A teenage girl used her jiu jitsu skills to fight off a knife-wielding man who tried to rob her and a friend.
Alex Jeanguillaume, 15, and her friend Edwin Tosney were in Wharfemeadows Park in Leeds, a city in the northern county of Yorkshire, U.K., on Friday evening, when a knifeman approached them and demanded they hand over their phones, BBC News reported.
The man was white, dressed in a grey hoodie and black jacket, according to West Yorkshire Police. The man then took out a knife and appeared to be preparing to stab the teenagers.
Using her jiu jitsu skills, Jeanguillaume grabbed the man. She then hurled him onto the ground. “In these situations we’re taught how to defend ourselves,” Jeanguillaume told BBC News.
The schoolgirl took hold of the man’s arm and shoulder and “shoved him to the floor,” she recalled. The pair then grappled on the ground, she said. “He was shouting to let him go and he would run off. I was trying to hold on to him but he broke free and managed to escape,” said Jeanguillaume.
The teenager has been practicing the martial art since she was a child. She joined Otley’s jiu jitsu club aged five. The teenager explained she was taught to flee during such attacks. However, she decided fighting back was the best option as she and Edwin were in an enclosed area of the park.
“We are always taught to stay clam in such situations and I feel like if I didn’t have my [training] I wouldn’t have been able to prevent my friend from being stabbed,” she said.
The incident was among a spate of attempted knife point robberies in Otley on Friday, between 9 and 9:30 p.m., according to West Yorkshire Police.
A suspect with a knife approached a 23-year-old near the skating area at the park, before the victim ran to safety. Shortly after, a man approached a 17-year-old boy while he was with his friends in the park, and ordered him to hand over his wallet. The trio were able to run away.
On Thursday, a 19-year-old man and his friends were robbed at a nearby cemetery. Police believe the incidents could be linked. Two knifemen in their early twenties wearing dark clothes and hiding their faces with scarves walked up to the group at around 9:30 p.m. They stole the victims’ wallets, cards and cash.
Detective Inspector Andy Norgate, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “These were obviously very distressing incidents for the victims and we are currently working to identify those responsible. We would like to hear from anyone who witnessed any of the incidents or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the time.”
Norgate said: “Otley is normally a very low crime area and street robberies such as this are relatively unusual. We are liaising with our colleagues on the local neighborhood policing team who are increasing their patrols of the area to reassure the community.”
(Curated Piece via Newsweek)
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.