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Retired Metro sergeant uses martial arts to tackle police use of force

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A retired Metro Police Sergeant is tackling a hot-button topic through film.

It’s called ‘Wrist Lock: The Martial Arts Influence on Police Use of Force.’

“We want to change the culture in law enforcement,” says Jason Harney who produced and directed the movie.

Harney taught defensive tactics for more than 20 years and knows many of the skills are lost if they’re not practiced.

To help spread his message he enlisted the help of a handful of fellow retired officers.

“Martial arts have been the cornerstone of my life,” says Jon Gentile. “I've always enjoyed it.”

“Our bodies are our biggest tool”, adds Anthony Brown.

Both men were also instructors, and Metro says, is the gold standard when it comes to training.

But with all agencies big or small there is always room for improvement.

“Even the average officer has to put their hands on somebody at some point,” explains Gentile.

“And then the opportunity comes along where you need to use defensive tactics and your mind is scrambling what do I do?” says Brown.

Which is why both men joined the cast of ‘Wrist Lock.”

“You ask any police trainer across the country they will all tell you there are deficiencies in police defensive tactics training,” says Harney. “And that’s why we see some of those issues that cause national outrage. And we believe we know why those incidents occur.”

Harney says a lack of proper training can cause police officers to over-react or under-react during stressful incidents.

The film is geared towards the mainstream, giving the public a better understanding of what skills officers need.

“Here's how we look at it,” says Harney, “In order for a police officer to have a successful use of force outcome we typically look at three factors. The first is defensive tactics proficiency, the second is physical fitness, the third is mental health. If any one of the three is missing, then the chances of a successful use of force action diminishes significantly.

Retired Metro officers Marcus Martin and Maynard Bagang are in the movie as well.

“When a suspect is pushing or punching, we're not going to resist against the punch we're going to flow with the punch,” says Martin while demonstrating a simple technique.

“In karate not only what's important is your skill but your emotional control,” adds Bagang. “When you control your emotions you think better, you approach the danger better.”

The men say skills they learned through Martial Arts were invaluable during their time with Metro.

Learning how to de-escalate a tense situation, but confident in their own physical abilities should it come to that.

“What I used to say, one of my mantras was: not today,” says Martin "And that's what these techniques say: not today.”

“And you get the other things like humility, honor, and all the other things that go with martial arts,” says Gentile.

‘Wrist Lock’ was named Best Documentary Feature, Best Message and Best Editing from top Indie film awards.

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You can find it On Demand, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, and the Microsoft Store.

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