5 Reasons Police Officers Should Be Training Jiu Jitsu

Jun 17, 2021


As John Danaher, world renown Jiu Jitsu and MMA coach, puts it simply: “Jiu Jitsu is the science of control that leads to submission.”

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and defensive tactic that is mainly focused on grappling. The art revolves around gaining control of an opponent and forcing the opponent to submit due to seizing their mobility with a joint lock, strangle, pressure technique, or some combination of the three.

BJJ can also be trained specifically for cops via what is newly titled Police Jiu Jitsu (PJJ). PJJ is technique and concept bypasses or shortcuts, picked from Jiu Jitsu, explicitly for cops. Leaders in the field are Jay Wadsworth, Chad Lyman, Craig Douglas and Renzo Gracie.



Jiu Jitsu For Law Enforcement Officers


The main objective for a Law Enforcement Officer is to get home safely after each shift.

BJJ should be a mandatory component of defensive tactics training to aid this mission - getting home safely after every shift.

BJJ is the optimal martial art for a Police Officer because it teaches you how to control an individual while giving you options to escalate or deescalate force depending on the actions of the suspect.  This allows for a higher level of safety for both the LEO and suspect.

We do want to be clear that as a Law Enforcement Officer, your objective with training BJJ should not be to get a certain color belt.

It should instead be to learn the techniques, concepts and skills that apply to the profession. Basic concepts that you learn as a beginner or intermediate practitioner are such as dominant positioning, basic submissions, off balancing, sweeps, and creating angles and dilemmas.

You will develop and progress in skill, knowledge and ability as you continue training, but it takes time and consistent work.



Besides the obvious advantages when going hands on with a suspect, Jiu Jitsu has many other benefits, inside and outside of the job. Let’s discuss them.


5 Reasons All Cops Should Train Jiu Jitsu


1) Increase Safety During Physical Encounters

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine to better define and understand the full spectrum of injuries that officers sustain while interacting, arresting, detaining, or pursuing suspects. These injuries were termed “resistance-related” injuries.

  • Between 2012 and 2017, about 303,500 Law Enforcement Officers were treated in Emergency Departments across the nation for nonfatal injuries.
  • The leading cause of the ED visits (48%) was violence/assaults.

Having the knowledge, technique and skills that allow you to take control and have the advantage in any physical encounter is key. This increases the safety of all individuals involved, as well as reduces the risk of injury and/or harm for all individuals involved.


2) Improve Physical Fitness

Jiu Jitsu improves physical fitness and capabilities in general by improving strength, endurance, flexibility and mobility.

Being successful in BJJ also requires a higher level of physical fitness that is attained by following a periodized and progressive strength & conditioning program such as the Effective Fitness Program.

"The strength and conditioning program is critical to the grappler. Although sport-specific qualities, such as technique, skill, strategic knowledge, and the ability to react to, counter, and apply movements, are critical to grappling performance, conditioning ultimately determines winners and losers. Physical conditioning can account for up to 45% of the variance observed between successful and less successful wrestlers."

Ratamess, Nicholas A PhD, CSCS*D, FNSCA Strength and Conditioning for Grappling Sports, Strength and Conditioning Journal: December 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 6 - p 18-24
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e31823732c5

3) Increase Mental Fitness

On top of improving general physical fitness, BJJ highly strengthens your mind. Mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness.

Police Officers need to be very much in control of their emotions. Staying calm, collected and under control at all times, especially during high stress situations, is of utmost importance.

Jiu Jitsu enforces the well known phrase in the martial arts world...“become comfortable being uncomfortable.”


4) Don't be a Liability

Learning how and being prepared to protect yourself and others in the safest and most effective way allows you to be less of a liability to yourself, your agency and your partners.

By training BJJ you will become an ASSET, not a liability.


5) Improve Ability to Perform Job Duties

Mental and physical fitness traits that will be improved by BJJ contribute to increased confidence and ability to perform job duties as a Law Enforcement Officer.

The purpose of any fitness training program is to make you a better cop. It's not to make you better at lifting weights or BJJ.

Train for your professional. Train for your family. Train for your life.



It is important to note that training Jiu Jitsu is much like learning any other skill, be it strength training, shooting, or tactical medicine.

It takes time to learn and process, many repetitions and practice, and most of all, consistency with your training.

You are more than likely going to lose your skills if you do not use them, just as you would lose your mobility and strength in the back squat or bench press without training them regularly.

Prioritizing BOTH gym time and mat time is essential to optimize Law Enforcement Officers career, safety and overall health.

Interested in learning how to fit in BJJ training with your strength routine? Click here and watch this video and learn how.

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