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In The Arena Blog

BJJ Black Belt Stops Burglar with Triangle Choke

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The Arena’s Sergio Hernandez, a Jiu Jitsu black belt under Baret Yoshida, describes his encounter with a burglar who was trying to rob his dad’s house. With a cool head and an in depth knowledge of grappling, Sergio subdued the criminal and waited for the police to show up.


Can you let go of my neck please?

Sergio Hernandez:
What? Don’t (beep) move.

I’m not.

Sergio Hernandez:
I’m going to put you to sleep, dog. Either that or I’m going to break your (beep) arm if you try to move.

Me and my dad were coming back from running an errand, and I think that burglar had been staking out our house or something. When we showed up, he was in my dad’s house. My dad didn’t notice that he was inside the house. As my dad came back outside, he tried to jump out the back window, and I happened to be in the backyard, and so that’s when I ran into him, but I didn’t notice that the window was open. I just assumed that he was either somebody that was on drugs and that was lost or that he actually had considered breaking into our house, but he hadn’t done it yet. He said he was running from a dog and if he could go out through the back, so I was like, “Yeah, go ahead, man.” So he jumped through the back fence and then a minute later I noticed that he had actually already been inside the house and made a mess in there, and I didn’t know if he had hurt my dad or anything. I jumped the fence, chased him through the alley for about a block, finally caught up to him.

He turned around and faced me, and at that point, I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a weapon or a gun or he was just ready to fight me, but I think he was so gassed out that he didn’t want to fight so he just wanted to talk about it. And so I grabbed him by the shirt and I was like, “Hey man, let’s go talk to my dad and let’s find out exactly what happened.” I took him back to my dad, and my dad had no idea what was going on and I said, “Hey dad, I think this guy just broke into your house.” We checked out the window and, sure enough, he had messed up the window and made a mess in the house.

Finally, my dad asked him, “Well, how old are you, man?” The kid was like, “I’m 21 years old.” And then that’s when my dad was like, “Well, you’re going to have to go to jail, dude.” And that’s when he lost his temper and just started going crazy. And I was able to control him using the Jiu Jitsu that I learned from Baret, so thank God for that. I was able to keep calm about it.

I don’t know how it happened, but immediately I came here, I grabbed him by the arm here, and he fell on his face, but he came to his side, and so I came to this position here. I told him to stop moving or I was going to break his arm, and then he kept trying to get out of it. So he came here and he started to… If you come to your knees and then try to stand up a little bit. I got to this position and then he tried to stand up. So this is where I considered either going here with the arm break. But as he was standing, I’ve seen videos of people getting their heads slammed in the back of the other head. If you could stand up and show how that one… And then he would slam me, and that was dangerous.

And so as he was on his knees and I seen him stand up, I grabbed his leg here. That’s when we got to this position here. But he turned that way slightly, and so I held this position, and I think this is the safer position because his teeth would have been in my stomach and he could have bit me. And also I didn’t want him to bring his weight on top of me to finish the triangle to get the better angle because I would be on my back and he’d be able to punch me. And if you were to get here, he could have bitten me or something and that would’ve been super dangerous.

So I was comfortable in this position. I feel I could have broken the arm there, and then at some point I did squeeze it and I could tell that he was choking. I just wanted to make sure that if I had to finish the triangle I could have still finished it at this angle, and then I was controlling his wrist so he wouldn’t be able to punch me.

So I started doing Jiu Jitsu about 14 years ago and thankfully I was able to be calm enough to hold that triangle position. So the neighbor filmed it and then I was like, “Oh dude, did you get that?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Send it to me because I want to post it on my Instagram.” I didn’t really think much about it, but I love to record all my matches. And this one just happened to be out in public, and so I posted it. I didn’t even get a chance to take a shower, just had to go straight to work because I was late for a tattoo appointment that I had. Maybe 45 minutes later the media shows up to the tattoo shop and it was like, “Dude, do you see what’s happening to your video? Everyone’s watching it. Could we do a story on you?” I check my Instagram and it was so many people were checking it out and then it was getting shared by other people.

I do feel a little bit strange because of all the attention that I was getting based on someone’s downfall basically. But on the other hand, I’m happy that we’re able to promote Jiu Jitsu, and that we’re able to promote people learning how to defend themselves. I train here at The Arena, and this is where my martial arts family is at. And I hope more people, if they don’t come here to The Arena, that they find their local gym and they’re able to learn how to defend themselves and feel confident and not have to be scared when they’re out in the world.

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