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The Benefits of Martial Arts in Law Enforcement

Much of law enforcement and police training includes training in martial arts, particularly for instances in which an officer must detain or otherwise subdue a person without the use of lethal force. Martial arts have long been part of law enforcement and military training around the world, as well as in the U.S. Many of the “take down” tactics used by police officers are derived from martial arts from Brazil, Japan, Korea or China and are featured as a common part of any law enforcement training program.

Some of the best forms of martial arts for law enforcement include those that emphasize the importance of take downs, throws, joint locks and chokes as well as ways to avoid and counter weapon attacks. Ju Jitsu, Judo, Aikido, Hapkido all place an emphasis on these techniques, and they stress defensive moves over offensive maneuvers. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also recommended for its fighting techniques that help to immobilize criminals on the ground.

The benefits of martial arts to a police officer go beyond the ability to control another person. Martial arts help promote the physical and emotional health of officers through physical and mental conditioning. Martial arts, in general, are beneficial to the mind through the emphasis on controlling one’s thoughts, breathing, meditation and the motor planning involved in executing some of the more complex forms or movements. Martial arts are also proven to reduce stress and anxiety, one of the biggest problems for law enforcement officers that can cause mistakes, job burn-out, violent tendencies or other issues.




Martial arts also help to increase a person’s inner strength and self-confidence. Sports or other physical activities are known to increase mental and assist with emotional processing and cognition. For a law enforcement officer, this confidence helps in the field by helping to promote an image of self-assurance that is urgently needed when dealing with criminals and illegal activities. Sometimes, it may be the knowledge that an officer can practice self-defense, more than the actual activity that helps boost confidence, but, it is this confidence that comes through in a police officer’s demeanor, posture, eye contact and speech that sets the tone for any exchange with another person who may be causing trouble.

Leadership qualities also develop from martial arts training and can help with the career and professional goals of law enforcement officers. Being seen as an authority figure can make the difference in any exchanges that happen with criminals and being seen as a leader within the ranks of other officers can help with any career aspirations a law enforcement officer may have.

Martial arts have a positive impact on the lives and careers of many police and law enforcement officers, in all levels of their careers. The physical, mental and emotional benefits of studying a non-lethal method of physical engagement can be long-lasting and beneficial in many aspects of an officer’s life and career.

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Kaplan University

Kaplan University

If you are seeking to advance your career in law enforcement, private security, or corrections or to pursue entry-level opportunities, Kaplan's online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program will help you meet your career goals.

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American InterContinental University Online

American InterContinental University Online

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law Enforcement is offered by American InterContinental University to students with aspirations to pursue career paths that can include DEA Agent, State Insurance Fraud Investigator and many others.

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Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement is designed for students seeking to expand their understanding of the law, social order, and justice.

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