Letters to the Editor: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Used in Police Work in England

We receive a decent amount of correspondence from our incredible audience, The Mighty 600,000. The following email from a listener in the United Kingdom arrived in our inbox recently and was the inspiration for Saturday’s poll question.

Hi Caleb! I shall start by saying that I live the show and check every week for new episodes, they make the cycle to work almost bearable 😀 Thanks for giving back to the BJJ community, there are a lot of us out there who really appreciate it.

I’m a police officer here in the UK, and I have studied martial arts for twenty two years. About 14 months ago I discovered BJJ and I quite literally went to one session and took my black belts off. Previously I had been a 3rd Dan in Freestyle Karate, a 2nd Dan in Japanese Ju Jitsu, and a 1st Dan in Kobudo Weaponry. I actually also hold grades in three other styles too. I also was on the British WKA Team for over 8 years and competed all over the world in points fighting and forms. I’m not telling you all this to blow my own trumpet but to put what I will tell you in context. After my first hour session in BJJ, my belts went in the drawer and they have never come out since.

BJJ changed my life. I gave up teaching and closed my academy. I started training 4 times plus a week and I’ve competed twice (unsuccessfully so far but my time will come) and have a few more comps coming up which I am really looking forward to. I’m a four stripe White under Gary Savage (one year training) who is one of the two UK black belts under Mario Sukata.

Anyway! Now you have some context… I work in Blackpool Town Center (UK’s Vegas) and have lots of opportunity to use what I know on a regular basis. In the past I have always used what I know well, and the RNC was a staple of choice until they became compliant. Today, I stopped a suspect who I searched for drugs in the middle of a housing estate. When I found a quantity of drugs he resisted heavily and the PC I was with got on the radio straight away for assistance. We don’t have guns on the beat here in the UK, but it was so sudden I couldn’t get hold of my spray or baton. I immediately hit an arm drag and took the back, sinking both hooks in without thinking. He had around 4 stone and 6 inches in height on me and bent over and pulled me off his back. I immediately fell straight into half guard (bear in mind that cars are going around me at this point as we are in the road), grabbed his other leg, and swept him, coming into combat base. I then used. Basic Sao Paulo pass and took the back with him in the floor. I flattened him out and cuffed him.

I was completely calm and didn’t even raise my voice. In fact, looking back i actually considered options as i went through to the cuffing. The other PC was completely amazed, she couldn’t understand how I could control someone so much larger so easily. I spoke about BJJ and she is going to her local gym this week!

The biggy here was my calmness and my complete control. It was completely different to every other conflict I have ever been involved in (and I have been in anything from passive resistance through to riots). BJJ gives you that sort of power. It is a massively empowering martial art and every person who works in law enforcement has to consider it as the ONLY and best martial art for self protection.

Anyway Caleb, i heard a similar story on the podcast a few months back and thought you might like that story 😀 Thanks again,


Gareth is referring to the story of Pedro Arrigoni, a purple belt who helped subdue a man who was attacking a police officer in Oakland earlier this year. It’s always great to hear such stories. Being able to handle ourselves in unpleasant situations is the reason most of us probably began jiu-jitsu in the first place.

Thanks a ton for the story! We love hearing from you guys, so always feel free to reach out to us!

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