Today was one of my police days. As most of you that know me are aware, I volunteer 16 hours every month at the police department in order to keep my police certification. I was a police officer before I was a decorator...I started in law enforcement back in 1983. Anyway, even though I don't make a living at it anymore, I still do it a couple of times a month...play cop :) Here's a picture...it's from early last year, but you get the idea...
So today was a training day...defensive tactics. This means I get to refresh myself on how to handcuff bad guys and how to deal with them when things go badly (ie, someone wants to resist arrest.) I love this kind of stuff. It's fun to test my limits and also to make sure I know how to handle myself in a situation. It's also good to be able to show the other officers I work with that even though I am a decorator, I can still mix it up and they can count on me if they need backup.
I was a little afraid of going all-out today because I pulled something in my lower back last week (a by-product of belly dancing lessons, but that's another story...) I was thinking I should take it easy today, but when I got into the training, I found that I wasn't able to really hold back...it's just too much fun to go for it! We went over the usual stuff, kicks and palm strikes and handcuffing, but then we also worked on dealing with guys who want to fight you. For example, guys who do UFC (Ultimate Fight Club training) or mixed marshal arts. We learned what to look for in order to spot the signs that someone is trained in hand to hand combat and then what to do if they start getting the upper hand in a fight. Man, was that fun!
I had never heard the term "in the guard." What this means is that the bad guy is on his back and you (the officer) are in front of them, between their legs, and their ankles are crossed. You are at a big disadvantage in this position. Then there is the "closed guard" which means the guard position plus they have your head pulled down to their chest and they are holding you there with their hand over the back of your head and their elbows pulled in. Kind of hard to picture, but trust me, you don't want to be there! Anyway, we were learning what to do if this happens...Cool! Here's a picture of a "closed guard."
So in the afternoon, a couple of the trainers put on "red man" suits. These are suits that cover most of the body with thick padding so that the people in training can go "all out" and punch and kick as hard as they can in order to make sure they are doing the maneuvers correctly and safely. Here's a picture of a red man suit...
I was told to get in Red Man's closed guard (refer to picture above.) Once I was in position, the fight was on. Red Man (being taller than I) had a long torso and of course was stronger than me. He had me locked in really tight, but I was able to maneuver around and get my head free. He had me firmly gripped between his legs however, and I fought to get free. It's weird punching someone with the thick padding because although they can feel the blows, they don't hurt, so they don't stop what they are doing. I literally had to throw my body forward towards his head while pounding on his chest with my fists locked together in order to start making any progress to move out from his legs. Once I started throwing myself upwards to his head, he twisted me with his hips and I was able to turn and start punching the side of his thigh repeatedly. The other officers standing around us were shouting at me to do various other moves like a knee strike to Red Man's groin, but it was impossible to get my knee far enough back from his groin to deliver a sound strike. I worked and finally was able to get some footing and then kicked my way out, finally breaking free with what felt like the hardest kick I have ever delivered to the side of his chest. I was able to back away, which was the ultimate goal.
What a rush that was! I was absolutely exhausted! I am sure the actual fight only lasted about a minute, but it felt like 10 minutes. The best part of all of it was just knowing that if I should ever find myself in that position (God forbid!) I will be able to fight my way out of it. A great boost to my confidence!