Gas station clerk fights back robber with martial arts techniques

At 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 120 pounds, Ebrahim Gawargi looks completely unsuspecting.

At least that's what one gas station robber thought before Gawargi knocked the wind out of him with his highly honed martial arts skills.

Gawargi told Boston 25 News he trains three to four hours a day at Connor's Martial Arts Academy in Norwood, a hobby he is well invested in.

"I just do it to have fun, I don't do anything, just come to training, get some fun over here," said Gawargi.

That training came in handy on Tuesday night when Gawargi was working as a cashier at a Mobil Station on Route One in Norwood.

As he was counting the money, a robber came out of nowhere and tried to swipe it from Gawargi.

Video footage shows the two battle inside the store for at least five minutes before Gawargi gets the upper hand and pins down the suspect onto the floor. After throwing a couple of punches, Gawargi puts the suspect in a sleeper hold and knocks him out.

"I just tried to do what I had to do," said Gawargi. "He grabbed my hand, I had over six hundred dollars in my hand."

Police identified the suspect as 46-year-old John Benedict of Dorchester.

"I didn't want to kill him, I needed to let him breathe, [but] when he kept moving I gave it more pressure to let him sleep again," said Gawargi.

A customer outside the store witnessed the struggle and alerted police.

"If I had my way when people got robbed they would just turn over some cash and separate and then call police when it’s safe to do so," said Norwood Police Chief Bill Brooks. "This was a little bit unusual because of the skills of the clerk."

Gawargi says he never expected to use those skills outside of a gym, but that he wasn't about to stand by idly as the man attacked him.

"When he attacked me I had to do something," said Gawargi.

John Connors, a teacher at the martial arts academy Gawargi trains at, describes him as a great student who takes training very seriously.

"He's an excellent student, he's very respectful, he takes his training very seriously," said Connors. "He’s a very determined guy, a very very scrappy guy, so I'm not surprised he got the best of the guy."

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