A new documentary is set to be released on September 20 called Wrist Lock: The Martial Arts’ Influence on Police Use of Force, which explores, as the title suggests, how police use of force tactics have been influenced by the practice of Martial Arts, as well as how police training can be improved by the same.
It’s no secret that many police agencies have a lack of training that leads to higher use of force than would likely be necessary had the officer had more skills at his or her disposal. Couple that with many officers’ less than ideal state of physical fitness due to limited sleep, high stress, poor eating, and lack of exercise, and it’s no wonder the oftentimes use of force options start higher than they probably should.
Enter Wrist Lock, which seeks to raise awareness of this training deficiency and, the website says, “create proficient and physically fit law enforcement officers capable of the performance and decision making necessary to have reasonable use of force outcomes consistently.”
The film was produced and directed by Jason Harney, who spoke to Red Voice Media about the endeavor. “As a long-time Police Trainer,” Harney said, “myself and the many talented instructors, martial artists, and experts who appear in the film all agree that the culture has to change. Defensive Tactics Proficiency is insufficient, the lack of Physical Fitness is cause for concern, and compromised mental health is not being addressed. Each of these are crucial factors in an officer’s decision making, [and his or her] ability to have a successful outcome when Using Force.”
The film features many high-level Martial Artists and is backed by a panel of experts in several fields, including martial arts coaching, police training, and medical and mental health. Featured expert artists include Mike Bland, Marcus Martin, Anthony Brown, Bob Hindi, Traci Leveritt, Ray Beshirs, Jared Wihongi, and Maynard Bagang.
Among the many experts in the film is UFC Hall of Fame fighter Forrest Griffin, who is also a former police officer. Griffin is one of the interviewees who “explores the art of the takedown as it applies to law enforcement.”
Most agencies do have some defensive tactics training offered after the police academy, but they’re basic courses offered maybe once a year, and there is not a standard the officers must meet. Without extensive practice in the arts and tactics, the officer runs the risk of his skills diminishing over time.
“The final chapter makes an argument once and for all,” the website reads, “to change Police Culture for the good of both the citizens Police Departments serve and the health and wellness of Police Officers, who deserve to go home each night to their families unharmed.”
When asked why he decided to move forward with this project, Harney said, “During my career with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I taught Defensive Tactics for nearly 20 years at the Police Academy level, In Service level, and Instructor Trainer level. My passion for Defensive Tactics, Physical Fitness, & Wellness is the reason I made ‘Wrist Lock: The Martial Arts’ Influence on Police Use of Force.’ We hope it will open some eyes, both within the law enforcement profession and the mainstream.”