What Are the Best Martial Arts for Correctional Officers?

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Being a correctional officer is a hard job, and not many of us are cut out for it. You may have to deal with prisoners attacking you in gangs or with weapons, and you may even have to get your hands dirty and restrain inmates yourself. So, what are the best martial arts for correctional officers?

The best martial arts for correctional officers are Krav Maga and BJJ, as they will teach you how to defend yourself against weapons and how to restrain inmates without hurting them. BJJ will teach you the essential skill of takedown defense to prevent you from being pummelled on the ground by multiple attackers.

There isn’t really one martial art that will give you all the skills you need as a correctional officer. Let’s have a look at the most effective martial arts for law enforcement and what techniques you need to combine to stay safe and be effective in your role.

Why are martial arts important for law enforcement?

Martial arts are important for law enforcement, as you have to be able to restrain people and defend yourself without harming people. There have been so many tragic stories of law enforcement officers that did not have confidence in their martial arts skills, so they resorted straight to pepper spray, their taser, or worse – their firearms.

Martial arts can help law enforcement officers do their job with minimal risk to themselves and others. I have been training martial arts for a while now and have had the chance to train alongside police officers. Here are the most important martial arts for law enforcement.

First of all, BJJ is essential. You have to be able to defend takedowns and use pins and holds to safely restrain dangerous people. In BJJ, you will learn takedowns, pins, joint locks, and how to maintain a dominant position in a fight. BJJ is known as “the gentle art” as it allows you to use proportionate force to deal with a threat.

After BJJ, I strongly recommend you learn some Krav Maga. I hate to say it, but law enforcement officers are attacked with knives, bats, machetes, and guns all the time, and Krav Maga is one of the only martial arts that will teach you how to defend against these weapons.

Systema is a martial art similar to Krav Maga, and it was invented by the Soviet Union’s military. Check out this recent article on my site where I compare Systema and Krav Maga, and explain which is better for self-defense.

Another important martial art to learn for law enforcement is Boxing. You shouldn’t be beating up your suspects, but Boxing will give you the brawler mentality, and you will feel really comfortable defending yourself when a thug tries to punch you.

Learning Muay Thai and Wrestling would be great too; however, they are not as essential as the other martial arts. Muay Thai will teach you how to use kicks and clinches to defend yourself, and Wrestling will make you really hard to take down and excellent at pinning people and restraining them.

Do police learn hand-to-hand combat?

Police learn hand-to-hand combat so that they can defend themselves and restrain suspects without harming them. Correctional officers also learn some hand-to-hand combat, however, their training lacks the use of weapons, as it is hard to smuggle weapons into prison.

Nevertheless, correctional officers and police alike all learn hand-to-hand combat.

The most common martial art taught to police in the USA, and the rest of the world is BJJ. BJJ is a martial art that is an offshoot of Judo, and teaches you how to use takedowns, pins, and joint locks to subdue an opponent.

The good thing about BJJ for police and correctional officers is that it allows you to be proportionate with how much force you use. BJJ is also good for weapons retention. If you are wearing a utility belt, the last thing you want is a criminal getting their hand on your firearm, baton, pepper spray, and flashlight.

Police also learn hand-to-hand combat techniques from MMA. I’m not saying police can go and fight in the octagon any time soon, but they learn how to control distance, take people down, and defend against basic strikes.

The training correctional officers receive is primarily about how to break up fights, as opposed to how to defend yourself in a fight. Therefore, correctional officers have to be really good at grappling whilst standing, hence why BJJ is so good for them.

Muay Thai is a hand-to-hand combat style that also teaches how to clinch and wrestle standing up. Check out this recent article on my site about Muay Thai. I talk about why you should learn this martial art and the secret to succeeding in this difficult sport.

Is Jiu-Jitsu good for law enforcement?

Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts for law enforcement. This is because, in BJJ, you learn how to restrain someone without hitting them and causing them harm. The philosophy of BJJ is based around using technique and leverage to allow a small, weaker person to defeat a large, athletic person.

On the streets and in prison, there are no weight classes, so police and correctional officers have to be confident enough to handle small and large people alike.

The best benefit of Jiu-Jitsu for police and correctional officers is that it teaches you how to escape the worst positions in a fight, such as the bottom of the mount and side control. Check out this recent article on my site where I talk about how effective BJJ is on the streets and why absolutely everyone should be training it.

Is Aikido good for law enforcement?

Aikido is not good for law enforcement, as Aikido training does not have any sparring in it. Sparring is essential for police and correctional officers, as sparring is where you test your skills against a fully resisting opponent.

Sparring is important to boost your confidence, get you ready for a fight, and for building the mentality needed to survive a violent situation.

There are some techniques in Aikido that are good for law enforcement. For example, in Aikido, you learn how to do throws and joint locks. There are some weapon disarming techniques in Aikido. However, they are nowhere near as realistic or dependable as the weapon techniques taught in Krav Maga.

What is the best martial art for multiple attackers?

The best fighting art for multiple attackers is Boxing. With Boxing, you can use punches to knock your opponents out. The main benefit of striking over grappling when you have multiple attackers is that when you are standing, you can move around to keep your attackers in one line. This means that only one person can attack you at a time.

If you grapple against multiple attackers, then you are going to get bombarded by all of them at the same time.

Boxing is better than Muay Thai against multiple attackers. This is because in Muay Thai, you use kicks, and kicks can lead to you breaking your foot or falling over. If you break your foot, you can’t fight, and you can’t run away, so you’ll be in trouble.

What Martial Art is Best for Law Enforcement


The best martial art for correctional officers is BJJ, as you learn how to restrain people using minimal force without causing them harm. BJJ is good for breaking up fights between prisoners, which is the main job of a correctional officer.

For personal protection, learning Krav Maga is important too, as in prison, inmates build improvised weapons that could be used against you. All correctional officers and law enforcement, in general, need to be confident in defending against bladed weapons, brass knuckles, and batons.

If you are a correctional officer, the single best asset you can have is intelligence and confidence. Intelligence will make it impossible for inmates to manipulate you, and confidence will help you command respect from the inmates without seeming like a jerk.

Image by BodyWorn by Utility from Pixabay

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