An Odd X-mas Party

On December 1st, 2015 a large contingent of Police Judo volunteers were out in full force to help support the Odd Squad's annual Odd X-mas party. The evening was hosted by local author and musician Aaron Chapman and featured the legendary Jim Byrnes on guitar. Central City Brewery provided the comfortable space for the 200+ guests. Odd Squad Productions is a charitable organization founded almost twenty years ago by many of the same principals who founded Police Judo. Below is an article from Blush Magazine highlighting the night:


The “Odd Christmas Party” an evening with Jim Byrnes


Whether you have heard of them yet or not, Odd Squad members have been making a difference in our city’s most troubled area since 1997.  A group of concerned Down Town East Side (DTES) beat cops decided to “take something out of that sordid mess that we were tasked with policing and make it positive” was how founding member and new Executive Director, Tobin Hinton, described the beginning. Operating as a charitable entity, the group does not receive any funding or financial support from the Vancouver Police Department and the contributors are made up of police officers, retired officers, and volunteers. This year’s annual Christmas fundraiser was held at Central City on Beatty Street and it was packed.

The Legendary Jim Byrnes at the Odd X-mas party

The Legendary Jim Byrnes at the Odd X-mas party

The original team created a “reality type” drug education presentation for youth and the community. They began filming documentaries through Odd Squad Productions, which are now presented across the country.  The goal is to educate youth about the realities of life on the street and the devastation caused by drug use and gang life. Tobin, who served 24 years in the DTES as a street cop, explained how the devastation on the street is a real shock when it is presented from a reality point of view. “A lot of the film subjects we were friends with from the street, many are no longer with us. Serena Abbotsway was one of the first victims identified on Pickton’s farm…April Reoch, Tears for April, she was murdered in 2000. We have strong personal connections and the need will always be there.”

Di Zoppa - OSP President and Toby Hinton OSP Executive Director

Di Zoppa - OSP President and Toby Hinton OSP Executive Director

Juno award winner and Entertainment Hall of Famer, Jim Byrnes, sits on the board of directors for Odd Squad and also gives of his time to perform at the fundraising events.  Between sets I caught up with Jim to find out why he was so passionate about supporting this cause. “I’ve got some real good friends who were the guys who started this.  Myself, I was on that street at one time in my life, I know what life on the street is like and I know how things can go. A couple bad decisions and things can go wrong.  I was lucky to have people that loved me and I was able to walk away from that street.” Jim went on to share, “I think that the work that we do with the Odd Squad to show what can happen and to show young people how to make better decisions is so important…I will support it to the bitter end.”

Diana Zoppa, the new president, got her start with Odd Squad back in 1998 when she organized their first fundraiser at the Commodore. “I’ve been with them ever since.” Diana shared some thoughts as the successful event came to a close. “Our goal was about $40,000 and I am sure we met it.” The next event for Odd Squad Productions? “We have an event that we do in May called Jewels and Jeans which we have always done at Birks.” Plans for 2016? “We are going to educate as many kids as we can with Peer2Peer programs, give more presentations all over the lower mainland and produce 3 big films. We are also really focused on gang awareness.”

The Odd Squad and the Police Judo Volunteers after a hard night of work!

The Odd Squad and the Police Judo Volunteers after a hard night of work!

A great cause and a really great group of people giving a tremendous amount back to the community. If you would like more information, please go to

Lead story on Blue Line magazine - October 2015

Original article on Blue Line:

Tactical Repositioning

Moving out of the Spotlight
by Al Arsenault

There has been significant lop-sided media coverage on recent shootings of ‘unarmed’ subjects, especially those armed with non-firearm weapons. Apart from the howls of racism, much of the focus, particularly stateside, has been on distance between combatants and the ensuing time (and number of shots) needed to stop the unfolding threat. 

The Las Vegas Police Department has decided to include de-escalation techniques in use-of-force training. 

There are two major issues with deadly threat situations: a basic deficiency in the public understanding of the use of lethal force (and possibly) a lack of training in how to make critical decisions in deadly force calls. 

The great social divide between the community and police is magnified when police are forced to save their own lives by using deadly force as per their training. Some blacks and all police haters see the outcome as mentally ill black men or innocent ‘unarmed’ teens being “gunned down by trigger-happy cops.” 

This article’s purpose is threefold: 

  1. To help police review the situationally underutilized tactic of using cover when facing a non-firearm weapon or even bodily force; 
  2. To allow officers to escape much of the unwanted post-shooting aftermath by using such cover as an (apparent) attempt to spare the aggressor’s life; and
  3. To help save the lives of people who are in essence committing ‘suicide by cop’ by buying time for the use of additional tactical options. 

The racial fence appears to be growing higher by the day. The Michael Brown shooting and, to a lesser degree, the proximal St. Louis shooting of Kajieme Powell, (which unlike the Brown shooting, was caught in its entirety on video) has brought the issue of police use of deadly force to the forefront for discussion. 

