Police in Sao Paulo have adopted a new technique for dealing with anti-World Cup street protests by deploying unarmed officers trained in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). The news comes as multiple UFC Champions have been demonstrating that a background in effective martial arts can give you the confidence, and the skills, to deal with violent protestors in the USA.
Reported in The Telegraph, specialist police officers known as the ‘Tropa do Braço’, or ‘Troop of Arms’ patrolled the latest demonstration – a 1,500-strong protest in central Sao Paulo – without weapons for the first time this weekend. Instead, the 140 officers were equipped with a minimum of three months of martial arts training – some officers are black belts while some are still beginners. However, this is not the only police or military unit in Brazil that trains BJJ. Brazil’s famous BOPE has many BJJ black belts in their ranks.
The protest was to express their discontent over the high government expenditure on the World Cup, which Brazil is going to host in four months. According to BJJEE , bank windows were smashed and fires were started in Sao Paolo in a rally against World Cup expenditure, which has exceeded $11 billion. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades, making hundreds of arrests to begin with before changing tactics to use the unarmed BJJ squad.
The unarmed Tropa do Braço arrested 262 people. According to the military police, the operation was a success. “There was less damage and fewer police and civilians injured,” Colonel Celso Luis told reporters.
According to an article written in 2018 for the Jiu Jitsu Times, BJJ has the potential to cut an excessive police force in half. Officer Tommy Merino believes that one of the biggest problems plaguing jiu-jitsu academies today is the insufficient self-defense training. In fact, he said that police officers would “have at minimum 50% less excessive force issues and deadly force issues” if jiu-jitsu training were stressed at police academies.