body (with Greet De Baets)Aikido is the martial art of harmony. We use Aikido to experience some communication theories. No dry powerpoint-slideshow but simple, safe movements that we can do inside or outside on a chair or standing. A movement technique that we then translate into communication. This active approach is a relief for both body and mind. Provide comfortable clothing. Register by: http://www.citizenne.be/activiteit/3...an-het-lichaam -------------------------Dutch versionDinsdag 18 november: Aikidocommunicatie en de intelligentie van het lichaam met Greet De BaetsAikido is de krijgskunst van de harmonie. Deze Japanse krijgskunst zetten we in om een aantal communicatietheorieën aan de lijve te ondervinden. Geen droge powerpoint dus maar eenvoudige, veilige bewegingen die we op een stoel of rechtstaand, binnen of buiten kunnen doen. Een bewegingstechniek die we nadien ook vertalen naar communicatie toe. Deze actieve aanpak is een verademing voor zowel lichaam als geest. Voorzie makkelijk zittende kleding.Inschrijven via: http://www.citizenne.be/activiteit/3...an-het-lichaam

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