Another LEO perspective:
One of the problems with non LEO's teaching LEO's, and discussing this topic is a lack of actual experience in the types of encounters we primarily deal with. It is exacerbated when most LEO's themselves don't understand what they should do.
1) Going to the ground is an inevitability in law enforcement. "Get on the Ground" is pretty much the first order you give to the guys that wanna fight, and the LAPD stats show that in real fights, as opposed to minor resistance, things do go to the ground most of the time (about 62% of 95% of the confrontations, so, not 95% of ALL fights). Why? That is the only way to realistically control someone without beating the shit out of him.
Not to say that you won't have to, but the idea that you can control someone with other techniques and standing methods, with the exception of putting him into a wall or the side of a car(not always an option, or even the best one) comes from too much martial arts and not enough arrests of violently resisting suspects.
Comparing it to civilian fights is pointless. Civilians don't have to arrest people, and can hit and run. By the time a cop has been ambushed at contact distance it is usually too late to run or to disengage, it may be in the middle of an arrest that goes bad and is already on the ground, and if the guy is going for your gun it will usually end up there as well. If so, you should have the groundfighting knowledge to make sure you keep control and stay on top.
Which brings me to #2:
Cops very much NEED to know grappling to retain that weapon, not avoid grappling to retain it. Two recent officer slayings with their own weapons could have probably been avoided with better grappling knowledge. Thinking that you can just avoid letting him get close is head-in-the-sand.Yeah, that would be ideal, but when you actually need weapon retention more ofen than not you WON'T be able to avoid going to the ground, so you need to know how to maintain control of your weapons (and his hands)in a ground fight.
Another LEO perspective:
3) Pulling guard is idiotic in a real fight, LEO or no, and is to be avoided. The guard is not the sum total of groundfighting regardless of the emphasis placed on it in many schools. It is often the position most criticized in these debates, for reasons not fully cognizant of its proper role, it seems.
The guard IS an excellent position for weapon retention, striking, and reversals if a suspect gets on top of you (better by far than giving him the mount or side control), but your primary goal should be to be on top of him, use him as a mat. The more you can control him by getting on top, the easier to disengage, or raise the level of force by accessing your own weapons.
The nut grabs and titty twisters and gouges and bites are also NOT the devastating methods people think they are. Go ahead and think that if a guy sitting on top of you is controlling you, controlling the use of your arms, the position of your head, and for the most part any realistic use of leverage you can muster, that a bite or a grab or a gouge will still be effective other than pissing him off even more. Besides, would it seriously deter YOU in a knock down drag out fight? Everyone on here would say "No, I would keep fighting." We must extend the same consideration to our dirtbag, drug-assisted, just got out the joint pumped antagonists.
4) Submission, except for some strangles, are a waste of time in a real fight unless they provide concomitant CONTROL of the subjects hands and body position. Most guys are so drugged/drunk or both that they will not matter. How many people are shot multiple times and keep going? An arm lock or leg lock is going to stop them? Stuff like locks should be avoided unless they give you control of the limb for an overarching tactical purpose. "Submission" in the real world is repeated strikes to head, the badguy in handcuffs, the badguy cut to shreds with your knife, or shot in the most applicable place, if the threat is a lethal one.
5) We need to know a lot more than groundwork. But we also need to recognize that the most SERIOUS altercations cops get involved in DO go to the ground,and we need to be able to determine how that comes to pass. Training in gaining, maintaining, and exploiting a dominant position with the suspect on the ground and the officer on top is paramount. Police groundwork should focus on this, and, from the bottom protecting the weapon and gaining gaurd and/or striking or accessing weapons and/or turning the guy over to take top position.
#1 Hitting the ground can kill you - curbs, cars, broken glass etc. Even stuff in your pockets can rupture internal organs.
#2 On the ground you can't run. You've shot your movility to almost zero.
#3 While getting someone into submission his buddies are knifing you in the kidneys and kicking you in the head
#4 the idea that most fights go to the ground is stupid. This is hogwash - any "statistics" quoted are made up by people selling groundfighting. How on earth would you measure such a thing and say 90% of fights wind up on the ground. I have witnessed and been involved in many street fights.
"going to ground" means that 5 guys threw you to the ground and started kicking you. Most fights I have seen have been two guys throwing haymakers at eachother.
