I have been a Police Officer for long enough to see it change my perspective on people in general. As you can imagine I am not called to visit with you or to hear how your day was a success, I am there because something has happened, something bad. To add to this misfortune, I have been around long enough to experience the training changes that inevitably show me to treat everyone as a possible suspect, to fear everything. This isn't bashing Police Training, but more shedding light on the unfortunate truth. We are taught that, because we are there, something bad has occurred (which is generally true) and society today has shown us that we need to watch our backs everywhere we go. Very unfortunate indeed, but also necessary, as it is true that there are people out there wishing to do us harm just because of our uniform and dedication to Justice.
I was a Police Officer before I began training in Jiu-Jitsu, and that has of course influenced the things that stick in my mind when training. However, I have been training for a few years now and have noticed that the years of training as a Police Officer hasn't changed, but the outlook on the world has. Almost as if I am no longer blindfolded. As my skill grew, so did my confidence level.
With a certain amount of skill, I was able to relax just slightly and still respond to a threat just as quickly, if not faster than I have been before. This is not the point of this blog post though. Where paranoia once stood in my mind, now stands confidence in myself, my body and my mind. I think faster, my body reacts better now and I am able to keep the "lizard b rain" at bay and maintain my "human brain" longer during times of extreme stress. I no longer rely on my state of paranoia to see me through a situation as much as I depend upon my ability to maintain my composure.
This is something that any cop, who has been around for any amount of time can tell you is the result of training consistently, and is not specific to jiu-jitsu, and they would be right. But if you refer back to the title of this post it refers to how I see the world, not how my training has improved.
In Jiu-Jitsu, it is common for people to be relaxed, to be humble, and to always be willing to learn. Jiu-Jitsu forces this out of each person it touches. Those who fight against this don't last very long. I have been able to somehow adopt a playful, laid back personality through Jiu-Jitsu that has allowed me to see the good in people again. I'm not exactly sure at which point this occurred, I just know that I am very glad it happened and that I am a better Police Officer for it. I haven't lost my ability to notice what people have in their hands, or their sudden change in mood, or changes in their body language. In fact, I am more in tune with this than ever before. I just no longer carry the weight of depression, paranoia and "saltiness" that comes with being a Police Officer.
If you don't believe me go see for yourself. It's not like a Jiu-Jitsu gym teaches you these things, they just happen. The gym will teach you practical movement and techniques that can only help you be safer on the streets as a cop, but as a bi-product you will inevitably find yourself being happier. Which could only prolong your life in such a stressful environment.