It didn't take long working in the Patrol Division before I knew it was solely my responsibility to get the training I needed to make it home safe. Having close encounters with some bad people, I knew I couldn't rely on anyone but myself to be prepared for the worse. Yes, law enforcement is family, but we are human, and have limitations.
I started looking for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in my hometown of Miami, FL. I remember a defensive tactics instructor from my academy that told me, if I ever did a martial art, Brazilian jiu jitsu was the way to go. I stepped foot in a couple gyms and found one that fit my needs. But life happened, and I became pregnant with my daughter Mayleigh, who just turned five. Life got busy, hectic, as anyone who is a parents, knows from experience. BJJ got put aside and life kept me busy. A year and a half later, Daniel Fundora came into my life. Now my soul mate, best friend and Professor, he introduced me into the world of BJJ, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
It wasn't easy. I started by getting alot of private lessons with Danny. We did predominantly No-Gi. Coming from a law enforcement background as well, Danny worked for TSA and knew key points to work on with me as I didn't want at the time to compete, strictly wanted to learn jiu jitsu to keep me alive. Going hand to hand, with at the time a brown belt, gave me a harsh reality check. In no way was I equipped to defend myself against someone with the intelligence of this caliber. My academy taught me basic defensive tactics, a lot I already forgot and some just did not fit my abilities or capabilities. Without my firearm, I would be done in a matter of seconds. So first things first.
Controlling the hands. One thing that always sticks with us is watching the hands, let me see you hands! Right! Once the need for us, as law enforcement to go hands on with someone, the time to take immediate control is the moment we come in contact. Me being a woman, with a small stature of 118 lbs, it is especially important for me to have the right positioning of my body to either engage or evade for cover. Tactics is a whole other novel to get into, and I love learning, but lets keep with the defending.
If I'm having trouble taking someone into custody, they are actively resisting arrest, trying to pull away, its time to do a tack down! It hurts me seeing these viral videos of cops yanking, pulling, getting pulled by people resisting arrest, and the situation getting out of hand. Its both endangering for the officer and for the subject. Taking the person to the floor give us the ability to slow things down, and controlling the person. C grips are your friend, or in our Academy we refer to them as monkey grips. Knowing an effective take down is your first responsibility, then once we have them on the ground, base. We need a good base to keep control, if the subject is able to push you off, you need to have a good stance to counter that action. Knee on belly, knee on anything! The other leg should be used to base out and be reactionary. Our hands need to control the arms, we need to keep the arms away from our duty belt and away from their pockets and waist ban. I like using a kimura grip a lot of the time, but wrist locks are also very effective in gaining compliance.
I cant say much, but I've seen some close calls. My jiu jitsu has given me the upper hand with some bad people. I proudly say that I've never had to use my taser in the 6+ years I have on. Whether from my jiu jitsu abilities or verbal judo, I've managed to stay safe and help not only myself but other law enforcement from the art of jiu jitsu.
Stay tuned for a video I'll be posting for first responders and remember that we give all first responders, active and retired military a huge discount. Being in the profession, I want to give back anyone we can in giving this art for you to keep everyone safe. I think Brazilian Jiu Jitsu should be a mandatory training for all law enforcement annually. Obviously a regular basis is ideal, but I'm being realistic. Come try a class, if you aren't local, check out reputable gyms. I can make you a promise that learning Jiu Jitsu will help you get home safe. It will help you gain confidence, be prepared, have the abilities it takes to keep you and your back up out of harms way. I remember all the times I've used my Jiu Jitsu while in the scope of my duties. Sometimes I look back and ask myself, if I didn't have BJJ, what would've happened? Its scary to think, but that's the harsh reality.
Years later I know help operate an up and coming school with a World Champion Black belt. I've grown to love the GI, even more so then No GI, compete and coach our students. This post is dedicated to Law Enforcement, but even if you aren't one, you can see the impact its had on my life and how much positive has come from learning the art. Self defense goes a long way! being victimized is not an option. Defending yourself or defending the flag, Jiu Jitsu saves lives! Learn the gentle art.