“Society has changed and as a result, there has been a dramatic increase in drug overdoses, violent crimes and assaults on First Responders in our communities. There is a gap in survival tactics training and a missing survival gear element in the First Responder Community and we are going to fill it.”
The foundation of the HSDF:
I began training in Gracie Jiu Jitsu in 2014 at a local martial arts training center. The owner of the dojo is a big law enforcement supporter and Veteran in the martial arts/jiu jitsu world. He asked myself and another LEO if we would be interested in attending a five day Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor Course, which he sponsored us for. In 2017 we headed off to Louisville, Kentucky and completed the GST Level 1 Course. Jiu Jitsu already blew my mind but learning how to simply apply the techniques and principals into Law Enforcement was the icing on the cake, and I love pastries. Right away I thought "this training should be standard in Law Enforcement". I wanted to start introducing this to Police Officers immediately and as much as possible.
The local dojo I belonged to was the perfect place, harvesting a welcoming atmosphere conducisve to learning AND law enforcement friendly. We held a few free workshops and I had a few local businesses donate give away merchandise and raffle items. This was a great start but I wanted to keep sharing this lifesaving training as much as possible all over the state. In an effort to continue these workshops without interferring with normal schedule of the dojo and spread the training locations, I decided to start holding workshops anywhere I could hold a decent training session including schools, clubs, and other training locations. But on top of working full time, I was doing this voluntarily so in order to continue this and keep up with the cost of certifications, travel, and expenses, I created the non profit organizationm The Heroes Self Defense Foundation. It wasn't all my idea. The non profit idea came up while talking to my mother and with much discussion with my better half, we made it happen. Now, with the help of an amazing team that beleive in the HSDF mission, we are doing our part with your support to create a safe environment for our First Responders and our Communities!
Little Bit of Background:
Police Defensive Tactics are things that an Officer can do such as create space, block strikes, controlling or striking the suspect, when that suspect attacks them or resists arrest. Defensive Tactics are generally non weapon options that an Officer would have to choose from in order to take the suspect into custody or control a person when the use of a higher force is not necessary or justified.
Police academy defensive tactics curriculum's across the United States are designed to give recruit officers the basic entry level training, not make them professional MMA fighters. Training can include boxing, striking, and ground fighting. While boxing and striking have their purposes and can be useful, they are not always the most efficient or effective against someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs or suffering from an extreme mental disorder. On top of that, the Officer can cause more damage to the suspect than intended and can also injure their self as a result of punching the suspect’s face, the ground or hard object on a miss. If the Officer is in range to punch the suspect, the suspect is in range to punch the Officer. Finally, punching may “appear” to be violent and in today’s world, all eyes and cameras are on the police, not the person causing the issue. Ground fighting may consist of a handful of techniques including how to control someone on the ground, how to get back to their feet, and a weapon retention technique. For the most part it’s a good start, however it is perishable training that needs to be continued and built on. As my jiu jitsu coach says, "There is a key for every lock". In the beginning of an Officer's training, they will have 1 key for about half the locks they will face. So let's give them more keys.
After graduating from the police academy, the average police agency across the nation only requires Officers to attend defensive tactics update training four hours every two years. Some agencies require more and some require less. Considering every personal encounter for an officer is a potential assault, what can we realistically expect when an Officer has limited training.
Here is where the HSDF comes in. After graduating from the police academy, Officers have a few options. They can do nothing, attend defensive tactics elective training at their academy, or attend a local martial arts training center. Doing nothing should not be an option. Academy elective training is a great opportunity but not all offer this training. A lot of officer’s have told us that they do not attend ground fighting at their academy because they don’t want to get “beat up” like they did in the academy. Rightfully so, but there was a justified reason for that in the academy. We get it, ego plays a big role. Other Officers said they feel the techniques they learned in the academy have not worked in the past therfore they do not not rely on them. (This could very well be due to the Officer applying the technique incorrectly or at the wrong time). Some officers have told us that shortly after joining their local martial arts training centers, the training environment was not always the most police friendly which resulted in unnecessary injuries and fear to train. There is also an upward cost of $150-$200 a month membership which can deter already underpaid officers from continuing to train. For these reason we sponsor training and provide workshops for Officers to attend. We also recommend that Officers contact us to find a local certified training center.
Military Police Officers receive combatives training but this seems to be standard for all soldiers which means Military Cops are dealing with other soldiers who know the same tactics and counters as they do. That’s like playing checkers with someone that knows all your moves.
EMS Professionals receive an abundance of life saving medical training. But they don't receive training to save their own life in Self Defense. With drug overdoses and patients suffering from extreme mental disorders, assaults on EMS Professionals are on the rise from the scene of a motor vehicle crash, to a residence, back of an ambulance or at the hospital, EMS Professionals are right in the mix. It is common for EMS to arrive on scene of a medical call and request police to “step it up” because of a disorderly or violent patient. Don’t forget, EMS Professionals still have the duty to care for the patient but they have to be able to protect themselves first.
For those reasons the HSDF shares simple and effective jiu jitsu knowledge through free workshops which compliment Civilian/Military Police Officers defensive tactics and provide basic fundamentals for EMS & Fire Professionals. We also sponsor certified Civilian and Military Police Officers for the Gracie Survival Tactics courses. Please check out our Survival Tactics section for more information.
Law Enforcement Canines
Unfortunately, a lot of police canines units are considered non-essential by their agency and are not always supplied with the equipment they need. Approximately 90% off all LEO K-9 units rely on donations to function. Canines are called upon to apprehend the most violent criminals in the most dangerous situations, but they are not always afforded the same protection as human Officers. If an agency does not purchase a ballistic vest for the canine, it will go without protection until the handler purchases one or funds can be donated. We recognize this deficiency and work with Law Enforcement agencies to determine the need for canine ballistic/knife protection vests. We work with a reputable company that provides custom made vests at a discount of $1,800 each so we rely heavily on sponsors to help with these purchases.
Much like human Police Officers, Canines are also sometimes injured in the line of duty while apprehending suspects and in vehicle crashes. In January 2019, an HSDF team member's patrol vehicle was struck by a drunk driver causing traumatic injuries to the K-9. The outpour of support and care packages received from all over the country provided an amazing mental and physical calm not only to the canine but the handler as well. (The K-9 has since returned to full duty.) Since then we have made the decision pay that forward. The road to recovery can be tough so the HSDF has partnered with Tanners Endless Love and Concord Pet to send care packages to injured police canines throughout the country. How cool is that! Check out our Furry Heroes page for canines we’ve helped with your support.
To finish up;
The HSDF is voluntarily staffed by Veterans ensuring that 100% donations received go towards the mission. Our team works full time but we believe in the cause. Your donation is not gone as soon as you send it in. You can visit our webpage and Facebook page to see exactly how your contribution is helping make a difference.
Stay up to date via our website and our Facebook page @HeroesSelfDefenseFoundation
From all of us here at the Heroes Self Defense Foundation,
Thank you for listening to our story and we appreciate your support!
The Heroes Self Defense Foundation Team