Defensive Tactics Training


Two positions from which defensive techniques should be executed

  1. Careful Position/Interview Stance (terms interchangeable)
    • The body is not completely (fully) bladed
    • Hands up (above solar plexus) in a non-threatening position
    • Feet slightly wider than shoulders and weapon side foot moved back behind reaction side foot with knees flexed
  2. Fighting Stance
    • Body completely bladed
    • Hands up in threatening position (clenched fists)
    • Wide Base – Deep Base – Feet wider than shoulders and weapon side foot deeper (moved back behind reaction side foot) with knees flexed.


  1. Careful Position/Interview Stance

“Look in the mirror and you will see the one person responsible for your safety.

Even if you have a partner, or team, to watch your back, you are still responsible for your front.”

One of the most common methods for maintaining personal safety while on duty is using the Interview Stance when dealing with the public.

  • The Interview Stance is an alert, protected position that allows you to interact with those you are speaking to, yet still be able to launch a quick response to a possible threat.
  • The Interview Stance should be used any time you are interviewing a witness or a possible suspect or just in casual conversation.
    1. While the general public is usually friendly and not hostile, you still need to be on guard in case of unexpected actions on their part.
    2. Someone might take offense at something misspoken, they may be intoxicated, or they may be a guilty party pretending to be innocent to throw you off guard for a chance to attack you.
  • The Officer must remain relaxed, and adaptable to the situation.
  • To begin with, the Officer’s stance should be natural while giving the appearance of confidence and control.
  • Feet are shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent for good balance.
  • Non-dominant (weak) leg forward, dominant [strong] leg back, torso turned [45-degree angle] so that you are not facing squarely toward the subject.
  • This distributes your body weight over your hips so that you can move quickly in almost any direction.
  • Keep your arms relaxed, and close to the body.
  • Hands should be held above waist level to speed your reaction time, using the non-dominant hand to gesture if necessary.
  • Keep hands relaxed and open, preferably without anything held in them to allow instant reaction.
  • Never hook a thumb in your belt or pocket!
  • Do not rest your hands on your duty belt or equipment as this can sometimes be seen as threatening.
  • Stand just out of arm’s reach of the subject.
  • By maintaining this gap you increase your response options and give yourself time to react.
  • It also allows you to be able to see the subject in one glance rather than having to look up and down.
  • If you must look away from the subject, always keep them in your peripheral vision.

If you have something in your hands, such as a notebook, raise it up to use it, do not look down.

This is why it is suggested to keep a small digital recorder for conducting interviews instead of taking notes.


  • Body bladed but not completely (fully) bladed.
  • Hands up (above the waist) in a nonthreatening position
  • Interview stance
  • Feet slightly wider than shoulders with the knees flexed.


Upon recognizing that a physical confrontation is imminent, officers should immediately move into their Fighting Stance and prepare to defend themselves.

The Fighting Stance is wider and more balanced than the Ready Stance, and it provides optimum mobility.

  • To assume a proper Fighting Stance, right-handed officers should begin in the Ready Stance and perform the following steps.
  • Take half a step forward (6–12 inches) with the left foot and spread the legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend the knees slightly and distribute the body’s weight evenly on the balls of both feet.
  • Raise the right heel slightly, with the left heel making light contact with the floor.
  • This is an important step because all strikes and movements begin by pushing off with the balls of the feet.
  • Tuck the chin by tilting the head forward (downward) in a bowed-head position, lifting only the eyes to look directly forward.
  • To assume the correct head position, officers should imagine they are looking down at a ticket book while writing a citation, with the exception of having the eyes trained directly forward.
  • Form a fist with the right hand and bring it up to the right side of the face, with the right elbow pressed against the torso and the right fist against the right side of the face.
  • Next, form a fist with the left hand and bring it up near cheek level, with the left elbow slightly in front of the torso and the left fist positioned near the left side of the face.

Roll the shoulders slightly forward, while keeping the muscles in the arms and shoulders relaxed.

Officers should be aware that tense muscles hamper speed and accelerate fatigue.