Euclid approves Brazilian jiu-jitsu training reimbursement program for police

Program designed to give officers more de-escalation and defense tools

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By SHEENA HOLLAND DOLAN

(Orginal article)

Euclid City Council recently gave unanimous approval to launch a pilot reimbursement program for Euclid police officers to receive training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to enhance their knowledge in de-escalation and defense tactics.

The training is not mandatory, but officers who wish to participate will be able to take classes on their own time at the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy of Self-Defense in Willoughby, which is owned by jiu-jitsu black belts and certified instructors Ron Aderhold and Mark Stefanac, who also serves as a police officer for Highland Heights. The academy has been in business since 2006 and has about 200 students.

Aderhold and Stefanac paid a visit to the city’s Public Safety Committee at its Oct. 6 meeting, where they led a presentation and discussion on the benefits of training law enforcement in jiu-jitsu, which is considered a grappling martial art, versus a striking martial art.

 

During the presentation, Aderhold explained that jiu-jitsu is not focused on harming anyone, but rather, it is focused on control — utilizing timing and leverage to gently force one’s opponent to the ground.

“What we teach is a gradual progression, where you start with a minimum amount of force needed to subdue a person,” Aderhold explained.

He added that the Academy of Self Defense teaches the Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu curriculum, which is the same curriculum used by the U.S. Army and Marines, and currently has over 30 police officers and first responders training at their facility. The facility is also certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy to provide officially recognized training for officers.

“If you’re not confident in your abilities to put your hands on somebody and, in a safe way, control them — what’s your next step?” Aderhold said. “Your next step is to go to your Taser or your weapon, and that probably doesn’t produce the outcome that you want. Jiu-jitsu can fill that gap between using command voice and going for a weapon.”

Following the discussions in the Public Safety Committee and council, the program was structured to require officers to complete 20 hours of documented participation in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes in order to qualify for reimbursement, which will be distributed semi-annually.

The pilot program itself will be allotted up to $12,000 in funding from the city’s general fund for the first year.

Councilman Kristian Jarosz, who proposed the idea for the pilot program, said at the Oct. 18 meeting that he feels the classes will offer a good opportunity for interested officers to get plenty of practice in honing a new set of techniques for handling difficult situations.

“Anything physical is perishable, so if you don’t practice you’re not going to be able to do it when the time calls,” Jarosz said. “This is an opportunity for people to learn these skills, to drill these skills, and to learn these techniques and drill them over and over again. So, should a situation occur, this is hopefully something that they have the ability to do before moving on to other phases in the use of force.” /END

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