Famed martial artist says New York City is trying to kill people

New York City's lawmakers have decided that they know best what police can and cannot do when it comes to arresting people — and what they can no longer do is any kind of upper body hold on a suspect who's on the ground.  Rener Gracie, of the famed Gracie Brazilian jiujitsu ("BJJ") dynasty, has published a video explaining that, no matter the intentions behind this law, it is a perfect way to ensure that police will have to resort to extremely dangerous, possibly deadly, tactics to subdue detainees.

George Floyd was an obese ex-felon suffering from severe heart disease, high on methamphetamines and fentanyl, and acting violently and irrationally when police officer Derek Chauvin subdued him on the ground with a knee to the neck — an approved police tactic under Minneapolis law before June 2020.  People in chest or neck holds often complain that they cannot breathe, especially when they're panicked or on drugs, or when they want to keep fighting or escape.  That means that the police regularly hear this complaint and, 99 times out of 100, it goes nowhere.

The reality is that, unless the person on top is actually blocking the airway, most people can sustain a fair amount of pressure on their chest.  I know this because I did BJJ for almost a decade until my joints gave out.  (A lot of the moves call for more torque than my joints could handle.)  I did it not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because it's tremendous fun, because it's like an athletic version of both chess and physics.

The goal in BJJ is to get your opponents in holds from which they cannot extricate themselves.  Many of these holds involve sitting on a person's back or chest or putting some pressure on their neck.  With a heavily muscled person, as Floyd clearly was despite his obesity, the neck muscles create a powerful barrier that limits choking.  One of the virtues of this technique is that it's passive.  Once you've got someone in a hold, he's just stuck — but he's not hurting.

New York City has now followed Minneapolis's lead and informed police officers that they may no longer use passive wrestling holds against people resisting arrest.  Rener Gracie, the grandson of Hélio Gracie, the man credited with modifying Japanese jiujitsu to create the Brazilian version, has published a video explaining what a terrible idea it is to deny police the ability to subdue violent suspects through holds.

Most of the time, these holds are harmless.  It's true that bad things can happen, but the purpose behind these holds is to subdue someone without escalating violence.  Rener explains that if police are denied a technique that's intended to stop someone without violence, all that's left for the police faced with a suspect who resists arrest is actual violence — tasers, batons, punches, or guns:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The NYPD Police Reform bill I discussed in my recent video is actually much worse than I imagined! Not only does it criminalize the safest and most effective non-violent control tactics, the officer is personally liable for a “criminal act” even if contact with the diaphragm was unintentional and caused no injury to the subject. Somehow people don’t understand that by criminalizing non-violent control tactics they are encouraging violent alternatives. No matter who you are or where you live, do whatever it takes to prevent this particular policy from passing in your city. _ Police Chiefs, more than ever, you MUST keep excessive force allegations to an all-time low, and we can help. Link in bio.

A post shared by renergracie (@renergracie) on

(You can view more of Rener Gracie's posts about BJJ holds and policing here.)

The reality is that police work is dangerous.  Police are routinely dealing with people like this:

When you're dealing with violent, insane, or drugged out people, things can go wrong.  It's also true that there will always be a certain percentage of police officers — a mercifully small percentage in America — who abuse their power.  Neither of those factors, though, justifies a bunch of know-nothing politicians making judgment calls that put police and violent offenders at greater risk.

Image: Instagram screen grab.

 

 

 

 

New York City's lawmakers have decided that they know best what police can and cannot do when it comes to arresting people — and what they can no longer do is any kind of upper body hold on a suspect who's on the ground.  Rener Gracie, of the famed Gracie Brazilian jiujitsu ("BJJ") dynasty, has published a video explaining that, no matter the intentions behind this law, it is a perfect way to ensure that police will have to resort to extremely dangerous, possibly deadly, tactics to subdue detainees.

George Floyd was an obese ex-felon suffering from severe heart disease, high on methamphetamines and fentanyl, and acting violently and irrationally when police officer Derek Chauvin subdued him on the ground with a knee to the neck — an approved police tactic under Minneapolis law before June 2020.  People in chest or neck holds often complain that they cannot breathe, especially when they're panicked or on drugs, or when they want to keep fighting or escape.  That means that the police regularly hear this complaint and, 99 times out of 100, it goes nowhere.

The reality is that, unless the person on top is actually blocking the airway, most people can sustain a fair amount of pressure on their chest.  I know this because I did BJJ for almost a decade until my joints gave out.  (A lot of the moves call for more torque than my joints could handle.)  I did it not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because it's tremendous fun, because it's like an athletic version of both chess and physics.

The goal in BJJ is to get your opponents in holds from which they cannot extricate themselves.  Many of these holds involve sitting on a person's back or chest or putting some pressure on their neck.  With a heavily muscled person, as Floyd clearly was despite his obesity, the neck muscles create a powerful barrier that limits choking.  One of the virtues of this technique is that it's passive.  Once you've got someone in a hold, he's just stuck — but he's not hurting.

New York City has now followed Minneapolis's lead and informed police officers that they may no longer use passive wrestling holds against people resisting arrest.  Rener Gracie, the grandson of Hélio Gracie, the man credited with modifying Japanese jiujitsu to create the Brazilian version, has published a video explaining what a terrible idea it is to deny police the ability to subdue violent suspects through holds.

Most of the time, these holds are harmless.  It's true that bad things can happen, but the purpose behind these holds is to subdue someone without escalating violence.  Rener explains that if police are denied a technique that's intended to stop someone without violence, all that's left for the police faced with a suspect who resists arrest is actual violence — tasers, batons, punches, or guns:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The NYPD Police Reform bill I discussed in my recent video is actually much worse than I imagined! Not only does it criminalize the safest and most effective non-violent control tactics, the officer is personally liable for a “criminal act” even if contact with the diaphragm was unintentional and caused no injury to the subject. Somehow people don’t understand that by criminalizing non-violent control tactics they are encouraging violent alternatives. No matter who you are or where you live, do whatever it takes to prevent this particular policy from passing in your city. _ Police Chiefs, more than ever, you MUST keep excessive force allegations to an all-time low, and we can help. Link in bio.

A post shared by renergracie (@renergracie) on

(You can view more of Rener Gracie's posts about BJJ holds and policing here.)

The reality is that police work is dangerous.  Police are routinely dealing with people like this:

When you're dealing with violent, insane, or drugged out people, things can go wrong.  It's also true that there will always be a certain percentage of police officers — a mercifully small percentage in America — who abuse their power.  Neither of those factors, though, justifies a bunch of know-nothing politicians making judgment calls that put police and violent offenders at greater risk.

Image: Instagram screen grab.