Defensive tactics training: The Sankyo technique

Becoming proficient at the lost art of empty hand control is within your grasp if you have patience and commitment


Having been an active street cop for the entire 33 years of my police career, as well as an active police trainer for 43 years, in this series I share some of the defensive tactics techniques that helped me prevail on the street. The series presents a variety of defensive tactics in a format that allows you to follow the instructions and practice the technique. Remember practice makes prepared.

Sankyo is an Aikido technique that is extremely effective and applicable for controlling resistant subjects. However, it requires a deep commitment to training in the technique before attempting to overcome resistance on the street.

For me, that meant I practiced it for years before I felt I owned it. Once the technique was mine and its many applications understood and mastered, it became one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox. I used it when I found myself making an arrest of a resistant suspect in the presence of a crowd that had either the potential to turn into friend or foe.

The times I used it in front of such a crowd, it not only controlled the suspect without injury but the crowd was so fascinated by the technique that they did not turn on me. Sankyo never failed to turn a crowd from, “Get your f----ing hands off him!” to, “Wow! That was cool.” Sometimes they even applauded.

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