Home Forums Krav Maga Worldwide Forums Law Enforcement & Military What do you think of police DT?

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    Just wondering what everyone here thinks of police DT. Personally, I think most techniques are impractical, and nearly impossible to pull off without good choreography from a cooperative partner. Not very realistic, to say the least. I also think that the majority of DTs are taught with an eye towards liability in that most agencies would rather you lose a fight than win and they get sued. So we’re taught some useless, hit-em-where it don’t hurt garbage just so they can say they taught you something and then leave you hanging should you deviate from the ciricullum, instead getting pounded using their nonsense on the street. Your comments are welcome…


    Glad I’m not in military law enforcement/security for the moment. From DT training experience, it doesn’t work and is inadequate against a struggling, coked-up suspect. Instructor tried to use me as his uke/cooperative partner and the jointlocks have no effect on me whatsoever. The DT program doesn’t even have weapon disarms as well as long gun retention. Very few strikes are taught as well. To compensate its shortcomings, I cross-trained in the past and, at that time afterward, in a variety of martial arts (muay thai/jkd/combatives/jujitsu/fma/past experience in high school wrestling). Because of that, my peers label me a \”rogue\” and make fun of me behind my back but not in a meanspirited way. Since it’s done either out of admiration, envy or jealousy, it doesn’t get to me. And besides, I never cared for popularity anyway. It’s all about doing the job and doing what it takes to stay proficient. And another thing. My unit detachment that I served for 3 yrs. does not have refesher courses. You familiarize with them at the academy and that’s it. The rest is up to the individual. Even the instructors agree and recommend that its students expose themselves to different types of styles or systems.


    Before I started taking Krav, I went through the Sheriffs Office DT program when I was getting certified to carry a firearm. Sheriffs Joe Arpiaho in Phoenix, AZ arms his S.O. volunteers. I couldn’t resist.

    Even with no martial arts experience, I was surprised by what we learned in DT class. Many of the moves would require me to use brute force to overpower someone larger than me and on drugs. All I could think of while I was in the class was \”I hope to god I never have to use this.\”

    They taught us a few wrist locks that I could barely use effectively when my partner was standing still…no chance I was pulling those off on someone who was struggeling.

    But that was my perspective of DT being a civilian in a L.E. class…


    I have seen a few that are VERY good and others that are next to useless. That is why I am putting a very high KM element in my DT class


    We recently provided a 16 hour block of KM (self defense) to our 250 member police department and it was very well received, by officers and command staff personnel alike. Londale Theus did an outstanding job of certifying about 20 of us in a 40 hour program to prepare us to deliver the training to our personnel.

    We currently train our officers to use OC (pepper spray), PPCT (Pressure Point Control Tactics), and the expandable ASP baton as intermediate tools between verbal commands and deadly force.

    Although we only trained our officers in the Self Defense component (combatives, handgun retention, defense against strikes, gun grabs, threats from a gun) of KM this year, we anticipate adding the Arrest/Control component next year. Our department has elected to adopt a \”hybrid\” approach to defensive tactics training, so although KM may be the dominant system we use, it probably won’t be the only one.

    Since the completion of training, several officers have used KM on the job with good results and police administration is still supportive of the system, so we’re very optimistic that our officers will be learning and using KM more and more in the future.

    Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for information about our training program.


    Police DT

    As a law enforcement DT trainer, I’d have to agree that some of the techniques taught should probably be revised. Here in NC our basic program involves 40 hrs of training on 33 techniques (it has actually improved a lot from a few years ago when we had 10 techniques that were very complicated and very \”defensive\” in nature). Departments and academies can do more but most unfortunately only do the minimums. Our program at the basic level has PPCT, some ground defense, ASP Baton techniques, and weapon retention/disarm. I am currently in the process of trying to incorporate more KM techniques particularly focusing on more striking and better weapon techniques. We try to provide at least something to cover the spectrum of \”force options\” and proper decision making.

