Thursday, June 17, 2010

Should Law Enforcement Train in MMA?

Police train in Mixed Martial Arts

This story gave me pause. It’s a story of how the El Paso police are now training to counter criminals armed with mixed martial arts techniques, because, “The criminal element is watching this and learning” (MMA).

This strikes me as interesting because of my background and experience leading a training program for police officers, and because of the foresight it shows. MMA is now constantly touted as the “fastest growing sport in the world,” and I’d bet almost all teens could identify Brock Lesnar or Anderson Silva, but not identify a single world champion boxer. In their opinion, “criminals trained in mixed martial arts can be particularly dangerous if they are able to drop, grapple with and disarm a police officer.” I’d agree.

The wisdom of this approach is that the world is changing. At one time, fighting was mostly grappling and punching, and kicking was “dirty fighting” or unmanly. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Bruce Lee/Kung Fu craze and the subsequent rise of martial arts flicks by Chuck Norris and Van Damme made kicking a normal part of the arsenal of a street fighter. Defensive tactics instruction has changed from a Judo-centric approach to something with a blend of punching, pressure point and control, and now BJJ.

The idea that El Paso’s PD is adding in specific skills to deal with MMA-influenced criminals is wise, and I’d recommend that most martial arts schools that promote themselves as being self-defense oriented should do the same.

Incidentally, this is an opportunity for MMA schools to earn some extra street-cred and cash by contracting to local academies and police departments.

What do you think?


Jesse Crouch said...

It's smart for them to branch out into something that is so broad.

It's not very smart though for them to be training something that *usually* involves teaching people to go to the ground and various other street-unfriendly techniques. MMA is largely single-opponent-oriented too. Also not cool at all that they're training it in a competitive environment - that will surely creep out in their everyday actions. The article does quote the trainer as saying "this is not a sport", but who knows how it is really taught.

The real problem here is the terminology - if MMA means what it actually means to the rest of the US, then this not a good idea.

Nathan Teodoro said...

You may be right, Jesse. What I interpreted it as was knowing enough about MMA to be able to deal with it. I think it's wise that if an officer is taken down, or hit with a guillotine, that he knows how to deal with it.

Considering the other things that an officer has to deal with, as in weapon retention, cuffing, etc. I'd doubt that they have time to go heavily into it. The article does cite a particular training program, so I'd bet it's a seminar format to get them used to it.

Good comment.