Budo Breakdown – Route 33 Traffic Stop

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Controlling a resisting subject does not mean “hitting him and yelling at him ’til he complies.” It means the practiced ability to shut down his ability to maneuver, to exert force, and to make space to move. This comes from positive physical control.

And the willingness to engage. This man was unarmed when this encounter started but was able to overcome being Tased, grappling with TWO officers, evading them, getting to a gun in his car, and successfully engaging them. Who was willing here? Who had intent?

Repeatedly telling a man that is already on his back to “Get on Your Back” is indicative of a high level stress reaction. That is normal for this kind of situation. But we must learn to manage stress like this.

A major part of managing stress is found in:

The ability to control a resisting subject.

The willingness to engage decisively.

The “Keystone Cops” happy-feet, high pitched and guttural verbals, and weird attentional shifts only detract from the ability to handle the swirling chaos of an event such as this. This was not a shooting from the start, this was a simple resisting arrest that devolved into multi-layered cascading failures in hand-to-hand fighting ability, ground control, less lethal weapons (tool reliance) and rapidly turned into close quarters combat through lack of decisive skill and decisive intent. 

The ineffectual striking and knee-dropping we see all too commonly. This is the immediate default of people who can’t grapple. This is why we see it even in minor resisting arrest situations, the ones that get all the bad press. The real lack in efficacy of such measures is revealed in situations like this. We should re-think and re-vamp our officer’s thinking and training regarding striking in police combatives.

Note the difference in body language and physical dynamics after the suspect makes his break at 1:25. Who is demonstrating a warrior mindset amongst these three men? Look at the suspect’s calm at 1:37. If even one of these officers had been able to rise to the occasion the way the suspect did, this would have had a very different outcome.

Officers are unsafe, and the public is unsafe, until these things become the standard, rather than the exception.






  1. What level of jiujitsu on the part of an officer do you feel would make a difference in that encounter? 6 month white belt? Blue? Purple?


    • That’s a good question….

      I think a blue belt would give you a very strong basis, but it can depend on the school and it’s emphasis.

      An issue would be the bias toward being on the ground and on the bottom. I think at least 50% – 60% of training time should be from standing, working takedowns and takedown defense to top control. A blue belt in a school emphasizing that will be a qualitatively different thing than one that emphasizes pulling guard and hunting leg locks. It’s not “better,” it just has a different purpose.

      When asked, I will usually recommend that cops (or anyone) younger than about 35 actually do Judo first, or wrestling. Get a strong background there, at least a Judo brown belt or black belt (comes much quicker than in BJJ, especially if you compete).. Jiujitsu will always be there, it will be easier on you as you get older, and you can continue to do Judo within jiujitsu. Jiujitsu allows a lot more old school judo techniques than Judo does these days.

      And the conditioning to the falls, the pace of Judo, and the ability to throw from and stay on the feet will be invaluable.


  2. After watching that video several times, it looks like the first gun in play was the corporal’s back up piece. I think it fell out of his left pant leg around the 1:50 mark.

    I agree grappling is the missing link in police DT. I’ve witnessed instances of multiple officer piles in the jail. For some reason everyone wants to grab/fight the upper body. Often times my contribution is just grabbing the pants cuffs and pulling the inmate’s base from under them. Taking the legs out of play always made it easier to cuff.

    This video illustrates the point you made a while ago that DT and firearms training ought to go hand in hand.


  3. Yep – controlling the legs effectively will shut down many attempts to fight/escape and allow for cuffing.

    Backup guns on the ankle are extremely problematic for many reasons.

    We OFTEN see police encounters involving contact distance/grappling either over firearms or with firearms being used. This is trained little, if at all, during in-service training.


    Rener has done a Breakdown on this. He makes a good point about the hips, and about not getting so amped up about having the suspect go to his belly.

