The Chokehold: A Necessary Self-Defense Technique for Police Officers; “Will Leave Only Two Options: Let Suspect Go Free or Draw Firearm”

The Chokehold
Tom Muller, a lifelong martial artist, 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, retired undefeated MMA fighter, and trainer of Pro, Amateur MMA combatants as well as police officers believes that banning the use of choke holds by law enforcement will have disastrous consequences for the safety of both the public and police officers. Photo credit: Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

SMITHTOWN, NY – A police officer’s use of “chokeholds” to subdue a suspect resisting arrest is currently sweeping across the nation as the new great controversy, causing municipal, state and federal elected officials to propose legislation, which would essentially ban the use of them entirely.

This long list includes: Governor Andrew Cuomo (NYS) and Gavin Newsom (California), Mayors Bill de Blasio (NYC) and Jacob Frey (Minneapolis), California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

As a lifelong martial artist, 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, retired undefeated MMA fighter, current trainer of Pro and Amateur MMA combatants and police officers, I believe that banning the use of choke holds by law enforcement would have a disastrous impact upon the safety of the public and police officers themselves. Allow me to explain why.

The chokehold is the ultimate equalizer.


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It gives its user the ability to stop a much bigger and stronger adversary. If performed correctly it will exact the least amount of damage to both parties involved. The same cannot be said of the striking arts – including boxing, kickboxing and Thai-boxing. 

The Chokehold
Professor Tom Muller, 42, in his Smithtown, NY based Martial arts school. Muller started his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in 1998 with Matt and Nick Serra. In May 2006 during a Carlos Gracie Jr. seminar he was bestowed his Black belt in the presence and approved by Carlos Gracie Jr. and the Legendary Renzo Gracie. Photo credit: Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In addition to my experience with my students, I have a personal understanding of the benefits of using a chokehold for self-defense. My 9-year-old son, whom I have trained in martial arts since he was three years old, does not possess the pure physical strength to stop a grown man attempting to harm him by using only strikes. His best and only chance would be to use a chokehold. Banning him from using it, obviously would be absurd.

A similar scenario could affect law enforcement.

Martial arts
Muller, who has now joined Published Reporter as a columnist, is a 4th degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Gold medalist and Ring of Combat Heavyweight Champion. He also has a Master’s Degree in Political science from CW Post LIU. Photo credit: Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Jiu-Jitsu Gold medalist
Professor Muller has been competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for over a decade now and his most notable wins in BJJ competitions are winning the 2003 Pans Ams as a Purple belt and the No-Gi Pan-Ams in 2009 as a Black belt. Photo credit: Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Ring of Combat Super-Heavyweight Championship
Tom Muller competed in MMA under the Serra-Longo Fight Team from about 2001 till 2008. He is currently undefeated in Mixed Martial Arts competition and holds two titles. His titles include the Ring of Combat Super-Heavyweight Championship and Sportfighting’s Heavyweight Championship.  Photo credit: Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Prohibited from using a chokehold, a police officer facing a larger, stronger criminal suspect resisting arrest would be left with two options: let the suspect go free or draw his/her firearm.

Is this what Americans now facing a violent crime epidemic really want?

Editors note: Professor Tom Muller has now joined The Published Reporter® as a expert columnist. We are thankful he has joined our team of contributors to inform our readers while helping spotlight this critical issue as well as other issues which arise in the future. He is the owner of Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Smithtown, New York.

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