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ENC police department using martial arts to stay composed under pressure

(Photo: Wilmington Police Department)

In a profession with life-or-death decisions, where every second matters, the Wilmington Police Department is training officers to keep their cool under pressure through practicing martial arts.

Since last year, each Wilmington police officer now receives at least four hours of law-enforcement-tailored jiu-jitsu instruction as part of their standard training.

Officer Ben Cookson, who helped start the program and instructs other officers, said their approach is crucial to instilling the control and composure that the discipline demands. Even when fighting for your life.

Cookson said their jiu-jitsu training specializes in allowing an officer to control someone a lot bigger and stronger while using less effort through leverage and throwing off an opponent’s balance.

According to Cpl. Christian Marshall, who also instructs the classes, some new officers, will have spent 20 to 30 hours on the mat before ever hitting the street.

Kelly Batchelor hails from the small crossroads community of Cabin in Duplin County in Eastern North Carolina. Since 1989 Kelly has been actively employed in radio.