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My Road Rage incident from this week. Are you safe?

Everyone has been calling, texting and asking about this story...... Here goes

Road Rage . This is a pretty common term used today and most of us have experienced it in some way or another. Many of us have been on both sides of it as it can be frustrating at times dealing with traffic , bad drivers especially when many people are on their phones these days and distracted. But what happens when you finally come across one of those people you see or about in hear stories or on the news. An incident where someone follows someone and then beats them up on the side of the road? Everyone thinks it won't happen to them and everyone thinks they can defend themselves . On the other side of things is maybe you're that tough guy who is raging and being belligerent with people and maybe you won't fair as well in an altercation as you might think either.

So , this is what happened..... If you're reading this and have no clue who I am , I am a lifelong martial artist who owns a gym in East Greenbush NY. I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and have also trained many years in Muay Thai , Boxing , Wrestling and MMA. Ive trained many fighters and spent 10 years straight training either myself or my fighters before devoting my time to teaching. Ive faced fighters with lots of experience , Ive sparred with guys in the UFC and some well over 300lbs. Some fresh out of prison and some with mental illness. As an instructor and school owner this is how it goes day in and day out and you become very comfortable in a fight situation.

On this particular day I was coming up on my school which is located in a strip mall. I was traveling on a 4 line roadway with 2 lanes traveling in my direction. As I approached the main entrance to the plaza , I was traveling in the right lane as I had to make a right hand turn into the plaza. As I got closer I noticed a huge accident ahead and about 6 - 8 emergency vehicles already on the scene. The accident and emergency vehicles were in my lane and cars in front of me were merging to the passing lane to my left. It was time for me to merge and as I did a truck came up on me very fast , he started honking and as I looked back the guy was enraged and giving me the finger . He then opened his window and was giving me the finger outside the window and calling me a F*ck*ng A$$h*le and other colorful things. We passed the accident and he then started yelling for me to pull over. Well ' I had to anyway as I had to pull into my plaza to get to my gym. So , I pulled into the plaza, the guy was still going nuts and it was super awkward as I was behind a senior citizen going super slow and there was also construction going on in the plaza that we had to navigate around. It felt like a 5 minute ride with this nut job behind me. I finally park in front of my gym and he jumps out yelling and screaming. He's using the same expletives along with " I'm gonna beat your ass" .The construction workers working in the parking lot and other shoppers are all staring at us. I wave him into the gym behind me to get out of the public eye and get this guy away from innocent bystanders.

You're probably asking why in the world would I do this.? Well ,at this point I knew something was going to go down and I'd rather it be in a private setting away from innocent people and in front of a camera as I have them recording my gym at all times. Years of training had prepared me mentally for these situations so I was pretty calm. I entered the gym and heard our property manager and workers warn the man " not to go in there " . As the man got out of his car and saw the gym sign I could see things change on his face. As he got closer to the door you could see him start to question his actions and once he entered the gym things changed drastically . I went out to the center of the mat and invited him out.I told him in here nobody would get into trouble and he could come "beat me up". He was still swearing at me and had already said he was going to beat my ass so I figured that is what he planned to try to do. Nope . I could see him thinking for a second and then said " He just wanted to talk" Really ? All that and now you want to talk, huh? We exchanged some choice words and he left. he later called the gym and apologized .

As I reflected on the situation , I contemplated trying to help this man and inviting him back so he could actually see what would have happened if he tried to follow through with his actions and show him just how vulnerable he was. Ive been successful in helping many people in my time teaching from military members with ptsd to criminals fresh out of jail rejoining the public. A friend however brought something up as I was contemplating this and said " What if this guy goes and uses what you taught at his next road rage incident?" . It made me think for a minute and they were right. Some people should not be taught these things.

I think there is a moral to this story for both sides of this incident. If you are someone in my shoes , you never know who you may cross paths with in a given day. Are you prepared for an incident like this? Im a pretty big guy and knew how to handle this situation however if this guy followed you home, what would/could you do? Could you defend yourself ? Think you're safe ? This happened about 200ft from 5 police cars with officers in the street. What would someone like this do in your private driveway? My advice to everyone is to learn to protect yourself . Put yourself in uncomfortable situations.Self defense trining goes a long way not only physically but mentally as well in preparing you for these situations. I tell the women in my classes to go and work with the men for self defense situations , this is EXACTLY why. I also recommend getting your pistol permit and carrying. This nut job thought twice and decided not to act on me but I can tell you, he fully intended to until he saw what he was walking into.

On the rager's side of the coin. Are you someone who acts like this man ? This man was screaming and threatening me in front of a full audience. He followed me into my place of work . He followed me into this private setting with no-one around. If I felt threatened , this man could have been justifiably shot. His life ended. I myself have a pistol permit and a concealed carry stamp on my permit as well. Luckily for this man, I did not feel threatened. Once entering the building I still could have done whatever I wanted to this man and no one would have questioned it due to his actions prior. Im trained to do so and he could have been seriously injured or worse. Next time you choose to give someone the finger , scream profanities or threaten someone in a road rage incident or god forbid follow them , Keep in mind you never know who you might be following. Are you safe ? You might not be the tough guy you think you are.These people don't need pistol permits or martial arts, they need counseling.

I did a facebook post following this incident and since then everyone wants me to tell this story so I thought I would just post it here. I hope it makes everyone think before they act at times and also to learn to protect yourself and your family. I highly suggest that parents get your children in not only a martial art but one that actually works. One that trains and prepares them to function in high stress situations. Jiu Jitsu is in my opinion the best for this. I personally have all of my children in this for the self defense aspect above all else. The world is becoming a crazy place.

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