Perhaps you should complain to the LAPD and tell them to stop quoting the statistics they developed in their study....
You are half right. The stats are very real, but they break down more like this:
Of the serious altercations OFFICERS were involved in, 95% took on one of five patterns...and OF that 95%, about 62% went to the ground.
So the 95% is not accurate, nor is it reflective of civilian self defense situations. Cops goal is to put a guy really serious about fighting down for control and cuff. I agree civilians really have no need for this and should probably just hit and run. That is not to say that you WON'T go to the ground, particularly if the fight lasts very long and at least one party is NOT interested in standing off trading blows.
Its kinda funny....so many people offer so many reasons to not go to the ground, but tend to ignore the fact that you very well MIGHT end up there. If we treated martial arts vs. handguns this way, no one should train in martial arts, because I can come up with tons of reasons why defending a handgun attack with martial arts is foolish.....
It's hard to change others opinions, unfortunatly they will just have to learn for themselves. If they don't train for possible encounters including going to the ground, hopefully they'll never face someone who will take them down, or they in turn ever need to take someone down. But this is highly unlikely.
Otherwise, I'm content with Tony's explaination, and I totally agree with Hissho.
I should say, or rather point out what I am not saying, and that is that we should go to ground (if we can help it) if we are not doing so for a superior tactical purpose (i.e. controlling an uncontrollable antagonist...whether it be to effect arrest, ground and pound him, or temporarily immobize him so that a weapon can be deployed).
If we do, knee to belly, knee to neck, controlling his hands/arms, hopefully leaving at least one of ours free to use a weapon or to help disengage are the way to go. If we end up on the bottom, use everything you have to get the heck out of there.....here at least the people that criticize sport grappling are absolutely correct. But grappling as a whole is often condemned for such sport reasons and this misses the bigger picture....that grappling CAN be "tactical grappling," and that cops at least have a need to be able to look at grappling situations in the field tactically. This will be very different from judo, or BJJ or MMA, but many of the skills and most of the attributes developed in such training do apply.
I don't think, or at least I hope it isnt the case, that Tony is saying anything different.
The statistics are fine when you say that "62% of altercations with the LAPD go to the ground". Of course they do. Cops job is to get the guy on the ground and cuff him.
Stating the statistic that 95% of all atercations go to the ground is made up and false. It is a gross misuse of the LAPD statistics, and is patently false in it's assumptions. I have always seen this presented in such a way to make it seem like it is referring to every street altercation between civillians. There is no possible way to study this accurately, and my own limited experience tells me this is false.
What I think is dangerous about using statistics this way is that they are used to sell sporting systems as great self defsnes systems. There is nothing wrong with sport, but it is not self defense.
Grappling is very important. Stand up grappling, ground grappling, and many variations are all good things to know and very applicable. But stay off the ground if humanly possible.
Pluxor ... here's a hypothetical scenario for you. Please take no offense, but try to visualize the reality of it. I think it will make the issue you are contemplating a little more clear.
You are unarmed. I am your opponent. You see I have a knife on my belt. You don't know my skills ... I could be an escrima fighter. I could be also trained in BJJ. There are 2 guys behind me sitting on the curb. You don't know if they are with me or not. Your car is behind me, so this means you have to get passed me to drive away. As you approach the car, I step in front of you, and draw my knife, and tell you I hate your freakin' race and I'm going to slice you up.
Now, do you still want to take me to the ground as your FIRST and PRIMARY objective?
Okay, CF, which martial art would you recommend to deal with this circumstance?
The appropriate response would be a bullet to your head and the same to the other two if they decide to step up. Besides that, walking away (or running).
What exactly are you looking for? Kicks? Strikes? Standing locks? Or perhaps something like Aikido, which SPECIALIZES in multiple opponents (right...)
Or say Pluxor draws his own stick or knife and goes at it? With three (probably) armed opponents??
NO martial art is effective against multiple opponents, except projectile weapons where you can reach out and touch them before they can touch you(so hope THEY are not also so armed...). ALL are fraught with tactical problems against multiple opponents in equal or greater measure with those of a ground based method. It all depends on what happens....
Since the range as you have set forth is near contact distance, there is nothing to say that, despite the best standing techniques in defense or evasion, it still WON'T go to the ground.
