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Defensive Tactics Versus Combative Tactics

Defensive Tactics Versus Combative Tactics

Chris Periatt / SWAT Digest

I really think it’s time that we in the police community need to stop sugar coating hand to hand combat. We create all of these politically correct terms and phrases that really lead officers away from what is really going on out there on the street. What is defensive tactics? When I am attacked as a police officer I am trained to react and attack the suspect back in order to gain control of them and take them into custody. The problem is that somewhere someone changed the term of hand to hand combat to defensive tactics.

Defensive tactics means defending yourself, but then what. You attack and attack some more if necessary. You fight until your adversary is under your control and you can take them into custody. Not just defend yourself as the term implies. I don’t like the term defensive tactics, what we do is by all accounts combat in it’s simplest form. Whether it’s H2H (hand to hand) , baton or gun fighting it’s combat. I don’t like sugar coating these terms to appease the administrators and politicians. We as trainers have a duty to let our students know that it is combat, not just defensive tactics.

You have to let your students know that it’s ok to attack and attack some more if that’s what it takes to put your adversary down and take them into custody. I don’t want to water down those essential skills that our field has lost in recent years. I mean some departments are so stuck on the magic bullet like the taser that they have totally forgotten about H2H combat for officers. I have had administrators actually tell me that “we have tasers we don’t need H2H for our officers”. I mean yes tasers are awesome, don’t get me wrong. It’s a tool that’s all and in some situations it just isn’t feasible to use it. I have seen situations, as I am sure we all have where the taser doesn’t work and we are forced to go hands on.

If you are not ready to go hands on and that monster suddenly turns and faces you what are you going to do? Are you going to be, as Lt. Col Dave Grossman say, “a sheep or are you the sheepdog”. Well we all need to look inside ourselves and ask ourselves that very question. Because folks no matter how you slice it we need to learn and keep our combative tactics fresh in our officer’s minds. If your department doesn’t teach of train you on some regular basis in some form of combative tactics then it’s time you have the integrity to go to your local dojo or boxing facility and learn them.


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  • Shotgun_breach_max50

    UtahCop

    about 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    My department is relatively small but at 40 officers it meets a national average or so I'm told. Thankfully we have a progressive Deputy Chief who is a former action guy (SWAT and ARMY SF) so he's a qualified training nut. Our agency has adopted a very progressive approach. We have sent almost 90 % of the working officers to the states 80 hour defensive tactics instructor course. Now that our department is "Highly" qualified in cuffing and the normal "routine" academy taught techniques we were able to move a little bit outside the box during our annual DT training.

    Our annual inservice training now focuses on empty hand combat and fighting literally to create an opportunity for survival. We spend little to no time as a group practicing cuffing techniques, this is done by squad on shift overlap and during briefings. When we mass together we spend our time fighting off multiple attackers in padded suits. Training to disarm and overcome MMA style attacks to include edge weapon and blunt object attacks. Initially there was a bit of resistance from several officers and supervisors. Primarily those that you never wanted standing beside you on any call.

    Now that we have about 4 years under our belt there has been a dramatic change in attitude. This change has brought the skeptics over the fence or at least publicly silenced them while they wait for their retirement date to arrive. It has raised the confidence level of the entire department, both in themselves and in those they work with. It has embedded a strong sense of "Esprit de corps" among the entire staff.

    There had been some fear from certain administrators that the aggressive nature of our training would make us a bunch of street thugs. Nothing could have been more far from the truth. Our overall use of force incident numbers have increased but injury to citizens and officers has decreased. Our officers are more confident, better trained, and less likely to use excessive levels of force based on a fear response. Our DT training was combined with Verbal Communication training (Verbal Judo) which is a contributing factor to the success.

    All in all we waste less time talking till we're blue and when it's time to act we do it quickly, with little hesitation, and end the conflict before it can begin.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Jezziblue

    about 4 years ago

    38 Comments

    This article is so accurate! When "defense tactics" replaced H2H, it established a different concept and expectation of the administrators and politicians. Now when an officer has no choice but to escalate his/her aggression to gain control of a violent person, it is labeled unnecessary use of excessive force. No officer should ever have to worry about how to 'appear' to be handling a dangerous person. If society cannot depend on officers to do what it takes to get or keep order, then how many innocent people and officers will be injured, or killed waiting for the politically correct concept to show up on the scene. It's such an unrealistic thing. I personally have witnessed many violent attacks in which the attacker keeps assaulting as long as they are getting away with it. It's like trying to catch a ricochet bullet, they just keep busting through anything and anyone. Fast, ready, well-trained officers have to be on the mark to match their level of aggression!

  • Drknite_max50

    drknite298

    about 4 years ago

    474 Comments

    never stop fighting til the fight is done. This is a good article and brings up alot of good points. I've been to Hock Hochheim and a Toney Blauer SPEAR seminar, both are very good. I would suggest a fighting system that teaches stand up and ground fighting.

