Hero bystander with jiu-jitsu black belt pins shoplifter in 'gift wrap hold' until cops arrive as perp yells, 'Lemme go, homie'

It's the feel-good story of the day, courtesy of CWB Chicago, which deserves a Pulitzer Prize for its ongoing coverage of crime and urban decay.

Christopher Cruz had a bad night.

"Hey, hey homie. Let me go, man, homie," Cruz, bent like a pretzel, begged as 3rd-degree black belt jiu-jitsu instructor Idriz Redzovic pinned him to the floor of an Uptown convenience store Thursday evening.

It didn't work.

"He assaulted a 7-Eleven employee, so I jumped in and took him to the ground and did a gift wrap hold, which is taught in the art of Jiu-Jitsu," Redzovic explains. He teaches the martial art at Supreme Jiu-Jitsu Chicago.

Mr. Redzovic, in addition to being a heroic martial arts master, is a bit of a philosopher.  The video he took while he held Cruz contains quite a discussion about the attempted justification the perp offered.  He also displayed real grace:

The task was so easy, Redzovic even propped his phone up to livestream everything. At one point, Redzovic's car alarm activated outside. Redzovic cooly changed his hold on Cruz so he could deactivate the alarm with his key fob.

"What are you, Russian?" Cruz asks. "Syrian?"

"I’m Bosnian," Redzovic replies.

"We're Bosnian homies!" Cruz pleads.

"You're a Bosnian nothing," counters Redzovic.

Watch and enjoy a real-life hero in action:

Photo credit: Facebook video screen grab (cropped).

Andrea Widburg adds: Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ) is a beautiful martial art that combines wrestling and traditional Japanese jujitsu.  When done right, it can turn a bad guy into a pretzel in just a few minutes, all without causing him any serious, or even minor, damage.  It was certainly beautifully done in Uptown Chicago when a third-degree BJJ blackbelt tackled and held a young man who thought he could get away with assaulting a 7-Eleven clerk.

Idriz Redzovic, originally from Bosnia, holds a third-degree black belt in BJJ and is a martial arts instructor.  If his belt is purely for BJJ, he's an incredibly accomplished fighter, because BJJ has the slowest belt progression of any martial art.  I always likened BJJ to physics in real time.  It's not a striking martial art, and, unlike Japanese jujitsu, which is mostly a standing form of the art, BJJ takes place on the floor, using physics to trap an opponent.

That's exactly what Redzovic did — trap an opponent — when he saw Christopher Cruz punch a 7-Eleven employee after first stealing food.  He quickly got Cruz wrapped up, with his arms completely immobilized and Redzovic's weight on his body, blocking his legs and trapping one of his elbows. 

If it were up to me, I'd find a reputable martial arts dojo for every kid.  Those kids who can do martial arts have so much confidence that they seldom get involved in fights at school, and if they do, they do so defensively, not offensively.  I used to go to a dojo in San Francisco where all the black belt kids went to tough high schools.  All of them stayed out of trouble, and everyone in their schools, knowing their belt ranks, didn't push them.

Sadly, I didn't start martial arts until I was in my 40s, and my joints gave out by the time I was in my 50s.  If I could do it all over again, I'd start at 6 and make it a lifetime commitment.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol.

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