Police in the latter case were quick to report the facts rather than provide the usual conspiracy-inspiring “No comment.” Powell charged at officers with a knife and, according to standard training protocol, they neutralized the deadly threat he presented. That protocol is largely based upon three factors: 

  1. Does the assailant have a weapon capable of causing grievous bodily harm or death to the officer or others? 
  2. Was the assailant ordered to drop the weapon and did they do so? 
  3. Did the offender keep advancing? This simple check list does not account for all situations encountered on the street. 

Could more be done to spare a life? When shootings have an appearance of being deserving and post-shooting actions reflect lifesaving care, not disdain for the offender, public trust and confidence in the police can be maintained despite the tough circumstances for both the police agency and community. 

The family of the ‘victim’ seldom back deadly police actions. Body cameras are a technological advancement that will do much to show the stark realities of deadly threats that officers must face. In time, and with public education about the handling of potentially deadly threats, the divide between police and the public may shrink. 

Whether so stated or not, some people are hell-bent on killing themselves by attacking police and often there’s little that can be done to prevent those sorry outcomes. 

There is always the possibility of using less-lethal options, but only if they are actually available at that moment, using them does not jeopardized officer lives and lethal over-watch is in place. 

Even the appearance of trying to spare an attacker’s life can go a long way to quell the notion that police are murderous, racist, uncaring thugs, because nothing could be further from the truth. 

Furthermore, attempting to save the offender’s life after the threat has been neutralized can go a long way in appeasing the critical eye of the public. 

Making every effort to provide swift medical attention, ensuring that ambulance assistance is a priority (and radio traffic shows this was the case), even if all these efforts are done in the face of a grim prognosis, is much better for the officer, the critical public and, most importantly, ensuing legal proceedings. 

Time is of the essence  

To be clear, I strongly advocate using lethal force to stop deadly threats and do not favour seeing police officers hung out to dry (“thrown under the bus”) merely for protecting themselves and the public. 

If a ‘man with a knife’ can get close enough to an officer, he certainly has the potential to injure or kill, regardless of whether he is bleeding from gunshot wounds, mentally ill, an upstanding, church-going family man or what have you. 

Officers cannot merely take a single shot and then assess the damage, if any, to the person charging headlong at them. It’s very difficult to hit a moving target anywhere with a handgun under extreme stress and there’s no guarantee the shot will drop a person instantaneously. 

Taking cover is therefore a prudent tactic even when confronting an inferior weapon. Officers should move to find cover, if possible, to stay safe. 

Once the survival process of pulling the trigger to stop the threat has begun, it is impossible to instantly stop shooting. Making the decision to shoot, to actively pull the trigger, to assess the results, to decide to stop shooting and to physically stop pulling the trigger all take precious fractions of seconds to unfold. This adds up to the possibility of ‘extra’ rounds being fired by an often adrenalized officer in fear for their life. 

These brave public servants deserve to go home to their families and to be supported by the public. Some of the ignorant or misinformed members of society say police should risk a close quarter combat lethal encounter, use a lesser weapon, shoot the knife out of the attacker’s hand or otherwise stop them with a well-aimed leg shot. They must be educated about the huge difference between what is done by fictional characters portrayed in television and movies and what is actually possible in real life (and death) on the street. 

Taking cover 

When responding to ‘man with knife’ calls officers should consider pulling up well short of the subject to automatically build up a functional reactionary gap (buffer zone), seek immediate cover (their patrol car is an obvious choice) or consider a tactical retreat, if possible, for protection from the obvious threat. First responders arriving on foot should immediately look for cover to negotiate from. 

This is not to say officers should shy away from their duty of protecting the public if there is a risk to safety that would likely preclude disengagement. 

However, if the situation permits, using a barrier to ‘hide’ behind should not be viewed as an act of cowardice but as a tactically savvy strategy when discretionary time is available. 

Seeking and using an obstacle places a physical barrier directly in the charging offender’s path, buying the officer more time. The assailant must now deal with that barrier. The additional time creates opportunities to: 

  • Assess the situation and decide what to do about it as dispassionately and expeditiously as possible. 
  • Negotiate with the possibly suicidal (by cop) party. 
  • Deploy less-lethal response options (if available) over the top of, or around, the adopted barrier. 
  • Create precious time for additional resources (including less-lethal response options) to be brought to the scene by nearby back-up officers (if available). 
  • Choose a safer backdrop for discharging a firearm while the surroundings are physically panned. 
  • Think more clearly from behind the safety of solid cover. 

Some officers may tend to stand out in the open because they believe their superior weapon can effectively deal with the threat posed. They may feel reluctant to back away and are essentially using their firearm as a form of ‘cover.’ Some police are trained to look for cover when dealing with edged weapon threats; shooting knife wielders upon first contact is less likely to happen. 

Many officers wait in the open until it’s almost too late to defend themselves. Indeed police often underutilize force even when legally authorized to use it. They would likely be even more reluctant to do so in this hypercritical climate of the current witch hunt against police who use force and the omnipotent gaze of the iPhone paparazzi. 

