martial arts and defensive tactics


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This was a discussion I opened over at the Convocation of Combat Arts regarding the difference between Martial Arts and LE Devensive Tactics:

I was going to post something original to open up this group, but I find that I cannot do better than what Bernard Lau defines as Defensive tactics:

Police defensive tactics are NOT the same as self-defense. The role of defensive tactics in law enforcement and corrections is to assist the officer in performance of arrest and restraint, and to increase the margin of safety for both the officer and the suspect. Defensive tactics charge the officer with protecting others as well as themselves. The definition of “defend” as used here is neither punitive nor passive, but instead “to repel danger or harm while serving and protecting.” Meanwhile, self-defense encompasses any and all means of protecting oneself. Self-defense techniques are not meant to apprehend an assailant. Indeed, there is no regard for the safety of the attacker whatsoever. So obviously self-defense and defensive tactics are not synonymous.

Defensive tactics are not martial arts, either. While martial arts provide a technical basis for defensive tactics, they are generally not suitable for use on the street. That said, martial arts training offers many benefits to officers, including fitness, strength and agility, balance and flexibility, stress reduction, recreation, etc. Indeed, the benefits for self-perfection inherent in long-term practice are enormous. Therefore, without denying that martial arts training can benefit officers, it is not necessary.

On the other hand, training in defensive tactics is more than simply issuing officers a nightstick and saying, “Don’t hit anybody in the head.” It only takes a few seconds to be issued a tool, but learning to use it is a never-ending process.

Furthermore, you don’t always have the right tool in your hand. It may be on your belt or in your car, and while it just takes a few seconds to get it, that may be more than you have. Therefore another purpose of defensive tactics training is to give you a few seconds. You can use those seconds to get a tool or to plan a better response or simply to breathe and therefore regain mind control.

Finally, once you learn the techniques, you can’t forget to bring them with you, either. Sure, you can lose the skills if you panic, or if you refuse to practice them, but there is no way anyone can take them away from you short of rendering you unconscious.

The only way I depart from Mr. Lau is in a slight redefinition of the role of Martial Arts in defensive tactics. I have found that in many departments that there is little motivation to maintain any sort of regular DT training. As a matter of fact, the issues of on-duty injury, mandating DT training, unions and workmans-comp tend to make departments lean away from forming a regular DT program. That being said, officers concerned with maintaining their skills may be better advised to find training on the civillian side. However, the officer needs to be careful in what he is being taught. Not all arts teach techniques that can be directly translated to the various levels of force one finds necessary in performing the LE mission.

Join the conversation there.

only hits count

Bullets for handloading - Sierra brand in .270...
Bullets for handloading – Sierra brand in .270 Winchester caliber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The purpose of being in a fight is to win. The purpose of shooting is to hit. Only hits count. Hits don’t mean that you win, it simply means you’ve had your turn. Just hit the target until you win.

-Clint Smith

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information security


Identity theft and computer based fraud are

My Computer
My Computer (Photo credit: aLii_)

the fastest growing criminal enterprises out there today. The internet has made the theft of personal information all too easy. There are numerous websites out there that provide everything from personal addresses and birthdates to phone numbers and maps, absolutely free. For a price, even more personal information can be provided. There have been attempts to legislate these sites out of existence with little luck. There are steps you can take to make yourself at least transparent if not invisible to people who are trying to track you electronically. This usually works best if you take countermeasures when you move to a new address. Some tips…

  • Get a PO box: The hassle of driving to the post office everyday is worth it. Change your drivers license, checks and other personal data to this address. It will become a hassle when it comes to mail order, mail forwarding and some troubles cashing checks at stores but its worth it.
  • Unlist your phone: Either pay to have it unlisted or learn the trick I found. You don’t have to list your phone under your name. List it under your Great Grandfathers, your dog or Phill McKracken. The phone co. doesn’t really care and its free.
  • Get on the “do not call list”:
  • Remove internet sources: If you find your address online send in requests to have it removed. Not always possible but try anyway.
  • Do not give out personal data: Don’t do it on the phone, don’t do it at the register, don’t do it online, don’t do it. When filling out forms look for those DO NOT SHARE MY INFORMATION boxes and fill them out. Sometimes you may have to give it out but at least make the attempt to refuse. Unless you are under “deep cover” this is all just a matter of minimizing risk, you are not a CIA operative.
  • Keep your receipts. Be aware at the ATM for people watching you. Look out for boxes over the top of your ATM card reader. Don’t keep your PINs with your cards.
  • Shred all documents being thrown out: Buy a shredder or tear it up by hand. Do the automatic bill payment thing if you like as it reduces paperwork buildup.
  • For the serious paranoid look up Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s): To intricate to explain… google it.
  • Use an attorney: Another more extreme measure. Have all your mail go through your lawyers office. A hassle and pricy.
  • Check your credit report: See if anybody else is using your identity.I may think of more but I’m running out. Share your stories and tips if you have any.

