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Jiu-Jitsu Books 


Roberto Pedreira















Jiu-Jitsu in Action

or How Jiu-Jitsu can save lives and keep you out of jail


Pattaya was originally a fishing village during the Viet Nam War. Thanks to American G.I. R & R, it soon became known as Asia's sleaze capital and grew into Thailand's second largest city. Today it is better known as a haven for Chinese tour buses and Russian mafia bosses. Plenty of Northern Europeans show up during winter to enjoy the warm weather. It's a good place to train Muay Thai too.

None of that mattered to Jose Manuel Polanco Jr., age 44, on  Friday, February 9 (2018) at the Ruby Club on Soi 6, in Bang Lamung, Pattaya Thailand.

A drunk Australian named Benjamin Robb, age 43, decided he needed to choke one of the bar ladies, Roong-arun Sangsuwan. He grabbed her by the neck and squeezed until "her face turned blue", according to witnesses. 

Instead of letting the Thai staff and Thai police deal with it, Jose decided to step up and do the right thing, or play hero, depending on your point of view. Benjamin objected. Jose punched him. Benjamin fell. He was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Jose was drunk too, by the way.

It isn't irrelevant to the story.

An earlier report said Jose punched and kicked Benjamin for 20 seconds and threw him across the room before order was restored. Either way, Robb's holiday was over. So was Jose's. 

Jose believed he did the right thing. He didn't run. In fact he turned himself in. "He was initially charged with injuring others causing death, punishable by 3-15 years under the Criminal Code."

Jose did not apply for bail.

Police said the case would be dealt with in court.

Why were Jose and Benjamin's holidays ruined? To put it another way, how could this unfortunate turn of events have been avoided?

There are various answers. Jose could have minded his own business. But obviously he wasn't that kind of person. He might have tried diplomacy, asking Benjamin to politely release his hold on Roong-arun Sangsuwan's neck. That probably wouldn't have worked. Benjamin was drunk and apparently upset by something. Maybe Jose did try but Benjamin rebuffed him,  leaving Jose no choice but to do what a man has to do in such cases.

Since Jose was determined to "intervene", was there any way he could have avoided inadvertently killing Benjamin?

There was: Jiu-Jitsu. Specially a jiu-jitsu technique well-known to old masters, preserved in many martial arts today, and even in a modified form, in Muay Thai.

It is easy to do and invariably effective. (Note that it doesn't work quite as well in the Pentagon, but then it isn't designed to). It involves grabbing the "assailant" on both sides of his jaw, with both hands, one on each side, and then twisting while turning in a downward corkscrew (or steering wheel) motion. At the same time, step to the outside (the opposite side to the one that you are directing him to).

You can add an optional leg reap if you like, but that isn't necessary.

You can also do it with one hand, using the other hand to stabilize the person's thorax.

Depending on the urgency of the situation, you can place the "assailant" on the ground gently, or you can slam him brutally. Since his head is in your hands, you can avoid him to smash it against a concrete floor, if that is your desire. Or vice-versa (but then, you'd be talking to the police, which we want to avoid). 

After the "assailant" reaches the floor, apply for a knee on the belly or as the Brazilians say Joelho na Barriga. Then hope he gives up or help arrives. If neither happens, you can exit the scene, or pound him into submission or unconsciousness, accurately claiming that you did your best to avoid having to do it.

Like all stories, this one has a moral. Boxing and Muay Thai are great in the right time and place. But sometimes jiu-jitsu is what the doctor ordered.

The world would be a better place if  more people learned the fundamentals of good jiu-jitsu.

At least, Benjamin Robb  would probably not be dead now and Jose Manuel Polanco would not have spoiled his holiday in Pattaya.

Below: Two reports about the incident from Bankock Post. They'll probably be gone soon.

Story 1

Story 2


If sleaze, Chinese tour buses, and Russian mafia bosses don't bother you, there are numerous places to train Muay Thai in Pattaya. For some information see: Academy Reports.


(c) Roberto Pedreira, 2018. All rights reserved.

Thanks to Jake Jacobs for sending the Bankock Post links.







GTR Archives 2000-2022