While WSNP’s objectives are non-violent, with the aim toward prevention rather than confrontation with no violent incidents or confrontations on record thus far, we recognize that the possibility and threat of physical violence or at the very least, verbal confrontations exist. Given that, we strongly recommend that all WSNP members obtain at least a rudimentary level of skill in a martial art. Our #1 recommendation? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ for short.
In this article I will explain briefly what BJJ is and how it can benefit the WSNP’s community policing work. Let’s get started.
What is BJJ?
Briefly speaking, BJJ is a grappling art which is a derivative of Judo and Catch Wrestling and is a key foundation of modern Mixed Martial Arts. BJJ contains elements from all grappling styles, but distinguishes itself by its focus on the guard (a position where you are on your back, and the use of your legs is known as the guard) and submission holds (chokes and jointlocks). Similar to judo and wrestling, it also has various pins and control positions, however, those are not the final objective (unlike judo and wrestling), but rather gaining dominant position as a means to obtain the submission.
How can learning BJJ positively affect WSNP members?
First and foremost, BJJ will get you comfortable with aggressive physical contact. When people have never been in a physical altercation before, confrontation, physically or even verbal aggression can trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, which results in reduced motor control, accelerated heart rate, and tunnel vision, mostly as a response to the adrenaline dump that occurs. In the context of neighborhood policing, this will negatively affect one’s ability to properly determine the most appropriate course of action, as one may not be able to accurately gauge a person’s reactions, body language etc.
In BJJ, you get used to aggressive physical contact from Day 1, via sparring, known in BJJ as rolling. As it is a training environment, you will also get used to dealing with physical aggression without any bad intentions behind it, which will teach you that physical aggression and violent intentions can be separate. By being comfortable with physical aggression in a safe environment, we will be better able to maintain our presence of mind in a situation where physical aggression is a possibility and a person’s intentions are unknown.
Further, as we get comfortable with physical aggression, we learn to execute appropriately trained responses under an active resistance scenario. Think about all those ‘self-defense’ classes you have seen where a lady is taught to simply stomp on the toes of the attacker, followed by a stiff jab to the nose and a swift kick to the nuts to finish him off! While none of these techniques are bad in and of themselves, unless one can execute such techniques under an actively resisting opponent, they are effectively useless. And that is just within a training environment, what more a real life confrontation on the streets!
During the practice of rolling, one learns to execute precise techniques against an actively resisting opponent, which will give you a higher level of awareness by seeing just how different it is executing a technique on a compliant opponent versus one who is not only actively resisting but also trying to execute his own techniques on you. Basically it teaches you a sense of realism.
Familiarity with physical aggression will then instill in you a sense of confidence in yourself and your ability to handle such aggression. Such an aura of confidence will be reflected in your body language, your calm presence, and will usually allow you to verbally deescalate a situation.
Finally, the consistent practice of BJJ will also improve your physical fitness, as well as giving you a strong community. Be warned: the practice can be highly addictive!