    I have worked as an expert witness several times on behalf of officers who have been sued over their choices of force options. One thing is always very clear – the more options, the better!

    There is no single technique, book, video, or training program that will even begin to address every possible scenario and level/type of resistance that an officer may face. To advocate that certain lower level force techniques are the only ones that an officer may use would be irresponsible and dangerous on the part of an instructor, school, or law enforcement agency. To do so would ìpigeon-holeî officers into having to choose from a limited number of force options to address an infinite number of possible scenarios. Officers must be able to choose appropriate force options based upon the totality of the circumstances (i.e., the scenario and the resistive subject will dictate the officersí response in selecting appropriate force options), and those force options must be based upon ìgross motor skills.î Techniques based on gross motor skills are simple to use, easily recalled under stress, and most importantly, are applicable in a variety of situations. This means that there is more than one force option for a given level of resistance. As stated earlier, no single technique can address every possible physical contact therefore, the best techniques are the ones that can be applied to a wide variety of situations.

    Real law enforcement confrontations are quick, often violent, and sometimes take place in very confined areas. These confrontations are also very different than the static environment of a mat room during a training session, and the variables are too numerous to describe. Therefore, just like the myth of the ìone-punch knockout,î it is unrealistic to assume that a large combative individual can be taken down and completely subdued with one strike. Therefore training in a system that anyone from the lowest skilled to the highest skilled in the class can perform at a level needed in realistic confrontations is critically important!

    I welcome anyone’s comments and suggestions.


    Fitnesstrainer, I’m working on some things within NC, particularly with the BLET curriculum, which may be of interest to you (of course, you may be one of those I’m working with!) E-mail me at [email protected] when you get the chance.


    I believe that DT training in Ohio is really starting to progress. I completed my state DT Instructor certification from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission this year. Some of what I learned there was similiar to what I learned from a KM-LE only class taught by Londale Theus and from level 1 KM classes. This includes choke defenses, bear hugs, headlocks and some ground work. We have also included weapon retention/transitions in basic training.
    We also have the same problems that everyone else encounters. Lack of time available in academies and yearly retraining as well as reluctance of officers to take responsibility for themselves and do stuff on their own.
    The state is making significant progress in what is being taught to instructors but agency budgets and lack of individaul officer motivation is hurting us all.
    Case in point…..each officer at our agency was given a mandatory 8 hour DT training day by our department last year. Several of the officers, mostly our more experienced but least physically gifted, griped and complained for days about having this training. We covered weapon transitions, REDMAN scenarios, strikes, defenses, etc. Many of them griped about having to be there and actually having to do something physical, They did the same thing this year when we had a tactical shoot at an outdoor range. The sad thing about this they not only put themselves in danger, but whoever they have to back-up or whoever has to back them up because they are getting their butt kicked.
    OK, I’ve vented enough. Many states are developing better DT and firearms programs but it really comes to individual agencies and ultimately the officers themselves to a make sure they are prepared.
    Be safe and PREVAIL!!!! Doug


    Fightin Irish, if you have not done so already, please check out our monthly Krav Maga law enforcement training class at the Training Edge in Williamsville. I think you’ll find it far more practical and reality-based than what you were taught at the academy…

    I agree that most of my police academy DT training was focused on liabilty and stuff that MIGHT work against a \”maybe\” person or a difficult drunk (escort holds and pain compliance) verus what you need when someone is actively resisting or fighting with you. Part of the problem is that many of the DT instructors out there are traditional MA guys and the stuff they know/teach doesn’t necessarily carry over well to the street. Something like basic groundfighting is totally foreign to most of them, but is really useful to the average street cop or corrections officer, as most of our physical confrontations end up on the ground. In New York, the State DCJS has mandated at least three hours of groundfighting training in the police academies to be certified, which is a good thing, but then it comes down to who is teaching it and what they’re teaching…

    I think the KM force training system is the best out there that I’ve seen, based mainly on the practicality, reliance on instinctive movements and the number of easy to perform techniques/principles that cover multiple scenarios. As Londale says, \”Less is more\”, and that is so true. Especially when you don’t have a lot of time to train your people. Teaching somebody the best techniques in the world is pointless if they’re not going to retain them.

