One of the best things about jiu-jitsu is that it not only teaches you how to submit people, but that it also teaches you how to control them in order to avoid hurting either person involved in a fight.
Vermont native Gavin Wageman put that concept to use during his work as a bouncer last night. Wageman, who’s a purple belt and trains out of the United Fighting Arts Institute (UFAI), encountered an unruly wannabe customer and was able to subdue him until the police arrived.
Here’s Wageman’s story, in his own words:
I was working the door last night (I check ID’s and keep out trouble), and this guy who was causing problems with people in line and passersby in the street was pissed that we weren’t letting him in. He was a harassing myself and another bouncer with the usual insults (“little ****,” “look at my life,” “you’re a piece of sh*t,” etc.), and at one point I turned away to let more people in from the line and he tried to bolt in.
The other bouncer caught him and started pushing him back outside, and that’s when he started throwing haymakers at him. Thomas (the other bouncer) blocked them and shoved him into me, and I grabbed him from behind and uke waza’d (my favorite takedown from rear) him to the ground. After that the grappling brain sort of just clicked, and as he righted himself, I followed with him, put in hooks, and locked in the RNC.
He lifted his head, and muscle memory demanded that I finish it, but I calibrated instantly once I felt this guy had no clue wtf he was doing and that I knew the fight was over. Dude didn’t deserve a merciless *** kicking. I just hung on to him and let him burn himself out, and eventually he just chilled out.
It was like wrestling with a baby. Cops did a great job and were on the scene very quickly and got the guy out of there. Bouncers helped keep the crowd from swarming me as that tends to happen. But at the end of the day everyone got home safely with all their limbs intact.
Wageman and his fiancee, brown belt Laura Guest, also run a project called Open Air Jiu-Jitsu that sets up open mats outside, such as in parks and other outdoor public spaces. “We’re a non-profit focused on bringing all gyms together in an open-mat, non-competitive style gathering. There are food and drinks supplied freely by us, and it’s about bringing together gyms without worrying about any politics getting involved. We want to bring people together who love this art!” says Wageman.
Check out the video footage of Wageman’s encounter below: