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What is aikido?
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Law Enforcement

Aikido is ideally suited for law enforcement, because the object is to control, rather than to injure. Simple hand cuffing, body searching, fight-prevention, and defense techniques for law enforcement have been developed in co-operation with individual law enforcement officers in the Columbia area.

In particular, the “Sankyo” wrist-lock technique used for “mundane” handcuffing and searching people proved to be the most valuable of all (see the photographs below). This is because once the lock is applied, the person immediately loses the desire to escalate to violence. It was found that this technique prevented many, many fights. In no case was the person injured to whom the lock was applied. Most importantly, once the lock is applied, the officer is safe from attack while the search or handcuffing is being accomplished.

Although there is no attack in Aikido, attack techniques were developed to control persons who are just on the verge of violence. Some of these techniques do not involve pain, for use against people who are intoxicated, drugged, or mentally disturbed and would not feel pain. Like the Sankyo lock, these techniques were found to stop fights before they could start.

Techniques were developed for weapon retention and defending while having a weapon in hand, when the weapon cannot be used for various reasons.

Some of the Aikido sword and staff techniques can be applicable to SWAT team work, where the team member can use his weapon to throw, if the weapon is grabbed. Also, it is possible to use Aikido throwing and locking techniques while holding the weapon, which can be important during SWAT shock movements.

For self-defense or fighting, the standard Aikido techniques can be used against open-hand, knife, stick, and gun attacks. 

A lesson plan has been developed for some of these techniques, but not submitted for official approval.

Appointments for lessons can be made by calling Lamar Sanders at 803-319-9848.


Note that the Sankyo lock is maintained throughout, thereby protecting the officer from start to finish.

Warnings: The techniques shown below have not been officially approved. In addition, the techniques should not be practiced without supervision.

Above, the officer diagonally approaches the nearest side of the person, prepared to defend against a countermove, and grasps the person's left wrist above the hand.

Above, the officer rotates the person's forearm inward (the person's thumb moving inward toward the person's left side).

The officer initiates the Sankyo lock by grasping the person's hand blade with his other hand, further rotating the person's hand inward. This locks both the person's wrist and elbow.

The officer moves behind the person, traps the shoulder to prevent twist-out, lowers his weight to prevent kicks, and instructs the person to put his hand on his head so it can be seen by the officer. The officer is now safe while searching and/or handcuffing the person.

Maintaining the Sankyo lock, the officer searches the left side, removing weapons or contraband if necessary.

Above, the officer transfers the Sankyo lock from the person's left hand to the right hand (not shown), and searches the person's right side. The Sankyo lock is applied at the person's waist, not between the person's shoulder blades, which could injure the elbow. The person loses the desire to resist, when both the wrist and elbow are locked.

Above, maintaining the Sankyo lock, and holding the chain of the handcuff, the officer applies the handcuff to the person's right wrist.

Controlling the person's right wrist with the chain of the handcuff, the officer transfers the Sankyo wrist lock to the person's left wrist, and applies the handcuff to the person's left wrist.

Normally, a person can not make a countermove if the Sankyo lock is properly applied, but if he does, the Sankyo lock is used as shown above to stop the countermove. The officer lifts and continues the Sankyo lock toward the officer's right in the picture. The pain of the wrist and elbow lock is so great that the person desists before injury will occur. Supervised practice is necessary for the officer to apply the Sankyo lock effectively and safely. (Note: if the person does not feel pain because of alcohol, drugs, or mental illness, Aikido techniques that do not utilize pain should be used in the defense against a countermove, rather than the Sankyo lock shown in this picture.)

Because the person's wrist and elbow are rigidly locked, the officer can throw the person forward and downward. The officer is still safe in this position.

While the person is off balance, the offices moves in front, and presses down on the person's arm, forcing him to a face-down position on the ground.

The officer moves into an Aikido kneeling pin.

The officer executes the Aikido kneeling pin. This pin is very advantageous to the officer. He is in a position where he can evaluate people in the vicinity and take actions such as directing them to back away, drawing his weapon with one hand for defense while maintaining the pin with the other hand and arm, or standing up and defending himself from single or multiple attacks using whatever self defense skills he may have.

Above, still maintaining the Sankyo lock and holding the chain of the handcuff, the officer applies the handcuff to the person's right wrist.

Still maintaining the Sankyo lock, the officer pulls the right wrist over by the chain of the handcuff, and applies the handcuff to the person's left wrist.

Note that once the Sankyo wrist lock is acquired, it is maintained throughout, thereby protecting the officer from start to finish.

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