There was recently a video floating around on Facebook of an altercation in which an apparently trained individual took down and restrained a person who allegedly had just exposed his genitals to the trained person’s daughter and accosted his neighbor.
There are many questions that this video raised, specifically the mindset and background of the trained person, why he didn’t inflict more damage on the antagonist, and what viewers of the video should take away from it.
We know that the hero of this story is Christopher Guarino, a first-degree black belt teaching at American Top Team Tampa. But we know very little about Guarino’s mindset in this harrowing and uncomfortable situation. Guarino spoke with the Jiu-Jitsu Times about what happened:
“I’m an emergency room nurse. We deal with aggressive people on drugs and alcohol weekly. This is very common. Controlling them safely with jiu-jitsu is a constant.
I didn’t injure him (the antagonist) because I recognized that he was experiencing some type of drug-induced psychosis. I also believed that he had a mental illness. My BJJ and wrestling allowed me to control him with little injury. I regret smashing his head into the street with my takedown. That could have potentially hurt him badly. Because of my ER job, this is sadly common in my life.”
Many jiu-jitsu practitioners have commented on similar incidents that they would love to harm someone who threatened their family members, yet Guarino showed restraint and didn’t inflict damage on the antagonist. Instead, he held him down and spoke reasonably and calmly, telling him to stop resisting and that the police were on their way.
“It was not difficult not to brutally beat him. Once he was down and he mentally gave up, he was a human to me again. I saw the fear and regret in his face. This guy has made many many bad life choices. It was obvious. If I hurt him at that point, I’d be a bully.
Jiu-jitsu has given me a level of confidence than boxing and wrestling were never able to give me. BJJ has also given me the greatest relationships in my life… His level of complete disregard was surprising to me. It was obvious that he didn’t have any fight training, yet he had no concern.”
Most people I train with haven’t had to use their jiu-jitsu in a real-life self-defense scenario, and many people who do jiu-jitsu in 2019 do it as a hobby and a “sport.” With his background, Guarino brings the perspective of someone who has both trained and used “self-defense” jiu-jitsu.
“I’m a healthy mix of sport and street. Most of my business is from private lessons. Half of my students want to compete, fight MMA, or box. The other half want to learn for safe defense. I teach many police and military so we work with the understanding that a person may have a firearm or knife. So hand control is a big focus.
A sport BJJ blue belt with some wrestling could have done exactly what I did. Too often, sport BJJ guys pull guard ’cause they can’t take someone down. Very dangerous on the street.”