Be discreet when filling out application forms, whether on-line or in paper form. Often, you can provide general instead of specific information and still complete the transaction (for example, responding “over 18” or “younger than 65” when asked for age). Try to determine what information on an application or warranty form is for marketing purposes and not necessary for completing the transaction. When you are asked to sign authorizations to disclose your personal information, date the form or add an expiration date and cross out language that makes the authorization too broad or general. Revoke the authorization in writing if you reconsider later.

Protect the confidentiality of your Social Security number. Just say no. Social Security numbers are really not necessary when applying for credit or insurance. There are legal limits when government agencies ask for Social Security numbers. Any request for your number when the transaction has tax consequences – like getting a job or opening a bank account or buying a house – is legitimate. In other cases, ask for a random number you select or, if you must, try providing only the last four digits. Or if its not for legal purposes (i.e. they are unimportant nobodies who don’t need it) make it up.

Attach conditions to sensitive information that you feel you have to provide. Ask that it not be further disclosed outside the organization or that it be destroyed after a certain period. Ask to inspect it in the future. This creates a binding contract with the organization. If it refuses to accept your conditions, that tells you about its information practices.

Never provide sensitive information over the telephone or Internet to someone you don’t know – including your Social Security number, home address or phone number, bank-account or insurance-policy numbers, bank balance, mother’s maiden name, or medical information. If you want, call back the company and keep a record of its phone number.

Phrase your demand so that it elicits a positive response, not a negative one. Don’t say, “I refuse. . . .” Say, “Because I’m concerned about my privacy, I chose to keep that information to myself. . . .” Assume that most clerks, as individuals, will identify with your concerns, and you will discover that many of them do. Be persistent. Be prepared to try three or four times before the organization caves in.

Ask to inspect and correct files about yourself where federal law permits this – credit reports, consumer investigations, school records, federal-agency files, cable TV providers, and criminal records. A dozen states provide these rights for insurance files and 15 states have these rights for personal information stored by state agencies. Almost half the states and a federal regulation require this for medical records.

Ask the post office not to disclose your new address to commercial mailers when you file a change-of-address form. Better still, make your change of address temporary not permanent. A temporary forwarding instruction is good for one year, and the Postal Service does not forward temporary change-of-address information to commercial list users and direct marketers.

Ask to inspect your own medical file and to add information to it if necessary. About 20 states and a federal regulation give you this right and most professional medical organizations endorse this right.

Some more phone tips. Have your telephone number listed without an address in the directory. This will provide much of the same protection that you seek from an unlisted number – and for no charge – because marketers are not interested in collecting phone numbers without addresses. This will keep you out of the address and telephone directories on the World Wide Web. For a nominal monthly fee, some phone companies will provide you a second phone number that will ring with a distinctive sound. You can make this your “public number” that you provide to businesses and government agencies. Reserve your original telephone number for friends and relatives, and then you will know when they are calling. In addition, ask the major mailers to delete you from their telephone and mailing lists.

Remember that cellular, mobile, and cordless phones are not secure. Neither is electronic mail; regard it as you would a postcard. Remember that a recipient of your e-mail can pass it on to the whole world, inadvertently or intentionally. You have to respond to e-mail carefully to avoid sending responses to persons you did not intend to receive it. Do not ever use telephones and computers at work for sensitive or embarrassing communications. Federal law permits employers to monitor.

Protect against theft of identity. The main reason for it is the circulation of your Social Security number or carelessness with it by organizations. Keep your SSN out of general circulation as much as you can. Keep it off your driver’s license and your personal checks.

Shop Around. The new century has brought a few new products and services that actually enhance your privacy – e-mail forwarding services that protect your anonymity, encryption software, innovative telephone-answering machines, shredders, mail receivers. Seek them out.

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