A Filipino who is based in New York put his BJJ black belt to good use last week. Ro Malabanan was on his way to work when he saw someone punch a construction worker and run away.

Most New Yorkers would have just kept on walking. But Malabanan who is also a boxing coach decided to intervene and chased the attacker down before using his BJJ skills to subdue him while he waited for police to arrive.


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According to police this wasn’t the first time the attacker had done this. But unfortunately for him this particular assault was witnessed by an experienced martial artist with a public minded streak.

Malabanan was born in the Philippines but is now based permanently in New York. He teaches boxing and BJJ and says he had to intervene once he realized a man was randomly attacking strangers on the street,

“The reason I did it is because I was afraid he was going to harm another person. I walked up to the guy that got hit and checked to see that he was okay and he said he was not okay my martial arts side kicked in and I was like ‘yeah lets go stop this guy’.”


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Survival situation

Malabanan told NBC that he felt it was his duty to stop the man to save other New Yorkers from being harmed by him,

“In my mind I was afraid because this guy might hurt another person and my Jiu Jitsu training kicked in and I jumped on his back. He tried to flick me off but I had the seatbelt position which helped me drag him to the ground.”

He might have been born in the Philippines but Malabanan clearly identifies as a New Yorker now,

“We as new Yorkers are willing to step up and help a stranger out because that’s what being a New Yorker is all about,” he told NBC.

Having spent hours and hours training his submission skills in the gym Malabanan had a rare opportunity to use them in a survival situation. He sounds delighted to have discovered that his BJJ was just as effective on the street as it has been in the dojo,

“I don’t think I’m a hero. I’m just really grateful that I was able to stop someone and able to put my martial arts skills to use. For me to be able to do that in a real world situation, that is incredible.”