Or that taking you to the ground immediately and explosively, at the same time hammering your head on the pavement by dropping his knee on your face, at the same time controlling the knife hand, taking that knife and sticking it into your throat WILL NOT be a primary objective and pretty damn effective. Get out of the mindset that groundfighting is ONLY sport grappling.
What if it goes to ground on the first grab-n'-stab and he has ignored or shortchanged his groundwork in the Internet-expert inspired belief that it is no good against multiple opponents or is not realistic for streetfighting? He can look forward to being UNABLE to effectively respond at all, or perhaps reverse and get away, because he lacks a developed knowledge of the ground.
I don't mean some occasional lie-to-himself-for-peace-of-mind groundwork to pretend he's "well rounded," I mean serious study and practice to develop more than a minimal skill level and a familiarity with the type of fighting that will be required in such circumstances so that the proper responses occur naturally under stress.
The most important question Mr. Blauer ever shared with me was..."How did we get here?"
The scenario dictates the response- TCMS maxim
Hisho, you quote some interesting statistics, but all those fights already happened and the statistics cant really tell you if that was the BEST way to end those fights...just that they eneded that way.
from an LEO perspective, with a limited amount of training time per officer, I would want to spend most of the time dedicated to groundfighting learning how to prevent going there.
As far as "prone cuffing" goes....I live by the premise, Control first, then Handcuff, then search.
A complex motor skill takedown to handcuffing position is at best very difficult to execute while the fight is still "out of control".
By the time I execute a takedown to prone cuffing I have already established a point of domination on the suspect and I am in "control" therefore I dont consider that particular segment of the incident a groundfight (although it could become one if I lose control through incident or accident). This is where ground combat training comes in...when things are out of control
In general, prevention is always preferred to crisis intervention, so I like to focus on the former but still work on the latter.
The environment and circumstances that lead to the fight have a lot to say about where the fight ends.
Coach Blauer's research in this area has brought realistic ground combat training to military an Law enforcement units all over the world. I will finish my post with a quote from his PDR manual.
"...do not have an emotional attachment to any particular range..."
Va Beach, Va
BTS LEO Team / PDR Team www.tonyblauer.com
The statistics are LAPD's. Are you not aware of them?
Your right, taking somebody down and controlling him prone may not be the best way. I can think of few live arrests of violently resisting subjects that ended "the best way."
You should teach for reality, not for what the hoped for best possible outcome is. Very few trainers seem to do this. Training to "not go there" for the ground is mentally disarming your LEO students...they need to know when it is appropriate, when it IS the best thing to do, and how BEST to manage it when it gets there. Since they absolutely WILL be taking the most serious resistors/assaulters to the ground, or ending up there in these incidents, it needs to be a major concern in any combatives training.
"By the time I execute a takedown to prone cuffing I have already established a point of domination on the suspect and I am in "control" therefore I dont consider that particular segment of the incident a groundfight (although it could become one if I lose control through incident or accident). This is where ground combat training comes in...when things are out of control."
Part of our problem is terminology. Your first sentence is exactly what I am saying, with the exception that I disagree that a groundfight begins/ground combat training comes in when things "get out of control." The groundfight begins the minute he goes prone and you are on top of him in any configuration, the usual one being the "knee ride" mentioned above. Why? Because if you do not CONTINUE to properly control it you are in danger of it turning into your kind of groundfight, where you do not have dominant position and it is getting out of control. The groundfight should be geared toward things NOT getting out of control in the first place, and if they seem to be going that way to either disengage or to raise the level of force.
It should also include training for what to do when it does get out of control and you get caught someplace you don't wanna be. By emphasizing only the latter section, you are skipping what are the more important preventative measures.
Guys, allow me to re-orient this thread...
A lot has been shared and most of it
true...perpective rules all our ideas, however,
perspective is lost in threads...
A lot of the disagreement (or apparent
disagreement) I would write off to semantics. I bet
if we were all in the same room discussing this,
most would realize we are saying the same thing
using differnet words.
Now the re-orient:
Hissho, your opening line to Mr. TOrres about the
LAPD statistics seemed sarcastic.