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    TPAS4GOD

    about 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    This is a great article! I thought I was the only one that thought combative tactics was a great asset in my PD. Everyone just gave me that "look at this New Jack (Rookie by their terms) trying to be gung-ho" stare because I was fresh out the Army, with 8 years under my belt mind you. I was told that this is civilian life, things are civil here, people know how to act around us (Police Officers), and this isn't a warzone. Well I beg to differ, that even if I did have some combat overseas tour under my belt and have seen war, that there IS still war on the streets just waiting to happen, and co-workers fail to recognize this. Complacency is a devastating if not an open door policy to death, to those who care not to be ready for the worse. I was shocked to see massive amounts of video feeds on youtube, that fellow Officers were beaten down or pommeled on camera due to complacency. They were either backed up several precious seconds later until help arrived or until they had time to get away to use their taser or pepper spray, and the sad part is.... That is all they know and rely on rather using God's well equipped assets, OUR hands. This is just another reason why I must stress to the PD or just seek out on my own; to further educate, strengthen my mind and body, as well as being ready for war to come bust through my door at any given second. Pray that I get through to my BiB or that the Lord keep them safe till I get there to the heat of battle!

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    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    We need to train more like UFC athletes because MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is the fastest growing sport in the world and everyone is a fan these days. Pretty soon perps will be pulling guard on you and placing you in a Triangle and if you dont know how to fight like this your in trouble. Study ground fighting it will make your job safer & easier.

  • 001_1_max50

    Covertoperations99

    about 4 years ago

    108 Comments

    Great Article on the habd-to-hand combat techniques! I learned so much in the Academy recently on combat training! We had to actually fight and the Instructors are awesome. Hope they never take out that hand-to-hand training in any of the Academy! The Department Of Criminal Justice (Corrections Division) offers the edged weapons courses, and all kinds of combat training. When you are in a life or death situation as I was one time.....when the perpetrator had my neck turned and told me he was going to break my neck, thank God I survived that one! ( I'm small and he was huge but my survival skills kicked in along with the miraculous power of God.....My advice is fight until you subdue that adversary.....and take all the courses on defensive combat training you can get! You never know when you will be put in that situation! God keep all of us safe!

  • Jim_and_jeff_max50

    CQCtactics

    about 4 years ago

    20 Comments

    Great points. A fight is defined as a physical struggle between two persons for control. You don’t win that struggle and gain control unless you are on the offensive. There can only be one predator and one prey in a situation, and cops need to train as the predator, not a defensive prey. It seems that so many have forgot that “action beats re-action”, and to be defensive is to be re-active. Lt. Gross man has a great quote in his article about the “Sheepdog”. He talks about stressors in the wild and describes the zebra who is always stressed out about surviving. He then goes on to talk about how the lion is never stressed because the lion is the stressor. The lion is offensive and represents action, not re-action. “Defend” yourself with offensive mindset and techniques. In cqc tactics, mindset is paramount. On another note, a lot of administrators and sadly cops forget one fundamental truism of tactics…. You should not even attempt to deploy or use an auxiliary weapon until you have gained some level of control. As you can tell, you touched a nerve here. Great article. Keep them coming.

  • Davis_c_21_cd_max50

    whitechocolate

    about 4 years ago

    666 Comments

    well put i would recommend gracie videos also. they are great

  • Boss_and_jerry_max50

    jdeanc

    about 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    May I suggest that those interested in Combative Tactics check out GracieUniversity.Com. You will not regret it. Great Site and Great learning experience. Stay Safe

  • Nj_508th_mp_co_max50

    redskyn23

    about 4 years ago

    176 Comments

    As a current police recruit in my 22nd week of training, I totally agree. In my state where it is currently illegal to posses, let alone use a taser, we must rely on our defensive/combat tactics.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rambot7

    about 4 years ago

    12 Comments

    Def. agree..nothing like having good hand skills....stay safe

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    titaylor1983

    about 4 years ago

    148 Comments

    As a future cadet (March), I'm interested to know which Martial Art is most applicable to police work? There are so many variations out there, I don't want to learn one that I'll never use, when I could have been using my time more wisely. Any suggestions?

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    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Simple getting your ass kicked= better man up. Academys only teach you the basics to save your department from getting the City's ass sued. Dont rely on the tazer or spray or baton. Better have something in your brain thats going to allow you to go home when the shift is over.
    Question? Is it cheaper to pay for an Officer's funeral or to pay some dirtbag's Lawsuit?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    I don't know how you all feel on this and I'm no cop (once I graduate I will be applying to departments) But I know if I get attacked, I would much rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

  • 026_max50

    Gildor9

    about 4 years ago

    238 Comments

    Good advice here.

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