Let them video away. The perp usually drives the need to use force and can make it stop at any time simply by complying with commands. Take cover or not, the end result may be that the knife-wielder is shot but this deadly game has more far-reaching ramifications than a person dying, as tragic as that is. Think of an officer’s career and personal problems stemming from the stress levels and concomitant years of investigations, inquiries and other legal proceedings. 

What about the social, financial, emotional, reputational and community struggles the officer and agency have to deal with long after the gun smoke clears? On the other side of the fence, what about the ramifications for the deceased person’s family? How does the video (often now arising far more often, even from police-worn body cams) appear to the community? A person brandishing a blade and stalking police is not thinking clearly. Can the outcome of “bringing a knife to a gun fight,” and the optics of the subsequent shooting, be influenced in a more positive way? 

Options and optics 

Have you ever tried chasing someone around a full-size car? In 2007, shortly after I retired, I intervened to assist in ejecting an individual from a 7-11 store. He pulled a knife and attempted to chase me down. I kept him on the other side of a parked vehicle and immediately called 911. My would-be assailant soon realized that he couldn’t catch me as we each had an equal ability to run around the vehicle. 

Informal testing seems to indicate that running around a tight perimeter of a vehicle evens out a chase in a manner a straight-line foot pursuit would not. His foot pursuit was truly futile as I had 22 feet of perimeter distance between us as I maintained an antipodal position to him. I had time on my side to call police and if I had carried pepper spray, I could have safely tried it in this particular situation. (Yes, you can use pepper spray against a knife holder if the situation is right.) 

I acknowledge that some officers work alone in rural settings, totally isolated, standing on frozen ground on highly uneven terrain, without nearby back up, etc. The consequences of tripping and falling could be far more serious than merely losing a stable platform from which to defend yourself. There are certainly many situations in which allowing yourself to be actively stalked by a knife wielder (for the sake of exhausting every possibility) rather than immediately shooting would not be tactically prudent. 

Roll back the surveillance video to determine if taking safe cover was possible but not utilized against a relatively drunk man with a knife who was unsteady on his feet. 

Which scenario would have resulted in fewer repercussions for the officer, the community and in court: the officer openly standing in front of nearby cover and shooting after commands to drop the knife failed, or the officer taking cover and trying to talk him down, calling for less lethal options and otherwise delaying direct lethal engagement of the threat? 

Several problems would have been resolved in the St. Louis shooting had officers taken a position of cover behind their police car rather than driving right up to and openly facing the deadly threat that Mr. Powell presented. It’s all about options and optics; creating more time allows for more options to be considered, making the optics of any shooting less painful to view and easier to support by a concerned and often highly-critical public, the courts and use-of-force oversight boards. 

How much less justification would officers have had to do to the judgmental public and overzealous scrutinizers had they challenged him to drop the knife from behind physical cover? 

Directing Mr. Powell to drop his weapon from behind the ‘cover’ of their sidearms looks far different than doing so from behind a vehicle. Police do not have a duty to retreat (unless they choose to do so for tactical reasons) but standing out in the open in front of a mentally ill, drug-impaired or enraged person is not a tactically sound position to take when cover is available. 

If attempts to communicate fail, that exposed position would likely eliminate any other possible option BUT to shoot. Is it ‘justified’? Probably. Is it absolutely necessary? Maybe, maybe not. Taking cover, a basic police tactic used against individuals armed with a firearm, is a strategy worth considering in dealing with armed offenders who don’t have guns. 

Cause the subject to do more than just approach you. By trying to resolve the situation without the initial (and slightly delayed, if safe) use of a firearm against someone chasing you around a car (or other useful barrier) looks far better than shooting an armed subject who crosses an imaginary 21’ line. 

Police-precipitated homicide 

‘Police-precipitated homicide’ (violence) encompasses the use of poor tactics, like failing to take available cover or getting unnecessarily or prematurely too close to a threat. This ultimately leads to a shooting because a fear of loss of life becomes an imminent reality. Using poor tactics can indeed lead to excessive or unnecessary force. 

The lack of situational awareness in not taking cover where feasible places an officer squarely in the ‘threatened for their life’ zone. The subject’s poor decision-making is compounded, not mitigated, hence the inevitability of a shooting. Sometimes when circumstances allow it, the job can be done in a slightly smarter and more ethical way, notwithstanding the offender may still end up being shot. It will just look better. 

As we know, ‘homicide’ is actually a neutral term meaning a death caused by a fellow human being. I was inspired to coin the term ‘police-precipitated homicide’ after watching several American police shootings of people with knives on freeways or city streets, where a line of officers with a multitude of firearms stood in front of a row of police cars used to block traffic. 

Invariably the emotionally disturbed, shirtless person runs or lunges at police and dies in an intense barrage of gunfire (often only seen on the firing line at the shooting range). Why didn’t these officers think to angle their line of fire off to the side of the highway and have an officer try to hit the subject with a squad car? 