I'm not a big fan of statistics either, but that doesnt
make our opinions erroneous. In fact all Mr. Torres
was stating was that 'we' the audience...dont know
how the fight started, and that information changes
Predisposing an officer to go to the ground is not
the same as teaching that officer how to control the
opponent on the ground. And if your belief system,
inspired by statistics, tells you all fights go to the
ground then you are also missing out on other
areas of training.
Its no secret that conventional DT systems and
LEO SOP do not teach effective tactical
communication skills, accurate pre-c0ontact
resistance cues, how to tactically penetrate the
reactionary gap...but as luck & fate would have
it...STATISTICALLY this is NOT an issue because
MOST ARRESTS involve PASSIVE RESISTORS.
That was the point MR. Torres was trying to allude
to...if we knew the circumstances around the
research we could better evaluate.
Conventional training does not address serious
agression and leaves a lot of holes and windows
of opportunity for a motivated resistor.
Again, I think if the two of you were discussing this
in person you'd see youre both philosophizing
about the same issue with different words and
time-lines. Thats the problem with forums and
There are two distinct opponents in LEO's arrest &
control moment: the passive resistors and the
TOny Torres, who aisde from his DT & Combatives
& martial arts training & teahing is not a theorizing,
since he has been in many street altercations as a
Our training modules address most Murphy
moments. So in a dialogue with no demos (here
& now) groundfight means two differnet things to
both Hissho and TOrres.
In our methodolgy (TCMS) our training is based on
counter ambush policy (or lack of) so when we say
'groundfight' we mean, the opponent has forced
the fight to the ground. You use the term
gorundfigth generically as to mean 'any' situation
on the ground...
Some important thoghts:
1. In the interst of educaiton, I want everyone to
create 'contentions' or 'points of strategy' so that
there is a thread of cohesion that would help steer
2. Also, once again, Aliases are really cute, but I
dont like them here, in my forum, so please use
your real names, it adds credibility to your
3. Before you post, add a new SEQUE PHRASE so
we know where the thread is going...often
someone will post #12 after reading the first
question no relaizing that the thread has changed
direction 3 times...this makes it difficult fo rhtose
reading from A - Z.
No sarcasm was intended. It is a legitimate question; I admit to being a little surprised that it seems you guys are not familiar with the LAPD study and the parameters under which the statistics were developed.
The stats basically break down the types of arrests that LAPD officers made during the year 1988, I believe.
Of course in the overwhelming majority of circumstances you will not go to the ground because either no resistance is encountered, or minimal resistance is encountered and shut down with conventional tactics. This is nothing new to anyone working the road.
What the LAPD stats reveal, however, is that when "the fight is on," so to speak, 95% of the time it took on one of five patterns:
- Officer grabbed the subject, subject pulled his arm away and officers reacted most often with joint locks...most frequent final subduing act in this instance was taking the suspect to the ground (46%).
- Subject ran at the officer and swung punches and kicks..followed most often by officer's baton strikes (or almost as often taking him to the ground) and the most frequent fiinaol act was taking the suspect to the ground (35%).
- Subject refused to assume searching position as ordered, followed most often by a lock with the most frequent final act being taking the subject to the ground (36.5%).
- Foot pursuit followed by officer taking subject to ground (40%), and again the most frequent final act in this case was taking the suspect to the ground (39.5%).
- Subject assumed fighting stance but did not attack. Most frequent second act was sticking the guy (38%) and the most frequent final act was the same (41%).
And I quote:
"In addition, nearly two thirds of the 1988 altercations (62%) ended with the officer AND the subject on the ground with the officer applying a lock and then cuffing."
(From a copy of the LAPD handout passed out at the ASLET USe of Force Training Seminar, Los Angeles Airport Hilton and Towers July 10-12 1997.)
Being an LEO myself in patrol and SWAT assignments as well as a field DT instructor and a ground control tactics instructor for my department, I know the difference between passive resistance and active aggressors. I can say without reservation that my experience in the field is consistent with this study. Of the altercations against active resistance and assaultive suspects, it virtually always went to the ground, and that was the most realistic means of controlling the suspect at the time, both when I was alone and most often when I had cover.
I agree that this argument is pretty much in semantics, but I consider it an important point: while you may train the ground fight as the result of ambush where the suspect has forced the fight to the ground....a situation wherein ground combatives are vital...I do see any situation where the suspect is grounded and you are in some measure off your feet, either still fighting or trying to control him as still ground fighting. Why? Because even if you are on top the fight is very much still on. Situations such as this can turn on a dime, particularly with the limited ground control ability of most officers. If not schooled in the ability to maintain dominant position and ground fight for CONTROL (all part of current non-LEO ground fighting methods) you could very quickly end up in a ground fight for your LIFE.
