This video clip shows just how fast things can go south, and just how important it is to first establish control over a resisting adversary. My commentary isn’t intended to single out these policemen, but rather offer a few general observations from the perspective of someone that trains Jiu Jitsu.
In Jiu Jitsu, our primary goal is to put an opponent on their back and establish full control either via side control, mount, or knee on belly. When someone is on their back they will have the least number of movement options. Yes, they might still be able to use their arms and flail their legs, but these can be nullified within the context of positional control. Maintaining control and denying movement options is priority number one.
Cops are generally taught to put a suspect belly down so they can be cuffed. But unless control has been established FIRST, then the belly down position actually gives someone more movement options, especially if they can get to their knees. We see this in action in the video. The policemen established almost no control, nor did they prevent the suspect from getting to his knees which allowed him to escape. Punching the suspect ended up being counterproductive. Not only did it give him more space to move, it created more motivation to fight and flee.
What should the cops have done? Around the 45 second mark, after disarming him, the larger cop should have immediately pinned him using knee on belly, then transition either to mount or side control. The smaller cop could then have provided a support role, pinning the legs. They gave the man way too much room, and as the seconds ticked, this emboldened him to grab a gun and fight.
Establishing positional control over a resisting opponent is the primary goal in Jiu Jitsu. The secondary goal is getting the submission. In the case of cops, the “submission” is akin to cuffing them. And this can not reliably happen until you have eliminated all movement options.
Often, against a strong, dynamic opponent, it’s important to be patient and weather the initial storm. Going for a submission too soon can create an opening for them to counter or escape. Instead, it’s better to wait. To be patient. If you have someone under control, let them burn themselves out. Once they are tired they become far more easy to deal with.
In addition to learning to control someone, Jiu Jitsu teaches students to seize moments of opportunity very quickly. It trains you to take immediate action whenever an opportunity presents itself. It does this through a live training methodology that rewards fast decision-making, and makes you pay a price when you’ve fallen behind. In a life and death situation, seconds count.
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