Wednesday, September 2, 2020

What Approach Works Best in Order to Get Cops to Train?


I’ve been around the Jiu Jitsu and policing world for a while now and if you are a cop that trains, you know how difficult it is to get other cops to do the same. So what strategies should we employ to get non-trained officers to start doing Jiu Jitsu? There are three ways we can do it. 


Technique 1: Hard Approach


Police officers come in all shapes and sizes. They also come with different life experiences and sensitivity levels. You would think, based on what we see on a daily basis, that the “hard approach” wouldn’t bother cops (using the ‘cold hard facts’ to point out weaknesses and shortcomings).  How do cops respond to this type of prompting? 


Usually not very well.




When you point out someone’s weakness, they usually get their back up and try to defend themselves. This is why most cops who do train cry “ego” and the inability for our untrained colleagues to take criticism.  We could present all the benefits of Jiu Jitsu training but if a person has no interest or doesn’t think its applicable to them, they simply will not listen. 


What do we know about law enforcement duties? We know that the profession is a dangerous one and that any day could be ‘the one.’ You do not choose the day, the day chooses you (read our study: Why Jiu Jitsu is Saving Cops Lives) . Why wouldn’t you want to have an insurance policy like Jiu Jitsu in your back pocket when that day comes? Because most don’t believe it will. The over reliance of tools and cops confirmation bias has led us to this place.

I follow a ton of police and Jiu Jitsu related sites on social media. When I see them preach the benefits of the art, it is usually just preaching to the choir. There are very few non Jiu Jitsu cops looking at those posts who say “wow, that’s me they are talking about.” I've also had MANY conversations with colleagues on why they don't train and in all honesty, I've never seen so many people get so uncomfortable so fast at a simple question. I attribute this to them knowing what I do, where I stand and how important I think this topic is. I never berate them for their answers but there is a cold hard realization when I confront them with the truth.


I am certainly ‘guilty’ of using the hard approach via social media at times. There is a level of frustration that leads many of us to ‘tell it like it is.” This can lead to ostracizing the very people we want to enroll in training.


If you want to get better, you must do better. I know there are only so many hours in the day but when fellow officers are willing to teach something, I fucking listen. I want to get better. I want to be humbled. I want to learn. The only way to do this is to accept you have a deficit and move forward. It is called the white belt mentality. If you refuse to learn, you are telling me that you are an 'expert' in a particular area and see no benefit to learning.


Technique 2: Soft Approach


I would venture to say that most cops, despite their tough exteriors, would appreciate the softer approach to training. This means not highlighting weaknesses in them that make them feel bad about NOT doing anything.  It’s the “praise, correct, praise” approach.

There are many departments that have great training. They offer great courses for investigation, great firearms days, great tactic days (active shooter etc) but absolutely fail at providing HANDS ON training. They provide the bare minimum control tactics which leads to officers and suspects getting hurt or killed. This is fact and statistics back this up.


Let's pause for a moment and set the control tactic benefits to the side. Let talk about the other benefits. Are you a cop dealing with PTSD? Maybe you WILL be a cop dealing with PTSD. Jiu Jitsu is proven to offer stress relief for one of the toughest jobs in the world. How about those 25 lbs you've gained since the academy? Yep, active exercise while also learning a skill will help you lose those pounds. I've made life long friendships through Jiu Jitsu and can travel anywhere in the world and I will have a place to stay. There is a unique family within the Jiu Jitsu community.

But, back to the topic at hand.


I literally offer FREE training to cops.  There are other cops there who train. But why aren't the classes full of officers? Why aren't a ton of other academies across the nation full with cops? I'll let you sit with your excuses and you can let me know.

Technique 3: Ask those COPS who are training WHY they STARTED training!


There is a tipping point for all of us that get us to train. Some cops feel pushed into it and others feel PULLED into it. I personally like the law of attraction principle here where Jiu Jitsu calls us (Pulls). It doesn’t feel forced and therefore makes the experience more enjoyable.


Every story is different. I had 25 years of martial arts experience prior to becoming a cop. Some have 25 years experience being cops before starting Jiu Jitsu. What is important is to ask every cop who does train, WHY they are. These reasons are giving you insights to everyone who does not. We all share the same barriers to training. There is absolutely nothing new you can say when it comes to not training. Time. Money. Family. Injury. Ego. This list is long. 


We have highlighted in our previous study (Why Cops Don’t Train) to reasons police officers avoid training.  


Let me be clear- Jiu Jitsu is not easy. It will push you in ways you cannot imagine. I've tapped 10 000 times over the years. I've incurred injuries and difficult situations. But these have all made be a better person. I am not going to sugar coat the experience but if you are a cop, you've already accepted a ton of challenges and I'll bet you'd be up to this one. You just need to let go of those excuses.


If I am investigating an arson and I am with a member who has major crime (detective) experience, it gives me a great deal of confidence knowing that they have to tools for an extensive and detailed investigation. If shit goes south during an arrest, knowing that my partner has the confidence and skill to deal with that situation does the same. How many times have one of us been tasered or OC sprayed in the course of an arrest because one of the officers had no knowledge or confidence in how to control another human being?  

 Yes, you can all put your hands down now.


What's the Solution?


Our hashtag is #BJJMAKEITMANDATORY. Do we think that departments everywhere will make it so? No. But we are trying to highlight that individual officers need to have their own personal sense of agency to provide themselves with tools to make their job easier. Jiu Jitsu DOES make the job easier.  It provides confidence in ones ability. It lowers injury rates. It makes arrests easier. It is scalable. Its exercise. It combats PTSD. Its fun. 


The biggest hurdle is getting cops to see that they have a hole in their game.  There is a common quote that floats around the Law Enforcement community that reads:


Invictus Leo Co Founder


  1. Awesome article brother. Thank you for your efforts in this uphill battle to get Leo's to train.

  2. Great Article. For the Special Operations Group in Executive Protection I ran and min of 120 hrs of fitness, tactics techniques and scenario driven training every year. When it becomes the culture, a culture of training, problems scene in the field get vetted and address in a very positive environment. The teams operated like a well oiled machine. Everyone could trust that we all knew our roles and each others role. It a truly priceless investment. Everyone should appreciate that training = safety = professionalism.

  3. Another great read as we keep trying to get LEO’s to train. The fight continues.