This week I’m discussing what happens when you teach police officers Jiu-Jitsu, sharing some cool stuff to read about, recommending a podcast, and sharing a quote and a question.
Read time – 3 minutes
The world was shocked into silence last year when a video emerged of police officers kneeling on the throat of George Floyd. George could be heard complaining he couldn’t breathe, and soon stopped breathing altogether. He died at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve him.
This was not an isolated incident. Time and again we’ve seen police in the US using excessive force, especially, but not exclusively, against African American’s, often leading to tragic and avoidable deaths.
It is a complex and dark problem, in which racism is a clear contributing factor.
There is a massive element to this conversation that is almost never mentioned, which is the lack of unarmed combat training police are given. Police officers get (reports vary) around 1 hour of combat training per year. This varies from state-to-state, and there is no status-quo of techniques which will be taught. This means once an officer is out on the street, he or she is effectively relying on their own instincts and techniques in subduing and controlling the people they’re looking to arrest.
Now, imagine you’re a police officer. You’re carrying a few extra pounds, and are dealing with a large, aggressive male, who could easily have the intention of taking your life. You’ve received (maybe) 1 hour of combat training 11 months ago, and are now facing a physical confrontation. You can either try to physically better this man, take him to the ground and handcuff him. Or, you draw your weapon, and if he doesn’t back down, you open fire. In a life and death situation, which option would you choose? His life or yours?
In steps Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
I walked into a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu gym for the first time when I was 16, and it was one of the most important decisions of my life. Not only did I learn how poorly prepared I was for physical combat, I also learned how difficult it is to control another human being. To take someone to the ground and keep them there is an extremely difficult thing to do if you haven’t practiced.
Jiu-Jitsu is widely accepted to be one of (if not the most) effective martial arts in existence. It is especially valuable for women, as it uses leverage instead of size and strength to control and defeat opponents.
Two years ago, the Georgia state police department-sponsored all of their officers to receive weekly Jiu-Jitsu training. After two years, the effect has been profound.
- Taser deployment is down 23%
- Officer injuries are down 48%
- Suspect injuries are down 53%
- Officers are 59% less likely to use force
When you teach police Jiu-Jitsu, they become far less likely to harm the people they’re arresting and far less likely to be injured themselves.
It’s impossible to say what would have happened in the case of George Floyd had the officers been trained in Jiu-Jitsu. He may well have been at the hands of racist murderers. However, if those officers had been trained to control somebody without feeling the need to kneel on their neck, George Floyd may be alive today.
I’m not saying teaching Jiu-Jitsu will solve the problem of unarmed black people being gunned down in the street. It would not have helped in the case of Walter Scott, who was shot in the back as he ran, unarmed, from a police officer in Sacramento.
But, this week’s statistics from Georgia show that Police are far less violent when they are trained in Jiu-Jitsu.
Gracie Breakdown of a Police Officer Using Jiu-Jitsu Techniques In Real Life
As with all martial arts, the true test of effectiveness must be in live combat. In this video, a rookie officer from Kansas perfectly executes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu techniques, keeping himself and the suspect safe.
He controls the man, verbally manages the situation, communicates with his fellow officers, and resolves the situation.
This is what we should be aiming for. No one is hurt. No strikes are thrown. Guns don’t need to be drawn. When you give police the ability to control a human being, everybody is safer.
If you’re interested in watching more videos of Jiu-Jitsu’s effectiveness in real life, check out the GracieBreakdown Youtube channel, where Rener and Ryron Gracie analyse videos of street altercations and how Jiu-Jitsu could have helped.
Some Cool Stuff to Read
- Life found beneath Antarctic ice sheet ‘shouldn’t be there’ – New Scientist
Under an Antarctic ice shelf, 600 km away from the closest light source, with no clear source of nutrients, a group of sponges and barnacles have been found going about their business. On a dark, icy, remote boulder, life has once again found a way.
- NASA’s Perseverance Rover Touches Down on Mars – The Guardian
More cool news from the world of science. NASA’s Perseverance rover has touched down on Mars, with the goal of searching for ancient life. It will cruise around the Red Planet looking for fossils, recording audio, and taking HD photos of the planet’s surface. Perseverance is also equipped with a small helicopter, which will hopefully be able to fly through the thin atmosphere. Successes like these remind us of the incredible feats we’re capable of when we work together. Science for the win!
- Quieting the Lizard Brain – Seth Godin’s blog
Seth’s blog is excellent. He shares insightful, thought-provoking blog posts every single day, and has done since the early 2000’s. In this installment, he discusses that pesky part of your mind responsible for survival, which sometimes gets in the way of you doing your best work. It’s a short piece, but packs a strong punch.
Something to Listen To
The Ologies Podcast with Alie Ward
This whole podcast is great. Alie is a scientist, and she interviews other scientists about their respective fields. I haven’t dug too deep into it yet, but I can recommend Sexology and Evolutionary Biology!
Thanks to Mr Cameron Boyle, my Zoologist friend, for the recommendation!
“If size mattered, the elephant would be the King of the jungle” – Rickson Gracie
Would you be able to protect yourself if you were attacked?