From Cop to Cop: Here's Why You Really Need To Learn MMA

by Anthony Twining

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (or MMA) has become one of the fastest growing professional sports in the last 10 years.

MMA stars like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones are crossing over into pop culture and starring in main events all over the world.

The average person on the street can now talk basic MMA techniques and you can’t go a few miles without seeing a new MMA or Jiu Jitsu gym.

It's common to hear these stars on The Late Shows comparing this sport to war or at the highest level of star, such as George “Rush” St.Pierre, explaining how nervous they are when they step into the cage.

Some of the most bad ass people in the world explain that they cut through the nervousness and “war-like” experience by relying on technique and placing themselves in controlled chaos during training camp.

But what if it wasn’t a sport?

What if the “go time” situation wasn’t controlled or sanctioned by an athletic commission?

On the daily, Police Officers are placed in unknown situations or known dangerous situations where it may be the most frightful experience of their life.
Any “simple” arrest can easily turn into a fight for the officer in the blink of an eye.

Does a police academy train recruits to fight with a young athlete who really doesn’t want to get arrested? Probably not.

For an Officer to be ready and prepared for these types of situations, it takes constant and continuous effort. And in my opinion, joining an MMA or Jiujitsu gym is one of the best ways to stay prepared.

Aside from the immense health benefits of melting fat, increasing muscular strength, developing a runners endurance and building muscles you would ignore during static lifts, not getting beat up on the street may be the most valuable trait learned.

Putting yourself through grueling workouts that are based in throwing punches, clinches, take downs and grappling puts any Officer at an advantage dealing with any situation whether it be a person resisting arrest or someone who wants to take your life.

These MMA/BJJ sessions, like any other difficult workout, puts an Officer in situations where quitting seems like a viable option, except in this case quitting or slacking off usually leads to a lead hook to the nose or a deep set triangle choke.

As an Officer trains, he/she learns skills to protect him/herself, his family and fellow officers. And along with developing a no-quit mindset, the ability to ask him/herself during tough training sessions “What if this was on the street?” leading to deeper drive to continue and keep training hard. 

The most important skill, besides being able to physically defend yourself in a potential life or death situation, is the mindset that is developed through training MMA/BJJ.

The stereotypical view of these sports always leans to a meathead, jock outlook which in most gyms couldn't be farther from the truth.

Something about getting your face jabbed off by a 15 year old or getting submitted 10 times in a 5 minute round by an opponent 70lbs lighter than you does something to your ego.


Not having an ego while training combat sports lets you focus on training and is the first thing you must lose to elevate any discipline in MMA.

This attribute is ten-fold for police. By not having an ego and staying calm due to literally fighting everyday, every situation is a 100Xmore manageable.

The domestic violence calls where everyone is yelling and you have to remove the drunk father-in-law, the drug-user who is adamant about staying in the ATM after asked to leave or the gang member who insists he would beat you in a fight if you would only “take off your badge”...

All of these are made a little easier if (1) you know you can fight and (2) your ego is non-existent.

By not letting your ego drip into your daily calls for service you stay awkwardly calm and  allows for an objective look into the crime/situation and apply laws and policies without actually contemplating the homeless person brawl to prove your tougher than him….

ALL IN ALL, a police officer’s number one job is to go home at the end of his/her shift (or double) and while Officers may not be able to control everything about the chaos that is policing, what they can control is how they prepare for it.

Developing skills in combat sports by utilizing a local MMA or BJJ gym is good for the mind and the body and can ultimately lead to a safer day to day while patrolling the streets.



About the Author

Anthony is currently a Police Officer serving the great city of Boston. His views and opinions herein do not represent the Boston Police Department.

Prior to becoming a police officer, Anthony was an Intelligence Analyst for the same department, conducting analysis to help officers on the street. Click here to read more about Anthony.




-Juan Rivera, MEd

Founder & Chief Learning Officer


- Education & Training

- Program Development

- Consulting

- Speaking

- Military Command Support

- Veteran Wellness & Career Readiness


Primal Platoon, Inc.

P.O. Box 20

Sudbury, MA 01776

© Copyright 2019 Rivwell.