Canadian police are trained to improvise and adapt to challenging situations and not be so reliant on firearms (we see far less gun play), but all police sometimes need reminding to think outside the box in order to: 

  1. Protect themselves from injury or death (and post-shooting liabilities and negative aftermath). 
  2. Possibly save lives. 
  3. More ably justify their actions (to the courts and the community). 

The time to address these issues occurs at the very front end of policing. It requires a collective effort by trainers to provide context and options for making better decisions in using deadly force and to build these skills into officer in-service training. Providing immediate medical assistance to the injured arrestee is also prudent considering that a video record of the encounter will likely exist. 

Whether it is regarded as covering bases or covering butts, ethically and tactically, making a tactical retreat while taking cover is simply the right and smart thing to do in these racially divided times. We need to tear down that problematic fence and put up a tactical barrier. 

Al Arsenault developed expertise in non-firearm weaponry, drugs and beat policing during 27 years in Canada’s most dangerous and challenging beat – Vancouver’s Skid Row. He co-founded the famed Odd Squad in 1997 and published Chin Na in Ground Fighting in 2006. He currently specializes in teaching police combatives through his co-founding of Police Judo in 2010, is writing a book on Police Judo and teaching the essentials of this new martial art to police across North America.  

Kamloops Police Judo starting on September 23, 2015

The Law Enforcement Judo Association is pleased to announce the introduction of a Kamloops Police Judo program, commencing Sept 23rd, 2015. This program will run out of the Aberdeen Judo Academy training facility and will be managed by Police Judo Instructor Brad Endean.

Brad has worked in law enforcement (Sheriffs) for over a decade. He has a long history with the martial arts, and started out studying various styles of karate over 25 years ago. Brad transitioned over to judo training several years ago under Sensei John Huntley and the Aberdeen Judo Academy. Brad is an assistant instructor at the Aberdeen Judo Jr. Program and he has two daughters involved in competitive judo under Sensei John Huntley. He has worked with the Police Judo Association for the past year in attending clinics, studying the training principles, working with the instructors and leading practices and clinics.

Brad will be bringing a challenging, innovative and fun program of Police Judo to Kamloops. This program will be open for anyone interested in law enforcement, fitness, and self defence. The program is a recreational judo-based training program and will serve the community well in terms of offering reality-based training program that emphasizes the some of the same key principles Jigoro Kano established judo with: take care of your partner, and move forward together. 

Brad will be presented with his Police Judo Instructor black belt by JIBC Police Judo Head Instructor Al Arsenault on the inaugural Kamloops Police Judo class Sept 23, 2015. 

Kamloops Police Judo will be running every Wednesday night from 19:00-21:00 hours at the Aberdeen Judo Academy training facility. Please refer to the police judo website ( or the registration page at for more information.

Feedback from Instructor Seminar - Guest Instructor Sensei Hiroshi Katanishi (August 13-14, 2015)

Police Judo instructors are very pleased with the feedback from the recent seminar with Sensei Hiroshi Katanishi for higher level judokas! 100% of the participants who took the survey expressed interest in joining future seminars.

This event was organized by Police Judo (Law Enforcement Judo Association) and Aberdeen Judo Academy, and sanctioned by Judo BC


For more detail about the event see the news from earlier this month: Instructor Seminar - Guest Instructor Sensei Hiroshi Katanishi, 8th Dan 

Instructor Seminar - Guest Instructor Sensei Hiroshi Katanishi, 8th Dan

Presented by Police Judo and Aberdeen Judo

Register Online

Sensei Hiroshi Katanishi:
After graduating from Tenri University(Japan), Mr Katanishi becomes trainer of France’s National judo team. Mr Katanishi has assumed the technical direction for the last 30 years of the Judo Kwai Lauzanne in Switzerland. Mr Katanishi is also Dan Expert, Youth& Sports Expert for the Switzerland Judo Federation. Since 1999, He acts has technical advisor for the Switzerland National team. In 2003, he became the European Union judo expert.

This seminar is for experienced judo members, blue belt and up and will cover a range of topics designed to improve judo techniques and and introducing new training drills and skills. Participants must be 18+ years old.

Date: August 13 and 14, 2015
Registration: 8 AM - 9AM
Seminar: 9 AM - 5 PM
Location: Tactical Training Centre
2010 Glenn Drive, Vancouver , BC
Lunch Presentations -
August 13th - Use of Force, National Use of Force Framework & the value of Tactical Communication - Sgt. Clive Milligan, VPD Force Options Training Unit
August 14th - Police Judo and Law Enforcement - Sgt. Toby Hinton - SFU Police Judo and Ret. Cst. Al Arsenault - JIBC Police Judo

• Maximum 40 Participants
• Participants will be required to sign a waiver as well as a Par-Q form prior to participating in this seminar.
• There will be lunch presentations on both days. If not having the buffet lunch, please bring lunch!

