California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 30

“There’s no room for ego... Protect your face; defend yourself. This isn’t MMA.” participants gained in themselves and in each other. Detective David McQueary, who regularly attends the UPD classes, said, “Nothing is given away. You earn it.” Maldonado shared his philosophy toward self-defense and the importance of learning through doing. “There’s a natural fight or flight response, but you can learn to control it,” he said. He explained that practice allows you to think and behave rationally, even in the midst of your body’s natural, physical reaction to crisis – racing pulse, massive rush of adrenaline. The UPD classes are specialized. They provide scenario work, forcing officers to respond to threatening situations in a controlled environment so they can test themselves under pressure but without the danger. “This is about self-preservation,” Maldonado said. “There’s no room for ego... Protect your face; defend yourself. This isn’t MMA [mixed martial arts].” He continued, “I tell people, ‘Be here now.’ When you’re hit, you have to accept it and move on. You can’t get angry. Say to yourself, ‘I made a mistake.’ And get over it.” He warned that getting angry and losing focus is dangerous and ineffective; remaining cool and in control is the safer, more effective way to handle confrontation. “Success during a fight often depends on surviving the initial attack,” he said. As officers get better at responding to attacks, they gain confidence in themselves. As they watch their colleagues improve, they gain confidence in them. As they all support each other through the hard work, they become a more cohesive team. 30 California Police Chief | And sometimes that confidence is enough to avoid violence all together. When an officer has excellent command presence, he or she doesn’t have to say a word but the perpetrator can almost hear the officer saying, “If you come at me, I will defend myself. If you hit me, I will respond with power and precision – and you will go down.” That confidence enough to dissuade some would be offenders from resorting to violence. “And, the stress relief is huge,” Officer Long said. Many officers include exercise on to-do lists, but having a class like this ensures that an officer’s schedule includes exercise. “This class is awesome,” Officer Long said, as everyone in the class nodded enthusiastically in agreement. ■