• Richard McDonough

Co-Movement Gym: A is A Health Podcast S1E25 - Thin Line Martial Arts Founder Jeff Hull

Jeff has worked as a law enforcement officer for the last 8 years as a member of the NYS DEC. He is a SWAT Team member and a DT instructor. Jeff is also a blue belt in Brazilian Ju Jitsu, and has recently started a company called Thin Line Martial Arts, an apparel company that promotes martial arts in the law enforcement community.

Can you tell us about your journey leading up to becoming a DEC officer?

Jeff says he started with a degree in environmental science, which led to him working on environmental projects with the University of Florida. Eventually he came back to NY and took the DEC test, which he considers one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

What is the process to joining the DEC?

Jeff says you need 18 hours of environmental science credits along with either a 4-year degree or 2 years of law enforcement/military service.

Jeff describes his role as a DEC officer. He is part of the NY State Police. They enforce all state laws but are specialists at protecting the fish and wildlife of NY and the environment.

What do you think is the most important role the DEC plays?

Jeff mentions that there is a wide variety of roles. He says the main challenge is actually that the DEC is understaffed in officers, with only 250 of them spread out over all of NY.

Any crazy experiences as a SWAT Team member?

Jeff recalls getting a report of a lost 2-year old in upstate NY. Jeff and his team went out on ATVs and found the missing child in less than 2 hours. The child was right next to a swamp where he had followed his puppy earlier that day and got lost. Jeff says days like this are what make his job so rewarding.

Your job and lifestyle are very physical, what is a day of eating like for you?

Jeff has followed a ketogenic diet for the last 2-3 years, keeping carb below 25 grams per day. He has found this to significantly improve and stabilize his energy levels. He also does intermittent fasting (14/10), which he has found to improve his sleep quality.

Why did you start training Ju Jitsu?

Jeff became a DT instructor in 2018 and the training there was largely Ju Jitsu based. He realized he needed to learn this skill to be an effective law enforcement officer. Jeff says that Ju Jitsu makes him a lot more confident, which leads to calmness in high-stress situations. This gives him much better situational awareness in hands-on law enforcement situations. Jeff feels that Ju Jitsu will become a much more prominent aspect of law enforcement training in the coming years.

You created a company called Thin Line Martial Arts (TLMA), what is this?

Jeff wanted to bring more awareness of Ju Jitsu to the space of law enforcement, he does this through TLMA. They make apparel, rash guards, gear bags, patches, stickers, etc. that promote Ju Jitsu. The point is to get people thinking about and interested in Ju Jitsu, especially law enforcement officers. He also gives 50% of profits toward BJJ gym memberships for officers to encourage them to try it.

Do people get instantly hooked on Ju Jitsu, or are there a lot of drop outs? What type of people stick with the practice long term?

Josh and Jeff discuss this. Josh says that people to enter BJJ with a lot of ego typically don’t last. Everyone is a beginner at first and this is something you have to embrace in order to succeed. Josh says that the people who last are the ones that really want to learn. Jeff agrees completely. He loves that this is a practice that you can always keep getting better at. So set your ego aside and embrace learning. Josh also recommends “being a good partner.” This means staying calm, collected, and respectful.

With TLMA, what is your long-term vision?

Jeff wants to be in a lot of different gyms all over the country and to become a house-hold name in this community. He also wants to continue donating money to promoting BJJ in law-enforcement.

What are 1-3 books that have had a big influence on your life?

Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink. This book taught Jeff to take responsibility for everything in his life. Also, Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins. This book inspires him to remember that he can always give more when he feels that he’s at his limit.

If you could put up a roadside anywhere, what would it say?

“Respect your environment so your children have a chance to.”

Do you have a favorite failure?

My biggest failure was not caring enough about academics in high school and college. He regrets this but has learned from it and is a better person now as a result.

Do you have any advice for people?

Take care of your diet. Get rid of processed foods and sugar, and make sure you have good gut health.

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