In Nicholas Gregoriades' book, The Black Bet Blueprint, he talks about an intelligent approach to grappling, breaking it down into four steps; take down, transition, position and submission - in that order. I find this to be perfect for cops, considering most of our control and defense training focuses only on specific techniques and not an actual plan of attack. The only difference is that our “submission” is usually to get someone in handcuffs. However, we often see officers skip the first three steps and move right into handcuffing before they actually have the suspect controlled. What usually results is a complete shit show, posted to the internet for the world to see. Not only is it embarrassing, but it’s also unsafe or everyone involved. These things happen because officers fall back to their level of “training,” which typically consists of baton strikes, O.C. deployment or the use of a Taser. These tools have their place, but they often cause unnecessary injuries to officers and suspects and look terrible on camera, especially when all three are used in the same incident with no effect. Changing our training philosophy and focusing on a more systematic approach to winning fights will help solve a lot of these common problems and give us direction when deciding how we want to focus our limited in-service training hours.
Here’s a breakdown of Gregoriades' philosophy and how it applies to our job:
Step 1: Take Your Opponent to The Ground
The ground is a magical place. It provides another layer and takes away the empty space that exists when you’re trying to wrestle someone while standing up. We know that almost all of our fights start on our feet, yet a common theme is that police department's rarely train take downs, if at all. We see training videos all the time where cops struggle to take someone to the ground, or or try to wrestle someone into handcuffs while standing up, which can be almost impossible, regardless of how big and strong the officer is. The solution to this common problem is first taking the person to the ground.
Step 2: Transition
Once we’ve taken our opponent to the ground, we need to establish a dominant position. This step isn’t as sexy or cool as the others, but it’s arguably the most important. Transitioning may include passing someone’s guard or properly transitioning from a neutral position ( i.e. closed guard) to a dominant position (i.e. side control, mount, etc.).
Step 3: Position
Remember this if nothing else; position before submission. In our case, submission is the same as handcuffing. If you don’t establish a dominant position first, you won’t be able to put handcuffs on an uncooperative suspect. If you are able to do so, it’s usually one hell of a fight to get there. Work smarter, not harder. The video below shows one of my favorite positions for handcuffing; the Kimura arm lock.
Step 4: Submission (Handcuffing)
The final step is obviously to get the suspect into handcuffs. Different situations will dictate how you go about this, but one thing I really like about the Kimura is that it allows you to keep the suspect’s arm controlled, while freeing up one of your hands to access your cuffs or assist your partner. Speaking of partners, we need to stop trying to arrest people by ourselves unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you work for a metro agency, backup is usually not that far away and rarely is there an arrest that's worth getting injured or killed over because you wanted to do it alone.
The video below is one example that shows a take down. transition, position and submission (handcuffing). Feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like these, which are added weekly.
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Disclaimer: Jiu Jitsu Five-O is not associated with any law enforcement agency. All opinions expressed through the Jiu Jitsu Five-O blog, web site and social media channels are our own.