Further information -

Police Judo Food Drive for Yo Bro Youth Activities Society

Thanks very much for the generous spirit demonstrated by members from all three Police Judo clubs with the recent food drive for the after-school Yo Bro martial arts training program. This is a regular program that we are proud to be partnered with as reaching out and giving back is a part of the Police Judo martial arts culture. The youth that are involved in Joe Calendino's Yo Bro program have a real need for the donated food: they work-out hard, burn tons of energy and are in the growing stage of life. We will come calling for a bit of help again soon, but for now rest assured that every little contribution you have provided makes a difference. Below are a few photos of the food after Kyle made the deliveries.

Food drive 3.jpg


The Law Enforcement Judo Association is holding a Takedown, Physical Control, and Handcuffing seminar.

This clinic is open to anyone who is interested in learning effective and ethical arrest, control and handcuffing techniques.

The participants will be instructed by three long term street cops.

Topics covered in this seminar:
• Multi-media presentation on Use-of-Force
• Review of the National Use of Force Framework
• Ethical use of force
• Breakfall training
• Tactical and functional fitness training drills
• Body control / working with the elbow
• Twist Lock for escort, handcuffing, and takedown
• Low-risk high-yield judo takedowns for law enforcement
• Limb control and joint locks
• Groundwork and how it relates to law enforcement
• Functional groundwork drills for law enforcement
• Tactical get-ups
• Controlling the limbs and the person on the ground
• Judo groundwork drills for law enforcement
• Compliant and prone handcuffing
• Multiple assailant drills / multiple officer drills

Ret. Cst. Al Arsenault - Justice Institute of BC Police Judo Instructor, Author, "Chin Na in Ground Fighting", 27 years of experience in street-level policing.
Sgt. Toby Hinton - Simon Fraser University Police Judo Instructor, 25 years policing experience, profiled in "The Beat" reality series.
Sgt. Mark Steinkampf - Justice Institute of BC Police Judo Instructor, 24 years policing experience, profiled in "The Beat" reality series.

Email to register:
Date: May 23, 2015
Time: 9 am - 6 pm
Location: 1465 Pearson Pl, Kamloops, BC
Cost: $125 per person*
*A maximum of 25 participants are permitted.
Click here to download the event poster.

SFU Police Judo Grading - April 23, 2015

Congratulations to all of the members who graded for their hard work and effort this semester!

Parastoo - Yellow belt 
Kylie - Yellow belt 
Vitus - Yellow belt 
Kevin - Orange belt 
Maxium - Orange belt 
Nikika - Orange belt 
Andrea - Orange belt 
Daniel - Green belt 
Darren - Green belt   
Migs - Green belt
Zephan - Green belt
Alexander - Blue belt 
Launa - Blue belt
Julia - Blue belt 
Johan - Brown belt

Higher Belt Seminar at SFU Central Gym on April 25 (Sat.)

The Police Judo Association will be sponsoring and hosting a higher belt seminar. This seminar is free of charge, and open to the members ranking green belt and above. 

This topics will be covered:

  • Philosophy of Police Judo
  • Training Principles
  • Coaching Basics
  • Grading Expectations
  • Techniques Emphasized in Police Judo
  • Connection to Law Enforcement
  • The Junior Program
  • Women in Police Judo
  • Technical Instruction
  • The National Use of Force Framework

There will be practice time on the mats to review techniques and training.

Please advise the respective instructors of your club if you are attending.


Where: SFU Central Gym
When: Sat April 25th, 10 am - 4 pm
Needed: Judo gi, water, snack
Instructors: Brian Shipper, Toby Hinton, Mark Steinkampf, Chin-I Hsiang

Fundraising for Launa - Judo Junior Nationals 2015

Launa Hinton from SFU Police Judo /  Abbotsford Judo will be fundraising for her trip to the Judo Junior Nationals in late May 2015 in Montreal. She will be selling police judo shirts over the next few weeks at all the Police Judo Clubs.

The shirt is a good quality, long sleeve light grey sport shirt with the official "Police Judo" logo embroidered on it. The cost of the shirts are $25 each (XXL $27) and the sizes range from S to XXL. Whatever funds raised (a few dollars a shirt) will be put toward her travel costs. Launa will be taking orders and payment for the shirts. A bulk order will be placed and the shirts will be delivered to the respective clubs in several weeks.

Any support for her fundraising is greatly appreciated!


This seminar will is postponed to the fall. New schedule will be posted at the end of the summer. 

The Law Enforcement Judo Association and Tac Systems are holding a Tactical Police Pistol and Survival Stress Shooting, and a Takedown, Physical Control, and Handcuffing seminar at the Tactical Training Centre. 

This clinic is open only to sworn peace officers who are interested in learning effective and ethical arrest, control and handcuffing techniques from long time street cop, and survival stress shooting from a high-level tactical firearms instructor. 

The participants will be in two groups of 12 with half on the range and half in the Use of Force gym.

