If you’re going to rob a store and assault the people outside of it, make sure you aren’t doing it in front of someone who’s well-versed in jiu-jitsu. And definitely make sure you’re not doing it in front of two people who are good at jiu-jitsu.
That’s the mistake one man made in San Jose, Costa Rica last week when he reportedly decided to hold up a supermarket with a gun. Spanish-language BJJ outlet Pasando Guardia reports that after exiting the supermarket, the man tried to assault people standing outside, at one point threatening a woman with a knife. It was then that Herminio and Angel Mora (a 30-year-old brown belt and 27-year-old purple belt in BJJ, respectively) decided to act.
The brothers, who train at Mauro Sergio BJJ, told Pasando Guardia that one of them went for the rear naked choke while the other went for the hand that was holding the gun. They were able to wrestle the man to the ground and submit him. They said that the police took a long time to arrive at the scene and even told the brothers that they could put the handcuffs on the suspect, which the brothers saw as a “lack of preparation” on the police’s part.
Herminio told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that he believes the police force in Costa Rica isn’t properly trained to submit suspects in the street. “Here, the government doesn’t give [police officers] resources for self-defense or any other class. They put them on the streets and that’s it, without knowing anything… [Law enforcement officers] should learn martial arts, definitely.”
This was the first situation in which the Mora brothers had to use their martial arts knowledge outside of a training setting, but their time spent training (plus the fact that they were able to team up) served them well. Herminio says that he’s been training in martial arts for twenty years, starting off with judo (in which he is now a black belt) and eventually moving to jiu-jitsu. Angel, for his part, has four years of BJJ experience.
Although Costa Rica is a small country, the BJJ scene has been growing exponentially over the years. Particularly near the country’s capital of San Jose, multiple academies led by established black belts have helped the sport thrive.