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    The Benefits of Jiu-Jitsu For Both Civilians and Police Officers ~ Craig Hanaumi Explains...

    BJJ practitioners can be commonly found rolling and training with police officers. Jiu-jitsu is an example of how all cultural backgrounds and professions can come together to gain a better understanding of each other. Craig Hanaumi gives us insight on what it's like to be a police officer, community activist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. 

    Sharing this story during a cultural divide between civilians and law enforcement may seem strange. However, I believe this is a symbol of unity, peace and justice within all communities. By the end of this jiu-jitsu article/interview, you will have more perspectives to learn and decide what is best for you on an individual basis.

    Submission Shark Community | Instagram: @craighanaumi

    Craig Hanaumi Police Officer and Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner

    Full Name: Craig Hanaumi

    Age: I’m in my mid 40’s!

    Belt Colour: purple

    Professor: Ryron and Rener Gracie

    Short Term Goals: Keep making a positive impact in my community.

    The Benefits of Jiu-Jitsu For Both Civilians and Police Officers ~ Craig Hanaumi Explains...

    How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?

    I have been training jiujitsu for about 11 years.

    Where do you train Jiu-Jitsu out of?

    Gracie University, Kindred Jiu-Jitsu, 10th Planet Seattle, the Bellevue (WA) Police Department, my garage. I am very blessed to be able to train with so many incredible people.

    Do you prefer gi or no-gi? 

    I like the BJJ gi because of how your opponent’s collar and your sleeves give you submission opportunities from any position, but I have been recently trying to focus more on improving my no-gi game.

    Craig Hanaumi 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Seattle No-Gi

    Unwanted subject call at @10thplanetseattle. I had to let @dylan_2na know he was in violation of RCW 411(10)(p): possession of a gi in a gi-free zone. He left with a warning but if things went south, I would’ve had plenty of back-up. We would love to have more practitioners on our team and #wearehiring! For more information, go to @bellevuewapolicerecruiting

    Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?

    Jiu-Jitsu with Rener Gracie

    Absolutely. Only you will have the right answer for your own situation but we all know there are so many parallels between jiujitsu and life. I am lucky that I can call my instructors my friends too and I have asked for non-jiujitsu related advice from them.

    What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?

    -There is a technique in everything.

    -The slow deliberate practice eventually leads to fast execution.

    -Learning how to yield and adapt to a particular situation.

    -Making mistakes is an inevitable part of learning.

    -Be present and enjoy the journey!

    How often do you train in BJJ?

    I try to get 3 days of jiu-jitsu per week and 3 days of strength training or bodyweight exercise per week.

    What made you want to start training?

    I wanted to train in a martial art that allowed a smaller person a chance to survive against someone much bigger/stronger. I had seen the effectiveness of jiujitsu and thought it would be very applicable to law enforcement. In 2008 I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Gracie Survival Tactics course through my police department and I was hooked ever since!

    Do you plan on training your whole life?

    Yes, as long as I am alive I hope to be training!

    What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?



    Knowing how to protect yourself is very empowering. Jiu-Jitsu's movements and techniques are like letters and words. They can be combined in an infinite amount of ways so it never gets boring. Each roll is like having a new conversation with your training partner.

    What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?

    I have become much more focused on taking care of my body because of jiujitsu. The impact of jiujitsu extended beyond the mats to my diet because I want my body to be as healthy as possible for training.

    I have always tried to eat right but hanging around my coaches like Rener Gracie really made me see that I could make a lot better food choices for myself which has benefited my training and overall health.

    Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?

    As a way to relieve stress from work, Jiu-Jitsu has benefited my mental health tremendously. It forces you to be present and in the moment similar to swimming in the ocean, skateboarding, or playing an instrument. I always feel much better after training.

    If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?

    Jiu-Jitsu Belts

    I used to wish I started training at a younger age, but I love how I became introduced to the art and the people I have met through it so I wouldn’t change a thing!

    What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?

    It’s hard to say a general statement about that because it depends on who that person is. Some people enjoy jumping right in, and others need a slower progression In the beginning.
    I think everyone should try a class first to see if the vibe of the school they go to is right for them and that the training is positive and safe.

    Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?

    I hope to keep training until I die!

    What’s your favourite move?

    I enjoy collar chokes and baseball chokes.

    If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?

    I would still be in law enforcement but I definitely wouldn’t be as comfortable with combative situations.
    Street Self Defense for Police Officers
    Observations from rolling in uniform: Greatly reduced torso flexion from the vest and belt, retentions get inadvertently released, belt keepers are absolutely necessary, the soles of your boots get caught on loose clothing, and stuff in my pockets will fall out.
    I like to keep the back of my belt clear because having stuff positioned there hurts if you get stuck underneath someone. Lots to work on, day by day.

    Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?

    It would definitely benefit the art by giving it more exposure and allowing full-time practitioners to make a better living off of it. I think a unified rule set is needed. I am not a fan of matches being decided by points/advantages. Aside from the coaches and people I know, I don’t really watch jiujitsu matches. 

    Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?

    Craig Hanaumi and his Jiu-Jitsu Training Partners

    Everyone I have ever trained with has taught me something and helped me get better in some way so I am grateful for all of them.

    When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?

    The most difficult concept of jiujitsu for me, in the beginning, was knowing when to expend and conserve energy during a roll because I had no idea when I was safe and when I was in danger. I think knowing when to go and when to chill is something I will always keep refining.

    If you could roll with any practitioner, dead or alive, who would it be?

    Mitsuyo Maeda, Helio Gracie in his 30’s and Helio Gracie in his 60’s.

    If you had to describe Jiu-Jitsu to someone that's never heard of it before in under 5 words, what would those words be?

    It connects us all.
    Women Empowerment through Jiu-Jitsu Self Defense
    On March 5th, @run_kiwi_run was in the women's restroom at Golden Gardens Park when she was assaulted by a registered sex offender who was hiding in one of the stalls. Her story about how she survived the assault went viral and I was lucky enough to speak with her about her experience. Yesterday afternoon she stopped by (after running 12 miles!) and got some training in with us both prior to, and during the women's class.

    What has been the most memorable moment you've had on the mats so far?

    I don’t have one specific moment, I just enjoy getting to learn and have fun with my friends and coworkers.

    What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?

    Knowing that someone out there may benefit from training in a way similar to how I have benefited from it is really motivating! Receiving messages from other people around the world telling me I have made a difference in some small way makes my day!

    Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.

    Too many to list!

    What inspired you to promote jiu-jitsu as an art form and self-defence for law enforcement?

    The benefits I received personally from training really made me want to promote jiujitsu in our line of work. It’s my way of thanking jiujitsu for what jiujitsu gave to me. I think by now everyone can see the practical application of the art for our line of work.
    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Craig Hanaumi (@craighanaumi) on

    Has there ever been a situation where your jiu-jitsu training helped you while you were on the job?

    I have used jiujitsu at work (vascular neck restraint) and each time it was applied was probably the safest and the least injurious way those situations could have been resolved.
    I think the confidence that comes with training also comes across in a person’s demeanour when they are dealing with people and having that confidence and calmness in our line of work often deescalates situations before they even become physical.

    Do you feel more confident in your abilities to defend yourself now that you have training in jiu-jitsu?

    Getting into fights will always be scary because anyone can get caught with something unexpected. I do however feel much more prepared for chaotic situations with jiujitsu than before I started training.

    What made you decide to train in your law enforcement uniform rather than a jiu-jitsu rash guard or BJJ gi?

    I initially began training in uniform to confirm that I could still perform the same movements. Wearing 20lbs / 9kgs of gear with boots makes it much more difficult but still possible.
    If I get into a physical confrontation and have to protect myself it will most likely be at work, so I wanted to Experience the differences of wearing all the gear in training first. I  hadn’t thought of doing it as a way to promote the art but that’s what it has become.

    What would you like to say to other law enforcement officers that don't believe the effectiveness of Brazillian jiu-jitsu for this line of work?

    Craig Hanaumi Police Officer and BJJ Practitioner

    I think the general consensus nowadays is that most people/officers know how effective jiujitsu is. There will always be skeptics, negativity and confirmation bias but I prefer to spend my time focusing on helping those who want to learn.

    What message do you have for other police officers/practitioners such as @BJJ_cop and @jiujitsufiveo that's promoting a similar message as you?

    Keep up the great work!
    Jiu-Jitsu Five-O Article/Interview about BJJ
    Click the image above to read more about this topic with this jiu-jitsu article!

    You seem passionately involved in aiding your community, what inspired you to want to give back and help?


    Building positive relationships in our community is a huge part of our job. It makes everything we do easier when there are trust and good rapport. It solves crimes, it prevents crimes, it decreases the likelihood of force being used. Mostly, it makes you feel great when you can make a difference like that. It’s impossible to quantify on a graph or chart, but you cannot put a price tag on making an impact on someone’s life for the better.

    Where can people learn more about you and connect with you and your message?

    I share some of the good that we do on Instagram: @craighanaumi

    What would you like to say to everyone that has supported you on your journey?

    Mahalo nui loa! (Thank you very much) 🤙🏽

    When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?

    Craig Hanaumi with the Community

    I’d like to be remembered as someone who made our community better.

    Submission Shark:

    Thanks for sharing Craig! I hope you enjoyed his BJJ story. Make sure to leave a comment and let us know if you agree that jiu-jitsu should be mandatory for law enforcement and if you think it can teach police officers how to handle situations in a safer manner.
    If you enjoyed this jiu jitsu article, you will love seeing a different perspective from a BJJ practitioner that lost his father due to the actions of a police officer. His reaction to this tragedy will surprise you... 
    When you are finished reading about this topic, feel free to check out Zac Cunningham's BJJ story and how he managed to turn his experiences of being bullied into becoming a leader and inspiration for others. He is also a Brazilian jiu jitsu student of Rener and Ryron Gracie.

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