In Vancouver, British Columbia there exists a Police Tactical Training Center a state-of-the-art facility complete with firing range, simulation rooms, gymnasium, and classrooms. A Rotary Peace Fellow named Bryan Nykon, has put his police experience and his education as a Rotary Peace Fellow to work in this facility.  He trains police members to de-escalate unpredictable situations and to use words in place of force, when possible, to control confrontations.


Bryan’s duties include teaching high-yield, low-risk judo combined with the tactical police judo, focusing on control tactics best suited to street-level policing and self-defense. The approach incorporates empty-handed control and defensive tactics like arm-grabbing or using pressure points.


The highest risk of violence generally occurs during an arrest. Bryan teaches his students that risk can be avoided by something as simple as altering your arm grip. One grip gives the person enough room to swing around with a kick, while another can prevent that from happening. Everyone’s safer when a fight is avoided.

Law enforcement agencies have policies that guide the use of force, describing an escalating series of actions to resolve a situation. Police officers are instructed to respond with a level of force appropriate to the situation. The policies acknowledge that the officer may have to move from one part of the continuum to another in a matter of seconds. This is a key area where Bryan’s training at the Rotary Peace Center influences how he instructs recruits and experienced police officers.

The use of words, or when necessary open hand control, can reduce the need for a baton or Taser-like device, thus avoiding interactions that can intensify into prolonged confrontations with a community lasting weeks.

Byran has learned at the Rotary Peace Center, that critical listening is the most important lesson which he uses now in training police officers. “Police officers need to listen to find out what is happening, how they can help, and who is responsible before applying any kind of force, whenever possible … “You need to really listen to understand what the person is saying. Do they understand what is happening, is there a language barrier, drugs, or a cognitive challenge?”

It is rewarding to see a Rotary Peace Fellow applying their skills, experience, and training to reduce the need for the use of force in the community.  Your contribution to The Rotary Foundation enables this to happen.  Thank you.