Some of the topics covered in the gym portion: 
  •  the science of break falls
  •  low-risk high-yield judo techniques suitable for law enforcement
  •  takedowns
  •  joint locks for control
  •  groundwork drills for law enforcement
  •  multiple officers drills to control active resistant individuals
  •  handcuffing techniques to control aggressive and active resistant individuals 

Topics covered for shooting include:
  •  the science of shooting under stress
  •  gun-handling fundamentals
  •  speed shooting
  •  draw speed
  •  CQT (close quarter tactics)
  •  multiple targets and shooting-on-the-move 

Register at
Date: May 9, 2015  (postponed to Fall 2015 - TBA)
Time: 8 am - 6 pm
Location: Tactical Training Centre
2010 Glen Drive, Vancouver, BC
Cost: $300* per person**

*Cost includes training in a climate controlled, state of the art range, all ammunition for 40cal and 9mm pistols, eye and hearing protection, and light snacks.
**A maximum of 24 participants are permitted.

Download event poster (PDF)

The Rise of Recreational Judo

Interview and article written by Lishan Sharples - March 22, 2015

"My first Judo class was tough but exciting,” reflects Brian Shipper, a longtime Judo practitioner and instructor with the Police Judo Association, an independent and non-profit judo organization that began in the VPD gymnasium on Cordova Street in the early 1990s.

“In the 70s, I began practicing at the Vancouver Judo Club on Hastings. When I was in my early twenties I quickly realized that Judo was a great fit for me. I enjoyed the discipline, embraced the competitive aspect of the sport, as well as the relaxed atmosphere and diligent work ethic of my classmates and instructors. I also appreciated all of the instructors, black belts and more experienced people in the way they looked after me.”

Brian’s first experience is one that is shared by many others who have participated in Judo. “Judo strengthened my spirit and confidence and this has forever played an important role in my life outside of Judo,” Brian reflects. “My first instructor and first great influence in the martial art, Mr. Tamoto, taught quality Judo techniques in a very supportive environment. Mr. Tamoto’s own instructor was a student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, so I was always aware of how fortunate I was to be taught by someone who closely represented the revered lineage of Judo.”

As a long time instructor in Police Judo, Brian has witnessed the original Police Judo club grow to three locations throughout the Lower Mainland as well as several more in the process of being established. “I met Tim Ladler at the Vancouver Judo Club, a black belt who practiced Judo in England. He was later a Judo BC Team coach who had a long history of involvement in Judo as both a martial art and as a sport. I began helping Tim at the SFU Police Judo Club and it grew from there.”

Brian, timing the students during a judo specific cardio exercise   (photo credit:   jane  )

Brian, timing the students during a judo specific cardio exercise
(photo credit: jane)

Tim Ladler is a former Sergeant with the RCMP and currently retired Inspector with the Vancouver Police Department. As the Club grew and attracted more members, both Tim and Brian noticed that the competitive one-on-one sparring sessions, called “randori”, were causing a significant number of injuries to the participants, many of whom were police officers who are required to be healthy in order to perform the rigorous duties of being a law enforcement professional. They both noticed that many of the new participants at the SFU Club were interested in new experiences and enjoyed the Judo workouts and philosophy, but were deterred by the competitive aspect.

As a reaction to this, Brian and Tim began adopting a style of teaching Judo that focused on low-risk, high-yield techniques, many of which were practical to law enforcement professionals. Competitive “randori” was eventually omitted altogether, and was replaced with more cooperative drills that focused purely on improving one’s technique.

“Most, if not all of the participants at the Police Judo Club just wanted to practice Judo technique, learn practical self defense, and get a good workout in,” explains Brian. “No one had any aspirations to compete in tournaments, so we began focusing purely on the recreational and technical side of Judo while promoting a supportive and positive atmosphere without the competitive atmosphere. This was much like the way Mr. Tamoto ran his club.”

Chin-I working with Nitish   (photo credit:   jane  )

Chin-I working with Nitish
(photo credit: jane)

While the structure of the class focuses entirely on exercise, and practicing good technique, the intensity of the class remains high. Each class begins with a 30 minute Judo-specific workout that involves resistance exercise circuits and partner drills. Break-falls are always practiced in order to establish a unity of purpose and engrain one of the most important safety techniques for participants, regardless of belt color. “We believe that in order to have a valuable experience, you must look after yourself and look after your partner,”Brian explains. “Regardless of our experience, we all must practice and maintain our fundamental technical abilities.”

The rest of the class revolves around learning techniques through the instruction of the many experienced and NCCP Coaching Certified instructors. “We focus on low-risk high-yield Judo techniques and we are fortunate enough to have many experienced instructors available who observe and encourage proper technique from all of the participants."

“We expect our higher belts to participate in the NCCP coaching courses so they are able to assist our newer students in a safe and enjoyable manner. We control our entire curriculum and we are not influenced by outside agencies. We have a strong mentorship program thanks to our partnership with high-level Judo black belts and use-of-force experts and are always providing presentations or clinics to our students from these experts. We want to always be expanding our knowledge base.”

The Police Judo Club also goes beyond offering a recreational Judo program. For the past 3 years, The Law Enforcement Judo Association has provided a youth Judo program at the Ray Cam Community Centre. This program is managed by Police Judo black belt Yoon Choi, along with the assistance of other Police Judo Club volunteers. For the past five years, black belt member Chin-I Hsiang has co-ordinated and led the SFU Police Judo Junior programming which also includes an annual summer camp. In addition to this programming, all three Police Judo Clubs support the registered charity, the Yo Bro Youth Initiative, with volunteers for programs such as food drives. In addition, Club volunteers assist Yo Bro founder Joe Calendino with leading martial arts based fitness classes for many at-risk youth.