    The more I watch it and listen to him, I think is one of the better Breakdowns he’s done. I wouldn’t count on waiting for a subject’s “spirit to be broken,” with a violent EDP or someone high on meth or other stimulant, or in excited delirium, that may not happen. But the point of “tactical jiujitsu” is in the control, whether the guy’s spirit is broken or not. If he gets tired, great. If he doesn’t, wait for backup, or even disengage or escalate force before the subject can get the advantage.

    The Gift Wrap he starts to build at 4:55 -5:05 is a powerful position and very useful in this context.


    • Regarding the gunfight portion of the video, my coworker and shooting instructor Mark Brinski recently attended Centrifuge Training’s VCQB course and he sent this, originally from them. I’m sure a significant percentage of civilian shootings and violent encounters occur around vehicles as well:


      The troopers in the video are heroes and fighters. While defensive tactics / BJJ etc played a major and obvious role I’ll leave that break down to someone like Craig Douglas who is a true DT SME. I’m soley interested in lethal engagement around the vehicle.

      Statistically we (law enforcement) have a higher probability of a lethal engagement in and or around a vehicle than any other environment. The national average is currently at 60% with state or traffic driven agencies usually in the 70-80%. A study published in 2014 articulates that 83% of all officer who are killed in the line of duty while conducting self initiated activity, die in or around vehicles. A study released in 2016 showed 37% of all officers ambushed (while not responding to a call were ambushed, seated inside of their vehicle). That being said know how to fight in and around vehicles. Don’t be the guy trying figure it out for the first time when it’s for all the marbles.

      After studying thousands of stateside, LE vehicle based gunfights and establishing scores of federal, state and local LE vehicle based programs (VCQB), here are some consistent trends as they relate to this video.

      1. It’s about the gun not the vehicle. We say this at the start of every class. Hits make the bad guy go away and the longer the engagement takes, statistically you (or the people you care about) have a higher probability of being mortally wounded.

      2. This engagement (like most vehicle based engagements) was high intensity, short duration and close proximity. Ensure your positional work is efficient, data driven and works in close proximity.

      3. Movement must be athletic in motion, safe in environment and tactical in decision. Always look to improve your position through movement but realize that improvement may simply be to a better position on the vehicle. I hear folks often say “get off the X” and while that is ideal in some cases, most of the time it is not feasible for vehicle based LE engagements. Know how to do both. When you are in uniform, you are the X… know how to problem solve it if moving away is not readily available.

      4. Be able to safely drive the gun within close proximity to others. A common theme with vehicle based engagements is the presence of a restricted work space. Know what that looks like and the pros and cons to all muzzle orientations. The gun can go up, out or down and the environment dictates that direction.

      5. High ground wins fights… that being said, know how to work from the ground. The data shows a large number of dudes end up on the ground via slipping, falling, being shot, run over etc. Don’t church up your positional work i.e. you’re either fighting from you side, you back or your stomach. Know how to do it all and don’t end up there unless fate demands it of you.

      6. Use the car. Regardless of what you believe about what vehicles will or will not stop from a ballistic standpoint… put as much of that mass immediately between you and the threat possible. Barricades, and in this specific instance the vehicle buys us time. What you do with that time will depend on your situation.

      7. Port. No not the kind you drink the kind you make with your gun. Glass, seats, doors etc etc will deviate and soak up more rounds that you’d expect them too. Make a hole and continue to work that port until the desired results are produced.

      8. Be able to run the gun injured. Due to the often very close proximity of these engagements we find officers get tagged on a pretty regular basis.

      9. If you have the ability to create holes you should have the ability (both the skill set and kit) to fix them. Also… be able to conduct your med work injured. Look to companies like Dark Angel Medical, LLC for training and well laid out on person kits.

      10. Train. You can read all the posts, magazine articles, watch all the youtube videos etc you want. And while that is a start it does not substitute quality training. Ensure your training is tailored to the environment and job you will be forced to problem solve. We (Centrifuge Training LLC) run the VCQB program but I can also highly recommend companies like Talon Defense and Sage Dynamics.

      Be safe!


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