So, you’re an officer on patrol at 2am and you notice an intoxicated male, about six feet tall, 215 pounds, crossing the street in front of your vehicle. You think he’s intoxicated because he’s struggling to walk without falling over and you can hear the sound of glass bottles clinking from inside his drawstring bag.
You get out on the guy and clearly he wants nothing to do with you. After running his information, it turns out he’s a 17-year old senior in high school. The moment you notice this, he tries to take of running.
You’re able to grab a hold of him and you both fall to the ground. Now the fight is on! He’s doing everything he can to get away from you.
What do you do next? Back up is about 3 minutes away. Do you tase him? Whip out the baton? Spray him? Punch him? Are you thinking about the optics of using these levels of force despite legal justification?
This is just one example of countless situations where grappling training would be a gamechanger for a patrol officer. Here are the top 3 reasons why grappling is a must-have element of police training.
#1 Superior Control
Grappling training is an excellent solution for when a cop needs to get an actively resisting subject in cuffs with minimal force. These arts are all about control. They teach practitioners has to completely immobilize a subject without throwing a punch and with relatively little effort. This can reduce injury risks to both the officer and the subject.
#2 The Way Grapplers Train
In most grappling training rooms, you practice controlling another resisting person literally every session. Whether it is working for a pin or a submission, you are getting hours of training in dealing with live resistance. This helps you to stay calm during real encounters and teaches you how to control the level of force applied as needed to handle the situation. Getting these reps in regularly against other trained practitioners will make dealing with an untrained subject much less stressful, which makes the risk of using excessive force less likely.
#3 Escaping Bad Positions
This one is especially for my “smaller framed” men and women. There may be a point where you end up on your back during an encounter. Grappling arts like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo offer simple (notice I didn’t say easy) escapes from practically any position using principles of leverage rather than brute strength. The last thing you want is to end up defenseless on your back and have your weapons taken away from you. Or be forced to shoot someone because you are stuck under them and being knocked unconscious (like in this video below). There are solutions to these situations, we just have to be willing to put in the training time.
So, if you are in law enforcement or you teach law enforcement, consider getting (or providing) some exposure to this range of combat. It could very well save a life.
Be safe and go train!
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Dr. Jeremy Butler, Ph.D.