In the last issue we discussed my concerns with unintended consequences of boxing training. This week we will look at a concern I have with a ground fighting exercise. The exercise I am referring to is one where officers are put through a series of physical exercises to elevate their heart-rate and breathing then two officers sit back to back on a mat and on the whistle grapple until one gets the other in a submission hold.
The three main concerns I have with this drill are:
- Half the officers walk away from this drill losers. On top of that they have to quit to lose, so they actually walk away as quitters and losers. This is my biggest issue with this drill. Again we are creating huge training scars with this exercise that we are going to have a difficult time fixing.
- The agencies that I am aware have done this do not teach officers how to handcuff a subject from this submission position.
- This exercise and the submission position rarely, if ever, addresses the issue of multiple assailants.
I have even been advised of agencies who run this as a tournament style exercise where the winners from round one go to one side and the losers go to the other side. Each side then continues to repeat the exercise until you have an eventual champion. This ensures that every officer except one walks away from the exercise as a quitter and a loser. Some of the ‘losers’ even have had the opportunity to quit and lose not once but twice.
But wait a minute people will say. This is no different than a martial arts tournament. YES IT IS. These are law enforcement officers, not martial artists. They are supposed to be trained to win violent encounters, not to spar with an opponent and quit when it gets tough. They are supposed to be trained for the street not for martial arts tournaments.
Food for thought until next time.
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