The full gymnasium at the Los Angeles Sheriff's STAR center in Whittier spoke to a clear hunger for female-specific training. This in-service day taught the fundamentals of Krav Maga self-defense for women in law enforcement, and it was well received.
Corrections deputies who process and transport inmates at the agency's jails, and those who work patrol shifts, took time on their day off to soak up the knowledge.
Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system that teaches striking, wrestling, and grappling and it has been adopted by many law enforcement trainers as an effective approach for street fights and jail scuffles. It offers plenty of tools to the smaller deputy or officer who finds herself under attack by a larger suspect.
These engagements typically occur within eight feet, which is closer than the optimal TASER range of eight to 18 feet.
Dep. Alaina Clark, who escorts prisoners on her security detail in lock-up, wants to be as prepared as she can to handle a physically larger subject until the cavalry arrives.
"Going up against a guy, it's going to be harder," Dep. Clark tells POLICE Magazine. "If they see us as weak and they don't want to go back to jail, they will try to take us out."
The in-service training led by Kelly Campbell, a senior instructor with Krav Maga Worldwide, boosted the confidence of deputies who learned several moves that were combined in a stress drill that capped the day.
Krav Maga, which was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld and provided to IDF Jewish special forces units during the 1948 war that created Israel, emphasizes counter-attacking an aggressor's force to neutralize the threat. The system's philosophy can be boiled down to the acronym R.C.A.T. (Redirect, Control, Attack, and Take Away).
"While I'm being attacked, I need to take that away," Sgt. Michael Davis explains. "I'm going to bring the fight to them."
Because these attacks require effective empty handed defense with personal weapons (fists, legs, and head), the training provided fundamentals of strikes, teaming up deputies and handheld pads for the lessons.
"For me personally, her talking to us and empowering us, it just gives us more confidence on patrol," said Dep. Yvette Mattes, an 11-year patrol deputy assigned to Industry station. "We've been in fistfights in the field. We have to get the subject to comply with us."
VIDEO: Krav Maga Handgun Defense