    One problem I do have with the KM system is the relatively new move to allow civilians to become certified KM law enforcement instructors. I think one of things that gave the system credibility and won it acceptance among many LE personnel was the fact that the instructors were all current or former LE officers themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are many civilian instructors out there who could teach how to punch, kick, groundfight, etc. more than adaquately and I’m not trying to disrespect them or their skills. But how many of those people have had to fight with and handcuff a drunk at 4a.m. with no backup around? Unless you’ve actually done it, you lack credibility trying to teach cops how to do it better.
    It’s not \”the same\” because you’ve been in some street fights, or worked as a bouncer or even if you’ve been a pro fighter.

    Topics like arrest & control, weapon retention and escalation of force are not on the mind of most civilian martial arts instructors, but they are things many LE personnel are dealing with and thinking about every day. I think that shared similar job experiences allow for more open and valuable training because the instructor can personally relate to both what he or she is teaching and to any questions or \”what if\” scenarios. Unless you wear a gun belt to work everyday and carry around a sidearm, pepper spray, baton, handcuffs, etc. it’s pretty hard to relate to the mentality that every confrontation you are involved in is a potential gunfight and the necessity to escalate or de-escalate the amount and level of force used based on the circumstances.

    While I think it’s great that civilian MA instructors want to teach LE personnel DT techniques to better keep them safe, I think such efforts are better handled through encouraging individual LE personnel to take civilian classes to supplement their training or by having the civilian experts assist LE DT instructors in developing a more practical and realistic DT training program for officers. Certifying civilian instuctors to teach LE personnel things like handcuffing and weapon retention will only weaken the credibility of and respect for the KM Force Training system among the law enforcement community. It smacks of chasing the money of civilian schools who might otherwise go to another system that will certfify them as law enforcement trainers (in order to attract more LE students) rather than keeping the original KMFT \”law enforcement only\” standard.


    As far as pepperspray and baton training, we never learned them until we got to attend certified courses offered by the command. And, you had to take the PR-24 course first before you got to take the expandable ASP course (even had to provide your own ASP). Since the ASP course was an option, I never followed up with the ASP course.


    \”It smacks of chasing the money of civilian schools who might otherwise go to another system that will certfify them as law enforcement trainers (in order to attract more LE students) rather than keeping the original KMFT \”law enforcement only\” standard.\”

    Um, I don’t know about in Buffalo, but around here, if you’re looking to make money from LEOs or their departments, you’re in trouble.

    The military hires civilian contractors for H2H all the time. I don’t see this much differently. The standards have not been lowered, and the group is select.


    \”Um, I don’t know about in Buffalo, but around here, if you’re looking to make money from LEOs or their departments, you’re in trouble.\”

    Ryan is correct on this point! In NC, the budgets for training have been cut quite a bit in the last few years (its just steadily gotten cut more and more over the years), especially for travel TO training. Its certainly no great mystery that you don’t get rich in this profession, and individual departments very often cannot or will not fund long-term (or even short-term) training in an arrest & control system, no matter how good it is. They MAY authorize funds for an instructor-level course for a week or two if they believe it will be valuable for the department as a whole, but very often individual officers have to pay this out-of-pocket with no reimbursement. Then you have the issue of how many officers out there are even committed to spend the time and money necessary to become proficient in a particular system and/or to remain physically fit for duty. I’m sorry to say that those seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, any martial arts school is not likely to have a great deal of income from our profession….the officers who are dedicated to training will train regardless, as long as they believe in the value of the system and the cost is reasonable.