Whether you are entirely new to martial arts or have many years of experience under your belt, Police Judo offers a new style in the instruction of one of the most well known martial arts. With recreation as the focus of the class, students of all abilities can experience recreational Judo which focuses purely on the execution of good technique, providing a hard but meaningful workout, and giving the opportunity to expand their knowledge of Judo and self-defense in a structured, safe, and supportive environment.

Toby, explaining judo drills   (photo credit:   jane  )

Toby, explaining judo drills
(photo credit: jane)

Today, the Police Judo Club has over 250 members in three different clubs throughout the Lower Mainland (Tactical Training Centre in Vancouver, The Justice Institute in New Westminster, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby). From its inception, the Judo Club has maintained a strong relationship with the law enforcement community. Toby Hinton, a longtime police officer with the VPD and the Clubs first black belt, helped secure the Clubs first location and shift the focus of the curriculum from competitive Judo to recreational and law enforcement based control tactics. The Club has also benefited greatly from the continued support and law enforcement experience of VPD veterans Al Arsenault and Mark Steinkampf, as well as Special Constable Chin-I Hsiang, a black belt from Taiwan. Combined, the Club’s instructors have well over a century of Judo and law enforcement experience.

To be a part of this growing Recreational and Law Enforcement Judo Club, inquire at

Police Judo Association - Starting Jan 2015

The Police Judo Association has formalized our Association as a registered non-profit society. This move now links all three clubs (SFU Police Judo, the Tactical Training Centre Police Judo, and the Justice Institute Police Judo) under one central Association.


Commencing Jan 2015, everyone participating in Police Judo will be required to obtain a membership ($50.00 per year). Membership fees will cover liability insurance for all clubs, equipment costs, and will also assist with the Association operating costs. Although this is an additional charge to students for the Police Judo program, we are maintaining our judo club fees at the current low rates (most inexpensive martial arts program in the Lower Mainland) and now will be providing an additional free practice (open to all members) once a week. 

We have a highly motivated and knowlegeable Board that will help grow and develop Police Judo over the next few years. We will be updating and revising the website and looking forward to the expanding the Police Judo training locally as well as beyond! 

A membership in Police Judo will allow for: 


 - reduced costing for any Police Judo sponsored clinic (there are a number planned for 2015 from NCCP to Handcuffing)


- reduced costing on Police Judo presentations and seminars 


- certified Police Judo Association grading from Yellow Belt through to Black Belt rank in Police Judo


 - Free "Police Judo Team Practice" every Friday night at the Tactical Training Centre Police Judo (sprung floor facility)


There is more to come on this, but it is the first step in our quest to develop and grow the Police Judo program!



Congratulations to all of the Police Judo Students who completed the NCCP Theory and Training Course recently held at Tactical Training Centre.


OCTOBER 17/18 & 24/25 2014

The NCCP theory, multiple sport course includes six modules of the introduction to competition and early childhood physical literacy modules.

Module topics include ethical decision making process, that is required for all sports, as well as practice planning, seasonal planning, mental training, nutrition, and teaching and learning methods. Adult learning techniques for learning are applied, by the instructor as well as required teaching modules by course participants.


Police Judo Students Completing NCCP Training:


Paul B., Clinton S., Danielle S., Olya  A, Serguie Z., James Z., Amanda T., Daniel L., Peter C., Jane D., Ingrid C., Ashley F., Juvon P., Julia K., Mark B., Anthony B. , Kyle C. , Rouzbeh B, Ryan K.




Congrats to the following students who graded at SFU Police Judo for the Fall Semester 2014. Great Work!

Honorable Mention To Mike Mercado on having the most attendance of any student for this year-to-date (including his volunteer help with the Juniors program).

1.   Peter H.- YELLOW

2.    Nathan J. – YELLOW 

3.   Jessica D.– YELLOW 

4.   Christopher J. – YELLOW 

5.   Chelsea B. – YELLOW

6.  .Kevin, C.– YELLOW

7.   Andrea G.- YELLOW 

Brandon F. – YELLOW 

9.  Naimi G. – YELLOW 

10. Yi J. – YELLOW

11. Riley T. –ORANGE 

12.Daniel A. – ORANGE

13.Daniel S. – ORANGE 

14.Steve H. – ORANGE 

15.Koko K. ORANGE 

16.Darren T.- ORANGE 

17. Ali T. – ORANGE 

18. James Z.- ORANGE 

19. Julia K. GREEN 

20. Cody C. – GREEN 

21. Anton I. – GREEN 

22. Olga A. GREEN 

23. William D. – GREEN 

24. Carla T. GREEN 

25. Griffin K. – GREEN 

26. Ashley F. BLUE 

27. Paul B. – BLUE 

28. Michael W. BROWN 

30. Patrick C. – BROWN 63/118

31. Michael M. – BROWN 

32.David S. – BROWN 


A General Costing of Various Fitness Programs vs. Police Judo


At Police Judo, we believe that the best way to learn how to control the human body is to work with the human body. And if we accept that humans tend to perform the way they train when operating under stress, the type of training Police Judo provides for aspiring law enforcement officers (in whatever capacity be it security, corrections, sherifs, police, etc.) is helping them become best prepared and equipped to place hands on individuals when the situation requires it.


