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Michigan police reform bill would require officers be trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, some form of 'grappling'

Written by on June 2, 2021

One of 11 proposed pieces of Michigan police reform legislation would require that law enforcement officersstatewide be trained to a certain extent in the practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu or a similar form of fighting, according to the bill and a local affiliate report. 

Michigan Rep. Ryan Berman, a Republican, introduced House Bill 4525 on March 16 which would mandate that law enforcement officers be certifiably trained in the “rank of blue belt of higher in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from a certified instructor,” or equivalent training in a form of “grappling,” the legislation states. 

The legislation describes “grappling training” as being “training in hand-to-hand combat that is used at close range to gain a physical advantage over an opponent.” 

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If the officer chooses not to pursue the Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he or she must have at least one of the following forms of experience: two years of varsity high school wrestling, or five years of any wrestling experience; Judo experience at the brown-belt level; “two or more mixed martial arts [MMA] fights as a licensed professional” MMA fighter. 

Detroit, Michigan, USA - October 23, 2016: A Detroit Police car parked in front of the Renaissance Center, world headquarters for GM in downtown Detroit (iStock).

Detroit, Michigan, USA – October 23, 2016: A Detroit Police car parked in front of the Renaissance Center, world headquarters for GM in downtown Detroit (iStock).

It would also require four hours of yearly training in grappling. 

Berman’s pending legislation is one of 11 proposals being considered by Michigan lawmakers, according to local affiliate FOX 17 West Michigan

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Berman told the news station he proposed the bill so officers “don’t have to use excessive force.” 

“They don’t have to punch someone 15 times to submit,” he added. 

Becoming familiar with less violent methods of policing will ultimately instill more confidence in officers, and could in turn prevent unsafe situations, Berman told FOX 17.

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“It’s really to help them so these situations don’t happen, so they don’t use unnecessary force,” Berman continued, “and they will have more tools in their toolbox, if you will, to handle any situation that arises.”

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