"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.
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.
Here’s the scenario: You’re curious about training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) for one reason or another. You contact an academy and set up a trial class so you can get on the mats and see what you think about it. Afterwards, the Instructor or Program Manager sits down with you to go over the schedule and membership rates. You may be unsure of how often you're expected to train, or how often you should be training for the best rate of progression. Or, you could be one of those people who are either "All In or All Out". In any case, let me shed some light on starting out in BJJ and optimal training frequency for new students.
Jason Clarke. Owner & Head Instructor of Iowa City Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.