    Stay Safe!



    quote \”Ryan\:

    Um, I don’t know about in Buffalo, but around here, if you’re looking to make money from LEOs or their departments, you’re in trouble.\”

    Fair enough, maybe I should have been clearer. While I agree there’s not a ton of money to be made from LEOs or their agencies, there is an amount of prestige attached to such certification and that does draw a certain number of civilians who want to train where the law enforcement guys train. I’ve been told as much by many civilians over the years.

    \”The military hires civilian contractors for H2H all the time. I don’t see this much differently. The standards have not been lowered, and the group is select.

    Well, civilians instructing military in H2H ONLY is different than a civilian trying to train me in handcuffing, arrest & control, weapon retention, etc. It’s apples and oranges. Chances are the civilian instructor has extensive experience in striking/grappling/fighting, probably much more than the average individual officer. Just like in the past when our Department SWAT team has trained with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in dynamic building entries – those guys do it everyday and we learned a great deal.

    But that is NOT the case when you’re certifying somebody to teach arrest & control, weapon retention or several other topics in the LE curriculum. Have any of those civilian instructors (unless they’re former LE, which I don’t have a problem with) EVER handcuffed someone outside of training in the dojo? I do it everyday and know what the problems/issues are and have experienced them firsthand. Or how about having somebody try to grab your sidearm from your gunbelt? Or worried about use of force issues and how to justify use of force when writing their reports? Other issues that almost all civilian instructors have no experience with, yet they are ones that many LE officers have had to deal with and are concerned about. I don’t care how \”select\” they are, to me, civilian instructors lack credibility when they’re certified to instruct the whole Force Training system.


    Well, Bill, I think you’re in the minority. In my experience, LEOs are happy to have resources available to them, wherever they may originate. I got a call last week from a state trooper that trains with us. He asked me to come out and do a couple of hours of a BLET class for new recruits. He, along with a Captain and the city’s training coordinator, were more than receptive to having a civilian teach.

    I understand your concerns, and I agree with much of it. However, I’d venture to say that I have considerably more experience than those recruits I helped teach last week, who will soon be on the \”street\”. The truth is, departments and most officers aren’t willing to spend the resources necessary, where civilians will.

    Your examples of handcuffing, etc. are also a bit flawed. How many people have ever had to disarm an assailant threatening with a handgun (I’d venture to say most LEOs have not been in that situation)? How many teach handgun disarms?

    I think it comes down to the individual instructor, and as long as they are competent, they don’t come off as \”wannabes\”, and there’s a demand from the LE community for their services, I think it’s a valid system.


    I too have been very skeptical of anyone teaching DT to the LE-community if they themselves are not active or former LE.

    When I was in the academy our DT instructor told of a time when the admin. at his department decided to hire this outside training company to give each officer a 40-hour block of instruction. He stated that the company talked a good story and had extensive credetials but the techniques were complicated and required fine motor skills to accomplish. Even with his extensive martial arts and DT background, he found the techniques impratical and useless under stress. Also, none of the instructors were current or former officers. They just had very good marketing skills.

    Now, if a civilian DT instructor is willing to take the time and effort required to study and accomidate the unique requirements of the LE community then I might be interested.

    2 of our departmental DT instructors attended a training seminar with Dan Severn just last week. When they told me he was the instructor I was very skeptical about the actual relevance of the training they would receive. Dan Severn has always been a great MMA and Olympic level wrestling competitor but he’s never been an officer. Our 2 officers had nothing but praise for the quality of training they received and it’s relevance. They stated that Dan told them that before he started training the LE community he obtained a duty belt, vest, uniform and boots so that he could train with this equipment on and learn what techniques that we could actually use with our equipment requirements and limited mobilty while wearing this equipment.

    While I tend to lean towards instructors with an LE background for LE related training, an instructor willing to obtain the knowledge necessary to teach the LE community is ultimately what I’m looking for.

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