T Nation

Good Sources for Combatives/Self Defense Info


i was wondering if anyone could direct me to some good sources of LEO combatives and self defense sources of information.....

i've been looking at some stuff by Loren Christiansen and Kelly McCann, but not sure who else to look for.

i'm mainly looking at the pratical application/theory of law enforcement H2H stuff, since i'm working on a defensive tactics program....



When you say combatives are you concerned with close quarters gun, knife, and empty hand or with arrest techniques?


mainly empty hand, but integrated use of force options too (Taser, OC, baton, duty knife, Glock)....

i initially lloked into some of the converntional self defense stuff, but the mindset is a lot different. obviously MMA stuff is too...


Disclosure: I am not now, nor have I ever been a sworn officer. So, if that needs to diminish any of the following please do so. I am also recommending these instructors based on video and written material, not personal experience (although I am going to get to a class or two this year if work permits), so diminish accordingly.

For use of force / weapons at close range, the two instructors whose material has impressed me are Gabe Suarez and someone who goes by the moniker of Southnarc. Gabe Suarez is sort of a polarizing figure in firearms training for two reasons. The first is his past, was LAPD but left after/during fraud allegations about on the job and caught some kind charge and did a small sentence. He is also very vocal about his Christian faith, 700 club kind of vocal. This may be too much for some, however I have never heard in person or seen in print any serious criticism of his teaching ability or the techniques he uses. He puts an emphasis on close quarters gun work and force on force training. He has collaborated with Marc Denny, of Dog Brothers, to produce videos on these topics. His training organization is Suarez International.

Southnarc is / was a Memphis undercover narcotics officer. He has a strong background in Pekiti Tersia Kali and is most well-known for reverse grip edge back knife work. He also teaches classes on close quarter combatives and gun deployment. Because of his against the grain techniques he has been involved with the development of several specialized knives. His training organization is called, I shit you not, Shivworks.

The reasons I bring these two up are they deal with the close range weapons environment from a combative rather than marksmanship standpoint. There are a ton of good firearms instructors out there to teach marksmanship and tactics, but there is an emphasis on range. In fact many of the standards of marksmanship are diametrically opposed to close range combat. Stable and steady base vs. keep moving. Focus on the front sight versus watch the other guy. Fine vs. gross motor skills.

Take the often referenced Tueller (21 ft. rule drill). Outside of the 7 yard window most people need to approach things from marksmanship (sights, trigger discipline, stable firing platform) in order to hit moving targets (not saying you stand upright on a two way rang, just pointing out that you are SHOOTING and maneuvering). However the draw and fire marksmanship exercise quickly turns into a get this SOB off me fight were you are FIGTING first and trying to use specific weapons second.

Both instructors also emphasize pressure testing and working in fucked up (I apologize, the fluid and dynamic nature of combat) situations. When you consider that officers get killed in car crashes first and by ambush second it makes sense to do a lot of training from the try to make bad things stop right now defensive standpoint as opposed to the offensive, SWAT, tactical, warrant service, cool guy standpoint.

As for restraint and control techniques, I have no interest in handcuffing anyone, but every LEO I have ever worked out with or taught has hated the techniques they were required to use. Upon examination they simply were not taught how to apply the joint locks, pins, and controls in anything approaching a technical and useful manner. My advice is to look into Japanese Jujutsu or Aikijutsu for the specifics of how to apply the techniques. Wally Jay is amazing. I really like the curriculum Loren Christianson shows in his Defensive tactics book, but I donâ??t think the instruction is as complete as I would like. Of course the techniques are ones that I have been practicing for 15 odd years so I am probably a bit myopic in my view. If you want to discuss the specific joint locks or general principals of making this shit work I am game.


Suarez International


Die Less Often w Suarez and Denny

Die Less Often 2

Loren Christensen


bush aren't you a LEO?


Loren Christensen is a very good choice, being as he is/was a cop for many years. I do believe he has books that specifically pertain to shit a cop would use, as well as other stuff like the "fighter's fact book," which is phenomenal as well.

Kelly McCann is pretty much the baddest dude on the planet as far as I'm concerned. I don't know how much of his stuff could be used in an arrest, unless you wanted to arrest the guy in different pieces, but I have his book "Combative for street survival" and it's fantastic.

If I had the money, I would buy every DVD and book that guy ever put out.

Another one to check out may be Marc Macyoung. He gets heavily into the psychological/sociological side as well as the blunt force trauma side, depending what book you get. I think he has one specifically for cops also. His site is, http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com. It's a great one.

Finally- go for Rory Miller as well. Meditations on Violence is actually one of the finest all around books I've ever read. He's a CO in a jail, so he's got the same kind of perspective you might have as well.

I hear alot about Peyton Quinn as well, never read his stuff but I trust the advice of the people who have.

In general, go through Paladin Press' website. They've got everything by everyone and probably some more authors that can help you.


I did one of Blauer's seminars, he's got some interesting ideas. Not sure if I'd pay his prices, but if someone else was picking up the tab it's definitely worth it.



cool-thanks for the info!


did you do that in the US or up in Canada?

i got a free promotional DVD from him a while back, and while i liked the info, have a hard time footing the bill on the training materials all by myself. i think a seminar would be a different story, tho...


cool, thanks for the clarification on McCann...yeah, i'm not looking for sport fighting, self defense or anything like that, but stuff we can implement in training fellow cops starting from the "interview stance" to affect an arrest (among other things)



me and my PD's main defensive tactics instructor are looking at setting up some training for our guys here, and i'm trying to look at some stuff that we don't use much. or, instead of fighting from a fighting stance, starting from an interview stance...i suppose more situational type stuff.


