For some time Jiu-Jitsu has been employed as an important instrument to help police officers. In Brazil, although not an mandatory part of police training, many in the profession have turned to the Gentle Art. And the benefits go well beyond the advantages Jiu-Jitsu offers in answering the call of duty, by immobilizing or defending oneself from suspect.
One who can talk is Douglas Maddarena, a student of Carlos Liberi at Gracie Barra Campinas, in the state of Sao Paulo. Definitively, the art changed the life of the policeman who, through great dedication, made it to black belt after seven years of practice.
“I started training in 2003, through a co-worker who passed away. My friend was a brown belt, policeman, and, unfortunately, he died in the field of service. At the time, for pitfalls of my profession, he suffered panic attacks and weighed 102 kg (224 lbs), while only 1.71 meters (5’6”) tall. He was obese,” he recounts.
Douglas, affectionately nicknamed Presuntinho by his teammates, lives with the stress of being a policeman in Sao Paulo.
“I worked in special units like GARRA (armed group for repressing theft and muggings), at the criminal investigations department and in smaller departments. I worked a lot in narcotics and dealt with dangerous criminals. I even investigated the PCC (Sao Paulo’s largest drug gang) in Campinas, and made arrests. I also worked in putting down prison revolts and I have been a detective for the police for the last 18 years,” he explains.
In the quality of life and work of a police officer, Douglas attests to Jiu-Jitsu being a great tool.
“Ever since I started to train my psychological health has improved 100% and I don’t even need to say anything about my physical health. It was a great victory for me. Gracie Barra is a family to me now. Jiu-Jitsu was great for my personal life above all else. And that improved my life, because I made true friends. In controlling criminals and prisoners during rebellions, where one cannot use lethal weapons, I carry myself well,” he says, adding:
“I managed to teach some friends in the profession to subdue criminals using Jiu-Jitsu, which avoids the need for deadly measures, since we no longer need weapons. It also prevents the abuse of authority, as we can dominate an individual in order to handcuff him. It has been spectacular for my professional life. I avoid a lot of headaches. Also, using Jiu-Jitsu and its philosophy in work has helped me make it to the top of the special unit,” he adds.
Douglas still manages to find time to compete, having won silver at the Gracie Barra in-house tournament. At the academy where he trains, he has been able to follow up close the introduction of the Premium Schools system, developed by Master Carlos Gracie Jr, which is being applied as a standard to GB branches around the world.
“It inspires a lot of confidence, for example, for the beginners. The new fighters, when they do their first rolls in the gym, already have a solid base. Beyond that, it unifies everybody. The student knows that what he is learning here is what is being taught around the world. That provides great confidence and the teaching methods have improved a lot. It can only bring more to the table and the proof of it being a success is that the mat is full,” he says in closing.