If you choose to attack individuals on the streets of a big city, be prepared to have a BJJ black belt hanging off your back in no time.
That lesson was learned by Samuel Frazier in Manhattan last week. Frazier, a 28-year-old homeless man, is accused of attacking and sucker-punching construction workers in the Soho shopping district.
Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for the victims, the crowd gathering nearby wasn’t filled with just your average Joes.
Making his way to his job as a boxing instructor was Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Ro Malabanan. After some discourse with the victims, the 44-year-old mixed martial artist sprung into action, chasing and taking down the attacker.
“Play stupid games, and win stupid prizes,” he posted on Instagram. “This guy assaulted six people before I got to him. I witnessed him punch someone right in front of me. Stay safe out there everyone.”
While being held on the ground, the alleged attacked can be heard claiming that he threw hands because the workers were walking “directly into his walkway.” If heading towards someone is a crime deserving of a punch, the streets of Manhattan would be a war zone…
BJJ Black Belt Malabanan: “My Jiu-Jitsu Training Kicked In”
Thankfully, there are some people around to remind others how not to act, and a few of them have the martial arts skills to make it an easy job.
The practicality of Brazilian jiu-jitsu outside of the mats on the streets has often been debated. Whilst UFC color commentator Joe Rogan once told comedian and actor Erik Griffin that he’d “kill” him with jiu-jitsu in a fight, others have suggested that the grappling form would be negated by a fist to the face — à la Garry Tonon versus Thanh Le at ONE: Lights Out (a fitting name given where Tonon’s BJJ black belt took him…).
Well, this time, it proved rather effective for Ro Malabanan.
“I walked up to the guy that [was] hit, to check to see if he was OK. He said he wasn’t okay … Immediately, my martial arts side kicks in and I’m like, let’s go stop this guy,” Malabanan recalled during an interview with NBC 4 New York. “Who knows what he’s capable of. My jiu-jitsu training kicked in, and I immediately just jumped on his back, he tried to fling me off of him. I had what’s called the seatbelt position, which helped me to drag him down to the ground.”
Malabanan also noted that it’s his responsibility to use the martial arts abilities he’s acquired to defend others who don’t have the same skillset.
“As a martial artist, it is my responsibility to stand up for those who cannot,” Malabanan said. “As New Yorkers, we must help each other out so we can go about our business without having to fear for our lives. As human beings, I believe we have to show empathy and compassion to others because we are all going through things. And at the end of the day, we are just trying to do the best we can.”
While it appears that some of the victims attempted to get their own shots in on their attacker as he was subdued, Malabanan is reported to have prevented them from doing so, insisting they called the police instead.
According to police, Frazier was charged with two counts of assault for unprovoked shots delivered to a 17-year-old and 50-year-old.
What do you make of Malabanan’s heroic actions to stop the attacker?