CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Mitch Aguiar is his real name — but you may know him as the Smashin' Frog, one of his nicknames as a mixed martial arts fighter.
The professional MMA fighter is also a 10-year Navy SEAL veteran and the founder of MASF Supplements, a Chesapeake vitamin and fitness company.
Not only that, he's also the founder of the non-profit, Adopt A Cop BJJ — which stands for Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu.
Aguiar's special martial arts program is now in all 50 states, helping officers across the country learn Brazillian jiu-jitsu for free. But Aguiar stresses there's an important distinction: "It's not just martial arts training, it's Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu specifically. Anyone who trains Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu kinda knows that it's, it's essentially like a superpower."
A superpower Norfolk Sheriff's deputy Philip McKeon now possesses. He's a recent graduate of the program.
"[It helps] me remain calm in stressful situations," he explained. "Where in the past when I'm dealing with an individual that is yelling in my face, screaming, instead of matching up their intensity, I remain calm."
Another huge supporter of officers learning Brazillian jiu-jitsu is Marc Coull, a Chesapeake SWAT team member. He says this special training means officers have other options besides the gun in their holster.
"Because whatever situation any police officer, whether they be SWAT or whether they be a street officer, we walk in with death on our hip — that's what this is," he said. "And if I don't have to think about that, if I don't have to go for that, all I have to do is protect and preserve life and I'm the weapon and I'm the skill, then it's all the better for everybody."
Aguiar says he's getting proof the program is working.
"We've received a lot of testimonials from officers that have found themselves in altercations and they've said, like, it was night and day, their level of confidence and their ability to go hands-on with a person and keep it at a non-lethal level," he said.
For those reasons News 3 is presenting Aguiar with an Everyday Hero award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
Aguiar was grateful and thankful to be able to share his skills.
"I'm a violent hippie at heart, so I value life and I think that, you know, if we can de-escalate—"
And if you're like me, you're wondering — what's a violent hippie?
Aguiar responded with a grin, "I mean you know, it means that I want people to be kind or else."
While we had a good laugh about that, Aguiar is very focused and serious about more officers trained with this skill. He's able to offer this program free to officers around the country thanks to sponsors, and there's a great need for more.
Because right now, Aguiar says, "We have a waiting list of almost 500 cops. Unfortunately we are in desperate need of donations. I have to personally donate money every month to keep the program going."
If you'd like more info on the Adopt-A-Cop BJJ program, how to apply if you're an officer or how you can be a sponsor or make a donation, click here.