There are plentiful opportunities for improving physical conditioning in the Lower Mainland, ranging from Cross-Fit type training to recreational gyms. Being involved in sport or training and getting in peak physical shape is a great asset for policing and at Police Judo we support any effort to maintain a high level of physical conditioning. It is all good. From the pedestrian community centre gym through to the high level jiujitsu program, any time invested into improving physical conditioning (and doing what one likes) is a positive undertaking and will provide good benefit.


However, with busy schedules, and limited time, the serious student pursuing a career in law enforcement is best to start training the way they are going to work and learn the most appropriate functional fitness for the unique demands of their job.


There are some very athletic and fit people who are spending a lot of time working with one dimensional weights, heavy bags that provide no resistance, hanging from bars that won't hurt them, etc. This is completely different than working at developing appropriate police judo throws, balance dills, footsweeps, break falls, takedowns, limb extraction, two-on-one training, and groundwork drills suitable for policing and self defence using (yes - go figure) a real person. 


Police Judo is about developing conditioning and fitness as well as a blueprint for proper, ethical use-of-force skills one may need in the field. Being strong and fit is an important part of the equation, but if individuals are assuming that this is a straight translation into a natural skill set for taking an aggressive and combative individual into custody, they may be a little disappointed in how they perform in real life. Can't recall the last time a police officer had a fight with a tractor tire or a kettle bell.


Martial arts training that involves working out with other participants needs to be appropriate for the unique demands of the law enforcement (i.e. police officers don't want to be dragging someone to the ground to embark on ground fighting as the ground is not a good place to be for anyone in law enforcement, conversely trying to resolve problems with striking "ground and pound" training is also more than inappropriate).


In order to look at the general costing of Police Judo vs. other fitness programs out there, we asked a student to research pricing. Below is the table showing the average costing (these are general snapshots and there may be some variation in pricing for the programming) of various fitness programs in comparison to Police Judo. It should be noted that the JIBC and TTC Police Judo programs run 2x a week for two hour sessions. SFU Police Judo runs 3x a week for two hour sessions.


Considering that at any given practice, between the various black belt instructors on the mat, there is usually several hundred years of martial arts experience and decades of operational police experience represented, there is a pretty decent bang for the buck. And why not get in shape learning something that is going to be very practical and useful for a career in law enforcement? 



*all Crossfit Affiliates require that their patrons complete a “Fundamentals” program to learn the proper exercise technique. These private or semi-private sessions range from 5-10 classes and cost between $350-$800

$180/month no contract*

$165/month, 1 year contract*


MMA/Brazilian Jui-Jitsu

$180/ month unlimited, no contract

$150/ month one discipline, no contract

$125/ month, 1 year contract

$100/ month one discipline, 1 year contract


Boot Camp Group Fitness Classes

$300/ month unlimited, 1 month contract

$169/month unlimited, 12 month contract



$125/ month, no contract



$110/ month unlimited classes, no contract


Tae Kwon Do

$100/ month


Steve Nash Fitness World Membership/ Park Board Fitness Centre Membership

*depending if there is a contract signed

$25-$90/ month*


1 Tim Hortons Doughnut and 1 Double-Double Every Day for One Month



Spin Class with Park Board: 10 tickets



Police Judo at the TTC

$200 for 4 months – no contract

 (Sworn Police Officers: Free)


Police Judo at the JIBC Police Judo Club:

$200 for 4 months – no contract

(Police Officers and LESD Students: $100 for 4 months)


SFU Police Judo

$120 for 4 months – no contract – 3x a week

 (Sworn Police Officers: Free)


Days Gone Past: Police Judo Black Belts Meet Judo Legend

Police Judo Instructor Chin-I Hsiang and Police Judo Assistant Instructor Adelphie Cheng were fortunate to have the opportunity to attend an all-female judo training clinic sponsored by Sensei Keiko Fukuda at the Joshi Training Camp in San Jose California in 2012. At the time, Sensei Fukuda was the only living student of Kano, and despite being wheelchair bound attended the camp as she had since starting the annual kata/freestyle clinic in 1974 (Sensei Keiko Fukuda passed away in Feb 2013 at age 99). Her history as a pioneer of judo is amazing. Here is a link to a short overview of her bio:

Group photo of Joshi Training Camp 2012 with Chin-I Hsiang (bottom right) and Adelphie Cheng (directly behind her)

Group photo of Joshi Training Camp 2012 with Chin-I Hsiang (bottom right) and Adelphie Cheng (directly behind her)