When one sees "Principles of Control" or "Principles of Subject
Control" listed in a defensive tactics course including those presented
by commercial trainers, one is seeing the results of our innovation. In
1981, we developed "Principles of Control" training, due to the lack of
basic user and instructor level understanding concerning:
biomechanics - how the body works (mechanically) to attack / defend /
control / resist. Officers who are smaller or unaccustomed to dealing
with physical violence especially need to understand practical body
cognitive psychology - what and how humans perceive, pay attention
to, remember, learn, and decide - especially in acute stress and
- trauma psychology - what happens during and after critical
- practical use of force theory.
This material is presented in an understandable way and serves to
help the officer avoid panic and make beneficial split second tactical
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In the early 1980s, we developed "Speedcuffing." We were dissatisfied
with existing handcuffing methods. As is our practice in all
developmental endeavors, we started with the basic question, "What is
the purpose for teaching officers to handcuff in a particular way?" The
answer we accepted was - specific procedures for handcuffing must
improve the officer's probability of controlling a subject if he attacks
or resists while being handcuffed, otherwise they are irrelevant.
Therefore, handcuffing procedures must improve the officer's ability to
appropriately neutralize both resistance and attack, or why waste time
on pointless training?
We proceeded to put all known handcuffing methods to this test and
none proved practical. They did not seem to generate improved ability to
overcome resistance, stop attack, or facilitate escape as necessary.
We subsequently used body mechanics, movement dynamics, cognitive
psychology, historical research, and our collective experience to
develop our physical procedures. We then organized these procedures and
necessary knowledge according to situations that the officer may
encounter into a systematized method, "Speedcuffing." We published a
book, Speedcuffing, A Tactical Handcuffing System. By its nature,
Speedcuffing is situational and tactical.
Quickly, commercial trainers adopted and taught versions of
Speedcuffing, using our book Speedcuffing as the information
source. One can now find versions of "Speedcuffing" taught by commercial
Incidentally, the term "Speedcuffing" does not refer to uncontrolled
fast action, but to efficiency and the ability to react quickly to deter
and otherwise prevent loss of control during critical events.
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EXTENDIBLE BATON TRAINING
We developed and introduced systematized extendible baton training
within the United States and advised the first U.S. manufacturer of
extendible batons. Our information still appears in the written material
accompanying new batons.
Our straight and extendible baton course is more practical, realistic,
and effective than courses provided by baton manufacturers. Unlike a
firearm, the effectiveness of a baton depends more on the user and the
method of use than on the baton itself.
The user of a firearm, no matter how big, strong, agile, or
aggressive, must simply pull the trigger while pointing at the target.
The firearm will supply the predetermined quantity and quality of force
in a predictable way.
The baton, however, depends on the user to provide power, strength,
agility, and motivation at relatively close range. Consequently,
probable success does not depend on the instrument, such as the firearm
/ ammunition combination, but upon the user and the way the baton is
The effects of the baton can range from insignificant to brutal,
depending on the way in which it is used. With the baton, training is of
paramount importance. The baton training we developed is realistic to
the degree that injuries must be prevented.
In fact, we initiated the concept and basic design of several pieces
of "Redman" protective equipment in order to conduct safe, but realistic
baton training. Recognizing the need, we went to Macho Products with
design suggestions for certain pieces of protective equipment. This
equipment is now standard, but our baton training remains state of the
art. We have been adapting and improving it continuously for over ten
The extendible baton, itself, does not have increased efficiency over
other impact weapons, but with realistic tactics, it does offer
advantages over them.
Use of the baton and other less-than-lethal weapons, must be
considered in light of other technology, such as OC (pepper spray).
Training in the baton, for example, must be accomplished in conjunction
with other alternatives, where appropriate, so that the officer is
trained to decide as well as perform techniques.
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EXECUTIVE PROTECTION TRAINING
John Desmedt developed the practical and adaptable system used by the
U.S. Secret Service for close proximity protection. It includes
original concepts and methods to deal with situations found in the wide
range of executive protection responsibilities. The training is
complete and integrated - it all works together. Unlike the usual
executive protection courses, this training includes all the theory,
tools, and practice so that, no matter what size team or the extent of
resources, graduates will perform as cutting edge professionals.
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THE DESMEDT / YELON OPEN SKILL TRAINING METHOD
Because so much of law enforcement work is comprised of open skills
(e.g. handcuffing, using a control instrument, interviewing suspects,
etc.), we have developed an entire instructional theory for open
psychomotor skills. This theory is recognized nationally, and has been
applied to areas of critical skill training unrelated to defensive
tactics. Skill training material, which we were instrumental in
developing is taught at Michigan State University College of Education.
The theory, as it relates to defensive tactics, is all inclusive. It
addresses design, development, training protocols, correction, coaching,
simulation, injury prevention and management, debriefing, and the
several necessary forms of testing. All components are interrelated.
The background of our instructional theory is complicated, but its
purpose is to make learning as simple as possible for the trainee, and
to allow the trainee to learn more fully. This theory extends to the way
that we teach instructors to treat trainees.
We do not emphasize competition. We emphasize teamwork,
responsibility, and organization. We do not work to place trainees in
"no win" situations. They may work themselves into "no win" situations,
but then we ensure that they have learned the solution by allowing them
further practice. We do not harass trainees. We make them competent to
think and stand-up under pressure. We challenge trainees, but first we
train them how to meet the challenge. They know what it takes and they
are taught to recognize when they are missing the prerequisites for
THE DESMEDT / YELON OPEN SKILL TESTING METHOD
Early in our developmental stages, we identified the absence of and
the need for valid and defensible testing methods. We developed a theory
and procedures for testing all necessary components of use of force
training. We then submitted our methods and procedures to Dr. Robert
Singer, Florida State University, a pioneer in the field of Movement
Science, and to Dr. Stephen Yelon, Michigan State University College of
Education for critique and enhancement. We also subjected our evaluation
protocols to an inter-rater reliability study. Subsequently, Dr. Yelon
studied our methodology for an extended period of time and helped
develop our psychomotor skill training theory.
When contacted by the FBI Academy, Firearms Training Unit, to present
an expert session to FBI Instructors on the development of psychomotor
skill training as it relates to firearms training, Dr. Singer referred
Quantico to us.
More information on our testing methods can be found in the
"Testing and Certification of Instructor
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