NJCOPS ARTICLE FOR MARCH 2014 ARE YOU READY FOR THE FIGHT? When I run self defense courses I often tell the Troopers and Officers that Firearms Training is necessary because we need to qualify twice a year, EVOC Training is the most fun because we get to drive fast, but Self Defense Training is the most important training that we do. We are being sized up on every encounter with the public, and that the image of your stance, size, stature and general appearance in a uniform will have a lasting impression on the public. One of the biggest issues with new officers these days is the fact that less and less police recruits have never been in a fight, or are afraid of physical contact. Complainants run from the XBOX generation to just a softer society. Now I am not saying you need to be a black belt or an MMA fighter in order to be a police officer, but there are a few concepts of self defense that every law enforcement officer should know. Number one, the best way to win a fight is not to get in one. Have a heighten sense of situational awareness when you are in front of someone. Do not miss little clues like a subject that is blading his body or has his hands in their pocket. Your stance is extremely important! You should always, always be in a good tactical stance when in front of a subject. A good tactical stance is basically an athletic stance with your weapon bladed away from the subject and your hands should be higher than the subject hands. Time and distance is your friend. Maintain a safe distance from a subject so you will be able to see an attack coming. If a subject keeps inching closer to you that could be an indication he is moving in for an attack. If and when we have to go hands on and/or strike, remember it is not suppose to be a fair fight. Do not forget about the different tools on your belt like OC Spray, MEB, TASER or Weapon. As a police officer we are looking to strike quick and gain distance so we can get to another tool. NEVER under estimate a subject! You may have all the training in the world and have fought professionally, but keep in mind all of the fight disciplines are sports. MMA, boxing, wrestling, judo or kickboxing all have rules, a referee and a ring. As a police officer with all your equipment on, in a uniform and with a weapon you are at a distinct disadvantage. My advice is knowing the use of force policy inside and out. The old saying “knowledge is power” will ring very true when you are writing your reports and testifying on the stand in front of a lawyer or jury. Training! The concepts of any self defense program can work if used properly and if you practice at it. Stay in shape. Your heart rate will accelerate very rapidly very quickly know that, control your breathing and be ready for the fight!