Police officer uses jiu jitsu in training

Jiu Jitsu for Law Enforcement

Hi friends and fellow Martial Artists! 


     Today we are going to cover a topic that we find to be of great importance regarding our community because it involves law enforcement and how Jiu Jitsu can benefit them. The reason for this blog is that here at Six Blades Jiu Jitsu La Quinta we have tremendous respect for the brave men and women who serve in our military or as police officers, paramedics, fire fighters, and other various types of first responders. Having to go through day after day on the front lines as a public servant is the way a true samurai lived hundreds of years ago. We are incredibly grateful for their service to keep our communities safer and prevent lawlessness, understanding that it must be mentally and emotionally draining to have to chart through the unknown on a regular basis. This is the reason we try our best to encourage the men and women in blue, who swore to protect and serve our community, to come try a Jiu Jitsu class. If you think about it, our police officers never know when their work is going to require them to function as a combat athlete so it will benefit them to stay in shape and learn some basic survival and self-defense skills or tactics. Also, beyond what you see on the surface in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or grappling arts, the stress relief alone from exercising poses enormous benefits for people who work in stressful environments. When you combine the fitness/workout element with the practicality of learning a Martial Art that has proven effectiveness as a form of self-defense, the result is a wildly effective combination. We see this demonstrated by the law enforcement agents at our academy who found themselves able to put their ego aside for the sake of trying to give themselves a better fighting chance in situations that demand proficiency in hand-to-hand combat. There is also something to be said for the positive effects of sharing the mats with others who want to improve themselves daily. Being around people who are motivated and working towards their best versions of self will improve your habits which in turn affect your life, the people around you and your community.


One of the greatest attributes of Jiu Jitsu is the ability of a well-trained practitioner to respond in a relatively nonviolent fashion to aggression. Because of the control-based nature of the techniques, Jiu Jitsu is statistically proven to reduce injuries, a contrast from strikes and techniques based on pain compliance. The outcomes also differ greatly in comparison to striking based forms which can result in damage to both the attacker and the person defending themselves. It is commonplace, when using bare knuckle striking techniques, to sustain damage in the form of broken knuckles, wrists, concussions, etc. from punches, kicks, elbows and knees. This is also why we recommend Jiu Jitsu and other grappling forms such as Judo or Wrestling as a main form of self-defense for children. In school, fighting can result in expulsion, even if it was an attempt to defend yourself, especially if there was visible damage to the other student from kicking or punching. Whereas the primary aim of Jiu Jitsu is centered around getting the fight to the ground as quickly as possible in order to establish a dominant position where they can control the other kid until help arrives. This is not only one of the most efficient solutions to dealing with a stronger opponent, but it also makes them much less prone to having to respond in a violent way or take on unnecessary damage. For law enforcement, being able to effectively and efficiently restrain a suspect with Jiu Jitsu pins and holds can be of huge value, preventing potentially negative attention from the media and the restrictions being created after the fact, which limit the ways they can respond with force, then placing smaller and less combat savvy officers at risk. Such limitations to how they can respond poses a huge problem, especially for officers with poor health who lack the proper training to control a larger and stronger opponent who is in some cases under the influence of drugs or other substances that numb them to pain and give them what can only be described as superhuman strength. As a practitioner of Jiu Jitsu over the past fifteen years who is familiar with the amount of training needed to develop proficiency or at least achieve enough competence to handle the average untrained person, it is a shame that our officers are not provided with more training to prepare them for the physical altercations that can take place in a moment’s notice. Many of the police officers I have spoken with are required to attend training bi-annually or quarterly which is grossly inadequate when considering the demands of restraining an uncooperative suspect or fighting for control of a weapon. A well skilled grappler, however, would waste no time in controlling the distance between him or herself and the assailant before establishing a dominant form of control. BJJ or Jiu Jitsu is also good for public perception and building trust with the community which might keep our police safer as well as reduce the level of overreaction that can occur when dealing with violent people. This could result in media attention having less likelihood of mention of police brutality since most BJJ techniques are usually associated as being within reason and an appropriate level of force. Rather than being painted in a poor light, our heroes on the front line might receive more appreciation for their work by way of a system that is shown to neutralize aggressors with minimal escalation (pins and holds versus strikes and ineffective ones at that). At the same time, it can be easy to speculate and criticize someone by watching a video (which doesn’t always provide the full context) having never been in the situation to understand it, something most of us fortunately will never have to know because of the service provided by law enforcement. From Jiu Jitsu competition we understand there are many things that are much more complicated than they seem. For example, when watching a Jiu Jitsu tournament, it’s easy to ask yourself why the person on bottom doesn’t just get on top, because as a spectator it is hard to appreciate the different factors that affect the competitors’ decision making (fatigue, strategy, mindset, danger). So too for an officer untrained in grappling or any combat art, lethal force might be the only foreseeable method of self-preservation or survival in a life or death situation that demands immediate response. If we placed ourselves in the same situation as the officer we might easily make the same decision that others will criticize. The same goes for any self-defense situation for that matter, until you have experienced the lethality of a larger, stronger attacker overpowering you it can be hard to fathom what a victim is going through on a physical and psychological level. 

We also understand from consorting many of our friends within various law enforcement agencies that ego is one of the main reasons that we don’t have more law enforcement practicing BJJ. Most of them do not like to lose and some of them even have so much pride that they would rather avoid looking bad in training than trying something that can obviously be a great asset. We believe that this can be solved with the right culture and training regimen in a BJJ Dojo. What we aim to do regardless of whether we are working with kids, adult beginners or law enforcement and military is to understand the situation in its entirety before designing a program that is specific to the goal. For example, our competitors don’t participate in our beginner’s program as it is more focused around learning the basics of self-defense and survival. This is to ensure that all our student’s needs are being met to keep them progressing towards their goals. It’s worth including that out of respect for our police, fire and other emergency services we couldn’t be happier to get them started on a path towards their health and safety while being incredibly fun, meeting many great people who respect them for the great service they provide in our community. Due to the acts of the unsung heroes of today our mission of uniting a community of strong individuals is made possible, so anytime we can return the favor we are more than happy to oblige them. If you look, there are countless examples of Jiu Jitsu saving lives, from victims of assault to cops, veterans suffering from PTSD and the list goes on and on. If you’ve done Jiu Jitsu before you know exactly why those sworn to protect and serve will benefit immensely from the lifestyle of learning and training!