Jiu-Jitsu is incredibly useful when it comes to controlling a resisting opponent and police forces all around the world would only benefit from mandatory training in the sport. Almost everywhere around the world, there are two common issues when it comes to the way that law enforcement interacts with the public. Either the police resort to an unreasonable level of force when attempting to arrest someone, or they’re overpowered by untrained and unarmed assailants. Even though it might not seem like it at first, both of these problems can actually be solved by making the same change to the way that law enforcement operates.
Studies have actually demonstrated that police officers with frequent mandatory training in Jiu-Jitsu not only resort to force and taser-use far less, but they also suffer few injuries themselves as well. The data seems to be show they are better equipped to handle physical confrontation without needing to escalate it, and are better able to avoid being injured in those incidents. Although it’s good to have data to support that conclusion, this is something that many people in the grappling world have been saying for years now. Even without it being mandatory, a lot of officers already see the benefit in grappling training and do so in their free time regardless.
The public has already seen the benefit of this on a smaller scale too, as there’s been a number of stories and news reports of officers using Jiu-Jitsu to restrain suspects safely. Being capable of restraining a suspected criminal isn’t something that’s exclusive to law enforcement either, as members of the public can often find themselves in difficult situations. Although it’s not as common, people have been able to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of a crime and restrained their attackers or robbers in the past as well.
The case for making Jiu-Jitsu a mandatory part of police officer training becomes pretty obvious once all the evidence is added together, and people are starting to take notice. Rener Gracie previously unveiled a plan for national police reform and a number of other high-profile figures in the BJJ community have been working with law enforcement over the years. Although the work done by top coaches and competitors like Tom DeBlass or Gordon Ryan is certainly having an effect, the time is ripe for something to be rolled out across the world.
The common argument against this is that there are some ‘bad’ police officers in among those protecting the public and mandatory Jiu-Jitsu training might serve to make them a bigger problem. This argument is repeated so often that it’s actually been addressed by Rener Gracie in the past, and the way he addresses it is the same way that most would. These ‘bad’ police officers have weapons at their disposal and the right to arrest the public right now, so arming them with grappling skills shouldn’t really make the damage they do any worse than it currently is considering what they’re already capable of.
If the mandatory Jiu-Jitsu training leads to a police force that has more successful interactions with suspects that end with them both coming out the other side unharmed then that could have incredible effect on society as a whole. Innocent suspects would no longer fear coming to harm during an arrest, and officers would no longer need to fear interactions with guilty suspects as much as they do. Obviously there will always be the threat of danger when working in law enforcement and resisting arrest will generally increase the likelihood of injury on both sides of the equation, but a lot of that risk can be mitigated with proper training.
At the very least, everyone has to admit that it’s incredibly unlikely that mandatory Jiu-Jitsu training makes the situation any worse for the police or the public. In countries all around the world, governments are essentially recognizing a clear problem and not actually doing anything about it. When incidents of excessive force or police getting overpowered come to light, politicians talk about the problem and those at fault are punished but nothing ever changes on a societal level. Because of that, these issues persist and another incident emerges in just a few months to remind the public once again.
It’s far beyond the right time to do something to solve these issues, and make the streets safer for both the police and the public. Given that all it would take is for officers to sacrifice a few hours of their week to get more experience on the mats, that seems an incredibly small price to pay for increased safety on both sides. There has never been a greater need for police officers to undergo mandatory Jiu-Jitsu training than right now and unless something is done to put this into place, the need will only grow greater as time goes on.
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