Of all the places to go to commit crimes, a martial arts school is about one of the worst options to choose. But on Monday night, one man didn’t heed this common-sense advice when he reportedly tried to enter a mother’s car as she was on her way to pick her son up from jiu-jitsu class at Rip Tide, a martial arts school in Delaware.
Erik Levy, the membership manager for the academy and BJJ blue belt, spoke with the Jiu-Jitsu Times today and recounted the alleged incident. The woman was on her way to pick up her teenage son, who was participating in the adults’ class at the academy. She stopped at a stop sign before the gym that was situated in a small one-way circle, and a strange man approached her vehicle on foot. The woman was on the phone with her husband, and when she told him about what was happening, he told her to go straight to the gym.
The suspect was able to catch up to the woman’s vehicle in Rip Tide’s parking lot, and in a terrifying moment, her car’s doors unlocked automatically when she parked, allowing the man to open her rear door and try to get inside.
At this moment, fellow blue belt Chris Senard saved the day. Senard left the gym five minutes earlier than normal, which meant that he walked outside just in time to grab the suspect and push him into the gym.
“The guy didn’t seem drunk at first,” said Levy. “He seemed like he was having a medical problem. He wasn’t answering us correctly. I went out to talk to the victim. The police had been called already, but we’re in a rural area near the beach, so it took them time to get out there.”
Inside, the academy owner and coach Chris White was managing the suspect, who was trying to reach inside his own pockets — it was soon discovered that he had a knife. “We all cornered him, and he started to lose it,” said Levy. “He was yelling, getting louder, and he said, ‘I can take one of you mother f-ers. I can take two of you mother f-ers, maybe three.’ Then he screamed and charged at us.”
Levy recalls the moment as a “perfect execution of jiu-jitsu.” “If I wasn’t holding the guy, I wish I could’ve videoed it,” he said. “Coach Chris took him down and held him down with a ‘knee-on-back.’ I had his right arm, and one of our Muay Thai fighters had his legs tied. We had to hold him there for about six minutes [until the police arrived].”
The Rip Tide staff have so far not received any updates about the situation, but Levy said that the suspect has indeed been taken into custody. Thanks to a lot of quick thinking, good timing, and a few jiu-jitsu practitioners, one woman (and potentially other people) are safe from whatever danger the suspect may have presented.