Vancouver, WA PD
Thanks Chris, I agree with your comments and as
Ive said we're all saying the same thing, the thread
meanders, which is why I have asked people in
general to stay focused.
My comments and writing philosophy in this forum
tends to lean toward the analytical and
philosophical as oppossed to the technical, so
when I write something like the 'scenario dictates' ,
some people cant grasp that that's really the truth
This thread became diluted when people mixed
techinque, tactics and theory.
As for the LAPD study, of course we've heard of it,
but our methodolgy doesnt need to integrate it
because we are always starting from the worst
case scenario, further, and this resonates with
your philosophy, "fights can turn on a dime", where
we disagree witht the study is the contentions and
over emphasis with the ground work.
We still want the LEO to win and the dirt bag to give
up quick...we just feel that grappling and
groundfighting are very different and if that's your
message, again, we're saying thesame thing
My company teaches a specific & necessary
niche...that does not preculde appreciation for
other necessary training phases...we're just
You cant preplan the fight a year earlier in an
academy. You can train technique, but you still
must adapt in the real moment.
Also, asking about training applications or
methods and asking me 'WHY?' are very different
questions . When someone asks me or someone
on my team 'why?' they are asking about
philosophy, until they ask 'how?' or 'what if'? Thats
what this thread is about...why?
Again, we train for the same event...and as my
company motto contends...in combat, only the
Our approach to the ground is simple and was
stated in the first answer" DOnt go there if you dont
have to." That answers it all. Because
conscientious training would force there to be
answers for all eventualities, therefore, we dont go
to the ground if we dont have to (predisposing) but
certainly train to control the opponent on the
ground if we must.
The strategic epiphany being this: if (statistically)
you know you will likely be on the ground you get to
look at how SOP and conventional training ALSO
factors into the result. If changing something in the
SOP MIGHT change the outcome.... it is both
intelligent and tactical to explore this. That's where
we differ slighlty. But that comes back to the
simplicity of "How'd we get there?" or more
accurately, "why did we get there?".
Therefore, if you decide you'd RATHER be on your
feet (or close to them) in a real fight, thats youre
prerogative, its also a strategic option. Thats our
training paradigm, we train for stability, train to
force the fight to stay up, train to take your
opponent to the ground and remain mobile...etc.
Thanks for all your input and professioanlism,
Train hard & stay safe.
I can appreciate your comments. I too do not expect statistics to necessarily reflect reality. But considering the number of LAPD officers, the work they do, and the suspects they encounter, dismissing them as simply one version of reality is irresponsible. It also begs the question:
HOW are you avoiding the ground? HOW does an officer, either in attempting to effect an arrest against a violently resisting subject, or in defending against a violent ambush, control that suspect? If you advocate something different from taking the suspect down thru whatever means, and prone cuffing, I am very curious as to what it is. A prone suspect in not a controlled suspect simply because he is down and you are up....control measures are still needed beyond that point.
I took Mr. Torres comment to mean that you do go to prone cuffing, but that you establish control before that. While it is common sense to have your suspect under control before cuffing, HOW are your effecting that control? At what point do you teach contact with the suspect? How is that contact established and cuffing completed?
I your classes do not teach suspect control, but rather simply the life-and-death fight aspect, where controlling the bad guy means far less than simply damaging him, getting to your weapon and shooting him, then you are right, we are talking about two different kinds of engagements, both of which officers need to know how to handle. Things like that blend in reality.
Chris thanks for the reply.
Im not sure why you imply that Ive dismissed the
LAPD research. Just because Im not 'all over it'
doesnt mean Ive dismissed the research, the
numbers may be accurate but they just dont apply
to my training and I dont happen to agree with the
thesis contention as it leads to assumptions.
Futher, there are a lot of expercienced LEO's I
know that dont subscribe to it either. Its simply a
matter of perspective (as I indicated in my first
reply to you).
I need ot address this as you keep bringing up the
stats but never reflect on MY PREMISE: that the
SOP and tactics USED BY LAPD in the study
WILL INFLUENCE the results. Ive said that over &
over and its key.
