Editor’s Note: The author of the following article is a cop, a twenty year vet in an urban city’s police department. Besides busting bad guys, he’s also competed in bodybuilding at the national and international levels. But because of his profession and his no-holds-barred commentary on it, he’s asked us not to use his real name. Here’s the first article from a new T-Nation contributor who calls himself “Streetbull.”
Life is Cheap, Lead is Cheaper
I’m parked in an industrial area parking lot typing on the patrol wagon laptop, waiting for a cup of coffee and decongestant to work their way into my bloodstream. Hopefully there’s a lull in the calls so I can head back to HQ for a workout in the department gym on my lunch break. Our gym is a dungeon-like affair with lots of dumbbells, barbells, squat rack, dip bar, benches and a rockin’ sound system. Everything a T-man needs.
AC/DC, caffeine, and pseudoephedrine: the ultimate combination for a great workout, especially at 2 A.M., which is often the only time I have to train on a nightshift rotation. I’ll be listening to the Stiff Upper Lip album, which is appropriate given that I’m susceptible to a quivering lower lip when I have to do anything difficult like deadlifts or front squats in the wee hours.
But I have no choice given that I work as a street bull in an urban Canadian city’s core. No, I didn’t say “uniformed patrol officer delivering service to the vibrant community I live in,” or some other pantywaist label. These labels are given by the politically correct sissies that, for the most part, make up the police management and political offices which dictate to us how we should clean up crime without so much as looking sideways at a “client.” That’s their term for a criminal, which is my term for a “shitrat.”
Yes, if we can just hug these poor, misunderstood, underprivileged, mistreated rapists, murderers and drug traffickers, perhaps they can be rehabilitated. I know of one very cost effective rehabilitation method. And lead is cheap.
Real World Training, Real World Bullshit
I’ve learned a thing or two about surviving physical encounters in the real world. And let me tell you, all those impressive looking moves one sees in a dojo or a police academy control tactics class don’t look so impressive when you try them out on a shitrat who’s just ripped off some old lady’s purse and is in full cocaine psychosis.
(I’m hardwired to use politically correct terms in my police reports so that I don’t end up in the Internal office… again. I have a feeling T-Nation readers won’t be offended by my preferred terminology though. If you are, what the hell are you doing on this site?)
You can quickly find yourself in an embarrassing situation as onlookers watch the 150 pound criminal throw the 200 pound buffed cop around like a rag doll while he fumbles for the radio, screaming like a pre-pubescent school girl at a boy band concert for some backup. Despite the size difference, sometimes the cop has to pull out his expandable baton to strike the druggie who’s now become superhuman because the cocaine and methamphetamines are whispering to his central nervous system, “You can do anything. Don’t worry about getting hit with that pig’s metal baton; I won’t send the pain messages to your brain, so just keep on kicking his ass.”
You’re now thinking to yourself, “But the police training guru told me those knee strikes to the mid-thigh would incapacitate a subject. I’ll have to ask the next time I see him why the fuck I’m airborne right now after several of those aforementioned knee strikes to the mid-thigh.”
(Reading that last sentence makes me sound like I’m the one on coke and meth. Or is it just that the pseudoephedrine and caffeine are making their presence known to my CNS?)
What’s that voice in my ear, I mean, the ear of the hypothetical cop in this hypothetical situation, saying? “Officer, officer, you’re going to hurt that poor boy if you keep hitting him like that!”
You turn to look. Of course! It’s Ms. Left-Wing-Bleeding-Heart-Liberal who’s now very concerned because the uniformed officer, whom she believes gets paid her hard earned tax dollars to be beaten by this poor victim of society, is now doing a Rodney King and that just ain’t right in her perfect little granola munching world.
So now that she’s distracted you, cocaine boy hammers you and down you go. End result: a messy internal investigation, criminal charges (against you, not the criminal, silly), a hefty lawyer’s bill so you can keep your job, and media coverage portraying you as a monster.
Of course, nothing like this has ever happened to me. I just heard about it and was as outraged as all the other self-righteous hypocrites.
Yet I still love my job. I get the opportunity to give expression to that wonderful chemical we all adore: Testosterone. Don’t get me wrong; I hate bullies and won’t resort to physical control unless it’s absolutely necessary. And it’s a rare case indeed when a sober and sane person wants to fight with the police. However, most of our “clients” aren’t sober or sane, so our only option is to control them physically.
And here’s where the opportunity to apply techniques learned in the classroom to the laboratory of the real world comes in. Although we’re supplied with a variety of force options such as pepper spray and tasers, I prefer empty hand techniques. This promotes proficiency in these techniques and saves the time required to decontaminate a subject who’s been sprayed or go to the hospital while taser darts are removed.
And it’s good for the ego. Tell that one to Internal when the complaint comes in from the poor innocent 250 pound biker you palm struck at the last bar fight:
Internal officer: Why didn’t you use your less-than-lethal options on the subject, Cst Streetbull?
Cst Streetbull: Because the suspect called me a sissy and told me he could kick my ass if I didn’t have the assistance of my taser. I had to break his nose to maintain the integrity of my ego.
Internal officer: Oh well then, we’ll dismiss this complaint immediately!
Make no mistake, I resort to other force options immediately when faced with someone using a weapon or if there are multiple attackers. I don’t play around when it comes to a life or death situation. Remember, it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
There’s no room for losers. Losing in this game usually means a bunch of cops from across North America get together in their dress uniforms, put you into a cold grave, and then elevate their blood alcohol levels to about 250 mg alcohol in 1000 milliliters of blood. For most people that would be near fatal, but I’ve seen cops who can still carry on an eloquent conversation at that level. It’s all got to do with experience.
But for most run-of-the-mill arrests, some type of open hand technique will suffice.
Lift to Live
So why would a T-Nation reader be interested in how some knuckle-dragging copper prepares for this type of work?
Answer: The quickest and most effective way to improve your real world self-protection abilities is through weight training. And I’m not talking about the light weight, high rep type of training touted by some fighting systems. No, I’m talking powerlifting, heavy bodybuilding, T-Nation training that builds heaps of power and mass.
What about Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan? They’re obviously not into bodybuilding or powerlifting, but could cause serious damage to just about any powerlifter or bodybuilder (if, ya know, Bruce was still alive and kicking.) This is true. And if you’re willing to spend three hours a day, seven days a week for ten years (at least) doing martial arts, then certainly you don’t need a serious mass/power building routine.
But who has that kind of time? I trained in Gung Fu for about three years and enjoyed it. I currently play at the Judo dojo once or twice a week for a couple of hours concentrating on grappling just to keep my skills up for the job. As for real world application, I found that only three techniques of the hundreds I practiced worked for me on the street. With a family and full time job it’s hard to justify all that training time when I could’ve been focusing on those few techniques.
In the end, I found the extra size and strength I built through years of weight training made a bigger difference than all of the combat training I did. In the next article, I’ll outline an old school, failsafe mass and power building routine. In the meantime, train hard and heavy and never say die!
The caffeine and pseudoephedrine are peaking. Time to head back to HQ for a workout.