Blaine Grinder credits his Jiu-Jitsu training for giving him the instinct to help detain a man who attempted to rob the CIBC last Tuesday in Williams Lake.
“Ironically I had come into the bank that day to withdraw some money to pay for my monthly Jiu-Jitsu fees,” the Tl’etinqox trapper and father told the Tribune Friday. “I didn’t think I would be using my skills at that very moment.”
Grinder said he saw Williams Lake resident Bill Drebit grab the suspect’s arm when he demanded money from a teller and he jumped in to help bring the suspect down to the ground.
“I didn’t know if he was armed, but I put him in what’s called a rear-naked choke and then by the time the RCMP arrived, I had him in a bulldog choke.”
Describing himself as a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, Grinder said he trains with Shogun Dojo in Williams Lake, but got his start in Victoria about 20 years ago with Stan Peterec’s Martial Arts.
At the bank that afternoon he just used basic skills — nothing fancy, he insisted.
“Jiu-Jitsu is the dark horse of the martial arts,” he said smiling. “It’s not flashy, but it is very effective if you need to subdue someone without hurting them.”
Grinder said the suspect kept asking them to let him go and was throwing the money back toward the tellers, but the two men just held him until RCMP arrived.
During his sessions at Shogun Dojo, Grinder often practices the worst-case scenarios, and on Tuesday he got to utilize that training.
He has also worked as a bouncer both in Victoria and at the Overlander Pub in Williams Lake so he felt that might have helped him react so quickly.
“As bouncers we never have weapons and you are dealing with incidents often,” he explained.
Grinder weighs about 225 pounds and said the suspect was just as big as he was.
“He was wearing a ball cap, sunglasses and a scarf,” he added.
Once the RCMP arrived, the suspect was arrested without incident.
“I sure hope he gets some help,” Grinder added. “It could have gone so differently.”
The tellers, he added, were very emotional.
“They just went through another robbery a short while ago.”
Grinder said it all happened so fast, but he doesn’t know if there were any other customers in the bank at the time other than Drebit and him.
On Wednesday, one charge of robbery and another of wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence were sworn against Christopher Michael Swain of 100 Mile House, in Williams Lake.
Swain will remain in custody until his next court appearance scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Williams Lake Provincial Court.