"I can't breathe." - Last words of Eric Garner
Law enforcement officers, troopers, deputies and agents (from here on out called LEs), are historically undertrained in hands on techniques with resisting subjects since at least the 1970's. Over time police departments, agencies and training academies transitioned their focus away from hands on skills proficiency to utilizing tools like the baton, taser, pepper spray and firearm at an increasing rate. The legal landscape was turning matters of use of force into a realm of tools and machines. Perhaps it was with the best interest of the officer in mind - that if the officer could stay at a distance to the subject, they would be safer. Just look at all the tools the officer uses that are designed to maintain distance - baton/impact weapon, pepper spray, taser, sidearm, shotgun, patrol rifle. Each one of those tools is taught and trained at a police academy and their sustainment is prioritized by departments and agencies in annual, bi-annual and even quarterly refresher training and range time.
"I have been a member of ICBJJ for nearly 18 months now. I was also a recipient of Jason Clarke’s “Law Enforcement Officer Scholarship”. This is one of the greatest opportunities in the entire country for Law Enforcement Officers to train in BJJ.
I truly believe a BJJ based system is the future for Law Enforcement defensive tactics. It allows an officer to restrain a combative subject using the least amount of force necessary without high risk of injury to either the officer or a subject. BJJ also looks better to the public than traditionally taught strikes or baton use. This is extremely advantageous for Law Enforcement especially in today’s environment. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also is a massive ego check, and forces an officer to humble themselves. It's also an insanely good workout and will humble even the most in shape people. Further, I believe BJJ has allowed me to approach high risk situations at work with confidence and not with fear. From stress relief to confidence building, the mental benefits of BJJ cannot be understated.
A common question I get asked by new and prospective students is, "What's the difference between what you're doing at ICBJJ and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?"
The simplest answer is - "Not much." But, then again... "kinda a lot." As you can see in the diagram of my BJJ lineage below, I am a direct descendant of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. My first instructor was Relson Gracie in Hawaii in 1994. For the longest time the Gracies were the only game in town... and by "town", I mean "the United States". Almost all of us old school Americans originally got into BJJ because we watched Royce Gracie dominate in UFC 1 & 2.
As a former molecular biologist and researcher at The University of Michigan and The University of Iowa, I am applying all my knowledge, training and understanding, as well consulting the literature and experts as to how best safely continue training at ICBJJ. I believe our current plan is one of the best around due not only to the level of expertise we can directly consult on these matters, but also the unique design of our facility which facilitates airflow and air change over.
Here are the current list of COVID-19 precautions we've implemented thus far:
When it comes to learning something new and receiving new information, I am a copious note taker. I have been since I was young, but as I get older I get more value out of notes with each passing year. It use to be that I could simply see a move or sequence of basic to intermediate level techniques and be able to replicate them, even days afterward, with pretty decent accuracy. Albeit, they weren't ready for competition by any means. But my memory for retaining what I saw and heard on the mats was pretty decent. However, as I started attending seminars I realized that I wasn't able to retain much, if anything.
We’ve All Seen it Before...
“What are you looking at, bro?” The Instigator postures up, inflates his chest and holds his arms further away from his body in an attempt to make himself look bigger and more intimidating. His piercing stare is meant to induce fear into his Opponent.
“Huh? Nothing. What’s your problem?” The recipient of this attention is initially taken off guard but is unwilling to concede or lose face to the Instigator in front of the others in the room.
“You’re my problem, bro. Checking out my girl and staring at me like you’re a tough guy.” The Instigator uses accusations to justify his need to initiate a conflict with his Opponent.
“You better get out of my face.” The Opponent is making a stand and showing that he is willing to throw down by making a threat of his own.
“Or what?” The Instigator tries to elicit an ultimatum from the Opponent so he can force him into a position to either put up or shut up. To either fight or lose face.
“Or I’m gonna kick your ass”, says the Opponent, as he shoves the Instigator away with a two handed chest push. Physical contact has been initiated. The ritual has moved into the next phase.
Let’s take a look at a Muay Thai technique called the Front Clinch, or the “Plum Clinch”, and its potential effectiveness as a self-defense technique or as a defensive tactic in the modern world.
What is Muay Thai?
Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) is a combat sport that can be traced to the middle of the 18th century. It has always been a combat sport involving empty handed one-on-one combat between two fighters. It’s known as the art of eight limbs because it uses eight points of contact to strike the opponent: hands, elbows, feet and knees. Striking the legs as well as clinching and tripping are legal techniques.
Jason Clarke. Owner & Head Instructor of Iowa City Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.