If the message is simply 'you better include
groundfigthing in your training' then I agree. If the
message is all fights eventually go to the ground,
so why not get their first' then I disagree and you
may argue, but that is what I observe in many
LAPD inspired prgrams, a predispostion to go to
the ground where mobility, awareness, perimeter
security, tool transition are all restrcitied by the
So while you say you appreciate my comments, I
dont think youve given the requisite time to my
replies to weigh & consider, to intuit where Im
coming from...no disresepct intended.
I teach my methods the world over to both soldiers
and cops and trainers, all of them have tools and
SOP, and ROE's from their units or agencies when
they come into my class - what I teach does not
detract from their toolbox it only enhances it.
(Reread what Fletch FJJ828 worte about his
training with me), again this is still a case of
technique vs philosophy.
We focus more on the life & death apsects...of
course we touch on all areas, but we do so to
show how the scenario can switch in a nano
second, on the dime - as I stated a couple of
times, we are specialists, teaching LEO's &
trainers how to win the 'out-of-control- fight...
Also there are many many very good training
systems out there (especially within the grappling
methods: Gracie, Machado, Shamrock etc) who all
have tweaked their MA program to address the
LEO arena, so our focus is taking trainers who
have the SOP foundation and showing them the
Murphy moments and conversions...
As to some of your specific questions about our
methods, when it comes to military or LEO
strategies I am very particular with what I discuss
in this forum or other open forums and as this is
the Mental Edge and not a LEO forum I'd rather not
get into tactics and methods here. I trust you
Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet at a
conference or seminar. Until then stay safe.
It was pretty clear in this thread and in the private e-mail conversation Tony and I had afterwards that we were not "connecting." Much of the problem, I see now, was semantic, and due to the limitation of the medium. I had purchased one of Tony's tapes before this conversation even began, because I like to put my money where my mouth is and wanted to get a glimpse of his system, and he conversation was an outgrowth of my interest. The tape I got was "Groundfighting vs. the Armed Assailant."
Let me just say Tony is very much teaching reality. Starting with what was only an ad for High Gear, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much similar to what we have experienced at VPD in our DT force-on-force drills and our SWAT Close Quarters Confrontation program, and to what I have experienced in the field. The things demonstrated ARE what comes out under stress, time and again, scenario after scenario, fight after fight. When you train this way, you get better at operating under stress with things that will work and will save your life. Watching what he does, far more than talking about it on the Internet, showed me that we are very much coming from a similar place in our ideas of what makes good training.
The groundfighting portion covered many of the questions I had, in terms of top control position on prone/supine subjects, in this case armed individuals. It is geared to civilians but the crossover is clear...the big picture stuff, the strategy and tactics for dealing with such situations, is well illustrated by what he is doing, and exactly what I meant when I was trying to state my point.
I now better understand where he is coming from, in the sense that the people he is teaching will be for the most part rank-and-file. Even most SWAT operators are not skilled martial artists able to translate training to practical application. Instead they need to concentrate on the mindset and big picture strategies that Tony concentrates on, while practicing a few high percentage tactics that adapt well to different situations. Tony doesn't do what he is actually, physically doing justice, though, because what he does, whether you call it groundfighting, ground control, or whatever, is some very good stuff.
Glad we are on the same page after all. I teach DT and work SWAT as well. This place is a wealth of information for sure.
Welcome to the Mental Edge.
Just stating the facts as I see 'em. I felt that the way the thread went, it was my professional obligation to clear the air.
The last part of my post above is pretty garbled. I was trying to say that when Tony says he doesn't deal with techniques, he doesn't do what he teaches justice. There is a big difference between "technical strategies," or sound tactics, so to speak, and rote "if this--do that."
The latter don't work under stress and the storm of real violence. The former, which as he characterized it can be seen as "more desirable" vs. "less desirable" ( "the economics of violence"...this stuff must just come naturally to him ;) ) is spot on and what I was trying to convey, if not very successfully.
I am thinking of getting another vid now....
Classy reply Chris, thanks I appreciate the time
you took both as a warrior and as a man to
investigate (you purchased a video and watched
with an open mind) and then to revisit our dialogue
and this thread.
Stay safe and looking forward to meeting you one