OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – He grew up in Brazil, lives in Los Angeles, and is spending his weekend right here in Kansas City. Internationally known UFC fighter Royce Gracie is teaching metro law enforcement skills that translate into the field.
Gracie said oftentimes first responders can find themselves in a situation they’re not expecting.
“They’re working in a high-stress environment all the time,” he said.
Firefighter Alex Cochran agreed, “With wrecks and fires and stuff it takes all the first responders: EMS, fire, or police.”
The unexpected out in the field is something all first responders face and deescalating something that could blow up is often the goal. Gracie said,
“It’s part of their job to control the situation. My father taught us how to teach, how to teach. Not how to fight,” Gracie said.
The three-time UFC champion said fighting just proves the technique really works.
“These techniques are less aggressive and angry. It’s more controlling,” said Cochran.
Gracie said that control demonstrates confidence. “That’s the main part. I’m teaching them more than moves. It’s the confidence that they can take care of themselves.”
“There is nobody better to learn from. To have the name Royce Gracie, people know that you are learning legitimate techniques,” police lieutenant Tyson Kilbey said.
Attendees say hands-on learning from the legend is priceless.
“I remember as a young kid watching him on TV thinking, ‘Man this is amazing!’ and just kind of enthralled. Now here to be training with him later on is amazing.”
Training these officers, firefighters, and medics will share with their colleagues.
“I’m going to get to take back and teach all my guys. This knowledge just spreads,” Cochran said.
One-hundred-fifteen pound, 5’ 3” college student Elizabeth Henderson isn’t interested in picking a fight.
“I think a lot of women look at it and think, ‘It’s just for guys, the tough people that want to go beat each other up,’” she said.
She said the skill she’s taking away from this course translates into more than just self-defense.
“Women need to know that they can be confident, they can be powerful, and when they have that inner confidence, it kind of radiates outside of them,” said Henderson.