Book excerpt: Stop Resisting

A guide to proven control tactics, less lawsuits and building community trust through martial arts


The following is from "Stop Resisting: The Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Proven Control Tactics, Less Lawsuits, and Building Community Trust Through Martial Arts," by Jeremy Butler, Ph.D., a former police officer and current college professor, author, speaker and martial arts/control tactics instructor.

Whether you are in law enforcement, or a martial arts instructor interested in training police officers, this book will enhance your ability to train for the needs of a modern-day officer.
Whether you are in law enforcement, or a martial arts instructor interested in training police officers, this book will enhance your ability to train for the needs of a modern-day officer.

Train with Intent

Have you ever done a training session, doesn’t matter the activity, where you came out of it wondering if you actually accomplished anything? This is common in martial arts and control tactics training because we often practice without much conscious thought beyond repeating the techniques demonstrated by the instructor. Don’t fall into this trap. Be present physically and mentally during your training sessions. This can be done by having a specific goal behind each training session.

Goal setting will help you build consistent effective training productivity. It is a tremendously powerful tool if you implement it correctly. Try setting short-term process and performance goals to aid in achieving your long-term outcome goals. For the sake of clarity, let’s define these three types of goals (Weinberg & Gould, 2019).

A process goal focuses on the specific actions necessary for optimal performance. Individuals have complete control over their process goals and they can determine what needs to be done consistently to achieve long-term success.

A performance goal is based on achieving a personal standard independent of others. Process and performance goals are often a preferred focus because you have more control over the outcome.

An outcome goal focuses on the end result, which is dependent on various factors that may be outside of your control (Weinberg & Gould, 2019).

Process goals can generally lead to achieving performance goals, which will help accomplish the outcome goal. Let’s apply this to an example that would serve as the perfect starting point if you are a police officer pursuing martial arts training.

Police officer control tactics training goals

  • Outcome goal: During my next non-lethal use of force encounter, my goal is to effectively control and subdue the subject with no injuries to them or myself.
  • Performance goal: By the end of the month, I will be able to complete six 5-minute rounds of live grappling/rolling without taking breaks between rounds.
  • Process goal: During my training sessions this month, I will focus on controlling my breathing and using effective techniques, rather than strength, to control my training partners.

As you can see in this example, the ultimate goal should be an effective use of force performance, but this takes considerable time dedicated to training (i.e., process and performance goals) to achieve this outcome.

About one year into my law enforcement career, I decided to begin training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on a regular basis. I already had some experience through my base martial arts system but one of my first use of force encounters motivated me to dive more deeply into this art.

I was working a college party in the ballroom of a student center when a big fight broke out. It was about five minutes of pure chaos. Hundreds of people scattered throughout this near pitch-black ballroom, music blaring, and about six or seven people actively fighting near the center of the room.

I ran over to the scene with several other officers and myself and another officer managed to get one of the primary aggressors on the ground. Throughout this entire encounter, my instinct was to use striking to gain control of the subject but I didn’t feel this situation warranted that level of force. Once he was taken to the ground, he actively resisted our efforts to get his hands behind his back but was not aggressive toward officers. He tucked his arms tightly onto his chest and remained belly down.

Three of us each controlled a separate part of his body but we struggled to free his arms to get him in handcuffs. He ignored commands to put his hands behind his back and applying pressure points did not faze him at all. I believe everyone’s thought process shifted to considering other less-lethal tools, but I was eventually able to pry his arm out and apply pressure, braced with counter-pressure on his wrist and elbow to get his arm behind his back. After about 20 more seconds, we freed his other arm and applied the handcuffs.

After this encounter, I reflected on where I was prioritizing my training. Most of my life I focused on striking arts, which is not a bad choice for a young male civilian from the south side of Chicago. As a police officer, I felt it was time to shift the focus in my own training to the grappling arts as the type of encounter I just described is much more common. Shortly after this incident, I began training in the grappling arts as often as possible. In every session, I had an objective for the day. Some days, my goal was to maintain complete control over my partners on the ground, while other days it was escaping from bad positions. When we come to each training session with a concrete measurable goal for the day, we can enhance our motivation to train consistently and improve success when it really counts.

At the end of this book, there is a goal-setting activity that is just like the example provided above. Think about your own outcome, performance and process goals for your control tactics training. If you already train consistently, what are some areas of improvement that you can focus on? If you do not train on a consistent basis, use this activity as an opportunity to embark on this journey. Remember to aim for goals that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound. 

NEXT: 4 steps to incorporate Jiu-Jitsu into your department’s use of force training

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