Dan Severn article

With the recent interest in Dan Severn thought you
might be interested in this.

Street Beasts': Wrestler gives cops tips

Ultimate Fighting champion improves odds for


Wednesday, February 11, 2004
By Edward L. Ronders

Flint - Police Chief Bradford Barksdale doesn't let
too many people put him on his back.

But then he doesn't run into "The Beast" everyday.

Ultimate Fighting champion and former Montrose
wrestling standout Dan Severn spent two days at
the Flint Police Academy throwing cops - including
Barksdale - to the ground and teaching them how
to get up and fight again.

Severn, 45, teamed up with retired Grand Rapids
police Officer Glen Bailey to offer a two-day police
ground fighting class to area police officers - the
first of its kind to be taught in the state by Severn, a
triple crown UFC winner.

Ultimate fighters mix wrestling with combat styles
such as kickboxing for sometimes bloody results.

An avowed fan of Severn, Barksdale said he can
only imagine having the Ultimate Fighting
champion's arsenal at his disposal.

"Too bad we can't use all the techniques (Severn)
uses (in his ultimate fighting). The courts wouldn't
allow us," Barksdale said with a smile.

Severn, who operates a training facility in
Coldwater, has won championships in Greco-
Roman, freestyle and Sambo wrestling,
Toughman competition and kickboxing.

Participants in the academy sessions were taught
how to get back on their feet after being taken
down in a confrontation with an assailant.

They also learned how to tackle a fleeing suspect,
get someone off their chest and protect their
weapon in the 16-hour class.

"When I face a competitor, I know the situation, his
weight, height, experience," Severn said. "In law
enforcement, officers walk into the unknown every
day. They face an opponent of unknown size,
experience and possibly having a weapon. I have
the utmost respect for the job they do."

Severn and Bailey teamed up about three years
ago to offer the training to cops. Bailey has the law
enforcement expertise, Severn the fighting

"Dan's the first to say he's not a cop, and I'll be the
first to admit he's the fighter," Bailey said. "The
chemistry between the two (professions) has been
evolving and is great."

A police officer on the ground is vulnerable,
especially when it comes to his or her weapon.
Wearing a bullet-proof vest along with a belt that
holds a handgun, handcuffs, magazines, pepper
spray containers, a flashlight and baton bulks up
an officer, making maneuverability more difficult.

Bailey recalled an incident when he was knocked
to the ground, and his assailant grabbed his
holstered weapon and dragged him 72 feet across
a field before he could regain his footing and take

Severn, Bailey and several instructors repeatedly
emphasized moving their hips away from the
assailant, thus keeping the officer's handgun out of

"The key is not panicking," Severn said. "We try to
show survivor skills and how to escape using
gross motor skills."

Barksdale and other officers practiced escaping
from being on the bottom with an assailant on top
reaching for the officer's gun. Using a well-paced
thrust, Barksdale rolled a larger officer off him,
putting him on his back and out of reach of his
weapon, in seconds.

The Flint police chief is also an instructor at the
Flint Academy, and he will incorporate this week's
lessons into his teaching approach, including an
upcoming class for veteran officers, he said.

Barksdale realizes that even older, veteran officers
can learn new tricks.

"It's good to have (more options)," said Barksdale,
who has a reputation as being a fair but physically
tough street officer. "We'll have refresher training
for our veteran officers."