The DT guys at our local PD have adopted the "Spear" followed up with knee strikes leading into take downs as their "go to" move in a spontaneous attack. It works well from an interview stance, is gross motor skill based adaptable and easy to teach. As a side note we also use the Blauer "High Gear" as the fight suits for our simulation training. It is great both for hands on and simmunition stuff, so you can integrate shooting into your scenarios, if desired. It is slightly less protective than say the FIST suits but the mobility is awesome (steep price tag though).


Actually, I misspoke about McCann. He does A LOT with cop tactics. Here's some videos I found on youtube after a quick search. I really can't recommend him enough.

This one I'm sure you see as a cop. God knows I've seen this shit enough in bars before the trouble starts.


It was in the US, the agency sent a couple dozen of us to evaluate it for possible integration into the academy defensive tactics training. They were thinking about trying to combine it with Krav Maga style H2H. No comment on that part, I think they just thought it sounded "more complete" than the SPEAR training alone, plus it lets them give money to more contractors who know the right people.

No idea if they ever took action on it, they hadn't when I left in 2009 and none of the academy DT instructors I know have mentioned any changes except for a drastic reduction in the PT they're allowed to inflict upon trainees.


i'm kinda torn on Blauer's stuff....i like the concept of the SPEAR and have used it successfully, but he seems to have based a whole system around one thing, and the price is insane. however, i did see today on his site that if you're military or LE there's a massive discount ( 25% )...

i'm prolly pick up some stuff by McCann and Christinsen evaluate that, and go from there...

Thanks again for all the input and advice!

EDIT: just saw a book by Gabe Suarez and Jeff Cooper that i'll prolly pick up, too...



Oh, I gotta try this variation. The "armdrag" as we call it is a very useful move when dealing with semi-resisting guys or when coming from the side to an escalating argument with pushing and pulling. I usually power through resistance(the putting for on the elbow and "circling"), but this variation might be something to teach the less powerful bouncers.


Check out Richard Ryan's stuff. He trains a lot of law enforcement:
* Trainer of S.W.A.T. and special operations teams
* State of Arizona certified Law Enforcement/Defensive Tactics Instructor â?? first civilian in Arizona to be certified an Arizona Peace Officerâ??s Standards and Training (AZPOST) General Instructor
* Former Member of the AZPOST Defensive Tactics Subject Matter Expert Committee
* Former Use of Force Technical Training Advisor for AZPOST
* AZPOST Certified High Risk Vehicle Stop Instructor and Officer Survival Instructor
* Author of the majority of the AZPOST Defensive Tactics and Impact Weapons Training Manual currently used by all law enforcement agencies in Arizona
* Arizona Law Enforcement Advisory Council (A.L.E.A.C.) Advanced Defensive Tactics Instructor
* Court appointed expert witness in the use of edged weapons and law enforcement defensive tactics
* American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers (ASLET) Law Enforcement Trainer
* Designer of Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy's (S.A.L.E.T.A.) Edged Weapons Officer Survival Program

I'm not exactly sure what Sifu Ryan charges LE for his training materials (if there is a discount) though. If you're interested I can try to find out for you (and find out if he has special materials for LE).

In regards to the videos:

I like McCann's retractable baton stuff while standing (though I think there are better defensive positions than the one he showed), and while the stuff on the ground would work given the right situation, he is obviously not used to training against people with good grappling bases if he thinks that breaking someone's balance forward will be as easy as he shows in the video.

His stick against knife stuff is dangerous at best though. If you have a weapon with greater range, you always want to try to maintain that range. You never want to allow the attacker to get close enough to you to be able to reach your vital targets (especially with something as elusive, fast, and deadly as a knife). He never once mentioned stepping back out of range with that "defanging" tactic. It is also extremely difficult to land a stick strike on an attacker's arm like that in real time and if you miss (and you don't maintain your distance cushion) you are in real trouble.

The second technique is even more dangerous as the attacker is now in range to do serious damage. You NEVER want to reach out away from your body to try to block a knife attack like he demonstrates. Go ahead and give a training partner a magic marker or action flex blade and you try to block their knife attack (tell them that they can attack you with the knife any way they want to) with your training stick (once again I like action flex stuff because you can train full speed and power without risk of injury).

If you can even hit his arm on a consistent basis then you are either really good, or he is really slow. At that range, screw trying to his his hand and instead just aim at his head. Use the free arm to shield/cover/absorb the knife strike. Yes, you will get cut or stabbed, but you'll survive. If you are wearing body armor, even better because you have less targets that you need to defend with your arm.

I like the handshakes video and the arm drag, though using both hands to pull down on the arm works better than 1 in my experience.

Christensen never made mention of it, but you need to position your lever (forearm, wrist, hand) on the triceps golgi tendon if you want that technique to work like it should (and make it so that the user's/opponent's size/strength doesn't matter as much). If you do that (and you make sure to "steer" their wrist to line the elbow joint up where you want it to be), then you don't have to worry about that circular motion stuff, they will go wherever you want them to go.

From there it's a matter or learning how to re-adjust your lever should they try to "roll" their elbow out of the lock, or knowing how to flow to other locks should they roll out of it before you really get it locked on. Very powerful/practical technique in the right context.


Edit: Actually McCann was backing away while doing the first stick vs knife defense, but I don't think he emphasized enough how important staying out of range of the knife is.



Your comments are exactly why I qualified my recommendation with not "as complete as I would like". I agree. I also think emphasizing abducting the arm you are controlling is key to making that restraint work with efficiency.


Robert A


Sento- I know what you're saying, but really, McCann is showing cop tactics, not UFC stuff. I wouldn't worry too much about guys "with a good grappling base" when you're arresting drunks or drug addicts or whatever. It's possible you come across it but not likely.