MANDEVILLE, La. (WGNO)— Amid the spike in crime, martial arts instructors encouraged people to learn how to protect themselves.

Greg Lapin, a former police officer turned Jiu Jitsu professor, used what he learned in a uniform to teach others in a gi.

“I say Jiu Jitsu is simple, it’s not easy,” said Lapin, owner of Vida Jiu Jitsu. “A majority of fights end up on the ground and most people don’t know how to actually fight.”

So, he taught his beginners how to fall, get back up and how to break free.

“ Jiu Jitsu is the most realistic and beneficial because people out in the street aren’t real, trained boxers or strikers,” Lapin said. “Fighting is about distance management.”

Jiu Jitsu teaches how to create distance.

Lapin said he, unfortunately, had to use Jiu Jitsu techniques in real-world experiences. He shared that story with his students to teach them the training works off the mat, as well.

“There are criminals out there no matter what you do,” Lapin said. “So, self defense is an obligation of everybody and I think you’ll just be happier.”