"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.
Jason Clarke. Owner & Head Instructor of Iowa City Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.