A Special, Unarmed Police Jiu-Jitsu Riot Squad – Is That The Answer?

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What if law enforcement officers worldwide all knew BJJ at, let’s say purple belt level? Moreover, what if they didn’t have guns with them and had to actually rely on their grappling prowess? Now, this wouldn’t really be appropriate for any type of police officers, but it is more than enough for riot squads and the like. Actually, Brazil already had it tested, by forming a Police Jiu-Jitsu squad to handle world cup protest. I think there’s a lot to learn from their experiences.

Specialized police Jiu-Jitsu squads tasked with handling specific situations, like protest and the likes are not just a great idea – they’re an essential one. Such a squad would be highly proficient at close quarter situations, which almost exclusively involve unarmed and untrained folks on the other side. BJJ is the perfect skill for law enforcement officers to execute their duties in a safe manner both for them, and the people they’re arresting. Let’s face it, police forces are not going anywhere anytime soon, so why shouldn’t at least they be properly trained to handle situations, rather than end up causing drama and heartbreaks?

A Case For Mandatory BJJ For Police Officers

This has been a subject that has been beaten to death, and we’ve discussed it as well right here on BJJ World. There’s just no good reason not to have police officers train Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, anyone that has to work with restraining or tussling with people should train grappling. In fact, it should be a requirement that law enforcement officers have at least a certain level of Jiu-Jitsu knowledge in order to have the right to work. It is a daunting task, I know, but it is also something that I have no doubt will save lives – both those of police officers and civilians alike.

With the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder still reigning throughout the USA, and with support coming in from all parts of the world, this subject is more important than ever. The latest incident involving police officers that were poorly or completely untrained in grappling showed just how bad things can end. With mandatory police Jiu-Jitsu training, I am certain such a tragedy would’ve been avoided. And not just this one.

cop - A Special, Unarmed Police Jiu-Jitsu Riot Squad – Is That The Answer?Let’s think about things from a perspective that’s easy for everyone to understand. You wouldn’t have someone without a driver’s license to drive a bus full of people, would you? You require at least some kind of proof that a person knows how to operate a vehicle full of people, while at the same time being responsible for their lives. It is the same with police officers. They do not need to operate vehicles, but rather the bodies of people that might or might not be resisting. In any case, having formal and practical training in the matter just means that it would take both fewer officers and less time and risks in any situation requiring police intervention. So why aren’t we giving officers every chance at conducting their jobs safely?

The Sao Paolo Police Jiu-Jitsu Squad

Brazil has it right on so many levels. The beaches, surfing, those cocktails, and of course, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Those are just some of the best things that Brazil has to offer the world. On a more serious note, though, Sao Paolo is the city that might just have figured out the perfect formula for police riot squads.

Back in 2014, the World Cup in Soccer took place in Brazil, and it wasn’t a popular choice among the local residents. Everything, from bus fares to food became much more expensive with the majority of populations struggling as it was. That led to protests in the streets that turned into riots. However, Sao Paolo had special squad ready – one trained in special police Jiu-Jitsu tactics.

Learning a lesson from the violent clashes in France in 2005, the Sao Paolo officials had 140 officers trained in Brazilin Jiu-Jitsu for an extended period of time. That proved crucial even before the World Cup. The‘” Tropa do Braço”, or “Troop of Arms” managed to handle a demonstration of more than 1.500 people without weapons and injuries. Moreover, Brazil’s famous elite unite BOPE is also known for having a huge number of BJJ black belts among its members.

Using a trained “Police Jiu-Jitsu squad” meant that the number of officers needed to secure the demonstrations was cut in half. Moreover, during 262 arrests, the injuries sustained by both civilians and police officers were extremely low and largely insignificant compared to previous experiences.

BJJ In Law Enforcement Around The World

It is not just Brazil that has realized the potential of having mandatory police Jiu-Jitsu training for their officers. In Japan, having a black belt in Judo is a must for anyone looking to work in certain police units. In Shanghai, there’s a Law Enforcement Program. It has police officers training BJJ in order to provide them with extensive sills for arresting and restraining suspects.

ScreenShot2016 12 22at12.24.09PM 592x360 1 - A Special, Unarmed Police Jiu-Jitsu Riot Squad – Is That The Answer?Currently, there are some programs in the USA and Europe that provide specialized training for police officers. However, such Police Jiu-Jitsu training is still not part of official police training. Rather, it’s something officers choose to do on their own. This is not an option for everyone, though. The issue at hand is that every member of law enforcement actually needs to know BJJ, at least at a purple belt level.

In a police academy in the US, cops spend about 4 weeks working on combat skills. Anyone that has trained Jiu-Jitsu knows that it is not nearly enough to learn, let alone be able to use anything in a real-life situation.

There is a nationwide movement form police officers themselves to make Jiu-Jitsu and grappling training mandatory across the US. In light of recent events, this needs to happen sooner rather than later. In fact, it is already late.

Final Words

Police jiu-jitsu training is something that’s blatantly obviously missing from police curriculums in most countries. It doesn’t have to be a special unit like in the case of Sao Paolo. In fact, every officer needs to know BJJ. It is as simple as that. Every arrest made in a proficient and effective manner significantly reduces the risk of injury to both the officer and civilian in question. What will it take to make BJJ a part of every officer training?

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