Over the past few months we have seen a handful of cities across our country spiral out of control following police involved incidents. Jacob Blake of Kenosha Wisconsin and Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta Georgia are two that come to mind. When examining these incidents, there seems to be a glaring common denominator. Speaking about this common denominator is not popular by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, doing so triggers a visceral response in some. Despite this, the truth about the cause of these incidents cannot be denied: They all stem from subjects failing to obey Police Officer commands and/or resisting arrest.
But the other glaring common denominator we are noticing in nearly many of these incidents is a complete and utter lack of training on the part of the Police Officers. In a few of these incidents it was so bad it was borderline embarrassing. And when civilians who watch the video after the fact (on social media of course) ask why TWO Police Officers were unable to subdue one untrained subject, they aren’t wrong.
As someone who did the job for 13 years, I’ll be the first to attest that Police Officers are grossly under-trained. But unlike some other professions, lack of training for Police Officers can result in serious bodily injury and/or death for the officer and/or civilians. That is why defunding the police is precisely what you DO NOT want to do. Rather, police need substantially increased training as well as additional training in new domains.
One of the areas that we can all agree cops need more/better training in is conflict de-escalation; specifically restraining combative subjects. What most people in the public sector don’t realize is just how hard it is to subdue a combative subject. Parents who have ever had to deal with a child having a temper tantrum might have a slight idea. Despite the child being half or even one-third your size, you might have had a tough time restraining them and getting them to calm down, right?
Now imagine a full sized adult, possibly high on drugs or drunk, doing the same exact thing. How quickly do you think you would be able to calm them down and get them restrained? I’ve seen two parents struggle to restrain one out of control child. I’m sure you have too. Imagine that same scenario with a grown man. That is precisely why things escalate so quickly and many officers resort to weapons and use of force.
But what if Police Officers were trained with a skill that allowed them to quickly and efficiently subdue subjects that are failing to comply with them and/or resisting arrest? What if this skill allowed them to do this without ever having to deploy a taser or their service weapon? You see, extreme responses are typically a result of fear. Fear is borne from lack of knowledge. So common sense would dictate that if you provide Police Officers with the knowledge of a high level skill, when an event occurs, rather than being scared and acting out of fear, they’d rather act from a place of confidence and knowing, putting them in a position of power without the potential of taking a life.
The first time I ever got on a BJJ mat it changed my life and perspective of the power of the art. At over 6’2 and 200lbs, within seconds I was put into a compromised position and on the cusp of severe pain (and a potentially devasting injury if I didn’t tap). Of course I tapped (the universal sign of submission in the sport) and then rolled on to my back. I was in utter shock at what had just happened. It had happened so fast that I didn’t have time to even process it. Before I knew it, the young girl who had just twisted me into a pretzel was looking down at me and offering her hand to help me up. That’s right; the person that just almost made me cry like a child was a female who was half my size. But that was not the worst part...
It wasn't long before I discovered that the young lady that I was rolling with had only been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for approximately 6 months. Now, if you had asked me, I would have guessed she was a black belt. Far from it. And that is the beauty of the art form. More importantly, that is precisely why BJJ has the ability to save the lives of Police Officers and members of the public they deal with.
You see, with a very minimal amount of training (I would estimate 1 hour, once a month), Police Officers would be able to gain the knowledge and the skills required to more confidently and more easily restrain and detain subjects without the need of excessive force or the use of potentially deadly weapons. Of course if a suspect is armed, deadly force is 100% justifiable and warranted. However the real issues arise when a suspect is "unarmed."
Now, the reality is an "unarmed" man can kill you just as easily as an armed suspect. What most people tend to forget is that every call a Police Officer responds to has a gun on scene; the officer's. If that officer loses that weapon, it's going to be a very bad day. Because the reality is someone who is willing to fight and disarm a Police Officer is most likely not going to be afraid to use said weapon against that officer.
BJJ not only would give officers the upper hand when it comes to hand to hand encounters (which almost always ends up on the ground), but would also provide them with the mental fortitude and acuity needed to survive such encounters. Yes, studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn't just make you better from a physical combative standpoint; it also makes you more mentally sound on multiple fronts. It can augment your reasoning and deductive skills as well as keep you calm and grounded when tensions rise. Why? Because BJJ is like a chess match. Strength and size mean nothing. Staying calm and being calculated is the key to success on the mat.
Imagine a world in which Police Officers had the opportunity to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for just 2 hours every month; MANDATORY. I'd be willing to bet that use of force incidents involving officers using their weapons would decrease DRASTICALLY. This could save states and municipalities millions of dollars annually. But most important, it would save lives.
Can you give me a reason, with the current state of our country, why we wouldn't give this a try? I'll take a deeper dive into this in our 221B Tactical Sheepdog Training Nexxus. The Nexxus gives you 24/7 access to training and gear content from some of the best in the business. Whether you're law enforcement or a responsible civilian, this is the knowledge you need to stay alive. And unlike with most social media outlets, this content will never be lost, disappear or mysteriously removed for "violating community guidelines." The Nexxus is our own, private hub that we're creating just for you. Click here to learn more.