Check out the Invictus LEO Jiu Jitsu Collective.
Hoping this catches on, as readers here know my belief that it is a part of the answer to some of the issues we have with law enforcement training. The timing is right. We’ve already had a Presidential candidate comment about jiujitsu for police, and earlier in the year it was reported that the LAPD is looking at grappling, among other measures, for officer training:
“Some police departments are also taking a new look at what they call “hands on” force. Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore said his department is considering whether to institute refresher training in grappling techniques used to subdue suspects. At present, recruits get the training, but it was discontinued long ago for veteran officers because it was causing too many injuries among them.
“Grappling is not the only answer, but it is one more tool,” officers can use to prevent escalation to deadly force, Moore said in an interview. “It is only going to improve their readiness.”
So, a thought here – if the training is causing too many injuries for veteran officers, what do we think is going to happen in the street? And if the officer feels he is going to be injured in the street, what do we think they are going to do in that situation? Shoot!
For Police Jiujitsu to work, it needs to be an either-or proposition: you achieve some level of recognized skill in jiujitsu or you don’t get to be a cop. While I am painfully aware of the issues with recruiting and staffing shortages going on now nationwide, I am also seeing other positive trends in American policing – getting out of mental health and suicidal response for non-public-threat situations, and out of the taxation-by-ticketing business, among others. These are good things, and the further police disengage from what is not police business, the fewer fully sworn and trained cops we will need. Lower level, unarmed, public health and “quality of life” officers can be hired to handle these lower level situations in the way that mental health professionals, parking and code enforcement, and police service technicians are employed now.
But I digress…
Can “Police Jiujitsu” Work?
Absolutely. I’ve already addressed how can start: with basic law enforcement academies being between 3 and 6 months, we simply institute three-to four-times weekly jiujitsu practices. We require that an officer be ranked at blue belt by the end of the academy, determined by academy instructors that are both police officers and black belts.
After that, its up to the officer, but with a base level at blue belt, the overall level of Defensive Tactics training that agencies will be able to conduct will already be higher. If we start at the academy, now, we will also be getting either young officers or older recruits who are at least in halfway decent shape, and thus we will be installing a culture of jiujitsu within law enforcement that should serve to reduce the injuries LAPD was seeing in veterans who were not doubt largely sedentary outside of the job.
Qualified instruction would be necessary as well. That means cops of higher belt ranks as instructors. No more of this “I wanted to get off patrol once every few months, so I became a Defensive Tactics instructor!” Demonstrated teaching ability and credibility would be necessities, and quality instruction would also serve to reduce injuries in students.
The jiujitsu should be different, too. The fundamentals would the the same, of course. But there should be more standup, more low impact takedowns and far fewer sacrifice throws. No pulling guard. Less of an emphasis on submission and more on position, hand control, and disentangling the officer’s hands. Arm locks and leg locks can be practiced and integrated in many places in group restraint tactics, which would also be a major subject of the training, along with all hands-on use of force considerations and legal articulations. Understanding what is reasonable and necessary and what is not. This is easily integrated into regular classes, as we often do that in regular jiujitsu classes for non-officers where I train!
Because it would be different, we could even institute a different belt system. All the same colors we have now, as that is an established and recognizable measure of progress in fundamentals. But perhaps with a Thin Blue Line running through the center of the belt….