Jiu Jitsu is no doubt the best art cops can train in order to learn how to defend themselves and safely control uncooperative people on the street. However, I get the sense that a big reason why the majority of officers don’t train in their off time is because it reminds them of in-service “DT” training - causing flashbacks of having to wake up at 0700 to come in on one of their off days to kick a bag and learn some bullshit “approved technique” that has no value. If you’re a cop who has these flashbacks every time one of your partners tries recruiting you to join their Jiu Jitsu gym, I get it. Just know that Jiu Jitsu is not only the polar opposite of worthless DT training, it also offers an array of other benefits that we need as cops.
Here are some other ways Jiu Jitsu will make your life more awesome:
Improved Mental Health
Mental health is currently the most popular topic in the law enforcement community, and for good reason. I’m far from a doctor, but I’m willing to bet most of us have some level of PTSD from all of the terrible things we’ve seen and have had to deal with over the years while on the job. Numerous studies have proven that exercise releases endorphins and helps improve your mood and reduce stress. Those are a given. However, I believe Jiu Jitsu takes this one step further by forcing you to live in the moment. If you’re a philosophy nerd like me, you may have read about meditation and living in the “present moment.” These things have also been proven to reduce stress and help you maintain a better sense of calm throughout each day. When you train Jiu Jitsu, you’re constantly living in the moment. That’s because when someone is trying to strangle you with your own clothing, you don’t have time to think about how much you hate your job, why your wife is mad at you or any of the other constant thoughts that fill our brains. You can only think about what you’re doing in the here and now. Doing this over and over again every week eventually starts to have a positive impact on your daily life. There are some great articles that discuss this point in more detail, as well as some amazing organizations, like We Defy, who are using Jiu Jitsu as a way to help disabled combat veterans overcome their challenges.
Learn to Fight and Look Good While Doing It
I’m not an Abercrombie model, and my face is at best a 6/10. However, I know Jiu Jitsu has kept me in better shape than any other form of exercise I’ve tried in my adult life. I used to lift heavy weights and run long distances, which were fine on their own. But they were too specific and didn’t really offer any additional benefits above and beyond their intended use. With Jiu Jitsu, you work your entire body and improve your strength, cardio and flexibility. You also sweat. A lot. Look at the mats of any Jiu Jitsu gym after an hour long training session. It’s disgusting in the best of ways. Not only will Jiu Jitsu keep you in great shape, it will also teach you how to fight and defend yourself. Yes, I know CrossFit has a self defense class, bruh. But let's keep it real.
You Get to Spend Time With Normal People
I love cops. Not only because I am one, but also because we understand each other’s senses of humor. However, as much as I love sharing funny stories from the job and laughing at the word, “penis,” sometimes I just need to talk to normal people who have regular jobs and don’t find the negative in every situation. Jiu Jitsu gives you the opportunity to meet so many amazing people who all come from different backgrounds. I train with so many great people from different cultures, religions, political affiliations, you name it. When you grapple against someone, there’s a bond that’s formed because it’s one of the few times in life where two people, completely different from one another, are trying to accomplish the same goal. The end result is a new level of respect and appreciation for someone whom you may have otherwise thought you wouldn’t have gotten along with. These training partners also broaden your horizons and teach you new things not only about them, but about yourself.
Go train. Oss.