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Legendary police trainer to be remembered at memorial

Robert K. Koga, founder of the Koga method, died at his home September 8

By PoliceOne Staff

A memorial has been planned for Robert K. Koga, a renowned police trainer with the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies whose efforts and expertise made him nationally recognized and adored by the law enforcement community.

Koga, the founder of the revolutionary aikido-based training system The Koga Method, passed away September 8 at his home in Fallbrook, Calif. after losing his struggle with mesothelioma. 

Robert K. Koga (PoliceOne Image)
Robert K. Koga (PoliceOne Image)

According to a statement from the Koga Institute, after serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, Robert became the second Asian police officer hired by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955, retiring in 1979. While assigned to the LAPD training academy, he saw that officers were experiencing problems with their arrest situations and completely revamped their arrest-related training by developing and implementing an integrated system of search, handcuffing, arrest control and self-defense techniques that came to be known as The Koga Method.

When the department was faced with challenging civil unrest events, he devised unique methods to separate and control demonstrators without the need to use physical forces. Robert’s arrest and crowd control techniques, now known as the Koga System, are now utilized around the world by law enforcement, military and civilian specialized services.

Koga taught a wide variety of police skills across the U. S. and in several other countries, focusing on improving safety and control practices for law enforcement personnel. He developed systematic techniques for street police officers, SWAT teams, riot and crowd control teams, and for detention and corrections officers. In addition to law enforcement agencies, Koga also provided training for the Secret Service, Federal Air Marshals, and various other agencies including the Navy Seals, Delta Force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Royal Brigade Guards of the King of Saudi Arabia.

After hearing of his death, the California State Senate adjourned in his memory on September 11, with remarks led by Senator Joel Anderson.

Retired LAPD Sgt. Mitchell Grobeson was a longtime student of Koga’s.

“His techniques were just so amazingly effective,” said Grobeson. “I’m alive today because of the Koga techniques.

“We lost a truly unique individual who dedicated his life to protect and serve those who protect and serve. His teachings will continue on through the Koga Institute in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and through the martial arts community in China and Japan. He will be greatly missed.”

A “Celebration of Life” memorial event is being held November 2 at 1 PM at the Ontario, Calif. Convention Center.

The Koga family ask that donations in Robert’s memory be sent to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation at www.curemeso.org

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