Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, January 08, 2022

LEO and Martial Arts Training

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared at Invictus Leo Jiu Jitsu Collective. The topic is "Why Cops Don't Train Jiu Jitsu - A Study." The full post may be read here.

 Disclaimer: This study was conducted over an 11-month period (2019) that included 3 surveys (1120 officers) and interaction/discussion (430 officers) that were “non-training” (total of 1550 police officers). For the purpose of this study, a non-training officer was one that was not participating in Jiu Jitsu or combatives outside their regularly mandated incremental training required by their department.

This study is by no means exhaustive and certainly open to interpretation. We are neither scientists nor professional statisticians, and therefore acknowledge the inherent flaws in this article. We also note that we may have left things out which are glaringly obvious. We conclude that this is just the second of many refined research papers we will tackle.

We also tried to keep this paper “short” and concede it’s not scholastic in nature and may contain errors. We wanted to give the bare bones in order to get the message across in normal everyday language and presentation.

Lastly, it’s very important that we state that we are pro police (obviously). The complexities of the job are vast and the struggles officers deal with in an ever- changing environment are real. We are NOT looking to cast a shadow over officers that aren’t training. We aren’t trying to guilt trip cops in to hitting the mats. We are trying to show the multitude of reasons police are not training.  Our research has identified an interesting discovery that we call the “primary-secondary phenomenon.”

The Author and Collaborator are both active police officers, black belts in Jiu Jitsu and use of force teachers.

Goal: The goal of this study was to uncover the reasons police officers are not training and use that information to reverse this trend and get more law enforcement learning this valuable skill.

Why Train: If you are reading this you probably know the Invictus Leo Jiu Jitsu Collective's main objective is to get police officers to train in Jiu Jitsu. The hashtag movement #BJJMAKEITMANDATORY has spread tremendously since our inception. There are a thousand reasons to train but sadly it only takes one excuse not too. This study and article does not focus on the benefits of Jiu Jitsu (which there are many).

The Discussion: Among trained officers, the discussion on why the majority of police are not training in Jiu Jitsu as their primary use of force art is common place. We wanted to see how these were reflected in an actual study from non- training officers.

Before we continue, we need to state that officers are trained at a variety of different levels. Every academy, agency and department will have their own standards. Some are better than others.

The Primary-Secondary Phenomenon:

We don’t have a catchy name for this so we simply are calling it what it is. What we uncovered during our study was that officers that do not train jiu jitsu have their “main reason(s) for not training” (primary) but almost always acknowledge a secondary aspect that kept them off the mats. This secondary phenomenon is what we found most interesting during this study.

Demographics of Responding Officers
Years of Experience:
Less than 1 Year: 4%
1-5 years: 10%
6-10 years: 21%
11-15 years: 33%
16-20 years: 15%
21 + Years: 17%

Our statistics show that there seems to be a trend that officers who have been on the job longer than 6 years are less likely to train.


We will tackle the Primary Reasons first. We will add some statistics but have opted to refrain from throwing out numbers and percentages en mass in order to make for an easier read. Note that these were the TOP and most frequent reasons officers listed for not training jiu jitsu or combatives. Many officers also combined 2 or 3 other reasons for avoiding “extra curricular training”. Percentage statistics do not equal 100% in many cases because officers selected multiple areas of reasons and excuses.


Lack of time appeared to be the most common primary reason cited for officers not training (71%) Non Training Officers identified several sub reasons on why time was a factor in not training.

a)    Family: 78% of officers identified that spending time with their family trumped all other considerations. Because of the hectic and long hours that policing requires, especially at the patrol level, officers did not prioritize training as something they wanted to do. Given the choice between training and their family, family almost always “won”.

b)    Hobbies: 45% of officers identified secondly (after family), that their down time was important to them. This included and sometimes overlapped family time. These hobbies included but were not limited to: sports (gym, running, biking), media relaxation (movies, Netflix, video games), reading, and social outings with friends.
c)    Schedule: 15% of officers cited that their work schedule prevented them from training (shift work, nights) but also admitted that they had not sought out other officers within their departments to conduct “mat training” on their own.


Officers cited cost of Jiu Jitsu classes a barrier to training. Cost ended up linking to family commitments often (45% of the time) but interestingly; officers also cited that they believed their departments should flip the bill for their training (38% of the time). Officers however were aware of that their departments are under budgetary constraints are can’t always provide for this.


This was cited as another reason officer did not pursue training. They acknowledged that their departments would consider injuries outside of work time not to be covered by workers compensation. Officer’s noted that they did not want to engage in what they perceived as a high risk actively where they could get injured (48%)
65% of respondents said that they have pre existing injuries and did not want to risk re-injuring themselves in high risk martial arts training.


Another high percentage response (usually coupled with one of the other primary reasons, on why cops weren’t training). 86% of non training officers noted that they didn’t know the benefits of jiu jitsu or combatives training. Of that number, 50% believed that it would take “too long to become proficient” to make training worth while. Also, 44% identified Jiu Jitsu as “Mixed Martial Arts or UFC fighting” and really did not know what the art could offer.


These two categories came in almost identical at around 18% each. Many officers noted that they relied on their physical condition (strength, speed, endurance) to win their use of force encounters. Further to that, 50% cited that the gym and lifting weights were more important than ‘technique training.” Officers tend to spend more time lifting weights and shooting than practicing arrest and combatives skills.

Almost identically (17%), officers listed that weapon usage (baton, taser, OC spray and firearm) equalized or prevented physical encounters. About 50% of all the officers polled in this study stated that they "worked out".


We understood that simply asking if “ego” was a factor would prevent many from selecting “ego as the factor”. Therefore, we masked how we asked this question which lead to our secondary reason below. Ego is a broadly defined (in our context) as: consciously believing that one does not need something based on experience, feeling or justification.

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